Frequently Asked Polymer Clay Questions

Polymer Clay Technique Questions

Mica shifts only work if you use the right clay. Metallic polymer clays are the best for mica shifts as they have a high concentration of mica particles. Pearlescent polymer clays are a different story. They don’t have as high a mica content as metallic polymer clays, and your mica shift effect will often come out dull if you use them.

For more information take a look at my article: Mica Clay Unwrapped. I explain how mica clays work, and which clays are which. You can also take a look at my Mica Shift Tutorial to see exactly how to do your mica shift to get the best result.

If you're used to making two part blends, you may be expecting your three part blend to stabilize too quickly. It can take up to forty passes to get the three or more part Skinner blend to look good, while a two part blend often looks alright after only a few runs through the pasta machine. So make sure you’re rolling your blend through your pasta machine enough times.

Watch my Three Part Skinner Blend Tutorial for the correct procedure.

Mokume Gane is a technique used by polymer clayers to get a multi layered effect to their clay. It can be random or precise. It’s a technique that can be changed a billion times over. If you want to have a try do look at my Mokume Gane tutorials.

Polymer Clay Questions

Kato is the number one clay for caning and is the one I recommend. Fimo Professional also produces good results. You can try Premo but due to its texture I find that the colors tend to bleed. I don’t really recommend any other brands as they’re often too soft.

Pop the problem clay into a zip lock bag and pound it into submission with a mallet. This is the number one way to fix hard clay, but sometimes this isn’t enough. If you’re still having trouble after trying this technique have a look at my article How to Soften Polymer Clay for more information.

Leaching is generally the best way to firm up soft clay, but there are other options. For more information see my article How to Firm up Soft Polymer Clay. It explains what leaching is, how to do it, and a few other options.

Plaquing, or mooning, is something that tends to happen with the more translucent clays. It looks almost like flaking inside of the clay, so you can’t feel it, you can only see it. You can use it to your advantage in some techniques, but if you’re trying to make something like a doll, with beautiful smooth skin, you’re not going to like it. It will ruin the look you’re going for.

See the next polymer clay question: "Why Is My Translucent Clay Plaquing\Mooning?" for tips on preventing it in your clay.

This could be caused by a number of things:

  • Air bubbles may have become trapped in your clay. This most commonly occurs during the conditioning process. See my tutorial: How To Condition Polymer Clay to find out how to condition correctly so that air bubbles are not introduced.
  • You may have water, oil, lint or another additive mixed into your clay. Translucent clays are fiddly, so be careful not to mix in any unwanted highjackers.
  • It could just be the translucent clay that you’re using. Pardo is the worst when it comes to plaquing. Premo and Fimo also plaque quite a bit. I’ve found that Cernit and Kato are the least likely of all the translucents to do it, so if you’re have a lot of trouble try a different brand. It might help. Check out my article: Overview of Translucent Polymer Clay to see the pros and cons of each brand.

The difference between these two polymer clays is in the tint of the translucence. The Premo Translucent will have a slightly yellowish tint when baked, while the Premo White Translucent will have a slight blue tint. This is something you will want to take into account when planning your design. The Premo translucent will look better with the reds, oranges and yellows, or the warm side of the color spectrum. The Premo White Translucent will look better with the blues and greens, or the cooler side of the color spectrum.

Other than this, these two polymer clays are exactly the same. They both have a similar translucence, bake for the same amount of time at the same temperature, and have the same consistency.

See my Translucent Clay Overview for more information.

This is one of the most common polymer clay questions, because Sculpey 3 has been the source of much frustration for polymer clayers. The raw clay is too soft, and the baked clay is too brittle. Caning is virtually impossible and the raw clay sticks to everything. The baked clay tends to crack and break. It’s just not a great clay to work with. I don’t recommend it.

Clays I do recommend include the most popular brands; Kato, Premo and Fimo Professional. You can check out my article where I've done a Comparison of the Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Clays.

I also work quite a bit with Souffle, Cernit and Pardo, but for most purposes I would recommend one of the popular brands above.

tools and supplies Polymer Clay Questions

Each of these tools has its place and they are both basic requirements for your tool kit. You will use both of them on a daily basis. If you’re just starting with polymer clay, you can start with the acrylic roller and add the pasta machine later. Everything that you would normally use a pasta machine for can be achieved with a roller. It just takes a bit longer.

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