Polymer Clay And Friendly Plastic, Cloud Clay and Jewel Enamels – who could ask for anything more!

I won’t be making a habit of it, but I enjoyed every minute of creating jewellery with polymer clay for the last Designer Inspiration show in Jewellery Maker TV.  I love, love, love polymer clay, and want to find time to do sooooooooo much more with it. But therein lies the rub – time.  It is not something you can do in 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, it requires dedication and the whole day to play – when do I ever get that chance.  So it was from purely selfish motivation that I suggested to JM that I would do a polymer clay project for them – it meant that I simply had to play for 2 whole days with polymer clay!  Below are the results (the ones that worked, the burnt offerings never got out of my experiments box.

I do not claim to be a polymer clay expert, so my observation below may not hold much water with true polymer clay aficionados, but they may be of help to some of you.

  1. Make a jelly roll cane by first smearing one end of  a sheet of translucent clay with alcohol inks.  The greater the surface area the deeper the colour.  Let it dry before turning the sheet into a Skinner Blend, or you will have ink all over your pasta machine.
  2. When you have the blend you like, stretch it out lengthwise to no 6 (on my machine), this will make your jelly roll have a smoother blend when you roll it up tight.
  3. If you want the colour in the middle, roll the Jelly Roll starting from the coloured end.
  4. Squish and press your cane to expel any air.  I found chilling mine, or simply leaving it alone for half an hour firmed it up quite considerably and made it easier to slice.
  5. Form the flowers over the end of a wooden spoon dipped in cornflour.  The cucumber slices were baked over the lip of a mug.
  6. Bake as per the packet (30 mins at 130 deg C).  Bake again for less than 10 minutes at 180 Deg C, but make sure your pieces are completely covered by cornflour or polyester toy stuffing to prevent burning.  The exact timing of this requires practice. This high temperature bake is to help make the clay more translucent. You can try blasting with a heat gun, but it is very easy to burn the clay.
  7. One lovely viewer told me that plunging it into really cold water straight after the pieces come out of the oven helps to make the clay more translucent too.

Don’t think for one minute that I am abandoning Friendly Plastic, I AM NOT!  But a little variety is always good for the soul, and variety was exactly what I had in my second bundle for the show.  It contained Friendly Plastic, Cloud Clay and Jewel Enamels, Transfer Foil and some gemstones that made me think of boiled sweets. There was also some detailing enamel and a texture mat to use too.  It was a lovely challenge to have, but it was definitely a challenge!

Below are my creations using the diverse range of mediums in the kit.

Things to note if you want to give any of these a try:

  1. Varnish Cloud Clay when it has had a day to dry, and leave it for as long as you like before adding Friendly Plastic.
  2. To get texture on both sides of the Cloud Clay, use two texture mats and squish the clay in between.
  3. The pasta machine makes a good job of “conditioning” Cloud Clay, it removes the bubbles of air in the fresh clay really easily.  Stick to the centre of the rollers or the Cloud Clay may get stuck in your pasta machine.
  4. Stamp Friendly Plastic with a texture mat coated with embossing ink (apply FP to the mat rather than the other way around), sprinkle with loads of Detail Enamel and then knock off any excess before  returning it to the pot and heating the Friendly Plastic with a heat gun until the Detail Enamel melts and becomes shiny.
  5. It is easier to coat fresh Cloud Clay with raw powdered Jewel Enamels and leave it to dry, and then apply the heat to melt the Jewel Enamels.
  6. Use Mica Powders mixed with a tiny amount of water as a paint to colour the black Cloud Clay, it sticks to the clay and not the Jewel Enamels.
  7. Transfer Foils will stick directly onto Cloud Clay, but it is easier to remove them when the clay has had a chance to dry.  If you  remove it when the clay is still soft, the clay stretches and you have little control over where the foil goes.
  8. Push in your findings either as you make the shape, or after it has dried and hardened for a few days.
  9. Always varnish your pieces with something like Duraclear, it protects the surface and prevents any colour coming off.

 

I have absolutely no idea what I am going to get in my next bundles for the show on the 10th July, but whatever I get, I know I will enjoy the challenge it represents.

See you on 10th July on Jewellery Maker TV, and if you are able, do join me for a beginners Friendly Plastic class at JM in Redditch on the 26th July.  You will need to contact them about booking.