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Polymer Clay Secrets and Techniques

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Table of Contents Introduction..................................................................................................................... 5 What is Polymer Clay?.................................................................................................... 6 How Polymer Clay Can Be Used..................................................................................... 7 More Than Just Clay Blocks............................................................................................ 8 Liquid Polymer Clay ................................................................................................... 8 Eraser Clay.................................................................................................................. 8 Tools to Use With Polymer Clay ..................................................................................... 9 Advanced Tools ........................................................................................................ 10 Household Items As Tools......................................................................................... 11 Working The Clay......................................................................................................... 12 Work Surface ............................................................................................................ 12 Conditioning ............................................................................................................. 12 Hard and Old Clay..................................................................................................... 12 Polymer Clay Safety Precautions................................................................................... 13 Mixing Colors ............................................................................................................... 14 Blending New Colors ................................................................................................ 14 Marble Effect ............................................................................................................ 14 Shading ..................................................................................................................... 15 For a Long Shaded Ribbon ........................................................................................ 15 For a Shaded Polymer Sheet...................................................................................... 16 Mixing Different Brand Polymer Clays ..................................................................... 16 How to Keep Polymer Clay From Sticking.................................................................... 17 Avoiding Fingerprints ................................................................................................... 17 Baking Polymer Clay .................................................................................................... 18 Temperature is Key!.................................................................................................. 18 Is It Done?................................................................................................................. 18 Special Curing Instructions ........................................................................................... 19 Beads ........................................................................................................................ 19 3-D And Fragile Pieces ............................................................................................. 20 Flat Pieces................................................................................................................. 20 Large Items ............................................................................................................... 20 Finishing Touches ......................................................................................................... 21 Sanding ..................................................................................................................... 21 Buffing...................................................................................................................... 21 Carving ..................................................................................................................... 21 Painting..................................................................................................................... 22 Glazing...................................................................................................................... 22 Additional Polymer Clay Tips ....................................................................................... 23 Attaching Clay Pieces Together................................................................................. 23 Attaching Pieces of Wet Clay.................................................................................... 23 Attaching Pieces of Cured Clay................................................................................. 23 Transferring Photos to Polymer Clay......................................................................... 23 Dolls ............................................................................................................................. 24

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Making a Doll Head .................................................................................................. 24 Making a Partial Doll ................................................................................................ 25 Making a Whole Doll ................................................................................................ 25 Making Teeth ............................................................................................................ 26 Making Eyes ............................................................................................................. 26 Hair........................................................................................................................... 27 Finishing Touches ..................................................................................................... 28 Beads ............................................................................................................................ 29 Making Beads with Bead Rollers............................................................................... 29 Making Beads by Hand ............................................................................................. 30 Making the Holes ...................................................................................................... 30 Finishing the Beads ................................................................................................... 30 How to Make a Graduated Bead Necklace................................................................. 31 Hollow Beads............................................................................................................ 32 Cane Bead Basics.......................................................................................................... 33 Cane Bead Making Notes .......................................................................................... 33 The Size Will Change................................................................................................ 33 Cutting Even Beads................................................................................................... 33 Avoiding Deformation While Cutting........................................................................ 33 Intentionally Deforming Cane Beads......................................................................... 34 Fixing Flaws in Cane Beads ...................................................................................... 34 Spiral Cane Beads ......................................................................................................... 35 Flower Cane Beads ....................................................................................................... 36 Leaf Cane Beads ........................................................................................................... 38 Making Heart or Animal Print Cane Beads.................................................................... 40 Cookie Cutter Gift Tags ................................................................................................ 42 Easy Polymer Ornaments .............................................................................................. 43 Easy Polymer Magnets.................................................................................................. 44 Making Pendants........................................................................................................... 45 Making Mushrooms ...................................................................................................... 46 Awareness Ribbons ....................................................................................................... 48 Flowers in Bloom.......................................................................................................... 49 Polymer Clay Pen Covers.............................................................................................. 51 Making Roses ............................................................................................................... 53 Making Ribbon Candy .................................................................................................. 56 Making Polymer Clay Cakes ......................................................................................... 58 Making Snakes.............................................................................................................. 61 Making Teddy Bears Carrying Flowers ......................................................................... 64 Embellishments in Polymer Clay................................................................................... 67 Chrysanthemum Bath Salt Jar........................................................................................ 68 Family Flower Frame.................................................................................................... 70 Make A Family Flower Tree ......................................................................................... 71 What to do With Scrap Clay.......................................................................................... 74 Blend New Colors ..................................................................................................... 74 Paintable Projects ...................................................................................................... 74 Objects that are to be Covered ................................................................................... 74

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Making Money off of Polymer Projects......................................................................... 75 Your Own Site .......................................................................................................... 75 EBay.com.................................................................................................................. 75 Etsy.com ................................................................................................................... 75 Flea Markets.............................................................................................................. 76 Craft Shows............................................................................................................... 76 Custom Beads ........................................................................................................... 77 Custom Work ............................................................................................................ 77

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Introduction

If you are a crafty person you may have found yourself time and time again walking past the polymer clay section in the craft store and wondering 'I wonder what I could do with that?' But, chances are you kept on walking because you just weren't sure you were ready to get into something new, or just didn’t know where to start in getting into this type of art form. The other possibility is that you have dabbled with polymer clay a little bit, but never learned the techniques necessary to take it to the next level. You may have liked the idea of making decorative beads or unique items but didn't know how, so instead, you decided to just put that clay away and give up on it. We have heard hundreds of questions about how to use polymer clay, what it is, how to bake it and how to make all types of crafts. This book is the result of those questions, as we try to help you take your clay time to the next level, or finally decide to give it a try. Clay Happy!

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What is Polymer Clay?

One of the first questions many people ask is 'What is Polymer Clay?' They wonder if it's like pottery clay, play-dough or some completely different animal. It is a completely different thing. Unlike natural clays that are made of earth, polymer clay is made of plastic that has a soft consistency, called Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride, also known as PVC. Dyes are added to the plastic base to make color. In order to make the clay that you are working become solid, you will have to cook it. The cooking process 'burns off' the liquid chemical part of the clay, leaving a hard piece behind. When you are at the store you may notice there are a number of options when it comes to choosing Polymer Clay – Sculpey, Premo, KatoClay and Fimo. For the most part they are all the same. Where they differ is in strength. Sculpey is considered the beginner's clay. It is more affordable than the other brands, but with that lower price comes some flaws. Once hardened, it is more brittle than other polymer clay options. The other three brands are commonly used by artists as they hold up much more effectively after curing.

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How Polymer Clay Can Be Used If you can sculpt it, it can be made out of polymer clay. Generally the most popular items to sculpt out of polymer clay are jewelry items (especially beads), artistic creations (sculptures) and even dolls. With this said, there are some things that should NOT be made out of polymer clay. Among those are cups, dishes, utensils or any other items that could come in contact with food or drink. The chemicals that are created in the cooking of polymer clay are not safe to ingest. While most of them should have cooked off in the baking phase, there may be residual fumes, which could be irritating or make you feel ill. This is not only the case for people, but also animals. You should avoid decorating any items that your pet will eat, drink from, or that they could chew on with polymer clay.

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More Than Just Clay Blocks All polymer clay does not come in those cute little bricks that are used to make beads and sculptures, there are some other types of polymer clay products that can allow you to do to a lot more with your creative ideas.

Liqui d Poly mer Clay Liquid polymer clay is a bottle of liquid that, when fired, becomes clay. This has a number of uses when you are creating. Here are a few of them: Combining Pieces – Liquid polymer clay is a perfect medium for putting pieces of polymer clay together. If you decide to add a piece to a creation, or just are working with delicate pieces that need to be fired before they are put together you can use polymer clay to combine the two. Cook it again and they will become a solid piece. Conditioning Clay – If you have some clay that seems to have dried out a bit or is too hard to work, you can add a few drops of liquid polymer clay to help make it more manageable. Massaging the liquid clay in will allow you to once again use the polymer clay that you thought was too hard to work with. Transferring Photos – Another use for liquid polymer clay is to transfer photos. By following the directions on the bottle, you can use the clear liquid medium to move photos from a picture to the clay to create beautiful and unique keepsakes and mementos. Protecting Pieces – A layer of clear liquid polymer clay will give any of your completed pieces an extra layer of protection. This is especially important on pieces that have delicate parts or will go through a lot of wear and tear like decorated pens and jewelry.

Eraser Clay A newer style of polymer clay that is becoming more and more popular is eraser clay. This is solid clay that looks just like your regular polymer clay, but instead has a unique quality. Once you have baked your creation not only is it fun to look at, but can also be functional, as it doubles as a pencil eraser.

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Tools to Use With Polymer Clay

When it comes to creating masterpieces, large and small, from polymer clay, there are a number of tools on the market, and in your home, that you can use. Here's a quick list of some of the tools you may want to have:

A Mat – You always want to use a mat to work with your clay. Many work area mats are for sale in craft stores or may come with a basic clay working tool kit. You can also use parchment paper or another surface that will allow you to be able to remove the clay without it getting stuck. If you like the idea of being able to switch back and forth between creations, you may want to consider using index cards on top of your mat. This way you can work on a creation on the index card and move it aside when you want to work on something else. Cutting Blade – A long cutting blade will help you to cut and separate the clay with smooth lines. This will be a tool you will use constantly so you may want to have a few extras around. Molds – For three-dimensional creations out of polymer clay, there are a number of molds on the market that will create anything from doll parts to racing cars or jewelry pendants. Some of these are solid and others are made of a flexible material that will make your pressed-clay creation easier to remove. Rolling Pin – When you are beginning to work with polymer clay, you will want to enlist the help of a rolling pin to make the clay flat and smooth. Look for rolling pins that are made specifically for polymer clay, such as Plexiglas, as they are less likely to have the clay stick to them.

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Pasta Machine – If you are going to be doing a lot of polymer clay work, precision work or just don't want to waste time with a rolling pin, you may want to invest in a pasta machine. A hand-crank machine is relatively affordable and will make beautiful sheets of polymer clay to use in your creations. It is also a great way to blend clays and create lovely effects. Texture Sheets – Most craft stores sell texture sheets. These are flat sheets, usually of plastic, that have textures and designs on them, When you press the designs into the clay, it will transfer the texture and create a textured finish to your piece. Bead Roller – While many people roll beads in polymer clay by hand, others want beads that are uniform in size. This is where a bead roller can come in. This device will allow you to put a small amount of clay inside, roll it back and forth and get matching beads each time. Hole Maker – If you are making jewelry, ornaments or anything else that needs a hole in it, you will want a bead hole maker to get the job done. Clay Shapers – These look like a paintbrush but with rubber tips and are used to shape and carve the clay as you sculpt. There are a variety of sizes and shapes of these and many sculptors like to have a selection of them to work with. Sandpaper – Once you have baked your polymer clay, you are going to want to have sandpaper to smooth the edges down and make it feel like a finished piece. Baby Wipes – From cleaning your tools to cleaning your working surface, you will always want to have a package of baby wipes nearby. The alcohol in the wipes makes clean up a breeze and will help you avoid the colors of your clay getting mixed together while you are working. You should also keep these on hand to clean your fingers. If you are working with bright colors, some of the tinting will come off on your fingers and you will need to wipe it off or you may get upset when that tint transfers to other colors of clay that you are working.

Adva nce d Tools If you get serious about working with polymer clay there are also advanced tools you can purchase such as Clay Guns to create more precise shapes and details. Many of these tools are costly and are mostly used by more serious artists.

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Househol d Ite ms As Tools Not all of your polymer clay tools have to be from the shelves of a store. There are plenty of things at your home that can be repurposed as tools for your polymer creations. Cookie cutters are a great way to get a starter shape for your polymer clay creation. Just realize that any cookie cutters you use for polymer clay should NOT be used for making real cookies or any other food again as some of the chemicals from the clay could be on the cutter and get into your food. Coffee stirrers are another great item to be used in polymer clay. If you are making beads or items that need a hole in them, consider those extra coffee stirrers as an option. They create round holes that are perfect for stringing on a necklace. The sides of them are also very good for fitting into tight spaces and smoothing pieces of clay. In most cases, the more you look around your house, the more items you will find that you can use to cut, sculpt, texture and otherwise use to enjoy your polymer clay creating time.

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Working The Clay There are a few things you need to think about when it comes to working with polymer clay – your work surface and conditioning the clay for use.

Work Surfac e When it comes to your work surface, most any surface will do. But remember, you want to make sure you create a space that you can remove your clay from easily. You also will be using cutting tools on the clay, so you want to make sure that you have chosen a work surface that you don't mind if there are cuts in. The best advice is to get a craft mat to work on that will allow you to use your tools without damaging the surface underneath. If you want to make things even easier you may want to additionally put waxed paper, index cards or other flexible and smooth items under your project to make it easier to remove it from the surface for working and curing.

Condi tioni ng Before you start making beautiful creations out of polymer clay, you have to get it into the right condition and consistency to start working with it. All clay needs to be conditioned. This means you need to take it out of its original packaging and work it around in your hands for a bit. If you have ever baked bread in the past, think of this as kneading dough. You need to make the clay pliable and easy to mold into whatever shape you are going to create.

Hard a nd Ol d Clay If you have hard or old clay that you need to soften up and kneading it isn't enough, you should try adding a few drops of Liquid Polymer clay medium. Work it in and it should help to soften the clay up for you to use. If you don’t have any liquid polymer clay medium, you can try a couple of drops of a hand lotion. Sometimes that will offer just enough liquid to make the clay workable for your next project.

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Polymer Clay Safety Precautions Before you move forward picking through polymer clay projects, there are a couple of last minute reminders we want to pass on to you. Polymer clay is made of plastic and the usage of it releases chemicals that should never be ingested. Any items that you use to mold, shape or cure your polymer clay items should never be used for cooking or serving food items. Additionally, you should never make serving or eating and drinking related items out of Polymer clay as the chemicals in the plastic clay can seep into the food and drink and then be ingested by those who are using the vessels. This also goes for your pets. Also remember to wash your hands well after handing polymer clay and before handling food as some of those chemicals will be on your hands after working with the clay.

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Mixing Colors If you have seen polymer clay pieces with colors you can't find in the store, great marble designs or colors that fade from one shade to another, you may have wondered how to do this. It's easier than you think.

Blending Ne w Colors If you want a color that isn't quite one of the colors you have on hand, you may want to blend a new color in your polymer clay. This is just as easy as it was to blend paints in elementary school to make a new color. Choose the colors that you want to blend and work the pieces together until they meld into one another. You can either do this by hand, or if you have a pasta machine, folding and running the pieces through together through the machine until your new color has been achieved.

Marble Effec t The marble effect of clay is easy to create. Take two or more colors of clay and push them together. You may want to work them together a bit and twist the colors around one another to make more attractive designs. If you have a pasta machine, run the pieces through the machine. Otherwise, roll them out with your rolling pin. You will notice the pressure melds the colors in a unique design. You can fold, twist and bend the piece together and run it through again and again until you get the color combination you want. An important thing to remember is not to over blend the colors. Too much and you will just create a new solid color, not a marble design.

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Sha di ng If you want to have the color of your design fade from one color to another over time, you can use what is known as the Skinner Method, which is named after Judith Skinner who invented it. This method is simple. Choose your two colors and roll them out in the pasta maker individually. Now cut them into triangles from one end to the other.

Put the two pieces together and use your finger to mold the line of the center so they stay combined.

From this point on, the instructions will differ depending on the results you want from your polymer clay.

For a Long Shade d Ri bbo n Fold the pair of triangles in half.

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Run through the pasta machine lengthwise. Fold lengthwise and roll through the machine again. You will repeat this process a number of times until the colors are blended from light to dark.

For a Shaded Poly mer Shee t Fold the pair of triangles in half. Run through the pasta machine widthwise Fold widthwise again and roll through the machine. You will repeat this process a number of times until the colors are blended from light to dark.

Mixing Di ffere nt Brand Polymer Clay s If you happen to have different colors of clay that you think would make a great blend but they are from different companies, it is ok to blend them together. Make sure they are thoroughly mixed so they will stay together and then you may have to do a little experimentation on cooking. Remember, as long as your oven stays at the right temperature, you can always cook things a little longer to make sure they are done.

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How to Keep Polymer Clay From Sticking If you have experimented with polymer clay in the past, you may have had a painful experience where you thought you had just completed a piece and then realized it was stuck to your working surface and removing it would mean making a mess of all the work you did. Another possible experience would have the clay sticking to your fingers and tools and becoming hard to work. One of the easiest ways to deal with this is to dust your hands, tools and work area with a little talcum powder to avoid sticking. If you have been working a flat piece of clay that you are now trying to pick up from your work area, you can also try to use your cutting tool as a spatula, to cut the piece up from the mat so you can move it. If you are still having problems, perhaps the clay has been overworked. If it gets too warm from your body heat, it will be more prone to sticking. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool and try again.

Avoiding Fingerprints While some people like seeing a few fingerprints in polymer clay creations to show they were in fact hand made, not everyone is of this same opinion. To avoid fingerprints in the clay as you work it, you may want to wear latex gloves. If you don't like the idea of wearing full gloves, there are also latex fingertips available that will just cover the area you are using to work the clay.

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Baking Polymer Clay Once you have created something in clay, you must cure it before it will be ready to wear, display or give away. Curing in this case means baking it to burn off those liquid chemicals in the polymer plastic. Most people choose their home oven to do the curing. Those who are serious polymer clay users may get a specific toaster oven or clay-baking oven to do the job. Others prefer to cure their clay by hand by using a heat gun to do the trick. The main key to curing the clay is to carefully read the instructions that came with the product and follow them. Each brand of polymer clay has different cooking times and temperatures. Place your polymer clay pieces on an oven-safe surface and cook them for the allotted time. If you are using an oven that you also cook in, it is important to remember that the curing process of the clay is going to let off plastic chemicals and fumes. These can be hazardous if consumed. That means you should try to keep them from floating all over your oven. When you are baking clay pieces you should consider putting them inside a roasting bag or purchasing a roasting pan with a lid that is just for your polymer creations. Another thing to keep in mind is that you will want to be able to air out the house when you are curing your polymer clay. The cooking off of the plastic chemical will send an odor through the house and can be bothersome to your lungs as well as any pets you may have.

Tempera ture i s Key ! When you are curing polymer clay, many people think if they turn the temperature up a little higher things will cook more quickly. While in some respects this is true, you also may ruin your piece or burn it. It is vital to keep the oven at the temperature that is recommended for cooking.

Is It Do ne? This is the question all polymer clay artists will always ask, is it done? Here is a rule of thumb. You can always cook polymer clay a few minutes longer if you are not sure.

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Make sure you have set the oven at the right temperature (and that your oven is reliable for cooking at the proper temperature), do the math on what it should take to cook the piece (most need to be heated for 15 minutes per Âź inch of clay). Before you judge whether or not the piece is completely cured, let it cool. Then check. If it's not, you can always put it back in the oven, as long as you keep cooking it at the same temperature.

Special Curing Instruct ions Some items need special care when curing them, here's a look at what types of pieces may need a little special attention and how to care for them.

Beads If you have created a number of beads, you don't want them to sit on a flat surface in the oven or the heat may cause them to flatten on that side, giving you lopsided beads at the end of the curing cycle. Instead there are three options for curing beads:

Skewers or Bead Rac ks There are commercial bead racks you can purchase with a series of metal rods and a stand that allow you to thread your beads to keep them elevated while they cook. The other option is using a wooden skewer that you already own and balancing it on the edges of your roasting pan.

Polyfil If you have any Polyfil (quilt batting) around the house, you can take a small piece of that and set the beads on it to cushion them and keep them from marking.

Folded Paper The final option is to take a piece of paper and fold it into a fan-like shape. Set the beads in the folds, to support them off of the hot cooking surface.

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3-D And Fragile Piece s If you have created flowers, leaves, or other fragile or thin pieces that you would like to keep their shape and not flatten while cooking, you need to keep them propped in position through the cooking process. Some of the things you can use to prop them up are pieces of cork, foil or Polyfil.

Flat Piece s If you have created a flat pendant or other piece that you want to keep flat, you may want to take a few precautions to make sure the clay does not warp during curing. Place the piece on parchment paper, put another piece of parchment on top of it and then set a piece of ceramic tile on top to keep it flat during cooking. Because of the tile on top, you should add a little more on to the curing time.

Large Ite ms If you are cooking larger items that will not fit in the oven, you will have to instead find a way to cook them outside the oven. The most common solution is to use a heat gun and manually cure the piece. In this case you will need to read and follow the instructions on the heat gun.

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Finishing Touches Once you have completed curing a piece, it is ready for anything from painting to wearing and will be able to hold up to use, water and almost anything else you have in mind for it. Many people go through a series of finishing steps before they call a piece complete. Which of these you use will depend a lot on what you want your finished project to look like.

Sandi ng When sanding polymer clay you should use a wet-sanding technique. That means you will literally put the piece of clay and your sandpaper in the water and sand it in the water. Begin with more coarse sandpaper (400 grit), and as you begin to get rid of any irregularities you can move to more fine grits (600, 800 or even 1200) to get the smooth finish you want for your piece.

Buffi ng Many people choose to buff their polymer creations to make them shine. You can either do this by hand, with a soft cloth or buffing pad or using a buffing attachment on a rotary tool. You will know when your buffing is done by the fact that it will cause the clay to take on a slight shine.

Carving After you pull your clay creations out of the oven, you have the option of carving them. This is often done to add a drawing, tribal design or even letters or words to a piece. This is best done when the piece is still warm. You should start by drawing the design with a pencil, and once you like it, using a carving tool and carefully carve into the piece following your drawn lines.

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Painting If you want to paint details on your creations, or are using scrap clay and want to paint the entire piece, you should use acrylic paints for the job. These can be found in the paint section of a craft store. Other types of paint, like enamel, will not dry properly on polymer clay.

Glazing Adding a layer of glaze can protect your creation as well as make it look more finished. There are two kinds of glaze finish you can put on your polymer clay – matte and gloss. Which one you choose will depend on whether you want your finished creation to shine or just have a layer of protection. Glaze will be applied with a paintbrush. Make sure you give it ample time to dry before touching it or you could ruin all of your hard work with a fresh fingerprint.

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Additional P olymer Clay Tips

Attac hi ng Clay Piece s Toge ther There will come times in your polymer clay artistry when you want to connect two pieces of clay together to make a larger completed item. There are a few ways to do this.

Attac hi ng Piec es o f W et Clay If you have pieces of wet clay that you are putting together you can carefully meld the two together. This takes patience or you will end up making a mess of at least one of the pieces. You can also brush on a little liquid clay medium where you are attaching the pieces to help fuse them together.

Attac hi ng Piec es o f Cured Cla y Whether you are trying to put together two pieces of cured clay or you are trying to attach a piece of wet clay to a piece of cured clay you are going to need to use liquid clay medium. Brush some of the medium on and push the two pieces together. Put the creation back in the oven for the proper time on the instructions and when it's done you will have fused the two pieces together. As note when you are preparing to cure pieces that you have fused together, make sure you have properly supported them for the curing process to keep the pieces in place until the cooking is done. Otherwise they can slip or slide and end up falling out of place or falling apart.

Transferr ing Pho tos to Poly mer Clay There's no doubt you have seen beautiful polymer clay mementos that have photographs on them. You may have wondered just how they get those photo images on the clay pieces. It's not as hard as you may think. You will need to use clear liquid polymer clay medium and a photo (printed on photo quality ink jet paper). The process may differ by which brand of clear liquid polymer clay you use, but if you take your time and follow the steps you can have beautiful and personal photo mementos in polymer clay.

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Dolls One thing many people want to dabble in when working with polymer clay is making a doll or two. Some want to create a traditional baby doll. Others want to create unique characters with human features. Still others want to create fairies, elves or other mythical creatures. No matter which kind of doll you want to end up with the basics are the same. The first thing you will need to do is decide how much of your doll is going to be made of polymer clay. Most people select either to make the doll head out of polymer, a partial doll (the head, hands and feet) or the whole doll. If you are considering making the full doll of polymer, understand that after it has been cured, polymer will no longer be flexible so it will essentially be a solid figurine. Here are the basics for each of these plans.

Maki ng a Doll H ead Sculpting If you are adept with sculpting, you may want to hand sculpt the doll head. Instead of using a solid ball of clay to sculpt, which can take a long time to cook and is a major waste of clay, you can use a cork as the centerpiece of the head and layer clay over it until it is of an appropriate thickness to sculpt.

Molds If you are not as skilled of a sculptor, you are going to need a little help making a doll head. In this case, you are going to need to purchase a mold that depicts the doll head you want. Many of today's molds are flexible molds, which make them easy to use.

1. Push the clay into the mold. Make sure that you push it enough to completely fill the mold and not leave any open spaces or the face will come out incomplete.

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2. Fold the mold so it will release the piece of clay. 3. If you are going to attach this head to anything, you may want insert a wire or rod into the base of the head to have something coming out that you can attach to your creation. 4. Smooth the edges until the face looks like you want it. If you are going to add features (long ears, a longer nose, etc, this would be the time to do it). 5. Cure the piece.

Maki ng a Par tial Doll If you are making a partial doll, you are going to want to make the head, hands and feet and then attach them to the rest of your creation. Follow the directions above for creation of the head. When it comes to the hands and feet you can either sculpt them out of a piece of clay or use a mold to create those as well. Again remember, if you want attach these to something, you need to make sure you insert a wire to the base of the hands and feet before curing so you will have a connection point.

Maki ng a W hole Doll If you want to create a complete doll out of polymer clay, you should begin with a wire and foil creation that will form the shape of the doll you want to ultimately create. Make sure you have chosen the size and stance you will want for your completed doll. Now start adding pieces to your creation. If you are using a mold to create some parts of the doll, push those pieces onto the wire where they belong then use strips of clay to fill in the rest of the body covering. Take your time and use your fingers and tools to create the contours of the body. 25


Maki ng Tee th One of the problems that plague people making polymer clay dolls is making teeth for the faces. The careful detailed markings of teeth require a lot of attention and detailed work. While some people can sculpt this way without a problem. Others have a tougher time of it and find that when they try to carve these while inside the head of a still-wet clay doll, they may well make a mess of the rest of the face and have to start over. So, how do they do it? One way to be able to create the carved teeth that you want in your doll's mouth is to carve them separately. Essentially what you are going to want to do is create a set of dentures and then build your doll face around them. Start by taking a small flat piece of clay that is the right size for your teeth and curving it. The best way to do this is to use a pencil, thick nail or other round shaped item and wrap a small amount of clay around it.

Place the teeth material on the curved surface and carve the teeth. Make sure to make these the appropriate size and curvature for your face. Once you have cured the teeth you can put them in the wet clay of your doll head and then carve the area around them into the kind of mouth you have in mind.

Maki ng Eyes In many cases, the eyes have it. This is especially true if you want your clay doll creation to seem to come to life. So, how to you make convincing eyes? You need to start with an eyeball. Roll a small piece of clay into a ball, the right size of the eyeball you want for your creation.

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Now you need to cut this in half to make a pair of flat-backed eyeballs. Cutting perfect circles is not easy as the ball of clay tends to like to change its form as you cut. One trick that helps is to make sure your clay is cold before you cut, as it is more prone to hold it's shape that way. Putting it in a plastic bag and into the freezer for 10-15 minutes will make this easier to do. Bake both pieces so they will be solid and you will have no problem creating the rest of the eye around them. Once your eyeballs are ready, you can create an eye around them. Put the balls in place (either on the doll or your worktable before they are transferred to the doll). You should start with a piece of clay that you make a hole in that is just the size of the eyeball. Push the eyeball into the clay as deep as you would like it. If you are going for a large eye effect you may want to push them in less.

Next, using a thin piece of clay, create the eyelids.

From here, it's a matter of preference to create the type of look you want from the eye you are creating. From a fluttering eyelid to eyelashes or even a pupil in the eye, you can choose whatever additions you think will create the most attractive look for your doll.

Hair Hair is always a tough point for those who want to make dolls out of clay. While there are a number of ways that are recommended to do this, one of the easiest is as follows. Start by coloring the area where the hair is to be (either using a different color clay or painting it after it has been cured. If you are painting remember to use acrylic paints)

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Next, using a good glue start adding small clumps of hair to the figure. Start at the bottom, back of the head and slowly add the hair up over the scalp a small bit at a time. Take your time with this. You should let the hair dry between clumps to avoid an extremely gooey mess.

Fini shi ng To uches If you are making a full doll, before you cure it, make sure it can stand up. Often, the clay is uneven in weight and may cause the doll to topple. By testing the doll before it goes to be cured you will be able to correct any weight problems. Once you have finished the main body parts of the doll, you can have fun decorating with clothing and accessories until it becomes the original creation that you had envisioned.

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Beads When it comes to jewelry and polymer clay, beads are a very popular number. There are generally two ways to make polymer beads out of clay – by hand or with bead rollers.

Maki ng Bea ds wi th Bead Roll ers If you want to have uniform beads every time, you are going to want to use bead rollers to create them. Bead rollers are commercial plastic tools that will allow you to make bead after bead that look exactly the same. Here's how they work:

Start by placing a small ball of clay in the bead roller (after you experiment a few times, you will get the right amount).

Roll the roller back and forth 3-5 times. Remove the top and pop out the perfectly shaped bead.

There are a few different types of bead rollers out there including ones that create round beads, ovals, diamond shaped beads and others.

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Maki ng Bea ds by Ha nd Not everyone wants to create the same looking beads that can be made out of the bead rollers. For these people, there are an endless number of options for how to create polymer clay beads. Pretty much if you can think of it, you can do it. You could roll the beads by hand, create small geometric designs with your cutting tool or come up with your bead shapes any way you would like, then follow the instructions that follow to complete the beads.

Maki ng the Hole s The thing that differentiates a ball of clay from a bead is making holes in the clay. There are a number of options to this end. The first is to use a bead holer that will make a hole through or use any other tool that will create a hole that is the right size for your needs. Remember, the hole will get smaller as the whole bead will shrink in size when it cures. The key to making good bead holes is to take your time and be patient. If you try to quickly push a tool through the clay, you are going to deform your bead. One trick is to put the beads in a plastic bag and in your freezer for 10-15 minutes to harden them up, then push the holer through. After you have made a hole, take a look at any effect that has had on the bead's shape and use your fingers to even them out again if necessary.

Fini shi ng the Bea ds Once you have cured the beads there is one final step you may want to take before wearing them. Use a matte or glossy finish to seal the pieces and give them a glazed and completed look. This can be applied with a paintbrush.

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How to Make a Gra dua te d Be ad Neckla ce One of the trends in jewelry is to make graduated beads that start small at the back of the necklace and slowly get larger and larger until you get to the center. These are not too hard to make. You can begin by rolling the clay you are using into one large log. Lay that log alongside a ruler. You can now use the ruler to cut the clay into the pieces that you will roll into the beads. Start with the smallest pieces of clay that you want for your smaller beads. Remember, you are making a necklace, so you will want to cut two in each size. For the next pair of beads, add a little more clay to them. Continue this trend until you have a series of pairs of beads that gradually get larger and larger in size. Using your hands, roll the beads into smooth balls that will become your beads. Make holes in the balls, cure them and then they are ready to string.

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Hollow Bea ds If you like the idea of making large polymer clay beads, but don't want to have thick and heavy beads hanging around your neck and pulling you down, you may wonder how you can create the beads you want without all the weight. It's going to take a little extra work, but you can do it. First you need to decide on the design you are going to use for your hollow beads. And come up with a mold for that shape. If you want to make a large round bead you may be able to use any of a number of candy molds or other items that you can form half a circle around. You will need to make two of these pieces. Remember to put your bead holes in them. You may want to do this at the center of the middle on each side. Remember, you need these holes to match up down the road so that you can string the bead. Cure the pieces. Once they are cured, start the process of sanding the pieces down until they can be put together and make the round shape you are hoping for. At this time you can use glue or liquid polymer clay to attach the two pieces together. If you use liquid polymer clay you will have to fire them again.

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Cane Bead Basics One of the draws to polymer clay is being able to make cane beads. This is the name for all those beads with twists, swirls, flower designs and more in them. There are a number of steps to these beads. Try a couple of the sample beads that we offer and then come up with your own designs.

Cane Bead Ma king No tes There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are making cane beads.

The Size Will Cha nge The initial piece you are creating will be large. Often the stacked clay will be 2-4 inches wide. Don’t be worried. This will not be the size of your beads as you will be shrinking it down during the rolling phase.

Cutti ng Even Beads Another concern many have when making cane beads is making a number of beads that are the same size. There are two ways to make sure they are all equal. You can either put a ruler beside the log you are cutting and cut at even intervals or take one of the beads you have already cut and use it as a measuring tool.

Avoidi ng De for mation While Cutti ng There is a lot of work that goes into making cane beads, so you don’t want them to fail. This means you need to be patient from time to time. Once you have created the log that

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you are ready to cut, you should let it cool. You have been working that clay for a while and it may be a little warm and too flexible. Putting the roll in the freezer for 10-15 minutes in a plastic bag will harden it up a bit and make it much easier to cut.

Inte ntionally De for mi ng Cane Beads Believe it or not, there are times when you will want to deform your cuts of cane. Stretching the shape of the beads can help you create something new. For example, in the picture to the right, heart shape cane beads were stretched and pulled and now look like animal prints.

Fixing Fla ws i n Ca ne B eads Sometimes when you are cutting your cane beads you will get a smear. These are easy enough to repair with just a little patience and your cutting tool.

Lightly slide your cutting tool across the area that has smeared. You just need to shave a very thin layer off of the top, so make sure not to cut too deep.

If you have done it correctly, you should be now looking at a clean crisp cut of cane.

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Spiral Cane Beads Spiral Cane beads are simple to make and fun to look at. You will need: Polymer Clay in 2 or more colors

Roll out each color of polymer clay into long strips.

Stack the layers of polymer clay on top of one another.

Roll the pieces together into a spiral shape.

Now it's time to roll this down into a smaller log. Place one hand on top and roll the log back and forth applying pressure, while pulling on one edge with your other hand. Gradually you will see the log start to stretch. Allow the stretching to continue until you get the log down to the size that you want for your beads. Cool. Cut. Add holes and cure.

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Flower Cane Beads What you will need: Polymer Clay Outline Color Polymer Clay Petal Color Polymer Clay Center Color Polymer Clay Outer Color

Begin by deciding what kind of design you want to end up with. Traditionally flower cane beads have a center color, a petal color and the outside bead color. Additionally, you should have some black clay on hand (or another color that can be used as your outline color). Cut the petal color clay into 6 equal sizes and roll them into logs. Next, roll the color for the center of the flower into a log that is similar in size to the petals. Make rods of some of the outside bead color and you will want to chop these pieces to make them like triangles The best way to do this is to create a log and push it flat on your work surface then cut it in half to create two pieces. Next you will need to make flattened sheets of your outer color as well as the color that will be wrapped around the petals and center. This is easiest done with a pasta machine as it will make consistently smooth and flat pieces, but you can also get the same effect with a rolling pin. Wrap each of the petal logs with the flat outline clay to make completely wrapped tubes of clay. 36


Begin assembling your large log. Start with the center log and stack the petal pieces around it. Add a little pressure to hold them together and create a flower design. Next you need to take the split outer logs and stack them around the design. Also apply pressure to hold these in place.

Finally wrap the whole creation with flat piece of the outer color. This is now your large flower log.

Now it's time to roll this down into a smaller log. Place one hand on top and roll the log back and forth applying pressure, while pulling on one edge with your other hand. Gradually you will see the log start to stretch. Allow the stretching to continue until you get the log down to the size that you want for your beads. Cool. Cut. Add holes and cure.

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Leaf Cane Beads

If you are going to make flower beads, you likely want to make leaf beads as well so you can have the full matched set. Here are a few tips on how to do just that. You will need: Leaf Color Clay Leaf Outline Color Clay Begin by using your pasta maker or rolling pin to flatten your leaf outline color into one long strip.

Work the leaf color clay for a while and then roll into an oval shape. Push it flat on your counter

Now take a look at it from the side and see where you would have logical 'veins' in a leaf if this were half of a leaf. Make those cuts.

Fill each of the 'veins' with strips of the outline color of clay.

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Now cut the log in half, lengthwise, to create two matching leaf halves.

Add a layer of the outline color to the flat side of one of the halves and use pressure to push the pieces together.

Wrap the whole log in the outer color.

Use the rolling method to reduce the clay to a smaller size to prepare for cutting into beads. Make them look like leaves by using your fingers to form the tip on the leaf. Cool the cane. Cut the beads. Add holes and cure.

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Making Heart or Animal Print Cane Beads This is a fun cane design that can either be a heart or double as a unique animal print. You will need: Polymer Clay for the Heart Polymer Clay for the Inner Color Polymer Clay for an Inner Shell Polymer Clay for Accents Polymer Clay for the Outside Shell

Begin by using your heart colored polymer clay to create a heart shaped tube. Here's a hint. Make three logs and put them together in a triangle formation. Then use your fingers to make the bottom go to a point and fill in the sides.

Surround the heart with rods made of your inner color.

Wrap with your inner shell color and ad d pressure to remove any air bubbles. Then add accents, made of thin rods of that color.

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Wrap the entire piece in the outer shell color and roll it down to the desired size. Cool then cut.

From this point, you will treat each piece differently depending on which design you would like. If you want a heart shape, carefully flex the material to make an even heart. If you want animal prints, you can use your fingers to stretch the piece and elongate one side to create what looks more like an animal print shape.

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Cookie Cutter Gift Tags Have you always wanted to be one of those people who could add a special personal touch when wrapping up presents? This is the way to do it. You will need Polymer Clay in 1 or More Colors Old Cookie Cutters Go through those old cookie cutters in the kitchen and decide which ones suit the theme and that you are no longer going to use for making cookies.

Roll out a sheet of clay and use the cookie cutter to cut out the design.

Don't forget to make a hole for attaching a ribbon to the tag.

Cure and then paint or use markers to write a message on the tags.

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Easy Polymer Ornaments Whether you have old holiday themed cookie cutters or candy molds that you no longer use, you can now turn these molds into the base for a whole new set of holiday ornaments. You will need Polymer Clay in 1 or More Colors Old Cookie Cutters or Candy Molds

If you are using cookie cutters, roll out a sheet of clay and use the cookie cutter to cut out the design. If you are using candy molds, press the clay into the mold until it fills it completely.

Make a hole for attaching a ribbon, rope or hook. If you want to decorate with more clay, do this at this time.

Cure and then decorate with paint, markers, glitter or whatever else you like.

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Easy Polymer Magnets Who doesn't need a couple of magnets on the refrigerator to hold shopping lists, to do lists and good grades. Your own personal polymer clay magnets are easy to make! You will need: Polymer Clay in 1 or More Colors Old Cookie Cutters, Candy Molds, or Your Own Sculpting Abilities Heavy Duty Glue Magnet If you are using cookie cutters, roll out a sheet of clay and use the cookie cutter to cut out the design. If you are using candy molds, press the clay into the mold until it fills it completely. Make a hole for attaching a ribbon, rope or hook. If you are sculpting a design by hand have fun being creative, just remember that you don’t want your creation to be too large or heavy or the magnet may not be able to hold it up. Once you have cured the polymer clay design it's time to attach the magnet to the backside with glue. Give the glue time to completely dry then turn it over and decorate your magnet until you are pleased with the final look. Put it up for all to enjoy!

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Making Pendants If you have an idea for a great pendant, but don’t want a big hole in it, you may be wondering if there is a better way to create a clay pendant that you can hang. There is. You will need: Polymer Clay Jewelry Wire First, you need to take a piece of wire that is 1 ½ times the length of the pendant are you are going to make and fold it in half. Now twist the bottom half of the metal.

Push the metal piece into the ball of clay you are going to use to create your pendant.

Make the pendant shape.

Decorate. Cure and your pendant is ready to wear. 45


Making Mushrooms

This is a fun project that won't take too long but will end with the creation of a whimsical mushroom. You will need: Polymer clay in at least 2-3 colors

Begin with a ball of clay that will make the mushroom cap, a rod that will make the base and 5 small balls that will make the spots on the mushroom cap.

With your finger, begin to form the underside of the mushroom cap.

Continue pressing outwards widening the cap.

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Press the spots to the cap one at a time.

Form the base out of the rod of base material. Push down from the middle to create the flattened and rounded base.

Use your finger carefully to attach the top of the base to the underside of the mushroom cap.

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Awareness Ribbons We are in a time when there is a heightened sense of awareness. From awareness about cancer to AIDS and foreign wars, there is a trend towards ribbons to remain aware of those situations. Using polymer clay you can create your own ribbons of awareness so you can keep others in the know while you always remember that special cause. You will need: Polymer Clay Pin Backing (optional) Begin by rolling out a piece of clay that is long enough for the whole ribbon. It should be slightly tapered off at the end.

Next, fold the piece over itself to create the beginning of a ribbon shape.

Cut off the edges on each side of the ribbon at a sharp angle to create the final ribbon look. If you want to create a pin, cure the piece and then glue a pin back to the backside of it.

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Flowers in Bloom Who doesn't love bright and colorful flowers? Now you too can have a beautiful bouquet looking at you every day made out of polymer clay. What you need: Polymer Clay in the Petal Color Polymer Clay in the Center Color

Begin by making a set of ovals out of the petal colored clay. 10-12 is usually a good number. Also make two round discs of clay for the center of the flower.

Using your fingers, flatten and stretch the ovals to create the petals for the flower.

Attach the first petal to one of the centerpiece discs.

Continue going around until all of the petals have been attached.

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Place the second center color disc on top of the petals you just attached.

If you want to have a flower on a stem, push a skewer into the backside of the flower. Before curing.

Other options are to add cute features to these flowers with other pieces of left over clay.

Once your flowers are made you can use them in a number of different ways from putting them on stems and creating a display to attaching a magnet to the back and decorating your refrigerator.

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Polymer Clay Pen Covers

If you are the type of person who always loves to have a unique pen to write with, you may always be looking to buy new pens. But why not make your own? Here's How What you need: A Pen to Cover (a simple pen with replaceable tip like a Bic is advised) A Variety of Polymer Clay to Cover the Pen This is a time consuming project, but a very fun one. The simple description of the project is that you are going to cover your pen with a complete layer of polymer clay and then decorate. Begin by deciding the design you want to create on the pen. One of the most colorful ways to do this is to make a number of clay canes and decorate the pen with slices of the canes. Remove the ink cartridge from the pen. Roll out a layer of your coating polymer clay that will wrap around the pen. Wrap the pen in a layer of the clay and smooth the surface.

Next take your cane pieces and assemble them around the pen.

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Continue wrapping the shaft of the pen with your cane pieces. Make sure to keep the end where the ink cartridge must go open. As you work, clay may spread over the opening. Use your cutting tool to remove it. If you have gaps, you can cut small pieces off of a slice and fill in those spaces.

Once the pen is wrapped, add any other embellishments you desire (such as a large piece of your cane on the top), then cure.

If you really want to go all out, you may want to create a base for your pen as well. In order to do this, you need to take a ball of clay and use your finger, or a tool that is a little larger than the pen and press a hole in it. Since you have already cured your pen, you will want to set it in the base and make sure that the base is strong enough to hold it up. If not add more clay to the base so it can handle the job. Now decorate this piece just as you did the pen. Before you cure it, you will want to make sure the completed pen will fit in the space. Push the pen in one more time (wiggling it around to make a little extra room for shrinkage) and cure to create a matching set.

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Making Roses While roses that you buy at the florist will wilt and die after a few weeks, if you learn to make your own, they will be with you for good, not to mention you can be proud of your handiwork. Here's how to make your own roses. You will need Polymer Clay in the Color of the Rose Polymer Clay for the Stem and Leaves Coffee Stirrer Begin by rolling out the clay that is to make the rose and break it into 14 pieces the size of your thumbprint.

Use your thumb to press down the first piece to make it petal like.

Wrap the first petal around the coffee stirrer to create the center circle for the rose. Note it does not have to be completely closed, just a tight circle. 53


Press the next peal piece with your thumb as you did the first and curve it around the center, giving a little space between the petals, Press the pieces together at the base of the flower.

Continue adding petals one at a time until you get to the desired size of rose.

If you are going to use the rose as dĂŠcor you can cut it off of the stirrer and cure it. If you want to make the stem for the rose, continue on.

Roll out a flat piece of the stem color and wrap around the stirrer base.

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Next, fashion a set of 3 or 4 rounded triangles. These will be your leaves.

Use your fingers to meld these from the stem of the flower up and around the edge of the rose.

Cure and enjoy.

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Making Ribbon Candy One thing many people like to make with polymer clay is food-like items. Well, here's an easy one that you can use to both fill a fake candy bowl and use as a Christmas ornament or gift-wrap decoration. You Will Need: White Polymer Clay Red Polymer Clay Green Polymer Clay Begin by rolling each of the colors of clay into medium thickness sheets.

Next, Cut the pieces down into rectangles of the same size. You will need 8 of white, 2 of green and 2 of red.

Layer the pieces as follows white, green, white, white, red, white, white, red, white, white, green, and white. Use pressure to make sure the pieces are well pressed together and will stay that way.

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Now turn the block on its side and cut a slice off of the block (Approx ½ inch thick)

Flatten one end so it will fit in the pasta machine and run through the machine, upping the tightness in the settings until you have a ribbon of the length you want.

Now it's time make it look like ribbon. This is just taking the time to fold the pieces back and forth in a ribbon shape.

If you want to make these into an ornament or gift tag, you should find a tool such as a skewer to stick through the center of the ribbon to make the hole that you will later be able to thread a string through. Cure and enjoy.

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Making Polymer Clay Cakes Whether it's because you have a party to celebrate or you want to create a cake for your teddy bears or miniature dollhouse, a little polymer clay will help you make plenty of mini cakes so you can celebrate as much as you want. You will need: Cake Color Polymer Clay Icing Color Polymer Clay Sprinkle Color Polymer Clay Red Polymer Clay White Polymer Clay Yellow Polymer Clay

Begin by creating a cake shape out of the cake polymer clay.

Use your fingers to spread out the icing clay into a flat sheet .

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Lay the icing on the top of the cake and carefully press it down around the sides.

Use your finger to smooth the top to make it look like icing that has been poured over a cake.

Break off small pieces of the sprinkle colored clay and attach them to the top of the cake in a sprinkle design.

Make two small logs out of the white and red clay and twist them together. Twist and pull the pieces until they form a thin candle-like shape.

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Use a small piece of yellow clay to form the flame on the top of the candle.

Poke a hole in the center of the cake.

Add the candle and celebrate!

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Making Snakes One of the fun things to make out of polymer clay is a cute animal. While most people don’t think that snakes are cute, they can be if you give them a chance. Here's that chance. You will need: Polymer Clay for the Snake's Body Polymer Clay for the Snake's Eyes Black Polymer Clay Red Polymer Clay Begin by creating the shape of the snake. To do this, role a tube of clay, pulling one end as you roll until the tube graduates to a point.

Create an oval of clay for the head of the snake. Flatten the underside of the head and use your fingers to make a rounded triangle for the nose.

Attach the head to the large end of the snake's body.

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Holding the head and upper body, spiral the snakes body into a coil.

Push the thick part of the upper body down slightly until it can hold the head up on its own.

Coil the tail.

Add two round balls of body-colored clay to the top of the head to form the eyes.

Roll two small balls of the eye colored of clay and use your fingers to flatten the circles. Attach them to the eyes.

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Roll two small balls of the black of clay and use your fingers to flatten the circles. Attach the Pupils to the center of the eyes.

Use one of your tools to poke a hole for the tongue.

Roll a small rod of red clay and use a tool to slice is down the center to create a forked tongue, make sure to separate the forks so they will stay apart.

Insert the tongue into the mouth hole.

Use your tool to poke nostrils into the snake and cure.

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Making Teddy Bears Carrying Flowers Who doesn't love teddy bears? Now you can create a teddy bear for yourself, or to give to the one you love! You will need: Clay for the Body of the Bear Clay for the Paws and Pads Red Clay Black Clay White Clay Green Clay Clay for the Bow Clay for the Flowers

Begin by forming a large elongated ball for a body. Place a ball of clay on top as a head and push two smaller balls on top of the head as the ears.

Next, create two elongated balls as the legs of the teddy bear.

Add on two balls as the arms.

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Now accent legs, arms and ears with the clay for the pads. The easiest way to do this is to roll balls of the pad color of clay and press it flat between your fingers, and then press it into place.

Roll two small balls of white clay, press them flat between your fingers and press them to the head as the whites of the eyes. Roll two small balls of black clay, press them flat between your fingers and press them on to the eyes as the pupils. Roll a small red ball as the nose and attach to the face.

Roll out the color of the bow into a tube and then pull apart leaving tapering ends.

Flatten each piece between your fingers and then overlap them in the bow formation.

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Add them to the bear and accent with a white centerpiece.

Now you have to make the flowers for the bears to hold. Pinch a small piece off flower material into an oval shape and press it flat with your fingers. Now curl it to form a tube. This will be the center of the rose.

Next, add other petals around the center building out as large as you would like the flower to be.

Once you have it to the right size, squeeze the bottom of the flower to flesh out the top and seal it together.

Once you have made all the flowers you want to have in the bouquet, roll a sheet of green clay and wrap around the base of the flowers. Attach them to your bear and he's ready to go.

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Embellishments in Polymer Clay Not all things made in polymer clay have to be solid pieces of clay. You can also use polymer clay as a way to embellish other things you have around the house. When selecting an item to embellish, you want to keep one thing in mind. It needs to be something that can hold up to being baked in the oven, as this is what you must do to cure polymer clay. This means, if you want to wrap items that are made out of plastic, you have to take some precautions. First understand that it is best that you not use plastic for this task. It always has a risk of melting, even if you take precautions. It's better if you can choose a glass, wooden or even cardboard container to embellish. If you do want to wrap a plastic bottle or container, fill it with water when you put it in the oven to cure it. This will help to keep pressure on the inside of the container so it is less likely to melt and come apart while in the oven. One of the great things about embellishment is that you can just concentrate on the pretty aspects of the job. Since you already have a frame that you are building off (be it a jar, bottle or picture frame), the basis of the project is complete and all you have to do is have fun decorating.

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Chrysanthemum Bath Salt Jar If you love to have spa moments in your bathroom, you likely have bath salts or bath beads. When you purchase these, they generally come in generic containers. But with a little creativity you can turn those bath salt jars into something beautiful. You will need: A Jar Green Polymer Clay Yellow Polymer Clay Polymer Clay Flower Colors Begin by preparing the pieces you will need for your flowers. This includes long rods of green clay to create the vines, Small yellow balls for the center of the flowers and tapered rods of the flower colors to create the petals.

Next, set the main vine for your display on the jar and press down firmly.

Add auxiliary vines to create the framework for your flower vine.

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Choose the center for one of the flowers, press one of the flower centers in place and then begin setting petals around it.

Continue around the center until the flower is complete.

Repeat for other flowers.

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Family Flower Frame When it comes to embellishment, there isn’t much you can't do with polymer clay. In this case, we take what may have been a boring picture and make it a lot more fun by creating a flower around the family member we love. The process is simple. Create a series of ovals in the color of the flower petal. You can do this by making an oval and flattening it between your fingers or using a cookie cutter. Line up the pieces around the face of the family member you want to make the center of the flower. Roll a rod of green polymer clay to create the stem. You can even add leaves for effect.

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Make A Family Flower Tree If you appreciate your family history, you can use this technique to show off the past. You will be able to show all the branches of the family in a fun and creative way. This is a great present for Mother's Day or Father's Day. You can also create a polymer tree that has flowering branches if you want to have a more traditional family tree look. You will need: Photos for the Tree Polymer Clay for the Flowers Green Polymer Clay Brown Polymer Clay Start by laying out of the pictures as you would like to have them on the finished project.

Now using the method to make a Family Flower Photo on Page 63 surround the first person with a flower.

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Roll your Green polymer clay into a thin rod and make vines to lead to the next picture and create a flower frame around the photo.

Repeat until all photos have flowers around them.

Add a stem for the base of the flower.

Use your hands to make two small rounded triangle pieces of clay that become the leaves. As a finishing touch you can use brown polymer clay to create a pot to hold the family flower.

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Embellished Fido Picture Frame If one of your cherished family members is the type with four feet, you may like to be able to show them off in some of your picture frames. Why not have a little fun with the frame as well. What you need: Picture Frame Polymer Clay for Dog and Bone Black Polymer Clay

Begin by cutting out the basic shape of the bones. You can make as many or as few of each piece as you would like. Set these aside.

Cut out the shape for the dog head. Again, cut as many or few as you would like to put on the frame.

Embellish the dog head with black polymer clay. You can either attach the pieces to the glass of the picture frame and cure them in place or you can cure them separately and then glue them into place on the frame.

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What to do With Scrap Clay One of the most common questions asked about polymer clay is what to do with all those little scrap bits and pieces that you end up with after your projects are done. Sometimes there is not enough to be worth putting away, but you also don’t want to throw it away. There are a few options for what to do with those scraps.

Blend New Color s If you have a lot of little pieces of polymer clay that are in the same color spectrum you may be able to blend them together to create a new color that is now comprised of enough clay to make it worth storing.

Paintable Pro jec ts Another option is to use those scraps to make items that you will be painting. If you are using a mold to make a magnet or ornament that you will later be painting, it doesn’t matter what color the clay underneath is.

Objec ts tha t are to be Covere d There are plenty of polymer clay projects you can make that rely on an under layer of clay you will never see. If you are making something that needs a base that you will later cover with cane slices or other polymer designs, you can ball up the scrap material you collect over time and then use it as that hidden base.

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Making Money off of Polymer Projects If you are like many people, you love the idea of being able to make money off of your pastime. So, you may be wondering just how you can make money off of polymer clay. There are actually many venues – here's a look at a few of the best.

Your O wn Si te If you do a lot of polymer clay projects and you would like to really make a business out of it, you may want to start your own business. This means you would create your own website and list your items on it for sale. Once upon a time this would mean you would need a great programmer and someone who was exceptionally computer savvy to help you create the website and shopping features, but not anymore. These days you can easily create a website with a website creation program that will let you drag your pictures in and drop them into place. When it comes to selling, you don’t have to have your own merchant account, but you can enlist the help of Paypal or Google Checkout which both help you create the shopping items you need to be able to let customers purchase your items and pay you.

EBay.com If you are not sure if you will have inventory to keep a full website going, you may want to instead go with a venue where you can sell just what you have. EBay is such a venue. EBay is a place where people shop for anything and everything these days. As long as you are careful in your writing of your description for the item you are selling and make sure to include enough detail to be found in searches, you can make a fair amount of money through this avenue. Another benefit of eBay is that it does not require your own website or any knowledge of how to run one.

Etsy.co m

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There is another site on the market that is somewhat like eBay, but is only for hand made goods. Etsy is a great outlet for your polymer clay creations. From jewelry to characters and any other items you can make, you can showcase them on this website and sell your wares to those who appreciate the work that goes into hand crafted items. A bonus on Etsy is that it has an area where you can really embellish your profile and let people know more about you, your crafts and what drives you to be who you are and make the items you are selling. This is a great way to make fans out of your buyers. The more they know about you, the more they will become attached not only to your work, but also to you as an artist and will come back time and time again to make more purchases.

Flea Mar ke ts Do you have a flea market in your area? This may be an unexplored avenue for you to sell the items you have created with polymer clay. Most flea markets charge reasonable rates of $20-$50 dollars for a weekend of sales and you can sell there as scarcely or as often as you would like. This is a great place to showcase your artistry and try to make a profit at the same time. While flea markets are not necessarily just a crafter's venue, they do bring a good mix of people into their buildings and can let you get an idea of how your items are perceived by the public. If you are social, you may even want to talk to prospective shoppers and see what they think about your items and if there is something they would like to see that you don't have.

Cra ft Shows Every community has craft shows. It's time to get to know when there are craft shows in your area. If you have ever been to a craft show, you know there are artists that create some of everything and there are also plenty of buyers who want to take home unique items that have been made with love. This could be a perfect outlet for your polymer creations. It is important to keep in mind that most craft shows have a fee to enter. This can vary from $20 to $200 or more depending on the craft show and the popularity of the event. Generally this includes a 10' x 10' space for you to sell in. In most cases, you will be responsible for bringing your own tables, chairs and all display items. If it is an outdoor craft show you will also want to have a canopy or pop-up tent to help you stay out of the sun while you sell. 76


Custo m Bea ds If you are really good at making beads, especially cane beads, there are a lot of people who will want to buy them from you. Many people love to make jewelry and want very unique beads but don't want to do the work to make them. Get your name out there on your own website, beading forums and at beading shows and get-togethers and let people see some of your work and know that you are willing to make special items for them as well.

Custo m Wor k Its not only beads that are in high demand as custom work. There are also a number of people who like getting other artistic pieces made especially for them or someone special. Whether you make animals, flowers or any other items out of polymer clay, there is likely someone who collects those types of items. Get online and out in the crafting community and look for people who love the kinds of items you make and introduce yourself!

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