Back at the bench at last – and an unpleasant clay surprise.

posted in: Jewellery 0

I finally managed to get back out there and work on new polymer clay designs – after many months of dealing with chronic pain in my shoulder and neck. The incredibly cold weather didn’t help either.

To ease myself in I made a few signature canes in Premo and Fimo – which is quite a time consuming activity as you have to extrude individual pieces that make up the letters for the cane. You can see how it’s done in one of my earlier blog posts here.

My signature canes made with Premo - copyright Helen White
My signature canes made with Premo – copyright Helen White

Having these in different colour combinations is quite useful for different projects. However I don’t only use signature cane slices, I sometimes just sign using my Kemper tool and recently I bought a silver pen from one of my trusted suppliers Craft Cellar, which I haven’t used yet – you can write on baked clay (or raw, am not super sure) with it. So I have three different methods of signing my work, depending on the object.

Once I had these canes out of the way it was time to make something wearable. So I decided to continue to play around with textures, inks, acrylic paints, gilder’s paste, clay and charms I wanted to embed.

Cat Lovers' Pendant - purple - copyright Helen White
Cat Lovers’ Pendant – purple – copyright Helen White

Unfortunately I discovered that some of my opened Fimo clay was very dry and difficult to condition. I don’t know why, as I do my best to keep my clay airtight in a bag and a plastic container. So I had a look on the web to find out ways to soften the clay. One suggestion was to use baby oil. Haven’t tried that and won’t. Another one I saw a lot and tried is simply to use boiling water – pop the clay in a water tight bag and then in the water for a couple of minutes, check and see how soft is. This is a technique that works – but make sure the bag is really water tight. On one occasion I had an unpleasant surprise and water leaking into the bag –  water and Fimo don’t mix well – it makes it slimy and difficult to work with.

Polymer clay swallow pendant - purple - copyright Helen White
Polymer clay swallow pendant – purple – copyright Helen White

Another thing to try is a food processor – but it didn’t work for me – I think it’s because the clay was simply too dry and I ended with lots of fine crumbs that didn’t stick together. Staedtler who produce Fimo sell their own clay softening mix which you can use to soften the dry Fimo, but you have to use it sparingly as it can change the colour slightly (it’s white stuff). While Sculpey’s “Mold Maker” is also very useful for softening clay – just sprinkle a little bit into the clay. Sculpey also sells “Clay Softener” which comes in liquid form. Again you have to use it sparingly. Another technique is simply sitting on your bagged up clay, as the warmth of your body should also to the trick.

Rabbit pendant - copyright Helen White
Rabbit pendant – copyright Helen White

I managed to rescue some of my clay, but not all of it and some went unfortunately in the bin. Which taught me two things: make sure everything is really stored as air tight as possible and out of the sun and simply use up most of the clay in one session.

After rescuing the clay, it was finally time to get creative.

I hope you like some of my new makes which are now also uploaded on the website.

This time I didn’t seal the items with extra liquid clay as I found it in the past to fiddly and the results are too unpredictable.

Polymer clay Steampunk clock pendant - copyright Helen White
Polymer clay Steampunk clock pendant – copyright Helen White

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