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The basics for beautiful polymer clay jewelry

May 05 2023 – Erica Elliott-Caswell

  1. Prep your workspace: Make sure your work surface is clean and clear of debris. Cover your workspace with wax paper or parchment paper to keep it clean and make cleanup easier. You can also purchase a small marble pastry board to use for a workspace that they clay can be easily removed from.

  2. Choose the right tools and proper clay: Polymer clay can be molded, shaped, and textured using a variety of tools including knives, cutters, and rolling pins. Make sure to use tools specifically designed for polymer clay. Don't forget to buy a hole punching kit for the clay so you can create the appropriate accessibility for jump rings and connectors for your jewelry pieces. Most cutters and hole punching sets can be purchased on Amazon or Etsy. Make sure the clay you've selected is meant for durability and jewelry and not just for modeling and decorative sculptures. My favorites are Sculpey Soufflé, Sculpey Premo, Kato, and Fimo. The Sculpey brand makes various types of clay and not all are suitable for jewelry making, so make sure you're buying either Premo or Soufflé.

  3. Condition the clay: Before you start working with polymer clay, it's important to condition it by kneading it until it's soft and pliable. This will make it easier to work with and will help ensure an even bake. The best way to condition the clay is with a tabletop pasta machine. When using Kato brand clay, a few drops of a liquid clay softener is suggested to make it easier to work with.

  4. Bake at the right temperature: Check the instructions on your polymer clay packaging to determine the right temperature and baking time. Each brand of clay has a slightly different baking time. Generally, polymer clay should be baked at around 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness.

  5. Use an oven thermometer: Make sure your oven is calibrated properly by using an oven thermometer. This will ensure that your polymer clay is baked at the correct temperature and won't burn or crack.

  6. Avoid burning: Be careful not to overbake your polymer clay, as this can cause it to burn or turn brown. If you notice this happening, immediately remove the clay from the oven and allow it to cool down.

  7. Let it cool before handling: After baking, allow the clay to cool down completely before handling or applying any finishes. This will prevent it from becoming misshapen or damaged.

  8. Imperfections in the clay: Acetone can be used on a q-tip to rub over small imperfections to remove them after the clay has been baked and fully cooled.

Have fun and let your creativity run wild! The possibilities with polymer clay are endless!