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General Info:

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General info

This might very well be your first experience using POLYMER CLAYS. If so, the information in this letter will be helpful to you. Over the years, I have updated this letter almost every time I update my catalog. Every year different issues come up. Each persons experience is very different. I find that more or less information is required each year. The more people I talk to, the more I learn what information I will put into the next updated catalog..

In today's market place their is a tremendous amount of information about POLYMER CLAYS. There is so much information out there, that many people are overwhelmed, confused, or misdirected. I can only tell you how I think, my opinion, on this subject. You can, then, process the information and do, for yourself, what is best.

In the last 3-5 years, there are is an increasing amount of people using all the different brands of POLYMER CLAYS. Because of this, there has been a lot of concern about the issue of safety. In the 1990's safety in crafting is everybody's concern. All POLYMER CLAYS sold in this country should, and do, have the AP seal on the label. This means the product has been tested by the ART & CRAFT MATERIALS INSTITUTE. It means that any product that carries this label is an approved product for use by the consumers. Many different types of crafting products carry this label., and are, therefore, consider safe. POLYMER CLAYS are now, very popular. There are project books on almost every type of idea there is. These project books will help you learn how the artist did the project. All the trade secrets are given to you! Trade secrets that took the artist many years to learn. All the information to duplicate their design ideas and techniques. All this information for the price of a book.

The most important step in using POLYMER CLAYS is thoroughly kneading it. Take a small piece of clay in your hand and start squeezing it, from one hand to the other. The heat from your hands and the action of squeezing will make the clay pliable. and easy to use. This process will compress any air pockets out. You can make this job easier if you put the unwrapped product in your pocket to pre heat it. Some people will place the clay into a baggy and place it into warm water. Heat lamps or a hot plate can be used, but if you forget what you are doing you may end up partially curing your clay. So be careful. To find out how long this step takes, mix two colors together until they are completely blended into a new color. This is how long it takes even if you are mixing only one color. It is possible that mixing the clay will take longer than making your project. If you are a volume user of polymer clays, a food processor and a pasta machine are extremely helpful for grinding and kneading the clay. The catch is that the clays are very hard on these machines, which means the machines may break. You must not return the machines if you break them, as you are using them for something that they are not designed to do(even though it does work). The pasta machine is more durable and probably will not break. For the grinding process, use the chopping blades that sit in the bottom of the bowl and break your clay into small pieces (this will take some of the stress off of the food processor) and place them into the bowl. Turn the machine on and grind for about 30 seconds. The clay will become very hot if you over grind, because of friction. If you want to make the clay softer you can add mineral oil in small amounts to accomplish this. The mixing process can be relaxing. You can take your aggressions out on the clay.

Now that you have completed the mixing process, you can begin your projects. It is best to start off making something easy, Like a bear. A bear project will cover most of the different shapes that are involved in making most projects. But with all the different project books available you can now go ahead and choose the project to make and go for it. The choices you can make may not look exactly perfect, remember you are a beginner. The more your make, the more experience you get. And course the better your art work looks.

The next most important thing to do is properly cure your projects. Generally, curing times and temperatures are the same for all brands of polymer clay. 275 degrees for 20-30 minutes per half inch of thickness. Read the manufactures instructions and follow their instructions carefully.

Most importantly, have fun with these clays.


Last updated 3-20-97

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