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Polymer Clay Basics

Polymer clay is an amazing medium, if you know how to use it properly. I started working with it when I was about 7, four years ago now, and I have improved substantially since then.

Polymer clay can come in many different types and hardnesses, and the hardest can deter artists from continuing in the medium. Conditioning clay can be a time-consuming and hard process, even if you do invest in a pasta roller or similar tool. I find that Sculpey® III polymer clay is very soft and workable, even straight from the package. The next principle to consider is baking. Always follow the directions online or on the package, so as not to burn it. I just use the temperature online, and go in five minute increments until the recommended time is up, or the clay feels mostly hard. Keep in mind that while still in the heat of the oven, the clay will feel softer to the touch than it will when cooled.

The next trick is translucent clay. It's Sculpey® brand, and when baked, it becomes somewhat clear, enough for light to go through. Translucent is useful because when mixed with any other color, it makes it a little lighter, and the color smoother. It also shows fingerprints less, and does not collect dust as easily.

For more tips and tricks, see Polymer Clay Basics II.

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