TIPS, TRICKS and TIDBITS -  trying to help my daughter (440 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: angelasolis18/23/14 9:26 AM 
To: All  (1 of 6) 
My 12 yr. Old daughter started making clay charms about two years ago starting with the puffy clay and shortly after making crafts out of puffy clay she progressed to the polymer clay and she has learned by watching how to videos on YouTube and I'm actually proud and impressed by her dedication she spends her allowance on tools and clay , I have noticed for a while that she struggles with some charms that require attaching tiny arms to the body and she has the glaze and the special glue and she'll join a thin tiny arm to the body and use the tool to smooth the pieces together and applies the glaze and once the charm is complete after maybe a day the little arm breaks off and she always handles her charms with care . But last night she began crying for her latest charm that fell apart and she said "mom I don't get it I do everything I'm supposed to but I just can't get it right " and she said she is gonna give up on doing clay and she's never reached a point of quitting until now, and it saddens me that she's come so far then to see her crying because she's reached her end . So I told her I would try and help her find out what she may be missing or hopefully learn some tips for making a charm that is held together properly , please help her I would be greatly appreciative to any help or advise you may have , my daughter has a gift in charm making and I'd hate to see her give it all up now
Thank you
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From: Melody018/23/14 10:06 AM 
To: angelasolis1  (2 of 6) 
 70972.2 in reply to 70972.1 

Angela, Your daughter sounds very does her concerned mom! Not sure what the "glaze" is that you mentioned she uses to join pieces of PC. People usually use TLC (Transulcent Liquid's made by Sculpey) and would be in the PC (Poly Clay) area of your craft store. A small dab of it applied with a toothpick, or a small paint brush, will temporarily "tack" uncured PC to uncured PC, as well as cured to cured and uncured to cured. It's the universal PC "glue". Note: if too much is applied it will show as a shiny bit at the seam.

Just in case she is using Sculpey III PC.......... As far as keeping ease in breakage, the majority of folks who work with PC do not use SculpeyIII  because it's mushy to work with, brittle and notoriously VERY fragile after curing. I've been a PREMO brand fan for many years. I regularly drop cured jewelry components made from REALLY well cured PREMO (longer than the label specifies) and they have never broken when they hit the laminate flooring. In the USA, at least, PREMO brand clay is easy to find in craft stores. Some prefer Kato. In Europe many use Fimo.

It's also possible that there is something that needs to be tweaked in the curing (cooking process). If not cured long enough at proper temperature the clay will appear cured, but will break easily. A properly cured 1/8" thick piece of PC (2.87mm) should allow for some flex in it when bent a little, but it shouldn't break...(unless it's SculpeyIII) . Use of an extra thermometer can be very helpful as the thermometer on toaster and other types of ovens can be extremely unreliable. Lining the bottom of a toaster oven with clay tiles can be helpful as it evens out the tendency for the oven to spike in temp. If you are located above 3,500 feet (1066 meters) you have to cure longer and hotter than the label specifies (I can give you recommendations if you need them).

Curing clay articles: Ginger from Blue Bottle Tree tutes, 3 parts

choosing oven:


curing temperatures


My PC hints for beginning clayers, especially use of thermometer:

p.2 is a list of URLs to PC resources including tutorials


If you or your daughter need further info on the current question or have other questions please don't hesitate to ask by posting in the "Questions Folder". PC knowledge is something all of us here  try to pass forward.


Anita in AZ

  • Edited August 25, 2014 3:30 pm  by  Melody01

From: angelasolis18/23/14 11:14 AM 
To: Melody01  (3 of 6) 
 70972.3 in reply to 70972.2 
Thanks very much for your response and when she wakes up I can provide her with a little hope and I thank you again for your advise and your part in giving her that bit of hope this morning and I'll let you know how things work out! : ) and I appreciate your response thank you

From: Melody018/23/14 2:29 PM 
To: angelasolis1 unread  (4 of 6) 
 70972.4 in reply to 70972.3 

Angela, My pleasure. We  PC "addicted" folks here at PCC are always happy to have the opportunity to help, so we can mentor and provide whatever ongoing guidance and advice she might need. The actual technical "how to" of making the PC work for the artist is pretty scientific, well documented and trouble shooting is reasonably easy. We've all been frustrated and disappointed beginners at one time (and well remember the angst), so among all of us here we have a pretty good idea of what questions to ask and what solutions to suggest........... or where to look for the answers to what we collectively don't know.

Anita in AZ

  • Edited August 23, 2014 4:40 pm  by  Melody01

From: Melody018/25/14 10:37 AM 
To: angelasolis1 unread  (5 of 6) 
 70972.5 in reply to 70972.1 

I thought of one other thing,.......... to make sure that the PC is conditioned properly to distribute the plasticizers before you start to make things out of it.


Good basic conditioning explanation and directions


Anita in AZ



From: SherryBinNH8/25/14 1:16 PM 
To: angelasolis1 unread  (6 of 6) 
 70972.6 in reply to 70972.1 

If you are talking tiny charm-bracelet type charms, and if your daughter is using Sculpey III, the problem is that little thin pieces made from that clay are simply very fragile -- she would be using the wrong material for the job at hand. (Or she needs to change her designs so little arms are folded against the body, not sticking out...)

I'd recommend Premo or Fimo or Kato Clay, maybe Pardo (although I have no experience with that one). Also, for tiny arms that stick out from the base shape, I'd use a wire armature. Telephone wire is coated with PVC and clay can bond to that, so for little stuff, it's a good armature. (But any wire thinner than the final arms could be used. The wire serves as the skeleton of the piece.)

So, say you are making a tiny person. If the body is pretty much a solid cylinder shape, that should be pretty durable. I'd cut a piece of wire long enough to poke through the body where the arms go and stick out the full length of the arms on both sides -- trim it as needs after inserting. Then form the arms around the wire. If there are other projecting parts, you can make a full wire armature like a stick drawing of the final figure and build the whole form onto that. This is good when you want a thin neck or wrists or feet that are added, for example.

One final comment -- polymer clay is amazing stuff, but it isn't like hard molded commercial plastic. It always will be sort of soft and sort of breakable. So it's possible it's just not the best material for the project your daughter is doing. It cannot do what it cannot do, y'know?


Good luck!


Sherry Bailey


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