While I was searching the Internet for new DIY ideas I stumbled into an incredible material that is going to broaden my possibilities of creation.
As Wikipedia explains it “Polymer clay is a type of hardenable modeling clay based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It typically contains no clay minerals, but like mineral clay a liquid is added to dry particles until it achieves gel-like working properties, and similarly, the part is put into an oven to harden, hence its designation as clay. Polymer clay is generally used for making arts and craft items, and is also used in commercial applications to make decorative parts.”
Polymer clay remains workable until cured generally. Curing occurs at temperatures from between 265 °F (129 °C) to 275 °F (135 °C) sustained for 15 minutes per 1⁄4 inch (6.4 mm) of thickness. This temperature is significantly less than for mineral clays and can be achieved using a home oven (which is what I used). The clay does not shrink when cured and the aspect before and after curing are identical.
The most famous brand of polymer clay is Fimo, but there are also ProSculpt, Sculpey, Premo, Cernit, Formello, Modello, Du-Kit, Pardo and Kato Polyclay. There are many brands and they’re all a bit different, some are stronger than others, some are more flexible, some are more brittle, some are easier to work with, others are too mushy, but all are good depending on what you want to use them for.
Fimo was the first polymer clay brand created (in 1954), and for many years the only one. Made by Staedtler, Fimo polymer clay is made in Germany and comes several variations, including a kid’s clay, a general purpose clay, and a professional clay. The Fimo line is the most common brand of polymer clay in Europe and clayers there often refer to all polymer clay as “fimo” whereas Fimo seems to be more difficult to find in the US. I bought on Amazon a less famous brand which was cheaper but had good reviews and for glittery colours I bought Fimo clay which had more choice colour-wise.
Polymer clay generally needs to be conditioned prior to use. This involves kneading the clay by hand, passing it between two rollers, or using a low-shear mixer to break up any resin particle adhesions (a home pasta-making machine is a popular multi-purpose tool for polymer clay artists but I did not use any). Once conditioned, the clay will remain pliable until the particles eventually re-adhere.
I ordered around 40 different colours on Amazon in December and received it very quickly with also some tools to work the clay. Because it was rush time for knitting and crocheting I did not have long to play with the polymer clay but I just had one afternoon to try out some ideas. The clay is a little hard at first so you have to warm it in your hands a little. When assembling layers together it is also good to use special glue that can be also used to make shiny effects like when making donuts. Then I put everything on cooking paper and in the oven for 15 minutes at 135 ℃ (275 ℉).
I only did 2 decorations for the Christmas tree and a key chain for my brother (his name starts with a L), but as soon as I have my table free from Christmas decorations I have countless projects to try.
Some ideas for Christmas decorations:
Here two easy tutorials I found on Pinterest (I’ll try the donut this week-end!):