Liquid Sculpey® is my favorite product in the Sculpey line. I love what can be accomplished with Liquid Sculpey® all on its own as well as how many new dimensions it adds to my work with solid clays like Sculpey PremoTM.
Since I’ve been a project writer and designer, one of my greatest challenges has always been: How to help as many people as possible succeed at replicating my designs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a pro, I want you to be able to successfully pull off the designs that I have authored. I want to help students and experimenters and makers to 1.) learn something that lends new layers to what they are already doing; 2.) succeed; and 3.) want to try again! So I’m constantly looking for ways to make things relatable, doable, teachable, possible, and inspirational.
So…. back to Liquid Sculpey® (LS). LS is a whole different thing. Basically because it is the same material as oven-bake polymer clay – but in liquid form. It does some things really (obviously) well – like bake in molds; provide a beautiful background for inclusions like glitter, mica, ink, and even tiny beads; and mimic painting techniques like paint pour and marbling. The copper tray shown here illustrates how beautifully LS marbles and provides a backdrop for the big mica flakes that are floating permanently in it.
The earring project that I did for the Design Squad Challenge shows how you can mold LS in oven-safe molds. The round centers of the earrings are flooded with as many tiny beads as I could get into the mold and are all held together with Clear LS.
Other types of projects that are better for solid clays are more of a challenge for Liquid Sculpey® – specifically – attaching and sticking to vertical vessels.
But what happens when you want to combine a really cool LS paint pour style veneer to a vertical glass vessel? Obviously the LS would immediately run off of the sides of the glass and pool in the bottom of the oven. I’m glad to report that I didn’t actually try that because I knew it wouldn’t work. But when Gabrielle at Polyform Products asked me to cover a glass vessel with a Liquid Sculpey® paint pour finish…. I didn’t have it in me to say no. I just knew I would have to find a work-around and …eventually… there would be a way.
I wish I could remember the actual thought process that played into this scenario, but I don’t. I just knew that I would have to work out the beautiful marbled effect that Gabby was asking for on a horizontal (and level) surface, and then move it (somehow) to the vertical glass vessel. The end result was to create a really large “cling” on glass. Now, just in case you aren’t sure what I mean here by “cling”, please look at the photo of the little jack-o-lantern with my fingers peeling it from a piece of glass.
Basically, you can draw whatever you want onto glass with LS, bake it, and then peel it off. It will stick to a window, mirror, or other non-porous surface like a window “cling”. The challenge was to create a “cling” that could later be wrapped around a vertical glass vessel like a vase. So that’s exactly what I did – and it worked out really, really, really, well. Once the marbled LS was cured, it was easy to trim with scissors, and shape to the sides of the glass vase. An unexpected surprise was that the LS cling could be overlapped at the seam on the vase slightly. Then a heat gun could be used to melt the overlap together making the cling really hard to remove from the vase. I was onto something!!!
My next thought was to translate this idea to the little dishes that I have been making for lots of years. I wanted to see if I could achieve the same detail and painterly qualities of LS onto the curved sides of a dish. Prior to the thought of making clings, I had tried many, many, experiments with painting or drawing or doodling Liquid Sculpey® on the insides of my dishes – the LS would run down and pool in the bottom of the dish during curing. My designs were generally too thick to allow them to “soak” into unbaked Premo, so that option didn’t work well either.
But the “cling” idea paid off! I simply worked out the liquid design on a piece of glass, baked it, and then transferred it onto unbaked Sculpey PremoTM. The thinness of the liquid design made it easily conform to the curve of the bowl. The plastic quality of the liquid made it want to stick to the unbaked Premo. And once it was baked again, the liquid veneer and the Premo bowl were one!
But still, I wanted more controlled results. I wanted to be able to achieve better details and finer designs than I was getting by doodling on glass. I was at the Buckeye Bash at the beginning of this year and I was cranking out doodled liquid designs on the pieces of glass that I had brought with me as fast as I could. When I ran out of glass, I thought, “what if I doodle designs on something else that I could easily peel the baked liquid away from?”. I looked in my stash of supplies and found that I had brought some oversized silicone coaster molds with me. They weren’t clear like glass, but they were flat and smooth and you could definitely peel the liquid off after baking. So I went to town with more doodles and the coolest thing happened!
I found that when I would doodle with Liquid Sculpey® on the flat silicone piece, that my liquids would travel and spread way less than they did when I doodled onto glass. There was something about the grip between the silicone and the LS that I could not have anticipated. The silicone actually made fine lines and details way more possible than I could have imagined.
These feathers were drawn onto the flat silicone coaster with very little spreading or distortion. I was thrilled to say the least.
This doodling on silicone technique opened up whole new avenues for getting what was in my head to come out of my hands and onto the clay!
I’ve been using these techniques to perfect the look of glossy ceramics by combining a Liquid Sculpey® veneer with the strength of a Premo dish. I think it’s going pretty well.!
And now, bringing this ramble back around town…. The best part of this whole situation is that this technique is relatable, doable, teachable, possible, and most hopefully – inspirational.
Enough about me. How do you like to use Sculpey oven bake clays or Liquid Sculpey®? Please share your stories and your ideas and your creativity with us by using #HowDoYouSculpey whenever you post your art to social media. We would love to hear from you!