Well hello there again, its me Melissa Piddington, amateur polymer clay artist here to tell you all about what inspires me, how I create and why Sculpey polymer clay is just so darn fun to play with.
Now when it comes to inspiration for me, it literally comes from everywhere, I could be visiting a friend and notice that their window curtains have a beautiful pattern and want to make something with a similar pattern for my own home in the form of a trinket bowl or a candle stick holder.
I do have main forms of inspiration, which are artworks, colour combinations and nature which if you get lost in the deep world of Instagram or Pinterest is easy to find some amazing artists and even pages devoted to showing off how different colour palettes work together.
WHAT to make is a bit different, I tend to spot a gap in my house that hasn’t been personalised and decide that I need to make something for it, like some little polymer clay patterned rocks to go in my indoor plant pots, why not? A trinket dish for my bobby pins beside my bed even just a figurine to go on my windowsill. Once again endless possibilities...
One of the best things about polymer clay is that you can make your own colours! Custom made colours means custom colour projects, there is something very special about having your own unique colours, especially with jewellery. If you want to be able to replicate the colours you have created it is also handy to have a little notebook to write down the quantities and colours mixed together to make your custom colour, naming your custom colours is also heaps of fun. Just use your knowledge of colour theory or do a bit of research and you should be well on your way to creating your own amazing colours, I would love to see them and the names you have created on Instagram if you tag #HowDoYouSculpey.
My main form of creating is jewellery though, I love the contemporary, modern and endless designs and patterns you can make, nothing is better than having your very own handmade earrings, necklace or lanyard to show off to the world or gift to family and friends. Also comes in handy when you have a themed party to go too and can make your own awesome accessories.
My favourite Sculpey polymer clays to work with are definitely the Sculpey Premo™ and Sculpey Soufflé™ ranges, the Premo is a touch firmer than the Souffle but they are both quite easy to condition and create with, they both have a nice colour range and they are both light weight once cured if you are making things like jewellery which I do.
So the way I currently “Do Sculpey” is a lot of slab work, which if you read my last blog post you will get an in-depth look into that process for me, but I also like making canes which are very exciting. You make this layered blob of clay, combine and squeeze and add and squeeze and layer and squeeze and you really don’t know how its going to turn out until you take a slice off one end and see what pattern you have created, its very thought provoking when you are layering clay and trying to work out in your head what the end result is going to look like. There are many many, many tutorials on YouTube for making canes, BUT its pretty satisfying when you can create one all on your own.
Beads are also a big love of mine, super easy to make, you can either roll up your bead and then put patterns on it, or you can make a bead then cut up a thin slab and wrap around your bead and presto you have a decorated bead. These are fantastic for picture holder stands, necklaces, lanyards and keychains.
I highly recommend putting the hole in the beads while the clay is unbaked because the clay is much more likely to crack and break if you are trying to drill a hole through a baked ball of clay. Also, the Sculpey Bead Baking Rack accessory is a game changer and I personally love it, say no more to distorted and half flat beads when you can have them on a rack instead of on a flat baking surface, so great.
Now when it comes to adding things to your clay, I haven’t experimented with everything out there, but I have worked with a few things and have some feedback.
- Glitter, yes glitter, we all love glitter and I have seen a few other artists who add it into their raw clay and bake it and it looks fine, but when I have done it, the glitter seems to get burnt and pull away from the clay and doesn’t have the desired effect of shiny glitter that I was going for. So instead I add some resin on top of some of my pieces and mix the glitter into the resin which can be brushed onto your work or domed on, this works for me, would love to hear others experiences and how you add on glitter into your polymer clay works, once again just tag me with #HowDoYouSculpey and maybe I can learn something new!
- Mica powders are beautiful and applied to raw clay bakes up very nicely leaving your clay with a shimmer.
- Some projects I have baked in different coloured foils and they look very effective, just quite difficult to place in a particular pattern.
- And, of course, you can bake findings into your raw clay if you want a pin or earring post baked in it is completely doable and very effective.
- I’ve also used acrylic based paints on top of my clay once baked and the effects are quite nice.
Lastly, I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I have picked up along the last 5 years or so on my polymer clay journey.
- Keeping a clean work surface is a must, I personally use a tile or a piece of Perspex (like Plexiglass).
- Always make sure to wash my hands thoroughly before getting into a clay session.
- Always condition your clay, you may think its soft and pretty but once you bake it you will be very upset if an air bubble was hiding in there and comes to the surface because you didn’t condition your clay (there is plenty of videos on YouTube on how to do this as well).
- Having rubbing alcohol and cotton buds is very handy for getting lint, fingerprints or spots of other coloured clays off your work.
- Just doing a bit of research on a project and having a clear picture in your mind can really help sometimes when you have a set piece you have in mind to create.
Now, I, by no means, think my polymer clay knowledge is full, and I have a lot more to learn from others and self-experimentation. The Sculpey Instagram page is very informative with a huge range of artists that are always posting new products, new techniques and even ones they have come up with on their own and want to share with the world! So that’s a great resource if you are wanting to expand your knowledge like me.
Its so inspiring to see such a huge polymer clay community come together, and seeing what other people create is seriously amazing. So that’s all from me today and I’ll be looking out for your tags on Instagram and can’t wait to see your #HowDoYouSculpey posts and what inspires you!
Bye Bye ?