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Get Started: Polymer Clay

Years ago, my husband and I enjoyed experimenting with what was then a new medium: polymer clay. Back then, you needed a sledge hammer to soften up the clay. Today, polymer clay is not only much more popular, but it’s 100 times softer and easier to work with. It’s also an extremely versatile product and is used to make anything from picture frames to covering ball point pins. As a jewelry maker, you can use clay to make beads and charms. However, once you start playing around with polymer clay, you might think of even more ways to incorporate clay into your jewelry designs.

After many years of absence, I’ve come back to clay. It’s been so long, I really feel like a beginner. To get yourself started experimenting with polymer clay, it only takes a minimal amount of equipment and materials. Though many bead stores and jewelry suppliers carry a large assortment of polymer clay and related supplies, I got myself re-started by taking a trip to the craft section of my local Wal-mart. I also went to a dollar store. If you have a craft store nearby (I don’t), then I would recommend going there first as you’ll probably find a greater variety of clay and supplies.

Below are a few lists of what I collected in order to get started:

Wal-mart:
a few packets of Sculpey III $1.67 each
Exacto knife - $1.97



Dollar store:
cutting board

Around the house:
wax paper
rolling pin
kitchen knife
aluminum foil
cookie sheet
wire

A note of warning: If you use items from your kitchen, such as a cutting board, you cannot use them again for cooking as the clay has chemicals that could be toxic. The wax paper is used to roll the clay between, so I used my kitchen rolling pin. If I didn’t use the wax paper, I would need to purchase a rolling pin just for the clay. So, if you really get into clay, you might want to purchase more kitchen supplies at the dollar store and just use them for clay only.

As you can see, I found a lot of what I need to get started right around my house. I only spent a few dollars. The packages of clay even had instructions for baking. However, you can find even more free information about polymer clay on the Internet.

Here are some links to help you further with Polymer Clay:

Polymer Clay Information
Polymer Clay Supplies

All graphics created by Tammy Powley.

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