Hey, this is an updated version of my Polymer Clay FAQ. Enjoy!
What is Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay is a material based on Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride (known commonly as PVC). It's only called Clay because the texture and how it works resembles that of Mineral Clay.
What is liquid Polymer Clay?
Liquid Polymer Clay is made by the same companies that make the normal clay, but it's a liquid version. It can be used alone or with the normal versions.
What's the best brand of clay?
Honestly, I don't think there is a best brand but there are many different brands to choose from, the most popular being Sculpey III and Fimo. Here's a brand guide:
Fimo Classic: Exactly like Fimo soft, but harder. Takes more kneading.
Fimo Soft: Exactly like Fimo Classic, just easier to get workable.
Fimo Effect: Like Fimo Classic, but comes in awesome colours like glitter, stone and glow-in-the-dark!
Sculpey III: Not as strong as Fimo and easier to break when baked, but comes in a wider range of colours. Also not as expensive. Easier to find in the US than the UK.
What's the Gloss for? Is it nessesary?
The gloss is for finishing your clay models, just like gloss for a wooden door. It's not nessesary, but it makes the pieces look more professional and finished.
What's the cooking time and temperature?
The temperature is 240.F (or 110.C). You bake them for approx. 30 minutes (I wouldn't exceed that).
How long can I leave clay in the open without baking?
The longest I left mine out in the open was 3 days, 4 nights and nothing happened to it, but I lot of the time, things I've left out get mis-shaped by other people, so I tend to keep them in a safe place if they aren't finished.
The metal ring's come out of my charm. Do I have to start all over?
Nah, it's okay. Get some super glue and put it on the end of the ring (watch your fingers!). Now push the ring back into the dent in your clay and hold it there for about a minute. Leave it stand for a while!
The clay smells horrible. Is it toxic?
By no means is the clay toxic when it's not been cooked, but it is immediately after, so try not to breathe it in.
My model's still a little bit soft after I've cooked it. Shall I put it back in the oven?
Leave it to stand for a few hours first. Usually it'll harden up upon cooling. If it doesn't, put it back in the oven on the same temperature and check it every five minutes or so.
What brand of clay do you use?
I use Fimo Soft, Fimo Liquid and Fimo Effect.
Why don't you use Sculpey III?
Sculpey III isn't available in shops where I live and I like that Fimo Soft doesn't take as much kneading to become workable.
Do you sell items you make?
No. I've been considering it a long time but I still don't think I'm good enough yet, and I don't always have the time, what with college and everything. I do have an Etsy account, however.
What do you like making the most?
I like making charms for my phone. Most of the phone charms on my phone, I've probably made.
Will you make a tutorial on making ____?
Send me a note and I'll try it.
Will you make me ____?
Sorry? If you live far away and I don't know you then no. Maybe I'll sell clay charms in the future. By all means I'll try and make it myself and make a tutorial?
Do you listen to music while you make clay models?
Either I have music on or the TV's on in the background. I can't ever work in silence.
What do you keep your clay inside?
I have an old Mottik (tm) carrying box that has nice sections for clay. I used to use a chocolate tin.
Where do you buy your clay and supplies?
Ah, let's see. I buy my clay either from a craft shop in Cardiff, Hobbycraft or Ebay.
What tools should I use?
There are no specific tools you SHOULD use at all! Use your imagination. Here's a list of tools I use:
~ Plastic cutter (came with my first Fimo set) - Fimo sets, hobby/craft stores
~ Exacto Knife (very sharp and I often cut my fingers) - hobby/craft stores
~ Toothpick (go buy a box full from a supermarket. They're a great alternative to an expensive thin tool) - supermarket
~ Toothbrush (good for making dots in things like cake. Don't use it to brush your teeth though) - supermarket/chemist
~ Water (I always keep a small container of water with me for smoothing) - tap, heh.
~ Pliers (for bending and inserting wire) - DIY/craft store
~ Wire cutters (if you have them on pliers there's no need for a separate pair) - DIY/craft store
~ Plastic rolling pin (don't use your proper one) ~ hobby/craft/toy store
Never use something you're going to eat with later on, especially cutlery.
What surface do you work on?
I usually work at a table with a plastic sheet under so the clay doesn't touch the table where anything else might. I used to use a dinnertray on my lap with a plastic bag covering it.
What wire do you use?
I use either fuse wire or wire that I bought in a craft store (1.5mm/2mm thick).
What should I bake on?
I use an old baking tray. It's not recommended to use one you cook food on, but if you cover it with foil you can (as suggested by ~CrazyBluWriter).
AND LASTLY: My favourite question:
Did anything embarrassing happen to you when you were baking?
Oh did it! I accidently looked at the time 240.F to bake on (I use a .C cooker) so I had it on the highest setting. All my clay charms got burned and I thought I was going to kill us all when our cooker caught fire. My dad wouldn't let me near the cooker to turn it off and he wouldn't turn it off either so we all had a massive screaming match. I'm careful now.
DON'T MIX THE TIMES UP. YOUR CLAY WILL BURN AND STICK TO WHATEVER IT'S COOKING ON. DON'T DO IT!!