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Good place to start?

Posted by Dances_in_Garden (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 28, 02 at 8:58

Due to stress I am looking for something to do with my hands. I used to craft a lot, but the projects were becoming larger than life, and I was doing more out of "duty" than for enjoyment.

I looked into ceramics (painting greenware and having it fired) and there are some pieces I would love to do, but alas, the expense! And I would have to go out to do the painting. I was looking for something I could do at home.

I am intrigued by some of the pins and vessels made of sculpy here, and would love to make some jewelry and items for myself. But since I have never worked with this stuff before, any tips for a beginner? What should I buy to get started? How do you bake your pieces (special sheet just for that?), any equipment I should think about?

I would greatly appreciate it!



Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Good place to start?

hi Dances, 1st you might want to read on the internet. There are lots of tips for beginning claying. But it's easy to just buy some clay, roll it into something and bake! Just remember to dedicate your baking sheet, tools etc. to the clay. You don't have to have a pasta machine, but you might want one later. Oh, and you can join email groups where you can ask questions and learn.
Once you get started, I know you're going to love it; it's addicting!


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RE: Good place to start?

If I get a pasta machine for clay before I get one for the kitchen, DH will murdalize me ROFL. I've been saying for years I want a hand crank pasta machine. Now I'll be pining over two!

What is attractive to me, is that I can do free form designs for things like pins, or roll into canes and slice to cover something else, etc. It can be as practical or amusing as I want it to be. I need that creative outlet!



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RE: Good place to start?

That's all it is to me - a creative outlet. Although I have sold some things. For 25 cents at my last yard sale but a sale's a sale. Actually, now that I think of it, I guy I used to work with bought a few magnets from me. I just wanted to give them to him but he insisted on paying me a few dollars for them. He wanted me to start a business.

I just started by buying some clay, finding some 'tools' and starting. I have picked up some books and I've done some research on the internet since then.


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RE: Good place to start?

The great thing about polymer clay is you can "just pick it up" and play. AkaLia has the best advice.....just start learning on the internet. Might be able to find a pasta machine (I consider it a neccessity)at a yard sale or on ebay. There is soooo much info out there, search, read and learn. It does seem like there is always new techniques and projects.


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RE: Good place to start?

First of all Dances, you gotta get DD her own little set of "tools" too, cause you know she's going to have to "help" you, lol! Other than a hand-crank pasta machine my tools are whatever I can scavenge to get the job done. I bake in a pyrex cake pan covered with a piece of baking parchment. It is good to have an oven thermometer if you think your temperature is not accurate.
Another handy thing is one of those Play-dough fun factory toys. I used them with my middle school students when they were learning to cane. They create large canes very easily but then you have to carefully reduce them to the diameter you need.
My favorite easiest project with clay is rolling out flat sheets & using cookie cutters or templates to cut out shapes. Then stamp into the clay to create textures & patterns. After I bake them I highlight the clay with pearly or metallic powders or paints. They make wonderful ornaments, jewelry and gift tags, but you can also use the sheets to cover boxes & picture frames.

Have fun! Karen

Here is a link that might be useful: basic tools


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RE: Good place to start?

Oh, yes... you do need a tissue blade. IMO. Couldn't live without it. (Michaels has them.) I used red nail polish to paint the dull side so I wouldn't pick it up wrong, but I still use it upside down sometimes! And haven't sliced a finger yet. I let my kids have a stainless steel icing spreader, but they handle the tissue blade really well. And my 7 yo uses the pasta machine more than I do! LOL! Here's the advice I got about those: decide what you're willing to pay and shop at eBay, yardsales, thriftshops.
I agree, mica pigments (PearlEx) and wax rub-ons are must-haves too!
You're going to have so much fun!!!


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RE: Good place to start?

I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that you weren't supposed to use your oven for this clay...is that right? I took a class and they recommended you have a toaster oven..or something like that that you could dedicate to baking clay and not contaminate your oven...is this right?


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RE: Good place to start?

This is my opinion on this topic: I think they are being hyper-sensitive to the possibility of potential lawsuits in our "sue-happy" world. They want to cover their behinds by saying it is preferred to use a dedicated toaster oven. Problem with them is many are not very temperature accurate, and when you open the door-goodbye heat.
I use a toaster oven for small pieces, but I use my regular oven for multiple pieces or larger items. Just do not have your temp higher than what is recommended for that brand of clay and do not over-cook it. It burns just like baking a cookie and burning is where the fumes are released. You may also put a tent of aluminum foil over the item so any potentially released fumes will be trapped on the foil and not deposit onto your oven walls.
It is always best to use dedicated tools for your clay just as you would for other hobbies, but as for the oven I don't worry about it. This clay is a plastic compound just like many glues, paints laminates, fusibles, baking crystals, perler beads, t-shirt transfers, shrink plastic, fun foam, embossing powder, & many other things we apply heat to during our crafting.
Think of a styrofoam or plastic plate. You can eat on it and make it warm by putting hot food on it, but you release fumes when you burn one. So just take care not to burn your clay!

Karen


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