Home Polymer Clay 12 Polymer Clay Myths – The Blue Bottle Tree

12 Polymer Clay Myths – The Blue Bottle Tree


Oh, the web. We do love you, however my goodness, it’s simple for dangerous data to unfold like wildfire. I believe this comes from newbies feeling pressured to make social media posts earlier than they’ve realized to grasp their craft. Different newbies watch these posts and assume the information is correct. Subsequent factor you recognize, we’ve got a complete new crop of misunderstandings and myths. Listed below are the highest polymer clay myths that I’m encountering recently.

Myths About Coatings

MYTH: Varnish is a Resin Substitute

Resin has its points. There are well being issues. It’s messy. It has a brief shelf life. It’s a ache within the butt to make use of. So many manufacturers are searching for one other approach to make a clean, shiny end on their polymer clay earrings. They find out about Brite Tone or different varnishes and assume that it’s the identical factor. Varnish just isn’t the identical factor as UV Resin! Resin is a thick pour-on plastic that “fills in” all of the bumps and flaws on the floor of your baked clay, leaving a glass-like, clean end. Varnish, then again, creates an excellent skinny coat that conforms to (and even accentuates) the entire floor flaws, specks, fingerprints, and texture of the baked clay. Varnish works nicely to make a floor shiny, sure, but it surely doesn’t make the floor clean.

MYTH: Resin is Poisonous

I’ll incur some wrath on this one, however I encourage you to learn rigorously. UV Resin just isn’t poisonous. By that, I imply it’s not toxic. That’s why many resin suppliers state that their resin is “non-toxic”. It’s. All UV and epoxy resin is non-toxic. However that doesn’t imply it’s secure for everybody to make use of. You see, resin is hypersensitizing, which signifies that it may well trigger your immune system to go haywire. In different phrases, you may get an excessive allergic response to resin. And the extra you’re uncovered to an allergen, the extra doubtless your physique could have this response. So you need to decrease your publicity to UV resin through the use of gloves, glasses, and even a masks. That is very true in case you are utilizing these supplies extra usually than occasional crafting. In case you are in manufacturing, you need to seek the advice of the MSDS for all supplies you employ and observe these security pointers for occupational publicity.

This UV cure resin cures very fast and hard.

By the way in which, UV-cure nail polish is identical factor. So in case you get gel manicures, you might be already being uncovered. And sure, when you turn out to be sensitized to resin, you’ll be able to’t get gel manicures anymore, both.

MYTH: Varnish and Paint Should Be Water Primarily based

This can be a misunderstanding that received’t appear to die. The concept right here is that some varnishes and paints by no means absolutely dry on polymer clay and turn out to be sticky. Nevertheless it has nothing to do with being water-based. ⁠Some water-based varnishes and paints will likely be softened by the plasticizers in baked polymer clay. That is why it’s necessary to check every new paint or varnish you employ. ⁠
⁠However loads of oil-based paints and varnishes work simply high quality. Artists’ oil paints are nice, as are oil-based polyurethane varnishes. The disadvantage with oil-based merchandise is that they take a very long time to dry and may readily yellow with time. And, in fact, all the time check earlier than utilizing them on a treasured challenge!⁠

Picture of different paints to try on polymer clay.

Myths About Baking

MYTH: You Can Bake Resin

Polymer clay bakes at a comparatively low temperature, that means UV resin is not going to soften or burn when baked at decrease clay-curing temps. However that doesn’t imply it’s a great apply. All UV resin will ultimately flip yellow. You may need just a few years earlier than it yellows, however it’s going to ultimately get there. And heating UV resin dramatically shortens the time earlier than the resin turns yellow. You’ll usually discover that UV Resin turns yellow immediately if you bake it.

All resin yellows over time.

MYTH: You Can’t Bake Varnish or Paint

Sure, you’ll be able to. Polymer clay doesn’t bake at a really excessive temperature. Actually not excessive sufficient to interrupt down the paint.⁠ However baking paint may cause the colour to shift, relying on the pigments or dyes used within the paint. It might additionally trigger the paint to bleed into the clay (necessary when utilizing silkscreens to use paint). However typically, it received’t harm something to bake paint or varnish at clay curing temps.⁠

Paint in styrofoam trays that are used as disposable palettes.

In reality, it’s usually beneficial in older clay tutorials. So right here’s a bonus fantasy.⁠ Again within the ’90s, material portray was an enormous deal. Earlier than that time, the one high-quality acrylic paints have been artists’ paints. However this sudden marketplace for material paints meant that the directions on the bottles stated to “warmth set” the paint. Properly, you wanted to try this on material, or it might simply wash out.⁠ Nevertheless it’s not vital in case you’re not washing material. You see, acrylic paint (and varnishes) take a number of weeks to treatment absolutely. You may make that occur rapidly by warmth setting or ready. Warmth setting just isn’t vital.⁠

HOWEVER: Varnish and resin will not be the identical factor. It is best to by no means bake UV resin!⁠

MYTH: Overbaking Makes Clay Brittle

I’ve been writing about this fantasy for some time, and I believe most individuals perceive this one now. However I nonetheless see it being unfold sometimes.⁠ In case your baked clay snaps if you flex it, you’re both coping with a brittle model of clay (eg. Sculpey III, Sculpey Authentic) or not baking sizzling sufficient and/or lengthy sufficient.⁠ “Overbaking” polymer clay, ie. baking too lengthy or sizzling, doesn’t make it brittle. The longer you bake it, the stronger it will get (to a degree). And whereas we’re at it, it’s the temperature that causes the clay to burn, not baking time.⁠ You possibly can bake clay for hours with out harm if the temp is right.⁠

How long to bake polymer clay? Read more at The Blue Bottle Tree.

MYTH: Browned Polymer Clay is Unavoidable

You all the time need to bake your clay within the candy spot between brittleness and brownness. Some clay manufacturers (particularly Fimo) are extra inclined to this shade change, and this candy spot will be exhausting to search out. ⁠Mild colours akin to white and translucent will all the time present this darkening extra readily than darkish colours. However the browned clay is most actually NOT unavoidable. ⁠When you discover it unimaginable to bake mild colours or translucent with out turning brown, then your baking setup must be optimized. When you’re brief on time, my Baking and Curing Tutorial will aid you get there quicker.⁠

MYTH: Plasticizer Bakes Out of Polymer Clay

Polymer clay is product of PVC resin (it’s a powder or paste), plasticizers, pigments, binders, stabilizers, and lubricants. ⁠The plasticizer makes the cured clay versatile and sturdy, quite than brittle and inflexible. It’s an important a part of the method that doesn’t bake out. It stays as a part of the cured vinyl.⁠ This does make sense. If the plasticizer baked out, the clay would come out smaller than when it went into the oven. We see some shrinkage in some manufacturers (lower than 1%). However plasticizer makes up 10-35% of the clay.⁠ That may be a number of shrinkage!⁠

Myths About Polymer Clay

MYTH: Fimo (or Premo or Kato) is the Greatest Model

There isn’t a “greatest” model of polymer clay.⁠ They’re all barely and subtly completely different of their dealing with, their traits after baking, how they work together with different supplies, the colours of their vary, and plenty of extra particulars.⁠ For each one that loves one model, one other individual will despise the identical model. It comes down to private choice and what you want the clay to do. You possibly can study extra about completely different manufacturers in this text. However bear in mind that there is no such thing as a greatest (or worst) model. All of them have their makes use of.⁠

Pile of different color polymer clay brands

MYTH: By no means Bend Your Baked Clay Items

What’s it with these movies that present individuals bending their clay items in half? Why do this?⁠ Somebody in these threads all the time feedback, “Cease doing that! By no means bend your clay!” Oh, pricey. Sure, bend your clay!⁠ It is best to be capable to flex your baked clay items with out them snapping in two. That you must flex your baked clay samples from time to time to make sure your items are robust, versatile, and well-cured. However there’s no must tear your clay aside.⁠ That complete bending-in-half factor is pointless.⁠

Sculpey Souffle is extremely flexible, even more than Premo polymer clay. Read more at The Blue Bottle Tree.

MYTH: Low cost Clay is Unhealthy Clay

What about these bizarre off-brand clay units on Amazon or Ali Categorical? Are they good to make use of? Properly, sure and no. If in case you have exact wants to your clay and want a predictable, uniform, dependable efficiency, then purchase name-brand clay from a good provider. However in case you simply need to mess around? Go for it! ⁠These no-name units are “low-cost stuff from China” so it is advisable perceive they usually have poor high quality management requirements, minimal (if any) security testing, and unpredictable efficiency. However they nonetheless (often) bake up simply high quality. ⁠I don’t suggest you purchase these low-cost clays (they’re not often a great discount in case you do the maths). However in case you are gifted a set, can you employ it? Certain. You would possibly discover that you just don’t prefer it a lot. So use it for bead cores, or combine it with higher clay.⁠

Prism & Pro polymer clay from China.

Different Polymer Clay Myths

MYTH: Use Acetone to Take away Flaws

Acetone is an aggressive, poisonous solvent that dissolves baked clay (in addition to your manicure). It’s a unbelievable solution to salvage items which have lint baked into them or to take away annoying bubbles that pop up, ruining an in any other case excellent piece. Nevertheless it’s not an alternative to studying find out how to work neatly within the first place. A lot of the issues that makers repair with acetone are higher prevented by cleansing your work space, washing your fingers, baking on paper, smoothing edges, and studying to be neater. You possibly can take away lint and small marks BEFORE baking through the use of rubbing alcohol which is a far much less aggressive solvent.

Polymer clayers are often reluctant to invest in things that make their work easier, buying isopropyl alcohol is one of those things.

A part of studying find out how to work with polymer clay is studying to make the most of all of the instruments you’ve got. Acetone is unquestionably a kind of instruments. However utilizing it willy-nilly as a substitute of studying higher expertise is a bit like utilizing a ground stripper as a substitute of a brush. Information is a superpower.

MYTH: Add Oil to Soften Arduous Clay

Not all exhausting clay must be softened with an added softener. More often than not, crumbly clay is simply not but absolutely conditioned.

Even after diligent conditioning, some clay wants a softener added. In that case, don’t add Vaseline, mineral oil, or child oil. Whereas these oils will work to melt the clay, and including a tiny bit received’t harm something, they’re detrimental in bigger quantities. When you add an excessive amount of oil, the baked clay will look weirdly shiny and even weep oil. It’s much better to make use of clay softeners. You should utilize any model’s softener with any model of clay.

MYTH: E6000 is a Nice Glue

Usually beneficial by jewellery makers and crafters, E6000 is a glue that’s been round for a very long time.⁠ It’s a good general-purpose glue for bonding inflexible issues collectively. Nevertheless it’s a horrible glue to be used on polymer clay.⁠ First off, it’s poisonous. It additionally doesn’t treatment nicely on some manufacturers of polymer clay. I’ve had it’s gummy and by no means absolutely treatment. Different instances, it goes brittle and permits inflexible steel elements (akin to earrings or brooch backs) to pop proper off polymer clay.⁠ Whereas it’s all the time greatest to embed steel findings into polymer clay (ie. bake them in), there are occasions if you need to use glue. In that case, use a gel superglue akin to Loctite Gel Management.⁠

Loctite Ultra Control Gel is perfect for glueing crystals in place on baked polymer clay.

What polymer clay myths are you encountering? Share them and talk about them in Blue Bottle Insiders.


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