I forgot how fun it was to play with clay! And I also remember how upset I was as a kid when my babysitter Lynnie mixed my Play-doh colors together and hand me in tears. Times have changed I guess. :)
It's been a while since I've had my clay supplies out, but I do want to get back to it again. If you are thinking of starting with clay, either polymer or art clay, you will need to invest in the tools you need to play with clay. I tried art clay first - and I think it would have been eaiser to start with polymer clay first, just to get the hang of forming it, rolling it, using templates and patterns, etc. Plus if you like color, there is a lot you can do with polymer clay. And it's also cheaper than silver clay. You get a lot more polymer clay per package than silver clay. Silver clay prices are based on the silver market, and they come in packages about the size of a quarter. You can get a few items, depending on the size, out of one silver clay package. If you mess up with polymer clay you won't feel guilty starting over. So my suggestion would be to start with polymer clay first!
This page will not be a how-to for polymer clay. Why reinvent the wheel when there are other fabulous sites out there dedicated to this art form? So I'm listing below the tools info all of the useful websites, etc. that I have found online for polymer clay resources and polymer clay tutorials.
You can use a lot of the same tools for making patterns, shapes, etc. for both polymer clay and art clay. This is a good thing! Below is my list of supplies you will need to get started with polymer clay.
- Toaster Oven - Make sure you buy one that is specifically to be used with clay only. You should not use the same oven for clay as you do for food. Clay releases chemicals, etc. and you don't want to be eating that! Get a cheap model at Walmart or check out the one below at Amazon. You don't need anything fancy! This is the cheapest one listed, under $20!
- Clay sculpture tools - Check out the set below, or check out your local craft store for something similar. I haven't figured out exactly what to do with all of these tools yet, LOL, but I believe you will need them if you want to do any type of etching, carving, hole punching, etc.
- Clay roller - You definitely need a clay roller. This will roll out your sheets of clay evenly.
- Clay tools - These are not a necessity, but they come in handy for making shapes, ropes, etc.
- Texture sheets - These come in very handy for adding texture to your beads and pendants. You can try some of the ones below for starters. Rubber stamps work very well for clay tool. I have links following this section which will give you some good places to look for more texture sheets.
- Clay Cutters - These come in VERY handy for creating even, perfect shapes. I've used them for both polymer and art clay. I've stuck with standard shapes of round, square, oval, etc. for my clay projects.
- Clay and cutting knifes/tools - You could go to your local craft store and pick up a couple of colors you like to start out with, or pick up a starter pack like the one below that will give you a ton of color options. There are different kinds of clays to use. You may want to check the clay links on Garie International for supplies and explanations of clay. The cutters like the ones shown help to cut off excess clay as well as cut off pieces of clay to work with.
- Clay Rollers - See the following links for clay rolling tools from Amaco. They are unique shaped trays that will create a variety of bead shapes. Amaco Bead Rollers
- Bead Baking Rack - Another product from Amaco. If you do make beads, you will want to bake them on a tray like this. You will also need to get the pins. My local Michaels craft store sells several of these rollers and the baking tools.
- Other Supplies - You may need want to use rubber gloves when working with the clay. Your hands will get rather messy! Parchment paper - to line the cookie sheet when baking. You can use Pearl-Ex embossing powders to enhance your beads. I've found that they will create a metallic finish on the beads and pendants.
Here are some useful websites for tools, techniques, tutorials, for working with polymer clay.
Glass Attic - Polymer Clay "Encyclopedia" - you may want to start here! Everything you need to know about polymer clay.
Polymer Clay Central - great resource for polymer clay
Poly Clay Play - monthly tutorial site
Polymer Clay Clyclopedia - another good resource for beginners
The Polymer Clay SpotThe Polymer Clay Spot - good resource site
Eugena's Blog - offering free resources and some tutorials for purchase. Nice blog!
Cane and Millefiori tutorials - links from Sky Grazer
Rita's Poly Clay Play - a few more cane tutorials
Polymer Clay Polyzine - online magazine dedicated to polymer clay
Polymer Clay Daily - blog related to polymer clay
Polymer Clay page at Craft Gossip - chrysanthemum cane tutorial
Sky Grazer Designs - check out this site for a nice overview on polymer clay. They also have a good links/reference page.
Desiree's Desired Creations - a few projects to make
Everclay - a list of projects/beads to make
Polymer Clay Productions - podcasts, tutorials and more.
Polymer Clay Tutor - membership site ($9.95 USD every 90 days) for membership in order to view the videos and other info available at this site.
Polymer Clay by Silastones - Neat tutorial of blend technique.
Lisa Pavelka - Lisa Pavelka is one of the top Polymer Clay artists/designers.
Tonja's Polyclay Corner - blog about polymer clay
Les Ethiopiques (French) - French blog. You may not be able to read it, but I bet you will spend a lot of time checking out the tutorial photos and links. I know I was amazed at the gorgeous things on this blog!
Clay Factory - for tools and supplies
Cool Tools - this is really a site for art clay, but a lot of the tools you can use for both polymer clay and art clay
Gaire International - clay tools and accessories
Polymer Clay Superstore - Polymer Clay Superstore.com is the online polymer clay store that sells a complete line of polymer clays, polymer clay kits, polymer clay books, other polymer clay products such as jewelry making tools, baking tools and ovens, push molds.
Arcoiris - for purchase tutorials - wow!
Polymer Clay page on Craft Gossip - Polymer Clay Page
Polymer Cafe' - magazine dedicated to polymer clay
Polka Dot Creations - books and more for polymer clay
Polymer Clay Workshops - looks to be based in OH
Making Polymer Clay Beads - This is a great book on creating polymer clay beads. I love this book!
POLYMER CLAY ARTISTS
Here are a few links to pages and sites by polymer clay artists. It's amazing what you can create with clay. Taking a look at these sites should provide a lot of inspiration!
Tokens - Links Page - I've spent a lot of time searching through these links and admiring other artists' work.
Kirsten's Fimo Page (German) - nice designs
Desert Designs by Barbara - check out this artist's gorgeous beads
Tonja's Treasures - another beautiful site of clay creations
Polymer Artist's Webring - find other clay artists