Best Tools For Clay:
Making jewelry with polymer clay has been an exciting adventure in the past month. I would even say my obsession. Here are The 5 Must Have Tools When Working With Polymer Clay.
Lucky for you I went out and purchased a bunch of tools and books, so I can give you helpful feedback on what worked and what didn’t. In the process I would say 5 items are MUST HAVES if you are planning on making jewelry because you want to be able to reproduce certain popular pieces, and they have to look awesome to sell at all.
Here is my top 5 tools list and why:
1.) Pasta machine/clay press
This was a must have for me because my wrists suffer from over use (from serving and bartending for 15 years) so any way I can lessen my pain the better. There are 10 settings, #1 being the thickest) so you can easily roll out EVEN and beautifully blended pieces of clay to use for a wide variety of projects.
I have seen a very clever and resourceful clay artist use 2 craft sticks laid out parallel to each other, placing their clay in between them, and then use a roller to flatten the clay evenly. Immediately I knew I wanted the roller.
2.) An acrylic rolling pin–
At first I tried a wooden pin, some small and hollow plastic roller that came with a starter kit. It got the job done, but then I bought this solid (as in not hollow) acrylic roller, and I use this for everything I can! Not totally sure why the roller reacts so differently with the clay, but you will absolutely LOVE it once you have it, and never look back. Makes squishing and transforming your canes super simple.
3.) Clay extruder–
The one you will want is the green one, comes with a bunch of different patterns you can create, and most importantly, you simply twist the metal lever and it slowly extrudes your clay to allow you to make beautiful and very intricate patterns.
The first one I tried was a regular silver and the only way to extrude the clay was to “push” the lever down. It was SO hard to push out I would have to put all my body weight on it, and would hurt my wrist every single time. No bueno.
4.) Multiple razor blade set–
You will want the super long ones. The pack I got had a hard straight one, a softer bendy one, a zig-zag one, and a wavy one. That gives you tons of fun ways to assemble intricate patterns with ease.
5.) An inspirational clay techniques book of some sort–
There are an endless amount of ways to create clay art, so it is worth it to really play around and experiment with color blending, creating cool color combos, and textures.
Books To Have On Hand:
Here are the books I have read and been completely inspired by… and am now incorporating resin into my crafts because of…
*Patterns in Polymer: Imprint and Accent Bead Techniques, by Julie Picorello.
*The Polymer Clay Artist’s Guide: A Directory of Mixes, Colors, Textures, Faux Finishes, and Surface Effects, by Marie Segal.
*Exploring Resin Jewelry: Simple Techniques for 26 Projects by Heidi Boyd(2012).
*How to Make Resin Jewellery: With over 50 inspirational step-by-step projects, by Sara Naumann.
***A bonus accidental discovery***
To clean up smudges and fingerprints, use a makeup sponge!!! Works wonders.