First time with polymer clay

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PenAffair

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Great job Perry.

I'm finally home & can now think about starting my first. Problem is, I'm wracked with indecision about what to try first, there's just so many options :redface:

Russell.
 

Jgrden

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Scott Thanks for starting this thread,I`ve been folowing it with great interest. I`ll send you a bill for the new hobby expense.:biggrin:
Hope you don`t mind but here is my first pc pen after about two other failures.
Comments and recommendations welcome.
This is clay, and your second attempt???:eek:
 

SKEETERPROV

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When you roll it on the brass do not layer it only use one layer the thickness you want it to be...I try to make mine around 5/16 thick...also if you look hard at the poly once you have your desired thickness check for air pockets....cut them with a exacto blade and push and smooth the air out with your finger.. sounds like you did not bake long enough... if your baking at the temp they suggest add 5 minutes if it is a low temp setting like 275......just what i have tried and seems to work. I will get it down pat sooner or later......HOPEFULLY :biggrin:
 

PenAffair

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OK well I've done it, made my first Poly Pen. Quite happy with the results. It was made with generic Polymer Clay from the $2 shop what has a fairly matte finish. I wanted a Christmas theme, and also wanted to do as little finishing as possible out of the oven.

This pen was sanded on the ends to straighten out any PC hanging over, then Micromesh'd and polished with Brasso. No turning was involved. It's a little proud of the kit and slightly out of round at the nib end, and rounded down a little at the cap end. But considering that's from hand rolling, that's a pretty good result. When my wife first picked it up, her comment was "bit bumpy!" :redface:

This was actually my second tube. I mucked up the first one by running white through the never been used Pasta machine, and it came out with black streaks from the mechanism. Tried yellow instead to make a candy cane type blank, but didn't like the end result, so I didn't finish it.

So. The mind boggles at the possibilities. Technique needs some work, and I need some decent clay. It takes longer to do than resin (and wood, but everything is longer than wood) but there's no messy gluing involved at least. The ability to make exactly what you want as opposed to mixing and hoping with resin makes up for it I feel.

And if you do it economically (there is quite a bit of "wastage" of the clay initially) the actually clay needed for a Sierra blank weighed in at about 3 grams, which comes in at about 15 cents :biggrin: Of course the fact I used up all my white and a couple other sticks means the actual cost if you don't reuse the waste was more like 53 cents, but who's counting?

Thanks again for the inspiration guys, or I may never have tried.

Russell.
 

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markgum

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AWESOME. I will have to get some of this and give it a try. When baking do you use a special oven? Is there a lingering smell? wonder if SWMBO will let me use the kitchen??
 

PaulD

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OK well I've done it, made my first Poly Pen. Quite happy with the results. It was made with generic Polymer Clay from the $2 shop what has a fairly matte finish. I wanted a Christmas theme, and also wanted to do as little finishing as possible out of the oven.

Thanks again for the inspiration guys, or I may never have tried.

Russell.
Nice job with the Christmas canes!

You can do wonderous things with the canes if you take your time and use a light touch on the lathe. Here are some other ones I've done with a similar approach to help emphasize what can be done. (Some of these have been posted here before, but this thread seem to be getting more viewers then past PC threads.)

Kaleidascope


Harlequin


Little flowers


Leaves
 

creativewriting

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Who would have thunk it. A bunch of polymer addicts. As for the turning issue you have to take very shallow cuts. I use a procedure where I coat the tube with glue, wrap, and then cure. If it is undercured or gets to warm when you are turning you might as well forget it...Booom!


Both of these were turned just shy of the bushings. I then wet sand with dry wall screens to get the basic shape (they gum up less). Then I work my way done the sand paper chart and micro mesh.
 

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BigguyZ

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Wow, that flame job is great! How did you do that? If I had to guess, I'd say you did the background first, then cut out the flame design, then filled with black.

Is that about right?
 

creativewriting

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To a degree yes. I made the background, cured the piece in the oven, then carved the design. Once the design is carved I backfilled with raw cobalt blue and cured the piece in the oven again. Once it was cooled I put it back on the lathe and turned it back to the original shape. Finished with CA.
 

PaulD

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To a degree yes. I made the background, cured the piece in the oven, then carved the design. Once the design is carved I backfilled with raw cobalt blue and cured the piece in the oven again. Once it was cooled I put it back on the lathe and turned it back to the original shape. Finished with CA.
With a Skinner blend background -- great job!
 

PaulD

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CWD -- I just looked at your blog -- nice effort and interesting. And you are a member of the Guild -- Congratulations! I see you dislike Sculpey III. Almost all of my PC stuff has been done with SIII, mostly because I could get it really inexpensively and in a broad range of colors. I haven't had the durability problem with it that concerned you. I have done some work successfully with Premo and FIMO, but not enough to like it better. It may simply be that I got used to working with the SIII.
 

creativewriting

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Hey Paul. I think I have the issue because I have hot hands:confused:. I know it sounds funny, but many of the artist I know have a problem with SIII getting mushy and some of us have found that we tend to produce a little more heat when kneading, transfering that heat to the clay. It is like kneading soft butter, frustrating:mad:. Premo and the new Studio have become my favorites. The Premo will go on sale for a buck about once a month. The darn Studio does not, but it is worth the little bit extra. My mom worked with Fimo and Sculpy for 20 years so I think it really comes to personal preference. Glass Attic has a great review of all the clays and goes into great detail about the physical properties of all the clays (cured and uncured).
 

creativewriting

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Skeet, looks great. The glow in the dark clay is the one clay I don't think I have used (Ultra Light as well). How soft does it get after kneading?
 

Smokey7385

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Okay, I'm in. Here is my first attempt at a PC pen. It is just a simple candy cane design just to familiarize myself with the process. There are a couple mistakes but I think it came out pretty well considering I was just winging it. Picture taken with my cell phone so it is not the best, not that I could do much better with my digital.
 

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BigguyZ

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Zander-
What clay are you using?

I've used Premo a couple of times, and in my experience, you have to trust the maufacturer's instructions. The clay will still seem softer when it's still hot, but it'll firm up form some time after it's taken out of the oven. Even at the most solid, it'll still mark with a fingernail. Bu usually it'll go away, unless you really dug in deep. Finishing with CA will give it a hard finish.
 

CSue

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You guys are building one terribly interesting thread. I think I'm going to have to take a trip to Michaels.

My favorite ones seen in this thread are . . . shoot! How can I pick from these beauties. Papaturner came out with a stunning pen that looked as good to me as some of PR Princess' PR.

PaulD, fascinating work! Geez, what a great new way to go! Thank you all a bunch!
 

creativewriting

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I think I'm going to have to take a trip to Michaels
Now is the time to go. In our area Premo is 4 for 5 bucks. Great time to stock up.

As for the fingernail thing. When the clay first comes out of the oven it is still pliable. You can bend and twist it. As it sits, it hardens. I always let mine sit for a day or two after curing. If I am impatient I will plunge it into some icewater for 15-20 minutes and go from there. Unless you really abuse the pen any impression from a fingernail will work itself out. CA will help if you are really worried about abuse. Lacquer is used in alot of jewelry applications and dries very hard.
 

papaturner

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You guys are building one terribly interesting thread. I think I'm going to have to take a trip to Michaels.

My favorite ones seen in this thread are . . . shoot! How can I pick from these beauties. Papaturner came out with a stunning pen that looked as good to me as some of PR Princess' PR.

PaulD, fascinating work! Geez, what a great new way to go! Thank you all a bunch!
Thanks a ton Cathy Sue, I needed a confidence builder and that did the trick.
 

PaulD

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PaulD, fascinating work! Geez, what a great new way to go! Thank you all a bunch!
Thanks for the nice comments Sue. Here's some that haven't been shown here yet

These are mokume gane. I did layers of translucent clay, painted with different colors of ink and then topped with gold leaf to get this effect.



This one is also a mokume gane with gold and translucent clay mixed with various colors of glitter as I recall.



Mokume ganes are by far the best selling polymer pens I have done. I made a lot of the gold ones and they sold real fast. The gold leaf ones are also long gone, but I never made as many of these.
 

PaulD

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Okay, I'm in. Here is my first attempt at a PC pen. It is just a simple candy cane design just to familiarize myself with the process. There are a couple mistakes but I think it came out pretty well considering I was just winging it. Picture taken with my cell phone so it is not the best, not that I could do much better with my digital.
Nice job Smokey. Looks like you got a little pink from the red clay mixed into your white. That happens when you don't really clean off your hands, pasta machine and any other tools between working with the various colors. Red is notorious for mixing into where it doesn't belong. Soap and water for the hands and at least paper towel for the tools is generally adequate, although many swear by handwipes.
 

creativewriting

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Mokume ganes are by far the best selling polymer pens I have done
And they are fun to do!! What I like about the Mokume is that there is no right or wrong. You stack different colors, add in inclusions, and slice. With each slice you get something different then the last.
 

SKEETERPROV

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Thats the only problem I have not had is cracking you could try using some ca glue on the ends before turning or you have some real thin brass....are your bushings wore??? and your turning to thin at the ends??
 

PaulD

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When i put my fittings in they cracked. How can i stop it from cracking? Any ideas?
I've only had that happen once and its when I forgot to apply CA to the brass properly. I knew it was a sloppy job when I inserted the brass in the PC blank and thought I would get away with it. I didn't. The only other thing I can think of was that the clay might not have been cured properly, but it sounds like you turned the clay successfully on the lathe which is where that failure would normally appear. Any chance the fitting just wasn't lined up quite right before you applied insertion pressure?
 
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jimofsanston

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No it was a wall street II. I baked the tubes inside. it turned really goood. It did not feel to tight when inserting the fitting. i will have to try again.
 

PaulD

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No it was a wall street II. I baked the tubes inside. it turned really goood. It did not feel to tight when inserting the fitting. i will have to try again.
Good luck on the next try. Its always a shame to be that close to being done when the unexpected happens. I do a lot with painted pens too and I occasionally lose them after they are painted and into the final CA process -- I've lost some really nice paintings that way.
 

Smokey7385

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Nice job Smokey. Looks like you got a little pink from the red clay mixed into your white. That happens when you don't really clean off your hands, pasta machine and any other tools between working with the various colors. Red is notorious for mixing into where it doesn't belong. Soap and water for the hands and at least paper towel for the tools is generally adequate, although many swear by handwipes.
Thanks Paul, actually I think that what you are seeing is the red showing through the translucent. I did however get just the slightest amount of red in there too but not as much as appears in the photo. I did wash my hands twice before going from working the red to the translucent and still got a touch of pink. Might have to go the handwipe route next time I work with the red. Another thing I just thought of; work the light/other color first and the red last. That should help, I would think.

Thanks again, I appreciate your comments.


P.S. I would love to learn how to do the mokume gane thingie. Those are drop dead gorgous. 'Course I gotta learn how to pronounce it first. :biggrin:
 
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creativewriting

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There is only one type of translucent and that is translucent. You can alter the look by adding other colors, inks, and inclusions. It doesn't take alot to shade the translucent clay so start with small pieces and work your way up.

I would recommend if you want to learn some of these techniques to visit the local bookstore. There are several great books out there that can be your reference for the basic techniques. Try to stay away from the project books (even though they are fine) just get the most bang for your buck and get a solid technique book. If you do your research on the web there are some good websites, but I think it is information overload when you are first starting. Each artist has a way to do something, much like a CA finish. Mokume can be done a 100 ways and you will find the one that works best for you. Get a book, stick with it, and don't be affraid to screw something up.
 
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PaulD

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There is only one type of translucent and that is translucent. You can alter the look by adding other colors, inks, and inclusions. It doesn't take alot to shade the translucent clay so start with small pieces and work your way up.
Emphasis on the SMALL pieces when shading. It takes very little of a different color to dramatically shade the base color of clay. You can always add more, but you can't take it away. As mentioned earlier, I like Dotty McMillan's books and I know Michaels always has them in stock and I believe I've seen them at Hobby Lobby too. The project books are also good when you get past the basics and want to explore special looks.
 
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