Sculpey Clay- Types and Tips for Crafting with Clay
Sculpey is a brand of polymer clay, a sculptable material which is actually not clay at all, but is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizers. It is called "clay" because of its moldable, workable texture similar to mineral clay. Unlike mineral clays, Sculpey polymer clay does not harden when exposed to air, nor does it need to be fired in a kiln. It can be baked and hardened (cured) at relatively low temperatures in a home oven. Always make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for the correct baking temperatures and times.
After curing in the oven, Sculpey can be sanded, drilled, carved, polished and painted with water-based acrylic paints. You can use it to make sculptures, create beads and jewelry, cover objects such as tool handles, boxes, or mirrors, create vessels and even simulate materials such as ivory, turquiose, metal, marble and wood.
Types of Sculpey
Sculpey Original Clay comes in white and terra cotta in 1.75 pound, 8 pound and 24 pound boxes. It is soft and pliable to work and has a ceramic feel.
Super Sculpey is formulated for dollmakers. It comes in a few neutral and skin tone shades, has a semi-translucent finish and holds detail well.
Sculpey III is softer right out of the package than the Original or Super Sculpey and therefore easier to condition. It comes in a wide variety of colors in 2 oz. packages. Several of the colors are available in 8 oz. and 1 lb packages.
Pluffy is Sculpey's newest line of polymer clay. Great for kids' projects, it is lightweight and floats once cured in the oven.
Premo is a very firm clay that is excellent for holding the detail in canes and millefiore. It comes in a variety of saturated colors in 2 oz. packages, with a few colors being available in 1 lb. packages.
Premo Accents clay has the same characteristics as Premo, but comes in pearlized, metallic, granite textured and translucent colors.
Sculpey Translucent Liquid is bakable and is often used as a clay adhesive to join baked clay to baked or raw clay. It is also great for a variety of techniques including color transfers, custom glazes, color washes, stained glass effects and faux enameling, just to name a few.
Tools and Accessories
Polymer clay can be worked with many common household objects. However, keep in mind that once an object has been used to work polymer clay, it should not be used for food preparation. In addition to what you can find around the house, there are many specialized polymer clay tools available today.
A clay conditioning machine (a pasta machine dedicated to polymer clay) is one of the most useful tools you can have for working polymer clay. With this machine you can quickly and easily condition the firmest of clays and roll out uniform sheets for projects.
A clay slicer (a very thin long razor blade) is the next most important tool in your polymer clay arsenal. With one of these blades (sometimes called a tissue blade) you can cleanly and neatly cut your clay sheets or make slices of millefiore cane.
A clay tools starter set has a variety of shaped tips and handles to sculpt your clay into whatever shape you wish.
A clay extruder comes with several different shapes and sizes of extruding discs for making ropes, braid, hair, grass, etc. Make sure to only use well-conditioned clay in an extruder.
Sculpey Flexible Push Molds can be used for quickly and easily making precise shapes and forms. Once the clay comes out of the mold you can further shape and customize it as you desire.
Sculpey Studio Texture Makers are flexible plastic sheets with an embossed texture. Pressing or rolling a clay sheet into the Texture Maker will transfer the texture to the clay. They come in several textures including swirls, scrolls, flowers, leaves, lace and more.
How to Use Sculpey
Before you begin to create, the clay must first be conditioned. This means to warm and soften it and work it to a uniform consistency. This can be done by kneading the clay in your hands or running it several times through a pasta machine.
Once your clay is conditioned, you are only limited by your imagination! When your project is complete, make sure to bake it at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer for the specified amount of time (usually a certain amount of time per thickness of the object to be baked.)
For tutorials and projects using Sculpey Clay, visit ThinkCrafts.com!
About the author, Sandy Huntress
With over 30 years of sewing experience and more than 20 years of crafting I've rarely met a craft I didn't like, and have all the gadgetry to prove it. You'll often find me in my sewing and crafting room where I design and make garments, quilts, scrapbooks, cards, paper crafts, dolls, home decor and jewelry; just to name a few. I'm always interested in trying the next new thing and love to share my knowledge with others. For great sewing and crafting inspiration, ideas and tutorials, check out Keepsake Crafts.
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