Tips for sculpting with white and light colored polymer clay
Published On: 03-01-2012 09:35pm
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Sculpting with white and other light colored polymer clay can be a bit of a challenge. These light colored clays pick of every bit of hair, lint, and color from anything in the immediate area. So the most important thing when working with these clays is cleanliness.
1) Clean your workspace thoroughly. Be sure there is no residue from other clay on your work surface or baking surface. I use a damp cloth followed by a lint free paper towel to clean and dry my glass topped desk and my ceramic tiles.
2) Clean your tools: shape cutters, cutting blades, sculpting tools, bead rollers, everything that will come in contact with the clay. Sometimes I use a Q-tip to get into the tiny crevices of my shape cutters. You might be surprised at how much clay can get caught in them!
3) Clean your pasta machine. I use a dry paper towel to clean the base and the top, and then the rollers. Save all those little bits of clay for armatures and other such things that will be covered with prettier clay (I never throw away any clay).
4) Wash your hands and dry them with a lint free towel. Be sure to check under your nails- I've discolored my fair share of white clay when I nicked it with a fingernail that had dark clay hidden under it! Check your hands in bright light to be sure they're perfectly clean.
5) Wear light colored clothing that won't shed fibers. Wearing a black angora sweater while working with white clay just doesn't work out very well- LOL.
6) Keep hand sanitizer and paper towels by your work area and clean your hands every so often while working. If working with multiple colors of clay for one project, try to sculpt the light colors first, and clean your hands and tools in between colors.
7) Keep Fluffy and Fido out of the room, at least for the projects that require light colors. The tiniest little hair shows up on white clay, and while it can be removed if you catch it before baking, it's much easier not to have to worry about it at all.
One of my projects using white clay was this custom order white flower pendant and black and white bi-cone beads. By following all the tips above I kept the clay clean and white, from start to finish.
I hope these tips help when it comes to working with those light colored clays! Some of these were learned the hard way, believe me! And as a side note, red seems to have the most dye, so I try to avoid working with red and white anywhere near each other (unless I WANT pink clay, that is). Red is also the most difficult color for me to get off my hands. I usually have to scrub pretty hard to remove all the color. Stay tuned for more clay tips and techniques!
Happy claying! =)
-Michelle of CreativeCritters