Friday, 13 March 2015

My Polymer Clay (Tool) Box!

Hi Guys!
I know it's been a while since Christmas, but I got a lot of stuff for polymer clay.
Recently I also orderd some new things,
so I thought it would be the perfect moment to do a polymer clay (tool) box update,
while walking you though some basic things I would recommend getting when starting with polymer clay,
plus some useful tools that might be worth getting when you're a little more advanced!
So let's start!

This is the box I keep my (stuff for) polymer clay in. It's a little messy here, but I organized it a bit better after taking everything out of the box for pictures... Beside that, I don't know where this box is from, because my mother gave it to me. But I'd reckon something like this is pretty easy to find. So let's get on with it!


 This is all the clay I have. It's quite a lot, but I use all of it. I got the small blocks before the big ones, which is why I have some double and unopened colours. I think it's pretty clear I've got a favourite polymer clay brand... I just think Fimo is the softest, easiest to get etc.. If you're interested in a detailed fimo clay review, please let me know in the comments!
As for storage, make sure you keep your clay airthight in a dark, dry and cool place (otherwise it will get hard and crumbly). The bigger blocks have re-closable cases, which is really convenient.
The colours I use the most are white and black, so it's clever to always have a back-up on those two. I also have one fimo effect block, which I will tell you more about in a bit!
 I don't have any names of the smaller blocks, because they came in a kit, but if you zoom in on the picture above, you will be able to read the names of the bigger blocks. Just ask if you have any questions about a specific colour!
One special kind of clay I really wanted to get, was translucent clay. There's a lot of different colours  translucent clay, but I got white so I could just mix it with any other colour for a translucent effect. You can do many things with it like creating salt or a class effect. If you want more ideas for translucent clay, click here!

Cleaning up!

As you might have noticed, I only keep the two poducts on the right in my box.  I keep the alcohol and cleanser seperate because they don't fit in the box, but are still really useful (I switched the nailpolish remover for the cleanser after taking these pictures).
You might be wondering what the hell these products have to do with polymer clay, but they're 100% necessary (well not all of them, at least one or two). One of the biggest problems I have with polymer clay charms is that they're very hard to keep clean / finger print- and dust free. The alchol is very useful for removing dust after baking (but also works while it's still soft), the gel nail cleanser is good for cleaning your work surface (as well as almost all other options), the nail polish remover could replace the alcohol if it contained acetone (but it works the best on non-baked charms), and the hand gel is good for cleaning your hands in between colours or before you start. So just decide which ones you want to get/already have!

Pliers and Cutters!

I use pliers wheneve I make charms. It's useful for making the eyepin, adjusting/cutting it, and just good to have when you're into polymer clay jewelry. Beside that they're also helpful to bend iron wire for a doll skeleton, but they're not really necessary if you don't make charms or stuff like that.
If you want to start with polymer clay, I would say some kind of cutter or blade is the most important tool to have. You can do things without one, but it's pretty limited. I would recommend getting an x-acto knife, but they're hard to get where I live, so I just use an utility knife. Next to that I also have three different kinds of blades; one normal plain one and two special ones.
These are the two special blades. They're both bendable, but one is curvy and one is straight. The straight bendable one is very helpful if you want to make a clean and smooth curved cut, which I often do. The curvy one is really good for decorative edges.

Sculpting Tools

Sculpting tools are tools I love to work with, but they're absolutely not necessary.  I personally use a home-made dotting tool (I lost my storebought one but I'll probably buy a new set), needles and toothpicks, a tooth brush and a set of plastic sculpting tools from fimo. I use all of them and they improve my pieces, but I don't think they're necessary (for every project).

Paint and Glaze!

If you want to make your pieces as professional and long-lasting as possible, you are going to need glaze. I used nail polish when I started, but that gets really sticky after a while (so I don't recommend it). At the moment I'm using the water-based glaze from fimo. I love it, because it dries fast and leaves a very nice glossy finish! I usually give the whole charm one coat by dipping it into the jar, then I hang it and leave it to dry for 24 hours. After that I give each side a coat using a brush and I leave to dry for a day inbetween.
I tend to do my faces using clay, but if I make pieces that have big parts of white and/or black, I like to paint that over with acrylic paint to give it a more even look.
I use the brushes for paint, or for shading using pastels (not in picture). I like using pastels, but they're only necessary for an easy gradient effect or realistic food charms, however it's the best to decide for yourself what's necessary and what isn't. 


I have two push molds: one for dolls and one for random shapes. I haven't really used the one for dolls, but the other one is really usefull. These are, however, push moulds, so the pieces can be indented after you've used pressure to push them out. I solve this by dusting the mould with a cheap translucent loose make-up powder generously before using it. That way when I'm done, I can just flip the mould over, stretch a bit and the the piece will fall-out (it won't be indented).

Eyepins & etc.!

I make the eyepins for my charms myself using paperclips, but I don't recommend doing that. The wire used for paperclips is a little too thick, but I can't get my hands on anything better. I use the rings from old bracelets, because I don't really know where to get them :-).
Beside that I also use hand-drawn templates, circle jewelry frames, and cotten swabs 
(combined with rubbing alcohol to clean finger prints). I would say most of these things are manditory, espicially if you want your pieces to have neat finish.

The Rest!

We've finally arrived at the last category; the stuff I didn't really know where to fit in! 
To start this list off: a flat clear plastic case. I use this as my working surface, in case the surface under it is dirty. This is just to keep my pieces as clean as possible!
Then one of the products I absolutely love but also absolutely isn't necessary: liquid fimo clay! This is great for securing eyepins, securing parts of clay together and for special effects/icing/water. I love it and I use it for almost every piece I make, but I also have done a lot of polymer clay pieces without it for a long time.
Last but certainly not least: my trusty acrylic rolling pin! I also didn't have this for a long time, but I use for every piece now. It makes my charms a lot neater, and reduces finger prints. I love it!
So that's it for my polymer clay tool box! I'll probably make another polymer clay tutorial soon, but I hope you also enjoyed this! Please leave a comment if you want me to do a review on a specific product, or a whole post on a certain subject. Thank you for reading!
What do you enjoy using polymer clay for the most?
xXx Me

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