Information on a few polymer clay tools and there uses. You don't need to buy lots of expensive equipment to get started using polymer clay.
Most of the tools you need can be found in your kitchen or can be purchased quite cheaply if you know what to look for.
This page lists a few of the basic polymer clay tools you may find useful.
As you become more experienced in using these clays you may need more specialist tools depending on the things you like to make.
There's a whole range of specialist equipment from bead rollers to extruders to specialist ovens.
Once you have more experience with using polymer clay you will be in a better position to decide if you need to buy any of the equipment.
A good quality pasta machine will work just as well as one specifically for polymer clay.
Polymer clay is a lot tougher than pasta dough though so a really cheap machine may not be strong enough.
Take care to clean the rollers thoroughly after use or the clay will dry on the rollers and mess up your next batch of clay.
Polymer clay needs to be thoroughly kneaded so it is soft and pliable. This is often referred to as conditioning.
You can do this by hand by kneading the clay in your hands and rolling it out with a rolling pin then kneading it some more. This can be time consuming as it can take quite a while to soften the clay.
You can use a pasta machine to speed up the process. Just knead the clay a little and then flatten as much as possible then put your clay through the rollers of your pasta machine. Start with the largest setting and reduce the gap between the rollers as the clay softens.
You will need a smooth working surface for rolling out your clay.
Any small imperfections will be picked up by the clay and could spoil your work.
Glass or ceramic tiles are ideal for small projects.
A glass surface protector that you can buy in most kitchenware shops will work for larger projects.
As with most polymer clay tools you can buy long blades for cutting polymer clay neatly and accurately.
These can be expensive so I just use the long blade that comes with my craft knife.
The spare blades are joined together in one long blade so they can be snapped off as the get blunt.
Using these blades without the knife gives me a long blade that cuts just as well as the one specially made for the purpose.
These blades are sharp though so I'm careful not to cut myself. They must be kept out of the reach of children.
You can use any smooth rolling pin with polymer clay. The one I use, shown in the photo is from my kids baking set.
It's made of plastic so it's easy to clean and is quite small which is great for the small projects I make.
Wooden rolling pins are not really advisable as the clay can stick to the grain and cause tears in your work.
You can buy cheap sets of modelling tools in most hobby or craft shops.
They don't have to be really expensive as long as they are well made.
You don't want them with rough edges or cuts in them.
As you become more familiar with working your clay you may want to purchase more polymer clay tools for modelling.
To start with though you will only need a couple of basic tools like those in the photo.
You can use your household oven to bake polymer clay. As there are many different types of polymer clay available it is impossible for me to list all the different baking instructions.
Each pack of polymer clay will have specific baking instructions that you should follow. The thicker the clay the longer the baking time.
If you are using a mold or another object as a base for your clay it must be ovenproof.
Place your items on a ovenproof dish or tray and pre-heat the oven before baking unless the instructions say otherwise.
Once your items have been baked they may still seem flexible and soft while hot. Once cooled they should be hard but not brittle.
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