ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 19 JAN 2015
So I saw a youtube video about how you can use a mug warmer to cure polymer clay.
And I was like HEY THAT'S COOL AND IT'S SMALL TOO MAYBE IT WILL WORK SINCE I'M GONNA MAKE MINIATURES ANYWAY THOSE ARE ALSO QUITE SMALL I MIGHT NOT NEED AN OVEN.
Hence I took my dad's mug warmer, and went off to Popular bookstore to get some polymer clay happily. (Popular bookstore because by then it was after 8pm and Art Friend closes at 8pm. WHY???) SGD $4.20 for a small block of fimo clay...is it pricey? :( I shall go check out the price at Art Friend next time.
Anyway, so I bought the clay, and immediately tried it out. And since it was the first time, again it was disastrous.
The first clay I ever used was air dry clay and now I know how smooth and easy to manipulate it is compared to polymer clay. I think I was really unlucky too. I did not know better and just choose the colour of fimo clays I wanted, and did not attempt to try out the texture by pressing on it. (It was after I bought and tried the clays myself then I read an article saying that if the clay is newer/stored properly when you press on it, it should have a small imprint you made with your fingers) MY CLAYS WERE LIKE SOLID ROCKS. *KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK* AND IT'S STILL HARD. RAWR.
But of course, I tried my best to condition the clay with my fingers. And, it KINDA worked. But it also made my finger like this.
And of course, people, remember to cut your nails (or at least paint them so it's not that obvious LOL) if you're working with clay cause it's going to become like this.
Honestly, all I saw was the fun part of working with clay and I was so naive haha. You have to condition the clay, and especially if you're unlucky like me to live in a place where not many people craft and the clay stocks are probably stored there for ages and hence hardened. Not to mention Singapore is a super humid place. They're gonna pre-bake themselves. :(
Afterwards, I read that hand sanitizers that is alcohol based will clean the clay right off so I might get some soon.
After trying very hard to condition the clay with my bare hands and getting myself a blister, I quickly google for a solution online and saw that petroleum jelly can help soften the clay. I HAD SOME VASELINE. HURRAH. In the picture above, the clay at the top is the one I spammed vaseline with, and bottom is the raw, unconditioned clay. SO CRUMBLY.
Honestly, I still have no idea how a properly conditioned clay feels like, and the one on top was conditioned too much or as I call it, over vaseline-ed. It was getting sticky and slimy and it's too 'gooey' to even cut properly......
It was sticking to the place I work my clay on too. So I rolled the clay flat, started cutting some shapes, then I realised hey shit this isn't working the clay is sticking and by the time I 'tore' it out the shape was ruined. (I watched more youtube videos and made sure to see what other advanced clay makers do and realise that they used the blade to kind of 'slice' them away from the working space, need to remember!)
And yes, the pigmentation goes all over the place, might be because it was over vaseline-ed but even before I put vaseline my fingers was already covered in blue-ish purple. So that's another cons of polymer clay.
The bump of the blister. The next day I poked it and let whatever inside spurt out. I made sure I squeezed everything out otherwise if there's the bump I'll start to pick on it LOL bad habits, itchy fingers.
So yeah, polymer clays are tough, but it'll probably get easier as long as I know how much vaseline I should put in crumbly clay, how does workable clay feel like, and also how I should set my table while working clay. I don't have much space in my room so I do almost everything on my bed and I only have a pretty small portable table to put on my bed to do stuff. My tools were rolling everywhere and also near my clay and it was a mess.
That was a BIG, but related digress I made, but yes, mug warmer. My mug warmer was 14 watts, and apparently it's lousy for a mug warmer. The best so far is 24 watts so I guess it's not warm enough to cure the amount of clay I dump in (which wasn't a lot by the way but it still failed) So even if you have a 24 watts mug warmer, I'd only recommend this if you were really going to cure really tiny things shown in the video.
Wouldn't it be nice if they have a mini convection oven about the size of a rice cooker? Just for clay miniatures.......... #dreamonxm