20 Polymer Clay Tips and Tricks for Beginners

20 Polymer Clay Tips and Tricks for Beginners


Hi everyone! Watch in HD 🙂

In this video I share with you lots of polymer clay tips, tricks and hacks that I have learnt through my own experience and research! Please note that I’m not a professional and that I only do clay as a hobby- it is not a full time job. I have been doing clay for four years so all this is information that I’ve learnt along the way. This video is aimed at beginners and people who are wanting to start polymer clay, however some more experienced crafters may also learn something new! Some of the information may seem super obvious to some people, but when you’re first start out we all know that uncertainty all too well, so I wanted to include everything I could think of in one video for crafters to refer to!

Here is a list of topics mentioned throughout the video:
Mixing colours and brands
Adding eyepins, glitter, toothpicks and other details
Buying polymer clay
Storing your clay
Liquid polymer clay
Securing eyepins
Creating a works surface
Rolling out an even sheet
Creating your own tools
Colouring and shading your clay
How to soften clay
How to harden clay
Using cornstarch
Using sandpaper
Baking your charms
Broken charms
Burnt charms
Painting polymer clay
Cleaning your clay
Glazing your creations

Links to videos mentioned:
How to shade polymer clay video-
PolymerClayTutor’s video-

Thank you so much for watching! Please give this video a like and subscribe for more 🙂

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hi everyone it's Rachel and today I'll be giving you some tips and tricks for those of you who are up again is at polymer clay if you're more experienced at clay some of these tips may seem obvious to you but when you first start out I know the feeling of not really being sure what's allowed and what you can do with polymer clay also please note that all these tips I'm giving you today are from my own experience and research whether you're a beginner at polymer clay or have been using it for a long time now I hope you learn something you didn't already know in this video now this first tip may seem very simple but if you're unsure like I first was when I started clay then yes you can mix different colors and also brands of polymer clay this is probably the most exciting and creative part because you can mix endless colors suited to your project if you don't have the exact color you're after just simply use your knowledge of color theory to either light and darken or change the color of your clay altogether if you have different brands of clay that you want to mix that's okay to say you have pink and fimo but only white in primo and you want to make a lighter pink that is perfectly fine and what about faking the clay you might ask well yes these players have different baking temperatures and times so generally I bake the piece at a rough average of each if you are unsure and don't want to risk burning your clay in the oven just remember that baking clay at a lower temperature for longer is always better than baking it at a higher temperature quicker for people wanting to start polymer clay I would suggest firstly purchasing the primary colors being red blue and yellow as well as a block of black and white because with these you will be able to make literally any color another fun part of polymer clay is being able to add lots of detail and other elements into your pieces I get a lot of questions about this on my social media particularly YouTube about is it safe to bake other items with your polymer clay and the answer is yes because polymer clay is only cured at low temperatures in a regular oven compared to like those proper pottery kilns that need a lot of heat it's perfectly fine and safe to bake upper objects with your clay so these can include eye pins if you're wanting to make a charm toothpicks for lollipops you can use micro marbles plastic or glass beads shells glitter and then you know the list goes on a lot of beginners tend to believe that you can't make any metal items with your clay because it will damage or explode the oven but I think this confusion kind of comes from the fact that you shouldn't put metal in a microwave or it will explode kitchen ovens are different and putting metal glass or toothpicks in them won't have any effect because most cooking items are made out of these materials anyway when buying polymer clay you'll probably want to buy the newest and freshest clay you can I learnt from polymer clay tutor here on YouTube that sculpey and primo have codes on their packaging which includes the data was made so I now do this all the time when buying clay if you look at the first two numbers in the code that is the year the block was made I'll leave a link to send these full video down in the description box for you to check out a lot of beginners to pull on a clay also tend to get the idea that clay needs to be stored in an airtight container so it doesn't dry out and cure on its own with polymer clay this isn't the case because it's plastic based and not water based as you may have experienced before water-based materials like paints and glues dry out if they're not sealed correctly because the water in them dries up but because polymer clay isn't water-based the only way it can properly harden is when you like cure it and bake it in the oven so the only benefit from storing polymer clay in airtight container is actually keeping it away from dust you'll just want to be careful though because unto a polymer clay can sometimes react with different types of plastic and make them kind of have like a melted dissolve look so if you want to keep your clay away from dust and store it in airtight containers it's best to use sealable baggies if you're brand new to the world of polymer clay you may not be aware that there's such thing as liquid clay so this can be purchased in craft stores in the clay section or online and there's a few different brands available the most Jews among craft is being translucent liquid sculpey which is also shortened to TLS and then also fimo liquid deco gel these liquid clays can be used in a number of ways including creating realistic sources and frosting securing pieces of clay together or creating other effects such as water they can be left as they are straight out of the bottle mixed with polymer clay or colored using other pigments as well so securing your eye pins is a very important factor if you're wanting to turn your creations into chums because you don't really want them to fall out the first time you use the charm my favorite way of securing eye pins is by applying some super glue after the charm has been baked and cooled and I've never had any problems with this method some people also like to use resin to secure their eye pins after baking their charms because again it's another strong material you can also secure your eye pins before baking by kind of like burying them in the clay and another way is also bending the end and then using liquid clay to help keep it in place some people have a lot of trouble finding a work surface that really suits them for me personally I work on a large sheet of glass which was cut for me but a great alternative to this is using the glass out of an old photo frame there are also a range of match you can purchase specifically for clay as well a great inexpensive work surface that you can make yourself is using a sheet of baking / parchment paper and taping it to a sheet of cardboard to create a portable work area if you want to roll out an even sheet of polymer clay and don't have a pastor machine all you have to do is grab some popsicle sticks and stack up two equal piles depending on what thickness you would like then simply place your clay in the middle take a rolling pin or whatever tool you use to roll your clay and it will turn out even all the way along when working with polymer clay you don't need to go out and purchase any fancy tools if you don't want to you can create your own using household items instead of using a needle tool use the end of a safety pin don't have a dotting tool for texturing use a toothpick or a skewer need to roll out clay but don't have a roller you can just use a pen or a paintbrush you may have seen already in YouTube tutorials that many craft is kind of like shade they're clay particularly cookies and other desserts and make them appear more realistic you can do this using chalk pastels which are an art medium and can be found from craft stores or online I do have a whole other video on shading as well so I'll leave a link in the description if you're interested if you don't have access to chalk pastels you can also use other colored pigments such as eyeshadow or any other powder makeup these can not only be used to shade your clay but also color it as well all you have to do is scrape some of the powder into your clay mix it in and then you have your very own custom color one of the worst parts of polymer clay is when you go to user quickly and you find the color that you want to use is really hard and crumbly this is usually due to the brand you use as they all have slightly different firmness levels most crafters will find the brand fimo can be the hardest to condition and use straight from the packet if you try conditioning it just on your own it can really start to hurt your fingers and thumbs so there are a few different things you can do to make the process just a little easier there are actually different types of clay softness you can buy to help you if you prefer that but I personally believe you can save the money by using things you already have one way is adding some liquid clay if you have any and this will help soften it and bring it all together if you don't have liquid clay a lot of people also find that baby oil or Vaseline works the same way in the winter when it's really cold and difficult to condition your clay the best way is to get some heat into it to soften and loosen it all up you can do this by working near a heater using a hairdryer placing some clay in a baggie and then in warm water or even just cupping your hands and using your breath and body heat to warm it up another great way to soften particularly fimo clay is if you have any sculpting in the color translucent I use this clay all the time for softening other colors because it works so well and you don't even notice any changes in color unless you use like a huge amount at the opposite end of the scale it really sucks if your clay is way too soft to sculpt anything and all you end up with is a load of fingerprints and dust one way you can harden play is called bleaching and I do this quite a lot mostly in summer when everything is so like hot and sticky all you have to do is roll out your piece of clay on a sheet of paper then sit another sheet on top of that then you can set something on top of that as well to press it down and leave it for around half an hour what this does is the paper soaks up all the excess oils in the clay making it less sticky and oily when you come back you should be able to see that the paper has soaked up the oil and your clay should be more manageable to work with a more short-term solution for hiding place simply involves putting it in the freezer for a few minutes I like to do this when I need to make like a nice clean cup or when I'm making cupcakes or other things from mold I find it easier to pop it out of the mold when the clay is hard and it also doesn't ruin the details however you have to work quickly when using this technique because the clay will go back to room temperature in a short time a great thing to have around when crafting is a small cup of corn starch or corn flour it's really helpful for removing clay from mold and all you have to do is rub some around the surface of the mold push your clay in and then it should pop out a lot easier you can spread some onto your work surface as well to prevent the clay from sticking cornstarch is also good for helping to smooth out fingerprints if your clay is very soft sandpaper can be used with polymer clay in a number of ways you can use coarse sandpaper to give your clay texture while stopping or use fine sandpaper after baking to buff your pieces add shine remove dust and fingerprints or smooth outer surface baking your charms correctly is a super important process to learn about when working with polymer clay for me personally I bake my charms just in my regular kitchen oven if you do this you want to make sure that you never beat clay at the same time as you bake food because the clay can release fumes which will then go into your food it's probably best also not to bake food straight after baking clay either because the fumes can still stay in there unless you've opened the door for a while to air it out really well you can bake your charms on pretty much any cooking dish it could be a metal tray or a glass dish some people also bake on a tile I believe I like to set my charms on a sheet of baking or parchment paper depending on what you call it some beginners bake their clay on aluminium foil which is safe to do but it will leave a shiny spot on the part of the charm that is touching it so it is best to use baking paper after placing my charms on the baking paper I then sit like a tent I guess you could call it over top which I made using foil this tent acts as a barrier to the oven heat so rather than having the heat being pushed directly onto the charms and have the risk burning them it allows the heat to swirl around the more evenly and bake them all the way through before placing your charms in the oven always pre-heat your oven to the correct temperature using a thermometer that can actually let go in the oven rather than relying on the oven lights because they can sometimes be incorrect then you risk baking your charms at the wrong temperature and potentially burning them once my timer is gone off I then turn off my oven and leave my charms to sit in there and cool down slowly which gives them extra strength rather than taking them straight out and handling them when they're at their most brutal stage the best thing about polymer clay is that it can be baked over and over again this is great if you need to add extra details to your piece or repair a creation that is broken only rebake your clay however if you haven't added any glaze at all to prevent your chance from breaking in the first place you can bake them for longer at a lower temperature they won't burn at a low temperature and they'll become more flexible and prone to snapping easily you if you have accidentally burnt your charms in the oven you want to make sure to remove them from the oven as soon as you notice and open up any windows and doors you can to help flush out the smell and fumes to avoid burning your charms in the first place have the oven on a lower temperature and always use the timer so you don't forget about them you can also try to save any burnt pieces by painting over top of them which then leads on to my next step if you don't want to spend a lot of money on buying all the different colors of play you can just buy one color such as why and paint all of your charms after baking them painting your charms is also a good way to cover up any dust and fingerprints if you find them challenging to avoid you can also use paint to add small details such as words or facial features acrylic paint is the best to use on polymer clay and if you do decide to paint your chance they'll need to be sealed with a glaze so the paint doesn't wear straight off them if you tend to get a lot of dust and specks in your clay a great way to clean them is after baking all you need to do is take a cotton tip or tissue if you have a large surface and rub off the dust using nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol what this does is it takes off a little layer of clay on the outside that contains all the dust leaving your place spotless I do have a much more detailed clay cleaning video coming soon so keep an eye out for that if you would like to learn more if you haven't learned anything from this video so far the one piece of advice that I would like you to learn is that you should never use nail polish on polymer clay a lot of new crafters think that clear nail polish is a great substitute for proper glaze because it's cheap and they probably already have it in their house the reason you should never use any type of nail polish on polymer clay is because the chemicals in it will dissolve the clay over time and make it really sticky and gooey the best type of glaze to use on clay that most crafters seem to use is polyurethane varnish this type of glaze can be found online but also in most hardware stores because it's actually meant for sealing wooden surfaces such as floorboards but it also works amazing on polymer clay once you add a few coats is very strong so it will also help reinforce your charm and give it extra strength as well as shine it also doesn't go sticky or wear off as easily as other types of Blaise you can get polyurethane glaze in a gloss or satin finish as well depending on the kind of look you're going for other types of glaze such as scorpy gloss glaze or triple thick appear to work well when you first use them but over time they will wear off lose their shine and become slightly sticky to touch for polyurethane varnish the brand depends on what country you're in so any should work just fine but you want to make sure that the type you're buying is the water-based one and not the oil-based one if you don't want to glaze your pieces at all it's also perfectly fine to leave them as they are so that's everything for this tips and tricks video which I hope you found helpful and learn something new whether you're just wanting to start out or have been doing clay for a few years now please give this video a thumbs up and subscribe for more helpful videos and tutorials and I'll see you next time bye guys you

37 thoughts on “20 Polymer Clay Tips and Tricks for Beginners

  1. Thank you for this vid! Just what i needed! Q: I dont have the bottle to make the clay fluid, is there another way to make it fluid? Need to glace my donut #MEH

  2. How hard does Polymer Clay get after backing and varnishing. I was thinking of making tabletop game pieces such as cubes or meeples.

  3. Excellent instructive video – many thanks…. I’ve just bought beautiful earrings … but fancy trying to make something myself.

  4. Hy ,i really like your videos .
    I just wanna know is the polymer clay food safe?
    I’m thinking to make polymer cookies scriber(cookie scriber is use for spread Royal icing evenly on the cookie. It’s a concept like polymer clay spoon. I’m wondering its safe or not .

  5. Thanks for the wide range of tips and tricks. Nicely and cheerfully presented, which makes me think that even I can master these!

  6. Where do you get your cupcake or other molds? I was interested in knowing where you purchased them. 🙂

  7. Asking for a friend, I’m working on a tree out of polymer clay, and I didn’t use wires to hold up the branches. The branches are sort of heavy and keep dipping slightly. It’s really not bad, but I keep worrying that they’ll break off in the oven. Should I redo the branches with wires, or will it probably be okay?

  8. How I warm up some clay:

    Step 1: Place the clay inside a plastic bag

    Step 2: Fold the bag inside some cloth

    Done 🙂

  9. Thank you for the very helpful video. I am new to polymer clay and I feel ready to make something now after watching your video.

  10. Dear Rachel: You are so nice, a great artist and an incredible teacher! Thank you so much and greetings from México 🇲🇽

  11. Great and very informative video. I live in Scotland so the point about clay being too warm isn't one I have to worry about. Perhaps I need advice on soggy, wet and freezing clay. 😂

    Seriously though, thanks. Can't wait to get started!

  12. Hey I love your video! These tips are so important! I love seeing people put their time and dedication into clay~ it’s an awesome hobby to share! I’ve got a couple of videos myself if you’d like to check them out 💕

  13. I just watched your video because I have an interest in starting to work with clay. You mentioned that the baking clay puts off toxic fumes. Do you know or is there some place I can go to find out if the fumes are toxic to birds? I have read that Teflon and/or non-stick cook wear puts off deadly fumes as does the process of cleaning the oven with the self-cleaning feature. Thank you in advance for any information you are able to provide.

  14. are there any liquid clays that you can pour into a silicone mold and then bake? (great video by the way – thank you!)

  15. Thank you so much for the dust removing tip!! I have 4 cats and 4 dogs, so suffice to say my house is extremely dusty!

  16. Hi there, just wanted to mention, the glitter you get for crafts are not usually metals. They are more commonly made of plastic which might melt in the oven and give off toxic fumes

  17. Powder makeup is a great and cheaper alternative to pastels. When I worked for a figurine manufacturer, we used Mary Kay blush to highlight the pink in the ears of the animals and the faces of human figures. I've used colored face powder as highlight for figured I've painted.

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