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   The Polymer Clayspot
       Polymer Clay FAQ

The Polymer Clayspot:

Welcome to Polymer Clay
Choosing & Mixing Clay
Conditioning Polymer Clay
Using the Food Processor
Using the Pasta Machine
Forming Clay Pieces
Firing Polymer Clay
Finishing Clay Pieces
Storing Polymer Clay
Using Stone Clays
Using Translucent Clays
Molding & Sculpting
Creating Surface Effects
Making Polymer Clay Jewelry
Safety & Cleanup
More Information Sources
What kinds of molds can I use?

Commercial "push molds" are available to make flowers, faces, hands, cabochons, and many other objects. To see some great ideas for using commercial molds, visit Judi Maddigan's Push Molds.

In addition to these, you can use the wide variety of plastic molds intended for making candles or candy. You can use any kind of mold that's stiff enough to stand up to the clay. (When using a soft plastic mold, make sure to clean the clay residue off it after use to prevent the plasticizer in the clay from pitting the mold.)

Or make your own molds from small objects or from your own clay pieces, using scrap clay.

How do I use clay with a mold?

If you're using a one-sided mold, simply push a ball of the well-conditioned clay into the mold, flatten the back against your work surface, then gently pull the clay out of the mold for firing. For a two-piece mold, gauge the amount of clay you need, push it into one side of the mold, then press the other side against the exposed surface, remove the mold halves, and trim the edges with a small knife or needle.

If the mold has areas that are especially deep - for example, the nose on a face mold - form the clay into a pointed shape before pushing it into the mold, placing the point at the deepest part of the mold. This will ensure that clay fills all parts of the mold.

How do I keep clay from sticking to the mold?

Most molds will stick to clay and can distort the design when you pull the clay free. Avoid this problem by using a mold release:

Apply the mold release to your ball of clay before pushing it into the mold. If your clay still distorts when you pull it free of the mold, you can also try chilling the clay and mold for a few minutes before you separate them; this will make the clay firmer and help avoid distortion.

How do I make a mold?

You can make your own molds from polymer clay, fire them, and use them just like any other mold. To make a mold of an object, condition a ball of clay, apply mold release to it, and press the object into it to create your mold. While the object is still in place, flatten the back of the mold against your work surface. Carefully remove the object from the clay, then fire the mold. The process works just like making a clay item from a push mold, but in reverse.

Molds can be made from any strong clay, but Super Elasticlay is especially good for mold-making because it's flexible after firing, which makes it easier to pop clay out of the mold.

How do I incise a design into clay?

If you want to incise a design that's on a button or other flat object, simply apply mold release and press the object into the clay. This method can be used to create raised or depressed designs, depending on the original object's design. You can also use a tool - a needle, craft knife, or clay tool - to create a freehand design in the clay.

Can I use rubber stamps?

You can use any rubber stamp to impress a design into unfired clay. For the best results, use stamps that don't have too much fine detail - detail does not reproduce as well in clay as it does in ink. For a special effect, dip the stamp into metallic powder before applying it to the clay.

 Next: Creating Special Surface Effects

Jeanne A. E. DeVoto
Copyright © 1996-97 Jeanne A. E. DeVoto