I get alot of questions on Instagram about the clay type I use, how I do certain things and what kind of tools I am using etc. I thought I’d do a post explaining some of these questions quick.
Now these are MY opinions and MY experiences. I am by no means an expert or a professional. Also I feel like I should state that english is my second language so please excuse any gramatical errors.
A big thank you to my dear friend Lise for helping me put these all together, my photoshop skills are very limited, haha!
The polymer clay brand that I use:
I mostly use the clay brand called Fimo by Staedtler. It is an oven-hardening type that offers four different kinds of clay all which has a wide range of colors. I only use the types Fimo Soft and Fimo Effect.
Fimo Soft: Offers 30 different colors and in my experience the easiest clay type to work with that I have tried so far.
Fimo Effect: There’s different kinds of special effect colors by Fimo also. They are nightglow, glitter, translucent, metallic, stone, pastel and gemstone. Now I could write page up and down about these effect colors and how some of them changed my clay crafting life. But I thought I would do that in another post.
You can of course mix these two types and they both come in packages of 58 grams. Some are even offered in packages of 350 grams. I bake them according to package instructions, which are 30 minutes at 110°C. This obviously is a learn as you go process since many ovens are different. What works for me might not work for you. You just have to try to bake some scrap clay before you bake your masterpiece and see. Also always keep an eye on it as its baking. I’ve burnt my charms before because I been careless and put the oven at a to high temperature. My heart broke when I suddenly realised what had happened because with clay theres no going back if it melts.
I’ve also dropped both of these kinds of clay to the floor many times and they have never broke. Obviously theres a whole chapter on blending pieces together and how to secure your charm from breaking, but in it self Fimo soft and effect are pretty sturdy clay types.
Theres also Fimo Professional which according to Staedtlers official site is more for professional artists and advanced users. Then theres Fimo Kids which says on their site is meant for kids and is more soft than the other types. I have little to no experience with these two so theres not much I can say about them.
Where can you buy?
Many craft stores sell this brand, for the US they can be found in stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Theres also alot of sellers on amazon and ebay. I am from Norway and my options are pretty limited as to buying them locally, theres only one store called Panduro that sell some colors. I use the site craftcellar.co.uk alot since it is what is cheapest for me. Plus in my experience their shipping is fast to Norway!
Tools I use everytime:
I get alot of questions from people that want to start out with clay and don’t know what tools to get. Theres a sea of tools out there and its easy to get lost. To be honest, I started out with just my bare hands and stuff that I could find around the house. I used a kitchen knife, a bottle cap and I think a lid from a strawberry jar to make my first cake necklace. Over the years I have accumulated more tools than I need and I find myself always using the five tools listed above.
Flexible cutting blades: Mine are from the same brand as my clay, Fimo. I got mine from the craftcellar.co.uk. The middle one I use all the time. It is light and bends really well. I love using it when I make my sprinkles because I can hold it at each side and just chop away.
Pin needles: You might already have a box of these at home and haven’t thought about using them. I know I didn’t. They are great to work with if you need to get closer to what you’re making and want more control. Also they’re light to hold. I use them every time I put the little eyelashes and mouth on my charms. Also for texturing the inside of cakes these are great. Downside is that it hurts to hold it for to long because it is so thin.
X- ACTO knife: My life got a whole lot easier once I bought one of these. A kitchen knife only goes so far when you’re making itty bitty pieces. Great for cutting more precisely and in my opinion you should invest in one of these from the beginning. You can find them many places. I got mine from ebay I believe.
Needle tool: These are also on my everytime list because I use them when my hands are to tired of using a pin needle, haha! Same as the knife above, ebay is where I got mine from.
Dotting tools: I believe these are the tools I have seen most clay crafters own. They are super cheap nail dotting tools from ebay, and probably the best buy I have ever made when it comes to tools. I know Fimo offers their own dotting tools as do many other brands. In my experinece you don’t need to invest in a expensive set when these works just as well! Ebay also is your friend here. Just search for dotting tools and these should pop up from a bunch of sellers. I use mine mostly for making indents for eyes or texturing.
Tools I use almost everytime:
Now these tools are items that I got later on, but they have become just as important to me. They are all more expensive tools and I would suggest only investing in them if you’re sure that this is a hobby that you’re going to stick with.
Acrylic clay roller: Mine is from the brand Sculpey. They’re much like Fimo, but my experience with their clay is very limited. I moved up from using a jam jar to this beautiful item. Its an acrylic roller that is quite handy if you want to roll out your clay and don’t want to touch it much. You can find them in craft stores that offers Sculpey, on amazon or ebay. Theres probably also a bunch of online stores that sells them too. I got mine from craftcellar.co.uk.
Clay extruder: I don’t know how I survived so long without one of these! Want to make tons of sprinkles? The different types of disks that comes with this set makes that easy peasy. I always use one of the round ones for the rim around my drink charms. Just because then I know they will always be the same size and I don’t have to roll it out with my hands. Again I got mine from craftcellar.co.uk. If you live in US Amazon also sells these (affiliate link). I HIGHLY recommend getting a screw one. Theres a type that you need to push down with just your hands to get the clay to come through. For those of you with muscles, you’re good, me not so much.
Pasta machine: This is great to have if you are making cakes or charms where you need to stack layers and want them to be exactly the same thickness. The one I have is from craftcellar.co.uk and has 8 thickness settings.
Kemper cutters: Over the years I have tried many different cutters and these are the absolutely best ones I have tried. I have four different sets of these, they come in different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately I have only found them on etsy so far and the shipping to Norway is twice the price of the actual cutters. Now for me they are worth it because of how much I use them and how much I love them. They cut clean edges and I’ve had them for a couple of years and they’re still as good as new. I am saving up to get the oval shapes next!
Translucent liquid and glaze:
This next point is probably the two most asked questions I get and I thought I would just add it in this post. How do you make the icing you use on your charms and how do you make your icecubes? Two magical answers: translucent liquid by Fimo and Sculpey and you can get them at craft stores where these brands are sold or online. I got mine from craftcellar.co.uk, again. This is really my go to online shop, haha (there will be a mini tuturial on these two liquid forms later at some point)! Many also want to know which type of glaze I use, I’ve honestly only tried three types so my experience here is pretty limited to say the least.
Fimo Liquid: This is the one I use the most. It is the most transparent of the two ones I have tried. If I am making my iced drink charms, the icecubes are made from this liquid thats prebaked and chopped up. Then its added to the drink and you can bake it again without worrying about it getting destroyed.
Sculpey liquid: In my experience this liquid form doesnt turn out nearly as translucent as the Fimo one. I mostly use this if I am making icing for my charms and theres no need for it to be translucent anyway. Like for my milkshakes or icing on top of cupcakes. All in all I really don’t need the Sculpey one if I am being honest.
Fimo Gloss Varnish: This is the glaze I started out by using and probably the best known type. Its Fimos official glaze and honestly the only polymer clay glaze I can find in Norway. I used this glaze for a couple of years and was happy with the shine and the glaze overall. Its quite liquidy and I had to practice applying it but once that was down I was happy with it.
Poluyrethane gloss varnish: I later on switched to using this glaze and I probably to be completely honest will never go back to the fimo one. This is easier to apply, dries quicker and the shine is amazing.
Thats a quick summary of my most used essentials! There will be more in depth tutorials and guides later on, just thought I would add this as a first step! Theres an ocean of opportunities with polymer clay and things that you can add like glitter, shimmer, micro marbles, sand, paint ect. The possibilites on what you can make are endless and its SO much fun experimenting!
I will be making a post on all those and my experiences.
If you read till the end you’re a champ and I love you!