Beading

Attaching Clasps to Beaded Jewelry
Bead Board - makes beading easy!
Beading tips
Beading F.A.Q.
Knotting with Tweezers
Stringing Cords
Stringing Wire
Birthstones
Crimping & Crimp Cover Instructions
Easy Ear Wire
Knowing Your Beads



Crafts

Bow Making
Candle Burning
Decoupage with Mod Podge
Folding the American Flag
Floral Tablescaping
General Tips
Melted Crayon Art
Photo Booth with Props - How to set up
Sculpey
Styrofoam
Tillandsia Care (Air Plant)
Vinyl Lettering



Framing

Conservation Framing
How to Hang and Care for your Pictures



Needle Arts

Knit with Milly Video: Blocking
Knit with Milly Video: Cast On
Knit with Milly Video: Cast Off
Knit with Milly Video: Knit Stitch
Knit with Milly Video: Purl Stitch
Knit with Milly Video: Knit a Starbella Scarf
Knifty Knitter Looms
Knitting & Crochet Abbreviations
Knitting Instructions
Yarn Weight System



Painting

Acrylic Paints: which one to use?
Basics of Brushes
Clay Pot Preparation
Coloring Items Using Alcohol Ink
Crackling
Glitter, Sparkle, Shimmer & Shine
Painting Mediums / Products Information
Painting Surfaces
Painting Tips
Sealers
Tin Preparation
Wood Preparation



Paper Crafts

Accu-Cut Die-Cut Machines
Creative Card Making
Distress Inks with Tim Holtz
Getting Started on a Scrapbook
Glossary of Stamp Terms & Techniques
Inking 101
Marbled Look Created with Alcohol Ink
Masking Techniques - Rubber Stamping
Scrapbooking on the Wall - Canvas Art
Taking Gift Tag Art One Step Further
Tear Paper, HOW TO
Twinkling H20's



Sewing

Blanket Stitching
Choosing the right THREAD
Fabric Conversions
Fabric and Sewing Project Tips
Glossary of Sewing / Quilting Terms
How to Wash your Fabric and Quilts
Stuffing (Fiberfill)

The Magic of Sculpey by Syndee Holt

Courtesy of Sculpey.com

How do you know which clay is best for your use? Let's review some of the products and their suggested uses. Of course, all the Sculpey products can be mixed with each other and other polymer clays to create even more colors and textures.

Original Sculpey - this is the genesis of the product - the original clay. It comes in white and new Terra Cotta color. It's most often used by sculptors and in classrooms for art projects. I like to use it as the medium to embed mosaic in. The new Terra Cotta has a feel of actual terra cotta to me - without the kiln baking of course!

Super Sculpey - The popularity of the Original Sculpey led to the formulation of the more durable Super Sculpey, which is beige-pink in color. It's a favorite with the doll-makers and the movie studios. I like the more porcelain look of this clay.

Sculpey III - Now we are talking colors, ease of use, colors, matte finish and - did I mention colors? You can mix them together to create a zillion colors. This clay was designed as the "children's modeling clay" - well, we are all children at heart right? I know many, many clay artists that use this clay, especially for sculpting small figures. Sculpey III is a soft clay, easy to knead and to use. I especially like the matte finish it yields.

Premo! Sculpey - This is the American clay artists' dream come true! Literally, this clay is the product of the artists input about what we wanted, needed, wished for a perfect polymer clay. It's easy to use, requires very little kneading, bakes to a very durable finish, and it comes in 32 colors, including several metallic and pearlescent colors and translucent. These colors are INTENSE, so you can reduce those canes to little tiny proportions and maintain your vibrancy of color. The colors are also based on the Grumbacher color line - if you know how to mix paint, you can mix the clay just the same way. The sculptors love it since it holds their tiny lines so well, the millifiori artists love it because it moves and canes so well, the stampers love it because it doesn't "slump" their designs when it bakes. The colors hold true after baking, the tensile strength is wonderful. Can you tell which is MY favorite clay product?

Sculpey Super Flex Bake & Bend - Those Sculpey Wizards in the laboratory just keep giving us more and more clays to use. This product remains extremely pliable and flexible after baking. The colors can be mixed to create custom colors. As with all Polymer clay products, you can even mix it with other Sculpey or polymer clay products to add flexibility to your work.

Glow In the Dark - This is similar to Sculpey III with one major difference - it glows in the dark.

Granitex - This special clay has the appearance of stone when baked. The fibers contained in the clay create a speckled granite effect that is a real favorite with the stamping artists. You can create custom colors by mixing in small amounts of Sculpey III or Premo! Sculpey. I know the figurine artists like to use the blue Granitex to simulate denim. I like to mix a little translucent into it to create a quartz-type effect.

Translucent Liquid Sculpey - often referred to as TLS, is another dream product from the Sculpey Wizards. The arrival of TLS to polymer clay is similar to the arrival of the paperclip in the office - how did we get along without it? Imagine a pourable polymer clay that bakes to a translucency that can rival glass when sanded and buffed. This product can be used as a "gluing agent" for clay to clay and clay to porous surfaces, such as wood or terra cotta. Once baked, it's more durable than glue. It also can be used for creating transfers, paper marbling techniques, enameling - the list goes on and on - and will continue to grow. You can even add your own mediums to the TLS to tint it, such as oil paints, powdered pastels, mica powders, embossing powders. It's a must have on your clay work table for it's adhesive properties alone.

Amazing Eraser Clay - The name says it all!! You can sculpt, stamp, cane, and texture this clay. Bake it for 10 minutes at 250 degrees and you have a terrific eraser to match your outfit, your notebook, your favorite TV character, or sculpt that cute kid 2 rows up. Amazing Eraser Clay comes in 8 yummy tropical colors.

How do I use it? Remove the portion of clay you wish to use from the package and knead it in your hands for a moment. This will help redistribute the plasticizers and polymer fibers in the clay. This is often called "conditioning" the clay. If the clay feels flexible and can be pulled easily without breaking immediately, it is ready to go.

How do I store the unused portions? Unbaked Sculpey should be stored in a cool, dark place. Heat and ultra-violet are the enemies of fresh clay. You can wrap your clay in plastic wrap or put it in plastic bags and store it. This helps keep dirt , pet hairs and bits of other colors from attaching themselves to your clay.

How do I bake it? The baking directions are on each package. Basically, you will be baking at 275 degrees for 15 minutes for each ΒΌ inch of clay thickness. Sculpey Amazing Eraser Clay bakes for 10 minutes at 250 degrees. Always use an oven thermometer to accurately maintain these temperatures. A glass baking sheet or dish is recommended, however, you can use a cookie sheet, covered in foil. I work on index cards, which I can then transfer, card and all, to the cookie sheet for baking. The card will not burn. This way both sides of my clay have an even, matte surface. Always allow the clay to cool completely before handling it, you can damage your designs while they are still warm and flexible.

Will it shrink or change colors when baked? Sculpey clay only shrinks about 2%, not even a noticeable amount! The colors will not change when baked. If you notice that the colors appear more brownish after baking, you may be overbaking the clay. Recheck your thermometer.

Do I need a special surface to work on? You can work on waxed paper taped to the table, old file folders, index cards, tiles - any smooth surface that is not used for food.

Do I need a lot of tools? No and yes. All you need to create with Sculpey oven-baked clays is a work surface, something to roll the clay flat and something to trim or cut the clay. We've already discussed work surfaces, so let's talk about something to make the clay flat. I use a clay dedicated manual pasta machine for most of my work, however I also use the Sculpey clay roller and even old water glasses for lots of different purposes. They are great for embossing clay into textures and to help adhere the clay to curved surfaces, like glass vases. Now, something to cut the clay - this depends on your age and agility. Sculpey Clay Blades were created expressly for clay use, they are extremely thin and sharp for cutting through clay without distortion and they flex for cutting curves. I also use craft knives, and the plastic Sculpey clay tools for a variety of uses. Why did I answer no and yes? You are only limited by your imagination with Sculpey clay - I've collected a variety of cool tools from my garage, my kids' tool box and my kitchen. I have a 3 story rolling tool box to keep all these in, but everything I REALLY need for clay, I carry in a wallet-sized plastic storage container I found at Ben Franklin!!

Why can't I use my kitchen tools? You can, but you need to dedicate any of your tools you use for clay or ANY craft to the craft table. Don't use your kitchen items for crafting and then use for food again, unless the craft is certified for food use. Would you put a paintbrush in your mouth?

Do I need to put something in the clay to sculpt? You may need to add support to some of your sculptures. This is called adding "armature" to the piece. Wire or wood shapes can be covered in clay to create your design. The wire or wood will help keep your shape, support the weight of the clay and help keep your arms and legs from breaking or falling off. You can also use aluminum foil, tightly wadded up for a basic shape and then cover the foil with clay. This not only helps support the clay, it helps you to use less clay!

Can I change the color of my clay? Of course! You can mix colors together to create your own colors. You can mix powdered mediums such as embossing powders, temperas, heat-tolerant glitters, or Pearl Ex powders into your clay to "tint" them. The surfaces of unbaked clays can be altered with heatset inks, heat tolerant glitters and powders. You can also paint the surface of baked clay with acrylic paints and oil-based or soft-lead colored pencils. The Sculpey products are magic, if you ask me. Both children and adults find the products fun and easy to work with.