I love working with polymer clay. I think I’ve mentioned that before. :)
I have plans for future projects with polymer clay so I am put together a few tutorials on the basics of working with this medium. In doing this, I won’t have to repeat myself and repeatedly show the same how-tos repeatedly. :)
Conditioning polymer clay is a necessary and very important step. Polymer clay is sold in blocks or bricks and to get it to a workable state – supple, flexible, smooth – it must be conditioned. I condition the clay I work with using a pasta machine. Yes, like an actual pasta machine. A machine that if I didn’t use it for clay I could use to make noodles for dinner. :)
I purchased my machine from the clay aisle at Michaels. It is made up of the body, the handle, a dial to designate different thicknesses and a ‘c’ shaped vice to connect to whatever surface you are working on, not pictured.
This is how I condition my clay:
After unwrapping the clay, I slice it into narrower pieces.
Setting my machine to a high number on the dial (high number = thick, low number = thin), I begin to send the slices through. The pieces should get some pressure from the machine as they pass. If they aren’t, turn the dial lower.
Once each slice has been squeezed through once, start sending them through two at a time, three at a time, ect.
The clay kind of fights the conditioning and looks a little crusty and coarse in the beginning. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal.
After each pass, fold the clay on itself, either top to bottom or left to right. In doing this, the ‘fibers’ of the polymer clay are aligning and with each time through, the clay is getting softer and softer.
When the clay is supple and smooth and flexible, it is adequately conditioned.
At this point, the possibilities are endless!
Polymer Clay Artichoke Bauble