Polymer Clay Accessories: from Sketch to Final Product | Bruna Andrade | Skillshare

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Polymer Clay Accessories: from Sketch to Final Product

teacher avatar Bruna Andrade, Brazilian Fashion Designer in London

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials!

    • 3. Mood Board!

    • 4. Conditioning the Clay

    • 5. Design

    • 6. Baking

    • 7. Finishing Touches

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About This Class


Hi everyone, 

My name is Bruna de Andrade, I'm a Brazilian fashion designer currently based in London, UK. I own a brand of polymer clay accessories inspired in art pieces called Eon Loop (@eon.loop) and http://www.etsy.com/shop/EonLoopShop

If you’ve been thinking of starting a new hobby, or even a new business, this class on polymer clay might be an amazing option for you! 

This class will teach you how to sketch an idea, prepare your clay, create a design and bake it transforming into a wearable piece of art! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Bruna Andrade

Brazilian Fashion Designer in London


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1. Introduction: Hi everyone, my name is Bruna. I'm a Brazilian fashion designer currently based in London, UK. I have my own brand of polymer clay accessories called Eon Loop. This is a beginners polymer clay class. Essentially, you will learn here how to condition your clay, how to work with it. We're talking about ideas on how to start your design, we'll setup a mood board. By the end of this class, you will have made a fashion accessory like an earring or pendant. You can make a Christmas ornament to hang on your tree or to give out as a gifts to your friends and family. You can make whatever you want. By the end of the class, you'll have all the knowledge to know how to do that. So go ahead and watch the next class which is materials. 2. Materials!: Hey everyone. This is the class to watch before you go out to buy your materials because many of them might already have at home. Those are scissors, x-acto knife, pen and paper or a pencil and paper, a Pinterest account and cookie cutters. I would suggest you buy a specific set of cookie cutters to use with clay or just remember to wash them very well after you use it in clay. So let's talk a bit about materials and why would you need them. So polymer clay, we have so many options on the market. How can you choose the right polymer clay for you to start working? It's very tempting to buy one of those huge nameless brands packets with tons of different colors that you see when you type polymer clay on Amazon. My recommendation is don't do it unless you just want to play with it and make something that might not last that long. A few dough [inaudible] of clay are very good if you're going to work with your kids, just want to do a craft project and have fun. But if you want to do something that lasts a little longer, bakes better, I would stick to one of the brand name FIMO, Premo Sculpey, don't buy the Sculpey III because it goes into the craft category, CERNIT, Kato. I particularly work with FIMO, mostly because it's the easiest to find in the area that I live. A tip that I would give to you regarding FIMO is that if you're doing this for the first time and using FIMO, buy the soft one instead of the professional, the soft one will be easier for you to condition and work with and conditioning is an essential part of working with polymer clay. The professional FIMO takes longer to condition, it's a little bit crumbly in the beginning and it can be frustrating when you're starting working with polymer clay for the first time. So if you buy the professional one, you already know that. To condition the clay, you can use acrylic rollers and acrylic rollers are those that you see on like Instagram Reels video of people doing it. Acrylic is better than wood or metal roller because it takes less to de-clay. You can buy them for cheap price on press stores or online and the other option that you will see a lot is the pasta machine, if you are intending to transforming it into a business or just making a lot of it, or if you have the money to spare, a pasta machine can be a very good investment. It costs around 40 pounds or $55. It makes the whole process much faster, saves a lot of money and you will have a sheet of clay that is all the same size all the way through. It makes your life easier. It makes your work faster, it conditions it much faster than acrylics. Unfortunately, you can't use the same pasta machine for making pasta because some pieces of clay will get stuck into the rollers of the machine. So it's not safe to consume the pasta if you make it. So if you want to make pasta, get another one. If you're making earrings, key chains, or anything that you need to glue a piece on the polymer clay, you need to buy superglue gel because polymer clay is a plastic, after it's baked, it will become malleable and the regular glue would not stick to it properly. Gel superglue is the superglue to buy. Depending on what you make as your final project, you need a Gem rings [inaudible] earrings with more than one part. I would recommend you buying at least a seven millimeter jump ring, earring studs or hook wires, key chain, rings for craft. Hair clip basis, red basis if you are making hair accessories. Another material that you might want to buy is the blade, this will help you cut your clay precisely, also helps you take the clay out of the surface that you're working with as you can scrape it very easily. We talk a lot about baking. For baking polymer clay, the only thing I need is a regular home oven. Please do not use a microwave to bake your polymer clay, it will not work. But if you have an electric counter top oven it will work fine. The only thing that you need to do is to know the precise temperature that your oven gets to. If you don't have one of those more modern ovens like I don't have one, buy a simple thermometer or an oven thermometer that cost around like five bucks so you can have that very specific temperature inside your oven. Polymer clay bakes at relatively low temperatures. So it's around 110 Celsius. So 230 Fahrenheit for our American friends out there. If you buy the thermometer you have a very specific temperature and you know how you're baking and if you will also bake food, that's also a really good thing to have in your own house. Or jump ahead and watch the mood board class before you go out to buy your plate. The only exception to this rules is if you're very comfortable with color theory, you know color theory, and you just want to buy a primary colors, go ahead buy your primary colors, I would add also block of white in a block of black. So you can vary your Hughes, vary your saturation of your colors. The other thing is to notice that if you are buying FIMO, it's easier to find true red, true blue and true yellow in the professional range of colors than the [inaudible] and different colors that I mentioned before. So know that it will be a little bit crumbly in the beginning when you start conditioning it and it'll take a little bit longer to form into a specific color that you want. Okay, see you in the next class. 3. Mood Board!: What is a mood board? Mood board is essentially a set of images, even chats that inspire you. I have one very specific rule for this mood board that is, do not include any pictures with polymer clay, accessories or ornaments or anything polymer clay in it. Crazy, right? No. Bruna, why are you doing this? The idea behind not including any polymer clay in your mood board is because I want you to get creative. Your mood board should be polymer clay free. When we kept looking at something that already exists, for example a pair of earrings, we tend to go on the same direction of something that we've been seeing before. So I want to avoid that for you guys to create something completely new. When you choose an image, notice why you like it or was drawn to that particular image. It could be a shape, a different colors, the color combos, textures, etc. Another thing that I would like you to pay attention to is the proportion of colors in the image that it shows. For example, this picture of a bathroom renovation that I have on my mood board. I love how the green tiles are the focal point of the image. I enjoyed the textures and the slightly different chunks that you can see there in the shower. The pink and the bright colors compliment the green. You have those marvelous accents of green in the tassels on the side that make everything very cohesive. Now we have the same bathroom picture from another end. Look at this picture with the bathroom scene the wood cabinet and a rug. The wood cabinet here becomes a focal point of this picture. The rug that was a detail in the other image is now an essential part of it. The green became just an accent color instead of the most relevant color in the color scheme. If I was creating a collection using those colors, I like the color combo of the first picture better despite the fact that they are exactly the same colors. Why? Because the green is predominant and the other trends come to help bring out the green. There is no right answer here. It's just a personal preference. If I like the second picture better, the brown shade of wood and the pinks would be my major colors and the green would work as an accent color. Understanding why you like a certain image will help you in choosing your color scheme for your final project. Now go hurry and purchase the clays and the color scheme that is selected. If possible, I would ask you to also upload the photos off the clays' colors that you choose. See you next class. 4. Conditioning the Clay : Hi everyone, welcome back. By now you already made your mood board, chose your color scheme, and uploaded everything to the class project. Let's start by preparing the clay, a process that we call conditioning the clay. Condition the clay means essentially to work the clay until it's smooth enough so it doesn't get any cracks while baking. The stills in videos that you're going to see on Instagram [inaudible] people like working out on their clay. You can do this either with the rollers or with your pasta machine if you have one. The best way to explain you how to condition it and when it is conditioned, which is the most important thing, is to show you in a demo video. So lets go to that [inaudible]. I choose to demo the video with rollers because it's the cheapest option available if you want to start making polymer clay thing. If you've got the pasta machine, just keep putting the clay through it in the wider setting a lot of times. You'll end up with a soft clay in probably a few minutes. You will know that your clay is conditioned when you can fold it without breaking it. One thing that it's really important to pay attention to is every tiny little speck of dust will stick to your clay, so clean your work area very, very well. To remove it, I usually go with the tip of my X-Acto knife to take every piece of it out. If you look and see air bubbles forming in your clay, make sure to pop them with a very fine needle. If you don't have an extra fine needle, just pop it with the tip of your X-Acto knife and then roll it again. Now, get the colors that you choose to work with, and lets condition it. Lets go out to the next class, designing, which I particularly love. 5. Design: Hi, everyone. I confess that I struggled a little bit about which order to put this class, for as right now where I chose or before the conditioning class. It really depends on how you like designing. I'm more of a design onto this spot kind of person where I have one idea and then know what I want to do with it. Of course, this leads to a lot of mistakes, a lot of things that I had just to throw away, but it also leads to a lot of unexpected designs and different things that it was not necessarily coming. You can choose to condition your clay after you sketch it, if you're more organized and planner kind of personality, or you can choose to condition your clay and go playing with it as you go along, like I usually do. Right now, you're going to decide how you're going to design whatever you're going to do; your ornaments, your earrings, your pendants. You can decide to make other slab or the design each individual piece by itself. Those rainbow earrings that you see a lot on Instagram, you know when you do like a tiny snake when you're a kid with Play-Doh, that's the method that you can use to make the rainbow earrings that are so cool. Or you can make a slab. What is a slab? To make a slab essentially means that you're going to choose the background color to make a sheet of polymer clay. You then going to use other colors or even the same color of polymer clay to draw on top of it. It's a really good opportunity to do reuse and honestly, I think it's one of the coolest ways to draw and play with polymer clay. I love it. Tag me on Instagram if you're posting it there. I'll love to see your videos and share it on my Instagram. A very popular pattern that I'm going to show here is the terrazzo, which will consist of ripping small pieces of different colors and adding it to the sheet. To make a terrazzo, you will roll over the pieces that you added with the acrylic rollers or through the pasta machine. You can also make abstract shape of lines with polymer clay and have it raised. You will have to press into a little bit so you can stick to the background base. Now, how do you get the shapes? As I said in the list of materials, you can have an X-ACTO knife or a cookie cutter. You can draw a shape that you like in a piece of paper, cut it, out place it on top of your clay, and cut it around it. It would take a little bit of time, but you have something completely original and unique. It's easier to work with cut-outs and slab that are not raised. That way you can fully hold the cut-out on top of the slab to cut it. If you have a raised surface, you don't want to press down on it so it becomes a little simple to cut it. Of course, you can do it, but it's not the easiest thing. For raised slab, I like better working with cookie cutters. You can do a lot with geometric shapes and of course, you can use both the cutters and the X-ACTO knife to bring texture to your work. If you're making earrings that will have one or more pieces that we need to be attached to each other, this is the time for you to decide where does its attachment is going to happen, and poke a small hole with a toothpick or even with the tip of your X-ACTO knife in the desired area. Remember to post your processed pictures and the class project areas so I can see it and you can check it out later. See you next class. 6. Baking : Ready set bake. Now you have your design set. You can go around and preheat your oven to the temperature on your package of polymer clay. It varies according to the brand so look it up. I place my pieces on top of a sheet of cobalt paper just because it's easier to carry around from my office to my kitchen. You can use regular paper sheet if you want to. I have this piece of aluminum paper that I use to cover the clay when it's baking so I keep the smell inside. How long to bake? Your package will tell you how many minutes you need to bake. I usually double whatever time is written on the package. I keep the same temperature. This is very, very important. You need to keep the same temperature or you can double the time. Is there any issue in doubling the time or tripling the time or even forgetting about it and coming back two hours later? No. Will it burn the clay? No. So the rule here is over baking it, it's better to go longer than what the package states for you to go. But keep the same temperature. Polymer clay burns, if you bake it at 170 Celsius. That's why having a precise temperature of your oven is very important. If someone, for example, used your oven before, it can mess up your process. At the end of your bake, your pieces should be malleable and not hard. You should be able to bend it a little bit and not break it. If you're not happy with your bake, if you need longer time or if you just want to add more components to it, you're not satisfied with your design, fine. No problem. Add the extra elements to it and put it there. Bake it again as many times as you want or need. Baking is really an important part and honestly, a lot of people do a lot of drama over it, and for me it's just like damn over bake it. There's no problem. Make sure that you put your oven the right temperature and remember if you don't have a precise oven please get an oven thermometer so you know what you are putting your clay to bake. Let's go ahead to the next class. 7. Finishing Touches : Hi, everyone. We've finally baked all of our four pieces. Right now, you're probably taking them out of the oven or already took them out of the oven. Wait until they are cold to do the finishing touches. Please don't try to do this with hot pieces. I don't want you to burn your fingers. That's a terrible idea. We're almost done. Honestly, you should feel very proud of yourself for finishing this project. I know how easy it is to start something and put it aside, so I'm very happy that you took the time and you're here with me in the final class. For the finishing touches, it's basically small details that will make your finishing product look a little bit more professional. Especially if you cut it with a plastic cutter, you might see around the edges of your piece that there are tiny bits of clay that are not really supposed to be there. It doesn't look as sharp or as clean as you wanted to. In this video, I'm going to teach you how to clean that up and make everything look really professional. Now it's time to put your pieces together. If you have a nail file laying around, you can also use it to file your sides. People call this sanding. We usually do this with a Dremel or rotary device, but it's fine if you do it with a nail file laying around. Make sure to use the thin side so it doesn't leave a mark. You can also buy a sheet of fine sandpaper at a craft store to do that. Make sure that you're only filing and sanding the sides of your piece. Don't sand the surface or the back end of your piece because if there's any difference in size, it will show up more. This is a tip for you that are making earrings with stud backs. After you glue it, take a sheet of clay and roll it very thin. Cut it into shape of the stud area. Take a small piece of paper and pierce it so the stud can go through, and press it down on the clay. You can go over the sides with your X-Acto knife, just cleaning up the edges like so. Bake it again and you will have a beautiful finished earring with a very secure post. I really hope you liked this class. It was my first ever class here on Skillshare or in life. Please feel free to leave any feedback you want also in the project area or in the questions area. Let me know if there's any specific class, specific thing that you want me to record at last on. Thanks for having me, thanks for the opportunity, and please remember to post everything and enjoy what you do. Bye, see you soon.