Polymer Clay and Sculpting Basics | Essentials for Beginners and Intermediate Artists | Stephanie Kilgast | Skillshare

Polymer Clay and Sculpting Basics | Essentials for Beginners and Intermediate Artists

Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

Polymer Clay and Sculpting Basics | Essentials for Beginners and Intermediate Artists

Stephanie Kilgast, Contemporary artist.

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10 Lessons (1h 7m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Prime Material : Polymer Clay

    • 3. Sculpting Tools

    • 4. Caning

    • 5. Mixed Media

    • 6. Wire & Armature

    • 7. Coloring

    • 8. Curing

    • 9. Sealing & Varnishing

    • 10. Conclusion

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About This Class


In this class I am sharing with you everything I know and learned during my over 10 year experience using polymer clay on a daily basis.

I will show you the materials and tools I use, how to use them, how to pick them and the possibilities they all offer.

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The Prime Material : Polymer Clay
Sculpting Tools
Mixed Media
Wire and Armature
Varnishes & Sealers


Music by Amarante

Meet Your Teacher

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Stephanie Kilgast

Contemporary artist.


Inspired by natural forms, Stéphanie Kilgast’s artwork is an ode to nature and its current biodiversity. Plants, mushrooms, insects and other animals encounter in a vibrant swirl of colors under her brush or sculpting tools.

Since 2017, in her series “Discarded Objects”, she grows colorful organic sculptures on human-made objects, celebrating the beauty of nature in a dialogue with humanity, questioning the lost balance between human activities and nature.
Her work has a cheerful post apocalyptic feel to it, a reassuring reminder that nature has the capacity to grow back, if we only let it.

She built her reputation and her sculpting skills around hyperrealistic miniature food sculptures. Her wo... See full profile

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1. Introduction: you. Hello. My name is Stephanie Kill Nest and have been a professional sculptor for the past 10 years . Today I would like to share with you everything I knew about Poma Clay. How to use it. The materials I use, the other materials I used with Mama Clay like from styles. And Felix the brushes, the tools. So I'm going to cover everything that I can think off with you and don't hesitate to ask questions and I will heavily answer them or even other tiny snippets of video if something is missing. So I'm going to cover everything from the start. So the politically itself how to use it, how to properly use it, how to use the tools, how to make it better. Pretty here. How to use wire, for instance, until baking and finishing off your piece. So this is an extensive class that is going to cover all essentials and basics and is specifically meant for beginners. But it will also be useful for more advanced sculptures since these techniques are very much my own and how I sculpt. And everyone is a little bit different on how to approach art and sculpture. This class should really help you out to figure out what publicly is and how to make the best use out of it, and I really hope you find it useful. 2. Prime Material : Polymer Clay: When working with polymer clay, you're going to need some working surfaces. I really liked you styles, so usually get the tiles at construction stores. You know the stores where you can buy all kinds of stuff for your house, like painting and, well, tiles for the bathroom, etcetera. So usually this always a place where you can get single tiles. And so I have a variety of tiles. This actually isn't the very first tile I ever bought. It's a pale blue because it's basically my favorite color, this one I gots, and the bigger tile here. I also got my from my boyfriend. It's really useful when you were working on Bigger Project and I like to you use tile simply because you can work on your projects and then you can put your tile directly into the often so you have to worry about removing your project from the tile to something else to bake. The only moment I will not use tiles is if I want. I'm working on something that has to have a Matt finish, and then if I need that, then I will use some paper so you can use any kind of paper. If you need a matte finish on all sides, you some paper and then you put whatever you want to bake on top of it, and then you bake. And that way you don't have a shiny surface. When working on a tile. The Palme clay is going to be very smooth on the side that touches the tile. So that's something that is important if you're working on beads, for instance, or something that is going to be handled from all sides. So now to the clay itself, the clay comes in a variety off friends and what I use fee mo and certain it's these two brands at the easiest found in Europe. Female has the tendency to be free a little bit flexible after making, which I personally prefer, because it's less breakable. And, yeah, that's pretty so polymer. Clay comes in a huge variety off color, so these are Senate colors. Eso you can mix and march most polymer clays. You can mitt mix together. You just need to check if the temperature of baking is the same. So for female concern it it's the same temperature so you can mix them together without any issues, however, do check because other polymer clay brands need higher temperature to cure, and then you cannot mix them. So it's a bit like paint in the sense that dark color will take on more than, um, lighter car. So if you want to mix a green using blue and yellow, you will need a lot more yellow than blue. So nothing too fancy. Let me know if you really need a little bit update on color mixing. But truthfully, it's very close to any kind off paints color mixing that just that you are mixing something that is a little bit stir. Aero has more flesh to speak. I like to keep the clay in air tights boxes simply because then they will keep for much longer. You have to know that some of the clay I have here this one, for instance, I have it for I've been having it for years, and so when you keep clay for a bunch of time, it tends to look a little bit crumbly, so I'm going to show you this one. If you take a bunch, see, it's going to be slightly crumbly, so I don't dude much adjust um, put its together and right now, this clay, you cannot use it as that you need to condition it. That's That's how it's called Ben C. I know. Usually conditioning is really easy. Basically, you want to take the polo McLay and just warm it up in your fingers and then start to you kind of mix it so it's become small elastic and so you can work with it. So here, for instance, is clay that has been conditioned, so it's a lot easier to mix and all, and it's already quite elastic. So that's clay with which you can work with. And this clay is not ready now. With all the clay it's it's a lot more difficult condition it as it so what I do. And I feel like it's one of the better options is to you can mix it with newer clay because nuclear is a lot more flexible. It comes out off the fabric and CIT's nice or and that that's quite going to depend what clay you're using. So with female, that's really easy. I tend to makes all my colors with translucent. I used to make me natural food on and That's why I've gotten into the habit of mixing and with English translation because it just looks less plasticky now with CERN it it's a bit different. It's actually written on the number one. The white is slightly translucent, this 50% capacity of written on it, and basically they all have. It's written on. They have a porcelain finish lay. They call it like that, and basically it doesn't when it cures, it's like it has already. That's lovely. I wouldn't say translucency because it's not translucent, but you do see a difference between a full color without any kind of French loosen play and a color that has slightly So. This, of course, is really when you have old clay lying around. But this is important because people think that they have to throw away the clay once it's too old. But that's not the case. You can keep polymer clay for a long time and do not throw it away. It's it's not a very equal friendly material in the sense that is, it is petroleum based, and so I feel like it's a bit like acrylic panes. I know many people see it as as a toy. All know something that you give to kids to play with, but I think that with that kind of material, you need to respect them because they come at a price. They comment an environmental price, and they also are not really on the cheap side. And so I really feel like you have to be careful with what you have and not just threw away things that you don't like any more. You can always recycle your old politically into something new. Even all the project or things that didn't went quite well. Don't throw it away. Just if it's crumbly. Mix it with newer colors and you're going to be fine. So as you see now, I'm making it with the hands. I'm just I used quite a bit of translucent li. I like to use trans solution clay, as I said before, because it gives the finished sculptures something I don't know, something that is more realistic. Most off. I tend to make either food, which I've done for years, and now I do a lot of plans and lets the organic stuff and usually organic stuff is not opaque, tend to use a ratio of 1 to 1. I will usually just roll into a bowl and then into sort of snake and then just fall it and roll and fooled. That's a trough until I have something that can be rolled through a pasta machine. So I roll it from my pasta makers. You want to have a good quality pasta maker. I have Ah Makato, an Italian brand for pastor machines, and it's really good quality. One been having this one for probably seven years. So eight years I don't remember. So I think I paid around 80 year olds. Maybe so. It's a little bit more expensive or on the expensive side. But it's important because everything is made out off steel and sue the gear inside of it is not going Teoh be damaged by daily use. Before that, I had another one and no, no name one, and it just lasted two years. And then it broke and what I do. So I simply full and lets it go through the past, the machine, and so it This seems like something could live without, But to be honest, it's one of the first tools I actually got, and it's extremely useful to condition the clay to mix colors and everything goes just a lot faster. So and now, as you see now, the clay is nice and very you see it's very elastic, and now you can use it. It's so it was kind of an old clay, so to speak. It was from Lee at all, and I simply makes it with Sun Susan Clay And now Now I can use it in my project. No, another way to use old clay and to condition it is to put it in a microwave. Basically, you want to put it 10 seconds every time, and then it's going to warm up and once and swamped up. It's a lot easier to you to condition it to. Basically, it's kind of like mixing without any other colors to condition it freezes. You can see this year is not working, and with this I can you know, I really can do things I can rolling. I wasn sibling that Where are the publicly he If I try to do that, see, it just troubles together. So this is also why If you never try to find articles about comically, they are very intense about conditioning. They always say conditioning is the most important you need to do with. It's very, very important. Nothing magical. It's just the clay kind of gets cromley and hard because the particles inside the clay tends to this disassemble, and so warming the clay up will help to push everything together. So for that, the best way is to warm the clay up so you can do that. But as you can see, if you do just the clay itself XE nearly impossible. That's also why female has something called quick mix. To be honest, it's mostly like translucent clay, so I would not suggest you buy it. You just get sometimes play and then put some turns. Loosen clay, never more than want one ratio, because otherwise you're going to have a very translucent results. So unless you want that would advice against it. Female classic has become fewer professional, and then you a few more soft, basically few myself. This just softer and technically fewer professional is supposed to have better pigments known that I would have ever notice something about that, and then you have also you can buy in very large former so that makes sense if you if you like me and you like sculpting and do a lot off work of it. But for most people, those should be enough. If you make just a bit of jewelry here and there, then that's fine. I get questions all the time. I would publically One of the question I got was, um, do you have to condition the clay every time you want to use it? And two, that's I will simply answer that. It really depends on how you clay is what I usually do when I start a new project, as I have ready mixed clay in this boxes. So I tend Teoh, put them through colors. So, as you can see, those are also appetite. And what I do usually is, um, I have all these colors. And if I take this, for instance, um, it's not as crumbly as the thing I I showed you before, so I if I just want it up a little, I still can. I already can use it so you can see it's not crumbling down or anything, and you kind of you kind of feel it as well. So it's very flexible. It's last take, etcetera. So when you're starting on a new project, as again, it really depends how much work play. But if he clay all the time like I do, then most likely between one project and the other, you have maybe one week and so you can simply use this. And conditioning is really fast because basically, you just want the clay, live it up and, um, wanted into your fingers or through your pastor maker than you quickly see if you can work with the Donald's. Also, you don't need to warm everything up. Depending on once you have in mind, you might just need to warm up three bits off clay, and that's pretty much it. And then as you go, you can always say, Okay, I do want blue in the end and you blew one and then you check if it's elastic amount. I feel like there's a lot off misconception about conditioning. It's going to ruin your project. If you don't do it properly, it separate, which is true. If you don't condition your play, then it's not going to be proper, but it's not difficult to see if you are. If you Clay can be used or not, because it's it's already very elastic to the feel, and you can't actually sculpt with it. If you cannot Scott with it, then you need to warm it up, mixing without mixing it until you have that nice elasticity. And this is also best seen through past a May I feel little bombs off clay inside it, and that's why I know it's not quite elastic because some of its is ready to work with. And the older stuff isn't. You can feel that problematically also comes in liquid form, which is very useful when you bake certain pieces in several times, as you then use some liquid clay to brush onto the surface of the baked and cute clay and add the unbaked on top. And that way it forms a perfect bond, but it also is useful for sealing your polymer clay. But we get back to that at the end of this video, and it is very useful in miniature food to make icing. Oh, ganache. So, uh, to cover certain cakes with some sugar icing are chocolate, chocolate ganache, or even to make something that looks like raspberry sauce or something like that. I have always have been using liquid female but sculpt. He works as well and mix in some normal clay su bits off normal clay and some liquid clay into something that is shiny and a little bit thick. Now you can also buy some liquids colored clay. Um, now the market is full of it. It is. It has a very nice consistencies, so this one is black. It has a very nice consistency, and I like to use it for certain effects. But as a said, you can also simply mix it yourself into this red thick icing onto something like this white sugar icing, which I would use to make the gingerbread houses the big bonuses. When you mix the things together, yourself can really adjust the thickness of it, whereas when you buy liquids, call it clay. It's usually is on the running side. This it's not as thick and nights, and you might not get the same good results as mixing it yourself. But yes, liquid clay is something that exists, and it can be very interesting to play with its 3. Sculpting Tools: So when it comes to Chul's one of the tools you really need a blades. It's really difficult to cut precisely without any kind of blade. So one of the most common one is an Exacto knife. The Exacto knife is nice if you want to cut complex shapes because it has a very thin points, and so you can easily cut something that is a bit more complex. And then you have polymer clay blades so you can't actually bite by specific polymer clay blades. You have these very long ones, which are very useful if you want to cut something that is longer. And then you have these, which hot secured on one side so you don't cut yourself and which, actually a bit sturdy. So they are. They're not flexible at all. You can find longer blades that I'm more flexible that this one, but usually they're quite flexible and a cheaper version off. These, to be honest, rather expensive blades, is to use real blades, so blades that I used in raise this razor blades. However, you can easily cut yourself. Please. There are a lot thinner, and they are very sharp, so they easily slice your fingers, which is not nice, so you need to be very careful with them. I always put some tape on one side so I don't cut myself. What is nice about these is that they are a little bit flexible, which is nice when you want to do rounded cuts, which is quite useful. That extremely cheap. Which is, to be honest, really nice as well those I actually more use for for cleaning up because they are not flexible so they clean up a lot nicer. Or I cut what is called Paula McCain's After baking. I also have a kitchen knives that you might have seen before just to cut out the clay to having the neglect amount I want directly from the package s Oh, this is obviously a knife that I do not use in my kitchen anymore. I have been using this one as a tool for years. You do not want to use kitchen tools in your kitchen after using them with publicly permanently is not food safe. You want to use kitchen to also is fine, but they have to stay in your workings to you after. Okay, now we're going to talk about the tools I use and what you might want to buy or not. So obviously I've been using quite a few chuckles over the years, and I bought a lots. But these are the tools that I use on a regular basis. I have more, but I don't really use the other ones as much. These I use all the time what I used to use as tools prayer before last. For a lot off years, when I waas working on miniature food, I would use toothpicks and also the expense. So a pin is a natural needle tool. You can also use needles. I like to use pins because these come with a tiny bubble off plastic so you can kind of hold it and then you can pick it. So one thing you kind of want to do a lot when you sculpt is to draw lines. So I'm just going to show you different ways to do that. So he I'm using a simple toothpick to draw lines. So the toothpick here I didn't do anything with it, so it's a little bit on thicker side, but as you can see, it draws nice. Nice line. You can poke the clay as much as you want, so that can be really useful. If you, for instance, wants to make a cake texture that is a liberal were, for that works fairly well or in kind of rough texture. Ring. This is useful. The other one. When I was doing me atra food for cake, I would usually use a pin, and this makes a very thin texture, so that is very good for small scale. And of course, you can also draw lines with this. However, I always feel that the lions tend to be very thin, and it feels almost like cutting in the clay. Now, the upgraded version off the toothpick and the needle is a needle tool, so the needle tool is finished like a needle. So it's pointing at the end, and so you can make the same Take text text oring like with the pain. It's just a little bit easier to handle because, well, you have a handle. And of course, you can make lines so you can do a lot of things. However, with needle tools, it's difficult to draw curves because it tends to cut into the clay. And so it's really difficult not to have ALS the clay coming out. I prefer to use these and bossing tools so they come with two ends. One is a little bit thicker and one this smaller swift two of these. So I found them years ago. As you can see, they're very dirty. So one side is a little thicker, which was really nice, because you can kind of push the clay around, which is always kind of interesting. You can always do nice stuff and can also on, um, a piece off clay onto something and then smooth it down. Mettle. So mettle tools. The big bonus is that you can really easily, um, push clay around Is this? And as you can see for this, if I want to make around, it's a lot easier than with needle tool. And of course, you can also draw lines with it, and the lines don't have any edges. So he is. You can see they are kind of like bridges. I'm here. They they look smoother. That's because simply the tip is thicker than then here. So the typists thicker and sue you don't cut the class. The same. That's like he it goes a lot steeper and here is on the surface. So for now, all of these are nice. But technically, you can also use a toothpick to smooth things around. Is a said. You can draw lines and stuff, so that's not too complex for the pushing off play. You can also simply use your finger. You're going to get some fingerprints, but it's easy not to get fingerprints. If he used latex gloves, which I hate to work with, and I I don't really care for fingerprints, I don't mind them. That's not another type of tool that I really like to use. Abu and the tool, his bigger one. Basically, it's, um, tool that ends into a bowl shape, so you have different sizes from very small to big. This seems like a very specialized, too, and it's might seem a little bits useless. But it's actually really useful in tech, Shirin and giving life to any kind of surface. So obviously this is useful if replicating cheese, but I really like to use it in most off my organic natural forms. I also like to use it to create a whole and something around. So it's something I use a lot to make certain types of mushrooms. I'm just going to show you very quickly. I usable, and then I will use the bull in the tool. And so it could be just that. But then I like to push the sides up again, like so with another tool. And it is like this that you can create sometimes interesting shapes. So, to be honest, it's it's often a bit off trial and ever sue. I would suggest to always try your tools and see what you can do with them. And so you have something that is very organic looking and kind of interesting. And of course, since it's metal, you can also push the clay around a bit so you can't actually get similar results like these. Obviously, this is a lot easier to push certain things around, but with this you can do it as well. You just need to be lived with more, careful with it, but it's still it's still perfectly doable. If you combine a few different rules, you can get nice effects to you can get ridges and things like that. I think it's important when you will have the tools to just see what you can do with them. And that usually helps to better understand how you can use your tools in the future and future projects. Because when you're trying to replicate things from real life, it often is just a matter off finding the right tool in the right way to you it. Now these clay shapers or color shapers. They're actually used for pastels, and they have a silicone that's it's a silicone tool, and it's very as you can see. It's very flexible. They come in different kinds of shapes, and so they don't unlike the other tools. They have a soft edge. When you push metal down, then you have a very clear shape, which is interesting. But sometimes you want something that's softer. When you add clay onto another type of clay, you can smooth it down with metal. But as you can see, there are many, many marks, all the rooms Now, if he used something like that, you don't have as much marks, so you get the same result. But without the marks. This is also why it's a very popular to Al among polymer clay artists because you can get a very smooth results. Seamless finish with these and now this. This is very specific category of tools. These are spatula tools, so it's knots crazy. A spatula actually get them. You can get kind of spatula tools for clay that a lot bigger, but these were made by an autism artists that works in many atra, and so they're very, very small and very tiny. And when I first bought these, I had no clue how much I would love them but can do so much things with it. You can push the play into fun shapes, can use it to make very thin lines to also draw lines. So it kind of replaces for me a lot of tools because you can also push play around. I do a lot off organic textures and most etcetera, and I always use this one to make the most sue moss and grass. It works really well, and you can also draw patrons on certain shapes. So it's It's like such a versatile lady tool. I really love it, and it's the one I used the most in my sculpture, and I really recommend if you want to buy any actual to get this one? This is a slightly chunkier one, which is nice because it makes, um, bigger lines. And I used this one for mushrooms for the gills. So very, very useful. He can really work this out very fast assed, You can see if I had to recommend tools to use to buy a few, I would go with this bull and the tool that the small one, this came as a payoff. Three This also some kind of like the clay shaper I showed you, but stiffer. So I I don't use them actually much, but yes. So Bolender tools are really useful. A needle tool is also something I would highly recommend. And a small spatula actual. And the rest is kind of a bonus now to texture clay and do something that it looks a little bit interesting. You can use a toothbrush, obviously one that you don't use your actually brush your teeth anymore. And if you push it against your going to get this nice texture. So I also got this to at some point which does something a little bit similar and what I prefer for text. Oring. It's sandpaper. You can have a look off. I have a lot of different sandpaper sizes and roughness, and they will give you a different kind off text oring. But they're all rather interesting now. Another thing that can be useful. Cutters like this one surround cutters. A quite useful two obviously can't cut out strong shapes, but you can also easily make leaf shapes like that's by cutting. Then, like this, and then you just have to shape you. You leaf into something else and texture. It's to have leaf, so that's really nice. And you have also very small cutters that can be useful if you really tiny things. Um, the's make tiny hearts and flowers roamed and it heated up. So these, um, tiny camper cutters. I used them a lot when I was still making me ultra food. No, not so much anymore. And of course you can make your own cutters. So I have made a lot off my own now to make good cutters, because I've I made my share of Qatar's that are not so high quality, but it's fairly simple, so they like to use them for flowers. I'm making a culture in the shape off petal, and then it is a lot easier to make a flower. So I used tea candles. The metallic ponte is aluminum, and it's fairly thick. So I keep these and I cut them to my liking. And then I push them into clay. And now the trick is to don't make them too big, too, like this one. This, for instance. There's too much foil, and this is why it's It gets rooms after a while because it tends to fall on itself, which is not the case here. So because it's a lot shorter and also because I fall that here it young on the bottom. So these are two things to keep in mind. And also you want to add some liquid polymer clay all around and then bake, obviously, and then you have a nice, sturdy little culture that you made yourself so this, I think, is the best way to make cutters. So this is more. If you are inch mini yatra food, you can use this paper punches to make tiny cookies. I've done it a lot in the past. Making simple tiny cookies to some are bigger than others, but it's a great, easy way to make of looking cookies and things like that. Eso these a really fun to use with kids as well, because you don't really have to new to sculpt to get a good result. And the only thing you want to be sure is to properly dust the metal with some shock or baby powder before adding a very thin sheet off clay in between and then punching it out. And then you simply wants to use some sandpaper and decorated. So as you can see, I have a lot of Russia's and they are not in such good shape. So when you use Russia's on polymer clay, especially these cheap, synthetic rushers, they tend to burn with in the touch off raw clay. This is also why I would not recommend using very expensive brushes with politically, as it's just going to be wasted money specifically on raw politically, so not bake. Uncured clay is going to destroy your brushes, but you're going to need them anyway. So this is why you don't want to invest in high quality pressures. After baking, you can use better brushes. That's perfectly fine. But before baking. Don't use your best brushes. Also, I would recommend having one brush that is used only to brush liquid polymer clay and use liquid. Pull my play as it's going to be impossible to clean it. I also would recommend some brush cleaner, so this is one I really love. And basically it's a tiny pots, and it's kind of like a soup, so you brush your brush, put it under warm water, and then you brush it and then you brush it inside and then it cleans it up nicely. And it's really very useful to clean up your brushes when using acrylics and dry pastels. Also varnishes and and things like that. So I really recommend that kind of things. This is soup with a little bit off Terrebonne Teen essence in its, and it cleans up them well. It cleans with warm water sue that's very easy to use as well, and it holds for ages 4. Caning: Basically, when you canning, you're going to make a big slice off something and then you are going to reduce it until you have the size that you want. So these are rob, but they are not usable anymore because I have them. I've had them for too long, so I just keep them because I'm going to mix them into colors so politically, canes can be kept in raw or in a cute way when you keep them in raw, especially when it comes to miniature sculptures and food. You can add a lot of details once you slice them, so if you want a very realistic look, then this is a lot easier to work with. However, the problem is that with time the cane gets crumbly because the clay is not conditioned anymore and so you cannot achieve the same kind of results. So I would not keep them too long in a raw state, although I have kept them and use them for year, probably. But it's not really recommendable because you can see that you have some kind of loss, and it's not always easy to sculpt and then off course, the easy way is to simply reduced to the size that you want and then cuts and then be a good way to see if it's probably cured is that was female because it really depends on the brand. But with female, you can bend it it and it doesn't break. And that way you're sure that it's perfectly fine when baking off course. You cannot add a lot of details after baking, which is fine for most things, but not unnecessarily everything. So it's really going to depend on your projects for candy, for instance. It's perfectly fine because candy is perfectly smooth, and so it doesn't really matter for candy, for instance. It's perfectly fine as candy is perfectly smooth, and so it doesn't really matter to have a dinner raw states when you are making your cane and you're starting to reduce one way, one important way to G O. So you don't lose ALS. The definition inside is to push on all sides before before rolling it. So you're going to have a big chunk of clay and you don't want to roll it right way. You want to push on all sides before until he gets something that is smaller, and then you can roll it to the desired scale. I invite you to check out the to Charles. I made about them in the resource page that I'm going to add to this class. 5. Mixed Media: Of course, you can go crazy with mixed media, so I'm going to show you a bunch more things that I use on occasions. Alcohol ings work very well. It's polymer clay. So I have these pinata ones and I use this to color the translucent play. But there are other ways to use our callings on politically can basically really play around with those. One of the ways I play around with those is by making my crystals so you can check out the class who are used these about crystals to get a better idea. But basically what I do is to use some translucent clay. And then I had a few drops off that color. And that way the translucent clay stays as translucent as I want them to be. Whereas if I had to makes translucence clay with another color clay, it would lose some of its translucency. So this is the main reason I use the al callings. These here are Micah powders. So the brand I have a spell ICS. I got them from a friend. And so these extremely shine these extremely useful when you work with insects and bugs because you can really add that's shine that birds naturally have. But if you like shiny stuff, you can really play around and put it on other things as well. Then I have microbeads, so microbeads tend to the cheap quality. Microbeads tend to be the into the clay and which can get really frustrating. I used to make a lot of media tra food during the years, basically used microbeads as a replacement for sugar recreation. And the best brand I found was the ones from MARTA stewards. And those do not bleed at all into your project. So that is really great because you can use white icing. So I think I told you before is a mixture off liquid polymer clay and some normal white comically. And I basically used the microbeads and then would put them onto the cake using a toothpick . What I would do is too wet to the toothpick with my tongue slightly, and then take one bead by one and then place it on to the icing. So if you are into mean yatra food, or if you really like, um, to work on a very small scale, you might be interested in using that kind off microbeads. Another thing that's can be interesting is literally. I used the litter a lot to replicate caster sugar because it really looks like tiny sugar if you into glittery stuff. You can really use that on to play McLay. It bakes just fine. Speaking off metallic looks, they're also silver sheets, metallic sheets, so silver and golden sheets. I used these in my crystal to colonel, so again you might want to check that out. But you can also use it on beads and as crackling effect. So these are really fun to play with. They can also be very fun to play with the al callings. So use your polymer clay at some of the silver sheets and then cover with some Alcohol Inc . And you will see some very interesting results. And he had just have some colored sand. So colored sand is interesting, but some of its might bleed. So that is, that can be a little bit annoying. So you want to check it out first unless you're going to cover your whole project with 10 and that's fine 6. Wire & Armature: now another very useful mixed media to use with Allah. McLay is wire, so I use wire for a lot of things. The first thing I use it for is to make an armature for sculpture. When you bake polymer clay, it has a tendency to be even softer and do and so it can full on itself. So that's why you need to make amateur for bigger sculptures and when that's the biggest culture. Then I meet something that is maybe 10 centimeters bigger, something like that. So here, for instance, all the flowers they have some amateur in the in the small part because it's too small. And so if you don't put the armor trip can break the drink baking. However, if you have something thick like this than it's fine, so it really is going to depend how big you sculpture is. But I will recommend using wire and and things like that for smaller, thinner things like that. Also, if you're going to make biggest cultures like this bear, for instance, if you would use just polymer clay, it would be a lot of clay to use, which is not only wasteful but also really expensive. Politically, it's not the cheapest material toe. One technique is to, um book some aluminum foil and then cover it with some masking tape. So this is basically how it would look like you would have some foil that you broke into a shape. So this is something that is supposed to become a cutter feel at some point, and then you wrap it with some masking tape like this here, and then you can cover it in clay and then call. Now, what you have to know about this is you might wonder why and masking tape and not do it directly on tinfoil. Usually you're going to have something that is like this foil, and you're going to mix it with maybe some wire and other things. And so the form the shape is going to be a little bit more complex, and so you want to wrap it with masking tape so the shape stays the same, and so it doesn't decomposed before adding the polar clay. So that's one reason you want to use masking tape. And the other reason, which is more practical, is that the clay it doesn't a deer Aziz. Good on aluminum foil as on paper. So on paper it really sticks to it nicely, whereas on the aluminum foil, because it's metallic and because they are tons off tiny crevices just doesn't really stick , which gets annoying very fast. And it's a lot easier Old Sue to do it on that. I am showing you in Praxis how to do this in my mentis project that you can also find on skill share if you want to go more into details on how to do it now for the wire itself, I have a lot off colored wire, which is rather fun. I used the wire for insect legs mostly, but it made. Basically, it can be used anywhere. You need something that is very thin because problem likely will break if it's too thin. So wire is a good way to add thinness toe a project without compromising its sturdiness. And then I also have plastic coated beating wire. So this is extremely thing. I used this also to add details. I use this to make CAC Ty, and I also use these is and tennis for the insects I used to take ground. Want to use a stems for apples or peers. So, depending on the size of your project or your sculpture, these additional wire can really help you out, too. Adds details that can otherwise not make out of politically only. 7. Coloring: one of the materials I like to mix with polymer clay are dry pastels. So he you can see I have some singularly and those Asheninka And what I do is to I use Are you something like this, the culture of And then I will simply take a piece off here and then I go he and then I simply scratch the surface off So it makes the powder so And now that I hold her, what I will do is I have here a piece off white clay just so you can get an idea off what results we can get. And if you put a brush into the clay and then brush it over, you can give you can get very light shading. So now this brush had some red in it. I was supposed to use red, but I didn't because it was foolish of me. But basically you can use You can dip your brush in whatever pigments you want and when you use them, then they will mix together. As you can see, it's kind of published because I had just blue before and it has this very cereal kind off blue. So you can really do something that is extremely lights, and that is really interesting. Um, because it's nice kind of shading, and it also picks up details very well. So, for instance, if I were to draw lines here, for instance, like so and just just do some random mixtures, some the white, you would not really see it all that much or you see it not not too much. And if I pick up some of the past tail and then I brush it over, as you can see, it really picks up all kinds of lines, and then you can really see the textures that I have sculpted. So it's an interesting way also to pick up details. So now it's simple but very concrete's example on how to use. Drypers tells I'm making something like a cookie, so I used a beige colored dio, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to use occurs and grounds, so I'm simply going to dip my brush and mixed difference. Different shades I usually like to use most Oakland Rome when it comes to baking good spread and cookies etcetera, and then I'm just going to go on and shade all around. And so this is a very simple, um example on on why Drypers tell us can be so interesting to use and sculpting as you can get a very natural shaving like Sue and it'll and it also picks up details really nicely. You have a better cookie. You want to add more detail. See, I'm using a toothpick just to show you that toothpicks are good tool to use, but you can add cracks and then off course at the chunks off chocolates. So I'm just going to finish this until the end. So you have a nice idea. So I used some clay and then some sandpaper. And, of course, the more you will practice sculpting, the more you will find techniques on Paktika. Waste that well specific to you practice, and that will open up possibilities and just a few chocolate chunks. I have a really cute, tiny cooking. No one picking. Drypers tells you want something that is extremely soft and that loses the pigments easily . So when you brush the pastel onto your finger, you don't have to do a lot, and there's a lot of pigment and it's it's almosts. Um, fats. So that way you can make sure that it's really high quality. Pastel is you don't have to do much for its You give up color and the colors are over every vibrance. So I like to use similarly and shrink the best. But I'm sure the other very good brands another good medium to use with polymer Clay is acrylic panes, so I get this asked a lot, but you can use acrylic paint before or after baking. However, I would really recommend to test your pains before because some paint bleed into the clay, for instance, Green, I figured, I'm not sure why green, but specifically Green has the tendency to bleed some yellow in the play. So these are tests I make with all my acrylic paintings and what I do. I do two sheets of clay, and this is something I highly recommend doing when you buy any kind of acrylic, or if you have acrylic at home to know if you can use it with Paula Maclay is to make one sheet off unbaked clay and one sheet off baked one use white or something that is slightly translucent but white, so you can see the eventual pigment immigration into the clay. One of the pain that tends to migrate the most is green, so the green from lick it liquid ticks. So this one, which is a very fine paint, otherwise so. It's not a bad acrylic, however, on politically on unde baked, so before baking. If you use green, then after baking or during the baking process, it's going to lead yellow pigmentation. And so the sheets are rather all there are more than one year old and on the baked one. They're still new peg pigment migration. But I suppose that was time that might have I test. It's a Walgreens I have. So these are the golden acrylics that I have. I got some new once since then, but I haven't tested them yet. And so the golden acrylic in green is the same. It's bleeds out some yellow, so that's not good. So before baking after baking, it's perfectly fine. And as I said, this sheets are at least one year, probably more going to two years old. Su. It might be OK. After a couple of years, I always feel like the process of using paint before baking likely and then curing it. It just fast in the process off eventual pigment migration. So I think it's a good test. He other greens. Su El Bay is left home bourgeois, which is, um, Deco decoration acrylic. It's also acrylic paint, but it's supposed to be more for decoration. To be honest, I tend to pick some pains, sometimes a little bit randomly. Um, and so I picked this one because I really like the shading. But A said it's migrating pretty heavily, however, to don't leak it old. And it is the Apostle Lane pain from CBO. So post Elaine Pains is also acrylic panes. The pasta lane paints from pidio is basically a paint that is used on PAAs, Elaine and Sue. It is meant to be baked with the plates. Eso it sticks to the plate, and I remember when I started off, people would recommend using that specific one to use on polymer clay, and I think it's because those people who recommended it to me they used it mostly on tiny plates, eso on tiny polymer clay plates forming yatra food. And since it's a paint that is meant to be cured and baked well, there's no worries what is going to happen during baking. However, the thing that I don't like about parceling paint is that it's extremely shiny and very translucent. Eso it doesn't really show up too much on this because I just, you know, um, drawl it lines. But this is something that can be interesting and you work. But sometimes you just need nice coloring and not something that shines. And that's why I don't like this one too much. And the other one that didn't lead any kind of yellow is that dark green from Thibodeau Decaux. So it's also an acrylic paint for the creation from PDO. And yeah, that one didn't leaked either. So it's good to know when the mob also actually for decor and it's an olive green, and this one doesn't lead any kind of yellow pigment. However, I might add that the ones that don't believe, um, more olive and so I'm guessing this maybe, maybe this very little yellow are Maybe it's been It's not yellow, but another pigment that they mixed in with. So I'm not too sure I can see. So the she's extremely useful because then you can see what happens. And so you don't ruin your projects by using certain pains and then having issues afterwards. I'm going to add these as references in my class. A simple way to avoid pigments leaking into the clay is to first cover your sculpture and white. Basically, it's like a prime. It's like using a primer, so you cover the entire sculpture in whites, and then you can paint on top. It's kind of the traditional way off painting sculpture. Before that, I would use normal clay or would or something like that, and then if someone wanted a Pepsi machine. And so, if you want to the colorful sculpture you had to prime it first, using white paint or something like that, and then use callers on top. So that way you you don't have the problem pigment migration because you're going to cover your parliament. Play with lay off. I used this technique to pain to the eyes in mice, realistic sculptures and sue its dignity that works well, and I feel like it's good to use different techniques, different ways of doing, depending off what you want to do with it. You can also use acrylic panes to tend to the clay. You can basically add some acrylic panes into the clay and mix it to get on. I shine. I use it in my crystal class, which is also in skill share, so you might want to check that one out. 8. Curing: Now let's talk about baking so politically is a material that is elastic and, like modeling clay before baking. And then that becomes a plastic like hard after curing or baking. One of the great things about polymer clay is that is that you can bake it several times. So, for instance, to make these is realistic flowers, I made the head and the stem. First I put them together, baked that again and then added it to the sculpture. And since this is metal, Ivan baked everything together at the end. So if we account, it makes to bake ings for the flour and 1/3 baking for everything else. And of course, I could have baked it 1/4 time if needed. So this is something that is very interesting, because you can add a lot of details on all sides by intelligently designing your sculpting and baking process. For these mushrooms, for instance, I start to sculpt the stem which I bake, then I m the gills, which I bake. Then I had the cap and bake everything together before adding it to a sculpture and then baking the whole sculpture as a whole. So four bake ings now off course. This means a lot of takings, and you don't really want to use you often every time, because obviously it's a lot of electricity. It's expensive. We all want to use a less electricity than needed. So what I use now is this. Call a stove so it's actually an animal candle still, so it's very simple, so it's very simple. You can use three candles, three tea light candles to heat it up, and then you have, um, and then you put it under the bell, and then you put the bell on top and then you bake it for 10 or 15 minutes. Now this is not meant for politically, which means it's it gets up to. I think 180 degrees sells his, which is too much for clay. So one technique to avoid the overheating is to use just two candles and then to add layers off aluminium foil and paper underneath so the surface is not going to be as hot. And then you simply put whatever you want to bake in it, light two candles and then wait 10 to 12 minutes and then use reassemble bake again and use it in your sculpture. I really like to use this simply because I work with a lot off elements, as you can see, and I cannot use the oven every time I'm sculpting something. This is much faster, and it's also very reliable. And since it's slightly hotter, it also bakes willing nicely. One of the one of the things that is very misunderstood is that is over baking and under baking over baking clay is never an issue under baking is if you under Bakic Lake. It means it's not completely cured, which also means it's going to crumble eventually, whereas over big clay it's just going to look slightly burned. But it's going to be very strong, and it's not going to break. This is also why it's better to bake for a long period of time. So I say 10 to 12 minutes for this. But this is pre baking, since at the end I will always bake the whole sculpture for about 40 minutes, and I bake at around 130 degrees. Sell shoes 9. Sealing & Varnishing: now a note about ceiling and varnishing your piece. So polymer clay, as as it's without any kind off surface treatment is resistant enough and doesn't need to be vanished. So it's not something you have to do unless and this is important, you do what is called surface treatment. So, for instance, in this piece are used acrylic paint to live it everywhere and also use, some drivers tells, and there is a lot off things going on, and so this piece needs to be varnished. The surface treatment needs to be sealed, and for that you have, let's say, two options. One option is to rush it with liquid clay, so this is female liquid, but you can also use skull P translucence. I like to use female liquid because it's the most translucent once baked, and what I will do is to use a brush. I use this brush only with liquid clay, and then I will brush over the baked sculpture and then bake it again so you can bake as many times as you want. So this is an option to do so. What is good about that is that you are going to have a perfect bones in the sense that you are covering polymer clay with Poland clay, and so that is going to be of a risk, very resistant peace. In the end, however, sometimes you want a specific finish while you can't bake everything together again at the end, because maybe you have a variety off sculptures that you put together and glued on something else, and so it's just impractical to bake it again. So Visa, the two varnishes that can be used on polymer clay and that have two different finishes. This is from a Belgian grand, and it's very shiny and glossy. It's cold, then glasses Decatur, and it's a resin based vanish that is extremely useful. And that is extremely resistance and not yellowing. And it's the varnish I used most. I really like to use this because depending on how much coats you are putting on top of your sculpture, it's going to be just a little bit tiny to very shiny and even glossy. So I like to use it because I can get very different results and usually all these organic sculptures in the natural world. They are not very much, and so really like to play around with it and then you have If you want a mat effect, you have this one which is very good, and that works well with the poem A clay. It's been tested its from directly er, um it's directly ultra mats from Americana and those are the vanishes I personally use Now the other vanishes on the market and other sealing things. And you also have sprays, etcetera. I'm going to add a link in my resource sheets about although vanishes that existed that have been tested, It also really depends on where you live in the world. As I said, this is found easily in France and Belgium and probably not so much overseas. But this is what I use. And this is why I am showing to you. 10. Conclusion: Thank you so much for watching. I really hope you like this class and that you found it helpful. If he wants to dive into sculpting and you have nuclear, we want to do I invite you to check out all my other classes on skill share their all project based and I will guide you through all the steps to achieving your own sculpture. This might also help you find some inspiration if you are looking into a new project and you don't really know which stopped, I also have a YouTube channel with a lot of two jewels and speed sculpting that you might find helpful. I do skill share classes about once or twice a month, so be sure to subscribe here and to check out everything else I have up for you. You can also find me on social media under at particular get on instagram, Twitter or Facebook attached to this class. I'm also going to add all resource is and videos and teachings that are related to this class and their true, more specific techniques that I'm talking about. I'm also going to give you a link to ALS the supplies that I use and that you can buy yourself. I really hope you enjoyed this class. And hopefully I will see you in my next one by