Some newbies even giving up on canework altogether and selling off their Sculpey polymer clay supplies on Ebay. Don’t do that!
Lately, many clayers have been blaming their cane making woes on the recent phthalate-freegreen-environment reformulation that most polymer clay brands have switched to.
Treasure Hunt Contest
The new Premo and Fimo polymer clays have gotten very soft. So soft and sticky in fact, that many are tossing around the word ‘silly putty’ when they talk about the new formulas!
The problems that are created by the extra soft clay are many for the cane designer. Mushy clay tends to distort badly when reducing or slicing a Fimo cane. Crisp lines and details are lost, and colors will bleed together if the clay is too soft. Forget about cutting thin slices! They are virtually impossible to slice with a tissue knife if the clay is even slightly warm.
For those of us that have been making canes for a while, this is a pain. But there are work arounds. The plasticizers can be leached out of the clay to be made a lot stiffer. This reduces the clays strength somewhat but since only thin slices of the cane are used, the loss of strength is not a big issue.
If you are brand new to the cane making process, you may be discovering that your cane projects seem to be turning out very ‘squishy’ and unprofessional looking compared to the ones shown in older how to demonstration tutorials. The reason is probably due to the clay formula changes that I’ve been discussing in this article. You may have even been thinking about giving up on making Fimo canes altogether because you think it is too hard or that you just aren’t good at it.
In a previous post, I talked about a batch of ebay polymer clay which I bought online. This purchase included variety of clay brands including some hard as a rock Fimo Classic, some pretty good Fimo Soft, Premo Sculpey, super squishy Sculpey III and a few poorly made canes. The ebay seller had bought a whole bunch of brand new polymer clay at Michael’s in hopes of getting good at cane making. But when her projects did not turn out so great, she listed the whole lot on ebay and gave up in frustration.
If only she knew it wasn’t her fault. It was the clay! And if she knew what I knew about re-working the clay to behave properly, she would have saved herself a bunch of money, and probably a lot of guilt!
The reason I’m sharing this information with you is because this is the reason why I created my Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners Course. I know personally how frustrating it can be to not understand why something that looks so easy can seem so hard to master! I have been considering renaming the course and calling it a Primer course instead of a Beginner course since I realize many of you are not really beginners but would still find the information to be extremely helpful.
Sometimes you can be doing all the right steps, but the materials or tools are all wrong. Only an experienced polymer clay caneworker knows you need all your clay at the same hardness. Mixing soft clay and hard clay in the same cane spells disaster!
Maybe you are a jewelry designer that wants to add polymer clay cane designs to your work. Maybe you are a nail artist that would like to make your own Fimo Nail Art Canes. Or maybe you have always dreamed of making your own line of beads to sell on Etsy or at the local craft fair.
Whatever your reason for wanting to learn how to make polymer clay canes out of Fimo or Premo you are going to need to understand the medium of polymer clay.
So before you pack up all your soft, mushy, new Premo polymer clay and your ‘not-so-great’ looking cane projects to auction them off on eBay, perhaps you should take a look at my Polymer Clay Primer Course (aka beginner course). It will definitely put you on the right track for making polymer clay canes.