With Fall comes many new crafting and bead classes to choose from. Time to get prepared:
Q: Hello, thank you for your site. I am about to start my first class in Polymer and I am puzzled. What is the best Pasta Machine to use (I will be using an electric motor) and what is the best Convection oven to use? I get so many different answers, I don’t know where to turn. Thank you for your help. ~Debbie McLelland
A: I know it can be very confusing to start out in any new hobby. Every expert has a different opinion on what is the right technique to use, or what tool is best suited for the job.
In my opinion, the best tools to buy really depends on what you plan on doing with the medium.
A good entry level polymer clay pasta machine for hobbyist and part time jewelry makers is made by Amaco. It’s got 6″ wide rollers, 7 settings and is costs between $20 and $30.
I actually have an Amaco machine that is still going strong after several years of continual use. What can dramatically shorten their life and effectiveness is when hard clay is always being jammed through the rollers. This puts them out of alignment and can strip the gears.
A lot of high production clayers use the Atlas machine. There are several models to choose from with optional attachments like cutters and motors. They come in 6″ and 7″ widths and are durable and well made in Italy. A 6″ model with no cutters runs about $70 and the motor is an additional $150.
Another great product is the Makin’s Professional Ultimate Clay Machine. It has non-stick rollers and 9 thickness settings. The original Makin’s Machine had some issues, but they have now been resolved. They sell for around $45 with an optional motor at $70. But if you go this route, don’t buy a used one since it will probably be one of the original models. And also don’t buy a new one that’s been sitting on the shelf ‘forever’.
On the subject of motors, they really are a luxury item for most people. Of course if you have strength issues with your wrists and hands, it may be a necessary item too. This choice is really up to you.
As far as ovens for baking your clay, read these articles for more information:
A special convection oven is really not necessary but is kind of nice since they distribute heat more evenly.
Hopefully this clears a few things up for you Debbie… regarding which polymer pasta machine and sculpey baking oven to buy.
By the way, if you want a full run down of all the tools and materials needed (and not needed) for beginning with polymer clay, my $37 basics course will save you a lot of time, energy and money [See this link for more info: Beading Classes on Video].
You might be interested in hearing how one my readers who is now learning from my videos, described her experience at local classes:
“I am such a newbie!! Even though I have taken a couple of classes locally, the instructor went so fast trying to cram as much into the time as possible… I was overwhelmed and truthfully don’t remember all that much.” ~Marsha
Obviously Marsha’s experience is not the case for all local classes, but it’s not uncommon either. With my online video classes, you go at your own pace and are able to review the lessons as often as you like, for as long as you like. Plus if you get stuck at any point, I’m here to answer your questions.
“Cindy – Your program has given me the confidence and basics to get started in clay. I took your advise on all of your recommendations. Needless to say, I am hooked! I love the fact that I can go back and refer to your videos over and over again. Your program could not be better.”
“Hi Cindy, I have learned a great deal from the course and am glad to have it to refer to when I need to refresh my memory. The material is well thought out and presented in an easy to understand format. Sometimes teachers forget that their students don’t know as much as they do and their instructions are too advanced. You, on the other hand, know your audience.” ~Lani King