Buying Polymer Clay Tips And Tricks

Buying Polymer ClayVideo #383: Learn how to avoid getting stuck with old unworkable packages of polymer clay.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Tips for buying fresh polymer clay in person and online.
  • Never buy polymer clay online in the Summer when it is hot.
  • Clay that is shipped in hot weather can arrive partially baked and unworkable.
  • Keep in mind where the product is being shipped from. If you live in Australia and it is winter, but the clay is coming from the USA, remember that it will be Summer there and therefore hot.
  • Spring and Fall are better times to ship polymer clay since it will be cooler no matter where you live.
  • Packaging changes from time to time. Learn what is old and new in the packaging of your favorite brands of polymer clay, so that you don’t buy old clay by mistake.
  • Companies will discontinue certain colors or lines of polymer. Knowing this will help you to not buy old clay.
  • Squeezing the block of clay will help determine the freshness. Although each brand will have different softness levels when fresh, even a firm brand should have some ‘give’ to it.
  • The finger squeeze comparison test.
  • Premo Sculpey and Sculpey III have numbers printed on them that I personally think are manufacturing dates for the clay, although I do not have official confirmation from Polyform on that.


Question of the Day:

Have you ever mistakenly bought an old (unworkable) block of polymer clay? And do you think the tips provided in today’s video will help you to avoid making that same mistake again?

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Buying Polymer Clay. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Comments

  1. I’m going to be different. Again. ;)

    I don’t disagree with Cindy’s recommendations here for the typical clayer, but I personally prefer to work with extra-firm clay and find soft clay extremely annoying, so I *LOVE* old clay and *HATE* fresh clay! LOL

    My version of the finger squeeze test is that if I can compress a clay package with my fingers without applying extreme force (and I’m quite a bit stronger than most women), it’s too soft to use and needs to go into my bulk storage area for a few years until the chemicals advance and it firms up a lot. If I don’t have any older packages of a particular clay I might leach it instead to firm it up, but that’s a bit more work so I prefer to use older, firm clay if possible.

    I’ve occasionally deliberately bought old clay. For instance, when Kato introduced their current softer formulation (which is too soft for me unless it’s aged a lot), I bought up all the stocks of the previous old, hard (and yes, prone-to-crumble!) formulation that I could get my hands on, from anywhere that still had it, because I like it better. Mind you, my favourite Kato formulation is the one from before THAT, i.e. before they went phthalate-free, so something like 5 years old at a minimum now; it’s still definitely my absolulte favourite product to work with.

    I like extra-firm clay because it doesn’t deform accidentally and even thin layers can hold complex shapes, it’s not sticky and you rarely get air bubbles, it’s not prone to fingerprints or other accidental marks, it doesn’t pick up fluff from the environment or even if you drop it on the floor, and it gives nice precise lines and edges whether in canes or dimensional pieces.

    That said, there are some handling differences. For example, the technique for conditioning hard or crumbly clay is a bit different to how you’d condition softer clay (you DON’T do it at a thick setting on the pasta machine, for starters, and it’s relatively hard on the pasta machine in any case), although I’ve never had any clay that I couldn’t condition and use. Canes made with firm clay take more hand strength to reduce. Techniques that rely on the clay deforming easily, like using a sheet of plastic between your cutter and your clay to get rounded cabochon-type edges when you cut, simply don’t work. Firm clay is also difficult to extrude (I’ve broken a couple of the green aluminium Makin’s extruders forcing firm clay through them), so even I mostly use softer clay there (although Cindy has an awesome example of an extruder technique that uses a mixture of crumbly, firm and soft clays in her Jupiter Beads Technique, which I totally love!)

    So: I’ve never bought any clay that was unworkably hard; I *have* bought clay that was unworkably *soft*!

    • LOL you are such a rebel Sue! That is why we love you! I think most everyone here would have trouble working with clay that is as hard as you like, though you are right about some of the benefits of firmer clay.

      To be totally honest, my favorite clay is a fresh, soft block of Premo that I bought and then stored properly myself, for about a year to firm up a bit. That kind of advice for most people is pretty unworkable though, so I chose not to mention that.

      Since I generally wait for sales and always make sure to stock every color of clay with a minimum of two blocks, most of my clay gets the chance to sit for a bit. I do agree that soft mushy clay is a total pain. But I’d rather be in control of the aging process than to have a store or warehouse do it for me.

      Although I do like polymer clay to be a little on the firm side, I don’t think I’d have the patience or the strength to work with clay as hard as you like. Ever since I suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and the surgeries that followed, it is too painful and hard on my hands to push them very far.

      (I used to be so tough when I was a fish farmer and a deckhand on my dad’s fish boat. So I do understand the pleasure of putting a little muscle into your work. It’s just not in me anymore.)

      Thank you as usual for your different approach to things. It makes it more interesting around here!

      • Ah, Cindy, that’s a much nicer way of putting it than saying I’m stark raving mad / totally insane! LOL

        And you’re right, my preferred clay consistency is definitely too firm for most people, although if I were teaching the directly-known and very limited audience of my friends and family members I’d still recommend firmer clay rather than softer clay for all except one (say, current Kato, or year-plus-old Premo like you described), just for ease of handling.

        I’m lucky enough not to have had any issues with my wrists or arms, and while I’ve had a wide variety of broken fingers and smashed knuckles over the past few years (from martial arts, and entirely my own fault) they haven’t had too much of an effect on the force I can comfortably apply with my hands, even when still in the mangled state. Living in a relatively warm climate possibly makes a bit of a difference too.

        I just thought I’d put my $0.02 in, as an (admittedly somewhat extreme) illustration that soft/fresh clay isn’t necessarily the best choice for use (physical restrictions aside), even as a beginner.

        I’m mainly thinking back to when I first found this site, and I simply couldn’t understand why there was so much discussion about things like dealing with fingerprints (the subject of a recent thread too), cleaning clay residue from what seemed like *everything*, managing environmental fluff (also discussed recently), etc., because even when I’d been a total clay newbie I’d never had those issues.

        I’d only used (firm) Kato at the time, except for a single impatience-induced misadventure with Sculpey III that I’d managed to purge from my brain, so none of those topics made any sense: why bother about those issues when you’d have to go out of your way to cause them in the first place? It wasn’t until I tried a soft clay brand that the lightbulb went on and I realised that with softer clay you had to pay attention to those kinds of things.

        (I’ve just dug out my very earliest polymer clay beads to make sure my memory wasn’t overly-idealistic, and even with today’s much more experienced eyes they have nice clean lines and are not at all fingerprinty, even though I didn’t take particular care with *anything* back then.)

        So yes, it takes me longer to condition my clay and to reduce my canes… but on the flip side I hardly ever have to spend any time dealing with fingerprints or fluff or undoing distortion, and there are a few techniques I’ve learned that don’t work at all unless the clay is very close to my preferred firmness. It’s a matter of trade-offs, and everbody will have their own thoughts on the best balance. (And mine will probably be waaaaay out there. But on a positive note, at least it’s fairly unlikely that anyone will want to “borrow” my clay! LOL)

        Of course, being able to control the clay aging process yourself, as you described, is the ideal situation.

      • Hi Cindy
        would you mind sharing how long it took you to heal from your hand surgery? I guess what I really want to know is how long you were away from your polymer clay –
        I can’t get a straight answer from my Dr. ( probley cuz she doesn’t under us polyclay people:) and our ‘need’ to clay) lol

        • Well Sherry, I wasn’t working with polymer clay full time like I am now, when I had carpal tunnel about 14 years ago. It was so bad that I required surgery on both hands.

          I was teaching other mixed media craft classes at the time, and believe it was the hundreds of pounds of glass and ceramic tile that I was cutting into small mosaic pieces with a nipper tool, that caused the damage in the first place.

          I wore braces on both hands, 24 hrs a day for about 2 years before having them repaired because of a 1 year waiting list.

          A plastic surgeon fixed one hand at a time, starting with the left hand, just in case it didn’t work. It took about a week before I could use my hands and about three months before they had a fair amount of strength back. In about a year they were really strong, though I do find they do tire out faster than they used to.

          The doctor said he found that Mom’s of small children and self-employed people seemed to heal in about 3 months, where as the ones on worker’s compensation seemed to take at least a year… (gee I wonder why that is, she says sarcastically)… since I was a Mom AND Self-employed I healed very fast. For me the surgery was a big success, and worth every bit of it. They are virtually pain free now, unless I push them too far.

          Since I had my wrists done in the summer when I didn’t have classes, 3 months wasn’t too bad. Right now with the weekly vlog posts and the monthly tutorials year round, 3 months would be a LIFETIME!

          Just glad that I don’t have those issues anymore… I don’t think I could make it that long without working with my clay! I suspect you guys wouldn’t like it too much either! :)

          • thank you so much for the information and your right 3 months w/o polymer does sound forever
            the pain in my hand is not all the time and no doctor has said anything about a brace… so I think I’ll just keep using this cream medicine called Aspercream  and keep my mouth shut till my hand wont let me anymore — unless anyone has advise that waiting till it’s so bad makes the healing more difficult thanks again -sherry

          • Just popped back to say, Take good care of your hands Cindy and look after them. It is so good we can get them “fixed” although waiting for surgery seems to last for ages.

            Cutting those tiny ceramic or glass mosaic pieces certainly puts so much strain on them. Now about a year ago I started making tiny squares from polymer clay. If I have some blend over after a project I like to make n bake a small sheet of micro mosaics to add to my collection. I used to love teaching mosaics but now only do it for myself occasionally. I have an old victorian oak table in the garden that someone threw out. It is crying out to have a mosaic top and with all the china I drop I have half a dustbinful of broken mugs plates etc. My neighbours know I’m crazy so have asked them to help me fill it with their broken items. Then think I will hold a china smashing party,( food and drink supplied) but they must bring their own safety goggles, strong gardening gloves and hammer gonna send out the invitation soon. take care…cheers xx….

  2. LOL! You two! Another great tip filled treat. Rarely get that new clay feel here, when I do I am always amazed, the new stuff cuts like butter.

    Not sure if others are interested in laboring over reconstructing clay gone bad as much as I am, but, if you could squeeze in a future episode with some guidelines, especially good close ups of what bad clay and good clay look like, I’d sure feel better about some of my experiments on the premises.

    Also, ran across two treats. The first is the recipe for home made “polymer clay.” Can’t try it but if someone has and can share, that would be great!

    The second is based on the email received from Rio Grande, which found me clicking on the “boxes” prompt. Yummy, they have some wonderful designs, especially the clear window object suspension box type. Enjoy!

    • I know what you mean about the new clay feel, Jocelyn! I bought some Premo recently, including a large block of regular Translucent which is so soft that I thought it must have come straight from the factory. It actually has “12080710” and “08/23/12” on the packaging so it’s not really *that* new, but I still want to poke it every time I go past just because of how weird it feels! LOL

      I’ve never tried home made polymer clay but will have to check it out some time. Thanks for the link to the recipe! I used to keep a drill press on my kitchen bench before I moved all my clay stuff to its own room, so cooking wood glue there is right up my alley. ;D

      • Sue it would be the ultimate Barbara Eden move if I could just cross them, blink, and end up at your workshop for the day, silent as a mouse, just observing your movements, procedures, set up, etc. Bliss!

    • Thanks for the links Jocelyn

      I bought a gallon of white glue to make this no- bake clay last year but never got round to it. With all the natural ingredients will be great for the kids to mess around with as no nasty stuff to worry about and no baking. Yah!

      If I am going to work with soft clay it will sit unopened in my fridge for a few days but I love Premo for my clay gun. I have a 6″ square half inch thick granite cutting tile that I put in the microwave for one min and add a cup of water. It gets hot and holds it’s heat for ages. I wrap my stiff/old clay in cling film then a old T shirt cut in pieces to wrap individually and set a few blocks on the hot tile . By the time it cools down the clay is soft enough for me to handle. I put the barrle of my clay gun in the hot water if I want to use it or heat it up for another 30 secs for a cup of instant black coffee!
      Still haven’t tried Cernit or Pardo, but use Kato although I have some problems working with it.

      Loved the R.G gift boxes, thought the pine effect ones would be great for the macho gifts..
      I agree with you that it would be good for Cindy to do a close up of good, bad and even ugly old clay. ……….cheers xx………

  3. Hi guys, I started out with Fimo and bought about 70 packages back in the day and still have about 20 left. It’s probably been sitting around for about 3-4 yrs and some of it is really crumbly. I switched to Premo while I still had about 50 of the Fimo left and just have a hard time using the old Fimo up. Most of the stuff I made with Fimo were donated or given away. I buy my Premo during the Winter months and like you Cindy I let it set for months before I use it. When I buy a batch I use a sharpie and write the date I bought it. Its much easier to see than the date on the package when I’m rummaging through my drawers. I’ve never gotten a bad package of Premo yet. I do like the Pardo Translucent but only use it for really special projects since it is a lot more expensive. I have an extremely large ganglion cyst in my right wrist so it is hard for me to work the clay very long squeezing it with that hand. I usually sit on it for awhile to warm it up. I would love to work with firmer clay like Sue as I want to eventually learn how to do some sculpting but it’s too painful. Love your tips Cindy, I didn’t know there were dates on the packages.

    • Hi D.A,
      Agree with you, the writing on the packages of different clays is (dare I say CRAP!!) Why didn’t I think of using a sharpie to mark date of purchase (thanks for the tip Dixie) (now where did I stash my pens)
      Bit of personal news. DH is due to come home from hospital (They are kicking him out as need the beds) It has been arranged he stay in a nursing home while I de-clutter (nightmare) as have so much craft stuff crammed into this Dollshouse. So most of my furniture is going into storage so I can turn our living room into a downstairs bedroom. he has lost the use of his legs poor thing so a lot of organisation is needed to do the conversion. friends and family have been very helpful and I get tears in my eyes when I think how strong he was a couple of years ago. He now just wants to come home, see his garden, watch the flowers bloom and be at peace.(Not sure if he will make it as very poorly) but as he says he’s had a good life (a good wife) and he is just worried about me and how I will cope? So any good wishes and prayers would be great!! We are all allocated a life span but to prolong pain is selfish so we have to bow our heads and accept our fate. I am only writing this as know how much I appreciate all your support. Sorry if I have overstepped the mark but it’s you guys that keep me going and who knows what fate has in store for us. I just know that Cindy, Doug and family are close to my heart, so thanks everyone. Probably will not have time to post for the next week or two……..So going to face a few more dragons………cheers xx………. .

      • Elaine, it breaks my heart to read your words. I know how difficult it is to have a loved one facing their final chapter. In three days it will be one year ago that Doug’s Dad passed, so I am very familiar with what you are going through right now. These days with your husband will be tender and sweet, peaceful and gut wrenching. Know that each of us have you both in our thoughts and prayers. You are a strong woman. Know that it will all be OK, both for him and for you. This time with him will mean so much to you and although it won’t feel like it right now, it is truly a gift. I send you all my love. Please pop by often so we can continue to give you any support you need. Take care of yourself. ~ Love Cindy, Doug, Willow and Fisher

      • Dear Elaine,
        prayers of peace are being sent your way we will be keeping you and your DH close to our heart for as long as you need us- love sherry

        • Dear Sherry’
          Your words mean so much to me, so thanks my friend. I have been busy putting all my craft stuff into boxes to go into storage. Have to swap living room into bedroom and bedroom into living room. Furniture into storage so I can decorate both rooms. Also having a special shower fitted in the bathroom. Will be too busy to play with clay but am hoping for some help at the end of the week

          This morning I was up extra early to start packing boxes (have done 26 so far, only another 50 or so to go) Never knew I had sooooo much stuff. I have “Joseph” the musical blasting out (great music to pack by) All being well I will get it all finished by the time DH is well enough to come back home….cheers xx……………….

      • Elaine, hun, I am so sorry. Have lived in elderly and disabled low income housing since the mid nineties, and have watched 29 dear souls move into our wonderful community, then on to others.

        Downsizing has enormous health benefits, you will be amazed at how much less you have to clean, maintain, and service. All that lovely time can be spent with your DH, helping him adjust to the new surroundings.

        I wish you both the very best.

  4. Great advise Cindy and group.
    I mark all my clay pkgs. with the date purchased. I just opened some Kato in the 3oz. pkg. from 06/2007 and it is perfect after a bit of conditioning. The smell seems to have increased though. Not so with some studio clay given to us at a Dan Cormier workshop a few years ago. I had opened some pkgs. and re-sealed them but they are rock hard, although stored the same way in a cool dark closet. My dozen or so pkgs. of Premo cobalt blue and zinc yellow from 2009 are in a vault LOL !

  5. Sherry, that me too. I won’t go have surgery until I can absolutely not stand it anymore. The cyst I have is right in the wrist which is constantly being moved and all those tenacles are wrapped around the nerves and tendons. Of course by the time that happens I will probably look forward to the recovery period. LOL! :)

  6. I just have to comment Cindy! I sell most makes of clay and in my experience people actually ask for old clay….. In particular old Fimo is coveted by miniaturists and I actively buy old Fimo when I can get hold of it (I have just found a dozen blocks which I bought retail!).

    As you know Kato has been reconstituted and so many Kato lovers want the old . Mind you I have a problem here – I am not told by the suppliers whether their stocks are the old or new mix, although the smell of it does give a clue. The new clay smells different from the old.

    Apropos of heat – yes one has to be careful. However the wholesale packaging is pretty good – lots of cardboard around the clay when it arrives, and I am neurotic about keeping it coo once it is with mel (not too much of a problem – we have almost constant low temperatures in the UK these days!).
    But I would like to add the warning that once you receive your clay it is vital that you do not leave it by a window in the sun, or near a radiator – you can unwittingly par cook your clay.

  7. So much to respond to, where do I start. First of all let me send my thoughts and prayers to Elaine, I know how hard it is to contimplate living without the sweet love and support of a cherished family mamber, We still feel the loss of my husbands father and he has been gone for almost 20 years, we often think of him while watching our baby grandaughter and talk about how much joy he would have gotten out of seeing how much she is like her father and Aunt, especially the naughty parts. But time has softened the grief and we are left with fond sweet memories that make us smile and often we still feel his guiding presence in our lives. All my best amd warmest goes out to you.

    Now about that clay, when I first started this thing my daughter sent me all kinds of samplers mostly sculpey lll it was hard as a rock and crumbled like the proverbial vampire at dawn.Since I just don’t have the resources to waste anything I decided to re-constitute the stuff so I cut it all up drizzled it with clay conditioner and wrapped it in plastic until I had a need for a particular color. It took a bit of rolling around and squeezing in my hands, (I can sympathize with the carpel tunnel and cyst as I have severe arthritis,but in my case I believe the claying actually helps ). it took some work but the clay responded and was quite nice to work with and you can control how soft it gets by the amount of conditioner you use.Necessity is most definatly the mother of invention.

    It is good to know that I am not alone in everyone thinking I am a bit nuts or as my family likes to put it “eccentric “. When I came up with the name for my business ” Crazy Lady Creations ” it was unanimously thought to be perfect…go figure. I am convinced that Bi-polar, redhesd,creative and crazy just go together . too many artists and inventors down through the ages fit that recipe just not all are redheads. With the reght meds I control the bi-polar and am able to function as normally as a creative mind can and would not change anything, I love the things my mind comes up with and thanks to this site and all of you sharing your experiences and insights I feel that in a way I have come home, at least in the creative sense.

    Cindy the tuts are an inspiration keep em coming and thanks

  8. I bought some large blocks of Sculpey Premo white and translucent from an online site in Germany (because that’s where I live). It was wintertime here. The translucent was so crumbly that I had to go online to find out how to help it out. One site said to add LOTION to it (so I used Curel) and some Liquid Polymer Clay.
    After chopping the clay into little bits and adding liquid Sculpey and lotion over and over again, and beating the clay with a wooden mallet and working it and working it … ad infinitum.. I finally had some usable translucent clay, but if this had been a small pack, I’d have just tossed it. I just can’t bear up under that much “pressure” any longer.

    • Karen, look around at second hand shops and garage sales for a good used food processor or coffee grinder. I use both, Black and Decker brands are good. It grinds and mixes the clay and the softener together far faster than by hand. Cut the clay into inch chunks before you add to the processor.

      Just be careful not to whirl it so much it heats up. Once combined, place contents in a Glad plastic zip lock bag and use your hands to mix it through the bag. When all combined, you can start rolling it out or putting it through the pasta machine. To clean the blades and the barrels/containers just use alcohol and paper towels.

      More information is available using the search facility, “reconstituting old clay.”

      Hope this helps, all best.

  9. Hi Cindy. And everyone
    Well I did my second Street Fair ..and I had more success than the first one and sold more here that at any other event . I shared a booth with a friend who was sell out her hate so there was no completion between us.. It did rein off and on but you. A. Never persistent t the weather. I learned to be more flexae with my pr iny when it came to as all child who wanted to buy something and only had $3 … I took it as a lost leader and made a child happy and me too. Two girls were looking for something g that matched for them .. So I took to semi finished necklace Ed and made hem for them with adjustable closures using two lobster clasps … This way the could adjust the lent with distorti g were the beads were place Ed and they paid !$15 dacha d were.very happy… I sold se real barrettes but I have a question for you Cindy
    Where did you get the rivits Michaels and a Moore don’t seem to have ones long enough and Iike the finished look that the give y suggestions were I could order them. From
    Natalie

  10. Michaels Clay Sale Alert! June 9-15 (next week), Premo, Fimo, and Sculpey III are on sale for US $1. (In my area the Michaels flyer for the following week is often delivered to mailboxes on Tuesday or Wednesday.) So you can be there when the doors open or get your “rain check” order ready for the colors that are out of stock. Also, the Bead Gallery strands are 47% off, jewelry display props are 30% off and some plastic craft storage is 40% off.

    (BTW, in the Easter Lily cane topic Doug kindly uploaded a copy of the spreadsheets – i.e. lists of colors w/numbers – I use to keep track of which Premo, Fimo and Kato clays I have in stock. You may find them handy to figure out which colors you want – though Michaels does not carry all colors, or any Kato.)

    • Thanks for the alert, I live in Sullivan County NY. and when Michaels has the sale here it is usually 1.27 for a two ounce block but that is still a REALLY good price. Since I have to go to MIddletown 3 days a week to pick up our granddaughter and watch her for my son and daughter in law and the trip is 1/2 hour each way I usually do all my shopping on those days it is so good to know when the sales are on in the area. Btw does anyone have a son or daughter in law that is so awesome that describing them using the ” in-law ” seems to diminish just how much you love and appreciate them, there must be a better term for people that special. Just thought I would throw that out there.
      While I am on the curiosity train …..any suggestions about what age to start a child learning how to use polymer clay besides the obvious which is to wait until they stop trying to eat it.
      Best day ever last week-end, I have suggested to Cindy a tutorial on how best to stage, light and photograph our pieces for the net and have been reading up on how to use the new point and shoot my daughter surprised me with, well one of the most common suggestions was to use a tripod for clarity and sharpness, so curious me went on line to price them and was a little deterred by the prices. Last Saturday I was out with a neighbor and we passed what looked like a really good yard sale so we turned around, pulled up in front and right by my door when I opened it was a brand new tripod still in the box! I asked if she would take 5.00 for it, she said yes I said ” Sold “! I am a very happy camper.

      • hi Cheyrl
        totally understand the in-law comment:)
        I call mine sister-in-heart

        btw OT still ;/ mailing my brother and sister-in-heart their first year anniversary gift to them today — covered a tin with a pretty k-cane :) this time I remembered to make a picture

        Natalie — very good news -love to hear when any of us that sell our beads or such have a good day!!
        I sold about 185 beads to my local shop this past week – makes me very happy when someone, other than family;) says nice stuff about my work

        left the bead shop and went straight to my mom’s (our computer was still frozen at that time) and used her computer to order that one step looping tool that Shirley told us about — can’t wait to get it cuz I need all the help I can get with wire work:)

        and a BIG thank you to Bertha for letting me/us know about the clay sale coming up:)

        • You’re welcome! :-)

          Glad to see the sale but of course it comes when there are two (!) gem, bead and mineral shows this weekend within a 90 minute drive. I should stay away from both but I will probably go to one because I have only so much resistance!. I need to leave my wallet at home and just “window shop” but hah! that’s not gonna happen. I’ve tried taking different friends to act as my brake on purchases but not only do they wind up helping me buy more, but they end up spending money themselves!

          Fortunately, I am in pretty good shape with clay right now but you can never have too much of certain colors. ;-)

        • Thanks I like the Daughter – in – heart a lot and will use it.
          Would love to know how you approach the shops to sell your beads, I have sold pieces to neighbors who saw ” gifts ” I have given to friends and asked for something specific but I am really shy about selling myself and my products to strangers even though I know my things ( thanks to Cindy ) are really nice. I would be really happy tp supply jewelry makers that buy componants but don’t make their own beads. I guess I need to look for a “Bead Buddy ” in the area to coax me on. Most people who don’t do what we do don’t really understand.

          • Cheyrl I was lucky in the beginning, got some great advice from a friend who owns a local store – a little back story: my friend’s name is Kim and she has owned a shop in our little tourist town for many years now.
            Her shop is Very different from your typical tourist shop- she buys most of her inventory from local artists and craftsman… the first time happened by accident or maybe right time right place
            …anyway she gave me a lot of wonderful advice on getting my work into other stores
            -visit or call ahead and make an appointment with the owner/buyer – be on time
            -have everything priced (but be willing to change your price– they know the market/area better than me
            -have your stock separated into ‘make since’ areas
            (I mean bags or trays…not just one big bowl of every thing dumped together;))
            -take a calculator and something to write down what your are selling them or leaving on consignment with the description, quantity, price (I use a sheet of carbon paper, so I have a copy too)
            -once you get home redo your math and if there is a mistake let the owner know
            I’m sure there is more – just can’t bring it forward this morning:)

      • Hi Cheyrl, love all the chatting between you and everyone here! It is great to see you all making friends and sharing information.

        As far as when is it a good time to start teaching your kids about polymer clay?… you are on the right track with as soon as they stop trying to eat it! Kids love to make things with their hands and polymer clay is perfect for them. They can keep working on it as long or as short as they like and come back to it any time, since it won’t dry out. And it is so forgiving… if what they make doesn’t look how they want it too, then they can ball it up and start all over again. If they do love it, you can bake it and they can keep it forever. Just make sure to buy good quality clay and to bake it well so it doesn’t break and you’re good to go! Have fun and let us know what you guys end up making together!

          • Thanks can’t wait to look at it, I also found a link to David Peterson who is a professional photographer and is giving away free tips every day for awhile, of course if you want all the tips you will have to buy his online or printed book, but if you have the ducats 47.00 is not too bad but since I have no intention of being a professional photographer I ( at this time, you never know with us creative types, especially if we can transfer the images to our polymer pieces ). I will save the money for much needed supplies.
            Cindy can I do the transfer to faux ivory in black then use something sharp to trace it in and make a scrimshaw, after which rub more black into the lines? I have learned to make a very realistic ivory and at this time have some very old looking animal teeth in several sizes but would like to make some scrimshaw pendants, bracelets and earrings.
            cheyrl, woodridge Ny,

  11. Thanks.,
    I have seen a few shops in my area that would be idel for showing my pieces, I am also working up the courage to get a booth at Woodstock this summer they have a really nice flea market from time to time during the summer season, also working on doing a street fair where I live for all the local atrists.One of my friends comes from Florida every year and is part of the association in the townhouses here and is willing to set it up. It will be a huge yard sale,flea market block party kind of thing with signs put up everywhere.I guess that’s one way not to feel like I’m out there swinging in the wind all by myself.

    • Cheyrl – that’s so awesome that you have so many opportunities where you live:) Go For It Girl
      I loved going to our little local craft/farmers market a couple of years back (till the town got involved and ruined it :/ ) I learned so much from my customers and other sellers.

      • Just found out about a farmers market in Goshen I need to explore, Still a bit shy but I know my things are good it is just thst ” first step ” thing it of course being the biggest. My daughter pushed me into starting up a twitter account and I have no idea what to do with it, I keep being prompted to finish my profile but I have put everything I want to put there for now except a picture which I will do as soon as I get one I like, I really hate my pictures they look just like me,lol I will put one up here first anyway so twitter will just have to wait. My daughter is having a launch party for her new website tonite in Brooklyn, it is a site for women and she really did a good job on it I hope it is a success. She carries jewelry and will carry some of mine when I get the confidence to put it out there, soon I hope it will be on senseandspirit.com, I just sent her a cluster rose pendant and drop earrings that turned out really well using a pink tinted translucent shaded with rose on a rose heart with translucent green leaves. Thanks Cindy for the rose tutorial I have utilized it a lot.

  12. Oh help!! Am new to polymer clay and just reading the comments about hot weather. Since we are having a “mini heat wave” here in England should I be putting my clay in the fridge?!

  13. Hi lesley, welcome aboard. We have been having a lot of heat and humidity in NY as well and I did put some of the clay I was working with in the fridge since it was literally melting to my hands.I got smart and found an old 6 pack size styrofoam cooler left from a perishble food present my daughter sent us. I put an ice pack in it and put a wash cloth over that and put my clay inside. it stayed cool without getting too cold. I also kept a small icepak to hold in my hands from time to time to cool them. hope this helps and good luck.

    • Thank you so much for your advice Cheryl. I think I can probably utilise an old cool bag I used for my lunch when I was working. So glad I found this site, I know where to come when I have a question.

  14. LOL, yes it happens to me often. I have MS and can’t really afford to buy clay as often as I’d like to. So, I go on Ebay and see if I can pick up a decent sized lot when I’ve saved up a little cash. Nine times out of ten, I will end up with more hard clay than soft. However, since I really don’t have a lot of options, I have learned that persistence pays off and eventually I will get it reworked by adding translucent, clay softener or liquid clay, which ever one I happen to have on hand. It helps me tremendously to know what to watch for now when I consider bidding on a lot.

    On a side note; my doctor recently confirmed for me that I was correct in thinking that working with the clay is good therapy for me, not only the MS but the several other diseases that I have to go along with it. I was wondering if anyone happens to know if there is one of the clay manufacturers that offers some kind of discount for physical therapy use? It’s worth asking anyway :) I love the craft and would be thrilled if I could have enough supplies to actually do some of these techniques more than once. It’s kinda hard to learn something when you have short term memory problems and can’t do it enough to sink it into your brain.

    Thanks for the heads up!! Terri

    • That s an interesting question Teresa, I have no idea whether manufacturers give discounts for therapy use. That would be a good question to ask someone like Iris Weiss at Polyform (sculpey.com). She is the product education manager there so she would know if something like that exists. Let us know if you find out anything. I am sure there are others who would be interested in that information.

      I am glad to hear that you have turned to polymer as a therapy tool for your MS. Working with your hands is very good for the body and mind. Humans were designed to use their hands to create so that they could improve their lives and well being. Polymer clay is the perfect medium for doing that. There is the physical aspect of moving the clay in your hands, and the creative aspect of making it into something beautiful.

      It is wonderful to have you here as part of our community. Thank you for sharing your story!

  15. Clay sale at Michaels alert! Got the flyer for July 21-27 and Premo, Sculpey III, & Fimo 2oz/57g blocks are 50% off. That’s US$1.24 – $1.39 in my area (I can’t say if prices are the same throughout the US). Not as great as the $1 sale but still good.

    Jewelry-making items on sale include their bead strands (50% off), display props, and a couple of the brands they carry.

    You may want to look for a sales flyer. The one I have has a coupon for an additional 20% off sale prices Sunday only 3pm-7pm.

  16. Thank you, Bertha,
    I signed up last time I was at Michaels for the alerts but so far haven’t gotten this one yet and really do need a few colors including the new ones.

  17. Hi cindy, i’m working with sculpey in 2 specific colors for baby ornaments i’m making since premo doesn’t have the colors i’m looking for and i don’t want to add time to blend colors into the price calculation for this item. is sculpy supposed to be much softer and almost sticky? i’m used to premo even tho’ i’m not very experienced, and letting it rest really doesn’t seem to help. it also seems more prone to getting air bubbles in the rolled sheets

    • Hi Dee, resting clay won’t really firm it up. What you need to do is leach out the excess oils. Use the search box at the top of the page (ignore the Google ads, the blog search results will be below them) and you will find videos and articles on how to leach your clay to make it firmer. Good luck!

  18. Hi Cindy, Your videos are very helpful and so is this one. I go to you videos on different products and buy according to your reviews. Thank to you so very much.?

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