What Excites You Most About Polymer Clay or Making Polyclay Beads?

Santa Christmas Tree Ornament “With my clay, I can make vases, jewelry, little food and little people and… oh my gosh… the list goes on forever.” ~KlayKisses

A week or so ago at the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild Christmas party, someone asked me (I think it was Deb Groom), what I liked to do most with polymer clay. It was an excellent question that challenged me to come up with a thoughtful answer.

For me, the most exciting thing about polymer clay is the challenge of figuring out how to teach techniques in a way that makes them easy to do for the average clayer.

Sometimes it’s new ideas that I’ve come up with myself. And sometimes it’s improving on old ideas that have been around forever. But no matter the technique or the shape or the project, it has to be doable.

Even complicated techniques are just a series of simple steps added together, and for me that is where the challenge lies. Making the complicated, simple!

Cindy, you are a saint! I don’t know what it is about your teaching methods, but watching you just makes things click in my head! Don’t think I’ll get much sleep this weekend but I sure will have a lot of canes!! ~Carrie-W

Oh Cindy, I am so excited to know how to make this petal!! I have asked others, how they made their petals and all I ever heard is that it was too complicated to tell me. Well now I know. Thank you sooooooooooo much!!! ~Stephanie-B

I feel as if I have been given a gift in discovering this site. I have been working with polymer clay for some time and was constantly trolling the web for information that would enhance my learning. Granted, there are some I found useful but finding yours resulted in a shift in how I do so many things. For me, though, in addition to the amazing techniques you teach us, it’s how you teach that has made the difference. I love that I can actually sit in front of the computer and rewind the video as many times as I need to until I learn a particular step. And I love that I can watch how you hold your hands to form a particular shape. Bottom line — I have never found a resource like this. ~Elizabeth-S

Cindy, as a newbie I can’t get enough of your videos. I already went through your 39 basic polymer course videos and they were great. I’ve seen a lot of other videos on the web but yours are so easy to follow. You Rock!!!! ~Catherine-R

Hi Cindy – I think your course is excellent! I have learnt so much in such a short time. Your videos are very easy to follow –  you explain everything in an easy to understand way. I look forward to Fridays as I’ve never done before! Thank you Cindy. Kind regards, ~Pam-B

The other thing that excites me about making polymer clay beads, is the possibilities.

Did you know I have a list of potential tutorial topics that is so long, I could teach a new video every week for the next ten years and not run out? And that doesn’t even take into account the ideas that get added almost every day to my growing list. That’s very exciting to me!

Like so many others, I too have “dipped my toes” in other craft mediums but I always go back to my faithful clay. I guess for me, I feel like once you know how to wood burn, for example, you can burn all kinds of things on wood. Same with glass etching, you can etch all kinds of glass. With my clay, I can make vases, jewelry, little food and little people and… oh my gosh… the list goes on forever. The possibilities are endless. Not to mention all the help out there. But no one need to look any further than our bestest friend in the whole wide world… Cindy. You are the best teacher and friend a clayer could ever ask for. You make everyday a “Clay Day”. And, I know what it is like to lay in bed at night and dream about clay. Just the other night, I woke up all excited because I had a dream my husband bought me the “dream machine”. With motor! Does anyone know what I am talking about? You have to check this thing out! Well… after my husband saw how excited and happy I was and then how crushed to find it was only a dream, he actually wanted me to pull it up on the website so he could see how much it was. Like I said….It was indeed a dream. But you never know! ~KlayKisses

Well KlayKisses… Christmas is almost here. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that there will be a Dream Machine waiting for you under the tree this year.

So what is it about polymer clay that excites you guys the most? Or what do you enjoy making the most with polymer clay? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

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  1. aims, 14 December, 2009

    Just wondering what a dream machine is for Klaykisses……

    Any links or pics?

  2. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2009

    Hi Aims – The link by my name will take you to where KlayKisses originally discussed her “Dream Machine” dream. There’s even a video there, that walks you through all of the features of this high end polymer clay pasta machine.

    Plus… you can use “Dream Machine” as a keyword in the search box at the top of the page, to find even more references, articles and info.

    ADDED COMMENTARY: The Dream Machine is probably the greatest (and the most expensive) pasta machine out there. It sells for about $200 (more with accessories) and the motor is another $300. So you need to be a pretty serious clayer to be able to justify the expense. $500 buys a lot of clay. Would be nice to have though!!! Santa… are you listening :-?

  3. Elizabeth S., 14 December, 2009

    Yesterday I tried my first transfer onto clay. It was semi-successful but I learned and it will be easier next time. Today I was just messing around and began tearing pieces of the clay that had the image transfer and randomly applied them to some other clay sitting on my work table. Then I decided to see what they would look like if I swirled them. They are turning out beyond cool. I love them!! I guess that is what excites me most–the fun of being able to go in another direction entirely if the first choice doesn’t work and still end up with something wonderful.

    By the way, I let out a big sigh of relief when I read that you have at least ten years of videos in you, Cindy.

    And one more thing–alas, alas. I just tried to clean my new pasta machine for the first time and woe is me they have changed the design. I have yet to figure out how to get the scrapers back in place-guess I should have paid more attention to the new configuration. I’ll figure it out but I think it’s gonna take a while. The irony is that I am quite sure the new design is meant to make things easier with the addition of these little hangy down wire thingies that hold the scrapers in place (I think). Anyway, Cindy, if the day comes that you need to replace yours, will you consider an updated tut on cleaning the new ones? Thanks.

  4. Carole Holt, 14 December, 2009

    I only recently found you Cindy, and after joining have had a go at every tutorial you have done. I never imagined that (from never trying any craft at all until i retired) I have been able to make a pendant for all my friends and family. They are all so different but so fabulous, I can hardly wait for Fridays to come round and try a different project. It’s versatility is why its so addictive. Thank you so much for your brilliant Videos. They make everything seem achievable.

  5. Louise, 14 December, 2009

    What I like best to do with polymer clay is bottles of hope.I also do characters and jewelry but what I have most fun with is figuring how to do a bottle with a new theme and using a different technique.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2009

    @Elizabeth-S: Torn image transfer swirly lentil beads… they do sound very cool!!!! Thanks for sharing that. By the way, the link by my name will take you to another post (actually a video post) where I talk about other happy accidents… when stuff does not go exactly as planned but still works out in the end. And this Thread Bead Project is another example of unexpected creativity.

    @Carole Holt: I agree!!! Polymer clay is so addictive… in a good way! I’m so happy to hear the videos are making the craft achievable for you. Music to my ears! :-)

    @Louise: The Bottles of Hope idea is a wonderful thing to do with Polymer Clay. There are a few other clayers who have posted about this as well. If you like, you can find their comments by typing “bottles of hope” into the search box at the top of the page.

  7. Elizabeth S., 14 December, 2009

    @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Happy Accidents: Thanks for the link, Cindy. To think that a fuzzy sweater is enough to send you off on a creative binge–no wonder you have ten years of videos in your head. Wish I could borrow just a little piece of that brain of yours for a while–I’d give it back, I promise (lol).

  8. Cindy Graveline, 14 December, 2009

    I’m off-topic but I found out today that Fimo is changing from EBERHARD FABER to Staedtler, and this “new” Fimo is way too soft to work with… I’m worried… I don’t have much choice here in Québec, Sculpey III or Fimo, and now Fimo is as soft as Sculpey III, maybe even more…

  9. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2009

    I wouldn’t worry about it too much Cindy. This kind of thing happened with Premo and it got straightened out in time. I think what the companies do when they make a new formula is add a extra plasticizers so it can stay on the shelf longer. Just take the extra plasticizer out by leaching the clay. I did a video that awhile ago. Just click the link by my name for more info.

    You can also type ‘soft clay’ into the search box at the top of the page for more articles on the topic.

  10. Cindy Graveline, 14 December, 2009

    @Cindy Lietz: I already know about leaching the clay, did it a few times with Sculpey III… According to Staedtler, it is suppose to be the same formula but everyone who tried it so far disagrees…

  11. Carrie, 14 December, 2009

    The thing I love most about polymer clay, is that I can make truly unique pieces. Anyone can buy beads in bulk and re-string them into jewelry, but I find satisfaction in knowing that I made each and every bead in a piece.

  12. Peggy, 14 December, 2009

    I agree Carrie. No matter how hard you try with polymer there is something different in every piece of art you make and that is what makes it art. I love polymer clay but now that I have found Cindy I truely have to say she is the best thing about polymer clay. I too let out a sigh when I heard you had 10 years plus of lessons. You help me to be a better clayer in a as you said earlier, a doable way.

    The dream machine yep I use to dream and wish for it all the time. Then I realized I never use that much clay at one time. One of the great things I love about Cindy small canes go a long way. Every other teacher make enormous canes. So I will stick with my smaller sized atlas and I do have the machine motor due to my painful hands and that is more than enough for me. But for those of you still dreaming I hope Santa is in your dreams also. Uuuuuuggggs for everyone

  13. Shannon, 14 December, 2009

    I think it is the instant gratification that polymer clay gives me more then any other medium. Although some techniques require hours and sometimes days of effort and concentration, I love to be able to sit down and within minutes become inspired to create something new and unique.

    For instance, I never create a “Valentines Line” but last week I spent the evening at the clay table just playing with my little girl and the next I know I have more then 20 pieces with a distinct Valentine’s Day theme!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2009

    @Cindy G: Maybe the clay is just ‘fresher’ than you have ever gotten before? I had bought a bunch of the Premo when it was so soft and squishy it was a pain. Now that it is a year old, I don’t even have to leach it anymore. It is the perfect consistency!

    @Elisabeth S: I’m afraid if I lent you my brain you may not know what to do with the scattered information. LOL Lots of stuff swirling around in there that would be hard for anyone to make head nor tails of!

    @Peggy: You are so sweet! You make all this hard work worth while! I’d be happy to continue to teach you for as long as you will have me!

    @Shannon: You are so right about that! Sometimes it’s when you don’t set out to do something specific, that the new ideas flow in. The great thing about polymer clay is you can act on those ideas and have something wonderful and completed, in almost no time at all! Love all your work, btw! Looking forward to seeing your Valentines Line!

  15. Laurel, 15 December, 2009

    I used my polymer clay and jewelry skills to save quite a bit of money on my daughers wedding. It was Renaissance themed so I got cylinder glass vases and bought a celtic heart mold and made these, painted them gold, then antiqued them will another gold and glued them around the vases. This was the base setting for the centerpieces. I made the bride and bridesmaids broaches and clasps out of clay. I also used the same heart mold and made the name place setting out of clay. I made their jewelry too.

    All this saved me quite a bit of money not to mention made the wedding way more custom to her theme than I probably ever could have found.

  16. Cindy Lietz, 15 December, 2009

    Great feedback Laurel. Polymer clay can really help to make a wedding special. I bet your daughters event was just grand!

    For anyone who may be interested in this topic, you can read about another polymer clay wedding story by clicking on link by my name.

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