Polymer Clay Instructions – Why Free Is Not Always Best

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“With all the free info available on the web, why should I pay for polymer clay instructions?”

This is a question that I am asked often. There are several reasons why free is not always best.

Here are 3 of them:

1. The best kind of polymer clay instruction is by demonstration where you can SEE exactly how something is done… step by step. Web video is very helpful for this. But there really are not a lot of good polymer clay videos that have been gathered all in one place on the web. Many of the free instructional videos that are any good, are scattered far and wide and it takes forever to find them. Plus if you do find them, they don’t always provide everything you need to know. Or worse yet, sometimes the information is not accurate.

2. Many of the free polymer clay instructional videos on the web are pretty low quality from a production stand point. Have you ever watched a YouTube clip that was so blurry there was not much point in even watching it?  This is because most people don’t know enough about how to upload and post their videos properly.

3. And finally, most of the free polymer clay videos you’ll come across on the web, are filmed by the person who is also starring in them. This means that no one is working the zoom lens in a way that allows the camera to capture detail shots of the projects and techniques being shown.

I am lucky enough to have a husband that’s willing to work with me on the filming and production stuff. We built a mini ‘set’ in the corner of the studio that’s properly lit, properly mic’d, and is ready to go at a moment’s notice.

web-video.jpgPlus, my husband does all the editing and uploading of the multimedia content to our web site so that I can focus on creating more and more instructional tutorial videos. In fact, we are now very close to launching a polymer clay membership club with over 80 videos to start with! Trust me, you won’t find a video collection of this size anywhere else in one place on the web!

The main purpose of my polymer clay membership club is to save you from the hassle of learning through your mistakes, by learning through mine instead.

Making mistakes while you are learning something new is not fun. I have made tons of mistakes. That is how I learned all about polymer clay. Broken, burnt and ugly polymer clay beads are a waste of time, supplies and money… not to mention hard on the pride.

The monthly cost for this polymer clay video subscription will be way cheaper than what most beginners spend on taking classes or on buying books. Think about it. How much do you spend on polymer clay or on crafting books in a month?

How about classes? $40-$50 is pretty typical, plus the cost of your project supplies. And once the class is over, is there any ongoing support? Can you learn from home at times that are convenient for you? Probably not.

I’m so excited to be able to offer these polymer clay instruction videos and resources (it’ll be very soon now). I hope you’ll like them as much as I enjoy making them. But most of all, I hope that you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

wish-come-true.jpg BTW: As part of my upcoming membership club launch, I’m going to be releasing some free polymer clay instruction videos… full length ones rather than just teaser clips. However, rather than picking the topics myself, I’d rather hear from you. What areas are you having the most difficulty with? Tell me below what videos you’d like to see, and I’ll do my absolute best to make your wish come true.

  1. Kathy, 05 April, 2008

    Thanks Cindy. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your launch. I’d really like to find out more about the skinner blend technique and how to use it. You can put that topic on my wish list for your launch videos. :-)

  2. Cindy Lietz, 06 April, 2008

    Good to hear from you Kathy. I think I can arrange something for you about the Skinner Blend technique. Stay tuned.

    Who else is out there? The more suggestions I get, the more free videos I’ll release. Let me know which topics you most want to hear about.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Sanding Polymer Clay with Drywall Sandpaper Means Less Gouging


  3. Sue Whelan, 19 April, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    Wow! I can’t believe you haven’t had more responses to your question!

    I’m brand new to polymer clay and am really looking at it as a stepping stone to PMC, although the more I see, the more respect I’ve acquired for it as a medium in its own right. E.g., the beads that Barb McGuire does are unbelievable. The beads she did for the necklace on the cover of Bead&Button in February were riveting. I couldn’t figure out what they were at first, and then I couldn’t believe they were canes! They made me want to drop everything and work until I learned how to make them, though I know it takes years to get to Barb’s level of expertise. So I guess that’s the subject that interests me: where do you start to produce canes that have the look of intricate, almost inlaid, marble and marquetry? How do you acquire the precision necessary, and what kind of tools do you use? There is no question that this is Art. I guess I sort of missed the past decade when polymer clay became so much more than a craft material, as I was immersed in textiles. Now, I’m looking forward to making up for what I’ve missed :-)

  4. Cindy Lietz, 20 April, 2008

    Sue, Hearing the excitement in your voice as a new person to polymer clay, is one of the reasons I became The Polymer Clay Tutor!

    I agree with you that Barb McGuire’s work is absolutely beautiful. For an artist like her to reach the level of expertise that she has, does take time and effort. However, with proper instruction, beginners can have great success making polymer clay beads too.

    As your tutor I can teach you how to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to get great at making polymer clay beads. I can do that by helping you avoid some of the pitfalls all beginners run into.

    I’m glad to see that you are excited about making polymer clay canes! Caning is one of the most rewarding (and addictive) techniques you can learn. With a few simple steps you build the image in large form and then reduce it to a much tinier size. This is how the pictures become very intricate and detailed. It is super fun and I can’t wait to show you how to do it!

    So guys… Kathy and Sue stepped up to let me know what they want to see in my launch video releases. How about the rest of you? What would you like to see?

    Cindy’s last blog post..Hemp Jewelry Beads – The Biggest Problem Is…


  5. Garnie, 20 May, 2008

    Hiya, Cindy…sorry to be so late in posting here! Really, really looking forward to your “upcoming Membership Club”…will be waiting for the big announcement! :) :)

  6. Cindy Lietz, 21 May, 2008

    Hiya back Garnie! I’m excited too!! The first Online Video Course, Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners, will be launching in the next couple of weeks! If you are not already, be sure to get on the Polymer Clay Tutor Guest List to receive notification of the launch… not to mention some cool free videos too.

    Cindy last blog post..7 Tips To Avoid Leaving Finger Prints on Polymer Clay Beads

  7. Cynister, 17 June, 2008

    Looking forward to hearing more here too. I’ve got some real specific questions like: Is it me or is FIMO translucent impossible to condition?! It seems like it never gets pliable. Also, I want to make a large ball (tennis ball sized), but I don’t want to use that much clay. What can I use to dummy out the inside & not add much weight to it?

  8. Cindy Lietz, 18 June, 2008

    The video coming up this week in my video newsletter shows you how to condition the harder clays like Fimo using a food processor, so make sure you watch that. This video will be going out later this week to everyone on the Guest List.

    As far as your other question Cynister, it is possible to make a dummy core to conserve clay. I’ll put that on my list of things to address in future posts, so stay tuned!

    Cindys last blog post..Polymer Clay Glitter – Ellen DeGeneres vs The Crafty Chica

  9. Cindy Lietz, 19 February, 2009

    I took the time this morning to respond to a question that was posted at a different article here at the blog. The comment relates to topic of this page so I am providing a back link to my response. You can click on the “Making Perfectly Round Beads” link by my name above if you want to see more.

    The comment/question started out like this… “…that was evil. Why would you post content online that is not free?”

    My response… ” I hope you are joking about me being evil. But you may not be. So if you would like to know some of my reasons why I think Free is not always best…” [Follow the link by my name above to read the rest of my response].

  10. Maryw, 06 March, 2009

    I am looking forward to seeing more of your site and future videos. I am very new to polymer clay, I wanted to know if there will be a basic video. My most basic question is how long can a “project” be left uncovered or can it? I intend to make small projects and/or beads and don’t want to bake until I have a decent quantity to put in the oven. Also can I use a toaster oven or does it have to be a reg. sized oven?

    thanks for your help!

  11. Cindy Lietz, 06 March, 2009

    Hi Maryw,

    The best Advice I can give you is to go through my polymer clay basics course. It will definitely get you up to speed very quickly with all of the questions you have… and much, much more. The link by my name above will take you to the course information and order page.

    Alternatively, there is lots of free information about the specific baking and polymer clay oven questions that you have brought up. You can do some research by typing keywords into the search box at the top left of this page.

  12. Beverly Bullard, 01 July, 2009

    Hi, I am interest in learning how to work with polymer clay, but no in beads. Am interested in animals, people and objects. Any suggestions. Have a blessed week.

    At his feet

  13. Cindy Lietz, 05 July, 2009

    You try sculpey.com Beverly, they have some polymer clay projects and stuff there.

    There is also tons of general polymer clay information here at this site that will be helpful for you in working with your bic lighter idea. Click the links at the side of the page for more information. And be sure to use the search feature at the top of each page.

    Finally, you can also type in a keyword like “polymer clay bic lighters” into Google for additional resources.

  14. MARYL S, 07 June, 2011

    I was happy to read your editorial on polymer clay. I took classes in Florida but now having moved to the Huntsville, Alabama area, I have not had any luck in finding an interest in this area. I make’ flower arrangements and would like to find out more on the subject. Also can I repair the petals as some were broken in my move. I look forward to hearing from you. Blessings to you and yours.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 12 June, 2011

    @MARYL S: Welcome to the site! If you don’t already know, there is a search box at the top of the page that is very helpful for finding all kinds of specific information wrt polymer clay stuff. As far as fixing your broken flower petals, are they made of polymer clay? What are they attached to? Can it be baked? In order to provide you with assistance, a bit more info is required.

  16. Michelle Kocho, 28 August, 2011

    Hi Cindy I am in Australia and very, very new to clay of any sort. I am interested in learning about air-dry clays, and metal clays. I don’t have a kiln and am not in a position to get one where I am. Will you be covering these types of clays on your site. Thanks, Michelle

  17. Cindy Lietz, 06 September, 2011

    Hi Michelle, Welcome! The clays that we are primarily using on this site are oven baked polymer clays.

    I may do a review or the odd feature on the other types of clays you mentioned but they won’t be a main focus. For most metal clays you would need a kiln or a torch in order to cure it.

    With air-dry clays, the properties are quite different than the oven baked polymer clays are. Because of this, some of the techniques used on this site, such as cane work and other projects, would not be suitable for the air-dry clays. Other projects such as sculpted beads however, could be suitable.

    If I were you, I would work with the oven baked polymer clays first…. but then again I am biased! ;-)

  18. Lesley S, 01 August, 2013

    Cindy Lietz provides a brilliant tutorial site at absolutely minimal cost. Okay, there are plenty of free tutorials on the web … but if you want real quality, easily understood videos, wonderful projects and lots of free info, Cindy is the one to follow! It costs so little … and every month there is so much to learn. Cindy is an inspiration, as proved by her thousands of? followers. Free is not always the best!

  19. Ken Hamilton, 02 August, 2013

    Cindy – I appreciate everything you do for your subscribers. I’ve watched a few of the “free” videos on PC Techniques on YouTube, they weren’t worth the time I wasted watching them, poor information, poor video techniques, excess prose that wastes time (video could have been half the length and still got? the point across to a few), just because you can post a video doesn’t mean you should. Anything of value today on the internet costs, the altruistic days from the birth of the internet are long gone, and it’s a good thing, because most aren’t worth free.

  20. Lesley S, 05 September, 2013

    As has been said before, free is not usually best. You can pay a lot for online video tutorials, but Cindy’s are incredibly reasonably-priced, beautifully filmed – and explained in a way that anyone can understand. She also offers huge amounts of free information. Personally I find it disappointing when people? make negative remarks on YouTube, about honest and talented people who are merely making a living.

  21. Joy M, 26 September, 2013

    Cindy I LOVE your videos, but I have zero patience for the people who make videos and just talk and talk about all sorts of things that are UNnecessary to the process!!I watched one just a few days ago and the person talked for 6 minutes about nothing! I just shut it off. I don’t have time like that to waste! But with the good ones (like Cindy’s or Danna Kato) I could watch for an hour without getting bored!!

    Just speaking truth, Cindy. I am always sad at the end of one of your videos because I don’t WANT it to end.

    YES, Cindy is the one I go to for info because I know she does the research and I trust her.

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