Red Polymer Clay Color Mixing Tips – A Riveting Story About Saturation

Red Polymer Clay

Vid #017: Not all Red’s Are Created Equal:

Wow! You must really be a fanatic to click on a headline that promises to share riveting stories about Mixing Red Polymer Clay :-). Don’t worry though. I’m crazy about clay too so we’re in the same boat.

Today’s tip is about how some shades of a particular color are more dominant than others. This is especially true with red polymer clay. For example, I once mixed 2 shades of red Fimo together to come up with a new, warmer tone about half way between the original two. I was surprised to discover that the required mix ratio ended up being 6 to 1 instead of 50:50 as I had initially thought it would be.

When you are experimenting with your own custom color combinations, it’s best to add small amounts of the stronger color of polymer clay to the weaker one, until you get the desired result. If you mix from the other way around, you’ll probably end up making more of the new color than you need.

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The full version of the “Color Saturation” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #17 of 39]. In this video I show how two quite similar looking red colors can have very different properties.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 04 April, 2008

    Unfortunately the video camera does not pick up the color differences as well as your own eyes will. But practice the techniques and tips I discussed with some of your colors, and you’ll see what I mean.

    Watch out for those powerful reds, especially Alizarin Crimson. Always add just a small amount to start so you don’t end up with way more than you need. Black is also a powerful color. Yellow, however, is much more forgiving and you’ll always need more of it than the other colors you are mixing it with.

    Cindy’s last blog post..Striped Cane – An Easy Polymer Clay Cane Project For Beginners

  2. Kristy D, 04 May, 2008

    Oh cool, thanks for posting your color recipes and tips, Cindy. Of course I still haven’t gotten any of my stuff out and worked with any of it, but will bookmark this so I have it for future reference!

  3. Katina K, 23 August, 2008

    I use lots of red in my art and look forward to making lots of red polymer clay beads. I love the vividness of red and it’s one of my favorite colors. Even though I’m over 50 (barely!) and not a member of any Red Hat Clubs, these would be really useful for jewelry for that group. Of course, I’d have to go back and hunt for the “purple” recipes too!!

  4. Katina K, 24 August, 2008

    Would you consider ALL the deep reds, oranges and pinks to be “powerful”? I know when I’m painting it’s harder to cover some deeper shades that have red in them.

    If I decide to add a really light color, like white or ivory, does it decrease the powerfulness of the original color?

    Has anyone out there tried this?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 08 September, 2008

    No Katina. With clay some colors that look about the same can have completely different saturations of pigments.Because of these differences it can be tricky when first learning about polymer clay color mixing. I show how to test this in a video in my Bead Making Beginner’s Course.

    White polymer clay does have a high opacity to it and will ‘weaken’ the color dramatically.

  6. Rezvan K, 01 December, 2008

    Would you please explain a technique called Splicing. Thanks.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 01 December, 2008

    Splicing or making a spliced cane is where you take two or more Skinner Blend canes, cut them into wedges and rearrange them into one cane. It’s pretty tough to describe in words… which is why I’ve got the topic on my list of videos to make. If you click on the link by my name you will see a pendant made with a spliced flower cane.

  8. Cherie H, 02 January, 2009

    Hello Cindy

    Happy New Year! I’ve started off the new year with a really bad sore throat and cold!!! I have a question for you; in your recipes you mention so many different color clays. I cannot find anything but the basic colors at my craft store. Where do you buy your clay? There is a clay store here in Ottawa but they do not have a website and it makes it difficult to order. I would have preferred to buy in Canada itself to avoid the custom duties etc.

    I would really appreciate your help.


  9. Cindy Lietz, 02 January, 2009

    Thanks for your question Cheryl! Believe it or not, I’ve bought all my clay at Michaels when they have their $1 sales. (I bought a hundred blocks last time and cleaned out the store!)

    But I just did a web search and found a Canadian distributor in Ottawa called KJP Crafts that has all the colors, even the new ones. They ship (inside Canada only) but if you contact them, maybe you can pick it up. Just Google them, they’re easy to find.

  10. Cheryl H, 02 January, 2009

    shp a lot at Michaels but have never come across colors other than the usual ones. Maybe different stores carry difffernt stuff

    Thanks for your help

  11. Shari B, 20 October, 2009

    Hi Cindy.

    Just curious to find out if you have a recipe for Garnet. Its my friends birth stone and I’m trying to create a necklace for her birthday.
    Thanks ,

  12. Cindy Lietz, 20 October, 2009

    Hi Shari thanks for your comment! I’m sorry but I do not have a recipe for Garnet at this time. Perhaps you can find some Garnet colored glass beads or real stones and make some polymer clay beads in a complimentary shade to go with them?

  13. Cheryl H, 20 October, 2009

    Hi Shari

    Here’s a recipe I found for ‘garnet’ on Polymer Clay Central. If you try it out let me know how it worked.
    Garnet (Fimo):

    ½ block OO Art Translucent
    1/64 block #23 Bordeaux

  14. Shari B, 20 October, 2009

    Hey Cheryl,

    Thanks so much for the recipe . I will be trying it out. Perhaps I can send a picture along with my post to let you know how it works.

    Thanks so much,

  15. Cindy Lietz, 20 October, 2009

    @Cheryl – thanks for helping out Shari

    @Shari – sending a photo would be great. You can email it to me as an attachment.

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