Rustic Textures Inspire Polymer Clay Creativity

Fort Stevens Oregon Texture InspirationVideo #569: Roadtrip #3-01 (OR): A visit to the David Russell Battery at Fort Steven’s State Park. Polymer clay Inspiration is everywhere!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Fort Steven’s State Park in Oregon, USA.
  • David Russell Battery, US Military Base operational from 1904 – 1944.
  • Quick roadtrip to see a couple people and do some on-location filming.
  • Look for inspiration for your polymer clay art in your surroundings.
  • I was very inspired by the textures found here in the abandoned concrete buildings and the surrounding area.
  • Textures in weathered concrete, rust, moss, lichen, crackled surfaces, distressed finishes, etc.
  • When you are out and about, keep your eyes open for inspiration in colors, shapes, textures and different ideas that will make your artwork come along further and make it more original.
  • Gorgeous photos and video taken by Doug Lietz.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Betsy Butler, 29 October, 2014

    Hi Cindy,

    The past few weeks I’ve been working on the 25 or so Christmas presents I make every year. I’ve covered Christmas ornaments before, but now I’m into coming up with refrigerator magnets.

    I usually get clay from Donna Kato and Vernon (in Colorado Springs – I’m up the mountain from them, above Evergreen), and I took a class on her craftartedu site for a blue butterfly. The directions were for a 6-pound cane, so I made it 1/4 size or so. That came out beautifully except that I just used scraps for the body of the individual butterflies. I made those to go on top of a refrigerator magnet. My idea is to have a butterfly on top of an oval piece covered with flowers (as a fabric, as you taught me).

    I made a few base pieces (2 – 3 inches or so, starting with 2 stacked pieces of clay on widest pasta machine settings), smoothed to an edge. But they’re really messy looking. Is sandpaper what you would use to smooth them before I cover them?

    I did find that I can bake the magnets with the clay, adding a sheet to the bottom with holes cut out where the magnets go, and liquid clay to hold them in. I ordered magnets on the internet that were very small, but you had to slide them off the side of the refrigerator – they were really stuck.

    This is so much fun, I love working with polymer clay. Would you have made the oval bases so they were smooth to start with, rather than waiting to fix them later?


  2. Cindy Lietz, 05 November, 2014

    Hi Betsy, so sorry I missed answering your question. I remember reading it and not having time to answer it at the time, and then I guess I forgot to come back to it. :(

    I always do my best to smooth things out before baking. It is much easier to spend a little more time making things look nice before they harden, then spending a lot more time later fixing it.

    But since it is done, yes sandpaper is the way to get it smooth before covering them. Since they will be covered anyway, use a coarse sandpaper like 220 grit drywall sandpaper or 400g wet/dry to get it smooth. I wouldn’t worry about going with any finer grits after that… it is more about the shaping in this step.

    Your magnets sound like they are going to be lovely. I should would love to see pics when you’re done. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.

  3. Betsy Butler, 06 November, 2014

    Thanks Cindy!

    I thought later that you would probably use a mold for the base piece, that might have been easier.

    The key seems to be another layer of clay on the back with holes where the magnets go. When I tried the 2-part epoxy sticking them to a flat back, the magnets eventually slid off when hanging on the fridge.

  4. Lena S, 04 November, 2014

    I have a magnet question.

    I have been making refrigerator magnets for fun little projects as I get into working with PC. I remember hearing you say somewhere (I think) that baking the magnets make them less powerful. So, I’ve been trying to attach my little (.25″?) earth magnets after baking. The magnet always seems stronger than the glue and pops off. It seems to work better if I glue to wood. I am using the gel super glue (that you like) and also normal super glue.

    I am wondering if I use the good earth magnets that maybe I could bake them inside the clay after all. Or maybe there is some tip – like scoring the clay where the magnet goes? Or another type of glue?

    I have a cool idea about making refrigerator magnets/pins for clothing. If I took a washer or another magnet for the inside of your clothes you could wear them too. I am trying to figure out what might work good for the back. Another magnet is too strong as it pulls off the glued one. I figure there is probably something at the hardware store that would work (like a washer), but I haven’t figured that out yet.

    Any thoughts on my predicaments?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 04 November, 2014

    Hi Lena, I wouldn’t bake your magnets. They are not going to stay in there after baking anyway, so lowering their strength won’t be worth it. Try a different glue like E6000, Weldbond or 2 part Epoxy (the strongest). Your other clothing ideas sound neat. Keep experimenting with different processes and see what will end up working best. Let us know how it goes.

  6. Lara Myer, 03 October, 2021

    Hi Cindy,
    I’ve watched many of your tutorials on talks on Youtube so who better to ask than you. I’m looking for a technique to make polymer clay look like a very porous and pitted concrete. Not just look like a slab of concrete but more the porous/pitted look. I saw something on Instagram and have tried to replicate the look. I tried mixing bicard into clay and them baking it. I tried to texture the clay with course salt but it’s just not the look and I wondered if you had any ideas?

  7. Cindy Lietz, 04 October, 2021

    Hi Lara, that sounds like a fun challenge! I’d start with throwing some sand in the clay. Concrete has sand in it, so that would be a great start. Then I would try adding some chalk pastels (scraped off the stick into a loose powder). I’d try a little white chalk, gray and bits of black chalk. That would get that chalky look that concrete has. I would probably also add the coarse salt in a small amount so that it could be washed out after baking to give it a pitted look. Then I would use a scraper to “trowel” the surface, like they do with concrete. Dab with a tooth brush or stiff bristle brush to add more texture where you want it. Obviously you would need to play around with different mixtures and texturing techniques before you nail it, but it sounds like you like to experiment a little! :) Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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