Liquid Polymer Clay: Oh the Design Possibilities

Design Idea B518 Bracelet
by Leslie McLane, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

What can you do with liquid polymer clay? Most jewelry designers use liquid clay as a sort of adhesive to join two already baked pieces of clay together or to ensure a strong baking bond on small contact points. However, we're here to expand the realm of possibilities.

Clear Kato Polyclay Liquid and Artist Brush At the 2016 BeadandButton® tradeshow, our lead jewelry production specialist Esther P. and Content Development Department Manager Tom T. took the ''Christi's Rave'' class. This was an all-day class sponsored by polymer clay guru Christi Friesen where multiple designer-artists (including herself) taught different techniques at different stations. One of the techniques was how to make a liquid polymer clay sheet that looked a bit like abstract stained glass or collage art with a dimensional effect. Here's how to do it!

First, tape down a Teflon® sheet (about 6x6 inches) to a ceramic tile. You don't have to use the ceramic tile, but it can help with curing each layer since the ceramic will retain heat as you work. Squeeze a small amount of liquid clay onto the center of your Teflon sheet. Using a paintbrush, spread the liquid into a thin sheet. Working in thin layers is easier to cure and results in less clumping later (though if you want texture, then go a little thicker). Start in one corner of your clay and slowly wave the Darice® Heat Tool over the whole sheet until the milky look has turned transparent. Apply one or two more base layers of clear liquid clay, spreading each layer thin and heating until clear.

Note: Be sure to keep your paintbrushes and liquid polymer containers away from the heat source so they don't try to harden. Work in a well-ventilated area and you may want to wear a mask if you're sensitive to faint ''plastic'' fumes.

Now it's time to get creative! Add other colors of liquid polymer clay if you want less of a translucent look, brushing the color where you want or over the whole sheet. Again, work in thin layers and heat each time. Add alcohol ink, small amounts of Swellegant!™ dye-oxides, thinned out Gilders Paste® (using mineral spirits) and more to paint and design. Even draw with permanent markers. For texture, add tiny bits of Mylar strips (smoothed or crinkled), fibers or micro beads, then ''seal'' with a layer of liquid polymer clay. Add mica powder, glitter or Iced Enamels™ to top layers and again ''seal'' them. Add as many layers as you want!

Note: Keep the heat gun moving and far enough way to not burn layers containing Mylar or Swellegant!
Creating a Sheet of Kato Polyclay™ Clear Medium Liquid How-To Video and Instructions

Jewelry-making expert Tammy Honaman likes to add silver, gold or copper leaf as well as inked stamps and even thin slices of polymer clay in her sheets, as demonstrated in this video tutorial ''Creating a Sheet of Kato Polyclay™ Clear Medium Liquid.'' Tammy uses thicker layers and bakes each in a toaster oven. Half the fun of these sheets is to experiment and maybe get a result you hadn't necessarily planned for, but end up loving anyway.

Silicon Stamp Once you're done adding your layers (usually about 7-10 layers), allow your surface to cool a bit then peel up the sheet by starting at one corner. Hold the sheet up to the light and see if there are any milky areas that need a little more drying. You're now ready to use this sheet in jewelry creations. Cut out sections you like using scissors or cutters and adhere to settings for unique pendants. Leave as is or fill extra space in settings with Magic-Glos®. The sheet's flexibility provides even more opportunities for filling unique shapes in bracelet, ring and earring hoop component channels. Apply to the surface of polymer clay, too.

Want even more ways to play with liquid polymer clay? Award-winning artist Lisa Pavelka uses liquid clay in molds to create soft, flexible jewelry components. Add glitter or flat back crystal rhinestones--like Lisa does in her how-to video ''Fimo® Professional Liquid Polymer Clay''--before baking to personalize the result.

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