Conditioning Polymer Clay

by Judy Belcher, Polymer Artist and Jewelry Designer; Instructions by Gail Ritchey, Polymer Artist

Wow! Look at what you can create with Kato Polyclay.

Make your own beads, unlike anything you've ever seen. Recreate the look of natural materials such as ivory, turquoise, jade, carnelian, agate, marble and lapis lazuli (to name but a few). You can stamp it, sand it, engrave it and paint it. You can make jewelry, dolls, boxes or vases. The possibilities are endless. Before you can work with the clay though, it must be conditioned. Conditioning realigns the molecules in the clay and makes it pliable and easy to work with.

How to Condition Kato Polyclay by hand:

Open a package of clay and cut the block into 3 or 4 slices, working lengthwise across the block. Flatten each slice with the acrylic brayer. Fold and roll it again with the brayer, repeat 20 to 25 times, or knead it with your hands in any way that is comfortable for you. One great way to do this is to create "snakes," twist the snake then form it into a pancake or ball, repeating until the clay is malleable.

Other Hints
  • Keep your hands and all surfaces clean. Polymer clay seems to attract dirt and the light colors will show everything!
  • Never work on a wooden surface--polymer clay will damage wood
  • If the clay is too dry, add a drop or two of the Kato Liquid Polyclay and then condition
  • Allow polymer clay to cool in the oven, if possible. And, unless otherwise instructed, allow polymer clay to cool completely before continuing
  • Always test glues and glazes on a piece of baked polymer clay and allow the glued piece(s) to sit for several days or more. Some glues and glazes react to polymer clay and will become sticky, some "eat" the clay causing the glued piece to come off; this could take weeks to happen
How to condition Kato Polyclay with a clay-dedicated pasta machine:
Open a package of clay and cut the block into 3 or 4 slices, working lengthwise across the block.
Flatten each slice with the acrylic brayer until they are just slightly thicker than the thickest setting of the pasta machine. Run each slice through your pasta machine on the thickest setting.
Lay each slice side by side, slightly overlapping, and run through the pasta machine again. Set the pasta machine one notch lower, and roll the sheet through, you will notice the sheet getting longer.
Fold the sheet in half.
Place, fold side first, into the rollers; run through again.
Repeat the folding and rolling process for a total of 25 times.

A clay-dedicated pasta machine makes the conditioning process much easier but if you don't have one, don't despair! The next best tool is your hands.

Have a question regarding this project? Email Customer Service.

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