Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Barbara's Approach to Polymer Vol. 2: The first and best tool THE OVEN

by Barbara Bechtel


Thank you for all the positive comments on my last polymer clay video! This time, we're talking about what I feel is the best and most important tool in any polymer clay artist's arsenal and that is.....

....THE OVEN.....

Super big THANKS to  Patti at http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com/  and her Etsy shop  and Patty at http://mylifeunderthebus.typepad.com and her Luulla shop for their questions! I only hope I answered them in my long diatribe.





Here's a brief recap:

1) Always make sure you use a dedicated oven. Polymer clay emits fumes as it cures. A thrift store toaster oven is a great start.

2) Toaster ovens, like home ovens, operate by cycling on and off with heating elements, save they lack the padded insulation like a home oven. This contributes to fluctuations in the temperature that may be causing under/over baking. Your goal is to find the setting on your thermostat that keeps the median temperature in the oven for manufacturer's specifications for the brand you are using.

3) Purchase an inexpensive oven thermometer to help you achieve that perfect median temperature.

4) Clay can be baked on ceramic tiles, tempered glass tiles, or a parchment lined baking sheet.

Next time, we'll talk more about actual tools. I'd love to hear your questions about tools in the comments below!


14 comments:

Patti Van said...

THANK YOU for this video! Polymer clay has always been a beautiful mystery to me. But, it is definetely something I want to try in my next jewelry making venture! You answered all of my questions and you did an excellent job! You are a natural! Thanks again!

Hopemore Studio said...

Good Morning Barbara! Love this one, I agree 100% to start with the inexpensive tools, love thrift stores when I am seeking equipment too. So I have a tool question, well sort of... I find that I get a bit mechanical in my polymer clay work in order to avoid fingerprints or the dreaded dust/dirt inclusions. I know sanding is an option. Do you sand your work or leave it as is?

somethingunique said...

Awesome job sweetie...your are beautiful and very endearing...I'm so looking forward to these videos....I'm all set up to make poly clay...over a year ago I went all out...purchased every color the oven...all the tools...tons if stamps and texture plates...about four books....just had a bit of a hard time forming what I wanted and sort if gave up....then I went through a bit of a funk and didnt even go I to my beautiful studio for months...just as I got my mojo back with a couple if ecourses I took I got pnemonia and. Now I'm stuck resting...augg....anyway as soon as I feel better I can't wait to tryout your technique..I already have a thermometer....I look forward to your next video....I am very interested in how to Texture and paint or add colors or the shimmers etc....Without it looking like a little kid made them......I have it all..lol......

TesoriTrovati said...

I will have to watch that later. I like my toaster oven because I don't have to heat up the whole house to make one small batch. I would love to know how to carve my own tools and stamps. I have had limited success. I would also like to know more about making very thing pieces of polymer. I think I need to get a book. Also, what is the most unusual non-tool that you have ever used for your clay creations. Enjoy the day!
Erin

stacilouise said...

Great video!!!!! Very informative (and you are so fun to watch you beautiful lady!) You are braver than I! Thanks for doing this.

In the Light of the Moon said...

You Rock Barbara!! Wonderful video and tutorial!!Okokok...where did I put the clay...it's in a labeled bin somewhere..heehee.xoxo Cat

Ginger Bishop said...

Ok so two of my questions are asked above so I only have one for you. By the way you should be proud of you videos. I have very few resources in English here in Japan, and I appreciate your providing this. My only remaining question is what tool(s) do you use for adding fine details to your work?

My Life Under the Bus said...

I really need either a new oven or a thermometer to see what my actual temperature is. I never realized they cycled. I either burn the poor clay or I don't feel like it's hard enough. Your stuff is always perfectly set. Your awesome Barbara Thanks for the tips!!! XOXO

My Life Under the Bus said...

Another question would be what is your favorite mold product. I've used the 2 part mold putty. I never seem to make the molds thick enough to get good detail without out smooshing the design. Most recently I did impress the putty into a small rigid cup so I wouldn't get as much "smooshing" ( tealight candle holder)but this makes it difficult to remove : P

Stacie Florer said...

This was so, so helpful...I just love your vids!!!

Pat and Tammie Everly said...

Thank you Barbara~ I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. I have been claying for about 2 years and learned a lot from books, youtube and by trial & error. I use a lot of 'non tool' tools in my pieces.
My 'tool' question is about sanding. That is something I don't do well. I love the amazing glow that comes from good sanding, but I seem to just scratch it up. Any advice you can share would be greatly appreciated.

Creative Moon said...

Loved your last two videos! I'm going to be going hunting at the thrift stores around here for a toaster oven!

My questions would be these:

Can you use the old plastic soap/candy making molds to give Polymer Clay shape? Just press it in there and then carefully remove and trim? If so, is there something you need to put in those molds for the clay to come out of them better?

and...

I would like to get into texturing and coloring the Polymer Clay. I've heard that you can use rubber stamps, just spritz some water on the stamp so that it releases from the clay easily. What do you find works best for you when doing textures? And on the coloring - can you paint Polymer Clay with Acrylic paints? Do you do this before or after baking? Or do you bake, paint, then bake again? Also, can you use things like alcohol inks or Perfect Pearls or other mica powders? If so, what is the procedure to using those?

Thanks so much for your videos! Can't wait for the next one!

Oh, and quit apologizing so much! You are doing a fantastic job! We are all human and we don't have to be perfect! So, if we stutter here or there, or our thoughts get jumbled, it's no big deal. I recently made a video after not having done one in at least a couple of years, and I think I did the "uhm" thing, and cleared my throat, and instead of stopping and re-doing it, trying to make it "perfect", I just kept going. This was kinda hard for me, I tend to be a perfectionist, but I made myself just live with it as is, and everyone ended up loving it! I only did two takes - and I actually had to because the first take, something happened with the mic and it didn't pick up the sound! LOL So, don't be hard on yourself - you are doing a fabulous job. You are a joy to watch and learn from! I would rather watch someone who is authentic, than someone who is prim and proper and polished any day and twice on Sunday! LOL

Rebecca said...

Really great video Barbara, no need to apologise - I think you are warm and personable and communicate well. I would love to know about stamping or carving into clay, and also moulds. I guess I need to practice a bit more - I have been doing a little with polymer recently but haven't had a block of time to really stretch my wings and get absorbed. Thanks for your lovely videos.

mairedodd said...

your videos are wonderful - you should do an e-course... you have mastered the delivery part! thank you for this - i know you are helping lots of people...

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