Polymer is a plastic compound. If you add a liquid plasticizer to particles of polymer, and then cure at a specific temperature for a specific time, you create a “clay.” Add pigments and a “cocktail” of other ingredients that give a specific texture, tensile strength, and other properties…and you’ve got Premo, Fimo, Sculpey, Cernit, Kato, Pardo, Pro-Sculpt, or any of the many name-brands of this fascinating product.
Polymer clay is cured in a home oven between 265 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Read your package for the time and temperature recommended by the specific brand.
Polymer clay can be used to mimic other substances, creating faux wood, stone, metal, and glass. It is very strong, even thin pieces, after following proper curing instructions. You can embed things in it- as long as they can withstand the low temperature of baking.
It can be molded, stamped, textured, inked, colored with acrylic paints and mediums. You can sculpt figures, make jewelry, and make many art and decor items. The sky is the limit. When making large items, you may need an armature- foil, cardboard, and wire work well. You can cover a glass or metal object with clay, or use rocks inside for weight or stability.
Polymer clay has a long shelf life and will not “dry out.” However, it tends to harden after long periods of disuse sitting on a shelf. If this happens, it will be difficult to condition but you CAN get it moving again.
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