Friday, October 30, 2009

I had someone email me asking if I would consider doing an on-line class. The person really liked some of my techniques. Because my style is so "improve" I figured I could never do anything that structured. However I don't mind sharing my techniques. Feel free to use these techniques and make them your own. I think of polymer clay as "Adult Playdough". Play with the techniques and learn from your mistakes. Some of my favorite discoveries were from mistakes. This is the third post to answer my fan's questions.

Most of my pieces incorporate surface treatments.  One of the techniques I use involves coating a sheet of polymer clay with paint, letting it dry, then running it through the pasta machine.  Since paint doesn't stretch like polymer clay, it will crackle.  I have used four different types of paint.  Each produces a different effect.


The first paint treatment I ever tried was acrylic paint (the kind in the tube).  The one characteristic you need to know is that acrylic paint stretches.  So to get it to crackle you will need a thick base sheet.  I keep adding a new base sheet until I get the crackle effect I want.

I used acrylic paint on these earrings.  I made them a long time ago, so I don't remember a lot of the specifics about the technique I used.  I did cut the painted clay sheets into thin strips and put them on a new clay base.   I looks like I did this twice, laying the second strips 90 degrees from the first direction.  That is how I got both vertical and horizontal sections.  Some of the colors might be from clay, not paint.

One benefit of using acrylic is that you can lay down colors and either blend them or not.  If you don't want them blended just wait for the first color to dry before painting on the second color.


The paint treatment I use the most is Tempera Paint, in metallic colors.  It is water based and since it doesn't stretch, it crackles very nicely.  The crackle pattern is much coarser than the acrylic paint.  The one thing you can't do is lay on multiple colors, and NOT have them mix.

These earrings were treated with four colors of metallic tempera paint and crackled. The base clay was white.

These earrings were treated with some the same tempera metallic colors as the first pair of earrings.  However the base clay consists of multiple colored clays.

The effect of the surface treatment can be as bold, or as sutle as you want.  The more you crackle the paint, the smaller the tempera particles will get.  Gold and silver paint was used on both the brooch and the earrings.  The earring's paint treatment is reduced to subtle, tiny specks.  Both pieces used multicolored base clay.


This is an acrylic paint I found at Polymer Clay Express ( ).  It is thinner than tube paint and works very well on black clay.  It's crackle pattern is very subtle.  I noticed other really interesting types of paint on this Polymer Clay express web page.  More things to to try!!!!!!



At Dick Blick I found something called Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic by Daler-Rowney Ltd.  It is like a very thin metallic acrylic paint.  I don't have any examples where I used it for this surface technique.  I do remember that it works very well on dark clay.  It seems to crackle more like Tempera paint than tube acrylic paint.  It works very well with a surface technique I will discuss in a future blog.

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