Wee Folk Creations

Tips 

Which clay do I use?

Fimo® Puppen Fimo®,Sculpey, Super Sculpey, Sculpey III, Premo, Cernit or Mix Quick. Pick one or mix them all together. All polymer clay seem compatible. What consistency do you like? They're all different. We suggest getting a small block of each kind and experimenting with different combinations until you get one that feels good for you.

What do you do with it?

Once people see what you make from this clay, you will be continually asked the same questions, "What is this stuff? Did you make this? Where do you get it?" People will be so enticed by your product that it will be hard not to crack a warm smile, and as you will soon find out, a warm smile and a warm heart helps when you mix clay.

FIMO®is a brilliantly colored modeling compound. It is baked in your kitchen oven. We have used FIMO® since 1979, with excellent results. It has an elastic quality when sculpting. It is a harder clay to mix though. Thus it turns a lot of people off. But once you get past the mixing stage, you'll find it's qualities are great. We use Mix Quick to help in the mixing stage.

FIMO® Soft comes in 12 colors, and is a softer clay, made for ease of mixing. It feels differently than regular Fimo®.

Puppen, a FIMO® product, made especially for doll makers, comes in larger 500 gm. bricks, in light pinkish flesh or porcelain. It has a slightly softer texture than flesh FIMO®. The strength seems about the same.

Sculpey white, is used as a filler, and for uneven sculptures, such as caves and trees. It's a weak clay and not very durable. So use it accordingly.

Liquid Sculpey, is a raw form of sculpey. We sell only the clear form or "without pigment", which one can add acrylic paint, oil paint, Pearlex products, etc, to tint. It can be used for image transfers, as a bakeing glue, and for molds. NOTE we do not advise using it in resin cast molds. We tried using hand cleaner, and also baby powder as a release agent but in both cases the LS bonded with the mold and could not be removed without damaging the mold. We have read that people have had good results using molds they have made themselves out of polymerclay, but have not heard what they used as a release agent. We do think that using the elastic clay would be good for making molds with ,as one could bend the mold away from the piece once it is baked.

Super Sculpey is great for natural beige items and we have seen some wonderful doll heads made from it. It's much stronger but twice as costly as Sculpey. You get what you pay for I guess. Some crafters soften Fimo® with it. We used to, but now we prefer Mix Quick because it makes the clays more resilient.

Sculpey III is a very soft clay that generally keeps its bright color. It comes in many colors. We only carry the white and we use it for snow and Santa outfits. You must be more careful not to burn it and it is weaker than some other clays.

Premo is a revised product from Polyform, a substitute for Promat, and supposedly a better formula than Promat. It's very similar to Promat in it's flexiblity, strength, etc. There are a lot of brighter colors in Premo.

Cernit is a stickier clay to work with but a harder finished product. We use Cernit for the special projects when we need strength and a translucent, waxy effect. Cernit makes the opaque color now and is used to lessen the transparency between the colors so the color stand out more.

Mix Quick is white, neutral, clay made to help soften Fimo®, but it will soften other clays too. And it makes the finished product more flexible after it's baked.

MIXING with a warm heart

If you have warmth in your heart and soul, pre-warm the clay by holding it close to you.

An alternative is to use the heat from a light bulb, cover the clay first and be careful not to get it too close for fear of cooking the clay. Usually, the heat from holding it in your hands is warm enough. It takes heat in order to soften, knead and mix well. Remember, when working with modeling compounds, always read the manufacturers directions and recommendations.

You can use a food processor to help mix the clay if you are careful not to overload it. Put small pieces of clay in the mixer, total of not more than 6 ounces at a time, depending on the size of your mixer, and turn it on only long enough to obtain pieces the size of pebbles. Be especially careful of soft chunks of clay, as they may bind on the blade and break it. If you mix too long, the clay will heat up too much and possibly start to harden. You will still have to thoroughly knead the clay by hand, but it will be easier. (Don't use the same bowl or blade for food.)

There are some clay packages that are old or VERY hard and crumbly. Just remember to warm them up well and add Mix Quick until it's pliable.

Hand lotion will help clean clay from your hands, but we prefer the handy Waterless Hand Cleaner that we carry. Extra tip: We use our hand cleaner to help remove finger prints from the clay before it is baked. Just rub the clay with it or use a brush.

Do you knead something?

Yes! Clay!

To understand how long you should knead the clay to get a good consistency, take two small pieces of different colors and mix them together to obtain one color. Yes! You can mix any of the colors to obtain new colors. We like to stand up to get more leverage on the table. Roll, twist, then roll again until you get one color. Now you should have an idea of the time it should take to mix one color well. Of course, for you lazy ones, you may wish to use the streaked look in some of your projects. Beware! If you have air bubbles in your finished product, especially when using flesh tones, you will see round circles under the surface of your item after it's baked. For exquisite doll faces, these are a no no, unless of course you want that effect. Some use the pasta machine to help squeeze out the air bubbles before sculpting. Run it through 12-20 times, never with the fold on top. Try different methods.

Common Tools

A frequent question we get asked is, "What special tools do I need to get started"? We're cheap! So we make our own tools whenever possible. A paring knife, not serrated, is our main tool. Toothpicks or a darning needle with a fimo made handle, paint brushes, a rolling pin, nails, and other tools made from fimo, make up our tools list. So a lack of tools is no excuse for someone who thinks he couldn't possibly make anything. Whoops! I lied!

Making Pasta

No, this isn't a cook book, but using a pasta machine to roll out your clay can be a blessing on your muscles and the clay will not stick to the rollers. It's great! Flatten the clay first to a pancake shape. Then run it through, being sure that you start on the thickest setting, number 1. We usually do not go any thinner than setting 5 because it will tear easier if it's too thin. (Remember, don't use the pasta machine for food after using it for clay.) Clean the rollers often, especially the plates located next to the rollers on the bottom side. Our handcleaner or alcohol works fine.

Make Something!

Let's see now. You have warmed it, mixed it, got your paring knife and other tools ready.
What are you waiting for?
Sculpting can be a lot of fun if you remember a few things. This clay will not harden by the air, so you can work on your project at your leisure. If you come back to the clay after a period of time, you may have to warm the clay again before continuing.

When we sculpt, the clay is added, such as the nose on a face. Then the edges are blended with your finger, or if there is not much room to work, with a round pointed tool, or a good small brush. Do not use a cheap brush or the bristles may fall out. First, prepare the brush by pushing some flesh clay into the bristles with your thumb and forefinger, being careful not to bend any of the bristles. Then you can get into those tight places and blend the rough spots.

We get a lot of ideas from magazines, and books. Keep your eyes open for items that could be a challenge to make in clay. Imprint items into the clay for that special effect. Use textured cloth and other fabric to make designs.

Make your own jewelry to match your outfit. Test the clay colors after baking so they match the outfit. Some colors change slightly, depending on the baking time.

To make beads, roll out a long sausage and cut into pieces the same size. We usually start out all projects with a ball of clay. The new template tool makes it easier now for cutting the same sizes.

Colored Metallic powders can also give an added attraction to the clay. Brush it on sparingly before baking. Then after baking, brush on the matt or gloss varnish to protect.

Certain glues can be used on the baked Fimo. Epoxy, or the cyanoacrylate (pic stick) that we carry, works well. We have had some trouble with the super glues on the market. Test a piece if you are concerned.

Use acrylic paints on your finished project, if you wish. Caution about varnish! Certain varnishes will have a negative effect on the clay, and after a period of time the surface may get sticky. Use caution and test a piece over several days. (The lacquer we carry works well with Fimo.)

Unshake and Bake

I assume that you do not want to ruin your precious, "masterpiece". So please follow these instructions very carefully when baking. "Unshakable" should be your project when it's in the oven, meaning----- If needed, prop your project up with a ceramic mug, or tin foil, oven parchment, or other oven- proof objects. You do not want any unusual movement when the clay gets hot or the whole look of your piece may change. Usually, you will not have any stability problems with thick pieces that are close together.

You may re-bake your piece as many times as necessary until you are done with your modeling , but you must prop it up every time as the clay will always get soft again in the oven. (Remember that Sculpey III scorches easier.)

Our own rule is: If you DOUBT-----PROP.

Baking times vary depending on the size of the item created and the type of clay used. If an item is underbaked, it will be very fragile and easily crumbled. Especially for jewelry pieces, where you need strength, this is very important. Unfortunately, there is no good way to test it except by breaking it! So bake a test piece and purposely break it so you get a feel for its strength.

Baking at the highest temperature and longest time recommended on the package seems to produce the strongest finished product. If the oven is very full or if items are very fragile, you may want to lengthen the time. But keep an eye on it!

CAUTION! Buy an oven thermometer (less than $10) to check the actual temperature of your oven because if the clay scorches, it will create fumes which may be irritating. Try a few test pieces in your oven to check your oven's peculiarities before you risk your "sweat and tears" project.

Bake in the middle of the oven and insulate the bottom of your project by doubling 2 baking trays with one upside down to get an air space between. If you don't insulate, the preheating elements in your oven may get too hot for the clays. Hot clay is very soft, so don't move the finished piece until cooled.

Extra Tip: Setting your items on oven parchment works well to help prevent shiny bottoms.

Did you know that you can make your own tools from polymer clays? Cernit is great for resilient, hard tools. Promat is great for durable, flexible tools.

You can also make your own molds from the clays. We like to use Fimo® because you can get good detail in the mold. Just make your original. Bake it. Then powder and push Fimo® over the original. Pull it off, then bake.

Be careful of undercuts when you sculpt the original. Undercuts make it more difficult to pull a good, clean clay design. Practice and have fun experimenting.

Storing is Boring

No moth balls or special containers are needed to store unbaked clay. It will keep indefinitely, but it does get harder with age, so we suggest that people buy only what they will use within a year. Store unbaked clays in a cool place, as heat, even sun or close light bulbs, can affect their pliability. Plastic bags help keep the clays clean and the various clay colors separated. Do not use styrofoam or rigid plastics because raw clay will eventually eat into it.


Wee Folk Creations, 102 Water Street, Jordan, MN 55352
Tel: 952-447-3828,  weefolk@weefolk.com