Polymer Clay 2. – Some basic tools and techinques to begin with

In my first post I talked a lot about not buying expensive tools especially designed for clay. I stick to that, although there are a couple of tools everyone wants to have after starting working with clay. One of them is the clay extruder. It helps you push out different shapes from clay which you cannot achieve by only rolling it.

Of course there are cheaper and more expensive ones. My experience is that the cheaper one gave me a hard time untill my fiance found a way to solve this issue – it wasn’t easy though.

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This is it. You put clay inside the tube, then you place the handler on top of it and push! And unless you are super-powerful, it will be almost impossible to push the clay out.

Obviously, this one would have been a better choice (now I know), but of course this is much more expensive:

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Here you have a T handle and you don’t push the clay, but rotate the handle, so you need less effort to push the clay out. It’s much easier.

And finally this is how we worked out to use the cheaper one:

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We had this extruder thingy and after some failed tries we finally managed to place the small extruder into the big one, so now I can extrude as much clay as I wish without much effort. :)

The next tool is the pasta machine.
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There are pieces especially designed for clay, but a simple pasta machine (designed for pasta obviously) does the same trick. I mean it. Really.

Now about techniques… Molding is one of the basics. You use your hands, mold the clay to the desired shape and use it. Simple, isn’t it? :) But of course, there are things you cannot mold with your hands.

This was the first technique I tried:

This is really something worth practicing, because you will often use it during more difficult projects. And if you don’t have a pasta machine yet, don’t worry: you can roll the clay with a roller (a bottle, a glass vase etc.) you will just need to be careful to roll it to the same thickness on all parts of it.

And right after that, you can give a try to this one:

Paper-woven Baskets: Working the Verges

In one of my older posts you can find the basics, just click HERE.

This time here’s how to work the verges to have a really nice basket.

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Firts of all, make a basket of desired size and height.

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When you are ready to finish it, that’s where the “tricky” part comes! :)
You will have to add new paper tubes near the vertical ones. Use a knitting needle to help you place the new tubes into their places, and also: you might want to consider using some glue.

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Of course, as you go further, work a whole row with the horizontal ones as well.
Now you need to fold the first “column” as shown:
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And here’s how you finish this row:
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Now you have to return with the tubes into the inside of the basket:

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And the last row: woven in the inside. Fold it as shown: above the next and under the second… the picture will make it clear :)

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You’re done. Just cut the remaining ends and maybe secure it with some glue.

(source: http://blureco.blogspot.co.uk/)