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What Exactly Is Polymer Clay?

.What Exactly Is Polymer Clay? Where Do You Buy It At? Is There Any Good Books On Bead Making With Polymer Clay (Character Beads)

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  1. Polymer clay is a special craft clay that contains plastic polymers to hold colours and shape. You can buy it at any craft shop (sometimes it;s called craft clay - the most common used to be the brand Fimo) and it comes in small blocks in bright colours. As for books - try the craft shops which should have a good selection.
  2. Here's some info about what polymer clay is, etc., from my polymer clay "encyclopedia" website: Polymer clay is not an "earth" or mud-type clay like potters use, and it is also not water-based. Instead, it is made from oil-based solid and liquid polymer ... substances which will "cure" after being being subjected to a certain temperature of heat long enough to harden the liquid part (plasticizer) and fuse all the substances together. A kiln is never used for hardening ordinary polymer clays (it's much too hot). .....Rather, polymer clays are cured and hardened in an ordinary home oven (or toaster oven, or convection oven, and in more novel ways) at approx. 275 degrees for approx. 15-20 minutes per 1/4" of thickness (using an oven thermometer!). This ease of use is one of the things which has made polymer clay so popular, as well as many other things. It also comes in many colors, or colors can be mixed, including some special colors like Translucent and various metallics, etc. It can be used in many different ways too from making "sculpts" to making "canes" or making jewelry, bowls, boxes and lots of other things, using many cool special techniques for patterns and effects. Polymer clays are also not the same as "air dried" clays btw (paper clays, salt dough clay, cornstarch clay, and others) which are water-based and will harden only when dried (polymer clays won't ever "dry" since there's no water in them, remaining malleable forever if not cured). Polymer clays are also not the same as "modeling" clays (which are primarily used by children and animators) although both are oil based (modeling clay has wax added to it and will melt if heated). There are also other types of "clays" and doughs which are used primarily for sculpting...those can include air-dried clays, 2 pt. epoxy clays, and others as well as polymer clays. Polymer clays can be purchased at craft, hobby and art stores (as well as by mail order/online), though stock and even brands will vary. ....the most common brand names of polymer clay you'll see in the U.S. are Premo, Fimo (FimoClassic & FimoSoft), Kato Polyclay, Sculpey (various types), and sometimes Cernit (...other brands are available in other countries). There's lots of info about the differences between the main brands and lines of polymer clay on this page, if you want to check them out: http://glassattic.com/polymer/Characteristics.htm (...best not to view this particular page with Firefox 3 right now since the margins are messed up... use I.E., or other browsers) As for bead making, there are many books about making beads with polymer clay as well as many-many free lessons online, videos, etc. I'm not sure what you mean by "character beads" though... does that mean little critters and things that can be made small enough to be used as beads or dangles? If so, what you'd be looking for is how to make "miniatures" and simple miniature figures, etc.... there are loads of lessons, examples, tips, etc., on making all kinds of miniatures like that on these pages at my site: http://glassattic.com/polymer/kids_beginners.htm ...click on the category called *Sculpting* http://glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm ...click on *Whimsical* subcategory (under the "Websites" category) http://glassattic.com/polymer/miniatures.htm ...click on any category you're interested in http://glassattic.com/polymer/Christmas.htm ...click on *Sculpting* http://glassattic.com/polymer/Halloween_etc.htm ...miniature sculpts are in various categories there (If by "character" beads, you mean copyrighted characters though like Mickey Mouse, Sponge Bob, Pokemon figures, etc., be aware that it's illegal to *sell* any representations of those characters, though most companies won't go after people who make a few for personal use or for gifts.) As for books on making small sculpts, there are a lot of those especially the 16-20 page "books." You can see the names of many of them from this page: http://glassattic.com/polymer/Books_on_Polymer_Clay.htm ...click on *Sculpting* books, and also on *Shorter Books*  ...and click on *Free Online Video Lessons* And this page has loads of lessons, etc., on making beads from polymer clay, in general: http://glassattic.com/polymer/beads.htm HTH, Diane B.