Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Will the Real Egg Stand Up

Theirs - the real deal
Mine real PC - eggs from long ago and boxes from this month

I am back at are my table in Granville Island after a short trip to California. Back to the market and the rain but one bright Easter spot is the pysanky, or Ukrainian Easter Eggs. The lady selling completed eggs and supplies to make your own graciously answered all my questions leading me to a better understanding of the time these little gems take. I am including the link to the Pysanky web site in case there are some brave souls who would like to get a head start on next year.

For those out there that are content to cover eggs with polymer clay I am including links to past posts on the subject. One is on blowing and preparing eggs and the other is on covering the eggs with a thin sheet of polymer clay.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Care and Feeding of an Extruder

I have recently been called on to organize a class which I have decided to base around the little extruder marketed be Sculpey. It is an inexpensive and fun way to introduce adults and children to polymer clay.  I seldom use an extruder in my work I thought that it was time review it's uses.

Here is a hint that I had almost forgotten until spent more then ten minutes cleaning the brand new extruder after only one use. This is not a cost effective use of time.

Here is a way to make your extruder virtually cleaning free. 

Someone gave me the plastic wrap tip but I am not remember who, but thank you.

1.A  Here is what you will need: an extruder, a bit of clay ( I have used white and green.) and the magic ingredient, a piece in thin plastic wrap cut large enough to wrap around the clay with slight over lap and to cover one end of the clay.

1.B This clay is wrapped and ready to be inserted into the extruder tube. Be careful that there are no bits of plastic covering the open end of the clay.

2. Here the wrapped clay is inserted into the tube. Screw on the extruder plate of your choice with the extruder ring and insert the plunger into the tube. (Sorry I didn't get a picture of this last part.)

3. Well this looks a little mysterious. Those are my feet pushing down the extruder which I have placed on the floor. This is the easiest and quickest way to get this little extruder to work. It is much easier on the hands too.

Does anyone else do this?  I am sure someone else must have had sore hands and decided to take it to the floor and use their feet. I think I learn this approach from my cat.

4. When you have finished extruding, take the plunger out of the extruder tube. There is only a trace of clay left clinging to the plastic wrap.

5. Remove the plastic wrap from the plunger.

6. An almost perfectly clean extruder tube and the bit of plastic wrap having done it's job well.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Why Things Break

I recently received a comment on my article on breakage from a reader.

I am pulling my hair out! I've cooked and recooked and still breaking. What is the highest temperature you would bake Premo? I'm up to 300 deg and it still breaks... thanks!

 I cook most work whether Fimo or Premo at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. The excepttion would be thicker things which I cook longer. Other than that there are two or three possible other reasons for breakageThere are two or three possible other reasons for breakage: 
1.) Your oven is not as hot as you think. A remote possibility but check with an oven thermometer to eliminate the possibility.
2.)Perhaps some Sculpy III or other weaker clay has been mixed in with you clay.
3.) If your clay is conditioned thoroughly, 20 or 30 times trough the paste machine or the equivalent, should make the clay strong if it is cooked long enough and hot enough..

I hope this helps.
Other answers to this problem welcome.