How to use Sculpey

I discovered Sculpey back in 1999 not too long after I graduated from the University. I was looking for something that I could do at home that was colorful, fun and fairly easy to use.

Sculpey is a oven hardening polymer clay and can be purchased at any arts and crafts store such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or visit their website at http://www.sculpey.com/. The cost is typically .99 to 1.99 per package, and it comes in a huge array of colors. The amount is small so I usually planned to make very small items. I enjoyed making beads, small sculptures, and christmas decorations.

The material can be very hard at first, so I had to knead it for a little while before I could really work with it. Then when I was ready I would begin to form my small sculptures or beads. Helpful tools for beads were toothpicks or bamboo skewers. You can even make impressions on the surface of the sculpey with stamps.

After I formed my sculptures I would preheat my oven to 275 degrees and place my ready to bake items in a metal baking pan. The intructions say that its OK to use a glass pan as well. I placed the items in the oven and let them bake for about 12 minutes. (Instructions say specifically that the items should bake for 15 minutes per 6mm or 1/4″ thickness). I learned over time as I continued to use the product that if you over bake your items they can warp while baking and they do brown just like burnt cookies.

After my sculptures finished cooling they were ready for whatever use I had planned. I found that the material can be very sturdy if baked the right amount of time, and last a very long time. I also found that if underbaked the items had the tendency to break easier.

Sculpey has been very fun for my two daughters, from the age of six and seven they looked forward to making sculpey animals and beads. The colors were very attractive to them and they entertained themselves for hours making things they liked.

 

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How to use Creative Paperclay

My sister and I were interested in doing something artistic and fun over the summer so we made a trip to Hobby Lobby and found a product called Creative Paperclay (retailed at 4.99). It has the feel of wet clay or putty and it can be used to make small decorative items. Unlike clay that has to be baked in a kiln or an oven this material hardens as the moisture dries out of it. Once it has been formed you simply leave it out at room temperature or place it near a heat source and it hardens like a rock.

We found that the items we made were very sturdy and had a clean white surface to decorate after they were completely dry. When it was time to decorate our objects I chose to decorate mine with a sharpie fine point marker, acrylic paints, and colored pencils. Everything that I used took quite well to the surface, especially the colored pencils. We made various objects, but the best part was decorating them.

After I was finished using the paperclay I wrapped up any unused portions in a ziploc bag to keep it from drying out.

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How to Store Paint

As an artist I mostly work in acrylic paint. I like the fact that it dries fairly quickly and I can get a lot of work done in a shorter period of time. Due to the fact that it dries so quickly, and I mix colors for pieces I am working on, I have had to find ways to store my paint so that it lasts longer.

 

What I found to work really well are baby food jars. Baby food jars have a freshness seal in the lid and it helps to trap moisture in the jar. They are very inexpensive priced from .49 to .69 cents at your local grocery store. You may also know a mom or two who are using baby food who wouldn’t mind seeing them used for an art project.

If you were to use baby food jars for paint be sure to thoroughly wash them prior to using them. I have had mold form in jars along with my paint because I was in a hurry to use the jar. Lesson learned.

I recently found some very small plastic paint containers at Hobby Lobby that I found perfect for the work that I am doing. They came in a pack of six and I paid 3.99 (a Speedball Art product). Normally I would use baby food jars but these containers were much smaller and held less paint. They also have a foil in the lid which helps to trap the moisture. These containers came in various sizes and cost a little more, but I found that the quality was good and would buy more in the future.

I have found that over time my paint starts to dry out in the jar. By adding water every few days my paint lasts longer. When my paint does dry out completely I fill the jar with water and after about 30 minutes to an hour, the paint peels completely off the walls of the jar. Then the jar is ready to be used again. Great way to recycle!

 

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Welcome to my Blog

I decided to create this blog because I have many years working as an artist and working with many different supplies.  I wanted to create a resource for people who might be interested in being creative.  Parents and teachers who work with children and want a creative outlet might find some useful information here and that is the goal of this blog.

I recently relaunched my website where you can see my art work.  Please come by and check it out.  I work in many different styles, but the one where I find the most interest is in the personal narratives and the portraits.  I have been working as an artist professionally since I graduated from the university in 1998, but I have been artistic since childhood.  I hope you enjoy my work and my articles.

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