Tips and Techniques

Polymer clay tips and techniques from our members. Do you have a handy tip or technique that you'd like to share? Submit it to the site and see yourself published on the world wide web!

Have Yourself A Polymer Clay Halloween

by Leila Bidler

Interesting facts about Halloween Traditions and Superstitions:

As we all probably know Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain – November 1 (when the Celts celebrated the new year) is the day that marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of winter, a dark and cold time of the year of course associated also with human death.

On the night before the new year they believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred and the ghosts of the dead would return to earth. This might cause trouble and damaging the crops but also help to make predictions about the future.  To celebrate the event Druids would built sacred bonfires and the Celts wore costumes, often consisting of animal heads and skins.

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Summer In The City

How To Keep Your Head And Clay Cool In The Heat

Summer has finally arrived but now – how to keep a cool head and how to work with clay that is way too soft? Here are a few tips and tricks (not all to be taken seriously) that might come in handy.

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Budget-Friendly Light Boxes

Editor's note: This is a companion article to the digital photography articles published in the IPCA Members Only section in January 2012. If you are not a member, please join today and take advantage of this exclusive content.


My daughter-in-law, Heather, is a professional photographer and videographer. Back in September of 2011, she offered to create a light box for me. It’s made out of inexpensive materials, but it works great. Ever since then, I’ve been very pleased with how much better my photos come out. I shared this experience on my blog, Fimo Fanatic, but I also wanted to summarize it here on the IPCA website.

The light box is made from a clear plastic box approximately the same size as a cardboard file box. The inside of the box is lined with white cotton muslin, and the box sits on a small portable decorator table that has removable legs. Two clamp-on gooseneck lamps sit on either side of the box, and a spotlight shines down from the top. I use a slanted piece of white poster board as the backdrop, or an assortment of silky fabrics, depending on what I’m photographing. This light box is portable – everything packs up in less than 5 minutes and will fit easily into a seat in my car. Cost: less than $50.00.

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(Not So Funny) Buffing Story

I teach polymer clay at a local bead shop and have one student who has attended nearly every class.  She is a diligent student and emails me quite often for help with her projects.  Her most recent email describes a buffing experience that is so frightenly funny that it needs to be shared...and might hopefully also help to remind people about buffing safety as well!  - Hazel Keyes-Frederick

"Guess what I learned today?  NEVER, EVER, BUFF A GLASS VOTIVE ON AN AUTOMATIC BUFFER!!!!!!! 

I thought I had a good grip on it, but lost missed my head by a hair, and I watched it just barely miss the computer screen and a lamp as it flew through the window and the storm window (which of course were closed). Then I had to laugh at the insanity of it, because when it hit the driveway most of the clay shattered..but the votive didn't even break!

I hope your day is better than mine - I'm on my way to town to get my windows fixed."

Facebook Timeline: How to Make It Work For You

People either love it or hate it.  But whatever your opinion, the new Timeline format is coming to your Facebook profiles and fan pages, inexorably changing the way you interact with this social media giant.  Facebook is promoting its new Timeline feature as a way to automatically track your life, month by month, and year by year.  By taking advantage of a host of apps, you can quickly share with your Facebook friends every moment of every day, from you latte at Starbucks, to the song you’re currently listening to in the car, and the restaurant where you’re having dinner.  It adds a deeper sharing dimension that wasn’t previously possible with the classic Facebook layout.  They call it “frictionless sharing”.

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All About Sketching!

IPCA Members Share Their Photos and Ideas about Sketching

arbutus- sketchThere are as many ways of approaching art as there are artists. Last year we asked members to share photos of their preliminary sketches and finished work as well as any thoughts they have about how sketching is important to their process. The responses were surprisingly varied! Some artists sketch each step in their process, including cane-making. Some sketches are just jottings of shapes and proportions; others include amazing detail, text, and color. These quotations and photos may inspire you to be more methodical in planning your work. 

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