Thursday, February 14, 2008

how to make polymer clay hands

and a partridge in a pear tree.....kidding.

Rabbits are done, now doing the finishing touch ups...

I found some interesting information on the web yesterday..and thought I would share:

this is what alot of my dolls are made of


Polymer clays of all brands contain a basis of PVC and one or more of several kinds of liquid plasticizer to keep it soft until cured. Small amounts of kaolin or white china clay are added as an opaquing agent to some colors. Others remain more translucent and can be left without pigment, or pigments can be added. Mica is also added in some colors by some brands.

Bakelite was extremely popular with designers and had an early form of polymer clay available in kits, but the phenol base of uncured Bakelite was flammable and these were discontinued. Today's clays are non flammable and certified as non-toxic art supplies. FIMO polymer clay was made popular by Maureen "Fifi" Kruse, daughter of a popular German doll designer Kathe Kruse in the early 1940s. The compound was later sold to Eberhardt Faber in the 1960s and they named it after her.


Polymer clay's history as an art medium is only decades long, unlike many media that have been around for centuries and have long traditions. This newness means that there is a great deal of innovation by users of polymer clay. Often, ideas are born by borrowing from the traditions of some other materials, such as metalworking (mokume gane), ceramics, glass (millefiore), paper, etc.

A simple method to create polymer clay hands:

Pardon the different colored hands, it has nothing to do with making them. The dime is included to give a sense of scale. Simple tool set: #2, 3, or 4 knitting needles and blade (tissue blade or single edge razor blade, etc.)

A. Start with a nice little ball.

B. Roll ball into a cylinder about 1.5 inches long and a little larger at one end. The smaller end will become the wrist.

C. Use your thumb to flatten the larger end until it looks like a flat paddle.

D. Use a blade to cut away a little notch on one side.

E. The little segment that remains after the cutout? - pinch, pull and shape into the thumb. Smooth and round any cut edges using your finger tips and the knitting needles.

F. Make three cuts, as shown in F. This is the beginning of making four fingers.

G. Smooth edges with finger tips and needles to round over cut edges and the spaces between all the digits. Use a finger to push in the center of the hand to form a slightly cupped palm. Gently push up the clay along the base of the thumb to form that large rounded base thumb muscle (opponens pollicis muscle to you anatomists :).

Most importantly, use your hands as the models. They have all the design secrets. I hope this is enough to at least get you started.


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