Have you or your kids ever used polymer clay? I walked by it at the craft store for years. I figured it was just another expensive craft material that would sit around and not be used.
Oh, I could not have been more wrong!
I was introduced to the world of polymer clay by my friend and blogging buddy, Meri Cherry. She is the absolute queen of clay! Her blog is full of spectacular clay-filled posts, like seven-layer cakes, alien army, bowls, and hearts.
On this day in art class, the kids were so excited because I took out the flattener! This one piece of equipment is the coolest thing I own. It’s like a pasta maker where you put in the ingredients, turn the handle, and out comes a new form. Totally awesome!
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~ Plastic knives
1) The kids start by slicing off little bits of clay with their plastic knives. Then they squeeze and blend the bits together. This takes some work, as the clay is a bit hard to begin with, but then softens with the heat of their hands.
2) When they have a nice size of blended bits, they need to flatten it out a little before putting it in the flattener.
3) Now they can feed it into the flattener and turn the handle. This is the best part!
4) Out comes their flattened piece! By now the different colors are looking a little marbled. The kids can take this flattened piece and squeeze it up, then flatten it again. The more they squeeze and flatten, the more the colors start to blend. So, for example, if you are a 9yr old boy (my son), you will squeeze and flatten until your clay is now one color, a sort of greenish.
For this experience, I encouraged the kids to stop at some point so that their “beads” were colorful. But normally I would just let them experiment to their heart’s content!
How cool are these? I love the marbling effect that happens.
5) Next, I stamped two holes in each flattened “bead” with a straw piece. I layed them out on wax paper and separated each child’s pieces with a black sharpie so that I didn’t mix them up.
I poked around online to see how long to bake them for. Everyone had a slightly different formula, depending on thickness and quality of clay. I decided to bake at 250F for 30 minutes.
6) At the next class, I put out their clay pieces, some small pony beads, and some string. I tied one string through each hole. Nothing fancy.
We packaged up their necklaces in little glassine bags. Hopefully they will give them as gifts, but you never know what happens when they get home!