There are many different materials available for artisans to make into jewelry. While most people think of the typical items – metals, gemstones, and possibly glass, there are many other things that can be made into excellent jewelry. Some crafters have started to create jewelry out of pottery, or plastics and resin. Others use textiles, or even rubber and leather. While all of these materials are popular, perhaps the most popular new sensation in jewelry is polymer clay.
Polymer clay is a specific type of clay that is quite different from modeling or pottery clay. It is created from PVC plastic and a type of plasticizer chemical that keeps the clay moldable and soft until it is cured (usually by baking). Colors and sparkle can be added to the polymer clay through the use of micas (colored pigments and/or metallic sparkles) and kaolin clay (which makes the polymer opaque) make polymer clay a very diverse and easily workable medium for creation. This type of clay is also perfect for those who make their jewelry at home – the polymer clay does not need a kiln or high temperatures to cure, instead a home oven can do the job.
There are a couple of polymer clay brands that are the most well-known among artisans; these are FIMO (a clay developed in the 1940's in Germany), and Sculpy. Most major craft stores and suppliers carry these brands of clay in many different colors, ranging from fluorescent and day glo hues to metallic shades like silver and gold. The more metallic colors can easily be shaped and used as a replacement for working in the metals themselves, which makes jewelry creation more accessible to crafters.
There are very few types of tools needed in order to sculpt and create jewelry with polymer clay. Most crafters employ a pasta roller machine in order to flatten their clay to desired thicknesses, and also to condition the clay for use. Then, the clay is rolled and shaped into whatever configuration the artist wants to use. Some techniques even mimic the millefiore style of glass work. Most polymer clay jewelry consists of beads made out of the clay, although larger pieces such as bangle bracelets can also be found.
If you want a piece of jewelry that is colorful, less costly and unique – try something made out of polymer clay. Whether you choose to buy it ready made or create your own pieces, this clay jewelry can be a great way to express yourself.
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