Polymer Clay: Mixing & Rolling


Kids Crafts with Maker Dad


Lesson Info

Polymer Clay: Mixing & Rolling

This is really cool project this is actually something jane that you've taught me about polymer clay did you how did you learn about this kind of this kind of clay? Well, I've always liked doing craft so once I was just like searching for crafts online and then found all this polymer clay stuff and I thought it looked pretty cool so then I started so then I got some and I started watching videos of how to make certain things and then I showed do and then you also like that you know, I took two two so so this is polymer clay here and it looks just like the typical kind of play that you would would buy at a hobby store craft sorts it's very multiple pliant clay it stay soft comes in a wide variety of colors is really easy to work with, but the magic thing about it is that once you're done with a shape that you like, you pop it into a toaster oven at two hundred seventy five degrees for about twenty minutes and it comes out hard really nice kind of like a like a bakelite or plastic kind o...

f a feel to it. I'm not exactly sure about the chemistry involved, but I I believe that the quite comes with some built in plasticizers that keep it soft and then when you put it in the toaster oven at a low temperature that thie plasticizers out gas, they go away and you're left with just the hard material it doesn't really shrink or anything like that there's no noticeable color change so it's really amazing, versatile stuff for a wide variety of things you could make really cool beads with it, you compress it into molds you can mix colors very well, it mixes beautifully will be doing a little bit of that so thisa project that we're showing you really is just to be an introduction what polymer clay can possibly do. It comes in different kinds of besides just these regular colors you can get like metallic polymer clay so you can make met jewelry that looks like it's metal they I think they even have glow in the dark. Yeah, they didn't know it was pretty cool, so for this particular project, what we're going to do is we're going to make a little ice cream sandwiches, and that was one of the things that jane would find on youtube that you could make like really cool food that looks realistic reminded me of when we were in japan. A lot of the restaurants there have, like the plastic food that looks super realistic where you could make super realistic looking food with polymer clay, so I think what we should do at this point it's kind of give you a rundown of the materials that we need of course the polymer clay we need and a variety of colors you you can buy packages a polymer clay that come with lots of different colors in them or you can buy simpler amounts of polymer clay with just your standard kind of colors and just mixed them if you have like red and blue you could mix it together to get green and if you have white and black you can make pastel shades with that I have some yellow just just just a variety of colors and then of course you could get more specialty colors as well. So for this project what you want to some of the darker colors to make like the chocolate in the chocolate cookies so we have some kind of a dark brown some lighter brown some white uh some kind of pink on these that will represent the different flavors inside inside the cookies so besides polymer clay the other things that you need pretty basic things some wax paper and this is tio just to provide a nonstick work surface so that you can mix your play without having it get on your table or whatever surface that you're working on it's not really a problem it cleans up very nicely um I also uh recommend getting some kind of a roller and these are just little pieces of pvc like sprinkler plastic but you could even use a rolling pin if you have that a wooden dowel will work anything that actually could just help you roll the clay and get it flat way also have a deck of playing cards you may think that what are we doing with playing cards? They're actually really good for spacing what you can do is you put a stack of playing cards on either side of your blob of claim and when you roll it with the roller you can get a uniform thickness it's a really great way to get a nice let kind of layer of polymer clay and you can use it for magic tricks after two way like magic tricks cookie cutters, some miniature cookie cutters they don't actually have to be minister if you wanted to make full size um go for it yeah second you want to make a full size er ice cream sandwiches and you could just get some really big cutters but we're just going to make some small ones because our ideas maybe to make a pendant with uh with these with these cookies so you can see some small ones and in a variety of different shapes and if you want to be you don't have to constrain yourself to using a cookie cutter you could just cut any shape you want using a knife to once you have that layer so so don't let yourself be constrained really what I'm showing you here is kind of the foundation of what uh what what the polymer clay can offer and just you can just take it in any direction you want and you see here we have a cookie sheet and parchment paper this will be used when you pop it into the toaster oven the parchment paper it is just a great way tio keep the polymer clay from getting on the cookie sheet itself and then you put it into the oven to seventy five you don't have to worry about the parchment paper catching on fire or anything like that so really that's about it all week um missing any other things the jewelry findings we have little ice screws with with threads in them so that you can actually just screw them into your clay and you can do it either you before you make it her after you make the clay I usually do it after doesn't really matter either way either way works just fine you can get some chains uh string weir and and these you can run through your jewelry findings tio two string your your creations and the other thing one other item that will be using in this one is a craft the knife and uh it's like this you can use a snap blade knife and this is to cut the clay once you have a nice layer of clay all right let's get started with making three claimed mixing the color so we have we have for different colors that we want to mix together, we want to have a icecream cookie sandwich color of clay we wanna have chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream and strawberry ice cream because we're making in the a politan ice cream sandwiches just because it's more colorful and more fun and I really like neopolitan ice cream too, so I thought it would be fun tribute to one of my favorite desserts so let's start with the vanilla and I think that can't you have some? You have us do you have some yellow polymer clay in there? Kind of in neon yellow I've got a little bit of I've got a little yellow to make the vanilla ice cream I find that it's better to mix just a little bit of yellow with the white so can't your seems a little of like false for us and you you'll end up with like radioactive ice cream, which might be something that you want to do but if you guys want some of this ice cream this or this yellow, let me from the cut off cut off a little chunk in and you guys can get it here you just need a little so and you want t o go give some tio bob and callin can't there's one of the thing that I wanted to mention we have some wipes and you guys have wipes over there too it's really easy to contaminate the colors they'll get on your hands really easy so frequently used make frequent use of the of the wipes here to clean your hands, to clean your tools, to clean the rollers, and then that way you'll have nice, pure colors for the project so constantly be cleaning and using the wipes. You can kind of use one wipe a few times, make it good. So what we want to do? Let's, I think a good amount of clay for each colors a little bit smaller than the size of a ping pong ball so you can just eyeball that let's. See, jean do want tio mix up, but you go ahead and cut yourself a little yellow and mix that up into a ball, and by adding the yellow, you get that kind of a nice rich, um, vanilla a look us. Yeah, that's about good let's see let's, let's, just show this is what we're going to try here. And, you know, if you find out that you've had it's better to start with less yellow and then added as you go along because you can't really subtract once you get going with, uh what you want, you could get going and start mixing it's easier to add a little bit more yellow. And it's interesting a little bit of a tent goes a long way when you do this starting to become neon it looks it is kind of me on yeah I think the yellow that can't using is a slightly slightly mutual one isn't it ok yeah that's fine yeah well you know what we're going we're going to run with what we've read radioactive vanilla is actually quite tasty I think it probably is taste great it does how's that coming along uh is how are you guys doing over there callin bob great just squish it up it's just just squish it up roll it between your hands I'll try a little bit myself here like was it warms up it gets a little more malleable yes you need to work it for a while give it a try here tio so you know gene it's good we're talk for your hands get your grip strength going kind of a fried egg look here what other foods have you made? Jane um I think I uh didn't me didn't we make a hamburger one we did make a hamburger that was fun. I think I mean including the sesame seeds and everything this fund would catch up pickles once I made a little piece of sushi oh yeah yeah do they have translucent polymer clay? They probably did that would be really cool all right, how are you guys doing that's looking good. Can't you know, like I said, you just need a touch on their help. Our things were going with you, bob, and kill they think oh, pretty good color looks delicious all around. I also wonder if there's a way that you could add sense fragrances to the cloud that would be fun. Vanilla might become a little too tempting at that point, though. Okay? So if you guys are ready to move to the next step, what we can do is start to roll it, roll it out. You think it's this one needs still a little bit more mixing? Probably could you help, but that sure. So you can see that the way that I'm rolling it here if you if you can kind of just roll it vigorously until it turns into a little bit of a snake and then turned it into a ball again. Pretty good way to mix it up quickly. Oh, and also before you, before we move it to the next step. Kind of, uh, work on what what you want to avoid is getting air bubbles inside the clay because then when it makes that the air will expand and you'll get cracks, so if you kind of like use, use pressure when you, when you make your ball of of clay for rolling you'll be able to see if there are air bubbles when you flatten it out with the roller stewed and so that that will help a lot it looks almost like a little bit green a little bit yeah could be the lighting too but you know what I mean? Based couldn't you see that it being a ball of vanilla mochi or that works for me okay, so um we don't really need the baby wipes yet because we're still working just with one color but what you want to do now is get your deck of cards you each have a deck of cards and I found that for my cookies or the ones that jane and I did having ten cards on either side is a great thickness so count out ten cards one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and then uh give them a little distance change you want tio you can you can roll yours out ok do with these cards are new card so they tend to be a little slippery it's you know I'll try it out tio what's that you're using to roll out them this's challenges this is just a little piece of plastic tubing that you can get it a hardware story and that this kind of an unusually small diameter that I just had been have on hand typically if you go to like, ah hardware store, you would get larger, you know the white kind of sprinkler pipe so it doesn't really matter what the diameter is I just happen to have these they're convenient and portable so it's, just something that's good it's a fairly nonstick surface just think a kitchen rolling pin would work well, it's it's would it might stick a little bit more but I think it's not a big deal if that's if that's what you have and try it? Absolutely and that's another thing feel free to improvise with this kind of stuff don't feel that if you don't have a certain, uh, tool or material that that that's a deal killer for you it's better to just go ahead and try and see see if it works now people are doing that at home mark they're already coming back with some of the answers torture was saying ok, you can definitely get translucent and they said that could be blended with other colors as well on dh er s noises saying they made orange slices with their translucent something I also actually load them up to the gallery was if she has a picture of those another's saying they actually quite often use mica powder is to add color, particularly the translucent and the shimmery eyeshadow works well for this well that's great I love hearing is I want to try some of this is so my cup powder like about and that probably gives it a glittery exactly lisa lisa saying she's has used her pastor machine for rolling out the place uh way that's a great way to get a nice uniform way are absolutely I think you could probably check with your moment before you use the past machine yeah I think so um I uh I know that the clay itself is is nontoxic so there's probably not a big issue with doing it but you would just you just want to make sure that you clean everything pretty thoroughly now that I'm rolling okay into it are coming to you if you see bubbles then go ahead and uh then go ahead and start over he will hold these cars on it so as you can see jane and jane and I are kind of like helping each other out with the with the playing cards things get a little slippery with uh with this wax paper if you're finding that it's it's a passel using the wax paper and it's getting really slippery, you can just go right on to the cutting board and do it that way and then just just clean it with the baby wipes that's looking good change and so what you really what you know but you need to do is uh just get enough uh just get enough for the uh for the cutter she's off to see a really good modeling really doing a lot of these projects but she says she's also use sand and occasionally dirt to dell down the parliament play to make it less shiny are interesting the other way around it's so great to hear tell lisa thank you once you guys huh I feel that you have something that's just doesn't the whole thing doesn't need to be flat like a pancake you can just get along as you get a nice section that's a uh you know an inch wide and a couple of inches long that's more than enough so now jeanne why don't you wipe down the surface and the plastic roller with your white nice and clean and your hands too once you guys were done with that you can just set that set the clay aside and fortunately we have really great chocolate and cookie colors and for the rest of the ice cream so we don't need to do any more mixing which is great that that just shows you the huge variety of colors that this polymer clay comes in when I made them with jane we used we did a lot of mixing week we mixed each one up which is fun and everything but here we go with that but you know, we we uh I'm going to ask you guys um kenton and callin bob what do you think we should do for the uh ice cream and which do you think we should do for the cookie also this one for you we have that one to that one looks nice creamy okay so we ok so that was so we're deciding which one is better is the cookie thiss one yeah okay that sounds good to me so um well so what we want to do now we've decided on having the lighter brown for the ice cream and the the kind of chocolate brown for the cookie I think that's a really good choice we need to make the we need to flatten out all of these different uh colors and so let's uh let's do the strawberry and I think we have a choice with a strawberry to jane what would you say things to write that one you think soquel okay so let's do the same with this and mark do when you baked it does the color change it all but basically color you're working with right now is the color yeah I was talking with jean about that she said she noticed very little change maybe a slight darkening just a tiny bit just remind us of us because elizabeth was asking this online you added the yellow to create the more vanilla look robbery white yeah exactly it's that's just the start white would be to kind of a chalky look and you guys I just realized something about the card thickness I um I when I did it I had a thickness of twenty five cars on either side for the ice cream so let's let's do twenty five cars on either side and we're going to do the yellow again in the pink and should we all don't want me you know because we will slice them little bit upside so let's to twenty five cards and we can we can go back to let let's do the yellow again quickly and then we'll do the pink and the chocolate so add another fifteen cars to each side ok back up okay, so we've used up almost thie entire deck fifty cards okay. Okay you guys so that way because you typically in an ice cream sandwich the ice cream is thicker than the cookie part. Ok, then why don't you go for me to hold it down for you? Yes, please I think it's worth doing this for the thicker ice cream it'll it'll look better easier to isn't it? Do you think that looks good? I see that we have a bubble there but we'll just cut it in the section without the bubble you could see that little bubble there um the other thing that if that's so I would recommend if you're doing this uh at home and you don't do it although if you like to do it and you want to take a little break take a little bull and just cover up your clay because dust will settle and it's really easy especially in lighter colors to see the dust or very very dark colors to you really want to make sure that these these colors don't get contaminated because it will spoil the look ok so let's do a quick wipe on her hands will go to the pink color let's do the uh let's do the strawberry ice cream now make sure we compress it as well as we can to get those bubbles out I think those bubbles happened when you when it folds and you fold the clay and a lot of times is not a lot you can do about it just kind of make sure you have enough of an area that doesn't have a bubble that you're ok okay jane why don't you go ahead and roll that out all right that looks good is that only moving on pretty good you know yes because we're gonna be cutting these into strips you'll see ok go ahead and clean him clean everything down with the wipes including your hands so this interesting putting dirt into the polymer clay sand thing and also different michaels it's interesting what people somebody else was saying me just see if I still see it was said they use nail polish croft ego after baking no they actually uh eye shadow on clay and then cover it with mod poach or clear nail polish will make sure it stays on the interesting that she came from uh our roques thank you sorry thank you okay so we'll go to the chocolate ice cream next were moving along nicely here he's softening it up yeah okay really helps to get it nice and soft for you start rolling and it makes the process much quicker did you clean this off already looks like there's a hair on it okay we don't want hair an ice cream sandwich I would not want tio or where it okay let's see how that's going are you guys ready to do the chocolate now? Chocolate ice cream okay go for a change all right just kind of play before you have to find it from easy what have you made with it? Kill um I've made like um I mean like a robot with it once cruel you still have um yeah could you bring that tomorrow to show all of you as they love that are grandma's house could I went to a camp used to school great way have got now as you can see here thes three colors of the ice cream and I don't know if there is a standard way from neopolitan ice cream to be layered but I think that it was probably in the middle to keep the chocolate and the strawberry apart white separate or is it as a little strawberry chocolate I think it's I don't I'm not sure but I think it doesn't matter it doesn't really matter but but I like it with vanilla in the middle of tended cards okay right okay change that that's exactly right so now we're going to go back to ten card you guys and we're going to do the thie cookie part so go ahead and count up ten cards on either side and we have decided on our cookie color which was the kind of chocolatey I mean these this looks exactly like chocolate making me hungry actually okay, so um and for the cookie one we are we have two sides of the cookie so we want to make sure we have enough surface area so kind of eyeball uh take a look at which cutter you're going to use which one would you like to use? Chain hollywood star like stars so we'll use the star up here you guys can use whichever you want and just make sure when you fly in and out you have enough surface area to make to if you don't that's ok, we'll just use more but be good to get it in one one shot if possible it is harder with ten cards it is harder with ten card yeah why is that you're compressing it more? I guess it looks pretty good. Yeah, just get it nice and uniform cia jean observed that it's a little more. Ah, difficult to get that uniformed flatness when you have ten cards I'm gonna see if I can really get it flat. You might need to shift the cards around as you do this that's fine looks like it's coming on pretty well asking mark what happens if the clay dries out or it becomes a news usable? Is it? Is there a way to bring it back to life? It doesn't dry out. That's the cool thing about iphone tested just a ce faras we know and we've had the clay for over a year. It just remains pliable. Yeah, it's got a great shelf like once it's baked that's it though you once it's baked and no bringing fashion there's no, no coming back unless someone knows of some special solvent. But really, what would be the point? It's really not it's? Not that expensive. You would just start over. Okay, so we're we're getting there. You guys finding that it's it's a little more difficult to do ten ten cards as well? Yeah, that's. Okay, just take your time, be patient that direct? Yeah, sure. And what will do also is if there's a little bit of surface variation on the on this side, you just you can flip it over and have the out. The underside will be the top of the cookie, so you won't see that when you, uh, when you do it.

Class Description

Make your weekends more awesome with activities you and your kids can get their hands on. Join Make Magazine editor-in-chief Mark Frauenfelder — and his daughter Jane — for a class on cool, simple projects you can do with your kids.

In Kids Crafts with Maker Dad, you’ll get the blueprints you need to complete projects with the whole family. You’ll learn how to whip up a mixture that makes enormous bubbles, and how to get started with polymer clay — a medium you can use to create custom toys, shapes, and figurines. You’ll engage in a little trial and error learning by creating your own simple board and dice games. You’ll also learn the more advanced magic of constructing a Drawbot – a simple robot that can make abstract art all by itself.

This course will have even your most reluctant kid excited to get their hands dirty and experimenting, making, and creating, together.