“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”
~ Pablo Picasso
Sculpey, Sculpty, Fimo or Polymer Clay. No matter what you call it, this stuff is tons of fun and a regular part of our homeschooling week. Crafting without it was frustrating and messy. Working with it is a breeze.
For years I’ve purchased air dry clay for our kiddos. We’ve even gone so far as to make our own. Let’s face it; it’s inexpensive and non-toxic. However, if you have ever worked with air dry clay, I’m sure you’ve come across the same dilemma we have. It’s messy; getting all over your hands and work surface. Air dry clay breaks easily; you best make sure your piece is solid before drying or it will crumble into pieces in your hand. And, the kids become frustrated with a two-day drying period before painting.
While polymer clay is slightly more expensive than air dry clay, for those serious about crafting, the benefits far outweigh the increase in price. Polymer clay is clean; no messy hands or tables. You don’t have to worry about small pieces falling off your creation; the clay practically cements itself together upon drying. And, it dries in fifteen minutes in your oven. For smaller hands we’d recommend using a softer polymer clay, such as Craftsmart. However, most polymer clays are fairly easy to work with.
A few tricks we’ve picked up along the way? When working on larger projects, use aluminum foil as your base. If you’re making a globe, for example, form a ball out of foil. Then, simply cover your ball with a thin sheet of polymer clay. You get the same effect, but save yourself in both resource and money. While polymer clays come in a variety of colors, you can also color white clay using chalk pastels. Buying large blocks of white clay is less expensive, and a pallet of chalk pastels goes a long way. Simply rub your white polymer clay with whichever color you desire, fold it into your clay, and enjoy. Or, create your project and use your chalk pastels as paint before the drying process.
For added fun, don’t forget the addition of acrylic paints. We use these to make faces and add details to our projects. Want to go one step further? Make charms! On smaller items, I-pins can be inserted into your projects turning them into adorable charms. (Please note, we always add our pastel chalk, acrylic paints, and I-pins before drying.)
While crafting for the sake of crafting is fun, we’re also incorporating polymer clay into our homeschooling routine. Reproductions of items found on nature walks are fun ways to use this medium. Models from history lessons and more are also a great idea. There are no limits to how this could be used to enhance our learning.
Call it what you like, polymer clay is tons of fun. Once you get started, it’s almost hard to stop. It’s a good thing our local crafting store not only offers coupons, but teacher discounts!
“And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,…”
Chime In!: What was the last crafting supply you purchased, and how do you use it?