What is Polymer Clay?
According to Wikipedia “Polymer clay is a type of hardenable modeling clay based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It typically contains no clay minerals, but like mineral clay a liquid is added to dry particles until it achieves gel-like working properties, and similarly, the part is put into an oven to harden, hence its colloquial designation as clay. Polymer clay is generally used for making arts and craft items, and is also used in commercial applications to make decorative parts.”
Why make Pens with Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay allows a greater control over intricate designs. There are also many different colours available and an infinite amount of colours that can be made by blending the clay. Polymer clay also allows gradual tones of colour, say from black to white. There are some who try to replicate timber as well.
What are the basic steps in making Polymer Clay Pens?
Step 1: Choose the pen type so that the final dimensions of the pen are known. This allow the right amount of polymer clay to be selected.
Step 2: Select the colour of the polymer clay for (a) the backing layer and (b) the top layer. Using two layers allows a little flexibility in the manufacturing process.
Step 3: Roll the backing layer to the required thickness either with an acrylic roller, without any marks or a pasta machine. (The thickness depends on the pen dimensions)
Step 4: Add the top layer of polymer clay to the backing layer, making sure that the overall thickness is within the pens parameters.
Step 5: Roll the two layer together, making sure all air bubbles are removed.
Step 6: Attach the clay to the pen tube – carefully without tearing, pinching or deforming the layers.
Step 7: Trim the ends
Step 8: Bake in oven at about 130 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes and allow to cool.
Step 9: Mount to lathe and shape to final dimensions.
Step 10: Sand and finish.
Step 11: Assemble pen.
The process is very “fiddly” and is much more time consuming than making wooden and resin pens, however the finished product is unique. It is virtually impossible to make two polymer clay pens identical. (They will be close)
Care of Polymer Clay Pens
The polymer clay is quite sturdy and hard. It is advised not to drop from great heights or expose to heat, but with normal use, the polymer clay pens will last a long time. Simply rinsing them when dirty is ok.
If you have chosen to purchase on of these unique items from Aussiepens “n” things, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed making them.