I am so flattered by people asking me about polymer clay and I urge you to just go for it and get started. I was prone to have Fimo just sitting around and being too precious to use, but now I'm not as scared and just use it and if I make a mess which happens or I burn something I have spent ages on. I now just laugh at my silliness and be more careful the next time. Like now I set my oven to the same temperature every time I have finished using it so that it will never burn stuff, although a few times I am careless and it has still happened. Just set a timer and keep a total eye on the oven.
Remember that if they are small miniature things then the instructions on the side of the packets don't necessarily work. For really tiny millimeter sized creations they only need a few mins at full blast heat then leave them to cool in the oven. It will take a wee while to get used to but just have fun. life is too short to keep perfect paper and art tools (I used to do this too) so just get using them and go for it!
Please show me what you make too I love seeing your creations! Also I want to encourage you to start selling your creations. The sooner you do it the better and the faster you learn, the faster your confidence will build.
Fimo ( the brand of clay I use) can sometimes be quite expensive £1.50 - £2.50 but if you think about all the money you spend on silly things like a sandwich or a coffee then wasting some Fimo is o.k and it's worth it to have fun and make some really cool things and it's not really a waste after all because you are working towards something. I get my clay from this Ebay seller he has the best deals I have found online.
1. Always keep baby wipes handy to wash your hands in between colours. The ones with less fibers are the best.
2. Get an old tile to work on or a piece of glass from an old frame, you can put that straight into the oven so don't need to transfer it which can sometimes be tricky. Or even a smooth old plate.
3. Have a scrap bit of white fimo so after wiping your hands or tools with the fimo you use the white fimo to collect dust up from tools and your hands. these are all things I wish I had known years ago. It makes the finished piece clean and look much more professional.
4. The best thing is you can use so many objects lying around the house like cutlery, lids, tooth picks, an old tooth brush for texturing and an old Garlic crusher is great for doing hair. Meat packets that have cool patterns on the bottom, cut them up and use them for pressing into the clay for making different textures. A thin glass or jar for rolling pin.
5. Some people hate finger marks so you can use a plastic bag to press over the clay to get these out. I have also heard rubbing baby oil on the clay works ( I haven't tried this) I just use my fingers to lightly brush the finger marks away. A few times I have used a plastic bag to press into the clay too but most of the time I don't have much of a problem with really bad finger marks, it's always cold in Scotland so even getting the clay soft can be tricky.
6. You don't even have to spend money on tools at first. needles, tooth picks, knife, eye pins and even old jewellery for impressions and patterns work just fine.
7. You must condition clay properly before you use it or the cooked clay can crack , if you have a big amount of clay you can chop it up into tiny pieces with a blade of a knife and then push it all together again and repeat. This will really speed up the process. Some people use pasta machines or get a little mini food processor especially for the job but I remembered the chopping technique not long ago and it's made me decide not to buy a food processor after all.
8. Below are the tools I use most! Rolling pin, needle point tool, little ball tools ( dotting tools) and thin nosed tweezers. The little ball tipped tool and needle point tool were in an old box from Frazers gran. I believe you can get them for nail art. So search for that. You can actually make a very easy pin headed tool by wrapping a needle or pin in polymer clay and cooking it. You can get blades in the chemist. The fine headed tweezers I bought on ebay.
Hope that helps make you feel a bit more confident and just let me know if you want a hand with anything I am happy to help.