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Old 04-21-2018, 05:05 AM
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Polymer Problem

I have a question about making small, thin, hollow tubes from polymer clay. They would be about 3" long, and as skinny as possible, built around an extremely thin knitting needle.

To be honest, I've long since given up on the idea, but got talking with a friend about it, and now I'm wondering if I should give it one more try before I give up again

Has anyone else had any success with something like this?

FWIW, Here's the history:

Several years ago, when I was doing a few experiments with polymer clay, I had an idea to make some long polymer clay tubes (maybe 3" long, and very skinny).

I was going to make the tubes, bake them, then add them to an acrylic painting I was working on back then, and make it a mixed media painting.

There was a tutorial on Etsy that I bought and it showed how to "easily" make small diameter tubes by rolling the clay around a thin dowel like a small knitting needle, etc. I went out and got some really, really thin knitting needles, put cornstarch on 'em like I was supposed to (so I could get the clay off after it baked) and tried to make the tubes.

Mine were thinner than the tutorial. That might have been what made it impossible for me. Or maybe I was just doing it wrong.

But anyway, the clay would just get bigger and bigger and saggy. I don't know if my hands were too hot or what. I tried putting one of those frozen blue blocks like they have for coolers under my tile to try and keep the clay cold, but I never could make it work.

None of my attempts even got as far as the oven.

Trying to get clay around another surface (the thin knitting needle) without it all going smushy and sagging away, turned out to be impossible for me.

When I had tried everything I could think of, I gave up and went ahead and finished the painting as a regular painting.

So there's no current need to solve this problem.

Still, it bothers me a little that my efforts ended in such thorough failure.
.
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:59 PM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

Pine Cone
i'm very happy and pleased to say i have a solution to your problem. Along with a little tutorial.
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Last edited by honey hatter : 04-21-2018 at 10:44 PM. Reason: my text and i needed words.
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Old 04-21-2018, 10:43 PM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

i started by warming up some translucent clay by premo, rolled it out between two sheets of paper as this as i could get it. You can use whatever clay you wish. I cut it into a square, then cut off a section i needed to wrap around the knitting needle.
IMG_20180421_185753 by honey hatter, on Flickr
IMG_20180421_190143 by honey hatter, on Flickr
after cutting off the excess you see in the picture i gently joined the two edges of clay together. I do want to note i did not use any corn starch or anything, i wanted to see if this would work for me. How much would the clay expand on the knitting needle for me, would i be able to slide it off? These are just some of the questions i asked myself as i started the process of making a clay tube.
IMG_20180421_190904 by honey hatter, on Flickr
i then rolled it out to smooth the clay further.
Next i bake clay tube and knitting needle for 30 minutes. The clay was definitely stuck to the knitting needle, i tried several ways to get it off to no avail.
IMG_20180421_191311 by honey hatter, on Flickr
Sooo i did what any rational hatter would do... I cut it! And i cut!
IMG_20180421_195733 by honey hatter, on Flickr
And cut, And cut... Honey, put down the blade honey...
IMG_20180421_200041 by honey hatter, on Flickr
Muahaha! Sorry, i didnt promise you a sane tutorial.
After i cut, i took knittle needle out of the clay tube which turned out beautifully, i used sculpey bake and bond with a little toothpick. With a little glue on the tip of the toothpick i drew it between the cut edges of the clay tube, adding glue as needed until a line of white glue went from top to bottom. Maybe another artist who knows how to get the knitting needle out after cooking without cutting could do it a different way. But what fun would that be?
Next i took the clay tube and before i put it in the oven i cleaned up some excess glue with a wet paper towel. Then i cooked it for 20 more minutes at 275.
IMG_20180421_201108 by honey hatter, on Flickr
IMG_20180421_200213 by honey hatter, on Flickr
IMG_20180421_204305 by honey hatter, on Flickr
IMG_20180421_200232 by honey hatter, on Flickr
It came out of the oven i can even see a seam.
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Last edited by honey hatter : 04-21-2018 at 10:53 PM. Reason: missed a picture for tutorial
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:41 AM
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Re: Polymer Problem

HH, I can't believe you went to all this trouble for me and that you pulled it off!!!

I will have to get a couple of those items next week. I have Premo translucent but it's old. I want to get a new package so that I won't be worrying about anything but trying to follow your excellent instructions.

---------------

I keep scrolling up to check and see if this is for real..... YUP

---------------

Superb instructions, amazing effort and photos, WOWOWOW!!!

Thank you so much!

As soon as I get kit and try this, I'll let you know if I was able to do it. I'm still worried I don't have the ability, but I'm gonna try try try. I'll do exactly as you show.
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Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:04 AM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

PC hi, I hope this tutorial helps you and anyone else who wants to try this or improve upon my idea. I'm very very happy to help. I wanted to add, the premo translucent is bendy...*is that even a word?* The clay straw I made does bend, that's a property that's inherent in translucent clay moreso than other colored clays in my workings with polymer clay, translucent is more plasticine/plastic by nature of its ingredients. I would suggest getting some translucent premo clay, but in addition to that if you want to add color mix a small portion of color into the translucent so it's not so see through then I would suggest that. *chuckles* I have a little tricky technique I use to make some cute rabbit mini's, that gives the translucent clay a see through pastel/watercolor look that can be very unique looking, and the technique's use can be applied to any style or creation for limitless possibilities. It's a simple technique, the rule is this. A pinch of colored clay, to a block or more of translucent premo. Starting off with the smallest pinch possible, because as a rule that extends to the mixing of paint, you can't go back once you add too much color. So, small pinch of color larger amount of translucent, I suggest to experiment see what comes of mixing the two clay together.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:11 AM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

Oh... PC and anyone else, do be careful cutting the straw. I have very steady hands.
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:18 AM
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Re: Polymer Problem

Hi HH

I keep coming back like every five minites. I can't believe YOU DID IT!!!

I'm really excited to try this

First I'm going to try it exactly like you did it before I try anything else. Baby steps.

Your color ideas are wonderful, and strangely familiar too, as I've done something similar in the past with Premo translucent, plus those super-saturated Premos that they came out with awhile back. But never with a tube

I'm so grateful to you HH! I vote for "bendy" as my new favorite word

Oh, this is going to be so much fun!!! Thank you 🎨
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Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
.... (Chigetsu)
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Old 04-22-2018, 01:28 PM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

A additional note, its ok if straw gets messy with glue. As you can see I got glue between the cut but also on top of clay surface, that is ok. Cleanup on outside was easy with wet paper towel. I didn't do this next part, but thought if too much glue drips inside the straw to clean that if you wish, tie a string to small piece of paper towel, piece that will only be small enough to clean excess dripped glue as you pull string and towel through. Just thought that problem could happen too, so I thought of a fix. PC I firmly believe that anyone can do what I do. I believe in you and everyone else out there. Just imagine what you picture in your mind and you are halfway there
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Old 04-22-2018, 04:49 PM
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Re: Polymer Problem

HH, I think you read my mind... I was wondering about the glue. I'm pretty sure mine will be messier.

Plus, late in the middle of the night I had a little (*cough* big *cough*) panic attack... along the lines of "what if I still can't do it after all she went through to help me?"

Thank you so much for adding these tips and for your encouragement!!!

At this point, with all your help and support, the most important thing is I don't want to let you down. Thank you for believing in me
.
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---> from trees..... (both freehand) (fallen leaf - pastel / bird - Pitt pens)
Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
.... (Chigetsu)

Last edited by Pine Cone : 04-22-2018 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:04 PM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

PC What is this letting down? There is no such thing I tell you I give only the encouragement. Try it and if it does not work that is ok. I do some of my best miniature work when I'm a little nervous, I have the idea in my head, imagination swirling, sometimes there is gray area where I thought I had imagined thing through all the way. Not quite sure what to do, I let my hands working the clay find the answer. I have to thank you because this clay straw was something I had never tried before, and when you tried ever so nicely to turn me aside from this idea, I couldn't help but try and figure it out. I love making new things every time. I have started to learn to love crafting challenges I throw at myself, and when a friend throws me a challenge I can't help myself! I love a puzzle! A brown rabbit crossed my path today when I was out, I started laughing out loud it was sooooo cute! It went this way and that still trying to keep a straight line, then finally disappeared behind a tree... The rabbit wasn't white but I'm kicking myself for not checking to see if I could get back to wonderland.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:33 AM
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Re: Polymer Problem

HH I like what you said about being a little nervous. I can relate to that. I'm the same way with painting. It has to be found along the way, if at all.

I wish I was working on this right now. The suspense isn't helping But realistically, it'll be a couple of weeks.

That's so amazing you saw a rabbit yesterday!

And she didn't need to be white because you are already IN Wonderland. From what I've seen, you create a wonderland everywhere you go, with your kind and generous spirit, and your heart, and your talent!

Talk to you soon!

P.S. - I'm so surprised and grateful and humbled that you chose to persist and figure this out for me even though we're total strangers. Your efforts have healed me and changed me. Thank you again, and I'll try this as soon as I can get the stuff together.
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---> from trees..... (both freehand) (fallen leaf - pastel / bird - Pitt pens)
Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
.... (Chigetsu)

Last edited by Pine Cone : 04-23-2018 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:35 AM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

PC little story, my nephew he loves me unconditionally and I adore him, when I least expect it he swoops in and hugs me very much. He's 7 feet 2 inches tall and he's only 17. I always wanted to be a great aunt, my family for the most part not very affectionate. I'm a mad hatter/introverted vampire soul that doesn't know what to do when my nephew wraps me up in those very large nba like arms, he looks on unconditionally, and just when I think he's done hugging me.... nope... he hugs me all the harder like he understands my madness, hat and all. PC Going in for a HUuuuuuuUUUG! *HUGS* 😊 Pine Cone, you've helped me out greatly. Who knew a Pine Cone could bring a girl as mad as a Hatter out of her introversion, people like you are the rarest of rare 1 in 10 billion. Thanks so much PC! I'll see you around take care.🌹
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:56 PM
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Re: Polymer Problem

Awww, HH, now my iPad is gonna short out, getting misty over here...

That's you, not me....... but I'll keep trying... I'm rubbish with people, I do and say everything wrong, every day, but you make me want to keep trying... HUGS for you HH and for your amazing nephew, and for your HAT!!! I'll keep trying............ swallowing at least part of the fear, some of the time............ Take care of yourself HH and I hope to have a pic of a translucent tube for you soon 🌻
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Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
.... (Chigetsu)
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:18 PM
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Re: Polymer Problem

HH - I hope you didn't give up on me...

I followed your instructions, and I was able to do it, even with the old Premo!!!!!

Thank you so much for making the tutorial and for encouraging me not to give up 😂 ☀️

I made the tube (2nd try), and baked it and got it off the needle and baked it again, exactly the way you explained.

Then I textured it and painted it with acrylics.

This is a bad photo, but it was the best I could do.

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---> from trees..... (both freehand) (fallen leaf - pastel / bird - Pitt pens)
Haiku: the songbird's song - / it stops what I am doing / at the sink
.... (Chigetsu)

Last edited by Pine Cone : 05-09-2018 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-12-2018, 03:44 AM
honey hatter honey hatter is offline
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Re: Polymer Problem

PC! That's amazing I knew you could do it! LOVE the entire piece, the texturing "that must be the painter in you coming out" because I hardly ever texturing my pieces, unless you count the raccoon knight. What did you do? How did you do it. I don't care if the process was simple or complex, though I do love"there's that word again, some editor friends would say I'm repeating too much LOL" LOVE, LOVE. I love simple things when it comes to an artists craft, the idea if it is a simple imaginative idea, that too me is the foundation upon my craft a strong foundation. Because from simple ideas we can go anywhere, building on simplicity as a Japanese katana maker would folding the idea a thousand times. Building upon that seed and letting it grow to something more complex. Simple imagination to me is everything to me.

Please tell me about your piece. I'm intrigued. The gold at the top, is that a black line underneath the gold? The colors and texture are wonderful, I really enjoy the two because it wouldn't look as special as it does now if one did not have the other. Lovely work PC! You surprised me, and yourself. Good job!
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