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Author Topic: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller  (Read 6965 times)

FranOnTheEdge

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Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« on: July 22, 2014, 09:19:46 PM »
Okay, so my pasta machine is now officially totally defunct. 
My husband's back for Las Vegas and he's taken it apart and he says the cogs/gears are bent.

So until I can afford to buy a new one, I need to know how exactly I can condition clay without one using:
what method,
for how many hours,
...and how much pain in my arthritic hands? Lol.

How do you know when your clay is done, i.e. conditioned?
FranOnTheEdge

Sylvia

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 12:12:18 AM »
The wonderful Lindley Haunani says that it takes until your mix of colours is uniform.  This is her argument for never using out-of-the-packet colours - if you are going to mush it up for that length of time, you may as well make your own palette.

Also, if you roll your clay out with your hand roller as best you can, and fold the sheet, if it cracks along the fold, its not done yet.
Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, UK

Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 03:51:05 AM »
I made this tutorial for a friend that needed to condition clay for a class-she had no tools.  Photos are small, but I need to attach in three posts because there are 12 photos.  The title of the photo tells what you are doing.  I actually enjoy conditioning by hand, but use my palms not fingers almost for the whole procedure.  Palms are way stronger than fingers.

Hugs, Boni

Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 03:52:17 AM »
Next photos:

Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 03:57:21 AM »
And, the grand finale.  Have fun, and let me know of any questions.  It's been said that even if the clay doesn't feel like it needs conditioning, it still needs conditioning.  I wouldn't know.  I almost always use Kato clay, and it always feels like it needs conditioning.  Now that it's conditioned, you'll need to use your roller to flatten the clay.

Hugs, Boni

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 09:48:42 AM »
The wonderful Lindley Haunani says that it takes until your mix of colours is uniform.  This is her argument for never using out-of-the-packet colours - if you are going to mush it up for that length of time, you may as well make your own palette.

Also, if you roll your clay out with your hand roller as best you can, and fold the sheet, if it cracks along the fold, its not done yet.

Only using one colour at present.  Hope to use more - I certainly bought enough colours to do so, if I can only summon up the courage to do it - I'm absolutely terrified of wasting some - knowing how much I spent and can't afford to spend, I feel incredibly guilty just thinking about opening a coloured packet.

Funny though - thinking about opening the black just fills me with anticipation - maybe because I know what I'll be doing with it and can 'see' the end goal in my mind.

I know what I want to try with the colours, I'm just very uncertain of my ability to achieve it...

The tip about cracks along the fold is good - not that I've ever seen any, it's just too hot here.
The Super Sculpey becomes soft very quickly, and the moldmaker way too soft even quicker, too soft to use at all.

Thanks, Sylvia.
FranOnTheEdge

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 09:58:41 AM »
And, the grand finale.  Have fun, and let me know of any questions.  It's been said that even if the clay doesn't feel like it needs conditioning, it still needs conditioning.  I wouldn't know.  I almost always use Kato clay, and it always feels like it needs conditioning.  Now that it's conditioned, you'll need to use your roller to flatten the clay.

Hugs, Boni

Yes I do have a question, you talk of conditioning an entire block at once - and then bagging and labelling it - so how long does conditioning last then?

and what if you just want one small thin snake of clay - and don't need any more of that colour?
What about the clay reacting with certain plastics, how can you be sure it won't react with your zip lock bags?

okay 3 questions... lol!

um... I was just wondering about the little discs of paler clay that you see in a baked piece - I thought I saw somewhere that those were air pockets - how do you get rid of those?  Or don't they matter? am I wrong about them being air pockets?

6 questions?  Oops using up my ration again... lol!
FranOnTheEdge

monkey ann

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 04:22:21 PM »
In reply to the one about clay safe bags and boxes.  Test them with a small blob of clay overnight, before using any plastic bag or box to store clay in.  You will know when it is not good, the plastic dissolves and the clay goes gooey.
Most cling films do react, deli-wraps are OK (the type used to separate burgers).
Ann from Croydon, Surrey

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2014, 08:46:07 PM »
In reply to the one about clay safe bags and boxes.  Test them with a small blob of clay overnight, before using any plastic bag or box to store clay in.  You will know when it is not good, the plastic dissolves and the clay goes gooey.
Most cling films do react, deli-wraps are OK (the type used to separate burgers).

Okay testing plastic boxes now.  Actually I've managed to source some waxed paper, and now I use that a lot with polymer clay, it helps to sheild it from flying lint & dog hair.  Plus I use it to keep pages of my journal separate.  Not sure what a 'deli-wrap' is.
FranOnTheEdge

Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2014, 03:43:30 AM »
Yes I do have a question, you talk of conditioning an entire block at once - and then bagging and labelling it - so how long does conditioning last then?

and what if you just want one small thin snake of clay - and don't need any more of that colour?
What about the clay reacting with certain plastics, how can you be sure it won't react with your zip lock bags?

okay 3 questions... lol!

um... I was just wondering about the little discs of paler clay that you see in a baked piece - I thought I saw somewhere that those were air pockets - how do you get rid of those?  Or don't they matter? am I wrong about them being air pockets?

6 questions?  Oops using up my ration again... lol!

About conditioning a whole block, I usually work from a 13 oz. block, and do not condition the entire block at once.  But, I do condition about 1/4 of the block at once.  I have a box where I keep the conditioned clay, and I am more likely to clay if I know I have a box of conditioned clay.  I do occasionally have small blocks which  I always condition the whole block.  You don't want to run out of clay and have to stop and condition clay in the middle of a project if you can help it.  Conditioned clay lasts forever as far as I can tell.  If it feels hard or dry, you need to recondition it.

I use deli sheets and plastic zip lock bags most of the time.  I have never had the bags or sheets affect the clay.  I keep the small bags in plastic shoe boxes.  Clay never touches the plastic, but if it did, I know there wouldn't be a problem.  I tested it years ago.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 03:45:56 AM by Bonipie »

ejralph

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2014, 08:48:15 AM »
Boni's method is pretty much exactly what I do for hand conditioning. And yes, mixing colours is a great way to learn how long it takes to truly mix up the clay.

Fran - enough  now! Get those coloured clays open and start using them. ALLOW yourself to waste two packets of clay just farting about. What does it cost? A few quid / bucks? Think how much you would pay for a class for someone else to teach you stuff. Yet you can teach yourself SO much just by investing a couple of hours and allowing yourself to WASTE clay. (Hint - it isn't actually wasted - that is my whole point!)

So, get those clay packs open or I will be angry!

At the very least, get the black clay open and experiment with using your guilders waxes and whatever over them. Try out doing it before baking and after and see which works best for you.

Aim to get some stuff wrong

And remember - any clay you don't like, any colours you mix that you hate, any muddy brown scraps are STILL really useful. You will always find a use for scrap clay as you progress as a polymer clayer. So trust us, NOTHING is wasted

If you make something and you don't like the look of it before baking - just don't bake it. Squish it up and start again. But get those clay packs OPEN!

In many ways, it is great that you have been using one colour so far, because it has forced you to really focus on technique and on shape and texture. That has worked really well for you because you have done some great projects.

But, maybe it is time to inject the options of using multiple colours into your work. You are denying yourself an important part of polymer clay life - the way we can use any and every colour. And if you leave it too long, you'll get really hung up about it.

Get those packs open and make a mess, have fun, and enjoy colour! It is what polyclay is all about!!

Emma ;D
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Bonipie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2014, 04:22:45 PM »
Well done, Emma!  I think I'll get my butt in the shop and just mess around  :o  ::)  :P  ;D.  Who knows what will happen.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Wonderful Yuma, Arizona

ejralph

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2014, 05:33:24 PM »
Indeed you should - cool things happen when you mess around Boni!

Emma  ;D
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Carrie

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2014, 05:41:23 PM »
More often than not, when l sit down at my table with no idea what to do, some piece of scrap catches my eye and sets me off on something!     Though I think l do have, dare l say it, too much of it atm :o

FranOnTheEdge

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Re: Conditioning Without A Pasta Machine - With A Roller
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2014, 01:46:31 PM »
Yes I do have a question, you talk of conditioning an entire block at once - and then bagging and labelling it - so how long does conditioning last then?

and what if you just want one small thin snake of clay - and don't need any more of that colour?
What about the clay reacting with certain plastics, how can you be sure it won't react with your zip lock bags?

okay 3 questions... lol!

um... I was just wondering about the little discs of paler clay that you see in a baked piece - I thought I saw somewhere that those were air pockets - how do you get rid of those?  Or don't they matter? am I wrong about them being air pockets?

6 questions?  Oops using up my ration again... lol!

About conditioning a whole block, I usually work from a 13 oz. block, and do not condition the entire block at once.  But, I do condition about 1/4 of the block at once. I have a box where I keep the conditioned clay, and I am more likely to clay if I know I have a box of conditioned clay.  I do occasionally have small blocks which  I always condition the whole block. 

Oh gosh, and I thought the tiny 2oz blocks of clay were expensive enough.
Although I did buy Super Sculpey Beige in 1lb blocks and Premo Black in an 8oz block knowing I'd use plenty of those.

Originally I bought one single two ounce block of copper, ditto one of black and one of white, I have no idea why I bought a large one of the super sculpey but that was the one I ended up using because I had so much of it.  And I'm on my third block of it now.  I recently found the old blocks of copper, black, and white.  I used a bit of copper but it's such an orangey colour I didn't like it very much so I stopped using it.  The new copper but I have recently bought is a much more beautiful delicate shade, the inclusions look better than they did in the original copper and the actual shade of the clay is a more delicate pinky orange sort of peachy, like copper in fact.  So I was recently at a craft crop last Saturday in fact.  And I got the block of black out and began attempting to condition it.  It crumbled into little tiny bits at the first touch!  But not wanting to throw it away, I persevered, and using a little bit of clay softener managed to get it into a better condition, although still much harder than any of the other clays.

But I have one big, big worry.  It's those little pale round things sort of moon shapes I found in the baked Super Sculpey more often than not.
If these little bubbles of air how do I get rid of them?  If they are not little bubbles of air, what are they?
This is very worrying since I can hardly use coloured clay if they going to turn up in that when baked, I'd have to paint over it to make it look better but that defeats the entire purpose of buying coloured clay in the first place.
Just before my pasta machine broke, I did notice that the little specks and flecks that might have been the beginning of these round moons that turn up in the baked clay seemed to be reducing as I used the pasta machine to condition the clay.  But I haven't baked that clay yet I hadn't done it twenty times I'd only done it five.

I will hopefully be able to get a new pasta machine on Tuesday, that's tomorrow, yippee!  If it's arrived at Debenhams by then it's supposed to have but you can't trust anybody these days.
I hardly dare bake any clay at all until I've got the pasta machine and can try out conditioning one of the newer clays.
I did condition the little green leaves I made at least I think I did.  Surely at least the ones with the colours blended will be condition by now, simply by means of folding and rerolling the clays to get the colours to blend?

But will they have horrible little moons in them?

Maybe I'll be really lucky and it'll turn out that the little moons is a super sculpey problem doesn't happen in the other Premo clays?

What about Sculpey III?  Does that get little moons?

Here are the nasty moons I am talking about.
FranOnTheEdge