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Author Topic: Polymer clay strength  (Read 3737 times)

Hazel

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Polymer clay strength
« on: April 23, 2011, 05:13:23 PM »
I hope it's all right to ask a question about a specific project from a book.

In the Donna Kato millefiori techniques book, she makes a polymer ring. Now I trust Donna Kato's expertise (who wouldn't?) but it made me wonder about how sturdy a polymer clay ring is expected to be; do you think  customers would (should?)expect to be able to wear something like that every day, or is it reasonable for it to be worn with care?

Peter

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 05:20:24 PM »
Excellent question!

I look forward to the answer!

ejralph

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2011, 06:23:04 PM »
I guess much depends on the design and also the clay used. I haven't seen the project in question.

I have a polymer clay ring that I bought at Niagara falls over a decade ago. It isn't something I wear everyday, and if I had done, I have no idea if it would be here still or not. But its study enough.

The point is - something like that is only ever to be considered fashion jewellery in my opinion - for occasional wear. Or, if worn day in day out, only expected to last a season or two. You couldn't really expect it to be heirloom quality, anymore than you would expect a wirework ring or a leather choker to last indefinitely. If you want long-term permanence, it is better to work in metal and use polymer clay inlays decoratively I guess.

But when making anything for sale- just make some prototypes and test them out. Wear them yourself, ask friends to road-test them and see how they last up.

Sometimes projects in books are not really designed with the real world in mind - they might be there to demonstrate a certain decorative technique,or for personal use and just included to make an alternative from just bead/pendant projects to keep the publisher and marketing team happy. Not saying that is the case in this instance at all, as you point out - Donna Kato is a very experienced clayer!

I would just use your own judgement. Use a strong clay (cernit, fimo classic, premo or kato) and road test the product well. If selling, work on the basis of "under promise and over deliver" - if you feel it really will not live up to daily wear for at least a year or so, tell the customer and sell it as a dress ring for those special occasions.

Emma


Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Hazel

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 06:42:12 PM »
I did do some road-testing, and the results vary: if a specific part of the underside of the top of the ring hits a sturdy edge, it *may* pop off (imagine if you were prying something off with a sharp blow using a chisel - that's that kind of movement that causes it) but it holds up well if it's not, y'know, punched into a wall (it's those street-fighting polymer clay fashionista you always have to watch out for, isn't it?)

The Kato ring is made on setting 5 of a Makins machine (medium thin); I tried going that thin, and I could easily break it by squeezing the sides together, but then again, if I were to buy a ring from a shop I wouldn't spend a while trying to break it, so I'm not sure if I'm putting too much pressure on a handmade item :)

(Something tells me that the resigned voice of experience was talking when you mentioned publishers :D)

noani

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 09:06:21 PM »
I've made a ring with Kato clay, a tutorial by Bettina Welker.It was made with two stripes at medium setting and it is really strong...i've been pressing it real hard and nothing happend. Problem is that the ring is so thick that it looks funny when wearing it. The fingers point in funny directions! So sadly i've given up making rings due to that thinking if i make them thinner they will break.
Used the Kato for a bracelet though and that was really strong but a bracelet can be thick without looking funny!

Silverleaf Shiny Stuff

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2011, 09:19:38 PM »
I wonder if you could use a piece of wire inside the clay to strengthen the whole thing?

Hazel

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Re: Polymer clay strength
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2011, 09:24:26 PM »
Heh, Eva, I know exactly what you mean about having wonky fingers when wearing polymer clay rings! With some ring band sizes I tried, my fingers ended up splayed out like an iguanas' foot!

Anna - Wire does seem to help with the band strength (I used the method Donna Kato uses in her bangles from the same books mentionned before). Only trouble is, now I have to find a way to reinforce the join between the band and the ring top, without there being a big mess of clay poked around them like spackle :D