General info re covering with clay
...sheets of cane slices
...clay & other "armatures" you create
...misc. ideas
...suggestions for some items to cover

...general info
...recycle #'s 1-5
...recycle #6 --polystyrene, "styrofoam," etc. ... general info
......types of polystyrene & polystyrene foam, definitions, which best? & environment
......uses for ps foam ...... basic info on baking, etc.
...........left inside clay ..... removed .....used as "shrink plastic"
...........shaping, cutting, gluing ps foam
...misc. plastic items (ping pong balls, various other items)
...prescrip. bottles canisters ....PVC pipe
...metal armatures
...attaching clay to metal
...various metal objects (silverware, etc.)
......Altoid & other tins-boxes ..... supplies, basic lessons, examples/uses
.........handles,paint,etc... other metal tins & more uses
......votives & light shining thru', candleholders
......bottles, jars, etc
......other glass/ceramic items
......ball ornaments
......light bulbs ....smaller bulbs, for pendants,etc.
......nightlights, lamps, screens
....various wood items ...wood shapes (cutouts & 3-D) for figures,etc
....gourds, twigs, nuts, cork
PAPIER MACHE, CARDBOARD, PAPER (matchboxes + more)
TERRA COTTA, PLASTER, earth clay, greenware

Some specific items to cover ...(or to make)
....Knobs (all types)
....Clocks (covered or freestanding)
....various other items
Veneer sheets for covering (pre-baked)
Removable sleeves for bottles/jars/etc
More websites


General Info re covering

There are different ways to cover items with polymer clay:
-- complete coverage
-- partial coverage -- onlays, trailing vines, etc.
(see also Onlay for much more)
-- "element" (or parts) covering -- covering only certain parts (lids, bottoms, finials, etc.)
-- overlapping or layering slices or bits (and puzzle piece)... see Onlay for much more)
--sleeves (removable)

. . . in short, most slick surfaces like glass, metal, bakeable plastics, etc., don't need to be covered with anything before adding the clay, especially if they will be more or less wrapped with clay creating a mechanical hold. . . the clay seems to stick to them fairly well. (Some people might use a bit of superglue underneath the raw clay though, or pop off the baked clay and reattach with E-6000/Goop.)
Other materials that are fuzzier like cardboard, papier mache, etc. don't hold the clay as easily, and are either covered with a layer of clay first or brushed with a white glue like Sobo, sizing (stays tacky when dry), or other white glues, Weldlbond, then covered with clay slices/whatever.
(Pens are often covered with glue too, especially because rolling them for smoothing will pull the clay away from the pen; with eggs, some people cover first, some don't.) Diane B.

A tiny hole is often poked through the clay if covering a non-clay material (which might have a diff. rate of expansion and cause cracking).
...(however) ...If you partially bake long enough for your item it to get hot all the way inside....and then plug up the hole and finish baking, it should not cause any problems (because the air will have expanded as much as it is going to by will then contract as it cools and maybe create a bit of a vacuum.) Susan

If you're applying a covering of clay to any object that's not made of clay, it's a good idea to put the piece in a cold oven and then turn it on. Leave it at the correct temperature for the right amount of time, then turn off the oven and let cool.This makes for slower heating and cooling, which will help avoid cracking (since the underlying object expands and contracts at a different rate from the clay).

Let's say you have covered a glass Christmas ball or pen with pretty cane slices or a nice marbised sheet o clay. Once you have it smoothed, pour some ultra fine glitter into the palm of your hand and roll the ball around in your hands to stick a light coating of glitter all over. The idea is to press it into the clay so that the surface is quite smooth. Now bake it and when it's cool, give it a couple of coats of Future or Flecto Varathane. Jody Bishel (DB: or use Pearl-Ex???)
example of this on a pen at Kim's page

~(for things that aren't bakable or won't fit in the oven, baked polymer can always be glued to things)
Why not see if you can get your hands on that stretch adhesive by 3M. 3M makes those removable wall hooks that stick quite well until you stretch the adhesive backing. I think you can buy just the adhesive strips. Desiree
...removable sleeves of clay could also be slipped over bath or kitchen product containers, standing toothpaste tubes, or empty containers... see below in "Misc" > Sleeves)

make a flat or curved image transfer using Lazertran Silk paper (see Transfers/Color Images):
Spray the image with 3M photo spray mount and apply to (raw?) polyclay. Allow to dry, wet backing paper and the image releases in 1 minute. This allows the polyclay to be shaped after
the image has transferred. Mick

To cover a rounded surface completely with a sheet of clay, wrap it around the widest area first, then close it around the rest by pressing gently, folding, squishing or whatever ... shave off the excess, and pat it down flat, create a shape with it, or cover it with another clay element like a cane slice or a flat bead (or make sure it's on the bottom or in a place not easily noticed).

For cuts which are straight, parallel or measured, a work surface with grid lines is a good thing to work on ...
and for strips or squares/rectangles from clay sheets for boxes, covering, etc., see the gridded Omnigrid ruler)
...(see more info on gridded work surfaces in Tools > Work Surfaces)

The clear decal-type or other types of transfers could also be attached directly to the front of glass, metal, or other surfaces (e.g., small glass or plastic bottles with decals would look neat).
...they could also be attached with a backing of clay, or metallic leaf and/or clay. ) Diane B.

If you have bottles or containers to cover and have a heckuva time getting the label adhesive off, here is my cheap solution: Take a green scrubbie pad and slightly dampen. Pour salt, just regular old table salt on it. Place the bottle on it and rotate. The goo should scrub right off. This is easier if you put the pad on a surface and rub the bottle on it than trying to hold it in your hand. Kim2
Or use CitraSolve, Goo Gone, or another solvent (followed by soap and water to remove any residue) careful on plastics though because some of these methods can cause scratching or permanent clouding on plastics.

see beginner project book on covering papier mache boxes and lids below in Paper, Papier Mache

One block of 2 oz clay will cover 23 cm square if it’s 1mm thick. (courtesy of math-by-TeraGram)

For problems with bubbles forming in or under sheets of clay, see Pasta Machines > Problems > Bubbles, as well as below in the relevant categories.

covering with Sheets of Clay Slices

--for more details on covering certain other items, see also Pens >Sheets, Bottles of Hope, and Vessels >Bowls
--for many sheets of pattern (slices or not) which can be created for covering things, see Sculpting Tools/Body > Fabric, Canes-Instr-Types > Sheets of Pattern, and Canes-Instr-Types > Quilt > Collage Sheets)

For boxes, jars, and for covering some types of vessels,) I start by rolling out some base clay that is compatible with the colors in the cane, or a contrasting color, whichever you think will look the best if it peeks through the cane covering. I usually roll it out on the #3 or 4 setting of the pasta machine (if you have one. If not, just roll it about 1/8th inch thick, or slightly thinner.) They I lay thin cane slices on top of the sheet, enough to cover the entire sheet if possible. Then I place the cane covered sheet in-between two sheets of waxed paper. Using an acrylic roller or brayer, I roll over the clay to smooth the cane slices (the waxed paper helps to keep them from distorting.) When the surface is as smooth as I can get it, I then use the sheet to cover whatever project I'm working on. Dotty

My colors smeared together when I was covering a pen . . .
Your colors may be smearing when you're pressing down o n the slices trying to get the surface even. If that's the case, try always pressing *straight down* each time, don't allow your fingers to press-and-slide.
(If the item is already baked) you could sand the surfaces where the colors are smeared together, you'll probably find that the pattern is fine underneath and it was only the top that you smeared. . . . (after sanding with water and wet-dry sandpaper, 400 & 600 grits, buff the dulled surface with your jeans or almost any kind of fabric or with an electric buffer, or apply a sealer finish.)
....Next time, try to make your slices as close to the same thickness as you can to begin with; this helps a lot!!
... After pressing down the most obvious bumps, use a brayer of some kind to even it more, or put a piece of parchment or smooth tracing paper over each area and rub with your finger . . . these things should keep any smearing from happening.) Diane B.

I apply my canes symmetrically, from the inside out or the outside in. Lynn Del

Any blank spaces can be filled with a different-sized slice of the same cane, another cane of coordinated color, or small balls of any color that might make it interesting.
Or I cover the item first with a sheet
of clay that looks fine showing through, then spaces don't matter.... LynnDel

Do you have any hints to give on using cane slice sheets to cover these more complex shapes? . . .I always wonder if every shape has to be thought out separately ...that is, in terms of what will show. And how one avoids obvious breaks in the pattern from darts or pleats (when placing the sheet or sheet parts around arms, nooks/crannies, double bends, etc.) . .. Or have you kind of found a system for covering?... for example, placing the sheet on the back or front, then just pressing it in and around everything, cutting only in certain kinds of places, etc.??? or always wrapping the limbs or head separately?? Diane B.
...I never worry about it. . .I just use flowers from the same canes that I used in the cover layer to hide the folds and defects. If you gently blend them in, you will never know. . .heck I usually rip the covering itself to help it fit. . .it just looks perfect. . .but it's not! Dawn

Donna Kato's method for making a sheet of slices on a backing sheet works great she taught me at Ravensdale last year:
..... first cut your slices very thin! .....then put some of them down on the clay sheet... roll the sheet with an acrylic roller six different ways (end to end, side to side, and then both cattycorner to avoid distortion).... then put down more slices and repeat.... continue until all your slices are done and rolled into the sheet of clay. . . . use some pressure each time.
......then you can then fit the sheet directly onto whatever you wish to cover, or add a backing sheet for strength, and cut whatever pieces you might need.
..... I had tried rolling the slices in before, but had never done it this thoroughly, and that is what makes the difference.
I found I can completely eliminate any lines around the cane slices. It's well worth the time spent doing it. Dotty in CA

I get the seams of my cane slices to "blend" together by using a "rolling" motion like with a rolling pin on dough motion. I use either a brayer or the round handle of my needle tool and roll it rather than dragging it across the surface. Try a practice piece by rolling. Try rolling, lightly, from the middle of the cane slice gently over to and across the edge of the seam and then back from the adjoining cane slice in the same motion, and even rolling up and down the seam. Use light pressure to allow the clay to spread and fill the crack rather than dragging your instrument across the surface. It doesn't happen with one roll across it either. Do it gently in different directions over the whole piece, or section, and then do it again in different directions. The lighter you do it, the less the distortion.... I find that when the cracks get smaller and the edges start to blend, you can then roll a bit harder to get that smooth surface....but still, not too hard, as the clay will gradually heat up from the motion and the heat of your hands. Also, if you're working with it and holding it, there will be some skin/finger prints, so move it around a lot in your hand if you can, get it as smooth as you can. Work over the whole piece rather than in one section to avoid parts being higher than others, and you can get rid of the "skin prints" after you bake it, by sanding and buffing if you'd like. lori

Pauline, a trick I use to get rid of those lines (between slices in a cane sheet) is to slice my canes thinly, as thin as possible, apply them to the background, and run it through the pasta machine, like you are doing. Then when I get to #4 thickness, I run it through, then staying there I use a piece of fabric that has a texture I like, and run it through again. The texture from the fabric usually hides the lines, it also makes the clay easier to handle.

When I slice the cane, I lay the slice on a clean glass sheet on my work table. Just laying my thumb on it long enough to warm it and anchor it to the smooth surface (but not smooshing it)....old clay sometimes slips, so press a bit. Then using a rigid blade, I tap the egdes inward to square it up. (use a blade to lift and position on what ever you're putting it on)....
...I also do just one row (of slices) at a time and bake one row at a time. That way you don't mess up the row before and it gives you a firm backing for the next row. I have a small convection oven ,fast working. I suppose if you use a full size oven it might be a problem. Some people use a heat gun,but I never could without burning my fingers, LOL! . . . on smoothing, I use a Dremel with (stitched?) buffing pad to lose the real rough spots and then buff like mad with steel wool of varying grades. Jack
Jack Schwend's fabulous Poly-Psyanky eggs, with lots of precise, complex caning in rows

You can minimize bubbles by applying sheets of clay (from) the center of the sheet and smoothing outward to push the bubbles to the outer edges. If you get one that you can't push out, lift the clay away from the votive or whatever, to the edge of the bubble, smooth it down and continue. If you find a bubble after you've already got everything stuck tight, use a very sharp tissue blade to slice into the side of the bubble and smooth the air out... the diagonal cut will be easy to mend with a little care. "Brayer" over it with a pen or something. zig
A tip I learned from a friend is to cover the clay covered portion of a flat piece (tin, switchplate, etc.) with tracing paper and then burnish with a bone folder before baking. It really aids in eliminating or at least reducing most bubbles between the clay and the surface you are covering. Linda G.

see more on cracking and bubbles below in the Glass sub-category

I have a heck of a time getting the sheets smooth when covering tins. Any recommendations? Kim2
...As I place the clay sheet on the tin I gently stroke the sheet onto the surface, advancing from one end across to the other end. Then after trimming away the excess clay, I roll across the sheet using my lucite roller. This seems to reveal any trapped air pockets. If there are any, it's too late to pry the sheet off because it seems to stick to the tin pretty well after being rolled, so I use the thinnest sewing needle to poke a hole in the pocket and release the air. And re-roll to smooth the surface. Another tip, if the clay sheet tends to stick to the roller, place a sheet of waxed paper on the clay before applying the roller. Desiree
...I agree with Desiree about this, but I use plastic wrap under the roller. . . I can use my fingers without leaving fingerprints. Randi

I find that matching the softness of the background clay and the slices works best.You won't want to put soft cane slices on a stiff background - the cane slices resist sinking in to the background, they slide and move across the surface. . . .On the other hand, a stiff cane slice will sink into the background clay. . . . . There may however be times when these characteristics will work to your advantage. Donna K.

The thinner the slice, the least distortion. . . . A stiffer clay does distort least. Donna K.

Finger buffing the surface with cornstarch or talcum powder is another technique good for large areas...
(wear gloves to keep the clay from sticking to your hands when you first cover with clay to avoid bubbles.) Katherine Dewey

...when the cane slices are still raised above the surface, Iuse a sharp blade -carefully- to shave it a bit. Kim K.

Clay & Other Armatures you create

You can cover baked, solid-clay shapes that you create yourself (animals, catsle towers, eggs, etc.), or you can make them hollow, then cover
.....use liquid clay, white glue or super glues, or other methods to adhere the clay well, if necessary

Or you can cover raw, solid clay shapes instead... in some cases, this can change the shape a bit (ke ep putting in frig or letting rest (even overnight) to help avoid distortion).

most info on this is in Sculpture > Covering Sculpted Forms with clay
.....also see Armatures-Permanent

Misc. covering ideas

flat onlay can be used for covering too .. . . placing very thin, individual slices one at a time on a base, in order to create individual pictures/items/designs
(see Canes-Instr.>Overall Techniqes for more on this method)
... also very thin slices from translucent canes can be used over a plain or patterned background... the translucent portions of these slices will disappear on the background (see Canes-Instr. > Translucent Canes for more on these)

Have I got it right that you want to cover a sphere completely, with precut pattern pieces?? If so, there are several possibilities that I know of. Some of them are on my Eggs page at Glass Attic; Mike B. and others have their own ways of covering a sphere-like object with strips and/or slices of various shapes.
The other way is something I had to do once that gave me fits! I had to create a pattern for the Earth which my son's 4th grade class could cut out of cardstock and join the extending parts to make a smooth sphere. Ack. So I thought about using those _____ world maps as a pattern, enlarging one to the size I needed before making the one they'd use. That eventually worked (though I had to add tabs for gluing the bits together, and that was tricky! don't need that though).
So basically think of the way you might peel an orange. If you cut around the "poles" in at least 2 complete revolutions, you'll end up with pointed oval shapes; the more revolutions you cut, the smoother the sphere will be.
So... I guess you could either cover an identical sphere with clay first, then cut as evenly as possible (maybe using dental floss) through the poles, remove and try to make a pattern without stretching the clay
...OR you could cover an identical sphere with aluminum foil then layers of masking tape (break out the sphere if its breakable), then cut your through the poles; use one of those pieces (or all of them) for your clay pattern pieces. . . . or something like that! Diane B.

James L's 2-layer sheet for covering: holey top layer of clay (holes made with tiny cutters) pressed onto solid under layer... in this case a variegated metallic holey layer and a solid color underlayer . . . lots of variations possible

Suggestions for various things to cover

(glass, metal, or PVC, some plastics, wood, tile, ceramic):

pens (including stands and caps & pencils), votive candle holders/small glasses, jars (babyfood too), drinking glasses for pencil holders, glass bowls (custard, any size—underside will show through), any size bottles, switchplates, eggs, glass xmas ornaments, small cardboard boxes, papier mache shapes (Michaels), picture frames (can cover cardboard, or make your own any shape), playing pieces for games, refrigerator magnets, buttons, matchboxes (see below in covering Paper), key hooks, letter openers, metal carabiner clasps, pad lock faces and key tops, drawer knobs (see below in Wood), toothbrush holders, salt shakers, clock backs, the front of small spiral notebooks, ceiling fan pulls, napkin rings, mobiles, tool & knife/forks/spoon handles for silverware or working with clay (see below in Metal or in Tools > Handles), car keys, curtain rod heads and pull-backs, license plate holders (seal also), tissue box holders (LynnDel), crochet hooks (Jody B.), real wood cigar boxes, cardboard "cigar" boxes sold for holding pencils, recipe card file boxes, etc.,

some covered key chains (blanks) from Boston Clayworks
Helen's covered key chains

--Altoids, and other metal boxes (Sucrets, bandaids, etc.)+
--M & M containers: 1x 4" with flip lid (use as storage container, gift box, necklace, for quarters or lunch money or key while jogging, or mezuzah case, tampon holder for purse, e.g.)
--travel sized asprin bottle--small cylinder for 10 pills (ie. Tylenol or Excedrin)
--indiv. applesauce plastic containers (recycle # 5, on the base ok in 275 degrees), & Yoplait yogurt containers (#5)
--catfood or tuna cans (juice lids will fit tunas perfectly)
--license plate frames (see below)
--metal lunchboxes (see website below in Metal)
--amber perscription bottles (can saw off the top of the bottle if want)—other medical grade containers with #5 on the bottom?) . . . and film cannisters
--little contact lens bottles optometrists discard after giving lenses to patients
--little bottles from vet’s offices, and insulin bottles from diabetics.
--glass bottles or papier mache, to create figures
--polymer "pointers" (see details below in Metal)

(see also bottles/etc. in "Supply Sources" category at bottom of this page...
... and also Supply Sources page, for more bottles/containers)

Somebody's selling polymer clay-tipped knitting needles and also some interesting scissor-keepers using a big polymer bead at one end, a couple of smaller bead sliders and a medium sized lobster claw at the other end to hook into the scissors, or maybe car keys ... I think the bead end gets wrapped round the bag strap, through the double cord, and the slider snuggles up to hold it, but I'm only guessing.
......I've made knitting needles much the same way as these, but with natural wood rather than painted. Makes sense to paint the shafts to match the clay. Halla
(...knitting needles can also have removable tips on the pointed ends for keeping yarn securely on between knitting sessions)

In my bathroom, I covered the toilet paper roll brackets (roll holders) a year ago. I like it so much I'm going to do it for my other bathroom
...I'd also like to cover all the cabinet handles to match...., and possiblethe towel rack brackets, too. Once I get started, I can't stop! :-) LynnDel
Claudine's containers covered with clay for bathroom vanity (terra cotta pot, metal and glass vases and large containers)
...(more embellishing than "covering") ... I want to make a flower, and put it on my shower curtain hooks..I don't know if I should form it onto a metal hook and then bake, or if it should be glued on, etc. Arleen

"air freshners" ... I made some air freshners for my car with clay and fragrance oil. Looked good, smelled great, and the rest of the family wanted one. But in a couple of days they literaly fell apart. After expermenting I discovered the fragrance oil was the culprit. I still like the idea but I have no idea how to get the fragrence in there without causing damage. I originally put it on cotton balls. Cindy J.
...could you use a metal "tea (infuser)" thing (a tea ball)...i'ts egg shaped and screws together in middle. Cover with pc except for the screw together section, then put your cotton ball inside. put little holes in the pc for smell to get out? Dar
.....The first "rule" is not to let your oils come in contact w/ any metal except stainless steel, and that's even risky. It isn't dangerous, but the scent mutates (as 7-y-old son would say) to something gross. So the tea strainer idea is great...IF you can find stainless..helensharvest
... would this apply to all fragrance oils? aromatherapy oils?
...How about covering a small glass bottle or vial? You could put the cotton ball in there and the clay would be protected. Jody
Tie a cord around the neck for hanging... with, maybe, a stopper attached to control the amount of aroma. Cindy TX
How about putting some potpourri in it and using it to freshen a room or a closet?. Kimba
(see more ideas and info in also Inclusions > Smell-y)

Dotty's lesson on making a key ring fob (not covered though) with translucent spirals
Susan's key fobs and bottle openers (website gone)

many items to put a flat polymer sheet (transfer, cane sheet, mokume, etc.) into . . . keyrings, coasters, bookmarks, banks, mugs, paperweights

covered wine stoppers (wine bottle stoppers)... where are other references? (see more on stoppers in general in BOH > Stoppers)

Judith Skinner's badge covers (to hide ID badges when out of the office)
(gone to


..Boston Clayworks (polymerclayprojects) . . . Larry sells complete kits for covering various items with clay (all parts included) ...clocks, key chains (even with screwdriver bits inside) , magnifying glass, wine stoppers, pens/pencils, "perfume" pencils, compacts, etc.

...artclayworld . . . Twist Ballpoint Pen -Necklace Perfume Vial Holder & Atomizer?-Key Chain -Ceiling Fan Pulls - Letter Openers -cabochon Bookmarks & Purse Mirror, and
(lessons for covering each item)

...lanyardsuypply . . . lanyards ... cording with attachers on end, badge holders, badge clips...some retractable, zipper lanyards, ball chain necklaces, keyrings, cord locks, buckles, snap hooks, etc.

....Confabulations . . . pendant magnifier loupes... front could be covered with polymer clay, etc; the loupe swings out from behind it

...Fanciful Brass . . . (many charms, plus other items) ...their letter opener is on page 74 item #2743 and the price is $1.38 . . . I think letter openers would make great office gifts... Dave

Dotty's front-covered business card holder mini-lesson (holder is from the Metalferous catalog) (Metalliferous,1-212-944-0909, (website gone)


general info

(for nightlights, see "Glass" sub-category below)
(for loads of plastic & other containers to purchase & cover, see Supply Sources page --bottles/containers category)

what is a "plastic"? ...or a thermoplastic, or a polyethylene, or PVC, etc.? ... (things made from plastics)

There are two possible problems we need to think about when using polymer clay with certain plastics:
1. contact with raw clay can cause some types of plastic to become cloudy, or to "melt" over time ... e.g., when storing clay
2. all plastics will soften or melt when exposed to their particular critical level of heat
.... some plastics aren't affected by the fairly low heat we use to cure polymer clay though (265-275)
.....other plastics can't be baked at our temps though (...or they'll need to be insulated, etc)
........... those plastics can still be used with polymer clay though, if the baked coverings or embellishments can be glued onto them later. DB

For contact and storage, in general the rubbery type plastics (often translucent) are okay, but the hard, very clear plastics aren't
..... (acrylic sheets are ok tho!)
... # 1, # 2 or # 4 far I've seen no storage reactions with recycling plastics
... # 5 is okay too (Rubbermaid containers and many other rubbery translucent containers)

... # 6 (polystyrene). avoid it like the plague for storing clay!
.........however, it's possible to use # 6 (and others?) as an armature for baking with clay if it's not in contact longer than a day first --see more details below
..One way to to test plastics for storage would be to put a drop or to of 'Diluent-Softener' onto a plastic and see what happens after a few hours or days.
(for much more on plastics used for storing polymer clay, see Storage)

For heat resistance, in general most of the "recyclable" plastics aren't terribly heat resistant (recycling plastic does usually involve melting, after all), but many can be used in various ways with clay because of the low temps we use.... especially if completely covered with clay as a buffer, and not baked for too long or too hot.

recycle numbers

RECYLCING NUMBERS indicate type of plastic resin used ...usually located on the bottom of the plastic item, surrounded by arrows in a triangle):
.....# 1 PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) ...containers for soft drinks/some water, peanut butter/jam, sald dressing ... shrinks at dishwasher temperatures
.....# 2 and # 4 (high & low density polyethylene) ... most common plastics ....shrink at slightly higher temps than #1(generally not dishwasher safe--but see below for more info):
...........HDPE (#2, high density polyethylene) ...stronger --milk, juice, some water, yogurt tubs & film containers, grocery bags, gasoline tanks, detergent bottles, toys)
.......... LDPE (#4, low density polyehtylene) ...cheaper --bread packaging, squeeze bottles--honey/mustard, frozen food bags, toys, paint can lids and milk bottle caps
.....#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) --cooking oil bottles, pressure pipe, surgical gloves, clear food packaging, cling film house siding .... don't know heat resistance but can bake PVC pipe at our temps as long as not too big (large pipes can slump a bit)
.....# 5 (polypropylene --many "medical plastics" and "food plastics"--microwave ware, yogurt cups, margarine tubs, some take-away containers, )... significantly more heat resistant...ok in dishwasher (--but see below for more info)
.....# 6 (polystyrene and closed-cell foams ---"Styrofoam," craft store shapes, packing foams, insulation foam from hardware store, foam meat & veg. trays/egg cartons ...and also clear/stiff polystyrenes --some disposable drinking cups, guitar picks) ....shrink at our baking temps **
.....# 7 is a catch-all number for all other resins and all sorts of other mixes & laminates, so you can't bank on it being consistently god or bad (or even recyclable)

(more on recycle # 2 and # 5)

# 2 ...according to Marie Segal, all the plastic film canisters labeled with the "2" are compatible with polymer clay and will withstand the baking temperature. .......however, it seems that any part not actually covered with clay will begin to soften if baked longer than 10 min. or so??
(... see more on baking these, below in Film Canisters)

5 (polypropylene)
.... almost all medical plastics
.........prescription bottles... cough syrup bottles ...
those tall squared containers for dental floss
....some food plastics are also #5
...........individual applesauce cups...yogurt cups (not the larger containers though)--Yoplait and prob. other brands too? (Yoplait has conical shape, good for pencil or paintbrush holders) .....the short 2" McCormick or Schilling herbs/spices containers (not the reg. size ones tho')....
maple syrup containers (could make a cool vase?or dolls/figures?) ... see below for M & M tube types containers .."
dishwasher-safe" food containers
( a fiber, polypropylene is used to make indoor-outdoor carpeting)

recycle # 6 ... POLYSTYRENE foam(s), "Styrofoam," etc.

General Info

# 6 recycle number (polystyrene) come in various forms:
...clear, rigid polystyrenes (un-foamed)-- many everyday items ("jewel boxes", television & computer cabinets, appliances, toys), some disposable clear drinking cups, etc.)
. ..foamed polystyrenes --."Styrofoam" & craft store shapes... foam insulation.... packing foams & peanuts... foam meat & veg. trays/egg cartons

...don't use solvent-based paints or sprays, etc., on polystyrene foams --they will dissolve the foam (use acrylics instead)
...let spray adhesives fully dry to get rid of the solvents before touching polystyrene foam
...ditto for long-term contact with
raw polymer clay?
...2-part polyester resins dissolve polystyrene (but epoxy resin is okay)

Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer, made from styrene (a liquid found in plants but is commercially manufactured from petroleum).
Some people confuse styrene, which is a liquid, with polystyrene, which is a solid plastic made from polymerized styrene. Styrene and polystyrene are fundamentally different.
....polystyrene is inert, and has no smell of styrene
....polystyrene often is used in applications where hygiene is important, such as health care and food service products

Types of polystyrene (ps)

Polystyrene plastics come in various types:
...MOST polystyrene is used to make solid and hard (durable) products:
..... "jewel boxes" for CD's and audio cassettes, television & computer cabinets, appliances, toys, cutlery, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, strawberry crates, etc.
...However, when polystyrene is "foamed" with a gas, it blows up and becomes "expanded polystyrene" (or EPS) ... the foam is.5% polystyrene + 95% air
(semi-flexible clear polystyrenes may be a separate 3rd type --e.g., salad bar boxes, cups)

At room temperature, polystyrene is normally a solid thermoplastic, but can be melted at higher temperature for molding or extrusion, then resolidified.

polystyrene foams

..COMPRESSED or EXTRUDED polystyrene foam -- XPS (or XEPS)
.....often used as (sheets of ) building insulation....often a color --pink, blue, green or yellow, in the US
.....found in hardware stores, home supply stores, and perhaps in some craft/hobby stores
.....denser than expanded polystyrene
.....can be cut & sanded to more detail than expanded ps foam... pretty strong due to density
..EXPANDED polystyrene foam -- EPS (molded ps beads, closed cell )
....can be block-molded for use as protective packaging around electronics & other goods ("EPS block"), packing "peanuts", non-weight-bearing architectural structures (such as pillars), and also in crafts and model building, particularly architectural models
....also available as home insulation (though need a vapor protector, and not as strong as the extruded type of insulation?)..MEPS boards?
....can be custom-shape-molded for use as sheets & shapes for crafts ("EPS shape") ...usually white, occasionally green
....less dense than compressed ps... so more brittle so it's crumbly and messier when cut than compressed ps foam --larger ps beads ...also easily charged with static electricity so bits stick to everything (fabric softener sheet or spray can help remove static)
(photo of both types (in sheet form) )

...more info on Molded Expanded Polystyrene (MEPS) Boards & Extruded Expanded Polystyrene (XEPS) Boards at:

more on Extruded polystyrene (XPS... aka Compressed ps)

Extruded ps foams are preferred over expanded ps foams by sculptors and modelers who want the best carve-ability and the finest detail (and the least mess).

Extruded polystyrene foam begins with solid polystyrene crystals.....the crystals, along with special additives and a blowing agent, are fed into an extruder. Within the extruder the mixture is combined and melted, under controlled conditions of high temperature and pressure, into a viscous plastic fluid. The hot, thick liquid is then forced in a continuous process through a die in the extruder. it emerges from the die, it expands to a foam ... is shaped, cooled, and trimmed
...this continuous extrusion process results in a unique foam product with a uniform closed-cell structure, a smooth continuous skin, etc., compared to other insulation types

Polystyrene foams are most often used as insulation in buildings, for masonry wall insulation ..perimeter insulation ..and roof insulation
...also used to make foamboard, which is a substitute for corrugated cardboard which has a smooth paintable exterior (it's an extruded polystyrene foam sheet which has been laminated between two clay-coated paper liners or other laminates --e.g., Fome-Cor®)

Especially for shaping, the color of the foam may not be important now (and a particular color may not even be the type of material you want)
...instead, what's important is the density of the foam (how “hard” it is)... the denser the foam, the harder and heavier
... a density of 32kg/m3 (density of the original blue Styrofoam) is the benchmark (for modeling)... anything less can be too soft, though anything more dense can great find local sources, do a web search for “Underfloor Insulation” or "Styrofoam,"etc.... then call and ask about the density of the specific products

"Styrofoam," "styrofoam"
(NOTE: most people don't know that the word "Styrofoam" is often used incorrectly in the U.S. "Kleenex," or "Vaseline," or "Xerox," Styrofoam is a common brand name which has come to represent to many people any polystyrene foam, but especially the white type of ps foams sold in craft stores... this causes some confusion when dealing with the proper terms and brand names)

Styrofoam® is a registered trademark (brand name) for a line of extruded polystyrene foam products made exclusively by The Dow Chemical Company in the USA and other countries.
.....the real name of the product is foamed polystyrene... Styrofoam® is the largest brand of extruded polystyrene foam
..Dow's foam products are made in a number of different grades ... and for different applications the US, Styrofoam® is sold as (blue) polystyrene foam insulation for construction purposes
.........(note that other XPS products in the USA --not made by Dow-Styrofoam-- are green, pink or yellow)
......Styrofoam brand foam craft products, however, are not sold under the Dow label, but rather under the name of its fabricators-distributors... these products are white or green:
.........for example, FloraCraft (white) and Oasis Floral Products (green bricks for holding plant stems, etc.)
........."it's special manufacturing process lends it a crispness other craft foams lack, making it easier to cut, texture, shape, or sculpt."

(...Styrofoam Brand Foam is not used in the manufacture of disposable foam products however --such as meat trays, cups, plates, coolers or egg trays
... those are made of either molded expanded polystyrene beads, or from thin extruded polystyrene sheet-- neither of which is manufactured by Dow in the US)

more on Expanded polystyrene (EPS, "beadboard")

The raw material for producing EPS is a resin in the form of tiny round (polystyrene) beads (spheres).
...the beads are then impregnated with a small percentage of the naturally ocurring gas, Pentane
......through heating and the rapid release of the gas, the beads are expanded to almost 50 times original size ...beads are then aged for 12 to 48 hours, which allows the internal vaccum in the beads to refill with air
..these loose expanded beads are then often formed into a solid block mass using a vacuum-assisted block mold (steam is used to create heat and pressure, which forces the beads to fuse together into a solid structure)
...the final material is heat cured to make sure that it's dimensionally stable and completely dry

"virgin bead"... "virgin" polystyrene balls are probably the same as the "loose expanded beads" just mentioned
... virgin beads are also used as filler in higher-quality bean bag chairs because they slide past each other more easily, and don't compress as much over time
.....these are highly static and will both go everywhere and stick to everything
, and are hard to clean up --though you can cut down on the static by rubbing your hands and fabric with a dryer sheet or spraying with anti-static spray

...(I don't know about the super tiny microbeads (not glass microbeads)that are used for the squishy pillows nowadays though.. just read this however: "you can buy the microbeads at Hancock Fabrics or Joann's (sometimes) in the filler section of the store... most craft stores carry them too.... it's the SMALLEST size foam bead out there. "
...on the other hand, "recycled bead" is chopped up molded blocks of polystyrene, which is used as lower quality filler ..
("PET" Eco-Bead is a packing peanut that's been cut into a circular bead)

EPS is sometimes referred to colloquially as "beadboard" because the individual beads (produced during the first stage) can generally been seen in the final product (although the EPS industry seems to deprecate this practice).

...also used as furniture & floatation materials, etc. ....and as thermal and acoustic insulator materials for homes (though need a vapor protector, not as strong as the extruded type of insulation?) ..MEPS boards?

Garie Sim and I discussed the fact that frequently a brand name such as Styrofoam becomes a generic name in the way that Kleenex is other words, I'm not sure whether the material he is using is the same as (what we call) Styrofoam here in the U.S.? Patty B.
....(1/12/2005) I made an enquiry with some of our local manufacturers in Singapore for the (white polystyrene foam I use) [which Garie refers to as "styrofoam"] and was told that the styrofoam material is created from Expanded Polystyrene Resin (and that the raw material is the same the US and other countries). Garie
...(so if Garie uses what becomes expanded ps in its final form, it can't be anything that's made by the "Styrofoam" brand because they make only extruded ps, right?)

Also, there are also local colloquial expressions for some of these polystyrene foams:.
....for example, in Germany "styropor" is often used to refer to otherwise generic block-molded EPS (actually, Styropor® is the worldwide tradename of BASF's brand of what is called "expandable polystyrene"--the solid beads of raw material used to make EPS). example of styropor at Els' site (sphere)

outside the U.S.A., be careful (re colors) ...the simple color identifications for polymeric geofoam materials vary from country to country.
.....for example, in the U.K., pink is used for several (name brand) EPS-block-geofoam products (not for the pink XPS, as in the U.S.A.)
worldwide sources for expanded polystyrene


polystryrene and Styrofoam info:
polystyrene info ...
EPS polystyrene sheets & forms

Foams are classified as open-cell or closed-cell.
....cell structure determines certain properties, thereby influencing the type of application of the foamed plastic.
....(the cell structure depends on the process used for the production of the foamed plastic; in some cases both flexible and rigid foams may be produced with either open or closed cells --e.g., PVC). polystyrene foams...
foam bubbles are interconnected as in a kitchen sponge
.......somewhat rough surface ...can see the insides of the bubbles on surface of shape (clinky "Styrofoam" in the US?)
.........."papier mache" craft eggs, etc., made this way are often covered with a layer of papier maché so their surface is more acceptable to crafters for painting, etc.
I have cut open perfectly-shaped baked polymer eggs which were baked over "plastic" eggs and found that the "plastic" egg (actually ps) did melt to a lump inside, but only after holding up long enough to act as a baking support, and to leave the sort of shiny surface inside that you get from baking polymer clay on smooth tiles or glass. Sara Jane in NC
.....offer little resistance to the passage of liquids and gases through them
.....easily lets water into its interior... becomes water-logged quickly
.....achieved by increasing the moisture content of the composition and prolonging the molding time
(shaped after foaming)
...closed cell ..each cell (more or less spherical in shape) is completely enclosed by a thin wall or membrane of plastic
......foamed' within a mold of the shape --a sphere, egg, whatever ... smooth surface
.....good for insulation because air can't go through
.....achieved by adjusting the amount of foaming agent, plasticizer, and/or water of the composition... and the compression molding conditions such as the use of a low moisture content and short compression molding time.

.....molten closed-cell EPS... while water resistant, is weak, and breaks into tiny pieces on impact or while being cut (like molded packing material for boxes?)
.....extruded closed-cell EPS ...the internal framework of extruded closed-cell EPS is much like wood, giving it additional strength and water resistance

"foam rubber" (aka Sponge Rubber, or Latex Foam) is a different kind of foam... flexible, porous substance made from a natural or synthetic latex compounded with various ingredients and whipped into a froth. The resulting product contains roughly 85 percent air and 15 percent rubber and can be molded and vulcanized.. . . a blowing agent is incorporated into the latex…(polurethane foam?)
....(sponge foam) can take more heat than you used ...I accidentally baked a dollhouse mattress of foam rubber with a polymer blanket over it. It held up just fine for the 15 minute bake it received. Gillian

safety, environmental issues

It may be that all the bad press (esp. in the late 80's) about the "dangers of Styrofoam" (see ozone layer info below) is what's partly responsible for what some people still think, because as far as I can tell, it seems fine to expose heat-foamed polystrene to the low temperatures we use to cure polymer clay.
...However, if polystyrene foams actually burn (at 482° F), they can out-gas and emit bad things (smoke), and degrade to styrene & benzene --but most other plastics, including polymer clay, will also create unhealthy emissions if they are burned.
....In fact, polystyrene foams will shrink if exposed to just a certain level of heat (crafters have shrunk them to use as shrink plastic, make little hats, etc.)... the clear version of unfoamed polystyrene (clear salad boxes, etc.) will also shrink the same way that commercial shrink plastics do in the oven --think the temp for shrink plastics are somewhere between 200-300°, but well short of polystyrene burning temps.

Also, hot-wire cutters are suggested for cutting polystyrene foams, and they certainly get much hotter than our 250-275 baking temps... when cutting with hot wire, a bit of smoke is produced and I'm sure we shouldn't be inhaling it, but Dow and others don't warn against using them when mentioned (though some individuals do).
....low-temp glue guns are also recommended for use with polystyrene foams, and their glue gets pretty hot (glue from high-temp guns will eat into the foam though it doesn't burn it, so its recommended to let the hotter glue cool for a second or so before contacting the foam)
........high temp guns =385° F; low temp ones = 250° F)

Alan says that polystyrene will have an odor at our baking temps (265 - 275º), but is not toxic at all won't technically melt (or produce toxic fumes)
until reaching a much higher temp (around 385º - 485º)
---Garie suggests not baking over 300º F (150º C) keep temps really even, can also use a completely-enclosed baking method (or partly-enclosed) with any clay pieces which have exposed foam, if desired
(...draped-over damp paper towel, etc.....or can use a convection oven)
.... if baking ps foam uncovered to intentionally allow the foam to shrink, some clayers may just prefer to do the baking outdoors or in another room, etc.

chlorofluorocarbons --CFC's & the Ozone Layer
....It used to be that chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFC's), which are environmentally unfriendly, were the "blowing agent" used to expand polystyrene into foam by some manufacturers. Europe banned any use of these gases first, and around 1990 the U.S. also banned them. That was strictly a manufacturing "toxicity" though.
...After the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, chlorofluorocarbons as blowing agents in the production of rigid foam were phased-out. (...prior to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, chlorofluorocarbons were the primary blowing agents used for both open cell (i.e. primarily flexible) foams and closed cell --i.e. primarily rigid-- foams)., foamed polystyrene is manufactured primarily using two types of blowing agents - carbon dioxide or pentane.
......neither has any effect on the upper ozone layer (and according to the manufacturers, the pentane emissions are captured to prevent low-level smog formation, and the carbon dioxide is recovered to prevent an increase in the CO2 levels in the atmosphere)

high heat
from the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet):
...In smoldering or flaming conditions, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbon are generated.
...When burned or heated over 482°F (250°C), evolution of small amounts of hydrogen bromide, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen fluoride occurs; under high heat, non-flaming conditions, small amounts of aromatic hydrocarbons such as styrene and ethylbenzene are generated.
(...if thick black smoke (carbon) is seen from using too much heat, don't breathe)
...high temp hot glue guns reach 385° F and will melt polystyrene foam, but low temp guns reach 250° F won't, and are even suggested for use with Styrofoam)

......general purpose polystyrene foams are flammable and may produce dense smoke under actual fire conditions
.... small amounts of styrene can leach out of polystyrene products and into food under high heat
"Because low-level exposure risks are still undetermined, don’t warm up your Kung Pao chicken in the container it came in. That especially goes for any food products high in vitamin A, like cheese pizza, carrots or instant oatmeal," said Friend. "These foods can add to the leaching effect."

I'm not sure whether what Garie is using is the same as the Styrofoam we use here in the U.S.? Patty B.
....1/12/2005... I made an enquiry with some of our local manufacturers (in Singapore) for styrofoam and was told that the styrofoam material is created from Expanded Polystyrene Resin and the raw material is the same the US. and other countries. Garie

USES for polystyrene foams

Basic Info

A number of people in Europe (where polystyrene foam is sometimes referred to as "styropor"), and now in Asia, have been using foamed polystyrene as armatures under their baking polymer clay.
...they may completely enclose the foam within the clay (covering the foam first with aluminum foil, or using a flexible clay mixture)... then bake (in which case the foam stays in the clay)
...or they may partially enclose the foam with the clay (in which case it shrinks more --usually enough so it can be removed from the clay after baking)

..the foam will shrink in both instances, but using aluminum foil around the polystyrene seems to buffer the temp enough that the ps won't shrink as much as it would if left exposed
...from a size of 1 3/4" x 1 3/4", (the expanded polystyrene) shrunk to 3/4" x 3/4" and became a compressed plastic just like the material you found in the Hobby crafts plastic model... if you toss it onto the ground it will give you a
clink sound. Garie
..foam plates, cups, etc, will continue shrinking with time (see 3. foams used as shrink plastic below)

baking temps... Alan says that polystyrene will have an odor at our baking temps (265 - 275º), but is not toxic at all (see Safety below) won't technically melt (or produce toxic fumes)
until reaching a much higher temp (around 385º - 485º)
it is safe to bake the styrofoam (expanded polystyrene foam)... I have been conducting experiments with styrofoam since 2001, and the foam will not burn at a standard temperature of 265º F (130º C), even baked for longer (45 min ). Garie ---Garie suggests not baking over 300º F (150º C) keep temps really even, can also use a completely-enclosed baking method (or partly-enclosed) with any clay pieces which have exposed foam, if desired
...draped-over damp paper towel, etc.....or can use a convection oven
...if the polystyrene foam is completely covered with aluminum foil or polymer clay (or acrylic paint?/ glue?)
, any fumes would be trapped... but if baking uncovered ps foam to intentionally allow the foam to shrink, some clayers may prefer to do the baking outdoors or in another room, etc.

baking times... Els bakes for 30 mins ... then lets cool (whether leaving foam inside, or removing it)
once covered with with raw clay, polystyrene will need to be baked within one day since the plastisizer of the polymer clay will eat into the polystyrene foam after awhile. Els

tests by Garie ... placing clay in direct contact with polystyrene, versus using a clay mixture of flexible clay + regular clay
...his tests show that
if in direct contact, polystyrene will stick to the clay in spots while it's baking (and shrinking), resulting in cracks in baked clay covering
.......Garie also suggests that covering the polystyrene with (baby) oil will prevent the sticking and subsequent cracking
.......NOTE: cracking of clay can also be prevented by using a barrier of aluminum foil completely around the polystyrene foam while baking... and possibly by using ArmorAll silicone spray or a "ca debonder" (for those, see Glues > Superglue Solvents, Repel Gel, etc.) :
...regular clay (FimoSoft--green) wrapped around polystyrene ball in direct contact with clay = cracking of surface
...1 part Bake and Bend +
.3 parts FimoSoft (bluish-green) around ps ball ... shrinkage about 50%... no cracking of surface
1 part Bake and Bend +.3 parts FimoSoft around ps square 3/8" thick... also used toothpick to "release the air pockets between foam and clay"... no cracking

For easiest carving and for better detail, use "extruded" polystyrene foam (the extruded stuff can be found cheaper at most building centers as insulation, etc....comes in various grades, but denser than expanded ps)
(..."expanded" Styrofoam-polystyrene, the white stuff, can be substituted, but it will generally crumble and flake more than the extruded type)
(see much more about this above in Polystyrene Foams)

lessons & examples

Els in the Netherlands uses polystyrene foam (she calls styropor) for both permanent and removable armatures under polymer clay
gallery of many photos (at her older site)

1. foam LEFT INSIDE clay object

foam objects completely covered with clay (like torsos, etc.) where the polystyrene foam will remain inside after baking
......Els covers the ps shape with aluminum foil before adding the clay so it won't shrink too much (this barrier also keeps it from sticking)
......Garie says (baby) oil will also act as a barrier to keep the ps from sticking and cracking the clay surface from cracking (...but will also keep the ps from shrinking long enough to keep the clay in correct shape? as is true with aluminum foil?)
.....using ArmorAll silicone spray or a "ca debonder" on the ps may keep it from sticking to the clay also (see Glues > Superglue Solvents, Repel Gel, etc.)
...Alan says one should leave a small gas release hole when baking (....but Els doesn't mention doing that)

Els' photos of various closed clay items
lesson on making an elephant with a polystrene ball left inside
clay boat made with (carved or shaped) polystyrene as armature
Mignon also covers polystyrene forms with aluminum foil, then completely covers with clay.... she later paints on the clay
polystyrene sheet foam used as a base (the gray part)
"floor" and short backdrop from polystrene ...with alchemist & table

to make his figures float in tubs, waterglobes, etc, Garie also leaves polystyrene balls inside his submersible polymer figures (scuba diver, submarine, turtle, shark, dolphin)
...he recommends using a thin layer of clay, and adding salt to the water if the polymer items are too heavy and don't float high enough

tiny ghost made by covering tiny ps ball with glow-in-the-dark clay... then testing amount of float ....

...some figures also have magnets pressed into the polystyrene (held with epoxy if nec.) so they can respond to other magnets (motion)
(scuba diver)
lesson: (shark & dolphin) (submarine) (tiny scuba divers)

2. foam REMOVED

making hollow but open-sided clay shapes (like caves,. dioramas, boxes, bowls, etc.)

Els uses no aluminum foil over the polystyrene so it shrinks during baking (about half size)... then she removes it afterward
(there doesn't appear to be a problem with foam sticking to the clay if it's partly exposed)
photos of various open clay items by Els

...lesson on using a round polystyrene ball to make a sunflower cave-bowl make a bowl, Garie covered a ps foam hemisphere which had been tightly covered with aluminum foil.... dome side covered with clay slices
(wouldn't this leave a textured surface inside the bowl from the alumin foil?... he did cover with liquid clay though --perhaps that fills in the texture some, in addition to giving gloss) polstyrene packing peanut shape comes in the shape of a tiny bowl... could one of those be used?
...lesson on using a cube shape of "packing" foam to make a one-side-open "haunted" house
...Garie's lesson on an open box (and lid)... he cut polystyrene into a block... smoothed it by rubbing on sandpaper...wrapped ps with aluminum foil (like a gift)... covered with large sheet of rectangular clay by laying block on it, and pulling clay up to cover all 4 sides... then pressed excess at each corner together ... trimmed off and smoothed joins ...covered the base clay with cane slices (including rim) & trimmed excess around opening...baked... made lid (for ways to make lids, see
Vessels > Lids)
...Shirlyn's (tall) miniature side table (...same box as Garie's, open on one side, but stood vertically... and 4 feet added to bottom on a short end)... baked... removed foil and foam... then made into a cabinet by adding a hinged door to open side after baking)
....there's a lot of potential for this, such as boxes of different shapes ...a 6 pointed star for Chanukah, a circle within a circle shape to make a wreath that is also a box..... I'm looking at the various styrafoam stashes I have here at home and thinking... hmmmm. Nora Jean

Garie uses aluminum foil on only one side of a foam armature for his Asian spoon (...not to keep the polystyrene from shrinking, but to have a non-polystyrene surface to apply the raw clay to)
...his lesson shows this.....first carving a rough spoon shape (with a serrated knife and craft knife?) from packing foam, covering just the underside of the shape with aluminum foil, then with a layer of clay (still just on the back side)... baking.... then removing foam armature (which will have shrunk) and alum. foil
(...layer of liquid clay added and rebaked for gloss)

3. foam used as regular shrink plastic ...for a finished item
(not enclosed at all... not used as armature)

use polystyrene foam meat or vegetable trays ...foam cups, plates, bowls.... foam egg cartons, etc.
... any color foam

cut shapes from meat trays (flat or the ones with divots)
...poke any holes that you want (make them large)
...draw with permanent markers (or any markers) (or paints, etc?), and/or incise with stylus pieces on flat aluminum foil on a baking sheet in middle of oven or toaster oven
......can also use special smooth paper boards made for shrinking plastics in oven
......if foam pieces stick to baking surface, may help to sprinkle a bit of talc or cornstarch on baking surface
...bake at (150 - 300° F) ...the lower the heat, the slower the shrinkage (at 300, fairly quick)
......will curl at first, and may puff up before finished... will generally shrink to about 1/3 size
....take pieces out when they're the size you want, or put back in for more shrinkage
....... (we left one 4" heart on the cookie sheet by mistake, and it shrank to 1/2" )

polystyrene foam cups used to make mini hats,,HGTV_3293_1370963,00.html

many other lessons for doing this:

(will pieces stick and stay together if laid on top of each other in the oven??... diff. colors, etc.)

(these disposable foam products are made of either molded expanded polystyrene beads or thin extruded polystyrene sheet ...and are not made by Dow-Styrofoam)

SHAPING, cutting... tools... gluing...painting, etc. (ps foams)

Polystyrene foams can be shaped before they're covered with clay and baked, if not too large (...cover with alum. foil or another release, if needed... see above , Uses)

Extruded" polystyrene foams are prefered to expanded polystyrene foams when finer details are desired in the final foam, and just for ease of carving/shaping.
.......extruded Styrofoam is found at most building centers as "insulation" more cheaply than at craft stores... density will vary between even extruded foams though.. so check if that's important
.."expanded" Styrofoam (the white polystyrene) can be used, but it will generally crumble and flake more than the extruded type
(see more info on all this above in Polystyrene Foams)

SUMMARY: cut .... use a hot tool of some type (best) ...or a kitchen knife (serrated usually works best) shape ...rub with a file, rough sandpaper, or even other broken-edge foam smooth ... use finer sandpaper, wire brush or wood rasps ... can also coat with hydrocal, air-dry clays, etc.. for even more smoothness

coverings... polystyrene foams can also be covered with various air-dry "clays," etc., to add to more to a shape and/or or to give an even more smooth, rigid surface
...epoxy putties (Apoxie, Aves, Milliput, etc), plaster and FIXIT, Hyrdrocal, paper clays, papier mache, paper mash, acrylic modeling pastes (Liquitex's, etc.), etc.
...they can also be covered with polymer clay if they'll fit in an oven, but will shrink unless covered with aluminum foil... if intentionally shrunk though, can be removed to make a hollow shape

Airborne dust from sanding polystyrene foams, as well as fumes created by cutting them with hot tools, are not especially good for lungs, so wear a mask or do outdoors, etc.

Garie rough-cuts and carves the armature for his tiny spoon, made on a form of white expanded polystyrene, with a serrated knife and an Xacto knife... for photos

a wood-burning tool commonly available at craft stores... the kit includes an electrically-heated pencil-like device that is normally used to char the surface of a piece of wood, making patterns
...the same tool can be used to melt designs into styrofoam....but you should use a lamp-dimmer to lower the heat output (and ventilation)
Halloween tombstones, most made with ps foam from Home Depot + wood burning tool + spray paint (no clay)
tombstone Styrofoam, at hgtv???

As guides for great straight cuts, I clamp two metal yardsticks on either side of the foam

more on cutting sheets of foam (a hill with inset ramps)

hot tools for cutting and shaping polystrene foams:
simple cardboard tube-type hot-wire cutter --often found inexpensively ($20?) at craft and hobby stores
... these can cut into the foam only as deep as their opening though --about 6"?

Hot Wire Foam Factory sells more hot tools... wire cutter, knife, saws, engravers, shapable freehand router, scroll saw table, etc., which can cut anywhere in the foams (even very large sheets) and also allows the cutting of blind holes, fine cutting, grooves for wires, etc. ...
(Micromark-- heavier duty version )
free online videos showing tools in use
...As with any other petrochemical, the fumes emitted by heating extruded foam CAN be a hazard, but as with most any other household "danger" it's a bit overstated. If you cut the foam with a wire cutter, just make sure there's ventilation (a fan blowing in your direction and a couple of windows open)--or do it outside..
...(someone also said there were virutally no fumes becuase the tool only heated just enough to cut)

lots of examples and some lessons on using tools to shape various ps foams, and other info (& other pages at site)

Use stacked layers of foam to make your own foam "blocks" for shaping 3-D items (especially for large items):
...foam sheets can first be stacked and attached together with Spray 77 by 3M, or with glue guns (low-temp) or white glues but put in places where won't need to cut though
..Colleen Black used high density "Pinkboard extruded EPS foam" (or could use blue) to make a large dog
....she measured her drawing in layers with calipers, then marked and cut sections of foam based on each dimension of the body-and-head (with a jig saw), made a hole in the middle of the first few bottom pieces, then stacked those together (over a pipe on a base for extra stability while sculpting) with hot glue, then added the remaining layers
....she cut off the corners of the foam layers with a hot tool, then shaped the body with wood rasps and sandpaper
....for legs and tail she used armature wire wrapped with 20 g wire, then pushed on pieces of foam for approximate shape with hot glue between, shaped the legs and tail
....for ears, she shaped armature wire as ears for the dog, then covered with bits of dampened plaster tape ...after drying, pushed ends of wire into head with used hot glue, then painted with plaster and water, smoothing and shaping
....she attached legs to body in same way, but added squares of plaster strips around join
....then removed from pipe and base, and brushed on another coat of plaster to all
lesson:,1789,HGTV_3282_4224741,00.html (3rd to last photo, in background)
...this maker used a high density EPS "blue foam" to achieve such detail for the skelton (but also says "white beaded foam"?)...foam was coated with hydrocal which gave a very realistic bone-like look and feel

Or use stacked layers for making terrain, etc

...hill in a diorama created with 3 layers of white R-Gard Insulfoam (less hgh density?) cut out progresssively smaller, then stacked and glued with low temp hot glue or spray on Super 77 glue, and covered with landscaping

insulation foam used many ways in dioramas, etc....DB: also add to Making scenes/landscaping (many!)

can also make mosaics on foam
with cement mix,1789,HGTV_3258_5435362_06,00.html

adhesives used to bond polystyrene foam to itself, or bond to other materials, should not contain solvents (will dissolve it).
....low temp "hot glue" guns are okay
.......high temp hot glue guns reach 385° F and will melt polystyrene foam (though the unhealthy burning doesn't occur till 49.), but low temp guns which reach only 250° F won't melt it and are even suggested for use with Styrofoam)
.......if using a a high temp gun, let the glue cool for a second or so before contacting the foam
...white glues (permanent type)... a poly(vinyl acetate) based (PVA - white glue) adhesive is satisfactory for foams that will not be immersed in water
.......wait till dry to "sculpt" or cut through glue?)
...a setting type of adhesive (e .g., epoxy) is recommended when optimum resistance to moisture or heat is required
HOWEVER...especially when using the extruded ps foams, some are so dense and/or thick they won't allow air or moisture between them to get to the glue, so some glues may never "dry" or "cure"
......e.g., white glues, wood glues... (polyurethane) glues such as Gorilla glue... to try a glue, put it between two sheets, then separate after 24 hrs. and check.
...spray adhesives... like Super 77 spray adhesive by 3M
.....can begin using your glued material almost immediately
.....spray adhesive lightly onto each surface, wait until tacky, and then press together for the most immediate bond... or spray only one surface and then press together immediately (can still wiggle the pieces around a bit before everything sets). Tom M.

paints ... also flocking, landscaping items
... any type of paint can be used on ps foams as long as they don't contain petroleum-based solvents ... so acrylics (liquid or spray), latex, etc.
....... if using non-permanent paints (poster paint, watercolor, chalks, etc), you'll probably want to seal those afterwards
... can apply white glue, then coat with the colored flocking and bits of landscaping grasses, sand, gravel, etc. (coarse to fine) that's sold for making model railroading scenery, as well as larger bits for "scrub" bushes, rocks, trees, etc., or make faux water ... as above, can also shape foams to look like large rocks, hills, cliffs, etc.
.... can also apply coatings of hypertufa, various other cement mixes, etc.

some of the following plastics may be polystyrenes also

(see also Armatures-Temporary or Armatures-Permanent???)

Misc. Plastic items

ping pong balls

...Years ago, Nan Roche was covering ping pong balls with clay, and baking them..... she said some brands would work, and others would collapse. Kat
If they're covered with clay, they bake fine …baked alone and uncovered, they come out looking like something else besides a ping pong ball!
....I used a Wilson brand ping pong ball and covered it with clay... then I p
oked a hole (through the clay and ball) to allow air to escape. It worked just fine covered and baked at 275°... and Premo clay (that brand is a little stretchy though --would work differently with otherclay brands?) pong balls are made from celluoid plastic

You can't bake a ping pong ball without providing a hole for the expanding air inside of it to escape through --without a hole, your (clay-covered) ball will look like the surface of the moon with wild distortion and cracks after baking.
…I read that too but figured that if the ball was covered with raw clay, it would have difficulty bursting into flames anyway since there would be little oxygen inside for the flames to feed on.... But I've not had any problem with them at all, and I think I've made about 75 of them now..... I bake them at a slightly lower temperature for a little longer than other items, and I always put the hole. Dotty
Dotty's lesson:
.... I carefully cover the ball with clay (cane slices or whatever)
…then I use a long doll needle (6") to poke a hole in the clay-covered ball, from one side to the other ..or put the holes wherever you want your cord to go through
…then I put a wood skewer through the holes, enlarging them somewhat and making sure they aren't too tight as I want the air to escape around the skewer
…I suspend the skewer over a deep muffin pan, etc. …then bake at 265 for 20 minutes …and let cool in the oven.
Each ping pong bead was sanded and buffed after baking
….sometimes I use Fimo spirit varnish, and sometimes Future …I find wiping to be better method for applying Future to large ping pong beads. Dotty

tip re threading these ... first use a small plastic straw to run through the holes (in the baked ball)... then run the your cording through the straw (the thread will now know where to come out!). Nancy in Atlanta

....I made cane slice patterns of every color and type on my balls, & Sarajane covered hers with beautiful caned Japanese ladies. Dotty
…I made one with faux jade (...after the base jade layer was baked, I sanded it, then carved it with a linolium block tool, then antiqued it with acrylic paint, and sanded it a bit more and buffed). ...someone bought it from me and put a wonderful tassle on the bottom of it made from tiny beads of real jade. Dotty really well for a hollow bead than can have a cord run through it. Patty
...Pier Voulkos used to make large earrings with them?
..Garie and his students make figures with ping pong balls (some are Pokemon)... for some he painted the ball first, then added baked onlays, legs, eyes, etc.
.........others were covered with clay (panda, etc.) (for more Pokemon figures, see Kids > Robots, Monsters, etc.)
...these might make good Christmas ornaments for the tree too, especially with the beads hanging from the bottom.
...for a tall, lollipop-type tree (or topiary), poke a dowel through (into?) a ping pong ball and glue together… cover it all with green clay
… small leaf shaped pieces of clay into the ball with a needle tool, using the tool to keep leaf shape and make center vein
… bake, put the stick into a glass bottle tall enough not to touch the bushy part of the plant…make a pot, then glue tree in it. Kim2
...One of my graduated circle cutters is just the right size to cut discs that exactly cover half a ping pong ball (takes two)
…...that way i can put cane slices onto a sheet of background clay, roll flat, cut and apply the disc to the ping ball (then only the seam needs to be smoothed, resulting in less smoothing time, less blurred canes). Sarajane (…glues 2 together for a hollow ball, or could just use as hemispheres?)

instead of ping pong balls, why not use small glass Christmas ornaments? …you could cover up to the stem with clay, or leave the stem and some of the surface of the ball exposed for your hole… after baking, either leave the glass in, or break it out. Sherry

more plastic items

For covering plastic eggs with clay, see Eggs > Plastic (many will work fine).

Flo's plastic toothbrush holders (travel holder for ingle toothbrush) --covered and embellished with clay
... Walmart had two different types...the one in the photo worked well in the oven, but the other one was somewhat flexible and collapsed in the oven.. . . . I always check for the recycle # logo on the bottom of plastic items and if it is a 5 or higher it will bake, otherwise you take your chances. Flo

fake fingernails... I saw a DIY? show where a manicurist did a floral sculpt with poly clay onto an acrylic fingernail ...I hear her voice saying how perfectly the fingernail baked in oven together with the clay...( believe finished piece was a pendant). beadizzygrl

I have made bubble bottles out of the little (plastic) shampoo bottles from hotels. I made the wands from the tops of margarine tubs. I just cut out a wand shape and made the hole with a paper punch. If you are making the top of the clay bottle from clay, couldn't you just make a wand out of wire? Or if you chose to use the plastic from a tub, perhaps you could make a slit in the top with the end of the plastic wand, pull it out and then glue it in after the top is baked. Genevieve

(eye) glasses. I just broke them, and I was thinking about patching them together (rigid, of course) and decorating them with polymer clay... . also reading glasses?
```when I was in grade school I remember the optician had a drawer in his desk which contained a box of heated sand into which he'd plunge my frame..
```If the frames are plastic, as are the lenses, won't the lenses pop out so you can pop them back in later .. .
```Actually, I believe what they did was put a strong foil type tape on the top of her glasses to hold them, then they attached the canes to the glasses. Don't know if they prebaked the canes, then glued or put them on then baked. Either way would work.

As long as Mamadude brought the subject up, I was thinking of covering some cosmetic compacts myself.. . . and other cosmetic items? Or just use a mirror (and a powder form) to create one from scratch?
...Each compact is round, and gold in color. It has a round recess in the top that is about 1.5mm deep, to hold your clay. Each one comes in its own black box, and comes with a nice, soft, black, drawstring pouch. Each one has two mirrors, one is regular magnification, the other is 2x. The price will be $4.95 for 9 or fewer. Larry

(I covered) a plastic index card box from the office supply store. I tested it in the oven before baking, it held up just fine.. I used my finger and Rub 'N Buff (on the Balinese filigree). The shine is Future. I sanded down to 1500 first, then applied 4 coats of Future. I was trying to get an Asian lacquer look. Terry

I haven't covered my staple remover yet but I did test bake it in the oven for 45 250 degrees. It did not melt or change shape at all...I got the staple remover at K-Mart for $1 I think.

In the past, I've purchased these little kits that include a half dozen small (1 1/2 - 2") plastic flower pots, little peat plugs that fit inside exactly, and a package of seeds. I embellish the plastic pots with polyclay designs (bake??), insert the peat pellet and a seed, and give it to a friend or whatever. The designs applied to the plastic pots have proven to be quite robust, and I know of several that are still intact after 3 or 4 years. The red clay pots (at least those I've kept) have had a high mortality rate due to the failure of the red (earthware?) clay, not the polyclay. wazoo

(My long-ish wizard's wand) is made over two Bic stick pen barrels placed end-to-end with bamboo skewers inside for added support (just grabbed whatever was laying around the clay table!). Denise
(for covering pens, see Pens)

(for things that aren't bakable or won't fit in the oven, baked polymer can always be glued to things)
....I'm going to make some tiled pieces of polymer clay and adhere them to my computer monitor to create a computer work of art.. Dave
...My computer monitor has polymer clay morning glories and vines on it! . . . I stuck unbaked clay on my monitor around the edges (to get the right shape)... then I made some (florwers & vines) the right way and baked them and glued them on. LOL! It is fun to decorate your computer. Elizabeth
...something I did that was a BIG hit was a large polymer clay frame for my brother's computer monitor ...he works by the Monterey Bay aquarium so I did a underwater scene, complete with fish, seaweed, clams and the requisite sea dragon at the top!!! It …covered the ugly beige plastic area (that frames the monitor) Syndee (see Frames+Mirrors for tips)
....How about.... if we made a sorta "shelf-like" piece that would just sit across the top of the computer.. and have the "monitor-frame" sorta attached to THAT.... Then we could just drop it into place & remove it at will-- with no glue needed.... We could even put a little rim around the top shelf piece, so we could set other doo-dads up there without worrying about them falling off....We could use that mesh (small-grid Wireform Mesh) stuff to reinforce the whole thing... hmmmmmm.... Joanie
...I stick things all over my monitor, but I use Blu-Tac. As long as the things aren't too heavy, they'll stick fine on the face of the monitor frame. ... the heavier things are sitting on top, but stuck down with Blu-Tac, so that when I rearrange the desk or tilt the monitor everything stays put, and so far, the Blu-Tac hasn't damaged the frame at all. Peels off cleanly. Elizabeth
...Why not see if you can get your hands on that stretch adhesive by 3M. 3M makes those removable wall hooks that stick quite well until you stretch the adhesive backing. I think you can buy just the adhesive strips. Desiree

covers for lighters
...Joanie’s decorated covers for Bic lighters
(there are various ways to go about making a sleeve for a lighter:) a metal Bic "blank" and cover it with clay .....silver-colored base metal, cost about 1.65 each ... 1-800-366-2156
...... (click on Search in the left column, and type 30-333 in the Stock Number search box)
...or, cover the lighter with your raw clay sheet on top of a thin sheet of paper or tracing paper (or alum foil, but no crinkles)
......let clay and lighter sit overnight (or freeze for few hours, or at least a while) to firm up the clay a bit
......remove clay sleeve and bake, standing up, with a roll of paper inside (can also stuff lightly with cotton or tissues)
......when barely cool enough to handle, remove clay sleeve and place over lighter while cooling to create and retain shape
...or, a clay "form" in the size and shape of a Bic lighter could also be made so that the raw clay covering could be baked on the form (with paper or alum. foil as a release) ... the size could be arrived at by trial and error
......or a wad of well-conditioned raw clay could be shoved into a baked clay sleeve or metal blank sleeve (which had been sprayed with ArmorAll or lined with paper/alum foil), pulled out, baked
.........then used as a form for the decorative clay covering (with more paper alum. foil
........ be sure and measure this solid form though and if it's swelled at all, sand it down a bit (200-400 grit wet-dry sandpaper with a little water). Diane B.
...this is how I get the top off the lighter. The simple answer is that I give it to my husband and say "do it" and he does....involves taking it outside, submersing it in a 5-gallon bucket of water and forcing the top off with pliers....then he drills a hole in the bottom to make sure that there is good ventilation when I cook it inside the clay...( I also wait at least two days after he does this to make sure that all of the butane has evaporated). Ernestine 24
...if the finished baked cover is ever a bit too big for the lighter, leave the label on the lighter or add an address label to the side, to snug the fit a bit. Laurel
......if the shell is bent and you can't get the lighter back into it after baking it, rebake and while very warm (and still flexible) slide the lighter back into the shell and quickly dip in cool water. Laurel

cell phone covers (face plates):
I recently bought a new cell phone, and the vendor sent me three (!) interchangeable (boring hard plastic
) covers for it. . . .I gave it a quick roughing up with 220 grit sandpaper beforehand, so the clay would have something to stick to.... I then laid the very thin sheet of the (leaf slices) patterned clay over the faceplate, and rolled it rather firmly into place with the acrylic roller. This gave me little dents where the holes in the faceplate lie, and I then used a craft knife to cut out all those wretched little holes (and got out eeyr little bit but that part turned out to be a waste of time.) After the faceplate was baked, I simply used the sanding/grinding bit on my Dremel tool to clear out the edges of the button holes.... I sanded the face plate with 400-1000 grit sandpaper, then buffed it with a muslin wheel. Lastly, I gave it a few coats of Future, which really made the design "pop" . . . I didn't do anything special to keep the thing from distorting, besides making sure that I didn't overbake. 15-20 minutes at 275. . . . BTW, I've had loads of compliments on my "new" phone, and several people have asked me to make faceplates for them. If I can get a decent rate, I'll make them, otherwise I have some really cool ideas for Holiday gifts. Kathy N-V

...for covering tap lights (battery-operated, plastic-domed), see below in Glass > Nightlights, etc.

the screw-on caps for plastic bottles (at least from Aquafina water bottles) can be covered and baked in the oven ... at 250 for 15 min? Sandy P.

M & M container tubes: They are about an inch in diameter, and just shy of 4" tall, with a snap lid that you flip up to open, that's attached. The labels came off real easy . . .Not only did they pass the dishwasher test but I stuck a scrap piece of clay around one and baked it. Jules
....Just remember when you do bake them to leave the lid open so that the air doesnt build up inside and cause the ends of the tube and the top to curve outwards. Dawniedee
..... I've found they're good for holding money, among other things... Let's see:
cotton balls, q-tips, bandaids, spices, buttons, bobby pins, jewelry findings, left over pieces of cane, secret messages,
Add a piece of leather or ribbon somehow so it can be worn as a necklace.
Fancy pill box? Or cut it to half the size of tooth picks and use it as a fancy tooth pick holder to put on the table
--travel sized asprin bottle (small cylinder for 10 pills) (ie. Tylenol or Excedrin) and covering it clay. It holds up to the heat very well, no melting. Both top and bottom can be covered.
. . . widely available at drug stores and possibly Wal-Mart's, Targets, etc. You can try substituting a Krazy Glue container (the one with the red cap). I haven't tried it yet. . .
. . .have you noticed the new M&M minis "mega-tubes? They are just long enough to hold a polymer-clay covered pen -- and the one I experimented with survived the oven! Jules

Airborne container tubes (tube comes in a box?) (which contain tablets that help deter colds and other germs)
...the tops are white and I haven't tried them in the oven, but the tube handles very well.
...perfect size for quarters or a number of other items .... can really be handy to carry in the purse. Judi

Marlies' dental floss container (at least this tall square one) can be covered with clay ("medical" plastic?)

blank backs of dominoes --can take heat of oven, or would have to baked veneers glued on?...can be carved? (they will also drill holes for you, or use a regular or Dremel drill with the domino held in a vise or securely...hole can go from front to back, or side to side near top)
... . . . Michaels lesson: they clean with alcohol & dry completely before applying Mod Podge to the flat side of domino (or use white glue?) ...(dry thoroughly in air or with dryer/embossing gun)
...(they then stamp with Brilliance ink pad in pouncing motion for a background....dry 1 hr...then press inked domino onto upturned rubberstamp ...dry)
...can use a Krylon Leafing Pen for sides of domino...then spray with clear acrylic spray to seal
....the blank back of plastic Rummikub game tiles might work too

It might be fun to cover a laminate countertop sample tile to use as a pendant ... they already have a hole, and are shaped somewhat like a domino,1789,HGTV_3352_1399720,00.html

Prescription bottles

(..see also just above in Film Canisters for more ideas)

I usually make mine into "little people" with handles for arm, and their heads and faces as knobs on the lid. When I wear them, people always stop to comment on them and admire them.
...I've done this with over 25 of the amber prescription bottles with no problem at all. Dotty ... clear are okay too if you can find them?
Dotty's lessons on covering a prescription bottle (& several figures, one wearing a kimono ) (more figures --click on each)
... You do have to be careful that your oven is baking at the temperature it's supposed to. Use a portable oven thermometer and check it first.
I just finished an article for Jewelry Crafts on doing this very thing... I can give you these few tips now:
....saw off the top of the bottle, where the lid attaches, so you have a smooth wall all the way up.
... I bake at 275 degrees for 25 minutes as I'm using (Premo)
........ you can bake in layers, if you wish (even 4 bakings did not melt or distort the bottles).... cool completely before adding next layer....
either rub a piece of soft translucent clay over the area you are covering, or put some cyanoacrylate (super)glue or some Sobo glue on the back of the pieces you are adding (either of these will insure good bond).
..... if you have trouble getting the first layer of clay to stick to the plastic bottle, just coat the outside of the bottle with Sobo glue, and let dry before adding clay. Dotty

(she warns not to put white glue on amber prescription bottles... why not though, if Sobo is okay?)

how to cut the ridge off of prescription bottles by dipping them in boiling water and cutting with a pair of scissors (just happened to see Carol Duvall on her HGTV craft show demonstrating that). Judy
...I trimmed off the exterior slots on the pill bottles themselves, although I am not sure it is necessary since you could also just cover a thick layer of clay over them instead.

I also make them look not like Rx bottles by wrapping scrap clay ropes around the top and bottom in vary-ing widths, and then put my cane slices and other decorations over top. CCConnie

Use teflon baking paper rather than tin foil to cover a simple form (like Rx bottles). You can reuse it and it doesn't stick like paper does and doesn't get ridges like foil does. The (paper-covered) cardboard tubes (or Rx bottles) will then slide right out and you can remove the teflon. You can get large sheets in cooking supply stores. Lori Greenberg

Some uses: can string it like a necklace and kids can put their lunch money in there, or if you are out bike riding or walking you can put some cash or house key in it.
ake matching earrings and have the bottle be the gift box for the earrings.

Make pretty tops with hanging loops & hang them on a necklace as "amulet boxes".
Melnik's troll amulet covered pill bottle, and a lady (website gone)

I made a sewing kit that can be thrown in a bag ... I used two metal bobbins. leaving the center open to hold a few needles. Michele ...lesson:
.... also see portable pin cushions (plastic containers filled with sand) above in "Film Canisters"

.And of course, you can use them as containers for anything:
sorted beads (seed beads, etc.), jewelry findings, glitter, Xacto blades (or other sharp things), tiny nails-screws, or tacks. . ....
small desk items such as push pins or small paper clips, Tooth Fairy tooth holders, awaiting a fairy's night visit to trade the lost tooth for candy cash, or used as a safe place to keep razor blades or other small, sharp items, personalized candy snack holders for youngsters, decorated appropriately to hold fish food for your aquarium, instead of those ugly little fish food containers... salt and pepper shakers for your table, needle cases anywhere in your home you need a little burst of color in the form of a small shelf or table accessory.. Jodi
...see many more ideas for use: (B in LA)

They are also wonderful for mixing colors into TLS. I have had some for over a year and the consitency is still the same. Michele

Connect lots of them together for a set of pigeonholes.
...I have a lazy susan that has a bunch of these covered pill bottles glued to it - they hold tools and pens and pencils and paintbrushes, etc. Teri
canejane's cane covered pill bottles (she will glue them to a lazy susan for holding tools) (here somewhere?) (gone?)

Plastic film containers and metal ones can be used in many of these same ways (for the plastic ones, be sure and cover the top ridge well and not bake too hot or they will slump a bit)
...for covering plastic film containers , see "Film Canisters" just below
...for covering the metal film spool canisters, see Metal below

(for intentionally melting the prescription bottles into puddles (with inclusions of various types) to use as pendants or other items, see Misc > Prescription Bottles)

(for prescription bottle tops, see Lids below)

Film canisters (plastic)

(see more possible uses for these above, in Prescription Bottles)

According to Marie Segal, all the plastic film canisters labeled with the little "2" are compatible with polymer clay and will withstand the baking temperature.
...though it seems that any part that's not covered with clay will begin to soften and slump if baked longer than 10 min. or so??
... And yes, ten minutes (baking just one) seems to be just fine. I should mention that I used the toaster oven only and set at 275. Arlene

The black film containers are constructed of virgin high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, a tough semi-rigid material commonly used for kitchen utensils, tools, toys, and numerous other applications.
...The gray container lid is made of low density polyethylene (LDPE).

I have covered the plastic film containers with no problem. You can even cover the caps too . They make really cute containers ...just don't bake over 10 minutes. Georigia
I have been using the black film canisters, but I would try the Fuji (clear) ones. I have had the same results with the lids. They fit so nice over the cans.

Some things that may help for baking:
....completely cover them ... and cover the
top rim area with clay
... don't use too thin a clay covering
... don't bake at a high temp. or for too long a time
....maybe baking these in a large oven rather than a toaster oven so that there are no hot spots from being too near the coills, and the heat is more even all around
... maybe use a coat of white glue underneath the clay (let dry first) to act as a buffer for the heat and possible expansion

canejane's very cool tiny birdhouses made by covering cut-down plastic film canister, adding roof & donut for opening? (could also be done with PVC pipe or even rolled paper) (gone)

Of course, you know you can get the (clear film containers) for free at about any photo store (such as Ritz Camera) right? I used to work at Ritz and we just recycled them, but if anyone wanted them we would let them fill a bag! Sally . . . .try Wolf Camera as well
Also a few monthes ago when I was looking for film cannisters, I went to the photo dept. at Walmart & they gave me a garbage bag full. Cathy

Some Uses:
been using (my TLS) out of that film can with no problem. Helen
...use also as containers for powders, tinted or paste LS, etc.
filled with M&M's or Skittles (or anything else), they will be "stocking stuffers" for this Christmas. Katie
...I also use them as "purse packs" for the Altoid Mints I empty out of their better in my purse.Katie
...You could add a magnet to the (inside) bottom of one for paper clips and give to some office friends. KathyKS
...see many more ideas for use: (B in LA)

I made a bunch of portable pin cushions when I was quilting using film containers, but I put sand in mine. Besides helping with stability, the sand is supposed to help sharpen and prevent rust on the needles/pins, I think. I remember the little "strawberry" that was attached to the tomato pin cushions long ago...that's where I got the idea... I just used a disk of nice fabric, filled it with sand, and jammed it down into the film canister, attaching with hot glue. I don't remember now just how I managed to do that, but remember futzing around with it till I discovered a way . . . think maybe I did part of it upside down? . . . .Covered ones might make good sellers! You could make needle cases to match, or even polymer-headed pins . Diane B.
. . . I cover (film canisters) with clay then take fabric over polyfil and shove in the end. I get a quick pin cushion...gini

Garie has various items using plastic and metal film canisters on his site, though they may not be "covered" (see also Beginners-Kids > Other Toys)
....including these, used as bodies for figures (sometimes using transparent canister to show through to a "heart," or gears in a robot)

Small Boxes or Inro:
Film canisters can be used in several ways. (They can be used as a guide to provide a plan or shape, as Gwen does with her oval shaped inro.) But they can also be (left in) your inro pendant; and you can get tons of them free from film processors.
........ I start by sanding them lightly, cleaning them with alcohol, and coating with PVA (white) glue (like Sobo) (sanding gives the canister a "tooth" for the glue to hold onto). I let the glue dry (otherwise the water in it will make steam bubbles).
Then I surround the canister with a thin layer of clay. . . . the clay can be decorated with any surface technique, before cutting it out or after applying it to the canister.
.... First I cut out a bottom shape and press it onto the canister; then I just roll the canister up in a strip of clay not quite as wide as the height of the canister, trim the ends of the strip to make a neat butt joint, and roll everything smooth with a fat knitting needle. I leave about 1/8" of the canister sticking up (uncovered) so the cap will still fit tightly; Naturally I cover the cap with clay too
... then to hold the cord I add tube beads to the canister sides and sometimes the bottom.. I usually figure out how long I want the cord and make a tasselly knot below each tube bead (no clasp). Instant inro. -- Georgia Sargeant

as a removable form:
....What are the Advantix canisters then? They are not the same as the regular cylinder shaped film canisters? Cheryl

....When Marie Segal was at our retreat she demo'd how to use them. They are oval, not round. Jody can bake them if you keep the temperature low. Marie bakes the clay on them at 200 degrees to set it and then removes the canister before she finishes baking the clay at the normal temperature. They will melt and stick to the clay if baked at normal clay temps (for regular time) . Jody
...the Gwen Gibson oval container pendant shape is from covering a Kodak Advantix (sp?) film cannister (take the cannister out before baking, or it will melt - support the shape with a section of toilet paper tubing). I went to Wolf Camera and they had a bin of discarded canisters that they let me pick through. Julie
see more info, photos, and lessons on using these canisters as removable forms for inro or rock purses, or small boxes in Vessels-Rock/Aluminum Foil & Other Cores

example of Advantix container for pendant (left in or removed?)

....for more ideas on what to use these for, see prescription bottles below, and M&M containers above

PVC ....and other plastic pipe

(see more on using PVC pipe as an armature, in Armatures)

larger PVC pipes can slump a bit at the PC baking temperature if not supported.
... I use PVC a lot, so I make supports for those by packing in wet newspaper.
Perhaps mine didn't slump because I first covered the pipe I did with a base layer of clay (Sculpey, white) and baked it before adding the decorative layer..... so the PVC I used was rather thick. Kelly ...(and that probably buffered the temperature that could get to the PVC)

Donna Kato's lesson on covering a PVC pipe "reducer" piece with polymer sheet, and the bottom, then covering with a cut-and-reassembled striped stack cane to form a candle holder,2045,DIY_15079_2499010,00.html
Arizona guild's covered candlesticks (could be PVC or not)
I just bought a bunch of cool interlocking pieces of PVC pipe at the local hardware store that will make a gorgeous candle holder. Suzanne

"tool holder" swap --covered cylinders of PVC (will be glued together to a lazy susan)

I've used very short lengths to make small containers for colored metallic powders to give as samplers: (bottom left photo)
(here the bottoms and the stoppers are made of polymer clay, coated with whatever metallic powder is inside the sampler)
(... for more on making tight-fitting stoppers, see BOH > Stoppers and Lids )

they sell plug caps for the pvc pipe right in the store where you buy the pipe. . . . I think cork looks nice as a stopper. Altho it would look strange for a tampon holder. grin.

larger PVC birdhouse ...I cut a 6" piece from a 10' / 4" PVC sewer pipe ~ it's thinner & cheaper than the other 4" PVC pipe, 2 thin solid weld 4" end caps (the thicker 4" end caps are to big), a 3/4 screw cap and a 3/4 threaded connector... I drill a small hole thru the threaded cap and one of the end caps to fit a small bolt & nut to hold these 2 peices together then screw the connector on to make a pole mount ~ put the 2 end caps on the piece of pipe ~ drill a 1" hole a little above the middle ~ drill 3 small airholes around the top just below the end cap.... (then I paint & add my rub-ons) and I have a birdhouse. cap1

canejane's very cool tiny birdhouses made by covering cut-down film canisters, adding roof & donut for opening?
(could also be done with PVC pipe or even rolled paper) (gone)

I have not tried acrylic (picture frames), but I have very sucessfully baked thick plexiglass cylinders covered with polymer clay to use as the inside of a box. These things actually make wonderful box cores. the clearness of the plexi allows the colors to come thru on the inside, and you can even store edibles inside if you use a pexiglass top and bottom.

I have made bracelets using large diameter PVC pipe. You could easily do the same thing for napkin rings. In fact, you probably can get the right size without having to cut anything. The clay actually fuses to the PVC and becomes one single unit. Just cover the PVC and bake as usual. Elisabeth
Some of you might remember me passing out short segments of black 1.5 inch pvc pipe at Camp Long to be decorated and used as napkin rings. Tom
...Donna Kato's lesson on making napkin rings over a metal cylinder(but process would be same),,HGTV_3239_1388163,00.html

tampon holders could be made from PVC pipe or from cigar tubes . . .Diane B. (who's wishing now she knew someone who smoked cigars)
...i wonder if you contacted a tobacco shop, if have some that people dont keep, LIKE they want a cigar so bad they open it right there and toss the box????
...or use the M&M's minis containers... libbi

(see also Pens for pen holder, and Vessels for cylindrical boxes
.. plus there are a few more ways to use PVC pipe on this page so do a Ctrl + F search for PVC)


Heather R's lesson on covering and onlaying a switchplate (light switch cover)
claysquared's simple lesson on covering a switchplate with round cane slices, then rolling over to eliminate gaps
Michael's website lessons on covering switchplates (Pearl Ex powders for stamped impression and upper surfaces)
Syndee's lesson on using a base layer over a brass plate (stamping-texturing, drizzling TLS, or using slices, then removing)
DIY lesson on covering switchplates using (blended) jellyroll canes, plus some basic polymer info,2025,DIY_13750_2274057,00.html
syndee's lesson on a stained glass effect with thick gold ropes of clay for leading over a silver clay base (on a light switch cover)
... the inside of her leading isn't filled--it's simply textured and powdered,,HGTV_3239_1385126,00.html
*Desiree’s freeform caned switchplates (& lesson) and

*Irene's switchplates
Sarajane's switchplates .. fauxs like lace, ivory, tones
Joan Wells' many many diff. kinds of swithplates (click on each for many more)
Maxine G's various styles of switchplates, and socket covers, dimmer switch covers
Jenny P's repeated much-reduced small cane slices on switchplates
many switchplates from the Rocky Mtn. Polymer Clay Guild
Nanette’s relief (kid-theme?) switchplates:
Celeste's switchplates with dragon or bear holding onto the plate (sticking out)
Christy's various switchplates
*switchplate swap
Linda Geer's mica clay switchplates, and one Balinese Filigree
Margi L's swittichplates covered with textured collage of colored clays ("modern")

Marie R's onlaid switchplates

Flo's animal transfers with onlays of grasses , leaves, etc. to create " scene" for transfer (bobcat & fox)
...some transfers are onlaid in "frames"

*many themes for switchplates and switchplate shapes! (some not polymer, but could be)
onlays (animals, hobbies, etc...resins?)

(painted switchplates--actually collage and finish over metal) (gone?)
Byrd’s switchplates, plus eggs, etc. (CZC illusion rods, etc.) (gone?)
Cindy's switchplates (gone?... new website?)
Debbie Anderson's many types of switchplates (click on Home Decor) (gone?)
Kellie’s patterned switchplates (gone?)
Singing Clay's stamped, antiqued, faux leather, horse-theme, switchplate, with frame (gone?)

Oscelyn's onlaid figures, etc., switchplates (gone)
Susan's past-the-edge dragon switchplates (gone)
Cheryl's leaf-masked, powdered, stamped switchplates (website gone)
Kara’s kids switchplate (website gone)
Debi's switchplates (2 are patchwork bits which match bedspreads, 1 resembles starry night) (website gone)

(see also Frames & Mirrors for more ideas)

Polymer switchplates can be created in a number of ways using purchased switchplates made from different materials.
...the most common technique is to use an inexpensive plastic switchplate (flexible nylon ones nylon, or more rigid plastic ones)
.....the switchplate is coated with a layer of whte glue, which is allowed to tack up
.....a decorative sheet of clay is then added (...clay onlays may be added if desired to the base clay before baking or after)
(generally, the clay covering will adhere well, but if not it can be gently pried off and glued back on with epoxy or E6000 glue, etc.).

fun ideas

I warn you, once you start on switchplates, they are EXTREMELY addictive!!!!
.....I'm so bad, during the holidays I sneak into my neighbors houses, take down their boring white plastic ones, and put up lovely colorful clay ones!!! the switchplate queen (syndee holt)

The parts of a switchplate can be used as part of the design too. . (or of an socket plate, telephone outlet plate, computer outlet plate, etc.)
...the switch itself could be a tongue, arm, clock hand, etc.
...the shape of the openings for the plug areas on outlet plates, or for dimmer switches (mouths, etc.)
...the outer shape of the plate itself (could be a window, "framed" image, box, etc.)
...holes could be eyes . . .let the holes fall just where there might be an eye in an animal shape (fish, etc.) can use 2 holes for a frontal face view, or just 1 hole for each side view
.......Laurel's unintentional "fish"
...other body parts, or various objects (bellybuttons, ball, button on shirt, etc.)
...dimensional plug of some kind (could be a projecting object suitable to the theme, or a teardrop pressed into a round pad or shape even larger than the hole (which could be stamped or be a special pattern or image), etc.
...the center of a spiral, or part of other geometric shap

plate types & lessons

.........see many more lessons above in switchplate Websites

I prefer using the inexpensive plastic covers and covering those with clay, since I KNOW those plastic covers are electrical plastic ( ... they're rated and approved for covering electrical system nodes). Desiree
....rather than removing the baked polymer and using it alone, I would keep the UL-approved cover on the lightswitch or outlet for the sake of safety. After all, polymer clay does burn and we're talking about electricity here

the plastic switchplates are only 24 cents at our WalMart and they work very well.
.... nylon switch that temperature Fimo especially will bond very firmly to them.... I've gotten to the point where I prefer the nylon plates for all the clays because it never bubbles at any heat, unlike the Leviton. Home Depot the nylon plates are rather pricey, and I've not seen them anywhere in boxes of 10....but luckily, at Walmart the individual nylon plate price is nearly as low as the Leviton price at Home Depot. Halla
....(some rea-lly cheap ones from bargain bins, etc. are flimsy and may warp or melt... may want to test first if so)
... do the cheapest plates have a UL mark on them??

I use brass plates as the mold to bake on. The clay plate just pops right off after baking and cooling. I've done lots of articles and a ouple projects in my book about plates. lesson:
1. Basicially, make a #3 layer of clay, put your plate face down on it and trim with a 1/4 inch selvage around each edge.
2. Roll the edges of the clay around the edge of the plate and trim off the excess on the back.
3. Put the plate down and trim out the area for the switch.
4.Take a bamboo stick or poker-thingie (good technical term) and poke the holes for the screws FROM THE FRONT, making the hole slightly larger on the front for the screw head.
5. Decorate, bake, pop off the plate and whip out that handy cordless screwdriver!!!

...I've tried both metal and rigid plastic.... metal sometimes seems to expand and shrink (when baked) at a rate that is different from the clay, so more times than not, the clay cracks. (I'd recommend the plastic covers). Desiree
. the brass switchplates have a plastic coating on them, but the one I brought was just a reg.gray metal one,no shine to it at all and THAT is where I went wrong.I should have brought one that had a shine (minus the plastic) and the clay would have released.... next time I will use the brass. Nan
.....all you have to do is remove the Lacquer protective coating that they use to stop the tarnishing. You can do this with either steel wool or paint remover. Joan

I don't recall any problems clay bubbling with the brass plates, as LONG as I've remembered to remove the attached plastic protective layer. synde

There's a new white ceramic switch plate, 4-1/2"w x 4-3/8"h with a recessed surface for decoration. This plate is wider than a normal plate and the single switch hole is offset, giving a wider area on one side or the other, depending on which way you mount it.

It's probably best not to use a brittle clay for switchplate covers, since after baking they can break if stressed (when putting in the screws, etc.) Premo, Fimo or Kato should be fine, but the Sculpeys might be problematic

Clay layers can be any thickness, depending on the look you want ...and more than one layer can be used, but itsn't necessary for strength
....I usually use a #3 or 4 thickness to cover my plates
....a clay layer of even # 5 or 6 on the pasta machine is fact, I used to use a #7 setting for switch plates (my machine goes to 9.) long as you are using one of the stronger brands of clay, the clay won't break -- it's more likely to bend first

I've had problems with the clay developing tiny hairline cracks after baking when I filled in some cutout shapes
... I *think* I have a handle on it now since I put the sheet of clay over the plate, then punch out the heart shapes and bake halfway ... then I fill the little shaped holes with raw clay, and finish baking. It seems to relieve the tension of the clay somewhat.

My glue of choice for covering with raw clay has always been 'Weldbond, which I allow to dry first...To me, it is the strongest glue out there. baking does not seem to affect it whatsoever. Marie

I cover the backs too (with a thinner layer of clay) ...this gives the switchplate a seamless, finished look, I've found they sell better and last longer than if I covered the front only... I haven't had any problems with the clay separating from the plate--some of my switchplates are five years old.Cassie

Letting the covers sit overnight with the clay on them before you bake seems to make for a stronger bond. Irene in NC

I definitely recommend a clear finish over the finished plates to make cleaning easier and avoid stains.
.....Also, kidlets like to scratch them, so maybe a second or third coat for child protection. I used Future cuz it's easy to touch up. Kim K.

After flattening your clay sheet (pref. in a pasta machine), cut a rectangle that's a little larger all around than the switchplate apply, hold the sheet of clay at both ends above the switchplate so that it's drooping in a "u" shape ...use a roller to tack the sheet down in the center and gradually roll the clay onto the switchplate in a way that will push out bubbles as you go.
....pick up the plate and roll the clay down the sides of the plate.. then use a blade to cut away the excess, flush with edges.
....remove (cut out) the clay from the switch opening
... use a conically shaped tool (like a pencil) to indent the opening around the screw holes so that the screws will seat fully
....turn the switchplate upside down, and cure it on a matte surface or on a layer of polyester fiberfill for about 15 minutes.
....when it's cured, you can sand the edges and any irregularities away and get the plate completely smooth. Elizabeth

In general, I've made my polymer clay covers (with flattened sheets of clay) first on sheets of wax paper.
....once the clay pieces are arranged the way you want, cover the clay with another sheet of wax paper and use a roller to even things out, fill in gaps, etc. ...Then you can peel away one sheet of the wax paper and press that side onto the switch plate. Roll and press to assure a good contact between the clay and the plate. ...Then you can peel the top sheet of wax paper away. ...Trim the edges and smooth the surface as much as possible before baking. Bake.
...Then, after cooling, use a freshly sharp xacto blade to carve out the toggle and screw holes. Carefully peel the baked cover off the plate, apply glue, press the pieces back. Desiree

to attach embellishments to baked clay
... scratch the surface of the cured plate where you want to apply them and put a tiny bit of diluent or liquid clay over the scratched area....apply raw embellishments, making sure that they're firmly adhered to the cured clay,
.......let the plate sit overnight for best adhesion, and then cure it again.
....or create and cure the embellishments separately
........then apply them with glue such as tacky glue (or epoxy or E-6000)
........or apply them with liquid clay... let sit for a couple of hours for best adhesion, brush away any seepage and then cure at 300o for 10 min to clarify and harden the liquid clay. Elizabeth

I can now make giant canes nearly as big as a single switchplate, and slice them as is with my (stand) cane slicer from Judith Skinner for covering the plates (see Cutters-Blades > Stand Slicers)

draped covers.... "kaleidoscope" (many different canes in symmetrical patterns) ( examples)
I use 15-25 various canes of various sizes (round, square & wedge shapes do best), using 4-8 slices from the larger canes, 8-12 slices from the smaller ones
lesson: ..
1. Place the switch plate, face-up, smack dab in the middle of a sheet of wax paper. The sheet needs to be large enough to allow a 2-3 inch margin around each side of the switch plate.
2. With a knitting needle (sz.13 or larger) (or a) dull needle, press hard enough and trace an outline around the edges of the switchplate, then trace the switch and screw hole openings without significantly tearing the paper. Set the switch plate aside.
3. Use (a) straight edge or ruler to make a vertical line (from the middle of the top, to bottom) that equally bisects the left and right halves of the outline on the wax paper sheet. Make a horizontal line that equally bisects the lower and upper halves of the outline. You should now have four rectangular quadrants...
4. Begin by placing the larger slices, arranging them on evenly the sheet of wax paper so that cane placement is mirrored in upper and lower and/or left and right (if there is a "best" side to the slice, place it facing down). Continue placing more slices, generally working from largest to smallest. You may need more of certain sized slices to fill in gaps. Be not afraid to generously sprawl beyond the outline edges (if you want to do the "draped" style).
5. After filling all possible openings with cane slices, there will still be many small gaps between slices. Pinch off a tiny piece of the filler cane (approx. 100 gms --e.g. translucent with the teeniest bit of color, like or mint or light blue). Roll the piece into a tiny ball. Then roll, putting pressure on one side until you've formed a kind of tear drop shape with a fine point at one end. With the pointy end pointing down, push the teardrop into a gap to plug up the gap. Continue pushing until the gap is filled. Use another teardrop if necessary. Continue forming these "plugs" …until all the gaps are filled. You now clearly have a "wrong" side and a "right" side. You've been working from the wrong side.
6. Once all the gaps are filled, completely cover the polymer clay sheet with another sheet of wax paper, sandwiching the polymer clay cover between the two sheets. Use your roller to even the varying thicknesses as much as possible without causing too much distortion. If you have drastic thickness differences, use a tissue blade to shave. Just be careful. Pick up the polymer clay sheet, hold it upright in front of a strong light to reveal any tiny gaps. Press gently to force the filler clay and the slices to fuse together.
7. Place the polymer clay sheet, wrong side up, back onto your work surface. Remove the wax paper sheet covering the "wrong" side and place the switch plate wrong side up, centering the switch plate on the cover. With even pressure, press firmly.
8. Carefully pick up your workpiece (clay sheet and switchplate), flip it over, so you can see the right... Remove the final wax paper sheet. While holding your workpiece flat with one hand (right side up), grab the roller with your other hand and roll over the polymer clay sheet until it fully contacts the top surface of the switch plate. The cover should be large enough to drape and extend well beyond the edges of the switch plate.
Note: Whenever you put the workpiece down, make sure to place it on a sheet of wax paper. This will allow you to pick it up or move it easily.
9. ..While still holding your workpiece, from the back side, use the X-acto blade to poke through the screw holes to mark their placement on the right side.... Also mark a point inside the rectangular switch opening so you can see the mark on the right side.
10. Now, working from the right side, carefully bevel cut out the screw openings with the X-acto. Cut out the switch opening. Smooth over the surface to remove fingerprints, etc.
11. Bake the entire workpiece at 250 - 265 degrees for an hour or so. Let cool inside oven. When cool, paint the surface with Future... Reheat at 150 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool.
12. If using the rigid plastic plate, gently pry the cover from the switchplate, dot the plate with some little blobs of the E6000 glue (Goop) . Replace the polymer clay cover. Press firmly. You be done. Congratulations! Now make some more. ;-) Desiree

About Bonnie Bishoff - to make lampshades, she covers a bowl or box or other object with foil, then Vaseline as a release agent. The reason for the Vaseline is that the clay sticks to it, doesn't slide around, then slides off very easily after baking. Randi

holes and screws

screw holes
...I use a conically shaped tool (like a pencil) in the raw clay to indent the opening around the screw holes so that the screws will seat fully in the cured switchplate. Elizabeth
... I use a skewer to poke a hole for the screws.... I then drop a screw into that hole, and turn it, which makes a perfectly screw-sized indentation (of course, I remove the screw before baking)
…Lately I use a plastic soda straw to cut the hole. They're surprisingly sharp, used that way , and take out a neat round hole of clay, just the size of the bevel area
...I actually made a "tool" to do this by embedding a screw head into a polymer handle so the threads were left exposed... since my screw is the same diameter as the hole, it works great..... I screw through the (raw or baked?) clay until the screw head is flush w/ the opening... then if need be, use my craft knife to clean-up or bevel the hole. Laurel

other holes remove
the clay from of the rectangular hole for the switch, I use an Xacto knife
.... or I may use pottery trimmer (pottery blade isn't as sharp but does the job)

clay thickness careful with putting too many layers of clay on the plate (if your screw heads will be on top of the clay, rather than in indented holes) - you'll have to buy longer screws to attach it, even if you remove the clay from the plate like I do. syndee

paint or cover the exposed screw heads:
... I was wondering if anyone has ever covered their switchplate screws with either paint or clay or other material... .I tried painting some over christmas and the paint just rubbed off... I also tried baking the paint but again, it came off or bubbled... I was using acrylic paint for my tests (?)... Dave
... I've painted thoooooouuusands of them! I use acrylic paints on 'em with no problem. It's the cheap stuff, too. I don't do any prep to the screw heads, but I do bake the screws after the paint has dried for durability. .......Perhaps a swipe with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover will remove any machine oils that are interfering with the paint adhering. Irene

...I first press the screw ends into some floral foam so they stay upright... then I've painted them with a couple of coats of acrylic paint (and esp. metallic Lumiere kind), and then end with a bit of Flecto Varathane. I haven't had a problem, even in the bathroom where it get s scrubbed a lot. Apryl
...The main problem I've had with using acrylic paint on metal screws for such things as light switch plates is that when one goes to clean the plate, using such cleaners as Fantastic, it usually removes or begins to remove the paint. Since these plates are touched a lot, they usually get a little dirty, so most people use something to help clean it. .....I haven't had this same problem when using a metal paint. DottyinCA
...I use nail polish (was it an acrylic or enamel polish?) to cover the screw heads. It has a nice finish and has not rubbed off yet. Some of my switchplates have been in place for four years with no problems. Nail polish comes in lots of colors nowadays including blues, greens, metallics etc, in addition to the 'normal' pinks, reds and oranges.lizzlady

If the screw heads you're using are already painted, I'd take a piece of fairly coarse sandpaper and rough up the surface of the screwhead before painting. Maybe that will help. And, of course, be sure it dries well before you handle it. --Suzanne

Lately I've been making switchplates with gold metallic clay, and I bought some brass screws to use with those; they look great. Suzanne

I use a tissue over the blade of the screwdriver while screwing them in to keep it from scratching (the acrylic paint on the head when I screw it in). herondesigns

baking & bubbling etc.

I use more nylon plates than Leviton these days. I have less trouble with bubbling and poor adhesion on those.
......I use the Leviton brand, too, and have found that it WILL bubble if left in the oven too long. I never leave it in any longer than 20 minutes at a time. If I think it needs more time (I do thick, three-dimensional designs), then I let the plate cool totally and then bake it for another 20 minutes. Haven't had the plastic plate bubble ever since I started limiting the time. Shelly
I've gotten to the point where I prefer the nylon plates for all the clays because it never bubbles at any heat, unlike the Leviton. Halla

If I roll my clay progressively thinner through the pasta machine (on 1, then 2 to 3 then 4 and finally 5) , my light switches are pretty much bubble free

Also, when I wrap the plate, I press the plate firmly down onto the clay, and hardly ever have a bubble.

When placing the sheet of raw clay onto the plate, be sure to roll it down to avoid trapping air underneath the clay can hold your clay sheet by both ends above the switchplate so that it's drooping in a "u" shape
.......then use a roller to tack the sheet down in the center
.......gradually roll the clay onto the switchplate outward, in a way that will push out bubbles as you go. Elizabeth

I bake mine for the minimum amount of time required for the clay to cure. This will also help to prevent the plastic plate from bubbling or warping.
I bake switch plates for 30 minutes at about 260 degrees, then 15 minutes at 275. I have found I can only bake them once, or the chance of bubbling increases dramatically.(??) Irene in W.C

I put the clay covered plate into a cold oven ... bring temp up to 200 degrees for 10 minutes and then to final baking temp. .... keeps the plate from heating up faster than the clay can
.....I don't have any trouble with bubbles and some of mine are quite thin like a #3 on the pasta machine.
.....if I use plastic the plastic can bubble up underneath, but I don't recall any problems with the brass (as LONG as I've remembered to remove that darn plastic protective layer it comes with). syndee

I use the plastic ones, put them in a preheated oven and take them out to cool. I have not had the problem you mentioned with the small cracks (yet) but that could just be the designs I used. I overlayed for a layered look. I also only did one baking and was using sculpey clay. So far so good for me. puggles

I like to bake multiple switchplates inside a large turkey bag to make sure they don't darken
.... I can fit a 14x14" glass sheet inside the bottom of the bag, on which I lay paper or fiberfill so there won't be shiny spots
....then put bag on a baking tray, and lay my switchplates inside ... fold over bag ends and secure with metal clips
(bag will rest on items at first, but quickly puffs up over them... no smells while baking either, and let cool inside bagor take outside for no smells when opening) CherylAmie
(see more on this technique in Baking > Enclosed Baking)

If a baked bubble is small enough, some times you can gently sand it away later. Jean


CD's can be used whole or cut in smaller pieces (see Onlay for more on CD shards)

commercially-produced CD's work differently in various ways than writable CD roms... they may work differently for cutting, or whole in the oven? or microwave (see below) , because the method of recording info on them is different and the layers of materials are different
...commercially-produced CD's include free AOL or other CD's with prerecorded data, purchased prerecorded music CD's, and computer game CD's, etc.

The writeable CD's (CD-R) have advertising on the top and shiny silver on the bottom
....where the re-writeable CD's (CD-RW) usually don't have much advertising on top except a place for you to write on, but the back is way cool and usually has a bluish tint which can be a lot of fun to play with. . .
...some CDs cut easier than others ...some will immediately splinter, others don't. Babette
...a CD has an advertising side which is the "colored" side... the other side is clear plastic, but looks silver because you're seeing the back of the advertising throug it (stamp on the "silver" side if you want to stamp) Babette
.... For larger projects, or if you hate the tacky labels, you can buy blank CD-Rs in packs for 50 cents each.
...(to remove and use the shiny foil from CD's for clay, see Leaf -Foils > Other Uses and Techniques)

I did a test bake of a CD back when we had that first discussion. It warped. But then I was going for worst case, so if you fully support the CD while baking (flat surface and all that), or if you glue on polymer decorations after baking, it should work.

Lia's CD "crackled" shard earrings with onlaid polymer clay roses and vines

can drill holes or cut out center part with a Dremel . . . .cut (or drill?) with the "wrong" side (facing up - the side you don't want showing) because cutting sometimes makes little cracks ...(wear protective glasses) . . . .you can also warm the CD's in hot water and that makes cutting easier too. Michele
...I make my hole with a hot awl and not too close to an edge or it will split. Babette

Brigitta's lessons on cutting a CD in 4 fan-shaped sections and covering with clay

...(if cutting) I discovered that you can use only commercially created CDs—that is, do not use Read/Write CDs (because the backing peels off when you cut them)??. Ruth Ann
If you would like to cut the cd into parts you must make some hot/warm water not boiling... put the cd in the water and wait a few minutes... then you can cut the cd with no problem (with ordinary scissors).
If you soak the CD in hot water for a few minutes, or microwave it a little - basically any method that heats up the plastic- and then you can cut out almost any shape.
......Carefully, in near-boiling water, put your CD in and let it sit for a few minutes until heated.... Using tongs, remove CD from water; wear gloves, as the CD will be HOT (you have to work fast because the CD will start to cool off immediately) .... With the CD out of the water you will be able to cut any shape you want out easily, like slicing into butter. (If the CD starts to get hard to cut, slip it back into the water and let it heat up again. Steph
...wave a heat gun over it before cutting
I have a Creative Versa-Tool (a wood burning tool) and I use the hot knife tip in is slow, but not to much so. It sure does the trick and no cracking.. . . Before that I would stand at my stove(gas) and heat up my xacto knife...This will cause some beading of the plastic but that pops off easy with pinching between the fingers.... using a Versa Tool for this will cause your tips to turn black from the plastic, but with Easy Off and the tool hot clean up is pretty easy. cajunmermaid
...the slower you cut, the less likely you are to get splinters, but some CD's will just splinter anyway
.... You can also melt right through them with the tool for cutting stencils ). . . . . cajunmermaid
... I like the randomness of NOT heating, though, and score the CDs with an exacto knife and then cut them with heavy duty scissors. Some CDs will splinter, but some cut great. Cathy in NM
... I have had good success by scoring them on the back side with a tool for scoring plexiglass. ...a glass cutting tool also works but takes extra effort. tadpole
.....(even without heating the CD), keep your scissor blades at about a 45-degree angle to prevent the plastic from cracking ...Ruth Ann
...I just cut up a CD last night. What worked best was to get your CD divided (when you want to cut pie sections) correctly - then using a sharp exacto to "score" the cutting line. Then I took large scissor to cut it. Michele?

I cut a few pieces of a CD, and stuck them into a bead, baked at 250 for 30 minutes and it worked like a charm... No problem with the CD melting and so forth... (next I will try at a higher temperature)... Came out looking like mirror in the clay... looks great, baked up fine and the shiny CD under the translucent clay is terrific!

microwave (precorded or CD-r) for a 5 seconds only on high to make cracked squiggles (or mosaic effect) all over the disk my experience, CD-ROM's with thin ink or no ink in the labels work best ...CD-ROM's with thick label ink start to smoke earlier...DEC CD-ROM's work very well, as they just have a bit of black lettering on a clear background. I have a bunch of other CD-ROM's with full color pictures that don't work nearly as well. ....they are prettiest when the label side is up. Frans
. . . if you put the cd in water in your microwave and boil it, then the cd layer will crack... this can be very nice when you do not cover the cd with anything else. brigitta
...loads more info on doing this from these links:

CDs are plastic and soften-melt very quickly (under sustained heat), so bowls and trays, etc., can be made with them.
...heating one with stove (gas stovetop or oven?) makes it fairly touchable ..i heat it until it starts (slumping?) melting, then shape it with my fingers. SCstamper
...these work just about the same as as vinyl records do for making "record bowls", but on a smaller scale thing I did while messing around with them was to fold them over while warm, almost in half.....kinda gave me the idea that they could just about serve as angel wings if attached to a small terra cotta pot angel? Cddesigns
...yep CDs work too… just logged off to try, and it does work. … you need to turn your oven up to about 250-300 or so
....I was just in the dollar store tonight and saw a small bowl that I thought would be great for forming a cd on.. we made change trays for fathers day!!! make perfect votive candle holders, the CD's are "melted" over a shot glass at 400 degrees for about 2 minutes. Obviously they can't be handled immediately when they come out of the oven. kuzmal
...I decorate the CD. and put a votive candle in the center. When lit it looks real pretty, the candle glow reflects off the CD. Matilda
...I would not recomend really breathing in the fumes, but I have no idea of the toxic level (not bad unless burned). There is a slight odor.
.. I am glad that I had aluminum foil protecting the oven rack because I had one go liquid on one side (at what temp?) tadpole
(see more on shaping CD's, vinyl record albums, etc., in Misc > Melting, Slumping and Shrinking)

Babette bends the edges an AOL CD by superheating with a heat gun (embossing gun?) one side at a time.. while doing this, she presses it down (holding with pliers) on a padded surface (...she stamped an image on it first, and dipped the hot edges in embossing powder o even out the plier marks)
.......the CD will curl to the back side most easily , but I finagle it and make it go both ways ... if you are real careful (and go slowly?), you can actually make the part in the middle bend as well
...using a lighter (not a candle, it'll get all sooty), heat the CD on the shiny side (heating the label side makes it burn) and about an inch from the outer edge of the CD until it starts to become soft....bend with a spoon, or let gravity do the work (be careful of over-heating the plastic to the melting point, where it becomes a thick, dangerously hot liquid ...friends have informed me that CDs can be softened in a toaster oven...I haven't tested this, so use caution. ...once you’ve molded your CD into shape, be sure to glue something nonflammable (a poker chip is good) to cover the center hole. Diana Goodman
....after bending a CD, you can place it (standing up ) behind a candle or votive as a reflector so it increases the light in the room... you'd probably need to cut off 1/4 or 1/3 of (the bottom) to make it fit a votive better somehow... sunni

... coasters (with cork underneath, shiny side up), as candle bases, a disco ball (with 1/2" squares glued on)
... hang from branches or from a mobile to to scare away birds from gardens. . . from
... cut out the center (the clear plastic part) using a Dremel. Add a picture using the tinted TLS for a sun catcher. Miki
....what if you could glue a small mirror onto the middle and cover the outer edges with a clay scene or collage and hang it in a small bathroom or over a dresser .. . or possibly add a handle and outer edges of clay and make a hand mirror. Dar

use as the base or background ...for a scene or plaque... or as an ornament or other decoration
....scene with snowman "fishing" through hole in center, snow around edges... to make the water look blue, use blue paint on foam core under the CD... will show through)...could use polymer for all; see polymer pastes (Paints) for snow... lesson: (gone)
skating scene idea... if you want to cover the hole in the middle you could make an island. -Nf
...Halloween theme

Jenny D's lesson on covering a CD with cutout paper images ... she adds glitter, powder or other embellishments around the edges... bakes under a slick tile, and often antiques

then making book covers out of them
...various decorated CD's (...the non-polymer ideas could be translated to clay)
terry's decorated CD's . . . and plus one CD box (hover cursor over each to see backs, esp. Santa scene) ....not polymer, but could be with mixed media
cat face CD's with ears (not polymer)
CD's covered with paper, then UTEE, then all kinds of things (polymer clay could be used too) (this is page 4, but it has the suggestions for other objects/materials to use as well)... offered by txterri
Nikik's uses of CD's and diskettes (not polymer, but ideas)

(for CD's made into clocks, see below in Misc.Items to Cover > Clocks)

foil or gold leaf ...I don't cover the CD with clay. I put strips of Ah,that's Great tape on the CD (or tacked up white glue, or spray adhesive) and then apply foil or gold leaf.
....You could put clay on the CD but leave some of the CD exposed so that the light would reflect the metallic coating.
...Ah'That's Great Tape is a tape. You can buy it at most rubber stamp stores and from USArtquest. I think you can buy the same stuff but it is called something else from picture framers. It is sticky tape on both sides. It is a little sticky to work with but once you get the hang of it you'll use it all the time.:-) It is great for foil and gold is not like Scotch Tape at all. This tape has a tannish backing that you remove after applying the tape to an object. Then you can apply glitter, gold leaf or foil and needed. Matilda

CD info and lesson on making CD's clear . . . and using shards, paints, etc.)
...sand off the label on your junk CD.... silver labels are the easiest to sand, but all colors will sand as far as I know. When you are done sanding, your CD should be see-through.

You can color all the little pieces with (permanent) markers . . . and even make them into a mosiac.
....when colored this way, they stay really shimmery and shiny like the CD, but you do need to protect them (an acrylic sealer) with UTEE, a clear embossing powder to keep the marker from rubbing off. Cathy in New Mexico

Can be painted with acrylic paints (even metallic ones) if sanded a bit first for tooth?

Stamping is so easy, the dye ink just air dries pretty well, but can be heat set with a heat gun
...OR, you can stamp with pigment pads which take much longer to dry, then they can be sprinkled with embossing powder and set with a heat gun.
......I am also using a combination of acrylics by Jacquard such as Lumiere and Neopaque (as well as Pinata inks which are an alcohol-based immediate drying ink in a bottle. I am not as happy with those as with the acrylics though.)
...I do recommend a final spray acrylic coating over the acrylics when the disk is done as the acrylics can be sticky for a long time even when they seem dry. Shari

Cheryl's lesson on making set of wind chimes from 1 whole CD plus 4 cut-up CD shapes
....cut 1 or more CDs into interesting shape(s) with scissors after heating with heat gun or hot water soak
....on the shiny side, each whole CD and each free-cut, oblong chime CD piece is stamped using Staz-On inkpad...later sealed with acrylic spray before hanging (to avoid fading)
....on the label side, each whole CD and CD piece is covered with clay after thinly applying liquid clay, stamped (with uninked stamps), covered with Pearl Ex colors (and later sealed and glossed with Future)
....(the center hole of the intact CD has a small ball of same-color clay flattened into it before adding the covering clay sheet to the label side --to more easily stamp this area [with uninked stamp], may want to place a second stamp on the back side of the center area at same time, so one stamp presses onto each side of clay-ed hole)
....after baking, holes drilled ... pieces hung together with fishing line, adding some beads between


(see Plastic category above, for switchplate techniques)

as armatures

aluminum flashing ("tin"?) could be cut into shapes and used as armatures for covering with clay also ...these could be completely covered with clay or covered here and there, leaving the metal plain in other places or painting/embellishing it
.....Joey's lesson on cutting 20" tin flashing (from the hardware store) to make whimsical-women figures
... she cuts the flashing with scissors(??), sands edges with fine sandpaper, degreases with alcohol
...then she spray paints with a white outdoor paint as a primer, draws the facial features with an ultrafine-point permanent marker, and colors with thick acrylic paints using med. and fine acrylic brushes (...rubberstamping can be done over paint to resemble patterned fabric) ... she glues real fabric to some parts with tacky glue ... then embellishes with other media (feather boa, fabric scraps, sequins, glitter, flowers, ribbon, etc.),1789,HGTV_3242_2810621,00.html and

metal wire mesh (Wireform... craft store) can also be covered with clay (both sides if desired, sandwich-style ) then be used for making boxes (see Vessels), miniature landscapes, tunnels, etc., masks (see Heads/Masks), etc., or for anything else needed
...Donna Kato's lesson on making cylindrical candle holders (could be vessels) with split, rolled top parts using embedded WireForm (see more on wire mesh in Armatures)
...Lisa P's lesson on making cylindrical pencil cup by covering the exterior of a wire mesh cylinder & TLS,,HGTV_3236_2313116,00.html

wire can be covered with clay , but usually after adding a more grippable covering
...floral tape or masking tape work well when wrapped around the wire
...cloth tape + sheets of polyfill around 2 twisted wires, for extra thickness (+ epoxy clay) to make a flexible puppet or figure
...CraftyBit's's mini-lesson on making a bonsai tree made by wrapping paper toweling around 18g wire for extra thickness, then wrapping that with brown floral tape (plus few flowers on tree)
(for more on covering wire to make trees, figures or other items,
see Armatures > Wire ......Houses-Structures > Scenery, Landscaping, Trees ... Halloween > Scenes, Dioramas, Houses --dead trees)

attaching clay to a metal surface

For best adherence of clay to metal, it's important to remove any hand oils which might be on the surfaces to be covered before beginning (soap & hot water, then dry thoroughly). Desiree... and/or swipe with alcohol

To avoid bubbles forming during baking in flat sheet of clay, roll the sheet down onto the surface, prick with tiny needle and smooth any you find, and perhaps use white glue or liquid clay before adding clay
...If you do cover it glue first, you'll want to make sure that it's really dry before you put clay onto it. ...moisture in the glue can bubble up and make your clay bumpy because the vapors have nowhere to escape. Elizabeth
......for much more info on avoiding bubbles (during conditioning, baking, or from humidity, etc), or on fixing them, see Pasta Machines > Problems > Bubbles)

Actually (if the clay will end up having some "mechanical hold" on the metal), I don't usually coat it with any kind of glue before adding clay
...raw clay sticks really well to metal by itself-- so well that you don't usually even have to take it off of the metal to glue it back on.
...for tins, the only time I've done that is when the bottom or lid are very shallow (short on the sides) - like a lip gloss tin or a CD tin....but Altoids tins are plenty deep enough so that the sides (form a mechanical hold and ) stay stuck tight (as long as they're covered in those places). Elizabeth

After making some more tins, I have decided that using just a little (liquid clay) goes a very long way!!!
...the first one I did, I completely coated the tin with the tls, and then my clay was moving around too much so I couldn't get a smooth finish...also when I sanded it, I went right thru to the tin on a corner
....I tried to remove the clay to recover the tin, but no way jose, that clay was stuck good!!! the last few tins I have done, I have just run a small amount around the edges. they are holding fast. so you can go easy with the tls, and I think it works better! kellie AK

I often bake clay onto metal tubing and have found that coating the tubing in SOBO brand white glue then letting the SOBO dry is a good first step. You can bake right onto the tubing and the clay will stick since it is round, but, the metal and clay expand and contract at different rates in the baking and cooling process. You can end up with major cracks in the clay because of this.
....SOBO will also act as a buffer for the polymer as it contracts and expands at a slightly different rate than either the metal or the clay. But it will buffer the clay from being in direct contact with the metal.
````It's also nice know how to Induce cracks if you want....

.... I use both Sobo and Beacon's Gem Tac glue. The Sobo seems to work best with porous surfaces, and the Gem Tac (which is a little thicker) is what I generally use when I am coating surfaces like glass or metal such as wire armatures. You can just insert the wire in the opening in the tip and it pulls out with a thin coating. Sara Jane

I've tried the white vinyl glues made for attaching jewels to fabric (like Gem Tac and Jewel It) and found they work very well. As you can machine wash and dry these glues, temperature is not a problem. Some are fairly thin; use a second coat on porous materials. These glues easily bond to metal, a big plus for me....Katherine

It depends on the surface preparation of the metal. If the metal is flat, polished or lacquered, it may be too slick for the clay to adhere to without help from some sort of cyanoacrylate glue. . . I know that Zap-a-Gap can be applied before baking, but I'm not sure about epoxy or E-6000.
Also, roughing up the surface with sandpaper will help the seal. Aranthe

...(more on adhesives and primers in Glues ... and in Liquid Clay > "As Glue")

some metal objects

SILVERWARE & other utensils
I did a set (of flatware -- 67) for my mom at Christmas this past year.... and coated the clay with Varathane and have not had any problems with them
....... I kept one to send through the dishwasher to test it, and so far after a year and a half it looks like it did originally.
.....My suggestion would be to use a clay brand that's strong in thin areas after baking --like Premo, FimoClassic, or Kato-- on the handles, not Sculpey (or possibly FimoSoft maybe)
......I sealed with Varathane, and then re-baked the sealed piece for added strength... Dave
.... I tried hollow, plastic handled silverware, but they swelled during baking, causing the clay to not just crack but have huge, gaping chasms down the back... (I had taken the trouble to bake them first to see if the plastic would melt, but it hadn't... didn't think about swelling). Carla

I make lots of individual sets of 3 (knife, fork, spoon) for people to keep in their desk (makes having to eat lunch at work so much nicer, or so I've been told). Carla

Estelle's simpler covered spoon, folk, & knife handles
(click at left on Les créations de Estelle, under category Le modelage de la pate fimo)
Monica also embedded a hanger? in the end of her various covered utensils (...U shapes from thick wire paperclips?)
Karen Scudder's caned covered handles

P's fancy, fantastic kitchen utensil and silverware handles covered with patterned clay .. some have embedded metal bits too
Melissa's silverware handles covered with, inlaid with flat ovals of faux mother of pearl, faux abalone, and faux carved wood
Flo's covered dessert forks for 50th anniv. celebration (gifts)... handle covered completely with gold clay, water tattoo image at top, and a bit of tiny roses and trailing vines
Lunes' various covered handles on various spoons, forks, cocktail forks, etc. (some large spoons/forks are hard white plastic?) (click on all pgs)

I made a really nice serving set for my son (at Christmas) and he loves them. Carla

It's getting harder to find inexpensive but decent sets of just the knives/spoons/forks though, so I grab them up when I see them. Carla
..... some of the places for good sets of flatware are Ikea and thrift shops (even if the handles don't match, they will when you cover them). Kim

Sure helps when you have arthritis in your hands to cover your paring knife handles ... I did mine with Premo sometime ago and they look just like they did the first day. I don't care for them any differently than my others. Flo

Michael's lesson on covering handles of silverware, and also long-handled wooden spoon (after baking for 2 hrs. at 200 to remove any moisture), glass salt & pepper shakers

Claudia also covered the handles of her measuring spoons and/or measuring cups
claysquared covered handle areas of double-ended bottle opener, metal spatula , etc.

(handles of wood spoons can also be covered ... see Wood below)

None of my silverware handles match since they are basically surfaces to test out faux techniques... I am really pleased with how they are turning out, especailly a stamped silver clay, with black TLS tinting and mother-of-pearl inlays. Melissa

... for covering wooden spoon handles or other utensils, see ways of covering wood below

Marie Segal's covered door knobs lesson (ceramic or metal) ("Cabinet Knobs")... she leaves1/8" area at the base of the knob free of clay, and also covers the back plate with clay, leaving free the screw-in area

Karen & Ann's lesson on covering the frame for a license plate with base clay and clay slices (then they add a stamped area),1789,HGTV_3352_1818365,00.html
Nancy's license plate holder covered with polymer (and sealed)
Lisa Pavelka's cane slice frame for license plate (and heat-gun-then-oven-cured polymer veneers for parts of her van!)
Judi W covered frames and also license plates themselves with canes and flower onlays

. . . I did put the metal frame in the oven (plastic ones melt and warp)....h
owever, the front plate is not set up to accept a frame, so the clay is placed directly on the license plate itself and placed in the oven (the new New York plates though may have an unsuitable coating).... The clay was baked on the license plate and since all the areas aren't wrapped around, I did drip a little super glue behind flowers, ...after a year in San Antonio and lots of car washes, it has held up fine.

Judi W. covered the silver ball knob at the top of her gear shift in a PT Cruiser car... looks like the knob was removable, and she also removed a metal embellishment on the top of the knob while covering the ball
...I had to go to the dealer to find out what type of screwdriver to use to remove the gear shift knob (on my car, it's a hex wrench).... You should be able to find an area where there is a small screw (may be recessed) to loosen. Then just pull the knob off. The knob is plastic, but I figured it gets REALLY hot in the cars when sitting in the sun and the knob should be able to handle the low temps we use in the oven.... I just covered the knob, leaving the reverse button on top uncovered, and baked. Then sanded and polished... no sure to leave the screw opening open so you can get the knob back on.

small metal cars, trucks, tractors..... or other metal toys or items

lesson on covering metal thumbtacks with clay, then with rose and leaves

lesson on tiny vase pins (for holding real or polymer flowers)... made by covering metal (single) bolo tie findings... for more flowers and wider pin cover two bolo findings and leave area of clay between

Ruth's simple faces, hair, etc. at the end of large paperclips

metal military dog tags can be covered on the front or all over with polymer clay, then hung as pendants through the hole that's already there
... one source for blank dog tags
real pet tags for dogs, cats, or other animals could be suitable too

BeagleMommy covered the non-movable part of a carabiner (a thick clasp for rock climbing, rope rigging, etc.) with patterened clay

certain parts of keys (tops), padlocks and even combination locks can be covered with clay (or have clay glued on)

I made some polymer pointers this way for one of my clients who kept getting ink on projects by using a ball point pen to point out certain it over a piece of steel music wire from the hobby store. Without the wire, it might flex too much. The other consideration would be weight. Covering wood might be lighter (maybe a chopstick?). Jody

thimbles... metal thimbles might work well as a form for making a thimble... however the pitting on the walls and/or the height to angle ratio of the walls might make them hard to remove, so you might want to use Repel Gel (or a "ca debonder"... see Glues) on the metal, or try a layer of cornstarch, metallic powder, ArmorAll, or Vaseline... if all else fails, cut it off and reglue or use as a base form?
...plastic fingernail polish bottles are just right to use for (making) thimbles with an aluminum foil covering .. I do not bake them though (....sometimes these open-type objects seem to be shrunk in on...if so, put it back in the oven, heat to 180, then pull it out gently before it cools)... I've made boxes and thimbles and bowls this way…
...I would consider putting a metal piece in where the needle will hit if it is to be really useful.... I think the needle would go through the plain polymer fairly quickly. Becky
...How about taking a metal thimble and making a band to embellish the wide end? No worry about the needles going through the pc, but could you reduce a millifiore cane down far enough? DebK in NJ
...I have purchased wooden thimbles from Factory Direct Craft Supply Inc. Flo these might be better as just decorative pieces than as actual thimbles though because of their outer size
...Sue Heaser's lesson on making a freeform rounded thimble shape (hers is for a pot) by rolling a paintbrush tip in a ball of clay to widen it

Marina's covered tea light cups (small aluminum cups holding wax and wick)
*** look now at ---> http://www.marieidraghi.itAgrumi.htm

Amy's 7-9" miniature wrought iron "chairs" as candle holders (Hobby Lobby?, with polymer added in seat, & often large cane slice glued onto inside of chair back (click on Collectibles)

Sam's needlcases, with covered magnet in lid (could use PVC pipe or tiny bottles, etc. too) (website gone)
....I covered left over scraps of copper pipe (just big enough if you want to get something out you can put your finger down in it without getting stuck) and then made a lid. These were so can cover the magnet with clay and it will still you can't see the magnet... it's magic. The red/orange thingie is a piece of that Japanese paper that I have with a layer of trans over it. Just kept adding clay to the back until the trans layer was thing enough to cover but you could see all the design on the paper.!...No I did not cover the inside of the pipe, just lapped over the top edge and smoothed out. Copper pipe works best because it does not react to the magnet. Cover the pipe and let it bake first and then wrap a piece of paper around the baked covered pipe and make the lid.... Connie's idea about dating them is a good one...I would have never thought of that but it make a souviner from the convention even better. I hope to make some more of these and get them out in the bead, yarn and fabric shops in the area (as well as the sewing convention). Sam
I have made several needle cases using the mini bottles you can get at polymer clay express. Kathy

A perfect lid can be made from the top of any metal can if you open it with a safety-type can opener...the best ones (Oxo, for example --$20) leave a thickish, unsharp edge on both the lid and on the remaining can rim (..some types do leave the rim sharp though, so be careful which you buy but the second types can be good for making cutters... for the first type, look for the untoothed disk to be taller and farther away from the toothed disk than a normal cutting disk would be).. the can is being cut on the side, rather than the top, and the metal strip there is actually being cut in two, releasing the lid (hard to explain!).. this results in a lid which can't fall into the can and nests nicely on the can's top (almost air tight)

small catfood or tuna cans (some bronze outside, some grayish) can be covered with clay, and embellished or not, for treasure boxes, storage, etc.
... lids for them can be disks of clay cut to fit and lay just on top of the interior ridge from the lefover can lid, or they can be covered oj or other juice lids
...DB: add my catfood cans embellished by kids and lesson:
Jean M's cat food can with molded faces attached to outside (no lid)

Liz's covered catfood or tuna can (or maybe the first one's freestanding, but this would be about the size a catfood can would make)
Mary's Altoids and olive can, etc. with various decorations... note the Rococco-type gold work and clay feet (gone?)
I've lined and covered hugh coffee cans with pc. I make sure all paper is off, I'm right down to the metal, then cover it with Sobo for some tooth, then the pc. Works great for me. Dar

Garie's many figures, etc., using the metal 35mm film spool canisters (includes chess figures)
Dar covered some metal coffee cans, then "wrote" the content on the outside with ropes of clay (gone...look at
(see Supply Sources page --esp. bottles/containers category-- for loads of aluminum/etc., containers to cover)

(see above in Things to Cover --tea balls-- re caution about interaction of essential oils and metal)

I have a metal egg that opens lengthwise which is about 4 1/4" long (Whitman's candies came in it). Barb

Beckah's Altoid and other metal covered with a transfer

Altoid boxes ...& other metal tins

I've found Altoid tins with cinnamon mints (in golden brown colored boxes) to be better for covering than the white (& blue?) ones... Desiree


LOCAL (filled Altoid tins)
Altoids are sold in many places locally (like grocery or drug stores, Target, etc,
..I found an Altoid tin in the shape of a heart at JoAnn fabrics yesterday. Paid 2.99 for it
the large Altoid boxes are at Trader Joes if you have one of those near you.
.....a *larger* tin, that holds 10 oz of a local drugstore for about $10.00.

ONLINE... empty Altoid tins:
ClayAlley, Altoid and other tins
Puffinalia & sm Altoid (in bulk)
silver and white regaulr Altoid tins...
(may be other suppliers also carrying Altoid or hinged metal containers in Supply Sources > Containers)

basic lessons
(especially for Altoid tins)

TIPS: not use Sculpey III, or SuperSculpey-flesh, or original Sculpey--lines of clay that will be weak after baking wherever they're thin-- because they'll easily crack later
...clean metal before covering with a bit of alcohol to remove any oils that may resist the clay
...a brayer or roller can be helpful in adhering the clay to the tin... put a sheet of deli or ordinary paper over it first if you just want to use your fingers

Desiree's lesson on covering an Altoid box... (ORDER: bottom, top, bottom sides, top sides with cutouts for hinges, rope on both top and bottom to cover joins--one bake)
...she uses 2 separate sheets and plus 2 strips, plus 2 ropes to cover the joins + 1 optional rope
....she also adds 4 round ball feet, 2nd top rope as relief frame, and ball/pearl shape embellishments

Elizabeth's lesson (...covers top using 2 layers --base layer + decorative layer--on top and over edge?...rope on side of top?...then covers bottom half...(two bakes)
...All you have to do is wash the tin with a little dish soap and dry it. The clay sticks very well... too well, as I discovered when I made a "boo-boo," and had to take a layer of clay off of a tin.
...I first cover the top with a thin layer of white or scrap clay that's run through the pasta machine on a #5 setting.
.....I trim that layer to the rolled tin lip on the lid, and smooth it well with a brayer (if you get air bubbles under the clay, slice into the bubble from the side and push the air toward the cut
...Then I cover that layer with a second decorative layer of cane slices, also rolled through the #5 setting. The clay is still thick enough that you can gently stretch it, if apply, start from the middle of the top of the lid, smoothing the cane into the bottom clay layer out to the edges.... Trim again, just at the rolled lip.
...I like to add a skinny coil (rope) of coordinating color where the clay meets the lip. ...Smoothing now eliminates some buffing later.
...Do whatever embellishing you are going to do, and bake the tin.
...Then cover the lower half of the tin, coming up to the bottom of the lid (then slicing through clay to separate top from bottom for openability?), and bake again. Elizabeth
When I cover the bottom part 1st, then bake that, and then go back to do the top, if I'm doing the box in one sitting, I still cover the bottom first, and then I cover it w/ plastic wrap to protect it from fingerprints. Laurel

Kris R's lesson ....+ decorative layer of mokume gane bits rolled flat while on box ... bottom, top (base layer then mokume bits, flatten), strip for each side (edges of top and bottom clay pressed down to cover edges of side strips?)

sides-first method, then top . . .the long vertical sides of the boxes can be covered first if desired (then trimmed even with the flat surface of the top or bottom) before adding the large horizontal top and bottom surfaces
...that way, once the top is added (and trimmed), the edge of the side strip won't be visible

(....or the box could be done top first, in which case the showing edge of the side strip could be used as an intentional, decorative trim --different clay color, a metallic, etc.)

my lesson on making a mini TicTacToe board from an Altoid box covers only the top (and top sides) with clay, but after creating the top the way I wanted it, I used a wide strip of clay to surround the sides of the top (which I let extend up a little bit to act as a lip for the playing "board")

Where the top and sides pieces join, they can simply be pressed together and smoothed to create nice edges
.... or one sheet can be pressed over the other and smoothed

one-sheet for each half can be draped over the top (and later the bottom) , then pleated at each corner... excess pleat can be cut off and corners healed and smoothed

one long sheet was used by someone (Marcia B below?) to wrap all the way around the closed box (the widest side)
...then pleated, trimmed, and smoothed until the clay is smooth everywhere
...then cut along the opening between the halves to make the box openable

Marcia B's lesson on using a 5x7" sheet of clay to completely cover the Altoid box (before adding her onlay and other embellishments)
...her lesson also includes stamping on clay, cutting around the image, baking it , then painting it with acrylic paints, before adhering it to the top of the raw clay on an Altoid box (so using it as an onlay) ...(or on a terra cotta pot, xmas ornament, etc.) (NOTE: I think she means "turn the stamp-and-clay over" rather than "turning it around" in the 3rd paragraph under the lst photo) (this part begins at "Step 2") (gone)

Bunny's lesson on covering an Altoid box lid, with just one whole sheet, draped and pressed-on for lid top and lid sides (no bottom coverings) (gone)

top of lid only method:
... simply place a d ecorative sheet of clay on the lid of the box and brayer down well... trim the excess clay off even with sides of box (and/or embellish if desired)... bake
... the decorative cover may stick pretty well to the lid of the box without further ado, especially if it's not stressed a lot
.....or it can be popped off after baking and reglued with 2 part epoxy, E-6000, GemTac or Jewel-It, or superglue (or liquid clay if they whole thing can be baked again)
....some may want to abrade the surface first

see more ideas for ways to cover tins in Vessels > Boxes >> Non-Removable and Lids since many of the techniques can be the same as covering a box bottom and lid (....and perhaps Removable as well)

example & uses

*Desiree's many covered Altoid boxes with round ball feet & top relief framing, etc; especially:
Melnick's many Altoid tins
Tonja's many non-Altoid tins

Holbrook's Altoid boxes
Kathy W's various Altoid boxes, including some interesting borders around the top
NOW AT? .... (??)
Boxes & Tins swap at PCC
Tin Swap, Spring 2003 (also Valerie's strips of texture sheet framing...see details in Frames)
Bunny’s Balinese Filigreed Altoid boxes & other Altoid boxes (+ one International Coffee metal box) (gone)
Lorieo's photo transfer surrounded by leaves on Altoid box top
NoraJean's many tins (and some lessons?)

lesson in a "pieced" crazy quilt pattern on a Whitman sampler tin (gone)
Kim Cavender's "pieced" shapes of various types, one with text, on a business card case

.......( see more in Sheets of Pattern > Pieced ...and for "tiles" in grids, see also Frames-Mirrors-Tiles > Grouped Tiles )
Leslie Blackford's Altoid tin interior... many clay techniques & items inside (sculpted, cane slice, stamped, etc)
....also both interior halves covered with clay)
Laurel's boxes (some with only the top surface covered) using many polymer techniques
Michele's tin with (molded?) horse head + scroll of fat-rope as onlays on textured background clay
Byrd's heart box onlaid with many tiny ropes and clay seashell "buds" nestled in between

Loretta's monochromatic, antiqued, onlaid Altoid tins (some look like leather)
Annie's non-symmetrical onlaid spirals and stack bits (website gone)
nenuphar's many wonderful Altoid exteriors and interiors ...note the glass cabochons in bezels on gold Pearl-Ex band around lid, rubberstamped & carved, onlays (gone)

Jenny P's paleolithic images on Altoid box (see LS/paint for info?), and stencil-look flowers & leaves (website gone)(website gone)

Kathy G's Altoid with onlaid leaves and a rolled leaf for the "thumb" helper
Edie's Altoid tin with hemispheric feet (see Desiree's above for real feet) a large knob on top

various tins, many with onlaid molded faces, at NoraJean's
large flat character face covering whole tin, by Gestalta_Sara (Chocobo/chicken, a Nintendo character )
...yellow covering, with large simple eyes (like fried eggs) and large traingular beak onlaid

Radioactivecrafter made a candle holder Altoid tin by putting a ring of clay on top of the (clay-covered) lid large enough to hold a taper candle out for drips from candles though (and don't allow to burn all the way down, or add something heatproof)

Cathi's grand piano made over an Altoid box, with legs other onlaid Altoid boxes

one of Tonja's "covered" Altoid boxes looks to me like a bed (just add pillows!)... it's actually, I think, a painted tin with a large slice (larger than the top of the box) laid across the drapes over the edged and forms a flare at each corner . she also put ."feet" under the box

scenes & shrines:
...NoraJean's gingerbread house plus path and yard-scene on top of Altoid box!
...Jane W's tree & bridge bas relief scene on Altoid, + Altoid covered inside
...skating scene with tiny figures on pond, by mamakittyx2... she created a white clay "bank" around the inside bottom of the tin and baked, then filled the open area in the middie with clear acrylic finish tinted a bit blue and let dry throughly...she also glued button magnets to the bottom of the little "skaters", then used another magnet underneath the tin to move them around on the pond...she also used paper, glitter, etc., as trees inside top of lid as background, and glittered the white snow clay
...similar scene with surfer and jet skier on "water," with magnets to move them around... "sand" next to water is clayas well as tiny umbrella & sandcastle, by sweets4ever
...could use a tins to contain a tiny portable mini Zen garden, with sand, tiny "rake" (even a cocktail fork), and various items
.......for more on Zen gardens --also called "executive sandboxes"-- see Gifts > Miscellaneous
...Carol uses hers as a hinged frame for 2 photos
.......she adds pearls around the inside of both walls to accent the frame area, but we could use clay (even on the rims)
gerbera uses a calming photo on the inside of the lid (gone)
...Helga's Altoid box "mini-shrines" with photo inside top cover, and other media on the other side (like double picture frame)

....originally for a Day of the Dead shrine, DevilDoll decorated the top of her Altoid box with a flat coffin lid cutout (and cross on top) and jewels near the edge of the perimeter
...could also glue other things to the inside... .here a photograph (or magazine photo, etc.) is glued to the inside of the top and bottom...the top also has a 3-D snowlflake onlaid

what about attaching a mirror to the inside lid of an Altoids tin, then use as compact, putting in contact lenses, etc.

stamped tissue collage and paint? interior by nenuphar (+ other wonderful Altoid exteriors)

transfers ...I have not tried them, but when I do I will put the clay on the tin first and then apply the transfer to the clay already on the tin. Bob

words or phrases (and/or photos, letters, scans, printed-out text, anything) attached to small pieces of sheet magnetcould be stuck inside... inside or outside of tin top could be used to arrange and display quickie poetry, feelings of the day or "affirmations", or for helping kids learn to read or spell or learn basic grammar, or as mini-scrabble or other game etc.
...RePlayGround uses magazine words to attach to magnet sheet, but could use clay

Desiree's heart-shaped purse, made from two heart-shaped Altoid tins
... has long shoulder strap made with glass beads, spacer beads, barrel and crane swivels (buried in clay heart-onlay shape?), polymer clay and twisted nylon cord
short strap of wire and beads (both endds connected to Altoids tins on top of short side ...(stamped tin, no clay)

I made suitcases for my daughters' 11.5" fashion dolls (similar to, but not Barbies) from Altoid tins.... Used a nail to punch two holes in the long side without hinges, and riveted a thin strip of leather for the handle; alternatively, made a hole in each of the short sides (away from the hinges) and fastened a long enough strip for an over-the-shoulder case. make the hole punching easier, I put a piece of scrap wood on my bench, and hung the edge of the tin on the wood so I was punching right through to the wood. Ann

mini treasure chest... I made "fantasy faux woodgrain" (some of it was red and pink) sheets to cover the box
... then added corners and a "latch" to make the box look like a little treasure chest. It was pretty cute, and VERY simple.

I was going to make an Altoids tin into a mini coffin for when my pet beta (small colourful fish) dies (I was going to make it out of wood (but an a fancy Altoid tin would be better). Lee Funny

Altoid box threaded onto a belt as a sort of mini fanny pack for small items (...wear open side up?)
.....(one way)..drill two holes on each short end, then tie loops (she used fishing line) through each side for holders ... indiependent
..... this would work well to hold my key and a tissue (or even tiny pencil and folded paper) for my daily walks. I already wear a leather belt to hang my Walkman and cellphone from, so I could just glue a wide canvas/etc. loop to the back of the tin, or actually drill through like you guys, and add that to the belt too! Diane B.
... or the back of the Altoid box itself could be slid onto the belt through slot holes made with a chisel, Dremel cutting bit, etc.
.......rubytut made slot holes in the short ends of the bottom section of the tin, strung on belt (then held in place on belt with superglue --permanent)

many small round tins with various embellishments, coverings
Tonja's small "tin" pendants made by covering a tiny rectangular metal tin (with tiny Altoids, etc.)
......a dimensional onlay "frame" around transfer is created with a textured plain clay frame around top edge... then onlays on frame are added at top and bottom or corners only (flower and leaf canes, etc.)
......(cording runs through upper left & right sides of tin)

reg. or small Altoid box held to wrist cuff (made from strap webbing with Velcro closure)
......lesson from pinkfluffy ....she drilled two holes in each short side (near bottom), then used box cutter to cut between them for slots... pressed down edges, threaded through strap, covered with felt... and added mirror in top
I made some tic tac toe pendants last year....the "board" is the pendant.. and X and O (cane slices) were strung on the cord until you wanted to play (they could easily be removed). That would work great for tins too.Jan R. (gone)

Desiree's lesson on making the rainbow clay pattern seen on many of her boxes

handles, paints, hinges, liners

HANDLES for tins could be created in all kinds of ways... these could be used on all kinds of tins, including many below
...some possibilities would be
U-shaped grip handles (stiff or flexible ones) or knobs
"grip" handles coule be made from:
...... stiff materials like clay (over wire, etc, if necessary for strength), or from things one might find around the house or create (wire, twisted wire, wire mesh, beaded wire, plastic-coated wire ...or solid metal shapes perhaps from hardware store or removed from other items or twisted aluminum foil, or cut from aluminum flashing, etc. ... or wood shapes (even twigs, etc.)...or shapes made from glass... or even plastic shapes (if oven safe or if attached later)
........these could be covered with clay, or could be painted/stained/glossed, or left as is
..... flexible materials like ribbon, fabric of various types (maybe folded sev. times for strength, or even soaked with liquid clay) including canvas, woven strapping, shoelace, cordings like rubbery Buna or leather or nylon, fabric trim, etc.
.......very flexible materials like long cords or like beaded cords could be used too
ATTACHING these to the tins could be done with:
...glue after the tin is baked (depending on strength required, a 2-part epoxy glue, or E-6000, or GemTac or Jewel It... or liquid clay if all can be rebaked)
...clay --onlays, etc.... each end of handle could be embedded inside or underneath clay shapes which are placed on the clay
........these could be decorative shapes, or they could look more like the metal band shapes that pass tightly over each end laid flat on old suitcases, etc
...holes could be made in the tins for attaching the handles
.......these could be holes punched with a nail (over a wood block, etc), or created with eyelets-grommets
..... you could use small nut and bolt, and superglue the nut in place on the inside. Michele
......or the holes could be created automtically when using a rivet to hold the handle to the tin ( I
used pop rivets. Michele)
.......also, slot holes could also be created in the tin for threading it onto a belt, etc.
..OR handle ends could be:
.......passed all the way though holes and joined in a loop (tied, spliced at an angle)

.......attached to the inside with glue, clay, or another medium or item on top (felt, charm, etc.)
.......passed through separately and each end made larger (so can't slip back thru hole) with a knot or decorative spiral (for wire), or with a bead attached, etc.

ALSO.. single knobs of various kinds might act as handles too
(some examples of these above and below)

PAINTS, etc.
...Carol Duvall used metal paint under her decorations on one of the metal boxes she showed which were covered with a variety of things (no polymer clay). What a great idea. I leave the uncovered parts of most of my boxes "au naturel" but for ones that I cover with dark colors, I prefer that the whole outside of the box be black (or whatever). I used black acrylic paint once, but it started scraping off the first time I opened and closed the box. The metal paint might stay intact. Randi
...I sand (the metal surface) first, not too too much but enough to give my primer something to grip, then I use automotive primer for metal objects..... I also like to buy those little cans of automotive spray paints from the parts stores to paint tins too (I like the colors and they bond to metal better than most spray paints)
........ I also leave time for my primer to cure before moving on, at least a day or two ... this helps keep the color from flaking off after handling/abuse. redqueen
she used a pretty thick coat of Rub n Buff to "paint" the undecorated parts of the tins. I thought that was a pretty interesting concept - looked wonderful, and a .........less messy option than spray painting them (if you're like me and don't want to cover the whole tin)
I am interested in this idea. I have some gold Rub n Buff but have not really used it yet. Would it need some sort of base coat underneath? Or sealer on top? (decorating the tops of Altoids tins with rubber stamped shrink plastic & beedz - )
I don't know off hand - she didn't say, except that it might take a couple of coats to get the desired coverage. DevilsGirl3

HINGES, etc.
...About the hinges on Altoids (and similar) boxes, I usually paint mine with acrylic paint. You could even use a permanent pen, since they're so small. Randi (or metallic paint pens?)
I use my pliers to flatten the hinges, then cover over them with clay. From the outside, you'd never know they were there.
>>Are you saying that you take the top and bottom apart so that there is no longer a connection between them? . . . Yes. Has anyone found a way to keep them hinged?
I just leave them together. I cover and bake the top half first, then cover the bottom right up to the bottom of the lid. I rock the lid back open onto the soft clay, to make sure that it will open all the way when the bottom half is baked. No problems, so far. The hinges show, but, just barely..
... When I do altoid tins, I do the top of the box first, and bake it. then I put the clay on the bottom, and open the tin. kinda opening and closing it a couple of times. this will put a little indentation in the clay along the hinge. So that when the clay is all cured you will still be able to open your box completely…kellieAK
I prefer the hinged box, myself. It seems a bit more special to me. I take a clean box and cover both top and bottom portions. Near the last thing I do is to score a slot just above the hinge openings on the back of the lid. After baking, I cut into the scored lines with an Xacto knife. Hope this helps. Desiree (see Desiree's lesson above on covering an Altoid box to see this)
what to do about the hinges that hold the lid onto the tin? Well, I used a needle nose pliers to bend them open, then I took the lid off and rebent them as flat as I could. Then I covered the two pieces with my first attempt at Mokume Gane . . .it actually came out pretty good. You can see the former hinges from the inside of the tin, but it doesn't look too bad, and the lid goes on and off without a problem. Laura DiLorenzo

LINERS (non-clay) for tin interiors:
I used a piece of felt cut to line the top and bottom of my Altoid tic tac toe box, so the playing pieces wouldn't rattle around too much... think I used a white glue like Gem Tac to attach them. Diane B. on lining inside (of an AOL tin with felt)
I love using fabric for the inside of tins, boxes, etc. I run the clay thru the pasta machine, then lay the fabric on the clay and run it thru the pasta machine again. That lets the clay work into the weave of the fabric. ...Then you can cut it to size and put it inside your tin or box. Bake it and its permanent. Works great with velvet! Karen
...flocking can also be used to line the inside of tins (or on the bottom)
.... all info about using flocking is in Mixing Media > Feathers & Flocking

other metal tins & boxes

Sucrets throat lozenges come in a hinged? tin; also many other candies come in unhinged metal containers of various shapes.
I don't recall now the date of the article I found on the web, but I read that Sucrets was switching from metal to plastic boxes. Gather while thee may. Desiree
...I recently bought some Burt's Bees products (salves, creams) and they come in these really nice little round tins. I love the products, but how can I get the residue cleaned out? They are beeswax-based products. Denise
Hot water and soap work to clean out all wax based products. Sarajane H

Kerstin's various round tins.. (click on Other Stuff, then on Tins)

You can get cigarette tins that are a bit larger than the Altoids cans at your local tobacco shop for .99 and up. Kim

Trader Joe's has a wide assortment of candies in tins of various kinds. . . . My LO is particularly enamored of a type called Grether's Pasteilles, or something similar... Ivy

... I also found a neat shape at Border's today. This one has Jelly Belly jelly beans in it. It's in the shape of a jelly bean. WendyT.

Have any of you "Altoid" box fans ever tired the small Whitman's sampler hinged tins? Joy
... .they're a bit smaller and squarer than Altoids, and have only 4 regular pieces of candy inside...
...available only around Valentine's Day or maybe Xmas as stocking stuffers? ...I found them in a special display at my local drugstore .... mine is bright orange-copper with a nice texture over the top around the logo. Diane B.
--see Dora's lesson for covering one of these (looks like she didn't have trouble with the paint)
. . . Well, after getting my first tin covered, I don't recommend these- the "paint" on them is actually some sort of thin plastic that gets totally weird after baking. All four corners that rub when you open or close the tin were stuck after the first baking, and after prying it open, the stuff peeled off, and it looks a mess. It looks fine from the outside, but when you open it, you see the bald spots. I'm going to have to remove the rest of the "Whitman's yellow" on the inner band under the lid if I get the nerve up to give this as a gift. miracle (could remove paint first?)

Desiree's covered AOL disk tin
...I saw boxes like the AOL ones at Cracker Barrel, only a little smaller. They're by Crayola, with a vintage look label and 8 or so crayons inside. $2.50, but you get the free crayons. ;-) Lukabara

Don't be put off by the goofy designs screened on the small metal lunchboxes (Michaels, etc.). I removed it with super glue debonder so if I had a translucent area in the clay it wouldn't show through. Also, when you wet sand, be sure to dry them well. The box itself is fine but the pop rivets can rust. Jody
---I have covered a metal lunch box purchased from a local dollar store. It was a fun an simple project to make. The handle on my box is plastic. I felt better removing it, because I was not sure if it would hold up in the oven. I used a pop rivet tool to re-attached the handle when I was done. If you don't have a reviting tool, you could use a few small nuts a bolts and superglue the nut in place on the inside. You could also cover the top of the screw head with clay, if you want a more decorative look. Michele
---- I bought a lunch box at Michael's. It's round and has a plastic handle. Do you bake the the handle? Genevieve?
I bought one of those too. It should be just fine. It looks just like the ones I used already and they were baked three times at 275. I covered the front, baked, then the back, baked and finally, the sides for the last trip to the oven. Jody

....."blank" (regular size) metal lunchboxes boxshop/inlun.html (8 1/2 x 6)... can also find small ones at Michaels, etc. sometimes newest purses are created by covering metal lunchboxes (the black textured purse was created this way). There are several other styles and sizes on my website ...I know that Lisa Pavelka used a hard shell purse form as her base (see Lisa's in Websites sub-cateogyr below). Macy (click on Purses)

Have been using the tins that ground black pepper comes in (2oz and 4oz) to make a toothbrush holder (for multiple toothbrushes) and a a pencil holder for my desk as well as one for the fridge to keep some handy. ...I even decked one out and kept it as a pepper tin!

Sarajane's lesson on covering a band-aid box (top removed)--she inlays a transfer into background clay after cutting a hole for it, then adds bits of stamped clay around the framed area and antiques; she also suggests using stamped (or other fancy or decorated) paper to line the inside of the box. . . . hard to find *metal* band aid boxes now though?
...Jean Comport's Ouchie Box... covered metal bandage box, with added head on top and arms on side

I covered some of those pencil tins and filled them with covered pens as teacher's gifts last Christmas. ~They worked very well except for one small thing. Because the metal was painted before they were formed into boxes, the paint on the inside corners was stretched. Looked fine new, but after I wetsanded, those spots rusted a little. I think they'd have been fine if I'd touched them up with a little clear nail polish before starting. Jody B.

Altoids is now offering breath strips and the tiny tin is FANTASTIC! Lib
...a small, rounded rectangle shape, with a slide-back top ...very thin from front to back; good pendant?
Tonja's "tile" pendants made by covering a tiny rectangular tin (cord runs through upper sides of tin)... with dimensional "frame" around transfer

what to do with the leftover Altoid mints that you pour from the tins into baggies??
.... I use them to flavor my plain coffee, instead of buying the expensive flavored coffee. You could do the same for hot chocolate or tea. Genevieve
...I do love a soothing cup of mint tea. I could drop a cinnamon mint candy or two into that, huh? Yuummmmmm. Desiree

buying EMPTY TINS (blanks)
Altoids and smaller tins (hinged)
Puffinalia store...prob. $0.50 for the small and $0.75 for the large. & small size Altoid type tins (in bulk)
KyleDesigns... various metal tins, most fairly thin & square/rectangular (not "wholesale" but can buy bulk)
... toothpick/needles/drill bits vertical holder with hinger flap lid... business cards holders, pencil holder, co*dom holder, compact, lipstick holder, pillboxes
Atlantic Sales catalog of tins (click on ALL the pages!)
Cape Bottle ointment tins and
Lavender Lane... tins & many other (plastic, metal, glass..pump & sprayer & containers, glass eyedroppers, etc.)
aluminum cans with screw-on lids for sale

(....see Supply Sources page for many more suppliers of bottles/containers made from aluminum, plastic, or glass))

MORE USES... what else to put in tins?
(see many more above)

use your container for holding little things like hair clips, rubber bands, coins.... or alcohol wipes etc. ...Ellen
small sewing kits ... . small jewelry offerings... one year I sent along matching beads... other candy... seeds.... waterproof matches...teeny tiny clay ornaments.... a tiny bottle of perfume? Diana
more candy (they ARE refillable!), nail care stuff, bits of decoration for projects (like sequins, rhinestones, broken jewelry bits, etc.), tiny tools (mini screwdrivers, screws, nails, etc.), change for the vending machines or launderette, barrettes and hair stuff, presentation boxes for special small presents (swiss army knife?), etc. Sherry B. aid kits to keep in backpacks (for sports practices or games too) Jan
Q-tips fit perfectly! And the boxes tend to stay shut, so they travel well that way. Marla
... to hold hearing aids at night?

I cover Altoid boxes with clay, using any new technique I'm currently learning and then make legs for them and give them away to people at work. They usually use them for paperclips or even dump their new Altoids into them.

real "survival kits" (video lessons) in Altoids tins (no clay on outside, but could be)
...lots of stuff inside in tiny Altoids tin ......and more variations in side bar Altoid tin... add mirror in addition to alum foil?

I've been thinking that I could make compartments inside the boxes. ... jewelry boxes for traveling?.... vitamin organizers? Elizabeth

Cut a piece of plastic canvas to fit loosely inside, and make sure there is a finger hole to pull it out... Pierced earrings can be parked on the canvas so they don't tangle in storage (or travel).. Ann

make into a small and portable paint box for watercolors or oils, or even for acrylics (mist, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate to make last several days)
...can form a thick clay slab into a number of cells in the Altoid bottom
(impress with large marble or other more rectangular item), or build up by hand, then bake
Jean-Pierre M's lesson on making one:

I created a divided tray (for loose chalks) in pasteboard box lid by placing square logs of clay on top of a base sheet of clay...something similar could be done in an Altoid tin, but perhaps using taller dividers or dividers made from other materials:

Sarajane H. used the bottom of an Altoid box as a "planter" which contains two clay plants... a spider plant and one with large lobed green leaves


Glass, etc.

gen. info on covering glass

If you're covering an object that's not made of clay, it's a good idea to put the piece in a cold oven and then turn it on, so it heats in the oven. Leave it at the correct temperature for the right amount of time, then turn off the oven and let the piece cool in the oven. This makes for slower heating and cooling, which will help avoid cracking (since the underlying object expands and contracts at a different rate from the clay). Jeanne
...One thing I might add: if you are using that toaster oven put a tent on top of the piece (or use enclosed baking). Those machines have very hot lines where the heating elements go. So to avoid braking the glass I would use a tent to (even) up the temperature in various parts of that glass. PoRRo

You can pre-paint with Sobo glue for better adhesion of raw clay on wood, glass, etc. (let it dry or tack up a bit before adding clay), but it's not necessary if the clay will form a mechanical hold around the glass.
~SOBO will act as a buffer for the polymer as it contracts and expands at a slightly different rate than either the metal (or glass) or the clay. But it will buffer the clay from being in direct contact...
...My hypothesis is that glass expands to a greater extent and at a more rapid rate than PC when heated (as during curing); rates of shrinkage during cooling may also be significantly different for PC versus glass. …If your PC layer isn't thick enough, the expanding glass will stretch it thin and may cause cracks. Dottie's suggestion of using an intermediate layer of Sobo (plus, possibly translucent PC) may help minimize the stress placed on the PC by the varying rate of expansion/contraction of the glass, because I suspect that Sobo and translucent clay expand and contract at rates intermediate between glass and PC and are inherently somewhat elastic materials. Diane M.
. . Sobo seems (again just my experience) to hold the clay to the glass better over the long haul. My first piece done on glass kind of separated from the glass after about 8 months. None of the work I did after reading Maureen Carlson's book where she recommended coating the glass with sobo have been similarly fated.. . . Sobo seems (again just my experience) to hold the clay to the glass better over the long haul. My first piece done on glass kind of separated from the glass after about 8 months. None of the work I did after reading Maureen Carlson's book where she recommended coating the glass with sobo have been similarly fated.
...My glue of choice has always been 'Weldbond'. I coat glass votives and wood and plastic switchplates with it, let it dry, and then add the polymer clay. To me, it is the strongest glue out there. Baking does not seem to affect it whatsoever. Marie.

...(more on adhesives and primers in Glues, and in Liquid Clay > "As Glue")

I am covering glass items with (thin slices of) Premo canes, and after it is cured (15 minutes at 275, for 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick) it is cracking! I have made several beautiful pieces that are ruined!
...oops! looks like you put too thin a layer of clay on unfortunately its got to be thicker polymer clay does shrink glass doesn't its a case of the overcoat being smaller than the fat little body and it burst at the seams….you might brush on Transparent Liquid …and try rebaking (to fix it). Faun
...It sounds like a problem of your cane slices being too thin. The clay only shrinks a tiny bit but that is enough to cause cracks when applied to glass or other hard objects. Also, how about first coating with Sobo, then put on a layer of translucent base clay, about a #5 or a #6 if possible, on the pasta machine, and then add your canes slices. You can keep the slices pretty thin if you do this. Dotty

(cracks, bubbles) ...when conjoining two objects of different molecular structure and/or must allow them time to adjust to each other ....leave it rest for a day...retouch if you see much separation. ...then heating up slowly.....and cooling down slowly TOGETHER. If the glass heats up in spots... You can even tent it all gently in aluminium foil...helps the temp even out a little. Tania
....also let any white glue that's used dry completely to avoid moisture in it swelling during baking
...So far as the hairline cracks go, are you using Sculpey III? Most of my clay on glass developed hairline cracks when I was using the III...after hearing again and again about Premo being better I finally switched over and it solved the problem. aleatoire
...It seemed to happen more when I used Fimo. However, it seems a lot of clays shrink when they're cured. Karen L.
...Premo is much stretchier clay? . . . so add more Diluent, etc., to make other clays more stretchy?

ice water quenching for covered glass with translucent clay . . . we know that going right from the oven to ice water will make the transparent parts more transparent. So I do that with my other pieces. But what about (covered) glass? Will doing this cause the glass to break?, crackle?, destroying my hard work? Help me! Thanks! Ginny
...Yes, ice-cold water will make glass crack. It's okay to quench all-clay items, but not when they have glass. Linda S.
I've put glass bottles covered with #4 thickness clay into ice water with no problem. I roll the outside of the bottle in the water before I let it go inside. Then I tried it with a bottle that was only partially covered and it broke. Paper thin slices may make the bottle more vulnerable, so if you try it, be cautious. Jody

partial covering:
...If you're only putting things on here and there, you can glue the unbaked clay onto the glass with a superglue Krazy Glue (or another cyanoacrylate glue)
Marie Segal uses a dot of superglue to attach the raw clay to the glass (ok to bake) instead of white glue—works great! . . . . but watch out for the fingers! (if stuck together, fingers can be separated by slowing "sawing" with a dull butter-type knife and acetone --fingernail polish remover-- I think)

...Marie S's lesson on partly covering a glass vase with a long strip of clay (to which letters and embellishments are added)... she also uses a bit of E-6000 glue under the strip if needed before baking! (?)
....can use
a layer of liquid clay first, bake, then decorate?
......I would use a light brushing of liquid clay to secure raw clay to glass if I'm not going to get a mechanical grip, and it works quite well...Sue
.......It only takes a little, as any that bubbles over to the surface is a pain to sand smooth. Otherwise it is perfect for when the entire piece is not covered with the clay. Sarah
...partial covering with vines and roses

You can paint glass with clear glass paint to . . .make polyclay stick to the glass much more strongly and is invisible even on plain glass areas. A member of the BritishPolymer Clay Guild, Sheila Sargent, first pointed this out to me and it works very well. . . . You can get it as a solvent based paint or a water based one. I found the solvent based worked well - I haven't tried the water-based stuff. You need the colourless kind for this - it is what they sell to mix with the coloured paints for pastel colours. It is usually called simply "Clear". Sue

I took an old bottle and (partially covered) decorated it with cane slices leaving a lot of glass showing then cooked it. I found I could easily peel the canes off after cooking so I gave the whole bottle a coat of Varathane Diamond Finish; a good brush is needed to avoid air bubbles. The finish dried hard as nails right over the glass and polymer. You can't dent this stuff or sctatch it off the glass. It gave a nice filler around the cane slices and I will tell you they are stuck. Shane
....HOWEVER, later ... those partial covered objects didn't hold up. While I really loved them, the flecto began to peel and flake after some years. Shane
Marie S's ceramic vase with adhered embellishments of polymer clay

Eberhard Faber's lesson on partially covering a clear drinking glass with cutouts of textured translucent clay (reindeer and branch shapes) ..these plaqued a lot -- could use a less plaquing translucent too
....they also create a "frosted drinking glass" by covering it completely with translucent clay first ... then apply cutouts of white clay (also textured?) (looks like base layer not baked first, but could have been, then liquid clay between ) ... used as "vases" patterns available by clicking on
"Motif Reindeer" or "Motif Mistletoe"

a "display window" can be created in any glass vessel or ball ornament by covering all but one area, which is left blank so that items inside can be shown
Kara mostly covered a jar, leaving only an empty area of glass on one side to use as a display window for her sleeping baby

hourglass timer ... bond 2 bottles together, one atop the other ... make the hole between them small enough to let sand only trickle through .... then put in enough sand for the amount of time you want to measure ....could use for games, making eggs, or make novelty ones for gag gifts --"takes this long to do X")... or cover or partlly cover to glass items in the same way

vinyl glues (e.g. white glues like Sobo) are good strong glues, but not completely waterproof, so take advantage of this quality... cover the surface with a vinyl glue, let dry and then apply your clay vines and such to the bottle....after baking, soak in warm water until the glue is white again and gently scrub it away...Kathy Dewey

Or you can always glue baked bits (suitably curved, if they're large) onto baked clay with Goop/E6000.

There are a number of things you can use to hold clay to glass before applying your baked polymer mosaic tiles and still have the light shine through. Since your tiles are already baked, you don't have the option of trying them raw, just pressed onto the glass (in that case, if there weren't too much stress applied after baking, and especially if there were a lot of contact, that could be enough to hold them while grouting --doing it that way would also give you a slightly rounded tile which might fit the bowl better).
. . . .So here are some of the things that might work well: a dot of superglue on each tile . . . .or if applying a *layer* of glue on the bowl: Sobo or Jewel-It glues (many white glues will work--not Elmer's "school" glue though), Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Flecto Diamond Elite Varathane...someone even mentioned a type of clear stained glass paint (some of these may need to tack up a bit after application), or possibly even a layer of very thin Bleached Premo clay. Diane B

tiny (glass) holeless beads in packages can be used for covering an area or whole object .... and someone used some clear colored ones evenly cover an image .....or spiff up butterfly wings, etc.... simulate bubbles with the sparkle of snow/ice. author? ........
... can be held down on raw or baked clay with liquid clay (or possibly white glue)
(...more on using these beads on raw or baked clay, or as inclusions, in Mixing Media > Beads)

*NPCG Karyn Kozak: covered bottles (completely covered with caning)
Margot's lesson on (thinly) covering a glass container, & a lid

many covered glass items (many are vessels, one with a lid)
Alice's large, covered glass vases (lg. cane slices, strips, shapes)
Naamaza's various covered glass bowls, plates, vases (..bowls/plates covered on the back side) (look also at other pages)
sinilga's beautiful glass plates with canes and mokume gane clay under the glass
...see more covered plates, bowls, etc., in Vessels > Bowls, Trays Plates > Covering
's various covered bottles
Marlies' covered baby food jar type bottles (and cap) .. and yeast jars
Tonja's various covered bottles
Cindy's 3 covered bottles w corks (gone?)
Melnik's jar covered with molded items & Rub 'N Buff (website gone)
Adrienne's onlay flowers/leaves on bottle (website gone)

....(see also many covered small bottles in BOH )

votive candle holders.... light shining through, etc.
& candle holders

lesson on covering a round votive with a sheet of clay, pleating excess, & removing... smoothing
Leigh's lesson on covering votive with large, round cane slice (pumpkin), filling in w/ puzzle-pieces of marbled pumpking clay

various votives.. one using translucent-opaque clays
Naamaza's lesson on covering a "glass"? with thick pedestal, with translucent + opaque cane slices, as votive holder
Patricia's various shapes of covered glass containers (for votives or anything)
Donna's Egyptian votive with ankh ...and various sections
Laurel's many votive candle holders, lit
Gay's many votives with flowers, etc.
Kg's interesting votive holder, made from a fluted clay sheet large enough to hold the glass votive
Marie S's dragon votive covered with scales, head, part of body and feet added to bottom of votive
Karen's animal and candle holder idea

Kevin's somewhat scary face candle holders (for pillar or taper candles)...these have also been painted and glazed
Cecilia's adorable animal votives, with extensions of eyes, ears, elephant trunk,etc...using pastel translucents (FimoSoft's Transparents?)
antkar Karen's votives with gold leaf, powders and spices
Omodt --candle holders, vases, bottles?
*7th-Sense's covered votives & all kinds of hanging and other candle things
Helene G's beautiful abstract pattern of thin clay on glass container
Arizona guild's votive and candleholder swap
Sue's votives (some lit), eggs, vessels (website gone)
katbyte's various covered items (faces, votives, etc) (website gone)

To allow the light to shine though just parts of the clay covering, whole shapes can be removed from clay sheets with cutters etc. before applying to glass
...Barbara McGuire's lesson on making a votive with cookie cutter outlines cut into the clay, allowing the light to shine through ( se cuts into metallic leaf-covered clay),1158,CRHO_project_18078,00.html
...Keith B's thick, gold (Pearl Ex-ed) clay covering a votive... cutouts are diamond and disk-shaped... also onlaid flattened balls, & squiggly impressions
...I bent some wire shapes, then hammered them flat, then pressed them into clay shapes, I pried the wire out (then for some, I left it out)
. . . (inspired by a Mike B. pin) Kellie (the wire, or stamps, would have to be pressed all the way through the clay though) ...I bet it'd look wonderful pressed into a clay covered votive, leaving a thin area for the light to shine through where the wire was pressed in. Darla
....good for backfilling with (translucent ) clays or tinted liquid clays too?
......other stuff could probably be used instead of the wire.... a smooth piece of twine, perhaps.... Kellie

votives (Xmas tree cut out, but replaced elsewhere on votive as an onlay...snowman head, features and scarp on frosted? votive, large black hat beside... others on drinking glasses)

Shari David's larger cylindrical candle shield, with star holes cut out from it

a "display window" can be created by mostly covering a glass votive, leaving one area blank
....Kara mostly covered a jar and put a baby inside

Caroline has a votive which is a Skinner Blend of translucent and green (so the most translucent is nearest the top); she also adhered wavy ribbons of the same clay all around the votive vertically so that only the lower portions of these s-waves were adhered to the clay covering. DB

votive candle holders . . The glass when covered with lace cane slices--made with translucent in either the center, or as the wrap--& the candle inside lit-- is just lovely. The best canes to use seemed to be those with a lot of translucent in them with the main design in a more opaque clay.
````I've been using mokume slices on top of sheets of Premo bleached translucent to cover votives. Amazing what these things look like when lit! I've been rolling the sheets out to a #5 on the Pasta machine so they cover well but remain pretty translucent after baking. Carolyn
Darlene's unlighted and lighted votive, covered with translucent and opaque chrysanthemum cane
(website gone)

see Misc > Cracked Marbles for clear, cracked marbles (or pebbles) that might look good on votives with the light shining through

Peggy O's votives covered with simple mosaic tiles (click on "Clay Art"--alphabetical order)

....Can I use any old jar to cover in clay to put a votive (in a separate holder, of course) or tealight in? Just finished a jar of Knott's jelly and thought the jar would be perfect for covering and putting a tealight in. It is deep enough that the claywork would show up beautifully. ... to be able to see more of the clay design. angelhug1016
.....not just jars, but glasses, cut bottles, bowls, anything glass that can hold a candle! your imagination and your newly developing eye for converting anything that holds still long enuf will be your only limitation. Sunni
I like the way the pc looks on glass (flower) pots. I cover the entire pot then cut out designs. They make great candle holders. Lisa B.

nenuphar's flat disk lid with onlays for a clay-covered votive (add my catfood can lids?)

Linda's lesson on making large sculpted rose which surrounds the bowl of a wine glass (as a votive)... using (tinted) translucent clay,1789,HGTV_3236_3086662,00.htm

Ann & Karen Mitchells lesson on partially covering a votive with translucent clay leaf shapes (cut out from a sheet of clay stamped with real leaves) ..apply leaves to outside of votive
... each leaf is painted with tinted liquid clay ( oil paint + duo green-yellow Pearl Ex) which is wiped from the top areas in sev. min's
...the remaining blank glass areas are covered with a thin layer of 1 1/2 T liquid clay mixed with pea-size amt. of Aztec gold Pearl Ex)... votive is baked upside down and any drips gently cut away from rim afterward... cover entire surface with gloss varnish,2025,DIY_13748_2274492,00.html

Marie's lesson on a very pretty snowscape with cabin, snow, icicles, mountains which could be used on a votive (details below in "CD's")

Polymer clay can't be put too close to any flame or source of heat (or probably over 300 degrees or more) or it will begin to darken, and eventually to burn at over 385, blistering and turning black and emitting terrible smelling smoke .... it will not spontaeously bust into flames though) be sure that the clay isn't close enough that it will get really hot
.....or you can still put polymer things on the outside of candleholders/votives
....if covering an actual candle stick-type holder, don't allow the candle to burn all the way down... or better yet, try to separate the clay from the candle (with aluminum foil or a metal rim, etc., or not putting the clay all the way up to the candle, for example) could also put a larger glass holder over a smaller glass holder, then fill the area between the two with wax and the objects you don't want to get too hot ( then place a votive candle in the center. LaNae

Cath's candlestick holder made from large sculpted clay rose, with hole in the middle ...for taper candle
Kevin B's forest-creature heads as candle holders

Kathy Davis' casts from her (2-pt.silicone) dragon molds attached around slender glass candlestick holders ...(black clay with bronze Pearl Ex)

gel candles ...cover the outside... or perhaps you could create an interior well of plain gel surrounded by gel containing clay items/whatever inside? The interior well could be a small shot glass or other non-flammable material to contain the gel which will actually burn? Could be clear or not... possibly even an aluminum foil "well"... Diane B.

Polyzine's lesson on creating a votive from a wine glass then filling it with wax (lesson covers making a giraffe skin cane for covering the votive also)
...I think someone also mentioned that to remove old wax from a votive, place it in the freezer for awhile and the wax will shrink away from the sides a bit (however...if it doesn't release easily then or if the containers's top is tapered, run some warm water over the glass or break some of it up with an ice pick)..DB

Greg's covered candle lamp oil burners (website gone)
Cindy's triangular glass oil lamp

Marie's lesson on a very pretty snowscape with cabin, snow, icicles, mountains which could be used on a votive (details below in "CD's")

small bottles, jars, etc.

we use plenty of glass jars of various shapes and sizes in our everyday lives, and these could easily become vases, penny banks, candy jars, gifts, candle holders, catch-alls...
. larger bottles could hold Q-Tips or make-up brushes in the bathroom, or pencil and pen holders where you need them most... several of the same size could be decorated, filled with herbs and spices and displayed conveniently close for cooking, while those bulk seasoning jars remain hidden in the pantry.. a collection could grace a windowsill in coordinating colors or patterns... Jodi

salt and pepper (or any) shakers
these shakers could be covered (or partly covered) in many ways, of course... for inpsiration , check out the similar but often smaller "bottles of hope," which are simply small glass or plastic bottles covered and/or embellished in many many ways with clay (BOH--Covered Bottles)
...Dollar Bills or Dollar Tree have decent quality shaker sets for $1 each.. . . cheaper than I've been able to find wholesale. Laurel
... sure to check the tops real well before you purchase them. I have found that many of the tops don't screw on well - they just kind of keep turning and don't really work right.... It is a good deal but only if you don't end up with a pile of either salt or pepper on your food because the top fell off. mamasnead
...I was thinking of maybe embedding something to form the letters "S" & "P", or maybe something to hang around the neck of each shaker. Julie (see also Letters-Inks for many ways to make lettering)
.I've embedded an S and a P on the shakers, one the 2 shakers in contrasting themes (or colors) , and done matching sets only distinguishable by the # of holes in the top.... informal research shows the matching sets w/ just the tops to tell the difference sell best. Laurel
.....You could also take a little circle cutter and just cut a hole in the side to show you what's in them. Kathy
...Marie Segal's lesson on covering salt and pepper shaker with 1/2 Sculpey Ultralight clay mixed with 1/2 regular polymer clay (to create a light brown and med brown)... adding bas relief onlays of veggies... antiquing after baking

...chadiscrafts' various shakers with multiple canes
...Laurel's sugar or cheese shakers
Patricia's salt & pepper shakers, oil dispenser bottles, etc. (gone)
Jenny C's Texaco gasoline pump (candy oil) bottle (website gone)

The kits for the atomizers are from a woodworker's catalog [Penn State, -- 800-377-7297] and you just add a layer of polymer covering them instead of wood.

Svetlana's faces and bodies on bottles

flat embellishments (stamped or molded, and often Pearl Ex'd) on larger bottles

Sheryl's (9 yrs. old!) bottle dolly ...
... you can bake the basic head seperately, or
...attach the head to the clay-wrapped bottle body: position the head at the neck of the bottle, make sure that there is a tiny hole provided (baked or unbake head) between the back of the head at the neck of the bottle. It is important, in the baking process, hot air is forced up into the neck of the bottle. If the attached head is not bake the hot air can damage the facial features or any other area of the head. It will form tiny exploded air bubble. ....Attach the arms onto the shaped, wrapped polymer clay bottle and position the arms (if you need to raise the arms, you must have soft wires to reinforce it.
...If you decide to bake the basic head, you can apply the clay hairs string by string using liquid polymer clay to attach the hair onto the head. ...Baked Arms can also be held by using liquid clay and the sleeves of the Dolly dress. Garie Sim

a "display window" can be created by mostly covering a glass votive, leaving one area blank
....Kara mostly covered a jar and put a baby inside

I cover small (glass) bottles that I get for free from eye lenses come in them and they are just thrown away after the lenses are given to the patients (They will usually save you a pile of them and just give them to you. I've gotten tons this way. They feel better that they are recycling and not just chucking them away..)
....Little bottles: also vaccine bottles from vets’ offices ...... and those little insulin bottles from diabetics.
..... I then can carry my Tylenol with me on a necklace when I don't want to carry a purse.
.... I do this too to make little toothpick holders (holds around 20-25 toothpicks). Cute!
(for many, many of these, see BOH--Covered Bottles)

tiny glass bottles with rubber (or cork) stoppers that people use as pendants for perfume are cute... they hang from a top handle...Helen
...various shapes of tiny bottles to buy... with metal triangle top loop embedded in tops (glass or rubber), or eye screw screwed into cork tops (click on "Glass Bottle Items)
....Necklace Perfume Vial Holder & Atomizer, metal on outside
(....see examples of these used with clay in BOH > Embellishing ....some are bubble wand bottles)

many bottles (med. and small) covered with mixed media and (often )polymer clay
...including transfers, beads, fibers, etc

1st Kokeshi Doll ...Yes, the bottle is still in there. Her head is the stopper and she could easily be a bubble bottle with the addition of a wand. I wonder if you'd want to use a mold? The forms are not difficult to make. I used scrap clay to fill in the neck of the bottle, make the sleeves and the bottom section. After baking, I covered her with #4 thickness decorative clay. The head is made over a ball of tin foil. I used to bake the stopper in place in the bottle, but I've found that the best way to get a good fit is to powder the bottle well, fit the stopper and take it out to bake on polyfill. Jody B. (website gone)

more suppliers of small bottles
Sharon's "genie" bottle
Puffinalia's blue and green bottles, some of which have special built-in droppers for dispensing one drop only's partially covered bottles (polymer?) ... now just a supplier??
(..........for many more suppliers, see Supply Sources page --esp. Bottles & Jars sub-category )

(for lots more info and links on obtaining, covering and embellishing small glass bottles, go to Bottles of Hope page)

Other glass & ceramic

wine glass (almost completely covered...lip area uncovered), Renaissance style with ropes and embedded jewel medallions Diane Villano's?
Jody B's partiallly covered wine goblets
Lorie O's beautiful bas relief mostly covered (mouth area blank) goblets
Shane's wine glasses.... only stem and base covered
Lisa P's wine glasses... stem covered with dual colored rope wrapped around, and onlaid geometric pattern on base
sincereleigh, goblets & candles (need new address? or gone?)
Wanda's lower-covered stemware (website gone)
...see also
Linda's lesson on making large sculpted rose which surrounds the bowl of a wine glass (used as a votive) above in Votives

lesson for fancy stoppers for bottles on top of corks (trans. from German)
(most info on stoppers is in BOH > Stoppers)

(slightly tapered) drinking glass, completely covered on the outside (click on # 57)

lesson on making an urn-shaped vase, by covering a pilsner glass, and adding a sloped rim and scrolled handles to the side (Barbara McGuire),1158,CRHO_project_12579,00.html

Jan's teapots made by covering round glasses (like votives) and adding spouts,handles, and lids (website gone)
...see teapots made from glass ball ornaments in Christmas > Glass Balls, and more below in Glass Balls also

Kara also mostly covered one jar, leaving only an empty area of glass on one side to use as a display window for her sleeping baby

Omodt's dishes, bowls, platter using cane slices under glass dishes, etc.
sinilga made some incredibly intricate plates by covering the back of glass plates with decorative polymer clay (see above in websites under Glass)

Mary's covered (ceramic?) holder for toothbrushes (gone?)
.......for sleeves for candles and other containers, see below in "Misc. to cover, & sleeves"........

"samplers" . . . It's a great idea to cover something with a variety of different polymer slices (or other techniques ) when you're first getting started (or at any stage along the route for that matter).
...I covered a tall drinking glass with samples of all my "first" canes ...). I just love having it now.. . . I use my covered drinking glass now as a holder for things like dental tools and paint brushes ( but I could also cover smaller jars/glasses --or perhaps make a draped bowl-- to use for smaller tools, glue containers, q-tips, etc, or even cover PVC pipe or toilet paper rolls to cover for tall tools too.)
...Come to think of it, I should have done this even more . . . it's stimulating to have all those samples from the first glass right there while I'm working on other things. Now I'm thinking I should make "samplers" of other things too: for example, maybe powders colors, types of mokume gane, or different ways to use striped stacks, etc., etc,. . . . maybe even molds. Or a collage of various things might be nice too.
Maybe it would be easier to keep a few "category" glasses or jars going all the time, then just add the newest sample with a bit of ...Sobo or superglue and bake when one gets full enough. . . could always add more later that way too. Diane B.

I've been all about using clay with glass microscope slides lately, especially for reversible jewelry. ...I use cane slice sheets between two glass slides. Julia S.
....I made a transfer pendant with a slide and used a very thin layer of liquid clay to adhere the clay to the glass ..worked fine, I just had to kind of "wrap" the tls around the edges of the slide. lib
.......looks like Julia might use superglue?... and Julia cuts some of her slides into smaller rectangular parts, sometimes hinging them together
...American Science & Surplus sells microsope slides 72 per box for $4.95 ...1"x 3" ...1-1.2mm thick ...clear glass with ground sides... # 89445
...if you are a college student or there's a college nearby you could try contacting your school's art history department's slide library about collecting their old slides. I used to work at one and they threw away dozens every week as photographic slides decay and go pink after a couple of decades (the old fashioned or European kind with glass sandwiching the film?).. ethernaut
...faux soldering technique (as frame around glass slides?) get silver embossing powder and melt it to a liquid in a little warmer (they sell these at rubber stamp stores)... then with chopsticks or tweezers you dip the sandwiched slide in, one side at a time, and let it cool, and then do the other side until all four sides are done.... it looks so real! CraftyChicaAZ
...Sally Jean's real-silver soldered frames around vintage photos and tiny collages (sandwiched between the slides)
.......I've also made something similiar to this using those little mirror circles they sell in craft shops -- I scraped off the silvering except on the edges and sandwiched them around photos, etc.; then used copper tape to seal around the edges. ethernaut
...You could also use etching cream to stencil onto the outside of the silde. ethernaut
...use three glass panes or more, with semi-transparent images (like transfer decals?) -- they look cool when there is depth to them. ethernaut

glass pebbles and marbles (both flat on the back) can be used in various ways with polymer clay too
...I needed something to help hold my business cards IN the card displayer during gusts of I went to the dollar store, grabbed a bag of cheapie flat glass pebbles, and covered about 5 of them with a clay patterns that matched my card holder (thin, semi-translucent cane slices)...they haven't cracked yet & they're one of the most handled things on my booth .......folks say they look like cushions and my card holder looks like a couch. Laurel (hold cursor over words "Custom Orders" )
...things can be attached to the back of these glass pebbles too... and will magnify & brighten whatever is there:
........individual cane slices or tiny transfers, behind individual pebbles
........transfer decals (or just paper images), or clay patterns or scenes, could be placed under a mosaic of pebbles placed next to each other
(...see more on glass pebbles in Beads > Aquarium Beads )

clear, glass marbles and pebbles can be "crackled" to create some interesting effects perhaps on votives, etc.(info about doing that is in Misc > Cracked Marbles)

glass jars, bottles, or even aquariums, etc., could be used to contain a scene or sculpted figure (see Kids > Mini Scenes, and BOH > tiny water globes)
...Kara's little fairy figures in aquarium bowls with clay covered lids, etc.

Marie Segal's covered doorknobs (cabinet door) lesson (ceramic or metal) (Polymer Clay Covered Cabinet Knobs)
(see more on knobs below in Wood)

catalogs of white china items to cover (many) (bathroom pump bottles, dishes, etc.)
see also below, in Lamps, for Spumoni's lesson on covering a ceramic lamp

(for several kinds of Decorative tiles, see Frames, Mirrors, & Tiles)

Glass Balls (ornaments, etc.)

for most info on glass balls used as ornaments
including buying balls, removing color from balls, making hangers, and more on how to cover with slices

see Christmas > Glass Ball Ornaments

The glass balls sold as tree ornaments can be used in several ways with polymer clay (for Christmas related items, or not):
....covered or partly covered ...used as torsos... used as bases (for pens, etc.) ...have things inside (or be painted inside) ... have larger things attached outside, etc.
....can also be lighted (from inside)
....can be broken out to leave a hollow clay shell
...colored balls can have color removed
...can also be used as forms for making bowls, etc.

You can cover the entire ball, or you can cover parts --leaving them intact, or gently breaking out the glass part (wouldn't use Sculpey for that though--too brittle)...see below).
Options for covering would include everything from a single cane slice (maybe centered, at several places around the ball), to ropes and vines, to molded shapes, images impressed with stamps, or cutouts . . . to ANYTHING!). Using metallic powders or waxes is an easy way to get a holiday or elegant look. of any kind can also be painted over with acryclic paints (two coats), or swirl acrylic paint inside, then embellished with polymer (hats, vines, accessories, etc.)

Peggy's cane-slice covered glass ball ornaments
I made beautiful mokume gane-covered ornaments... the mokume gane stack was red & green interference powders and varigated foil and translucent clay
Marie R's lessons on making bas relief (on a glass ball or anywhere) with snow, icicles, and snow-covered mountains ... (see Christmas > Sculpting for lesson details)

partial coverage with cutouts, sculpted bits, cane slices, etc.
...Michaels' lesson on putting clay tree cutouts onto a glass ball (they use an air-dry clay though) .. large ribbon top of ball

Marie S's cane slices only on top portion of glass ball ornaments

... Shaneangel has beautiful glass balls (and also bottles) partially covered with leaves, vines, etc. (applied to glass with superglue or liquid clay) ... leaving lots of glass to show through
... (gone...phooey!) and not at new site
(for lesson on partially covering a drinking glass with translucent clay cutouts (reindeer, branches)... or first covering glass with translucent clay, then applying cutouts from white clay... see above in Cutouts)

Ria’s figures on top of glass ball ornaments (find new URL)

Josh's clown made by covering a glass xmas ball as torso. . . also see Karen's Santa lesson, under Wood below)
Pam A's many figures, animals, fish, etc., formed over glass balls (using paper clay)... some with springs or dangles (Gallery, all sub-categories)
Ocelyn's pen holder bases (which are mostly the torso part of a crazy animal with the heads attached to the tops of the pens, legs extra. . . also ladybug and turtle where whole body is ball and pen covering matches skin)...pen is put in covered-ornament hole
(website gone)

Marcy's teapots made from glass ball ornaments covered with clay, spouts, etc. added
...see more teapots made from glass ball ornaments (some with paint swirled inside rather than covering with clay) in Christmas > Glass Balls, and some made over blown eggs in Eggs (Treebelly)

maracas + other rattles:
covering glass spheres or bulbs of various types
lesson on making a mini maraca (rattle on handle), by Donna Kato, using a glass xmas ball; she makes a polymer handle as well (could also use lightbulbs of various sizes) CDS-1322,2045,DIY_15079_2504794,00.html
...I used mini glassball ornaments for mini maraca pendants...I enclosed seed beads in one, med. seed beads in the other ( larger ones give "louder" sound)... for pendants I needed to fatten up the handle a little to balance them ...I don't recall if Donna mentioned this in her demo but I did poke a small hole through the handles into the ornament openings so air could escape during baking (single bake session). Desiree
... was outside looking at some colored string is perfect for making round balls. I think it is our "grape lights" ..Kathi
....I think someone already mentioned flashlight bulbs, but there may be other small bulbs for machinery that would be smaller sizes too (see below in Lightbulbs for ideas on removing lightbulb bottoms (to create "hot air balloons, etc.")
hollow clay....or why not make round hollow forms the "lentil" way? (two hemispheres joined together to create a sphere)
........the joined edges can be hidden pretty well, or they could be embellished or just oriented so they're on the side. . . . maracas made from a flatter lentil shape would pass too, esp. if the handle really looked like a handle, or traditional Cuban? colors/patterns were used ... would still give the idea or a maraca and could lay flatter on chest or next to ears well? Diane B.
.......marbles or other beads could be used as the forms, or the inside or outside of one of the hemisphere type steel forms or of the silicone sheet molds
....more details on making hollow spheres and "lentil" shapes in Beads > Hollow... more on rattles in Kids > Other Items > rattles + maracas

Diane V's polymer hot air balloon ornament ... her glass ball ornament balloon is not perfectly round , but could be)
.......she partly covers the middle of the ball with X's s the "ropes" (+ small medallion over each join)
.......she connects the top and bottom of X's with rows of scallopped +leaf-cutter holes cut out, and twisted ropes
.......also adds on the top row four larger, dimensional, 4-loop bows (each loop a pointed oval cutout, pinched at each end... each folded over (a tube of paper, hold shape in baking) so that pinched ends stacked... all 4 pinched tips joined tip-to-tip in a "plus" shape ...tiny flattened ball placed over the join area to hide it
.......then she hangs a clay basket underneath (thin rope of clay coiled around removable form as base... twisted ropes (2 of same color?) coiled around that... another strip of scallopped, cut-out clay near top, etc.
not polymer, but inspirational, and could be adapted:
...Martha Stewart's guest made hot air balloon ornaments using an upside down glass ball ornament, cap removed
........then decorated balloon and basket with tinsel and vintage cutouts....not hard to make at all. hjmlr

small house (with the neck hole used as the door, a chimney, window, vent pipe, etc.) could be made with a covered glass ball
. . . fantasy type, even themed as for Halloween

a "display window" can be created by mostly covering a glass votive, leaving one area blank
.........Kara mostly covered a jar and put a baby inside
I tried cutting windows intoclay covered ball as cells for stained glass, etc., and also trying to figure out how to make Art Nouveau style designs. Diana
ome glass balls look as if they are frosted, with a window area that's unfrosted for seeing inside
........might be a fun thing to do with fine glitter held with glue/water
like Elmers, or glass etching cream

Gay's lesson on lighting a covered glass ornament from inside the bulb (to hang on the tree) (see more on lesson in Christmas > Glass Ball Ornaments)
y goal is to have a bowl full of covered glass xmas ornament balls using see-through layered canes. If it seems safe, Id like to put a tiny string of lights inside the balls to make them glow. Kind of an alternative to candles..
...I made two different types using translucent clay which allowed some of the light to show through..
...The second balls were done with a single layer of cane slices that have a lot of translucent in the cane. Slicing the canes very thin make it a lightweight ornament and lets light glow thru the translucent parts. I also took a razor and shaved any thick parts down to make the final sanding easier.
. . . Something I think looks really pretty is to make the top layer a thin sheet or cane slices of translucent with small bits of gold clay barely mixed in. I think silver will work too. Applied over a darker base the metalic bits seem to float over the design.
...(The first try had been an attempt to make several layers; these turned out sort of heavyweight. Using your pasta machine and mud cover a ball neatly and bake (this is a step you can omit but it does make working with the thin glass easier later.) The first layer was applied, it has a lot of transluscent stripes in it so the mud shows thru it a bit. It was baked and then sanded and buffed... .For the second layer, I made a simple cane of translucent slabs and thin white sheets. I cut thin thin sheets of that cane (lengthwise?) to lay on the baked (mud-covered) ball and let it smoosh and wander all over the surface. Smooth and bake again. Sand sand sand and buff buff buff! A coat of Future and its done.) Diana C.
...(see more on translucent canes and see-through effects in Canes-Instr.
> Translucent Canes)

Glass balls could be covered or partly covered, then have the glass broken out after baking, as below ....leaving the hollow clay ball behind (see Light Bulbs)
Kim2's lesson on partially covering an xmas ball with "strings" of clay, and breaking it out
caneguru's many techniques on ball ornaments (some with balls broken out for "openwork" of connected cane slices or glow-in-the-dark stars, e.g.)
(website gone)

INSIDE balls
...Carol Duvall also has a lesson on cutting and decorating a .005 acetate sheet before rolling it around a pen to allow it to be inserted into a clear ball (instead of the acetate, we could use some of the decals?TLS clings? tattoos? or other transfers?) . . . for her disk, a drawing can be made with paint pens or permanent markers, or color laser copies can be attached to one or both sides of the disk using a glue stick; nudge into place with chopstick, etc.,,HGTV_3472_1371450,00.html
(see more on coloring, painting, aor putting things inside glass balls in Christmas > Glass Ball Ornaments)

WARNING ....the glass shapes which Michaels sells for ornaments (the ones you buy separately for about $1.00 each) are really fragile! and thinner than ordinary the glass balls bought as 12 to a box, etc. thumb went through one (while I was putting slices on it) & shattered the glass w/ very little pressure
...... the glass went all over everywhere too
......I went back to attempt to do the "other" (teardrop) shaped ornaments I'd bought--same brand, even thinner! One shattered when I gently laid a cane slice on, then rolled it against the palm of my hand. ...I'm not sure it would withstand a drop off of a tree branch . .since they're more expensive, I'd expect them to be less fragile and dangerous, but they're A LOT thinner. Laurel
...i have learned, thru experience dealing with fragile surfaces, to never use my thumb (too strong), ring, or baby fingers (little control). ...use the index finger only with an occasional switch to the middle finger.... also roll the fingers back and forth only, never push.... apply all the canes first using the pointer finger to secure them to the surface without any regard to smoothing... once all the canes are applied, then use a small roller or brayer to smooth and blend them out. Sunni strengthen those kinds of glass shapes, maybe you could cover them with liquid clay and bake before covering just like one way of preparing eggs for covering. (Brenda Lea)
......I use a stabiliser (on my fragile quail eggs) before covering. . . PVA (white) glue - the thicker the better (let dry overnight). You possibly could consider a similar treatment for the glass ornaments - they'll be an awful lot stronger and if they do break, the glass will be covered in a plastic envelope .. Alan V.

Anything made with glass balls could prob. be made from light bulbs instead ..(see below in Light Bulbs)

Light Bulbs

(can be covered and left intact, or the bulb broken out)

more info and ideas also in nightlamps & lights, below

*JeanComport's Bulbette, et al. light bulbs
canejane's covered light bulb vessels with stoppers
antkar's figures over light bulbs (website gone)
Jenny’s sculpted gnome faces over lightbulbs (with removable hats)
(website gone)

see Glass Balls above, and also Eggs (regular covered eggs and "vinegar eggs" where the shell has been dissolved out), and possibly even Vessels/Rock for lots of photo inspiration re covering light bulbs

lesson: Jody B’s technique
I'm making vessels by covering a light bulb with a layer of strong and flexible polymer (no Sculpey III... I used Premo) and then breaking out the bulb after it is baked..
. .I wrap the bulb in a #1 sheet of clay, but leave the metal part hanging out. . . I always leave about a quarter inch of the glass not covered by the clay as well. . . then I bake it.
...To break the bulb, (while still warm/hot?) stick the clay covered end into a paper bag, and then gather up the bag opening around the bottom of the screw end.
.....Hold the metal screw end and give the bulb a sharp whack with the back of a heavy knife right where the glass meets the metal. This should break the glass away from the metal part and it will fall into the bag. (There is no "plosion" of any kind, either "im" or "ex"! )
...Carefully pick up the clay covered bulb and squeeze it to break the glass inside. The clay will flex but the glass will break. This takes a few squeezes. Just keep squeezing and dumping the broken glass out until it's all gone...
Tape up the bag of glass shards and dispose of it.
...Rinse the clay vessel with running water and wipe with a paper towel to remove any tiny bits of glass that might be left.
(be careful not to do this over a disposal though... could damage it?)
... Now you can continue to embellish your vessel as you please. The standard bulbs make cute teapots and there are a lot of other fun shapes available. Jody B. (see Jody's video)

video: Exploring Liquid Sculpey: Jody Bishel (Mindstorm)
....Thanks, Jody. I owe (all the compliments) to you. The tutorial (on your video for how to make a vessel by covering-then-breaking-out a light bulb) is very clear and easy to follow... I also have a couple of 4 and 5 inch round ones that I am going to tackle as soon as I get up the nerve. I don't have any of the flood lights however. You do marvelous things with those. Marlene
Marlene's (pomegranate-type) vessels based on Jody Bishel's video
(click on Vessels)

The key is to shatter the glass (bulb) while the clay is still hot and pliable.Lysle

Could you cover the bulb with foil then place the clay over it? When you crack the bullb, all the fragments would be inside the foil and you could just pull it (or shake it) out. No? ljmint
...though see Joanie's description of doing this with a small glass bulb for pendants

Jody, another time I made a couple light bulb vessels, and started out with coating it with TLS, then curing with my heat gun, then another layer of TLS and curing and then applying whatever it was I was going to apply as my 'decoration'/outer decor...and this seems to really help with the flexibility in the end with breaking out the bulb and so forth...I used the 'foils' after the first layer of TLS and WOW...this thing is so flexible!!! Kim

(To add more embellishments after baking . . . )
. . . you can remove the light bulb (after baking) before putting on your embellishments. The trick is to make sure your added pieces aren't too thick and heavy, and that you use a very small amount of one of the liquid clays to help bond the baked and unbaked clay together. . . . However, it's sometimes hard to keep a piece from sliding off. It's best to put the pieces on and let them sit for a while. Keep checking them and making sure they are in the right position. If not, rearrange them and let sit longer.
. . . Another way is to hit the added pieces with a heat gun right after you apply them, until you are certain they are adhered, then bake for the regular time. .
... You can also make and bake the pieces to be added and then zap them on with a strong cyanoacrylate glue. The only problem here is if the piece is rounded, the added pieces may not conform to that shape and may be difficult to glue. Thin pieces work better as they will bend a little. Dotty in CA

I put cool twisty legs on it, made a cool stopper with gold slices on it rolled in and buffed to a shine, and made a gold and pearl mosaic band with black grout around the fat part.

you can make a stopper for the top, or add feet or make into a body of some kind (see BOH > Stoppers/Lids, etc.).
.......canejane's bottles with stoppers and clay rings for stand (could be done with small bulbs too) (Picturetrail website gone)

lesson: most of my light bulb vessel lids are finished like this:
...After I have built up the lip of the vessel, I roll a snake of clay, make a loop out of it to fit inside the neck of the vessel and apply it to the inside to the piece. I shape it to form a ledge for the lid to sit on. Most of the lids start with a dome formed over a wooden bead and baked. I add about a quarter inch foot to the bottom of the lid. This is all sized so that it can fit nicely in the little ledge I've built inside the vessel. Look at a sugar bowl, it's the same idea. From there I add on the stem that supports the leaves, the trim around the edge of the dome and finally the leaves and finial on top. Jody B.

make a really neat vase or vessel
...piggy banks actually shaped like pigs-- use a round vanity bulb and make the bulb stem the bottom hole for the cork
...Christy S' bowl (flame vessel) made over broken out bulb, with hand-shaped flame shapes made from of black>gold>copper>black Skinner blend sheet

musical instruments that rattle when shaken. ...Do they have lids?
....I used large light bulbs at Christmas to make maracas for my sons. I covered the bulbs with a thin layer of Premo and then applied various 'wild' cane slices. Very psychedelic. I didn't break the glass for this project although I have for others. Added rice and lentils then constructed a stopper attached to a wooden dowel handle and baked again. They loved them. Marie
... (Donna Kato's lesson using a glass xmas ball; she makes a polymer handle as well---see details above in Ball Ornaments),2045,DIY_15079_2504794,00.html )

hot air balloons balls or clear lightbulbs "drawn on " with leading, or foil over adhesive (see Leaf-Foils > Foil-g;ues, also with large "jewels" connecting lines for decoration
...regular light bulb.. onlay and/or paint inside of light bulb ... attach screw-threaded "baskets" underneath with strings of leading ( drizzling liquid clay or using extruded ropes clay could work, along with other onlays) ics/morephotos.htm (gone) remove glass from metal screw-in on lightbulb (carefully!!):
.....ocassionally I've had kids overtighten a bulb in the socket and the base & the glass seperate, think this happens the most with the cheap bulbs from the $ stores. cap1
....using a very fine file, razor saw, or emery board., carefully saw aroud the lightbulb to score it right where the glass meets the threaded base...then you will be able to snap the bulb right off at the base and extract the base complete with the long glass filament holder. (best to do several bulbs at a time, since some will turn out better than others). flintbuilt
....DH and son cut 2 bulbs with no problem...he said the trick was using cheap bulbs... he said he pinched the last two rows of the silver part with channel locks (pliers?) and pulled and gently twisted and it came off..., then he put in a tablespoon of salt in and swirled it around so that you see in it and then pulled out any left over stuff with hemostats..After all clear, he heated the edge with a torch and used a piece of board to sit it on to smooth the edges..nurseray
..... instead of squeezing the metal threads, squeeze the metal 'button' on the bottom a few times. This will break the fillament loose, push it into the bulb, then with a pair of hemistats peel the threads off. The metal is soft and will tear and come off in more than 1 piece, the glue under should flake off and use fine sandpaper to get the rest off. I do put a piece of masking tape on the bulb just above the metal, seems to add strength to the glass to keep it from breaking. Vallen
...diamond cutter (roller type, or better a diamond tipped scribe cutting tool from hardware store)... score around base and try to break off (like stained glass) or may have to tap around the scored line a bit first
...DH and his brothers say to put a thin wire around area to cut and heat it then just drop a drop of cold water on it and it should break clean. no-way-pal
..."lightbulb bombs" ... On some lightbulbs, the lightbulb glass can be removed from the metal base by heating the base of a lightbulb in a gas flame, such as that of a blowtorch or gas stove. This must be done carefully, since the inside of a lightbulb is a vacuum (though many aren't vacuum any more, but an inert gas like argon). When the glue gets hot enough, the glass bulb can be pulled off the metal base.... In either case, once the bulb and/or base has cooled down to room temperature or lower.. moonwillow
...or could cut off in metal part, then remove?

Eva E's Balinese Filigree dress on spotlight or track light shaped bulb for angel

Party Lights . . . strings of light globes either plain for covering, or already covered with cane slices (click on Gifts, then on the photo about fifth from bottom with 8 incense trays)...cane slices (clear globes) (many lights in glass, plastic, papers, site... others could be covered as well?) (click on Groovy String of Lights...strips of stripes) (metal-frame shades over bulbs) or
... (star cutouts in metal shades... could do with tin?)
Eberhard Faber's lesson on making (cardstock or?) paper cones (with images on surface "decoupaged" both sides with liqud clay), into which a small bulb from a string of lights is placed

....could also cover the rope lights (long plastic ropes containing many LED bulbs, spaced)? ... use most translucent clay

Also made Snowman and Santa table top ornaments. Marie

light bulbs can also be painted with acrylic paints (usually two coats for base layer), then embellished with polymer bits (hats, vines, accessories, etc.)

alarm lights (Sun Alarm)...don't know if they could be covered or partly covered with clay, but these dome bulbs come attached to an alarm clock and brighten gradually before it's due to go off (easier to wake up).... cool

smaller bulbs, also for pendants

Lynn K's lesson on covering a large outdoor xmas bulb then embellishing with onlays

Kris Richards' lesson on making a Santa head with a large xmas lightbulb (see also Santa lessons, down under Wood) (could be done with smaller bulb as well)
Terry Lee's covered xmas bulb, with head & ruff added at top (as stopper?) ...and bottom tail curled back to body
Jan’s xmas lightbulb-covered pendant containers (gone??wrote)
Crafty Michele's covered xmas lightbulbs & mini-sewing container (Genie bottle and pendant) --ok (gone?)
Cheryl's babies in bunting ornaments (prob. over xmas bulb)...face/hood added atop (gone?)

...using the small Christmas or night light bulbs, you don't have to break the bulb with a hammer. . . Just squeeze the metal end with pliers and it breaks right out! I do take a bit more care removing the glass at the opening, though. I found that I got cracks if I didn't use a tool to loosen the fractured glass for about the first quarter to half inch. After that part is gone, I can go back to the squeeze and dump method. Jody (also see Vessels-Rock)

I've been putting a burnished down layer of alum (?) foil over my bulbs. Then, when I break the metal ends off & squeeze it a bit to break up the glass... I can slide a needle tool behind the foil and pop it all off the wall of the bulb from behind. I pull the foil out with a pair of hemastats... and dump the glass out. If I look inside and all the foil is gone.. I KNOW all the glass is gone too. No guessing with my fingers! Joanie

I used a big old green Christmas light but couldn't get the darned glass out. The paint fused with the clay. So I gave up and covered over the opening and I guess what I now have is a very pretty polymer clay plumb bob! I'll stick to night light bulbs from now on. Jody
(The bulb that gave me trouble was a C9 sized green bulb that has burnt out on a string of outdoor lights. The color was painted on the outside of the bulb and bonded beautifully with my clay. Too bad I wanted to get that glass out! I suppose that different companies may make the bulbs differently so some do stick while others don't. Me, I'm sticking to the clear ones! Jody
The ones I have are clear, Diane...but I'm sure you could just remove the paint from the others with soaking or acetone...wash ..and then bake (see website) Jan

I just asked the DH (physics person) about baking bulbs under various conditions. He said there shouldn't be any problems with baking regular bulbs or halogen bulbs, burned out or not, completely covered or only partly, because they're intended for that kind of heat (plus much more). . . (if you're still worried worry about it anyway, use one of the "enclosed baking" methods).
....I have heard some people say that the bulb can explode in the oven if it hasn't burnt out, but I use new ones all the time because if I see a great shape I want to try it . . . and I've never had a problem . . . (if by chance one did pop, I'm not too worried about it because my oven is for clay only and kept out on my porch). Jody

....about halogen bulbs . . . he said that there's either chlorine or iodine gas inside which is toxic, but so little of it he didn't think it would be a problem at all. He did say though that the glass of halogen bulbs is made of quartz, so it's thicker than regular bulbs and should be much harder to break out.. Diane B.
....I think maybe the vase I just made *was* using a halogen light bulb. It's one of the large bulbs (with the typical rounded lightbulb shape) that goes in overhead hanging lights. It made a little hissing noise when I broke off the end, and the glass was majorly strong so all I could do was encase the jagged edges in some clay…The nice thing is that with the light bulb intact, the vase will definitely hold water for real flowers :) Ronda

Nightlights ...Shields-Screens .... Lamps

....more info & ideas re these in votives (above, just beneath "Glass")

Various types of "nightlights" (and various sizes) can be used or made in several ways with polymer clay:
...some of the plastic (or glass) shields or covers can be directly covered with clay
...clay shields can be made separately, in another way first, then glued or otherwise attached to the existing shield
...clay shields can be freestanding and used without anything underneath
...clay shields can be used as shades over existing bulbs (covered shades, or freestanding)
...also, tiny nightlight-plugs can be embedded into clear resin, then used in some way with clay (see Other Materials > Resins > Epoxy Resins > Partial Embedding)

Do be aware that using more-opaque clay colors for any of these will reduce the light they give off

SHIELDS & SCREENS, ETC. used as diffusers or "shades" (larger & medium):

free-standing (armatures removed):
Donna Kato's lesson on making a free-standing translucent lantern (like a luminaria) over removable cardstock or flexible cardboard which is wrapped around a fat candle for shape and size,2058,2853,FF.html
Linda G's freestanding cylinder-type lamps with sev. layers of silkscreened images made w/ acrylic paint onto translucent clay

with clay bases:
I covered a small display globe with clay (using a release?), and then removed it.
.....then I made a base for the baked clay dome out of clay (junk clay covered with appropriate matching color).. I cut a small hole in the back (not the bottom) of the "globe" to insert the night light "clip" (. I really wanted a base that was premade out of wood....but it added too much $$ to the cost of the product so I made one from polymer). Jan Ohio

Vince's fabulous sloped-dome, 6" tall, "nightlights" ...with clay bases and assembled wiring
...dome-shield is made over an upturned 6" drinking glass, which has been covered with tighly packed alum. foil
(for easy removal of clay later) to create flare at top of glass and the dome at bottom
.....first layer of clay is #1-2 pasta-machined sheet of translucent (Sculpey & Fimo) clay on it... this is baked
.....he then covers the hardened translucent with a second layer of cane slices or other decorative clay, etc., and smooths (sometimes by putting a piece of plastic wrap over the clay slices first)
..... (bakes again, cools & removes clay)
... bases for the lamps are 4.5" disks of clay with a 5/8" hole and circular ridge rising from the top about 1/2" in from the lip... he adds feet to the underside. . . .
...wiring:... remove the wire from the base of
a socket of a (4 or 7 watt) Christmas light (this may mean popping out a small wedge) and replace it with 18 gauge zip cord.... the plug is a clip-on type that clamps on to the other end of the wire. I usually put a small rotary switch on the cord as well. (Radio Shack has most of what's needed)
...larger light covers could be made for fluorescent bulbs, or with "ventilation" (open top and bottom). Vince
(see above for alarm lights)

James Lehman's large, wavy sheet lamp shields, standing on edge on wood bases (light behind)

Elisa Winters' two panel translucent screen with wood framing and legs

sunni's lesson on making an almost flat clay base unit (flat sheet with two "logs")to hold a (polymer) stained glass plaque or shield, which allows a set of xmas mini lights to be balled in the back (she set on twinkling mode) and show through from the front (last pages of lesson)

with purchased base
...Becky Meverden's lesson on making a freestanding, large rectangular clay lamp screen for a lamp kit which comes with a wood base and light...she uses a milk carton as a temporary armature/template for the clay --and doesn't use the plastic screen included with the kit) ... then she onlays various fish,1789,HGTV_3255_3748865,00.html
source for kits

...for more
kits, see kits with smaller glass parts just below (some must be covered, some may be usable as temporary armatures)

Vesta's lesson on creating a (paper) sleeve to fit over frosted plastic cylinder in a using a Cozy Glo Light kit (kit includes cylinder, base with a light in it... 5-6" tall, 3" in diameter. frosted globe, soft glow 4W bulb ...clay could be used instead, but may have to bake separately if plastic can't take polymer temps,1789,HGTV_3337_2216522,00.html (to order the blank kits, $7.50-9.50 + hefty s/h)

covered armatures (not freestanding):

...Ikea's rectangular (9"x 4") glass tube "lamp" (frosted)... can simply cover with clay and bake...small arch-hole in bottom for cord...less than $5 ...takes chandelier bulb, Max. 40W, E12 ...they have some other shapes too (enter GRONO table lamp into search box)
......Desiree's Grono light mostly covered with cane slices (in daylight, and in dark lit from within by 25 w bulb)
...could also use glass "hurricane lamp" shields, glass vases of various types (not open at bottom, so drill hole or use candle)
(see more in votive candle holders)
Diane Dunville's large lighted covered translucent lamps
syndee holt's lesson on embellishing a ceramic lamp base with sealife scene (molded and sculted bits + sheets glued on after baking),,HGTV_3466_1389017,00.html

(not exactly a lamp, but lit inside) Leslie Blackford's photo transferred onto translcuent clay which is mounted in the front face of a polymer clay box, then lit from inside

various lampshades, covers, and large lamp shields from Ravensdale classes (gone... boohoo)

Linda Goff's nightlight sheet shields ....gluing sheets of translucent clay (decorated with "etched clay transfers") to the existing shields of nightlights?...3-4" in size
...I make my own shields for store-bought nightlights .....remove the plastic coverof the ugliest, cheapest nightlight ...make a shield...attach it to the remainder of the nightlight using E6000
...Michelle R's lesson on cutting off most (all but bottom 1/2") of the plastic shield using a Dremel & cutoff wheel, or fine-toothsaw?)... (measure first & make template)...cut sheet of #3 translucent clay same as template size ...make liquid clay transfer decal to put on top of trans. with more liquid clay... bake over paper towel cardboard tube... remove and attach to remaining 1/2" of cover with superglue gel,1789,HGTV_3352_1812806,00.html
....if the lights can't be baked, it might be neat to make 'cling' of liquid clay to cover the glowing part of the plug-in lights... and it would be easy to change them now and then, for the seasons or whatever too. Ke (would cling to plastic?)
...Jan Ohio's nightlights ttp://
catbyte's leaves in front of nightlights (website gone)
...BUY simple nightlights retail, or online::
...National Artcraft...nightlight blanks and parts (frames with clips, shade clips), button lights
(wholesale?, minimum order)

KyleDesigns ...rocker switch or automatic sensor (pkgs of 3, or more)... no bulb or clip included
... wholesale not nec.
kits with smaller glass parts:
...for a way to display canes with a light showing through. ...Michael's has a light kit for $4.50 that is one Christmas tree size light bulb and holder on an electrical cord with plug, and a ceramic ring to serve as base and hold the bulb.... You could make a lamp globe covered with cane slices. Those thumb switches that go on the cord are pretty cheap (2/75 cents) and are easy to put on--instructions on the packaging.
...The nightlight kit with clay looks like a snowglobe on a black base, only the globe part is kind of flatish on top. It's definitly more "lampish" than "night lightish", but it has a nightlight bulb in it and was called a nightlight kit.

...Klockit has several kits too. You can get a free catalog here. . .. Jan
...I have been wanting to try my hand(s) at poly clay night lites and finally found the parts. I went to a stained glass supply store and found the plug-in part, the bulb and the little clip to atach the polymer piece to. Greg
...I bought some kits from the hobby store (small light sockets, with bulbs and cord) and used a fish bowl for an armature for a domed light. ...The base was clay with a hole in the center to hold the bulb..and the cord then plugged into the wall. They come with a switch already on the cord. I think Michaels has them well as some of the woodworking places JAN @->--

see also Vince's 6" tall, domed nightlight lamps just above


Bonnie Bishoff's "lampshades" for torchiere floor lamps (large bowl shape placed upside down around bulb area)... translucent clay with trans & neutral spirals and

.votive shade ...I've a different way of making flat clay sheets from canes - came up with this for a different reason, but it works. Take a sheet of GLASS (heavy, tempered, edges you can't cut yourself on etc.) and put your cane slices down onto that, so you can't see light between them. If the slices are thin, put a backing sheet of thin clay on the back, and use a rolling pin to flatten it into the slices. Let it rest, then peel off the whole thing. The surface you pressed into the glass is dead flat. Even better, if you want a flat sheet baked, cut to shape, peel off the unwanted bits and bake it without taking it off the glass. I've just finished a thin-walled tube of clay (blue translucent and white Fimo soft) made by this method (no backing sheet) but inside a tube of glass - the tube of glass removed after baking.... the outside is totally flat, and looks polished. Crafty Owl.
...As for electrical wiring for nightlights, I have made lights for my tole painting projects and I buy a single Christmas electric candle stick, you can often get these for two dollars... all I have to do is cut off the plastic casing and you have all the parts you need,it usually comes with an in-cord on/off switch too. su
Aleene's lesson on lamp shade on top of long-stemmed wine glass ...used as votive candle holder (not polymer, but could be)

Karen L's lampshades .....+ matching frames, votives, switchplates

...... (for more lessons and info on making shades, for candles, etc., see Paper below)

I was thinking of making little round, translucent globes, (maybe more like tiny fishbowls, with one end open) much like tiny paper lanterns, and hanging them over the mini-lights. Shouldn't be that hard to jury rig a little bit of wire that goes from one side of the opening of the globe, through the 'V' of the wire of the mini-lights, and back to the other side of the globe....Debbie/Twinkle

There are instructions for making sleeves for "twinkle" lights in my book "Creative Ways With Polymer Clay" on page 79 . These are little polymer clay sleeves that slip over mini lights and make them glow beautifully. The neat thing is that you can make them in all one color, a rainbow of colors, or in shaded colors. The design is by Susan Hyde...I found them extremely easy to make, fast, and fun. Dotty
.......(rectangular clay, wrapped partly around a pencil lengthwise sort of like opening flower buds... baked... then stuck over mini light bulbs)
Eberhard Faber's lesson on making (cardstock or?) paper cone sleeves (with images on surface "decoupaged" both sides with liqud clay), into which a small bulb from a string of lights is placed

(tiny houses can be illuminated with mini lights for dioramas, Xmas, Halloween, etc. too... see Kids > Scenes, Christmas, Halloween, Houses-Structures for more)

my miniature polyclay lamps use LEDs (using batteries as their power sources)
...but LEDs would also work in a polyclay lighthouse too. Alan V. (see Kids for lighthouses)

Tiffany lamp shade for miniature clay lamp ...lesson by Alan V.

....the lamp shade is made as one would make a bowl (ie around a spherical shape)
......the canes are made from bleached translucent clay which has been stained using Pinata alcohol based inks - all subcanes are wrapped in blackened silver Premo to mimic the leading in stained glasswork....(the butterflie canes are made using my wing-cane method --Nov 03 PCpolyzine)... areas between the butterflies are filled using canes also made from stained trans. clay in random colours (again, the boundaries are silver). ... instead of a base for the bottom of the bowl, I added a finial - silver/black clay again (now the bowl is used upside down as a shade)
.....the lamp's base is made from thin gauge brass sheet (1/200th inch thick I think it is). The dimensions of the foot have to be carefully designed so they will house a 2x AAA battery holder and a miniature toggle switch on a small steel bracket..... A brass tube (for the wires) is soldered to the centre of the base and tinned wires to support the shade are soldered around the top of the tube. The base and stem are then covered with clay - usually I use black or the same darkened silver as in the trans canes and decorate the base with moulded leaves or an impressed pattern. Then the whole base unit is cured.
......the lamp'sbulb is actually a 3mm high intensity white LED which I've dipped into silicone sealant to make a diffuser for the light (otherwise all the light goes directly upwards and doesn't really illuminate the shade evenly.
.....finally, the whole unit is assembled, wired and the parts either glued or soldered together as appropriate. Then add batteries and switch on - hopefully there will be light! Using the 2xAAA batteries and the high efficiency white LED, the life of the batteries is surprising - about 6 to 10 days continuous light (which doesn't get yellower as the batteries age as it would with a filament bulb). Alan

it might be cool also to put clay over or in front of? the lighted areas of those new "rope lights" (guess you'd have to glue on a flat piece or cane slice or pre-bake tubes that could slide on??). Hmmmmm
.... or instead maybe putting the whole string of them inside a brandy snifter or small fish bowl, etc., with clay in front could be considered one BIG BOH, or maybe it would be better to do that with a string of mini-lights which would fit into something smaller... even a wine glass. Diane B.

Patti's lighted tree topper (gone?)
Meredith's light (gone?)

(see more ideas for light-shining through items in Christmas > ... made from translucent clays, or cutout areas in opaque clay)

COVERING lamps (bases) and other lights
Spumoni's lesson on covering a ceramic lamp ....after removing wiring (lesson on that too)
L.Osborne (Cath's) small ceramic lamp embellished with large onlaid sculpted rose and two leaves, etc

Petra's miniature lamps (website gone)

ADD glass block lights here

ashtary lights...put a 20-string of lights in the bowl of one of two glass ashtrays... string the plug cord thru the slot where a cigarette would lay. Place the other ash tray on top making the slots be on top of each other to make a (sphere). I used several thing rubber bands around the ashtrays in two places. Then I covered with gold ribbon. this way if the lights burn out I can easily take it apart and replace them. ...I had mine on for a long time and they get warm but not too hot but best turn them off if you leave the house or befroe you go to bed. Eileen
...depending on the ashtray shapes and textures, these could be covered with clay

."tap" lights ...Sandy P. covered her (battery-operated, plastic-domed) tap lights (used for closets, etc... tap on dome to turn on/of) with polymer slices over a layer of Sobo white glue.. baked at 250 for 15 min... sanded ... came out fine
.... she actually used glow-in-the-dark clay as part of her cane, so perhaps it may glow for awhile after the light is turned off (and maybe even glow a bit for some of the night so it could be found easily in the dark)
...tap lights nowadays seem to be available in different shapes, etc., so the plastics used for other tap lights may be different... experiment first

...she removed screws from some area at some point, but don't know which ones yets... will ask

...I took one tap light apart and baked the dome and ring at 275 - no go. Melted mess. Julie possibility is that your 275 is too hot. She baked hers at 250, and for 15 minutes only. I remember that the critical temp for some other plastics (like black film canisters, I think) is about that time and temp.... in other words, 250 for 10-15 minutes is okay (especially if the clay completely covers the plastic, and also using a buffer layer of white glue can help), but hotter or longer are not okay. Don't know though
....... also not sure about the "ring" you mention. I'm assuming she baked only the dome, but as I said still haven't heard from her. If your ring were metal, it might have heated any plastic it touched much hotter? Diane B.

UNUSUAL BASES for lamps (not necessarily clay-related)

(+ gourds, sticks, cork, nuts. . . + knobs, figures, & veneers)

NOTE: do not do ice water plunges (to increase clarity of translucent clays) with polymer-covered wood items unless they are completely sealed first (the wood may swell and crack the clay) ... may be okay though if the plunge is very brief?

When covering unfinished or raw wood items, you must heat the wood for about 15 min. at 250-275 degrees (soft woods?) to dry them ou t completely. . . this will help prevent the moisture present in unfinished wood from expanding during the later baking and causing bubbling or cracking in the clay covering.
...this might also depend on the size of the wood object --or natural material like a gourd, nut shell or piece of bark-- and how "dried out" it is already... it's probably fine to dry most anything at 150-200 degrees, for a lot longer too
Jon Anderson uses armatures under his clay coverings from scrap clay or hand carved wood...after applying slices, he bakes "for a period of hours "further reducing the images (?) and tightening the spaces (?) between the individual tiles... process may create crazing or tiny fissures in the clay"... (wood not completely dried out, or ?) ...

Then coat it with one of several things:
...a layer of white-type glue (like regular Elmer's or Sobo) . . .let the glue dry completely before adding any clay (or moisture in the glue can bubble up because it has no way to escape) ...may also help to let rest at least a while before baking, and bake and cool as gradually as possible ..even tenting or enclosed baking can moderate the temp too

...I coat my wood eggs with Sobo glue before baking (let dry completely). ...then your clay "base" layer should stick quite well to the surface. ...I usually bake again at this point(??), before I apply the cane slices, or whatever. Jaynemarie
I cover my wood with Elmers 'wood' glue first. Let completely dry, then apply clay. The only time I have incountered cracks in my clay is when the clay is uneven in thickness.
One more solution to take care of moisture in unfinished wood... Donna Kato decorated a frame with polyclay on HGTV recently. She painted the frame with acrylic paint first, no other treatment necessary before applying the clay.
….painting with acrylic seals the moisture in the wood (all wood contains moisture no matter how long you try to dry it).
. . . someone said this smells when baked?
I ended up putting a layer of gesso on the wood before covering with clay. Then it did not crack later. Jeanne

Anything water based which is applied to wood will 'raise the grain', making the wood a bit fuzzy as the wood fibres absorb the water... but once dry, the primer paint would really seal the wood preventing it from absorbing any moisture. ....If applied while the wood was still warm from the oven, I think you'd get a near perfect moisture seal that way.
.....for later painting or varnishing, raised grain is bad news and must be sanded smooth ...but for using with clay, but I'm curious to know whether the fuzzy fibres might not mesh with the clay, thus creating a good mechanical bond? ...And does the glue provide a mechanical or a chemical bond, or both, with clay ? Karen G.

Sunni did an experiment on using translucent liquid clay instead of glue (on eggs...would work as well for wood?)... she tried both baking the TLS beforre adding her clay (cane slices) and also adding clay over the still-wet TLS . . both worked well and there were no bubbles in the clay slices covering she will use unbaked TLS under her clay covering from now on
......I queried a friend of mine though and she recommend using TLS, and doing a couple of bakes since the first application of TLS may get too soaked into the wood to effectively adhere to the clay. Desiree

Probably Flecto's Varathane would work too? ...and also Future?

...(more on adhesives and primers in Glues, and in Liquid Clay > "As Glue")

Karen Rhodes covers her unfinished wood turnings pieces with floral tape before adding a base layer of clay (see figures made over wood shapes just below) ...she sells the wood pieces at (click on Wood)

for his little people, Jack Schwend uses a small wood form (a piece you can usually find with the small wood turnings at a craft or hardware store which is round at the top for a "head," has an indented area for the "neck)" and a solid cylinder at the bottom which acts as the torso... he cuts and tapers the bottom of the torso a bit so he can add legs from the upper hip area
... his Little Guys fly/hang or stand, Santas too...all coated with several layers of gloss Varathane so they look almost like high-glaze ceramic

I make large, polymer covered hardwood balls. ...mine are totally smooth with no extra embelishments on them. I cover a hardwood sphere with a coat of wood glue (which is a kind of white glue). Let it dry. Bake the heck out of it; several hours at about 300 F, to make sure it is dry, then I let it cool and cover it with polymer.
. . . It's fairly common to have the clay blow off the surface here and there (in a convection oven?), so I patch those areas and bake again.
.... once the clay is on there the way I like it, I polish the sphere by wet sanding (grit order: 180, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000.) James L
One substance that comes to mind that might work for hardwoods, though it isn't considered a glue, would be Flecto's Varathane....we know it bonds well to polymer clay even though it's a wood finish. . .
...hardwood epoxies, however, would seem to be the ideal, as least from the wood's standpoint....given wood's tendency to shrink and expand, you'd probably want something optimized for hardwood characteristics. . . .

wood beads
....I use the wooden beads from car seat covers that "help your back"---taxidrivers have 'em a lot, and people throw them out when the plastic thread breaks and there's a bead loose....there are enough to fill 2 gallon-baggies.... brand new at Target, they are usually around $6 (pay a kid a dollar to cut them free of the plastic they are strung onto)
........they need NO preparation at all (dont sand, dont soak, dont glue---just wrap with clay and bake). Sarajane
... when done mine looked great! ...but I went to finish them, and (re-)heated them at 200 for 10 mins just to warm them to put future on, and they all cracked severely!!! Jan C
... had you put these in water at ANY point??? ...also you must thoroughly dry them out in the oven before putting clay on (in MI)
... yeah, I guess I did give them an ice water dunk after curing... I might try some more, but seal first and no ice water dunk. Thanks! Jan C. get a smooth solid clay covering on round wood beads, you can extrude snakes of clay through the clay gun and wrap the beads like wrapping twine around a ball lining up the snakes evenly as you go... then roll in your hands and smooth (this works much easier than trying to cut a piece of clay and getting it to go the same thickness over the bead). Jeanne get beautiful metallic colors that have depth with a sheen on my wood beads, I useed several layers of Future and Pearl Ex...(coated with Future, painting on by finger...after drying, I applied streaks of Pearl-Ex (using different colors)... repeated (I had put these on skewers to hold them while painting and drying; standing them in a vase or container to dry.) ...don't remember how many layers. Liz
...if wood beads have been painted with acrylic paint, they won't need drying out before adding clay
...I've got some wood beads that are stained and I used them as bases for beads. All was fine til I dipped them in Future ...the stain ran and dyed the Future and I can see it around the holes of the I soaked them in water with bleach and most of the stain came out.... then baked them at 200 overnight to dry them. Dystini

I made some polymer pointers this way for one of my clients who kept getting ink on projects by using a ball point pen to point out certain it over a piece of steel music wire from the hobby store. Without the wire, it might flex too much. The other consideration would be weight. Covering wood might be lighter (maybe a chopstick?). Jody

handles of wooden spoons, etc..... use wood covering techniques, but see above in Metal above for photos and info on covering the handles of various pieces of silverware, measuring spoons, etc. in the same way... and possibly in Tools > Handles as well.

I covered a wood plaque (used as a base), a candle cup (for pen holder), and some wood spools with quilt canes once as a gift for a quilter...I painted it with acrylic paint which nicely finished the areas which weren't covered... on the spools, I put a strip of striped clay cut from a stack made from two shades of the same color (a light and a darker) so it would resemble "thread"
...Julie's lesson on covering mini wood spools with strips of patterned clay for beads

Omodtart's covered cars (I've seen wood cars and trucks at Michaels)

bare wood needlecases with slip caps can usually be purchased at quilt shops, etc.. and are great for covering with clay
(see also KyleDesigns' rectangular vertical metal tin with flap lid for holding needles, above under Metal > Other Tins)

Suzanne's recipe card file box covered with "tiles" over a base cover

Flo's hinged boxes with clasps (inexpensive ones, from Michaels, etc.) covered with clay, and fancy wood added to bottom, to become mini old-fashioned chests ("miniature trunks)

NOTE: the smaller, cheaper unfinished (basswood?) boxes (from Walmart, Michaels for 99 cents) are often just glued together
... and the glue will degrade when heated (and can come apart later)...and where the box had already started coming apart, sometimes the clay would crack there
... for those types of boxes, I use those tiny nails to reinforce the construction before I dry them and cover with a layer of white glue... then they seem to stay together. Carla

more than one wood piece (or other material) can be joined together to create more complex shapes, or larger shapes
....before covering, can attach with masking tape, glue, screws, etc.,
...or after covering each, can join with clay, glues, armature wire, etc.
...or even after baking each unit, can join with screws, etc., or add more clay then bake again

artfulblogger (saffronwoman) stacked 2 large wood items together to create a large tower clock .... round wood box with lid, placed on edge atop a tall thick wood candlestick
( holds clock face .. dimensional sun rays around face, & more onlays ... plain Sculpey, painted)

look also for flat wood cutout shapes (sometimes called Woodles) available in smaller or larger versions (for embellishment, ornaments, etc.)
...and dimensional wood turnings (eggs, balls, knobs, candle cups, spindles, flower pots,buttons, vehicles, etc.) ... even strips of wood molding
..look at craft or hobby stores, as well as some older hardware type stores
unfinished wood pieces
(various) (Darice)
unfinished wood shapes unfinished wood bottles, goblets, plates, nesting tall dome shapes, etc. (Minnesota Crafted)
unfinished wood boxes, shapes, plaques, etc. (Suzi's Wood Crafts)
wood bottles, goblets, plates, nesting tall dome shapes, etc. (Minnesota Crafted)
unfinished wood boxes, shapes, plaques, etc. (Suzi's Wood Crafts)

(see also Corks below)

chipboard and fiberboard are particles of wood mixed with glue and shaped into boards
...chipboard is large chips glued together ....fiberboard is very small particles of wood (almost sawdust)

see Veneers below for flat sheets of baked clay to glue onto surfaces, like wood tables ...(or any material and item)

for covering wood knobs, see Misc Items to Cover > Knobs below

*Karen's lesson on face-and-body wood egg figure (Santa, etc.)
~my little guys are made from a wood egg, covered with floral tape (it makes the clay adhere better to the wood). Karen
...Lynda's Santa lesson, based on Karen's lesson
Karen's dinosaur & frog with wood eggs/apples/pears underneath (may later include a ghost, carpenter, bird lover, faerie, wizard, etc?)
One of the reasons that I use wood turnings is because of the weight of them. They give more heft to the sculptures and I find people like to feel the weight. The frog was done with a wood egg and a wood apple (for the head). The dinosuar (who is reading Jurassic Park) uses a wood pear and wood egg connected by 22 gauge wire (for the neck). And a wood bowl is the rock under the dino. Karen
...Karen's other figures: (click on Galleries at bottom)
...Karen's lesson on covering a wooden egg (using wire armature for legs) to make a figure & head (a covered acorn)
Karen's website (Clay Alley) where she now sells wood turnings . . .

lesson on a partly-covered clothes pin as note holder by Mark Sawicki
......he takes a clothespin apart ...embeds one half in clay which he sculpts to resemble an alligator with teeth
......removes the half clothespin...bakes... then glues a whole clothes pin back into the depression (after drawing bottom teeth on the bottom half of the new clothespin) .....could add a magnet or two to the back also?,1789,HGTV_3237_3893971,00.html

I made a 2-storey dollhouse for my daughter primarily using popscicle sticks (for much of the furniture too)
...I used toenail clippers to cut the ends off of the sticks. Budster2023

gourds... & twigs, cork, nuts

GOURDS ....(these are the "hardshell" gourds, not the "ornamentals")
(...okay, I know gourds aren't actually wood, but they act a lot like it <g>)

Dar B's many gourds with polymer embellishments
more gourd possibilities: ...

Dar's bas relief onlay with Indian women, cactuses, pueblo
Bevelyn's various gourds..figures (with polymer faces) & rattles... also masks, etc.
(part of a ) gourd on mixed media figure as skirt
gourd "house" with onlays of tree, shutters, etc.
gourd with polymer face onlaid at top of stem "neck"... face is framed w/ cane-slice flowers/leaves.. made by Ann Stallings?
... bottom has fish-net type cording around outside, strung with beads (thick cane slices) for shaking (rattle) (..."Polimera")

Jennifer's whimsical gourds --Halloween, dogs, cats, birds (...see lesson on witch below)

Dawn S's incredible gourds... many covered... or covered with legs & parts added to create figures (mostly paperclay, but inspirational)

James' large shapes ... some over gourds
..some of my large round and/or complex shapes are made on solid forms -- plaster or (I sometimes use a real gourd --the technique is related to Dustin's rock purse forms ) ......the whole object is covered, and baked... then the clay skin is cut, and taken off in halves.... the halves are glued back together with TLS ...this shape is then covered with a decorative layer of clay.......I believe that I can make all sorts of complex shapes that integrate together to form very large sculptures that would be quite structural and 100% polymer! James ( see Vessels-Rock for more on this general technique)

gourds with bears or buffalo sculpts on top (of gourd with neck cut off) .. another gourd has little bear climbing up its side

gourd as container with polymer "lid"?

many photos of gourds made into figures and masks, etc. (these are mixed media, but the ideas are applicable to making figures, etc., with clay too) (gone?)

INFO & lessons on gourds
...preparation lesson (+ hanging gourd planters embellished with with polymer items & mixed media)
..Dar's lesson on prep., covering, baking, finishing (see Dar's link above)
.....I use polymer clay with my gourds most of the time, often covering them, but I also use onlay, clay over the cut rim. be on the safe side I would recommend at least drilling a hole somewhere (to let the hot air escape).
........however, when covering that whole gourd, there was no hole and it didn't blow up.... oh, the owl doesn't have a hole either..
.....I cleaned inside, then painted outside with Sobo (white) glue to give some tooth to all the other gourds
.....I've used a #3 base layer, thena #3-4 for cane slice layer or other decorative clay sheet
.....the only time I had polymer clay crack after baking on a gourd is when I put it in ice water (ice water quenching), like an explosion going off
....... I didn't take the paper off a coffee tin, and that sure cracked by the time it got out of the oven.
.....for a finish, I mostly use 3 coats of Future on all, then into the oven for 15 min to set it, I can really see a difference. Dar
..Dar's 2-pt. lesson on making tiny gourds into heads (and part torsos) by painting them... then she adds polymer for rest of torso, legs and colorful ponchos, etc. ...she puts these tiny gourd figures on a vine wreath ...(pt.2)
..Jennifer's lesson on making a Halloween witch gourd with drilled holes & Goop or epoxy? to receive arm ends,1789,HGTV_3282_3298922,00.html (for her other witches, see her website link above) on growing and preparing gourds for crafts
...lessons & info on dealing with (regular) gourds, and mail order gourds, kits, etc. for gourd info and ordering (even the tiny ones --"jewelry gourds") ..
...lots more helpful gourd sites ...

...gourds can be colored or finished in many ways: furniture wax, or shoe polish for added color, dye with fabric or leather dye, paint (acrylics, and others?), stain (oil-based, and others?), burn with a wood-burning tool, etc.... colors can be applied with paintbrush, sponges, stamps, etc.
...(for painting on gourds) ...for outdoor paint, I just use Patio Paint
...gourd "quilt" with many coloring techniques

Gourd can be used for many things:
... "sculptures" and home or wall decor, containers and baskets, lamp bases, birdhouses, rattles and musical instruments, even party decorations, or the small ones can be used for jewelry, ornaments, etc.. And they're ripe for any kind of mixed media.

The best (by far) book I've found on gourds is The Complete Book of Gourd Craft by Ginger Summit and Jim Widess. It has information on the different types of gourds, horticulture, 22 projects, 55 decorative techniques, and 300 inspirational designs. The finished gourds are the most stunning, professional-looking I've ever seen. The book is lavishly illustrated with photos, most in color. Ginger shows you masks, jewelry, dishes and other containers, decoupage, teneriffe, tapestry weaving, carving, inlay, and on and on. Although the price is a little steep at $26.95, I recommend checking (or, etc.)in the used book section (this site searches 20,000 outlets for the book(s) you want). You can often save as much as 90% on a book. Condition is frequently "new" or nearly so, (they'll describe the exact condition). --shoe

When i make a big dragon i always use a (dried) Kalebas (the family of hard squashes?) from India and Africa. The kalebas becomes the body of my dragons because it has a really nice shape:) For those who think making a dragon is really difficult this could be the sollution for your problems because half the dragon is there already :) And you don't use that much clay because the only clay items are legs,feet,arms,claws,head, tail and for some wings.(not all have to have wings) And you can work in one color clay and paint the clay and kalebas when they are baked. Ria

Dar's dried-bean-pod "body" covered with clay, with face attached (mold)

many (long) covered sticks, and sticks displayed in vase, from Arizona guild swap and

Actual corks should be able to covered as long as they're coated first with white glue (or acrylic paint) just like wood should be (...corks are the bark of the "cork oak" tree... there's lots of air in-between it's tiny cells compared with most wood)
...corks of various sizes can be purchased at craft and hardware stores, and online (also at American Science & Surplus)
...or you can save them from wine bottles
...round cork balls are also sold for crafting and for fishing bobbers.
......cork is light so could be used for making lightweight round beads... Sherry B.
...floatable toys of various kinds could be made for bathtub, sink, or puddle play by covering or partly covering corks (possibly cut and glued together for larger items) ...see ideas for those in Kids > Other Toys > Active-Motion Toys)
...however, using some purchased flat cork sheeting under polymer clay can be a problem (in some cases? ...over time)
.......(lot of variables going on here though!... could be the Masonite that's the problem)) ...Jeanne covered the cork side of a 7" flat disk of masonite-and-cork (a trivet, 3/8" thick, adding metal around the edges) with a sheet of clay as part of a sculpt...she had dried the disk at 200 for 2 hrs....the clay buckled after a couple of weeks...she left it, and after a year the clay had separated from the cork & had a slight mountain in the center...she cut the mountain chunk out, redried cork three hrs, 225 ... put superglue under the raised part of the clay that she had not removed, & held till cured... two clay layers over the cut out portion and another layer over the entire piece to level everything ....cured normally ....2 days later added a layer of tinted TLS to change the color & add buckled again, with mts. over 2" high ...took the cork-masonite disk out and turned it upside down, and is waiting to see what will happen.
(...for stacking clay shapes on top of a cork to embellish & use as a bottle stopper, see above in "Other glass & ceramic")
(...for using real corks to make flotable toys , see Kids > Other Toys > Motion Toys
..........and to see many other uses for real corks, see )

(...for simulating corks with polymer clay, see Faux Turquoise & Wood > Corks)

's lesson on drying out, then covering a lg. okra pod to create a lizard
...uses silica gel to dry the okra, according to pkg directions ...may take 3+ days

... I covered an almond still in its shell with a thin sheet of greenish clay, (impressed a leaf image) with a needle tool. Baked it for a half hour or so, and sanded it. I "washed" it with Duncan evergreen acrylic paint, and antiqued it with Burnt umber acrylic. Smeared on some Treasure Gold. Heated it with my heat gun.... Finally I dipped it in Clear Johnson polish..same as Future I guess.
......Some beads did get cracks on the sides, even though I did poke a tiny hole on each side of the bead. Maybe I should have "Sobo-ed" it like Diane said)
......And, Tricia (the nut inside has already shrunk enough too so that it rattles a tiny bit;) ..maybe more as it gets rotten (and dries out completely:) Ria, I didn't smell anything, but maybe that says more about me than the nut?!! Christel
..I can't remember exactly what happened, but I had used half walnut shells (no nuts) with clay to duplicate a Native American game for my son's class a number of years ago. I think what may have happened was that they swelled? and broke some of the clay? I didn't cover an entire shell with the nut in it, but next time I would try to pre-bake them thoroughly to drive off any of the remaining moisture (and also cover with white glue for a buffer) just like covering a wood block or surface if I tried it again. Diane B.

(Rocks and Other natural materials)

Rocks and smooth stones (small or large) can be covered or partly covered with clay in various ways
...they can then be used outdoors or indoors for paperweights, plant stakes, garden plaques, windchimes, worry stones, etc.
(....for all info about those ideas, see Outdoor > "More Items for Outdoors")

rocks can also be covered temporarily with clay and baked ...the clay is cut off in halves while warm
....halves can be used to make hollow boxes, container pendants, bowls, etc. ...see Vessels-Rock for all those)

Dried flowers or other plant material can be covered with a very thin layer of translucent clay? or perhaps liquid clay or a clear liquid finish like Varathane?
(see Mixing Media > Dried flowers & Plants ....especially for info on microwave pressing-drying)

Papier Mache, Cardboard, Paper, etc.

gen. info

See more info and more ideas for covering paper-based items with clay, and also for making forms from them to use under clay in Armature-Permanent > Paper, Paper Clay, Papier Mache, Cardstock, etc)

....(see just below for preparing paper-based materials for covering with clay)
........(more on adhesives and primers in Glues, and in Liquid Clay > "As Glue")


(with removed armatures)
*Marty W's matchbox covered amulet pendants (and lesson)... she covers drawer with clay too ... soaks both out
Dotty's lesson on matchbox amulets (pendants with drawer and dangle) using Repel Gel to be able to remove box (or white glue) later soaked out)... she uses liquid clay coating over cardboard drawer to strengthen and color,2025,DIY_13761_3236996,00.htm

covered ...OR removed armatures
Tonja's covered matchbox pendant (no drawer?) with gecko....overlapping faux lid at one short end (will be top of pendant)
Dayle's heavily onlaid covered matchbox pendants, with drawer opening at top end of pendant and bottm of drawer have extending embellishments ...tubes on sides for closure

Flo's matchbox pendant with long row of connected tiny photos which can be pulled out (accordion-folded when inside box)
postage stamp inside
Dayle's matchbox table (faux lapis?) with short legs and drawer, collage (mixed media) figure sitting on top
Denise's match box and drawer covered with various foiled clays, etc. ... overlapped sheet on top as faux cap

Denise in Austin's snake on matchbox (with tiny scene? in drawer), and African matchbox necklace (near bottom --no longer accessible?)
Dotty's matchbox pendants with diff. dangles ... and photo in drawer when opened (long time to load)
Flo's "brag box" matchbox pendant, with long strip of connected mini photos of grandchildren which can be pulled out (from instant camera that takes tiny photos?)
penguin lying in drawer of Xmas-covered matchbox: (click on "Guest")

Lynn K?'s lesson on using a stamped (Memories Ink), colored with decorating chalks, image to cover a matchbox; she adds a loose spiral of clay (around a skewer for applying) on each side of the box for threading the cording ...(her beginning clay sheet is 1/16" thick, 4.25 x 2.25")
...she paints the the drawer rather than using clay ( Lumiere)

Annie's matchbox covered key chain (website gone)
other possibilities
Lisa Pavelka's lesson on tiny "dressers" made from stacked matchboxes w/ sides and feet (and more dressers),1789,HGTV_3352_1399691,00.html
Beckah's jointed figure made with a gift box or match box
RuthAnn says the (large?) match box sleeve is exactly the right size to fit the smallest size pad of Post-It notes (2 x 1.5 inches)
... so just cover the box, then slip a package of notes inside it.

ts of people were covering small cardboard matchboxes at Shrine Mont
. . . basically cover the *outside* of the matchbox including one of the open ends, and then do the *inside* of the drawer box (if the clay in the drawer sticks up too high, just trim it with an exacto before or after baking). faun
...but there are other ways too

SOAKING to remove cardboard box and/or drawer
...I've done it all current favorite is to dissolve the match box and drawer out after baking to leave an all clay box
. …just soak the pieces in water.
...I don't usually cover the inside at all... if you use cane slices, .you'll have the back side of those for the inside..Anna

........ I remove the matchbox from the inside of the clay after baking... let it soak for a bit...removing this makes the drawer portion move smoother.. . . As far as the drawer portion, I usually paint it with either black acrylic, or one of the metallic paints, then coat it with liquid clay and bake it. This strengthens the drawer a lot. Dotty

... cover your (match) box with aluminum foil or paper really smoothly, then just pop the baked clay off ... no need to soak
......I coat only the outside of the matchbox (not the inside drawer) with Repel Gel when I make a matchbox amulet or a matchbox evening bag . After covering it with clay and baking, I use a small knife to loosen the paper box, then tug it out with a pair of jewelry pliers (before I found how easy the Repel Gel made this, I had to soak the white glue-covered piece then dig and pull and scrap the inside of the clay box to get the paper box out... much easier with the Repel Gel). DottyinCA
...(for info on Repel Gel, see Glues > Superglue Solvents)

OTHER FORMS-armatures
...I've also I made molds (forms) out of scrap clay so that I don't have to use multiple paper boxes
.. I have 2 molds of each size, one for the drawer and one for the covering...Karen MI

...or use a piece of wood, or several sheets of (easily cutable) balsa wood stacked together

I use two sizes of matchboxes, small and smaller
...Here is a link to a template to make your own matchboxes ...
....... I would recommend using cardstock or even a little heavier weight paper so the form will hold up to the clay. Lisa D.

other paper-based forms

If you want papier mache to release from the clay after baking, wrap it in aluminum foil or paper, or coat with Repel Gel or another release)
If you want the papier mache to stay inside the clay, coat it with white glue, acrylic paint or finish, etc ,before adding the clay

Kris Richards' lesson on covering a papier mache box
Heather R's lesson on covering papier mache cubes(?) with clay
...she suggests putting pin holes in non-obvious places to allow air to escape from under the coverings while baking (papier mache may bubble worse than usual)... the clay-covered stacked cubes
are onlaid with clay from push molds for "Baby Blocks"-- freestanding, or could also make into a lamp base?

Michelle's lesson on
covering a small cardboard soap box (the kind that bar soap comes in),,HGTV_3352_1909744,00.html (more... one has thick "legs")
....Janet used the empty rectangular box from a bar of soap (Dove soap) to create the bottoms of some of her tall, slender boxes
.... Michelle R's covered soap boxes for making vessels with lids

Nora Jean's lesson on covering a (checkbook?) box bottom and lid

Lisa P's lesson on covering the lid of a photo storage box (using tacky glue for raw clay embellishments, and epoxy for baked "flower" frames for photos),1789,HGTV_3352_1399654,00.html
Kris Richards' lesson on making a Pearl Ex (Lumiere paint) mask (over a papier mache form with stamped clay)
Trina's covered papier mache basket (website gone)

Karen's Clay Alley --still? sells papier mache boxes and shapes ... plus houses and lighthouses

I have made a few bowls from the homemade (newspaper) type of papier mache..
... when finished and fully dry, they are rock solid, have no bubbles, and can be handled like a soft wood (sanded and thicker pieces can even be sawn)
...I use a pvc type glue, thinned a bit with water, (usually the yellow carpenter's kind) to seal the surface
...I speed up the drying by putting them in a low temp [150 F] oven for as long as needed. . . .
...once dry I sand it smooth.
(these steps can be repeated until I'm satisfied with the surface)...a last coat seals any spot where sanding may have gone thru to the actual paper layers. Ke

For those of you who cover these boxes:
Do you stop the clay at the bottom of the lid overhang and then cover the papier mache lid ...or do you cover the box completely, then discard the p-m lid and make a new p-clay lid? Triche

I covered the bottom of the box up to the edge. I took the top and made slits at the corners and thereby made the top a little larger - I spread the slits open and filled them with clay . . . this made the top large enough to fit over the clay-covered bottom - then I covered the top (and sides) with my cane slices - the top fits perfectly - and the bottom sides are finished up to the top! Sue

Donna Kato's lesson on making a free-standing translucent lantern (like a luminaria) over cardstock or flexible cardboard which is wrapped around a fat candle, or other form,2058,2853,FF.html

short project book for kids (or beginners) on how to cover 2 shapes of papier mache boxes from craft store (round & hexagonal) and their lids (& also sculpt a character or mini scene to sit on the lid) All Covered Up!, by Becky Meverden

dodecahedron (made from taped? cardboard pieces), covered with clay like a bas relief Escher image

cardboard sheet covered with alum. foil... lettering too (ropes)

Carol Shelton covered the 4 sides plus the top of a cardstock box cut from a pattern, with 5 squares of decorative clay, so that when it was folded up, the clay would cover all the visible areas except the underneath

sinilga's mini "photo album" pendant used discs of cardstock ....a baked embellished clay disc was glued to the front and back pieces as "covers", and a photo was glued to each interior disc (or could be transfers, or decoupaged--- and disks cold be clay instead of cardstock)
...... she put a sheet of glass over the disc so could see shape and size for making the clay the right size, then baked on glass, and glued onto cardstock discs... discs held together by decorative cording through holes in top

Claudine covered an empty cardboard alum foil or plastic-wrap tube, and onlaid trailing vines with leaves of green, blues and cherry (could be made into a "rain stick" too)
...toilet paper tubes , and some paper towel and gift wrap tubes are fairly thin and flexible, so it might be a good idea to use two layers of clay (one could be baked first) with them, and of course don't use a brittle clay like Sculpey
....some tubes are fairly thick though, like those in used for plastic wrap or aluminum foil
... I have tubes covered with clay for kaleidoscopes that have been on my studio shelf for as long as four years with no sign of any cracking. We use heavy duty chipboard tubes from Paper Mart online ...these don't flex at all and are extremely sturdy...they are the only type we trust with our scopes as we don't want to jeopardize all the hard work that goes into creating them. Dotty in CA

(for covering notebook fronts, see Books)

Papier mache (only purchased forms?) contains some chemicals, , as does wood, which can let off fumes causing bubbling, cracking, or lifting when baked.. however, if you bake the box first and let it cool before adding the clay, this should help..... then coat with white glue, acrylic paint, Future, or maybe other substances before adding clay
...Heather's lesson above advises poking tiny hold in non-obvious places to allow bubbles to escape

Tory Hughes at Ravensdale had us coat the tiny matchboxes with Sobo (white glue) before covering. As long as we let the glue dry completely, we had no problems.
pre-paint with Future for better adhesion of clay on cardboard --?? (let it dry or tack up a bit before adding clay)
...or you might use a coat of acrylic paint
...(for my papier mache forms) I first paint the insides and the rim of the box bottom (that will be under the cover) with acrylic paint. Rae

for more on cardstock and cardboard, as well as making papier mache to create your own froms, see Armatures-permanent > Paperclays,Cardboard,etc.)

one or more layers of corrugated cardboard (or cardstock, or even rolled paper tubes, etc.) can be glued together (white glue) or taped together?, to create forms for covering with clay...( then use aluminum foil, pins, glue, etc. to hold the pieces together or to cover the cardboard before adding clay)

(raw clay coverings) If you're covering an object that's not made of clay, it's a good idea to put the piece in a cold oven and then turn it on, so it heats in the oven. Leave it at the correct temperature for the right amount of time, then turn off the oven and let the piece cool in the oven. This makes for slower heating and cooling, which will help avoid cracking (since the underlying object expands and contracts at a different rate from the clay). Jeanne

....I've done it all current favorite is to dissolve the papier mache box out after baking to leave an all clay box. …just soak them in water. I wouldn't cover the inside at all... if you use cane'll have the back side of those for the inside..Anna

I have also had good luck covering the (larger) boxes (that are meant for holding photos, etc.). I coat the box itself with sobo, elmer's or some type of white glue. . . . The ones I have done lately, I have just covered the top, and painted the bottom to coordinate. Jan in NC
...I coated (cardboard "cigar boxes") with Sobo glue and it worked out pretty well. I didn't cover one entire box with clay. I used rubber stamp images on part of it. The third one I used the Sobo again then covered the entire thing. ...This one has transfer images of elephants and wild animals... I also made a mold of an elephant from a old pair of metal book-ends and then used the mold to make a molded elephant out of clay which now is on the top of the box.. . . I do have to say that covering the boxes were much more work than I had envisioned when I started. And they didn't turn out at all like my vision of them when I started. Dotty in CA
...see also Lisa P's lesson on covering just the top of the lid to a photo storage box (above in websites under Papier Mache), using raw and baked elements

Janet uses plaster cloth strips (gauze impregnanted with plaster) over papier mache or other forms to make her tall figures
... she wraps the form with aluminum foil, then lays on the wet plaster strips (smoothing them with her fingers)
.... when dry, she adds a layer of white glue, then a base layer of clay before proceeding to the exterior clothing.

Kris Richard's lesson on covering a papier mache mask
...she prepares the mask with a coat of white glue... textures long strips of clay and applies to mask (rolling down onto surface to avoid air bubbles)... brushes on various colors of Pearl Ex (or metallic-pearly paints)

you'll need to pierce the plastic egg which is inside (if using a papier mache egg form) with a sharp needle tool and leave it uncovered when baking to prevent air bubbles. I usually pierce the bottom and it is pretty unnoticeable. If the plastic form inside is not pierced, the moisture/air inside which heats up during the baking and expands has no place to go. This is what created the bubbles on the eggs. Patty B.



one idea is to make your own 3-D item (such as a birdhouse or box) from cardstock, or matte board, etc., then use that as a template for covering with a covering of clay (couple of birdhouse templates)
or make your own 2-D cut-out (from a template or just draw freehand), then use that (bats)
Jim Collin's *many* mini printables .... patterns for boxes, Chinese take out boxes, computers, houses, computers, lamp shades , trunks, etc. ...and make instant house hold items like stoves and washer/dryer sets as miniatures. Nora Jean

...if you apply a base clay wrap to the papier mache, (you could also ) use your needle tool to poke small holes randomly in the clay. I have had bubble and distortion even with thinned (?) coats of glue (but was it pre-baked to dry thoroughly?). Also, if you apply a coat of acrylic paint before baking, like to the insides of a box, randomly poke small holes into the sides, top and bottom seams with your needle tool.. Judy, Yuma

It also a good idea to seal the inside and bottom surfaces of a box with a layer of liquid polymer clay. ...this prevents (later) warping. I have found that merely adding acrylic paint to the inside and bottom surfaces is not prevention enough from future warping. Tricia

Or you can line the inside with velvet or other material, or decoupage pictures inside, or whatever you like. Rae

unusual covered boxes (some with dividers inside or framed tops, or added sculptural items on top... )
"face" boxes (in this case, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.)... papier mache boxes of various shapes, with face as box top (painted, but could be clay covered)

for Christine Taylor's hollow sculpts made with a layer of Sculpt-A-Mold and Creative Paperclay over a "carved" foam form which is removed after the clays dry... then a layer of polymer clay is added... see Armatures > Temporary > Misc. Materials

For cardboard/papier mache, packing tape (brown, on a roll) works wonders as a bond or as hinges ...I use it for armatures along with cardstock. Sarajane H

tall candlesticks with a have the lampshade on top lamps? I see them in the craft store. Kellie AK's how I make clay lampshades, that is):
lesson: ....1. Buy lampshade to cover -- light colored, cone shape (Kmart sells a lampshade and base for $5).
2. Make template with museum board (probably cheaper cardboard in similar weight would work) in shape of lampshade. ....add extra 1/4" on the bottom and top... no overlap when taping together.
3. Cover template with baking parchment.... I use as small amount of masking tape as I can.
4. Cover template with clay that has lots of translucent in it so the light can show through...don't make it too thin tho'
5. Bake..... 6. Remove clay from template and parchment paper.
7. Finish. I put the fragile clay back on the template to sand. Then put just the clay over the lampshade
8. It needs some trim around the top and bottom...sSo far I've only used trim from a fabric store. Its difficult, which is why I will charge more for these than anything else... Karen L.

i found a book called Create Aanything with Polymer Clay. It was a children's book, but it had a lot of neat ideas in it. One of them was cutting out a paper or magazine picture then coating front and back with sobo glue. The glue gives the picture a glossy finish and also enables you to apply the picture to polymer clay and then bake it. Tootwo2

faux "vinyl" (sheets of patterned acrylic paint, diluted, which have been pressed between folded freezer paper, or combed, etc.) ...can be used to cover boxes (with spray adhesive), or perhaps liquid clay could be treated the same way. . . (like an ink blot?)... see Liquid Clays >On Paper? > Misc for more details of Jane Ewy's lesson,,hgtv_3289_1376364,00.html

Porous surfaces (non-wood)

Terra Cotta pots, tiles, etc. ....(& earth clay ones)

Marie Segal's lesson on making a terra cotta-colored border for the top of a terra cotta pot from her "sconce" mold (or one of your own), using liquid clay as an adhesive.... blue one has an added special glaze
Nina's many flower pots
Kris Richards' lesson on how to completely cover a terra cotta pot, and make a (Santa) figure from it
Michaels' lesson on decorating parts (rims, etc.) of 4" & 8" terra cotta pots and saucers using clay from push molds
.. one is high-gloss glazed after baking with Pebeo Porcelaine 150, dried, then baked again 35 minutes
Geo's covered terra cotta saucer, and border on pot ... patina created with mint green clay, textured & mold added, highlighted with ivory (paint?) ...also patina on plain terra cotta body of pot created with sponged mint green paint?

preparation for terra cotta flower pots:
1. --bake for 10-15 min(some people bake 30). before adding clay to remove ALL moisture, or the clay will buckle after baking.
2. --since raw clay won't stick easily to terra cotta (or other porous surfaces), many people use an adhesive or primer between the terra cotta and raw clay:
use white glue .....liquid clay ...even Varathane (a clear acrylic wood finish) or Future?
..........Stephanie feels that since terra cotta is porous, a very waterproof glue product like Aleene's Platinum glue (a "white" glue?) is needed
.......these can be painted on terra cotta to provide a tacky surface for the clay to stick to, and/or to help clay bond to the terra cotta
.......(more info on these in Glues ... and in Liquid Clay > "As Glue" ... and in Finishes > Varathane)
....acrylic paint can act as a primer/adhesive in the same way, or can be used just as a decorative paint

...rather than an adhesive, you could try scratching the terra cotta to provide some tooth, then covering with a base clay
...or nothing may be needed beforehand if you are going to cover the whole thing creating a mechanical hold, though even then white glue will give a bit of tooth)

to attached baked clay embellishments to terra cotta (or to painted terra cotta), a strong white glue, epoxy, or E-6000 could be used
...I laid the raw embellishments against the pot to get the exact curvature before baking them
.......then I took a pencil and made very light outlines of the pieces onto the pot (so that I could glue them on later). Kim 2

*However, if you are going to get the pot ANYWHERE near moisture, you must use a sealer on the terra cotta (like a couple of coats of Thompson's Water Seal) inside and out. Otherwise the pot will expand with each watering and contract when it dries out, resulting in cracked clay eventually.... Don’t know if there would be any water effects if you simply put a smaller pot inside alarger one.
(misc. re painting, sealing terra cotta:)
There's no need at all to paint inside the pot, but you DO need to SEAL inside - varnish, or sealant (from an art shop) or a layer of watered-down PVA glue (white glue like Sobo) painted on. All of these will be waterproof and will not hurt the plants. You need it because otherwise the water from the soil works it's way through the porus pot, and comes up UNDER the paint on the outside, ruining the work. For the outside, you can paint with anything, really - acrylics are fine, but whatever you have to hand that won't wash off once dry will do. Crafty Owl.
....Gallery Glass puts out a sealer for grout on items to be used outdoors. You can also use it to seal the inside of clay pots.... It's a Vicky Payne product by Plaid. It's has kind of a rubbery texture when dry. PC
....There is a brand of acrylic paints called Patio Paints that are specifically for outdoor use on pots or concrete. Michael's carries it. Jeannine

it's highly unlikely that anything (toxic) would get through the pot to the plants, and probably not a problem to plants if it did ....I have covered terracotta pots with polymer clay and, years later, all plants are fine.... . Sue
...although the soil around potted plants will be damp, and occasionally saturated, there should be no leakage of water because the contact isn't continuous and log term... even then it might just be seepage
... some people recommend a few coats of liquid clay or a layer of white glue inside bodies

...any baked clay in continuous, long term contact with water though can get a whitish coating (mostly showing up on dark colors), though may not be visible in this case
...(see also glass or plastic flower pots above)

Karyn Kozak casts her own clay (real earth clay) pieces, fires them, then covers them with polymer, and bakes them in an oven. Her workshop on this is wonderful! Becky

This lighthouse is the biggest (tallest) project I've ever done, but it was fun. I used three (stacked) small terra cotta flowerpots (of graduated sizes--smallest on the top) for the armature, a 4" wood disk and a ball of foil for the base armature, and the rest is all clay. It stands 9 inches tall and 4-1/2" at the bottom of the base.
...I did cover it with Sobo (white glue) after my husband had put them together with epoxy. I baked it in pieces -- did the body first, then the rings, then the base, top light and roof.
(For the light room at the top) I folded a strip of foil to about 3/4 inch, and wrapped it around a pill bottle so that it would stay the right size, then fastened it with Scotch tape. I then wrapped glow-in-the-dark clay around it while it was still on the pill bottle. I removed it from the bottle, but left the foil in it for structure. It's pretty cute when the lights are out. ... I pasted small pieces of a tiny snake for the "window hardware" on the top light, then put a little larger snake around the top and bottom so that I could have a clay edge to stick to the top body and the roof.
I tried putting a walkway around it, but i just couldn't get it level, so I bagged that idea.
The scrap clay I used to cover the base turned out to look like a cliff, so I used that in the back.
I spent about an hour in my husband's workshop with his level before I baked it to make sure it was sitting straight up -- didn't want it to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. BJ (Bev K.) (website gone)

cute seal lying on top of terra cotta pot "igloo" (could use polymer instead of Model Magic)

Becky Meverden's lesson on making a ladybug figure (to hang off a flower pot),1789,HGTV_3352_1399647,00.html

......DB -ADD photos of Cella's flower pot critters

lessons for "gumball" or "candy dispenser" clay pots (...or could hold anything)
... made with any-size terra cotta pot upside down for base... round-bottom glass candle holder or drinking glass on top of pot.. topped with an upside down terrra cotta saucer,,HGTV_3433_1387289,00.html (larger, with knob in right-side-up saucer)

many more lessons on making figures, animals or items with clay pots: (candy pots, etc.)

Plaster, Plaster cloth, Greenware, etc.

Polymer clay doesn't adhere well to plaster, so for attaching or covering plaster and clay, you could:
--use a thin layer of white glue (not the Elmer's glue called "School" glue though, just regular white glue) on the plaster to give the clay something to grip to and bond with (let dry before joining to polymer clay) ... also see above in Terra Cotta for other adhesive techniques?
--inside both the plaster and the clay, and between them, use some kind of connector to strengthen the join (drill into the plaster if you have to).. a piece of wire or a bit of toothpick, etc. ...use glue on the connector
. . . or you can join the two pieces, then lay more plaster over them both at the join, and smooth

Janet uses plaster cloth strips (gauze impregnanted with plaster) over papier mache or other forms to make her tall figures
... she wraps the form with aluminum foil, then lays on the wet plaster strips (smoothing them with her fingers).... when dry, she adds a layer of white glue, then a base layer of clay before proceeding to the exterior clothing.

I've done this around smooth rocks and around ceramic shapes. .... bake a layer of clay around a form that has some sort of release agent applied, then cut the clay off, glue together, and finish the resulting hollow form as you wish.Works great! LynnDel

…make sure the (molded) plaster is ABSOLUTELY dry before putting it in the oven - water inside can make it explode if it gets too hot too fast.
...One way to do this is to put the plaster on its own in a very low temperature oven - about the lowest you can get your oven to be - for an hour or two before covering it with clay. Of course if you use Faster Plaster which is designed to be dried in the microwave, you won't have any trouble.
....and let it cool down IN the oven, slowlyCrafty Owl

Have any of you had experience covering ceramic greenware with polymer clay? I have wanted to make a diffuser, and since polymer doesn't breathe, I thought I could use ceramic greenware, put on a layer of white glue (leaving a space on the bottom unglued so as to allow it to diffuse the scent), then add polymer patterns to cover the piece. I did this and it looks great. But I don't know what the long term durability will be of the piece.

I have a local lady who pours ceramics..... I asked her to fire some without glaze to see if the clay would cover it okay and it does! If anyone is interested I will be putting some fired ceramics on my site I asked her for some ovals and things with holes in them so we could do mini scenes inside! Karen

Natural materials

Dried flowers or other plant material can be covered with a very thin layer of translucent clay? or perhaps liquid clay or a clear liquid finish like Varathane? (see Mixing Media > Dried flowers & Plants especially for info on the microwave pressing-drying unit called a Microfleur)


Friction-type lid: For a prescription bottle I cut off the "threads" on the end and sand the cut edges smooth, but of course that wouldn't be necessary with a can. I use the open end of the bottle as a cutter to cut a two-layer thickness of #1 machined clay. I bake this circle of clay, check to make sure it still fits in the bottle end, and sand slightly if not. Then I attach the circle with superglue, white glue or Diluent to a single thickness of thinner raw clay, which I cut big enough to fit on top of the bottle after it has been covered with clay. Add top decorations, and bake. For extra security, you can add a lip around the bottom of the lid if you wish. LynnDel

Screw-on tops. . . .you can get a blob of clay and screw it carefully onto the thread(s) on the top of a bottle - glass, plastic, paint tubes, anything... Unscrew carefully so as not to disturb the thread and bake, then decorate. It works very well and you can make gorgeous polyclay screw-on caps for everything from paint tubes to decorative bottles. I first did this to make new caps for my acrylic and oil paint tubes -the plastic ones seem to crack in time
. . . lids to baby oil and shampoo containers etc. (I use Flecto over them and there has been no "bloom" on them from my steamy bathroom at all)...Sarajane

I made some polymer bottle tops last year and they came out great. However since I wanted to still be able to use the bottles for consumable products, I found corks the size of the openings, pushed a small nail with a large flat head into the cork 1/2 way, and then built the polymer piece (which I attached by sticking the bottom of it on the nail in the cork) .Am I making sense?They were beautiful and still in use. No problem with baking the corks-

canejane's use of one large cane slice to cover a lid top (in this case, it was a papier mache heart box)

(for lids on light bulb "vessels", look above in Glass > Light Bulbs )

.....for more on lids (for regular vessels --bottles, boxes, etc) see Vessels > Lids & Feet


Miscellaneous items cover OR make

Knobs, etc.
(wood, metal,etc.... OR freestanding)

Knobs can be made for cabinets... drawers....regular doors... or even to use as lids or feet for boxes or other items (decorative or functional)
...could be any shape ... any size (within reason)
can be made by covering an existing knob of some kind (wood, metal, ceramic, scruched aluminum foil?) .covering an armature of some kind... or completely from clay

Deirdre's lesson on making a Santa head cabinet knob

Cindy P's cabinet knobs & cabinet handles ....(one is a head) (back later?)

lesson on embellishing wooden cabinet knobs, with 1/8" thick (# 1) disk of clay as a base
... then adding glitter/seed beads, or twisted ropes, or a stamp impression (not a great lesson but other photos)
.. can't tell if she covers the whole knob with the clay disk, or just the top
...would also be posible to paint the knob with the desired color of acrylic paint and apply clay to the top only

lesson on making faux stone covered ceramic/metal/etc. knobs, votivies, etc., with translucent clays and any inclusions,1793,HGTV_3403_1373131,00.html

lesson on making flat-ish baseball design on wood drawer knob, with 2(?) 5/8" thick pads of clay (then don't mention to cover with white glue or acrylic poaint first to make stick)

lesson on covering a wood cabinet knob with clay (in 3 sections: underside of knob, stem of knob, and top surface of knob..., then smoothing all together)... bas relief then added to top

Felicia's covered roundish metal (?) knobs, in many cane patterns, etc.

Marie Segal's covered door knobs lesson (ceramic or metal) ... these are two-part knobs (knob and backplate) ("Cabinet Knobs")
... she leaves1/8" area at the base of the knob free of clay, and also covers the back plate with clay, leaving free the screw-in area

claysquared's new lessons on 2 wood knobs knob is painted first, then clay embellishments onlaid --slice and other bits
...the other is covering the whole knob with base clay (over white glue), then onlaying the clay embellishments

Kim Cavender's could-be-knobs made with colorful onlays (cane slices and other clay shapes)

Dorothy Greynolds ... beautiful square knobs (with onlaid/flattened clay bits on base clay)... (also Rainforest beads)
(lesson) --My knobs are 69 cent wood knobs (square) from Home Depot
....... I painted them with black acrylic paint and baked them so they would be less likely to crack or expand in the second baking
. . .
-- First I roll out a clay base (usually black) on a medium setting (#3). For a guide of the size (finished) image I needed, I cut a square out of the middle of an index card, place it on the clay and trace it with a needle tool. Using a cookie cutter and lightly pressing it into the base layer for a guide would be easier but I didn't have the size cutter I needed.
-- Next I created several Skinner blends, some with black or white pearl, or one wide one with a lot of variations of colors
..... roll these blend sheets out on a pretty thin setting on pasta machine (#5 Atlas)
......then cut shapes from them with a blade, Kemper cutters & pattern scissors.
---place the shapes on the black base one (piece) at a time, smoothing them lightly with a brayer or acrylic rod after each (& leaving some areas uncovered) until I am satisfied with the image (I found that a using a large piece of one blend as the first layer worked well. . . . . the (finished) images usually have about (1 to) 4 layers, some overlapping).
-- Then I placed the template on top of the image and traced it with the needle tool. . . . I cut out the image with a blade, stamped (textured) it with the rubber stamp and trimmed it with the blade.. I like the effect the rubber stamps provided and was surprised that the details of the art came through so well after being impressed with the stamp. It was a better option than sanding and buffing 20 knobs.
--The gold is a thin snake of Premo wrapped around the image.Dorothy

....... I'm going to take a trip to Home Depot (or Lowe's, or maybe custom order) for those square knobs, I find them so much more unique than plain round ones. Rita
.......I saw square knobs this morning at Ace hardware (Durst) - packs of 2 for .... 1 1/2" @ $1.69 and 1 1/4" @ $1.19. Georgana

Margi's pieced pattern knobs, similar to Dorothy's above with onlays ...but simpler (almost halfway down page)

ALL CLAY knob (with bolt and/or nut armature):
Jean Comport suggests making a clay base (2-layer flat shape, with small disc on its back) first (to be covered after baking), then attaching a bolt head or nut into the small disc)
... stack 2 layers scrap (ea. # 1) for small sheet 1/4" thick...cut out 3/4 or 1" square or other shape from it (through Saran Wrap to bevel edges) & also cut 1/2" disk disk on square (back side)... then do one of the following:
A. wood bolt (1 or 1 1/2") # 32, & nut ... push nut into clay disk on back till even with clay surface ...screw bolt into it.
B. wood screw (flat head) (1") #32...push head into back clay of knob
...bake either arrangement at 275 for 20 min. ...
...screw or nut will need to be superglued after the knob base is baked and before it is covered (so remove screw or nut, and glue back in with superglue?)
...coat knobs with a white glue and let dry/tack up
( the knobs are ready to be covered (entirely) and decorated... bake final knob at least 30 min) (pg. 7 ... must have Adobde Acrobat to view)

ALL CLAY knob (with screw, nut and split washers armature):
Maureen Carlson's cabinet knobs made over a combo of 1 3/4 " long screw with a round or truss head + two 1/4" split lock washers +
plain washer to fit screw + 4 nuts
+ superglue
.......(lesson): Place a split lock washer onto the screw so that it rests against the head of the screw. Place one nut onto the screw, tightening it firmly against the first split lock washer. Glue in place. (determine how tall the knob should be and alternate nuts and split lock washers to reach that heigth. Tighten and glue in place .) 5. Cover the knob with clay to form a basic shape, making it smaller than the desired end knob size . 6. Bake ...7. Coat the baked knob with a layer of white glue. Let dry. 8. Embellish with onlaid clay...,,HGTV_3239_1388913,00.html
...OR I just use the two-ended screws and screw it into both the knob and the cabinet door when it's all ready! Deb
...I've only made a couple of knobs, pure PC, which repeatedly broke off of the screw head I had embedded in the middle of the knob. LynnDel

could also "cover" any other scrap clay shape (baked), then drill holes through it wherever needed (or use bolt/etc. as above)

good idea for whimsical drawer knobs (would be great in a kids room too)
.... I made gold suns and silver moons using polymer clay and cookie cutters.... could be any shape, what about dinosaurs or butterflys?

Eberhard Faber's mini lesson on making whimsical molded clay shapes for drawer handles
....(top shapes lie flat against the drawers and woulnd't seem easy to grab and pull, but the heart-shaped ones appear to be set forward with another shape behind? so would work well) (in German only )

Sarajane's beautiful cane slice knob (with bust of Japanese woman) (click to Enlarge)

PoRRo's clay knobs (and embellishment piece?) for a Chinese cabinet she painted red (scrap clay textured, then coated with Bronze and Black Pearl Ex)

Mary W's many knobs ..rounded flattish balls, or flattened bicones
...base clay is often caned, other surface pattern, or textured
...second and third, gradually-smaller dimensional layer or shape on top (some look like butttons)
...she also has a contrasting-color small clay rope around the outside edge of some knobs

Jeffrey Dever's hollow clay forms (mini & larger) which could be knob handles (or beads)
...using layering and multiple bakings, with the help of found, altered, and custom built forms
(see Vessels > Closed Hollow Boxes for one possible construction method ..would look awesome but would be strong enough for frequently-used pull?)

(covered with clay, OR freestanding)

Irene's clocks (various shapes, textured, tiled, fauxed, etc.)
Larry's clocks (4" desk clocks & 10" wall clocks with tiles surrounding like Irene's) ...see his kits below also
Teri S's square clock with square tiles (various techniques) as border
Irene's square face clocks with various surface designs
Krista Wells clocks (tiles covered with cane slices) (bottom of page)
dinner plate clock with polymer onlays
Tracy Pittendreigh's abstract funky clocks (slab construction of Skinner blend, with onlays, etc.)
Cassie Doyon's abstract, mixed media clocks (find at new npcg site?)
Lisa P's mantle clock, with columns, roof, etc.
Noriko's sushi clocks (you gotta check this out)
simple, abstract modern covered clocks, with Skinner blends... surrounded with framing strips of thin black & white stripes
Margi L's clock with various rearrangeable clay units (magnet backed)--sheets of collage, cut into abstract shapes-- in each of the 12 number spots... the central time mechanism is also covered with abstract clay and magnet backed
Mia's clock with onlaid wedge-shaped houses radiating from center! . . . a crazy smoke
3 clocks (click on "pagina seguente" twice), thick slices, and wonderful child's fairy tale? theme
Confabulations' faux mosaic ("hardware cloth" with ___?... could be clay tho) clock shapes ... edges extend past base... and other clocks and
large tower clock by artfulblogger (saffronwoman)... created by covering a round wood box, placed on edge atop a tall thick wood candlestick ( holds clock face ... large dimensional sun rays around face, & more onlays ... plain Sculpey, painted)
Massa's wild, mosaic and/or painted, very tall tower clocks (these paintscould be baked polymer veneers) ...could be made smaller
Heather's lesson on making a New Orleans style upright tomb "cemetery" clock (she uses plain Sculpey, and draws into the raw clay with a ballpoint pen, bakes, then glazes all over with thinned black acrylic paint),1789,HGTV_3274_3321326,00.html

Omodtart's clocks (gone?)
Kellie B's heavily gilded clock (gone...nwpcg/rave00)
Kazuyo's block style clock with small clockface... has a hole underneath in which a bead swings (gone...nwpcg/rave00)Gera's clock with numbers stamped on blobs of clay then powdered, also leaf & canes
annie's onlay clock, & mixed media (website gone)
Jan’s clock
Christie Leu's polymer clay clock

Sculpey's lesson on making a kid's "Fairytale Clock, in shape of a "castle"... they use two graduated circle cutters to mark areas for inner frame element and numbers ... various onlays from pushmolds

graphic, non-polymer clocks (....could use the numbers, or get ideas for image based clock faces?)

See also Vessels > Clocks for more info on making clocks (most freestanding)... and Sue Heaser’s lessons

clock kits:
...Boston Clayworks' desk clock blank with acrylic stand (...blank 4" ceramic tile base, hole drilled in middle, to be covered with clay)
.....and Larry's wall-mount clock blank--(8 x10" (can order custom sizes also) .... include clock parts and
...Wal-Mart carries the clock workings in their craft department. They're usually cheaper than most every other store in town.
...(Michaels and other crafts stores should have them too)

National Artcraft's "paintable dial watch" faces (depression in face where one could add polymer clay)

BOOK: The Ultimate Clock Book, by Paige Gilcrest (using p'clay and/or other materials to make clock exteriors) . . . to see larger version of cover clocks though, go to:

(for some hanger ideas, see Frames-Mirrors)

CD's can be used to make clocks as well
...I made a mokume gane clock with a CD back..
....Jenny D's lesson on covering a CD with cutout paper image(s); she adds glitter, powder or other embellishments around the edges . . . . she then bakes under a slick tile, and often antiques
....I saw CD clocks covered with polymer clay at clay camp . . . had little polymer mice running across them (hickory, dickory and all that)
...For the clock kit I got, I painted the base (ceramic) tile w/ Black CLS, and sprinkled some blue-interference Pearl Ex over the CLS. I liked the way it looked, so I then added gold, silver, etc. pearl-ex. Laurel
.....(see most info & lessons on covering, cutting, embellishing, etc. CD's, and what all can be done with them, above under Plastics >CD's and heating, cutting and using pre-recorded CDs in Onlay > CD Shards))

...After you put the shaft through the hole in the CD, you have to fasten the mechanism with the hexagonal nut and washer that should have come with the clock. Unless the nut is very small, it will make up for the excess size of the hole, securing the mechanism to the cd. Larry
..when covering the CD, I would put the clay all over it, and not make the hole until after the piece is baked. Then you can drill the hole so that the clock part fits into it without the slop.
.... (if you haven't done that), to retrofit you can plug the hole and rebake the piece, then drill a new hole it the right size. When plugging the hole be sure there is a thin lap-over of clay onto the surface of the clay to make sure the added clay will hold and not break away from the hole. If your clock mechanisim doesn't have a post that holds the hands, and then a nut or screw cap to snug the whole thing in place, then you may have to attach it with some CA glue, or two part epoxy. If your clock parts are for a face that isn't the same size as the one it's made for, you can either increase, or decrease the thickness of your polymer clay face. If the one you have is too thin, you can add another piece on the back to bring it to the right size. Dottyin CA

One of our Orange County members uses cigar boxes for clocks. Trina
Now, for a larger clock, I have a ton of old records!

other misc. items

Nf's dressed Santa figure over glass bottle (sort-of lesson) (website gone)
Western New York State Polymer Clay Guild's covered, full-size fiberglass horse
Sarajane's guitar, head, etc., covered with mosaic of cane slices

(see also baked clay veneers below, under "Wood".... Veneers)

Claudine covered just about everything in her bathroom ! . . .
...towel bars and towel rings ...door handles (lever type) and even the lock and face plate
...containers (covered terra cotta flower pots, boxes, lg. tissue box, cup, jar, even contact lens cases )
...bowl type soap dish (attached to wall in mouth of metal fish bracket?) (in French on the little b&w magnifying glass on each object, to see more) (Google's translation in English)
Claudine also cleverly hides the hole left in a bathroom tile with a polymer disk (glued on?) made from cane slices (see link just above for photo)
(see more things to make or cover for a bathroom in Outdoor-Water >
Bathroom & Kitchen Items)

Lisa Pavelka covered the back door of her mini van in polymer clay. ...It came out beautifully....She covered part of the door and will eventually cover more of it as time permits. I am not sure of the technique she used to bake the clay...It certainly improved the appearance of the door that had previous cosmetic damage. Angela
...I attached the panels with two-part epoxy. Quite messy but it works! Lisa

I've ...covered real baby shoes with canes. Then I use fabric stiffener on a real baby sock, put it in the shoe (after curing, sanding, etc.), fill it with styrofoam and put a little floral arrangement in it. They're really cute for baby showers and that sort of thing. If you use a boy's high-top baby shoe, you don't need the sock. I buy the shoes at Goodwill and test-bake before covering to make sure they won't melt. Suzanne

I am going to go to the thrift store and buy a bunch of chess sets and cover the pawns with canes (that is if they pass the oven test first!). Or I have seen little wooden "playschool" shaped pieces that I will cover with canework. I'm even going to put little caned faces on them.
---make "Russian Nested Dolls" faces same way? DB

shadow boxes (these aren't polymer, but could be adapted) ...for one, frames are also cut into the top in addition to the dividers in the box bottom (mini shadow boxes technique) --could also be made freeform

~ tampon holders from cigar tubes . . .Diane B. (who's wishing now she knew someone who smoked cigars…cough, cough). ..
i wonder if you contacted a tobacco shop, if have some that people dont keep, LIKE they want a cigar so bad they open it right there and toss the box????

One alternative: if you're going to make something like an ocarina (or a flute), say for a school project, you could get a short piece of food or medical grade plastic tubing and slip that over the stem**. That way, something safe would be in contact with your mouth. It would also give the mouthpiece some 'give', so if the user has a tendency to bite neither the ocarina or the biter is likely to be damaged. And the little piece of tubing can be easily replaced if it's damaged.
...(**re covering the mouthpiece, I wouldn't suck on it for hours, but PC is not toxic, especially after baking. False teeth use a form of PC for the gums, people have them in their mouths daily for years....the BIG reason not to use it for food is that bacteria will grow in any little scratches and grooves, and its very pliable when hot, and soft enough to scratch even when cool. It won't hold up to really thorough dishwashing over time. Sarajane)
...I cracked quite a few before I realized what was going wrong. You have to stick a bowl of water in the oven with the bamboo flutes, that way they won't dry out and crack, and they will keep their tone (at least all the ones I've done that way have worked). Jen
...I'm thinking of taking a trip to Home Depot and getting some thin copper tubing. Drill my holes, cover with my choice of patterns, and then it won't slump when I play it. Also have to figure out sizes and placement. ;) I think copper pipe is cheap, tho...nae
.......... I made a flute (and removed the armature) by wrapping scrap clay around a dowel rod (with both ends open) then covered it with the decorative clay and put a decorative top on one end. Seems like the two layers and two bakings made it quite sturdy and it has very good pitch. I used to play the flute in school...and it sounds pretty good. Sam
...many earth clay ocarinas, flutes, etc. ..

to make a polymer ocarina whistle from two pinch pot hemispheres (not by covering a bought one) see Kids > Toys > Other Ideas for a lesson)...

Hershberger Art Kazoos

musical instruments and rattles can also be made as hollow forms in various ways (see Beads > Hollow pillow & lentil, Vessels > Hollow Forms, Eggs > Vinegar Eggs, Cornstarch)

Even though you can't bake golf balls, you could still glue *baked* (thickish?) cane slices on the golf balls, couldn't you, just like the glass beads or pebbles. . . though you might want to shape their bottoms a bit on the ball before baking.
..or maybe even cover the golf ball, then remove the shell, bake with fiberfill inside, and re-cover the ball;
..or use an aluminum foil core the same diameter as the golf ball, then cut off the warm cover (like a rock vessel) and put it on the golf ball.
..Another thought...instead of using a golf ball, maybe you could cover a glass xmas ball of any size, then fill with rocks or something else heavy; that would also leave you with a neck or at least an opening at the bottom for attaching a stake or something (for your miniature garden orb). Diane B.
(see also covering ping pong balls above in Plastics)

Johnny Kuborssy suspended a cane slice inside a bar of handmade glycerin soap.

You can also "cover"shaped polymer clay itself. Usually this is done over a solid polymer shape (e.g., the snakes, etc. below), but it can also be over a scrap polymer core of crushed aluminum foil, for example (see Armatures for more).
Mike Buesseler’s snakes (Jewelry Crafts, & class) (over a long rope of scrap clay formed into a triangle log...see Sculpture >/Miscellaneous for details
e also Jon Anderson's using a similar technique to cover a snake, lizard, turtle, etc. (gone?)

Veneers ....(baked polymer sheets)
(glued to wood, or to other materials ... mostly flat, or gently curved... sometimes large)

baked veneers . . Another option is to bake polymer clay veneer panels, then apply them to the wood (for boxes, tables, and other flat or gently curved surfaces).
...Take the baked panels, thinly coat the back of them with a wood glue, such as Titebond II (home & bldg centers), apply the panel to the wood, hold and/or clamp to allow to set.
...The panels can be made slightly larger, then trimmed (using a router?) to fit.
...It is wonderful to work with pre-baked panels because they are ultra-flat, no fingermarks, dents, etc. Plus, if you goof they can be removed (?) and new panels applied to the wood. Janet

Pier's husband mentioned that, through trial and error, he'd determined which type of wood was best for being veneered with polymer clay. He pointed out that most woods expand and shrink at a rate that's different than polymer clay. Wood is a material that expands and shrinks according to environmental moisture as well as temperature. In other words, although slowly, its constantly changing size. That descrepancy can mean problems when trying to marry polymer clay to it. Desiree
...Pier said at her class that they mostly use birch. JAN
...Bonnie and her husband often use maple as well

Pier's and Daniel's veneered tables ....and boxes and
.......(see Vessels for more on boxes)
Cheryl's veneered curio cabinet (diff. patterns and colors used for each open shelf and for back piece) (bottom of page)
Bonnie Bishoff (& husband J.M. Styron's) veneered table and other pieces of furniture
James L's many 4"? cubes veneered with 3-6 diff. colors and patterns of clay (can be used as 3-D puzzle pieces to created diff. patterns) and
Rob's & Melissa's decorated wooden tissue box (website gone)
PöRRö's shiny flat surfaces from baking between two shiny tiles (more on technique in Mosaics/tiles? --Sue's veneers?)

Violette covered the entire side of her etagere (book case) with rectangles of differently patterened clay tiles, like a crazy-quilt mosaic

In the woodshop at Arrowmont, Derek (shop coordinator) and I (Daniel Peters) drilled, glued, veneered, sawed, turned and sanded 3 brands of BAKED polymer clays with different results (NOTE: while this was happening there was a constant flow of "Polydust" theives going through shop).

RESULTS Baked polymer clay machines beautifully leaving smooth clean surfaces, these look good and are excellent glue lines.
...How students condition and bake their clay greatly effects the strenght of finished product. All the proffesionals and faculty who brought baKed clay to the woodshop have mastered how to make CONSISTANTLY Strong attractive materials,about 10% of students can also produce this strong good looking stuff, 90% of students could use some help ( from proffesionals , not me) on the very basics of conditioning and baking.

Polymer clay is strongest in the veneer state (WIERD, the smaller the volume the tougher it gets?)..... maybe this is the result of baking thin.

If you keep your baked sheets fairly thin, say a 3 or 4 on the Atlas, they will conform to curves.
Once baked, they can then be applied to the wood with Patty B.

Which glues you choose are critical! Some actually EAT polymer over time- Chris Hentz class was an excellent source for this info. DANIEL
( cement like for attaching countertop laminates)
.... "Contact" glues are available at home improvement stores, hardware stores, lumber yards and are normally used to adhere Formica and other laminates to counter tops) Patty B.

… polymer has some properties similar to wood, i.e; has grain direction with "long graining" being the strongest. I've been developing veneering to make it possible for polymer artist to work on a larger "canvas" it's better than wood veneers in many ways ,and makes a great low cost way to work B-I-G !

(CERNIT worKed best for turning , it was stiff and very smooth BEFORE being sanded . . . ...we were doing all of the turning experiments on wood lathes.)

(removable) Sleeves of clay

It seems to me that removable polymer sleeves of various kinds could be made for bathroom or kitchen product containers those for deodorant, liquid soap, hair products, standing toothpaste tubes, etc.
...or for any now-empty plastic or metal product container
...or for originally-empty containers (spray bottles, etc.)
This would allow the original packaging designs of the products and colors to be replaced with more compatible colors or patterns for a particular room, or even to make "matching" sets from all those products (or match a switchplate or curtains, etc.)... and just to make them more attractive when left out on a counter, etc.
...what about using a metal coffee as a countertop trash container? e.g.

Some containers can be baked in the oven with the clay (used an armature to keep the proper shape).
...For those that can't be baked, an approximately-correct rolled-and-taped paper version of the outer shape could be used
......(put wadded paper inside if needed.... or make a clay form to approximate the shape, then put a much taller paper sleeve around it).

partial candle sleeve (sheet of clay formed into cylinder and baked ...held in plasce around bottom third of fat candle with 4 glass pins)

Donna Kato's lesson on making cylindrical sleeves with bottoms (more like almost-tight container), using WireForm embedded in 2 clay sheets (tops are split then rolled back) ...fat candles set inside after baking (see more on wire mesh in Armatures)

(see also above in "Nightlights...Screens" for freestanding sleeve enclosures for lights & and candles
... and in Vessels > Freestanding for more constructions ideas?)

sleeves from warm clay
......& warm repositionability.....

Kato clay was originally created with a characteristic called "warm repositionability" which meant that it could be curved, or repositioned (for arms, etc.), after baking while still warm, and if held in the new position while cooling, it would keep the new position permanently.
.....Unfortunately this may no longer be true, or to the same extent, especially since the Kato clay was reformulated (the initial too-hot-summer/trucks problem). I noticed that Donna or Van Aken had mentioned something brief in one of their announcements that a lot of that warm repositionability characteristic had been lost (because of something they took out or put in, etc.).
.....I was unhappy about that because I'd thought we could make covers for bath and kitchen products (which would make them look better left out on the counter) by wrapping the bottle/can/tube/etc. with a sheet of Kato clay after baking but while hot. (I thought they might not fit tightly after cooling so I had a few ideas about how to join the edges after baking so they could be reused, but during the cooling I would have held them in position with cloth or paper wrapping probably).
....Recently though I asked Donna about the whole thing when I was in a class she gave...she said she didn't think it would work because the clay would want to go back to the original position, and especially since they'd changed the formula.
.... HOWEVER, I'm not all that convinced that it couldn't work! --especially with some work and experimentation-- so I'd be very happy to hear anything you find out about doing it, any variation. Diane B.

When I took a flat sheet (of the new Kato clay) out of the oven, I curved it into a ring for my finger just for the fun of it, and it stayed in that position. Deirdre of the main reasons I have chosen to use Fimo over Premo is because Fimo has such good "memory". I like to go back and re-position arms on my sculpts, etc. I know this doesn't seem like it would be a problem, but when I am mass producing some of my items, hours may go by before I am able to go back and re-position. Mirella
....if only partially baked though, thin sheets or areas of clay are sometimes very easy to tear while still hot (as the piece cools, it hardens and becomes very tough, if baked correctly).
.......(however) Kato Polyclay is not as fragile as other brands when warm.
.......Donna (had originally said) "When I make small box vessels covering a clay form I can actually twist the interior form to loosen the box walls without the walls breaking."

could lead to being able to do simple origami before the clay sheet cools? Diane B.
(...for more on folding and origami with clay, see Sheets > Other Techniques > Origami, folding)


(see also "Blanks for Covering" above in ___, and Supply Sources)

other places to look: dollar stores for plain silver metal tins, Cost Plus, Michaels, Goodwill for glasses & bowls, etc.
I don't know if you have Dollar Stores near you or not. I have been at my new local one lots lately and they have TONS of plain silver metal tins. ALL SHAPES AND SIZES! From long ovals to little tiny squares.

Specialty Bottle Co. ( ?) (206) 340-0459

Container Store catalog . . . they have some great stuff to cover wih clay at very affordable prices. . . .online at

little bottles from scientific glassware suppliers. Most readily available are slightly smaller than the 1 dram vial (I think... that dram conversion is a bummer) has some. There are cheaper sources out there.

screw cap vials? shell vials are much cheaper but you need some kind of cork to go with them. It's all out there... here is a site with even more sizes to choose from

mini bottles (pendants).... a big site and I had a hard time finding them again...they're on the very bottom of the jewelry findings section. Rebecca

UMX Fashion Supplies .... Purse hardware: Handles, Frames, Magnetic Snaps, Buttons; Fasteners: Plastic Buckle, Snap Hook, Hook, D-Ring, Tri-Ring, Square-Ring Cord Lock, Cord Stopper, Cord Fastener Lanyard Supply, Accessory, Parts Suspender Clip Series Snap Buttons, Fasteners, Rivet - Stud & Post Fashion Buttons, Clothing buttons Fashion Buckles, Belt Buckles Key Tags, Paper Key Tags, Zipper Pulls, Zipper Sliders & Tabs, Fashion Trims-attachers, all kinds of Chains.. Betty

American Science Surplus (little containers, odds/ends)
You can request a catalog online - email... (American Science & Surplus) or visit their website....

Thomas Scientific? (online?)
   99 High Hill Rd., I-295, Box 99,   Swedesboro, NJ 08085-0099
Call (800) 345-2100 to order, or ask for their artists' catalog. tissue blades,

small "chime balls" (like the ones on necklaces), available at, reasonably priced . . .they still chime when covered…

For "rock" purses-containers, see Vessels-rocks (and websites listed below)

More Websites:

Jean’s covered tuna can as base, with figure (website gone)
Faun's tiny figures ("covered" bodies) (website gone)
*Michele's covering SuperSculpey dragon with slices
(website gone)
"Rock Purse" (containers) Swap!!
(website gone)
Ronda’s rock amulet pendants
Jan’s covered spiral-notepads
Celie Fago’s tool handles, inlay & carved backfill
Kris' mokume handles & frames
Omodtart’s complex canes and covering a large vase
Egg Swap 1--Delphi
Joanie's eggs

some pens
many covered objects to use as vessels
OnlyChild’s small oval boxes
Lori’s bargello-like squashed-cane slices
~Dotty’s kaleidoscopes (actually, these are made from scratch)
Byrd's partially "covering-framing" glass pieces, stones, etc.
(website gone)
Crafty Michele's metal- & ?-covered pill containers
Lisa P's business card holders and sm. to med. purses
see Elise Winters jewelry where "strips" are raised to an art form!

(see also: Armatures esp. for PVC pipe, Mixing Media for applying fabric to clay, Vessels for other clocks and more, Vessels/Rock for covering Bottles of Hope ideas & covering other things to create lg. or small containers/pendants, etc., )