Translucents -- Some techniques
Conditioning & Baking & Finishes
Plaquing (unwanted whitish spots)
Clearest results
..... quenching (ice water dunk)
.......thin & very thin sheets
Brands & their uses
...Premo translucents
...Fimo's colored translucents
Making your own colored translucents
Inclusions & additions in translucents
Misc + Websites

Glow-in-the-Dark clays, Fluorescence, etc.

TRANSLUCENTS

Some techniques used with translucent clays:

(see more about each of these on its individual category page)
--mokume gane
--faux-many (jade, coral, moss agate, wood, turquoise, etc.) ... faux-ivory .... faux-turq,wood
--inclusions (spices, sands, crayons, embossing powders, pearlized powders, etc.)
......inclusions, cane slices, etc., sandwiched with translucent sheets
...... http://www.geocities.com/polyzine/december2000/technique.html
--covering colored pencil drawings, transfers, or dried flowers, other things, with very thin layers
--mixing with other clay colors to simulate semi-transparent fairy dresses, wings, etc.

--canes-instr. . . .(click on " Translucent Effects" for much more detail about these techniques)
Translucent clay can also be used in "translucent canes." When translucent and opaque clays are used in the same cane, and parts later taken from them are made very thin and pressed onto another surface, after baking the opaque parts will show up but the translucent parts will be invisible. This creates the impression that the opaque parts of the cane "floating" up over their background. The effect can be enhanced with sanding and buffing, and/or glossy sealers.
...
translucent cane slices

....translucent cane lengths
...........twisties . . .I just looked at a picture I have of some glass rods (that look similar) and just 'did' it. Chryse
. . . my best guess is that Chryse onlays small, short lengths of flattened translucent and opaque "canes" onto other surfaces
. . .she may start with a central log of translucent (on which she sometimes adds a smaller rope of a pearl-glitter-other-color clay); she wraps a small (pre-flattened? or squared?) rope around the log in spiral fashion, bottom to top (a single helix) (she sometimes uses two colors layered together)... she probably reducees these fairly small, and cuts short lengths of these "canes"... then my guess is that she flattens them to make the translucent fairly thin and applies them to other surfaces, sort of like the floating cane slices above
...using Premo, she leaches any very soft clay, but not the translucent because she thinks it creates air bullbles or streaks in it ...(she also refers to this as "filigrana")
http://members.aol.com/Laukkonen/filigrana.html
... stripes run vertically along the sides of a snake and then twisted? Dawn S.
...... this site shows how to make filigrana with hot glass ... stripes are added vertically around a core (momolo), then the whole thing is twisted to create the helix
http://store1.yimg.com/I/globalgiftmall_1735_17852722 Pat NJ

if translucent and/or pearl clays are used as a slightly larger background underneath opaque cane slices (whether they have translucent backgrounds in their cane --or not), they will also appear to float over the surface because of their starkness

Conditioning & Baking & Finishes

One thing I learned for sure (from my tests) is that conditioning the translucent clays is adding air pockets, which interferes with translucence, just the way rutilations break up the clarity of quartz crystal. So from now on, I'll be "conditioning" my (Fimo)…00 and CFC 06 (Premo Frost-- 5310-bleached) just enough to get it as thin as I want it. Elizabeth
(see Kathi Dustin's method below)
... leaching? does this also?

Conditioning by pasta machine may add more air than by hand conditioning also . .
...if you do use the pasta machine to condition your translucent, be sure you don't add add by inserting the fold of the sheet you're about the put through it at the top, but rather on the bottom or one of the sides

I got this one from a Gwen Gibson Video - bake your pieces face down. Heat rises and causes air bubbles to rise to the surface. By putting your items face down, the bubbles will rise to the back of the piece where they won't show. Lizzlady
....Another thing that could be happening is that your clay is too sticky or your pasta machine has bits of clay under the scrapers, etc., that catch on the clay as it goes by and give it a little pull (particularly the thinner you roll it) . . . .that can result in more likelihood of air. You might want to try leaching the clay a bit, or cooling it and/or the pasta machine before using if you don't condition by hand.

...see below in Clearest Results and in Thin Sheets for more info on preparing translucents to avoid bubbling, etc.
...see more on avoiding bubbles in general in Pasta Machines > Problems > Air Bubbles

Most all translucents will darken more easily than the regular colors while baking...(not Kato's translucent though, and maybe Premo Frost--bleached tho?)
....so don't bake too long, or use a too-high a temp when using translucents (or tinted translucents like SuperSculpey or ones you've tinted yourself)
..........or when using regular color clays which contain lots of translucent in them from the factory (which is not always obvious --to check for translucence, can put thin bit of clay on sheet of glass or plastic, then shine flashlight up through in darkened closet)
..........remind me not to overbake my glow in the dark clay either ...they brown sooo easily!! Ginger
..... (NOTE:.at higher elevations, all clays must be baked a little hotter and longer just like foods... most clayers at elevations over 3500 ft. recommend baking translucents at around 300 or just a bit lower)
....using a convection oven may help though since it keeps the temp really even
.....I like to bake in a covered container when working with light colors or translucents .. I've got two foil cake pans that I clip together with binder clips and never have trouble anymore. Ginger
...... have used two large cookie tins like the ones Christmas cookies in.... they have tight fitting lids ...I line the bottoms with a layer of polyester polyfill and I have never burned anything in them --even translucent clay doesn't burn. (I like to let them cool in the container before removing the lid I since I don't like the smell).Flo
.......partially enclosing should help too (draping with a damp paper towel, or tenting with aluminum foil, etc.)
..........cornstarch is wonderful for keeping your translucent from browning or yellowing since it totally protects it from the heat of the oven (insulation)
..............if my translucent item needs to be baked on a flat surface, I lay 3-4 paper towels on my tile.... then I lay the clay item on top of the paper towels ....then, I scoop up a spoonful of cornstarch and gently sprinkle it over the item, until it is totally covered (at least 1/2" thick) .......if the translucent isn't clear enough after baking, I put it back in the oven for about 5 min (without the cornstarch)... this will clear up the translucent if it needs it, without browning it.
.............if my items are dimensional like beads, I put them in a baking pan which is always kept filled with cornstarch ....then cover with cornstarch and bake as above. Jana

(see more details on all these powders, plus other ways to avoid darkening, seeBaking
> Darkening/Burning ...Enclosed Baking ...Support & Propping)

Sarajane says that if you're using translucent clay or glow-in-the-dark clays (or Kato clays), they may resist Varathane (?)
.. (if that happens, the workaround is to) "apply the thinnest little layer of the liquid clay first, to give the piece some "tooth" for the Varathane to hold onto. I apply it with a makeup sponge, or a drop or two then smear with a finger, bake for 10 minutes...then Varathane." Sarajane

Plaquing

Plaques are little half-moon shapes of slightly whiter color which often show up when translucents are baked.

......These are actually little areas of opacity in clays which are translucent
........ or in certain clay colors which have translucent in them from the factory (....lighter colored clay colors will show these opacities up more than dark ones ...see above for testing a clay's translucency while it's still raw)
........ shows up with SuperSculpey and Glow in the Dark too as they are mostly translucent ....in fact, even some boxes of SS seem just to have more plaquing than others

We think plaques are caused by moisture in the clay
........from the factory ... or incorporated from hands, etc , while handling ...or possibly in muggy conditions
...... or from water-based or organic inclusions put into or under the clay which haven't been thoroughly dry first)
.....some people think that air incorporated into the clay can be a factor too (for more on avoiding air in the clay, see Pasta Machines > Bubbles)

So.... try to prevent moisture and air from getting into these clays:

...Use dry hands.....or hand-condition the clay rather than doing it in a pasta machine .....and/or condition as little as possible

...I find that the "mooning"/plaquing I get with the flesh tones happens in my particular "smooshing" method
......when I move clay over clay, and cannot see that it is not bonded to underlaying clay, the shape of my finger pull shows up after it is baked as a light colored moon. Annette
...don't pull the clay to bond one bit with another.... stressing the clay can create plaquing
...... instead, use a tool to roll and shape the clay into the bond.... when i started doing that my cracks and moons disappeared at the joins. sunni
...I think what is meant by "pulling" here is that when you are laying your very, very thin sheet of translucent clay over another piece, you don't want to stretch or pull it (can create "fractures" or splitting of the piece of clay)...after baking you can see white spots in the otherwise translucent clay. So, once you have a thin sheet of translucent rolled out, don't pull on it or try to shape it. ....just gently lay it on the piece you are working on, pressing it down to adhere. Jana

...Use one of the "non-plaquing" translucent clays ( Kato Polyclay's Translucent or Premo's Frost --Bleached Translucent)

...Add just a little bit of an opaque clay like most whites or beige to any clay which will plaque so the plaques can't be seen
(.....and in reverse, any clay which you've intentionally lightened with white will lose some or most or its translucency because of the titanium oxide that helps make the white clays white --in case you want to keep translucency for votives, etc.)
....Adding white works like a charm and just a bit is not enough to lose the translucency).(but may lose some??).
.......I use exclusively Premo trans (w/ or w/o bleach), and if I don't add the white or the beige I do get a lot of plaquinq.... my recipe would be a pea-size of white or beige to a package of trans. iustina

On the other hand, if you WANT plaquing because you are trying to simulate natural materials, etc., and want some irregularities or visual texture, you can either dampen your hands before warming your Frost--bleached translucent, or use Fimo’s Art Translucent for most plaquing (or other regular translucents).
(see below for more on which brands plaque the most and least)

To cover up existing plaquing, you can also paint the baked clay with water-mixable oil paint or washes of acrylic paint, etc, possibly preceded by a coating of gesso. (see Paints)
..... or apply a finish with an inclusion in it over the baked clay (metallic or non-metallic powders, e.g.) or a metallic wax, etc.

(for more info on avoiding plaquing, see just below)

getting the Clearest results

The colors underneath a layer of translucent clay will always be much brighter before they're covered, Kathleen said. Carolyn A.
......for covering inks/paints,using the (intensely saturated) Pinata Inks under the translucent can keep the colors brighter. Trina
(....see below for other techniques that can help)

plaquing and darkening, etc:

Most of the discussions below referred to getting the clearest results from thin layers of translucent used as a covering over other things... the suggestions below (particularly on baking) will also help in getting the most clarity when using in thicker applications, but some may not apply as much.

MOST TRANSLUCENT CLAYS:
...two translucents so far have been created to be non-plaquing
....Premo's Frost (aka Bleached Translucent--CFC-06)--now also Studio by Sculpey's Frost?....and Kato's Translucent.
opinions:
...for my test, I handled the preparation as scientifically as I could under normal home studio conditions
........I made very thin sheets of Cernit, Kato Polyclay, Fimo 00, Fimo Soft 014, Sculpey III, Premo 5310 and "Premo Frost--5310 with bleach" (aka CFC-06). you can see the results at: http://polymerclayexpress.com/octo2002.html
.......in the pictures, you're looking through samples of two different thicknesses of clay to the stamping on the reverse side of the sheets of cured and glazed clay
.......these clays got no conditioning to speak of (when we did our strength test a couple of years ago, I remember seeing the defined layers within the sheets of clay and thinking that not only would those layers of air make the clay weaker, they would also inhibit translucency, so I simply sliced off clay from the block and ran it through the pasta machine to even and thin it. I didn't fold the clay at any point - one pass at the thickest setting, one pass at #4, one at #6, one at #7 and one at #8 ...maybe it can help you choose the best clay for a particular project? Elizabeth
.......the results look to be in this order, from most clear to least clear:
.........Sculpey III, Premo 5310, Premo's Frost w/ bleach, FimoSoft, FimoClassic, Kato Polyclay, Cernit white. DB
...In the latest BPCG newsletter, Sue Heaser wrote up her results of experiments to find which clay (and type) is the most translucent.
..........Premo (Frost --bleached) --now also Studio by Sculpey's Frost?--wins hands down....using #6 (Atlas) sheets . . . letterhead can be clearly read through the Premo..... It's blurry for all the rest.... Sculpey III and Fimo Art Translucent (baked at 130 C) came joint second. Margaret in Wales
...
I will say the (clearest is) Frost--bleached Premo, which to my belief is now being put in the Premo Translucent packages, but I"m not positive!!!
......and also the FImo Soft Transparent, I blieve it's #014, are the most translucent!!!
......but the CFC bleached still wins as the clay gets thicker!!! Leigh

OTHER FACTORS
Kathleen Dustin mentioned that clay will absorb moisture and oil from your hands, which can cloud the translucent
....... therefore it was important to handle translucent clay as little as possible for maximum clarity.
...........so she takes a fresh, out-of-the-wrapper block of Sculpey III translucent.... smooshes one edge just so it will fit into the pasta machine... runs it through at the thickest setting... then runs it through again at #6 (2nd thinnest)
......she also advised using this fresh-rolled sheet immediately
...I had a chance to talk with Kathleen Dustin about how she achieves such great translucence in the translucent clay (covering her colored pencil drawings) on evening bags
.......she says Sculpey III is the most translucent (though it does yellow a bit), and of course she sands and sands.
.......(she also said she finds it difficult to work with sheets of translucent any thinner than #6 on the pasta machine... but then she further thinsthe clay by stretching before applying, then also pressing firmly on the covered item with her finger, over plastic wrap)
...Kathleen sometimes also sparsely sprinkle glitter or Pearl Ex on half of a very thin layer of translucent clay (Sculpey III translucent, unconditioned and rolled through once)... then she folds the other half over and runs it through the pasta machine once to thin it out again..jannh1

BAKING & INSULATING

......Marie told me to pre-heat my oven before adding clay, and I haven't had it (plaquing) happen since (?).
......put the pieces in a cold oven and S-L-O-W-L-Y bring the oven up to 265.... let them bake at 265 for the required 20-25 minutes.... and then shut off the oven and allow the pieces to cool in the oven - this slow heating and cooling will minimize the plaquing in the translucent clay to almost nothing.
.

To get a clearer & non-yellowed (slightly darkened?) result (when using Sculpey's translucent?), have you tired curing it at different temps? (I find a few degrees one way or the other can make a huge difference in the look of the transparent). Cindy

to avoid darkening ...never let the clay touch the pan (while baking)
....and for translucent items, I put puffs of Fiberfil polyester stuffing on my cardstock or paper covered baking pan, then put the items on that.
........if the item must be kept perfectly flat though, I put the item on another piece of cardstock on top of the Fiberfil, like a cardstock and stuffing sandwhich.... this keeps my trans from darkening as much as pieces in the pan --I tried a same-pan-different-surfaces-same-beads baking experiment, and it was pretty conclusive!! Sarajane

I would recommend that you not bake your translucent directly on a tile....or a heat reflective surface.
....translucent clay browns or yellows very easily in the oven... so if the clay is made even hotter by resting on a tile (or baking sheet), this can cause it to go brown even quicker.
....here's how I bake items with translucent clay:
....... if my item needs to be baked on a flat surface, I lay 3-4 paper towels on my tile.... then I lay the clay item on top of the paper towels
.......then, I scoop up a spoonful of cornstarch and gently sprinkle it over the item until it is totally covered (at least 1/2" thick)
...........the cornstarch is wonderful for keeping your translucent from browning or yellowing since it totally protects it from the heat of the oven (insulation)
....... if the translucent isn't clear enough after baking, I put it back in the oven for about 5 min (without the cornstarch)... this will clear up the translucent if it needs it, without browning it.
..... If my item doesn't need a flat surface for baking (beads, etc), I put them in a baking pan which is always kept filled with cornstarch
........then cover with cornstarch and bake as above. Jana
(see much more on ways to avoid darkening while baking in Baking)

Sculpey III esp. will darken sooner and at lower temps ... but all translucents, and colors with translucent in them, will also (except prob. Kato)

(Putting a raw translucent layer on top of baked clay) is never as transparent as applying raw translucent clay to raw clay and baking them together. I guess on a molecular level, a complete bond is not achieved, and that results in cloudiness.
....However, (for a baked piece of clay) you can use use a ... double veneer ....a sheet of clay consisting of two layers - the patterned clay and the translucent laid on top of that- and both run through the pasta machine together. That is how I have achieved the most translucent effect. This sheet can be cut to size and applied to the surface of the pre-baked bead.
.......The conclusions that I can make from my experiences are that the best transparency can be achieved when you apply raw translucent to raw clay....Some people think my beads are glass. But it also takes a lot of sanding and buffing to achieve that effect. Donna

I have noticed that all the sanding (and buffing?) in the world won't make Sculpey really shiney . . . Diana
.....right --Sculpey is the most opaque of the clay brands (also the most brittle when baked). The amount of translucent in (a brand's) clay base has a LOT to do with whether it'll shine up. Try Premo, or Fimo, or Cernit (or Kato).
. . . .Also, different colors themselves have more or less translucent in them --some colors have a lot, and they darken more when baking. Sarajane H.

Any bubbles created in baking will rise to the back of the piece where they won't show if you bake your pieces face down.... heat rises and causes air bubbles to rise to the surface. . Lizzlady
(won't help with plaques though?)
...when applying layers of clay over either another layer of clay or over an object, look at the object from an angle. This will often allow you to see a bubble you missed. .... just slice it with your blade and gently smooth it. Patty B.

Donna Kato pointed out that if you wet your piece before buffing (esp. translucents) it actually glows.

Small, fine cracks, happen when I have a thin skin of transparent over something else ...these are harder to correct than the larger, wider cracks.
.... Btw (someone's) suggestion to carve out a fine crack to make it wider, and then refilling it with soft clay mixed with some liquid clay, works pretty well for these. Dotty

If your translucent clay is old (?), tint it to help camouflage both bubbles and plaques.

PöRRö's shiny flat surfaces from baking between two shiny tiles
http://members.surfeu.fi/porro/eninti.htm (see her description of using this technique with translucent)

Another way to achieve translucent layers is with a liquid clay like TLS
...simply brush or pour a thin layer over the object, let any bubbles rise to the top and settle out. Then bake (BTW, use a soft bristle brush, not foam to help prevent bubbles).... Bake at the recommended clay temperature, but boost it to 300 degrees for the last 5 minutes (the higher temp helps make the TLS clearer). Patty B.
(see much more re this on the Liquid Sculpey page)

ice water plunging ("quenching") or freezing

I think Lynda Struble (a plastics chemist and a polyclay sculptor) was the first person to advocate the ice water plunge for stronger clay. Sue Heaser published an article about what Lynda said in the 1998 British Guild newsletter, and clayers all over UK have been using it ever since.…

My understanding was the "shock" method of dunking hot clay into ice water was to create a more translucence in translucent clays
....it's also used for closing cracks

Someone else said when she put her translucent canes in the freezer to cool down, she found the translucent clays became much more transluscent, much like the ice water trick.... I plan to use both! Jan
....freezing would be good to use too when you have something porous that might swell when wet too, like bare wood or a paper product like papier mache or cardboard

What actually happens with the ice water dunk is that the clay may initially crack (or have tiny cracks) when it's first put into the ice water bath... but the items need to be left in the water to soak awhile, and then the cracks will close themselves!

...if you haven't done the ice water soak the first time you baked, you can always put the item back in the oven until it really heats up, then do the ice water bath

I learned from bitter experience that when you give cured clay an icewater bath, you really need to let it return to room temp before trying to flex it at all. I broke a cuff bracelet that way. Suzanne

In the case of my tile, I was afraid I'd crack it - not to mention waterlogging - so I took an ice cube and ran it back and forth across the glitter lines (or over any baked clay). I could actually see them get clearer! Julia

I was playing around and made a flat piece with translucent clay and I was about to stick it in the glass of ice water I had prepared when I realized it was probaly not going to keep its flat shape, so instead, I put the glass of water on top of it! voila! it was held flat AND coold off fast. ~Liz

So far, I've never been able to see any tests that made me feel certain that the ice dunk treatment caused more transparency. It always appeared that way immediately, but then later, I could not tell the difference. Only done it twice though so maybe I should test that one again, too. Jeanne R.

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 (covering) 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 also make the bottle more vulnerable, so if you try it, be cautious. Jody

I've had water that was trapped inside of a figurine that had an aluminum foil armature inside. Just that one crack kept causing "dripping" problems because I do the Ice Water Dunk on things. The water caused the clay to discolor (??) and there was nothing I could do to repair it. Nora Jean
...make sure there are no cracks in the exterior clay (for beads, drill the hole afterward)?

thin & very thin sheets

(see above in Getting the Clearest Results for a comparison of the clarity of thin sheets of various brands of translucent)

(for more tips & lessons on making thin sheets
see Pasta Machines > Making Thin Sheets ....here is just one of them:)

Gwen's lesson on thin sheet of translucent (covering a photocopied image on translucent clay, amber wash, backed w/ crackled leaf)
http://www.lapidaryjournal.com/jj/jun01jj.cfm
)
...put (translucent) clay through on 3rd from smallest setting, then sandwich with two just-larger sheets of waxed paper and put through the smallest setting with papers lying open on pasta machine like open book. . ."If the clay is not thin enough to read a newspaper through, repeat the process with a piece of construction paper behind the wax paper."
...the rollers don't want to "grab" the slick wax paper, so I dropped an edge between the rollers... I could grab this edge, and then both pull and crank. Ray
... use parchment paper instead of wax paper) and you will get much thinner rollings. MsEQuin
...I could not pull the clay from the wax paper without tearing it up when using a setting thinner than 4 with a waxed paper sandwich (though I should have put it in the refrigerator to stiffen it before trying). Ray
...
http://www.mindstorm-inc.com/pages/vid/pc05.html (5 min.clip of Ancient Images video, showing Gwen making her very thin translucent clay sheet with waxed paper); she also cuts an oval stencil and uses it to cut out a clip art image befoer coloring it in with colored pencils and transferring to the translucent sheet --need to have, or install there, MacromediaFlash to view)
...It's a great technique but you have to be careful that after you run the clay and waxed papers together through the pasta machine that you loosen the clay sheet from the paper first if you watn to run it through again on a smaller opening (otherwise it will bunch up and get stuck). I learned this technique from Gwen Gibson some years back and she always said "Loosen the clay like a little tongue." If you remember that, it will work fine. Dotty in CA
...
Oh wow! Just got my Transparet Liquid Sculpey and I tried doing a transfer with it so that I would have a very thin sheet backing the transfer. It worked perfectly! This is something you need to do when making Gwen Gibson's Faux Enamel. Much easier than trying to roll out the clay on the thinnest setting, even using wax paper. Just this one thing alone makes getting the liquid worth it!! Dotty
...
TLS. . . two dandy shortcuts when doing the faux enamel technique Gwen Gibson demostrates on her new video. Instead of running PC through #7 on the pasta machine using wax paper, create the polymer image with TLS. Instead of using glue/adhesive to adhere foil to the back, use more TLS and back a second time. Carol Overmeyer

If I am doing translucents I prefer a cold pasta machine (rather than a warmed one--hot pack,etc.). . . another thing is before doing any work with translucents, clean the scrapers well.
Word of advice, don't put translucents or very soft clays through on the thinner settings if it's really warm! It's gonna gunk up the machine ALL THE TIME!!! Leigh
... (can send through with waxed paper or parchment though).

I heard a great tip for getting thin sheets once... can't remember where though... drat. This person always kept on hand several ) sheets of transparent that had been run through the pasta machine to the smallest setting (at least overnight), it would go without messing up, in storage. She says that once it sits for a day or so... you can then take it through the smaller settings with no problems. So she kept some made up that way till she needed them. That sounded like it would really work to me. ... the person who gave the hint was talking about translucents in particular, and what she does is keep a bunch of sheets of translucent pre-rolled. Then she can just grab a sheet and roll it through the thinner setting when she needs it. Joanie
.....What has worked pretty well for me is letting the clay have a few minutes to cool down between settings. I have found that if I just set the sheet aside for even a few minutes, especially between setting 6 & 7 I get much less weird ripples & such. . .
...Also it seems to be affected by how soft a batch of clay it is - I sometimes leach the clay & get a better result. If it's that yucky cream cheese consistancy, it's just not going to work for thin sheets. Of course, this all means that in Michigan in July, I almost NEVER get a nice thin sheet unless I'm working in AC. Lynne
...or take the thin sheet and place it in the refrigerator or freezer for some amount of time, then run it through at the next thinner setting. Patti

I have one solution that has helped me when trying to roll a thin sheet of clay. I roll it as thin as I dare without distorting it, and then slightly rub it with corn starch. It goes through the machine at the thinnest setting with ease. It might affect adherence to other clay, but when using the encased photocopy transfer onto clay to make large beads, it has worked very well. I've only tried it when I've been able to pull the sheet tight to the base and don't know how it will work when, say, rolling it onto some clay. Maybe it could be wiped down after rolling thin with something. Pat
(cornstarch, but not talcum powder, can be easily removed with water --I would think that even if there were some ground down into the sheet, the uppermost part could be removed and act as a suitable surface for adhering . . . what about powders though?? Diane B.)

Sculpey's translucent can be rolled incredibly thin--and it can be stretched even thinner! --compared to the other translucents, when a very thin covering is what you want.

There was an excellent idea posted a while back about using packing foam to press the translucent down . . . because it really works great. . . I just wrap it around the pad of my finger and press the clay down. It seems to help by spreading the pressure over a larger area and by keeping the clay from sticking to my finger

Kathi Dustin's technique. She rolls the translucent to #6 on the pasta machine (thin) and places it carefully, then presses down REALLY hard with plastic wrap over the. . . You have to WORK at it to get maximum transparency. Think like applying contact paper, too, and press from the center to the edges to move any bubbles away. (Do this gently BEFORE pressing the clay down hard.)

If showing the background is part of the overall design (for clays slices), I always roll and smooth each layer of slices before moving on to the next - this does minimize movement and distortion. Donna K.

Barbara McGuire's lesson on putting a very thin layer of translucent on top of the transfer (on white clay) before using; one transfer she bends around a large bead shape of base clay (will need to be sanded and buffed for most clarity?)
http://hgtv.com/HGTV/project/0,1158,CRHO_project_27246,FF.html

see much more on using a thin layer of translucent clay over a transfer or other item (to "encase" it) in Transfers > Translucent, 'encased'

You can add a TINY BIT of colored clay to it and press it out super thin on your pasta machine and have semi-see-through clothing for fairies...this adds a very delicate touch to them. . . add a tiny bit of flourescent color to it it simulates good frog-skin! & gloss..

(using colored pencils) I roll a thin sheet of transluscent, sometimes with embossing powder or Pearl-Ex inclusions. When it's cooled (after baking?), I color the back side, so the colors show through the transluscent, and through the inclusions. Sometimes I'll have done a regular photocopy transfer onto the front. To use the sheet, I generally put it on a backing of more translucent clay.

colored pencils, soft (like Prismacolor?) can be used to color on Pearl and Translucent Premo, and then rubbed to a rainbow patina. I had an article in last summer's Kids Crafts about this and it's also in my book (Polymer Clay for the First Time). Syndee

Kathleen Dustin's approach of using a LOT of translucent clay in a cane then cutting the applied slices VERY thinly (paper thin or thinner!) and pressing them on really firmly. This results (after baking and buffing) in the opaque parts of the cane design "floating" over the background and the translucent clay becoming almost invisible. (see much more on this technique in Canes > Translucent Effects)

Jenn's lesson on making a randomly-colored base sheet with paint (covered with sheet of translucent), for covering base bead shapes, etc.
...paints a sheet of pearl clay with various colors of Byzantia paints in patches, then spreads paints with fingers to cover entire sheet
...she lets the paint get tacky, and covers with a very thin sheet of Premo
Frost--bleached translucent
...then runs through pasta machine http://www.ducknrun.com/Candy/candytutorial.htm

If you place the paint on the surface and cover with a thin layer of transluscent clay, you can then twist and roll it so that the colors become like veins of metallic colors.
...but to really get that effect, you'll need to do some sanding & buffing to the beads after they are baked. jayne

Great patterns can be gotten by impressing the translucent clay sheet before applying over painted sheets (or other things?)
...I painted a sheet of gold clay with Byzantia paints, then I covered it with a sheet of stamped translucent clay (and rolled it into beads). Libby

PAINTS (Byzantia)
lesson:
...run a sheet of pearl clay through the pm with a deep texture sheet (preferably a close together type pattern).
...paint the sheet of clay with Byzantia paints, concentrating on getting the paint into the deep parts of the pattern
...dab randomly with other colors on the higher areas of the sheet.
......(if there is too much paint left on the surface of the clay you can take some off by laying a sheet of wax paper onto the painted sheet and pulling it off... then you can "print" on another sheet of clay with this if you don't want to waste......usually I just lay the deli sheet right on another sheet of clay and burnish)
... let it set for a while, maybe use a heat gun or hair dryer to speed it up a bit.

....then cover with a thin (I use a number 7 or 8) sheet of
Frost--bleached translucent clay
....run it through the pasta machine to marry the whole thing, and again to thin the sheet to a # 4. Liz

...if the paint is dried and you want to revive it, I've taken to blotting with wax paper and then when I want to paint another sheet, hitting the paper with a spritz of rubbing alcohol, and then laying it on the fresh clay. =) Linda

...(for the piece with large dots) I used a rubber stamp with big depressed dots and painted different colors inside each dot
.... then painted a blend of colors over the raised area.... then I usually use a deli sheet or something placed over the whole sheet so that I can brayer it somewhat smooth (this will also take away some of the paint in the raised areas but not the dots) ... cover with a thin sheet of trans and there ya go! Libby
... Jenn used this technique, but tore the resulting sheet into small patches which she put onto a bead like the "watercolor" technique.
(for more on Byzantia metallic paints, see Paints > acrylic?

I've used the byz paints on the surface. Mixing them with liquid clay is ok, but you will get some frothy bubbles.
....Mixing with solid clay to color it would be too messy to consider, IMHO. jayne

Byz. paints don't fully dry on polymer until they're baked.... I usually let them sit for a while so they set up and are just tacky, and then I cover with a very thin sheet of trans... you can also hit them with a small amount of the heat gun to help them dry.Libby
....I like them...but they are difficult to work with (for me anyhow) . It takes a lot of getting used to, using paints that stay wet ...kinda messy, mushy...but then, I just started working with them. Lynne

jewel-bright textile and craft paint comes in ten fantastic metallic colors. ...compatible with polymer clay
...adds "flash" to mokume gane creations (won't delaminate) ... also good for faux stone
....Byzantia's Cloisonné paints (10 metallic colors, creamy consistency, heat set...or could take days to dry?)
...for painting, stamping, stencilling.......?
...Use as a paint with brushes, fingers, spatulas, or as a stamping medium in blank pads or direct to the stamp with a latex sponge
http://www.puffinalia.com/byzantia.html

other translucent ideas

Donna Kato's technique of impressing lines and shapes into a sheet of translucent, over a sheet of patterned clay (what result does this have?. . . just some areas that are thinner and clearer than the background?)
http://www.pcpolyzine.com/may2001/technique.html

for a "frosted" look, put a layer of thin translucent over most anything that's completely dry, non-solventy, and fairly flat, etc
.... including transfers, images from magazines or drawn, pressed flowers, clay slices, Skinner blends, etc.
pressed flowers & leaves + molded filigree onlays on top of the translucent as well
http://www.artistbeads.com/37pav.htm

I love Premo, one reason being that I work with a LOT of translucent and it is not as temperature sensitive as some of the other clays. I know it is weird to change clays because we get used to the little things peculiar to the brand we use most, but I think you'll be much happier with Premo after you get used to it - just MHO ;-) Jami Miller

Brands & their Uses

(see above in Getting the Clearest Results for a comparison of the clarity of very thin sheets of various translucent clays)

Sculpey (especially) and Fimo (still?) translucents will darken at lower temperatures than Premo and Kato translucents, so be sure to bake at a lower temp. when possible, and don't overbake.

I *think* that (all translucents are) more heat sensitive than the regular colors.
...I think you are right, Jody, because in translucents the ratio of filler (koalin/china clay) to plasticiser is different (not much kaolin which makes clay opaque, and no color additives).
....(Premo is the most heat sensitive/responsive with all colors...Sarajane)

Sculpey's translucent can be very clear when thin, but when thicker has a slightly pinkish cast after baking which may not be as good for things like faux ivory
...also, Sculpey is the only one (regular translucent, or also the translucent Super Sculpey?) that has two plasticisers and one of them is water soluble, which is why the mokume gane with sculpey will tarnish/turn green (when metallic leaf is used?)....since it has some water, more than the other brands, maybe the flat sheets dry out a bit AND cool off...that's my theory. Sarajane

Kato Polyclay's translucent is beautiful!! It does not plaque unless you want to make it plaque (by adding moisture)! Julie W.
(so, it's like Premo's " Frost " bleached Ttanslucent????)
....I could take the translucent all the way down to the thinnest setting on my pasta machine and it didn't stick.???
...it takes photocopies (transfers) VERY well. You can roll it much thinner (without sticking to the pasta machine) so you get VERY thin layers of clay. I didnt notice any yellowing. Jan
.....the translucent, after being run through the atlas at #7 (on a #1-#7 machine), can be stretched even thinner by hand--without tearing--for a really thin layer in m.g. or stretched over faux opal, etc.... they all buffed up very nicely after sanding. oldrebbiepie1
...I've had great luck with Kato translucent. Very clear, no color cast to it, and it behaves itself well, too.Ginger

(for most info on Premo's translucents, including their [and StudioBySculpey's) Frost--"bleached" translucent, see sub-category just below)
...Frost--bleached Premo can be purchased mail order, through Polymer Clay Express and The Clay Factory of Escondido, at least.
.......and may soon be available in small packages at retail too (Michaels, etc.)

Fimo Soft's translucent is called Translucent # 014 (or Colorless Translucent), and is in their "Transparent" line but is clear rather than tinted.

Fimo Classic's translucent is now called "Art Translucent" (00) ... or just Translucent 00
...this translucent tends to plaque more than other translucents, so it can be more useful in creating faux stones than others...but also not as clear
......some Michaels do have the #00, but most often it will be found by mail order
(...this clay used to be called "Art Transparent 00") ...
...
Jan.00 --Fimo’s "regular" translucent (# 01) is being discontinued (& was the least useful translucent anyway)
...
I made this box with the Fimo's Art translucent.... It happened to be from their new batch.... While their former versions of translucent have been fairly soft, this brick was particularly stiff. Even after food processing, it was extremely firm. However it was also extremely resilient. Even under the most demanding bending, pasta machine rolling and twisting, it wouldn't crack. It was like working with flexible steel! It's hard for me to describe its properties, but its perfection was marvelous to work with. I don't think I could have made the box, let alone one with such thin sides, top and base. Desiree

On the other hand, Sculpey III and Premo (Frost--bleached only?) translucents work better for things like mokume gane and transfers because they don't plaque or they don't plaque as much (are clearer). Triche

I actually want some plaquing for the simulated jade. The result I got with the Premo Frost was too uniform, somehow -- just didn't give me the effect I wanted. I also tried a few "jade" beads with regular Premo translucent (5310), and still didn't like them as much as a piece I'd done a while ago with Fimo Art Transparent, which plaqued like crazy and added some real depth to the piece. Thalassa

Another difference I've seen between translucents is that when baked (not clear coverings, but in things like faux ivory), Sculpey's translucent is a little pinker/tanner than Fimo's (which is yellower) --they make different looking faux ivories, e.g. I don't think this shows up in very thin sheets though; either one could be used to advantage. (I think, but am not sure, that Premo's tranlucents have the least "color." Any one else know??) Does Cernit have a translucent? What about the new Flexiclay? As for plaquing/mooning, Premo's Frost--"bleached" translucent is supposed to plaque the least of them all since Marie tried to create it with just that characteristic in mind. Diane B.

Didn't we have a longish discussion about translucents in the newsgroup a while back, with some good info coming forward?. . . looking up those posts in the rec.crafts.polymer-clay newsgroup archives at http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search might yield even more differences between the brands and types (was there something about flexibility, e.g.?) --I think the word translucent or translucents was in the subject line, so use translucent* (with the asterisk at the end) to cover them both. Diane B.

I have noticed that if I bake translucent Fimo Soft at 265 for any time at all, it yellows - ick! If I keep the temp at 250 or less, it stays more white - which I like better. Is this supposed to happen? Karen L.

In my not-quite-as-scientific experiments, I found Fimo Soft 014 Translucent to be the whitest, and Sculpey III translucent to be the clearest. Premo yellowed considerably. I also find translucent plaques less if it's not conditioned. And I can't really tell if clay that's been quick-cooled is any clearer either. Irene

I think by far, the new FimoSoft translucent is the clearest, especially when it comes to the thinest layers!!! It is almost as good as CFC06 (Frost--bleached Premo translucent). Leigh
I love the bleached Premo and feel it is probably the clearest....but know I have some doubts. I have, on Zig's suggestion, been using the new ...Fimo Soft white translucent #014 and just love its clarity!! No kidding it is so clear...at least for making translucent canes. I won't even use Premo bleached for my translucent cane work anymore. The one drawback that I had found with the Premo Frost--bleached was a slightly pinkish tinge, not bad if you used a very thin sheet of it as it would go clear. But, Fimo Soft 014 goes clear with no …and no pinkish tint. I am going to use it …to do some layering of inclusions and possibly some carving and backfilling...so I will see if it will give that beautiful clarity with layering too. Dianne C.
I'm with Dianne on this one... I like the Fimo Soft #014 the best of the translucents for most things... it's the clearest and most colorless when cured... doesn't add an amber cast to whatever you're making. If you're doing mokume gane, for instance, with silver leaf, you'd want to eliminate as much of the amber as possible. If you're using gold leaf, then the Premo Translucent or Frost--Bleached Translucent would be great.... the amber cast would possibly even enhance the look you're going for. I like all of them for different things. The Premo is more flexible when cured, so that's something to keep in mind. All of them sand and buff beautifully, ...Elizabeth
...BTW, Fimo Soft 014 (translucent white) is very translucent. After putting the items into cold water from oven almost all of the milkiness disappears. And after buffing it is very clear. PoRRo

Premo's Frost trans with bleach (also now StudiobySculpey's Frost) because it has optical brightners. ...the brighteners give sort of a weird purplish/orangeish cast to the clay Ginger (if used in larger amounts?)... see details below in Premo Translucents

Premo translucents (their differences)

Premo has offered 3 diff. "translucents" in the past?, one of which is only semi-translucent
....the translucent which was numbered
04 ("trans-nat") has been discontinued, or may be the same as their 05 Base (aka PE01-5000)??

There are now only two? types of translucents that they (The Clay Factory) sell now:

1. Premo's regular Translucent (01).. PE01- 5310 (the 2 oz size)
......or Premo translucent PE01- 5310-1 (in the 1 lb size)
...aviailable retail or mail order

2. Premo's Frost translucent (used to be called bleached* translucent) ...or 06 Trans/wb ...or PE01-5310 wb --at The Clay Factory, anyway
.... available in 2 oz (perhaps at retail -Michaels, etc.--by the time you read this), and by mail order
.....in 1 lb size bricks by mail order
.....now also put out by Studio by Sculpey line?
http://www.clayfactory.net/sculpey/premo.htm .... http://www.polymerclayyourway.com/clay.html

The "regular" translucent 5310 (2 oz) is the only one available in retail stores); it has a slightly amber cast and plaques somewhat. (1 lb bars of this are available by mail order).
...(the only? Premo translucent carried at retail stores has now changed to the bleached translucent though???!!... no?)

Frost-- bleached translucent
....
it has a less amber cast, and plaques as little as they can possibly make it
... can be baked at the regular temperatures without darkening --yes!

The "bleach" is added to balance the amber color that the cured clay gets. It's something purple that glows under a black light, so it's probably got optical brighteners in it, like Clorox II adds to your laundry.... You can tell if a particular bit of translucent hast bleach in it by its color cast - the bleached version has a very slightly violet cast, and if you leave it sitting on a piece of paper, it leaves a residue that is violet. Elizabeth (see more below?)
...the optical brightners give sort of a weird purplish-orangeish cast to the clay (if used in larger amounts?)....and this looks a little weird with some colors I've done, like with a painted mokume gane with pinata inks. Just looks odd, especially in natural daylight. They put the brighters in it to counteract the yellowing effect that curing can happen with translucents. (Optical brighters are a UV reactive fluorescent dye that makes things look brighter --sorta like blueing in little old ladies hair). Laundry detergent has it too. Ginger

Moisture can be added to any of these translucents to create plaquing (or create more plaquing), if you want that effect though. Diane B.

when I'm encasing (a larger item, like my fish boxes or paperweights (using a rock armature?), I've had problems with shrinkage with Premo ... If the clay shrinks, it has no where to shrink up TO in a project of that sort... so it cracks. I've had repeated cracking on these projects with the Premo... so I'm sticking to the Fimo for those now. Sadly so, as I really like the metallics... but damage control is more time consuming than making the entire project should be. Water baths do nothing to close up the cracking on these encased items... that's why I'm convinced it's a shrinkage problem. This is NOT a shot at Premo.... it's just a noted limitation. It helps you choose the clay that's right for the project you're working on at any given time. Joanie

A little example of what Premo Frost --bleached translucent is notorious for (getting a crack/s in thicker items?). (website gone) Great translucence, but no stretch! I have ruined many hearts in exactly the same spot! I'll try patching with a little tls (or Diluent and rebake for a short time?). Sometimes it conceals the crack, and sometimes it doesn't. Not the best translucent for the chrysanthemum cane. I'm going to use Fimo Art Translucent from now on. Elissa
....Quick tip for working with Frost--bleached translucent - warm it up a little bit with a heat gun or light bulb. Not real warm but just very very slightly warm so it doesn't feel cold to the touch. Do this to slices before applying to a base. Also, try to use it soon after conditioning. It does seem to lose elasticity after sitting for a while. Linda G.
...Yes, Leigh, I plunge all my work into ice water as soon as I take it out of the oven. I think that the cracks are more prone to develop in areas of stress, such as in the crook of the heart, where the clay is stretched. Debbie Anderson, and others in my guild have had that same cracking problem. I wonder if there are differences in consistency between batches of the stuff? Elissa
....On the other hand, I leached some translucent to within an inch of its life by mistake once (t'was positively crusty and crystalised) but I included it in a mokume gane cane anyway. It gave an "interesting" smashed windshield look. flyte
... So I assume would you then advise against using it in any cane made in advance? Some of my canes sit around for months on my clay "palette" before they are finally used up. (I do keep this tray of canes well sealed in a jumbo zip-lock bag between uses!) Elissa

3. the semi-translucent Premo color called Base (05 Base... PE01-5000) can be used to extend other clay by volume when more is needed (intended not to change the color if don't use too much? ... a bit like SuperSculpey?).... 1 lb. size only

Fimo's colored translucents ("Transparents") ...and their "glitter clays"

There are six new colors of transparent Fimo: T1 Yellow, T2 Red, T21 Pink, T37 Blue, T4 Orange, and T5 Green. When I first saw these bright, kid-friendly colors, I thought there was no way I would use them in my palette. However, after trying them I was surprised to find that you can achieve some subtle shading, especially when combined with regular transparent. I imagine they would be great for votives.

FIMO colored translucents get much darker or more saturated looking when they're baked.
. . . they still have to be used very thin! For maximum transparency, use colored translucent by itself - do not mix colored and uncolored translucent!
And the fimo transparent colors are so saturated with color that I can mix them with my cfc 06 (Frost--bleached translucent Premo) and not lose the color!!! Leigh

When layering, slicing as thin as possible is the most important thing.
..... I cut slivers off the face of my canes and, when cutting a round cane, hold the cane in one hand, the blade in the other and rotate the cane into the blade. Make sure your blades are as clean as possible, too. Donna Kato

I've been messin with the Fimo translucent colors too latley. . .they're growing on me! I mixed up a chartruse and sort of a periwinkle. The colors are intense at the same time as they are translucent - not muddy.

for more info & ideas on using the FimoSoft "Transparents," see Characteristics > Special FimoSoft Colors

The (glitter) metallic line of clay is different from all other clays... these are truly transparent after baking, and are filled with tiny pieces of glitter
...Just to let you know, the glitter metallics bleed so be aware of this when caning with them. It shows up very quickly. Faber is to correct this now, though the effect can be quite interesting, sort of a 'Skinner Blend" but only if you know it's what you want! Donna K.
....One thing I wish is that when you buffed the glitter colors, the glitter didn't turn silver!!! Leigh
........(could cover the glitter clay with a thin layer of translucent or LS first?)

Making your own colored translucents

Any color of regular clay can be mixed with translucent to give many different colored translucents.
..... very little color is actually needed to tint a translucent ... but how much to use may also depend on the pigment used, or how saturated a color you want
.....be aware that some regular clay colors are more opaque than others, and it's not always obvious which they are!
......... for example, white is usually very opaque, but one of the dark blues is very translucent
........too much pigment or too opaque an addition will reduce the translucency of the blend
......one way to test the translucency of a colored translucent you've mixed is to smoosh a bit of it onto a sheet of glass or acrylic, then take it in a dark closet and shine a flashlight back up through it to see how translucent a particular color or proportion is

Some clay colors are definitely more friendly to mixing into translucents than others.
.....there was an article in the PolyinforMer by Lindly Haunani
about avoiding midnight colors like navy & burgundy, and white or pearlized colors
........ (but Dotty likes to add translucent to Premo’s silver?), and a few others that I can't remember.
...I've mixed the eraser clay with Premo Frost--translucent bleach... and WOW!!! ...they are pastelly but more like a vibrant pastel. I just love "em...Bean

formulas for mixing equivalents of FimoSoft Translucent clays (tiny-smidgen amounts of colored clay mixed into translucent clay... they say must use a highly saturated color; pastels won't work)
http://www.geocities.com/turkeymama/UPCG/tutorialpics/flowerwithgraphics.html

alcohol-based inks (Pinata, etc) are also really great for tinting pearl and translucent solid clays... they are intense and vibrant, requiring little to be mixed in.
.....rub them onto a sheet of translucent, let them dry, then start mixing the color in.
.....some of the colors seem to dissolve completely, but some of the darker colors seem to retain some tiny dark flecks even after they're mixed, so that could give you some neat effects. Elizabeth
(....see more about adding inks on the Letters-Inks > Inks for Tinting... & Liquid Sculpey ....& Mokume Gane)
http://polymerclayexpress.com/octo2002.html

Cheryl and Vickie mixed oil paint into their translucent http://ctrottier.tripod.com/Western_Clay_weekend.htm (gone)
....I really have had some great results using oil paints to color solid translucent clay
.......it marblizes really well (how much depends on how you mix it). Sharon

the 5 colors of Transparent FimoSoft clay are very clear but vibrant for mixing into translucent. Diane B.
....I've mixed the eraser clay colors with Premo's Frost--bleached translucent... and WOW!!! They are pastelly but more like a vibrant pastel. I just love "em...Bean

Marie Segal's demo on using the pasta machine to make a continuous sheet of different colored translucents
http://www.sculpey.com/projects.htm

Linda Geer's photos of colored translucents for making faux opals (with and without glitter) (website gone)

colored translucents can be used in any ways that other colors can be:
caning, stacking, used with opaque colors to create floating canes or patterns (see Canes--Instr. > /Translucent), mokume gane, . . .

sculpting . . .Celidonia's wonderful, tinted-translucent bunny (and teddy bears) ...could be Cernit brand clay (since all it's colors are naturally somewhat translucent), but could also be done with translucent
http://www.celidonia.it/English/others_paths.htm

Cheri Oskinsky's beautiful flowers and leaves from barely-tinted translucent, onlaid as embellisments on a small vessel made of heavier-tinted translucent (greenish)
http://www.azpcg.org/documents/VesselSwap.htm

If you want to be able to duplicate a mixture you like, you need to keep track of how much color you are adding.
... I like to use 1/2 block translucent and gradually add color in very small increments, so I chop the colored block into 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64 size pieces (that's the halve and halve again method). I start by adding the smallest size and can tell the proportion by what is left on the board at the end.. . Remember, there is no way to tell what a color looks like until it is baked and either sanded/buffed or hit with Future. If you have a specific color in mind, you can easily spend a day experimenting. Stacia

I paint on baked translucent clay with oil paints and cotton swabs (gradient color) -they blend fantastically, and don't dry out right away, and you can get a lovely sheen without a buffer. Louise
http://www.LouiseFischerCozzi.com

Inclusions & additions, etc.

(see Mokume Gane for layered translucent techniques)
(see Powders for adding powders)

…sometimes you want to control inclusions such as glitter or you may want transparent for other reasons (as opposed to TLS)
... to control glitter on raw clay is easier than in TLS, for example: Spread glitter on a surface in the pattern you want and lay your clay onto the glitter - or sprinkly glitter onto transparent and run thru pasta machine to spread out the glitter. Meredith

The basics of the (see-through-to-the-?) glitter technique as shown by Jenny Bezingue are as follows: Using Premo translucent, roll through the pasta machine on the thinnest setting along with a sheet of parchment paper. (This keeps the clay from sticking and gives a good backing to work from.)
Lay your sheet on a flat surface and apply little piles of glitter, rubbing them in with your finger. The sheet will look like a weird shiny patchwork depending on how many colors you use. Cut little shapes or lines from the sheet with Kemper cutters or whatever, then apply glitter-side-down to your bead or tile or whatever. It helps if both the glittered translucent and the background clay are warm, because you want to make sure the seam where they meet is perfectly fused. Roll it (or in the case of the tile, smash it) into the background well, then bake. For maximum translucence, plunge your bead into ice water right out of the oven. In the case of my tile, I was afraid I'd crack it - not to mention waterlogging - so I took an ice cube and ran it back and forth across the glitter lines. I could actually see them get clearer!
This is one technique where sanding is all. Start with 320 to remove a good top layer plus any stray glitter (it gets EVERYWHERE with this technique), then move on to 400, 600, 1000, and even 1500. Buff on a wheel and you can get an amazing glassy shine. I love this technique! Let me know how it turns out if you try it! Julia

. . she draws directly on baked clay. So for you, I guess, you'd make the form and do the transfer, then bake, then cover with translucent (maybe including ultra fine glitter mix-ins or something) and bake then sand/buff/polish like crazy! (Careful not to remove the whole layer of translucent, of course.) It doesn't look right without the buffing.

Actually, I found that translucent Premo, mixed with embossing powders and then a light rub of Pearl-X interference in the same color range is really cool looking. Carolyn Potter uses colored sand as well.

Premo "Base" color: (...the color was discontinued for awhile, but now available... by the lb. only...Clay Factory) ...it's somewhat translucent... the pigment it does have is a neutral tan/beige ...can be used like SuperSculpey (pinkish) or Mix Quick (white) to extend other colors
......Base can be used to extend other colors up to one-quarter
......I mix Base up to half and half with the deeply-pigmented Premo colors.... This extends the colored clay, and also seems to help prevent color change in the curing process.
....It makes a great background color (good with black, e.g.), and the slight translucency makes your design really stand out.... I have also colored it with Pearl-Ex powders with very nice results.
....I have done a fair amount of color mixing experiments using the Premo Base color, which is somewhat translucent. When mixes are compared to mixes with translucents they appear to be more "milky"..... The stuff works quite well when adding inclusions (pigments, etc.). ....The analogy that I use is that it is somewhat akin to bread dough that has more room for flour and that dry pigments won't make the mixture too stiff and crumbly.

Actually, most of the granitex and fimo stone colors have a translucent base- roll them out to 4 or 5 on the pasta machine and hold them up to the light- you can ususally get the light through them. I've made some really pretty votives with the stone colors.

I made a major, old herbs & spices cupboard toss a few months ago, before I got into clay...
Dang! Dang! Dang! ...Sunny (see more on what to do with these in Inclusions)

Pier said that she gets that metallic look in her Short Shell beads by using aluminum foil between layers of translucent clay. If I remember right she said that the clay is carved away to reveal the metal. Don't ask me how as I never saw her do it. Dotty in CA

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 for info on the microwave pressing-drying unit called a Microfleur)

Tinidril's inclusions in translucent Premo (metallic powders, ground baked clay granules, sands... some antiqued)
http://www.tinidril.com/projects/translucents.html
Marie Segals 7 pages of inclusion examples in Premo 01 (plaquing translucent --not the Frost--bleached one) or the now-discontinued 04 " natural" translucent which may now be the same as their "Base"?
.... (using herbs, spices, powdered incense, dried leaves/petals, bird seed, dirt, ground coffee, etc.)
http://www.clayfactory.net/mixin1.htm
Sarajane's various inclusions ...and opaque/trans. canework & Pearl clay to create lacy and gauzy and embroidered effects on "sleeve" fabric over hands (Renaissance, Victorian, etc.)
http://www.polyclay.com/beads.htm
and http://www.polyclay.com/hands.htm
Linda Goff’s "inclusions" with translucent tube beads necklace
http://www.nwpcg.org/nov99.shtml
Claire's translucent canes over black with silver leaf
(website gone)
Donna Kato's translucent canes (on Duvall)
http://www.hgtv.com/shows/CDS/cds-660.html (those URLs have changed since Sept 11. 2000. Simply visit our homepage and search).
Dianne C's translucent beads, carved,backfilled & covered with more trans.
http://www.nvo.com/wdpstudio/listings/view.nhtml?profile=listings&UID=47
Kari's mostly translucent Natashas (website gone)
translucent, Skinnered? bead shapes (website gone)
Sally's elegant gold mica and translucent cane slices (website gone)
Donna's skeleton transfer on translucent ("paperdoll") --could use GLOW IN THE DARK CLAY too (website gone)
\

Miscellaneous ...+ more Websites

Banu's lesson on using translucent clay to make translucently white buttons (bit like "pearly" buttons), which also have onlays made from more opaque colors (of kids' theme items) (...she makes holes with a needle, and suggests Sculpey Glaze... but other things could be used/done)
http://tutorials.theclaystore.com/beads-buttons-and-jewelry/miniature-buttons

Sometimes a patterned bead is not turning out well
....so instead of throwing it in the scrap pile, I will wrap the bead in a very thin layer of translucent clay, which mutes the pattern underneath
... you can add cane slices on top as well, letting the under layer show throw again. It's a nice save. Heather P.
http://www.humblebeads.com/tip3.html

NoraJean likes to create some of her cane components (mini fruits in particular) with translucent clay
--either as the core wrapped with another color, or as the wrapping over a core log of a different color
... other color is often mixed with a bit of translucent too
... these canes are usually highly reduced and combined, so the translucent isn't noticed by itself
...here "wet-translucent" effect is enhanced by adding a generous coating of thickened Future (or gloss Varathane, etc.) after baking

(...for encasing transfers in translucent clay, see Transfers > Copier > Translucent-Encased)

(...for encasing paper in translucent clay, see Mixing Media > Paper)

GLOW IN THE DARK clays... Fluorescing clays

DEFINITIONS:
... fluorescent ... material which "translates ultraviolet light into visible light and makes things look bright or look "neon" in ordinary lighting conditions.. .(the effect persists only as long as the stimulating radiation is continued... often used in laundry detergent to 'make whites whiter'.)"
....phosphorescent (glow-in-the-dark)....material which collects light, then releases the light slowly after the stimulating radiation discontinued."
...black light (UV light)... bulbs made this way emit ultrabiolet light but also block out all the visible spectrum but the UV
(...ulltraviolet radiation itself is invisible to the human eye, but illuminating certain materials with UV radiation prompts the visible effects of fluorescence and phosphorescence)

 

A phosphor is any substance that emits visible light in response to some sort of radiation. A phosphor converts the energy in the UV radiation from a black light into visible light.
... phosphors are used in regular fluorescent lighting and in black lights.
....most fluorescent colored things (such as highlighters) contain phosphors, and you'll find phosphors in all glow-in-the-dark products.

Premo's GITD clay is softer and easier to use than the Fimo's, but it can darken more easily while baking ...at least in a toaster oven.
....I got better results by baking at no more than 270 (rather than 275)
....I got great results though with tenting, and also putting a block of wood under my metal baking pan to isolate it from the bottom coils as well
......*On a test bake yesterday in a convection oven, I baked a chunk of glow *under* a small aluminum foil roasting pan, and at the same time a similar-sized piece *not* under the pan. The covered one did not discolor at all, but the uncovered one did!
........draping your item with a damp paper towel will also help to moderate the heat around it, particularly for hot spots in the oven.
...I had the same problem with the Glow-in-the-dark Fimo changing color until I dropped the baking temp to 260 (instead of 265) --to make up for the lower temperature, I just added a few minutes. Christy H.
(see Baking > Darkening for more suggestions)

Sculpey has glow-in-the-Dark colors --there's a sampler kit from Polyform with regular, yellow, blue, orange, and green (at Clay Factory of Escondido). Sarajane
.....they are fairly soft and easy to condition, not sticky.... Each clay glows in its respective color.
...One note of caution: don't bake for longer than 20 min at 270 F, or you will lose the glow!
.....The kit also includes instructions for a glow mobile, plus a fairly useless plastic knife and a small roller. Nightshade 51

Varathane (liquid acrylic finish) ...Glow in the Dark clays (Premo only?) can be too slick for good adhesion of Varathane... the particles in the matte version can also interfere with adhesion. Sarajane

Puffinalia's Polyglo... a liquid clay is now available which glows in the dark. . . 6 colors (red, orange, green, aqua, blue, violet).
http://www.puffinalia.com/glow/liquid_poly_glo.html

Glo-Net.com's GITD powder.... ... could mix into polymer clay? or mix with other mediums to create paint, etc.
http://www.glo-net.com/glow_in_the_dark_powder.html
...they also carry many other GITD products which might also be usable with clay...
.......like GITD thread and fibers (for inclusions or wrapping?), pellets, gravel, sheets, paints, etc. .
..."glow powder can be used in a wide spectrum of other applications like plastic, glass, thread, etc.."
....the powder is sold in different particle/mesh sizes which have different luminous properties, etc.
....Hanovia's Glow in the Dark Glow Pigment powder ... could mix into polymer clay? or mix with other mediums to create paint, etc.
http://www.texasart.com/store/view.cfm?store=003&group_id=1711
... could use GITD acrylic paints in various ways....... what about using in liquid clays for drizzling or for making dragged-lines window clings?

Coloring.... You can also mix almost any other color to tint the glow-in-the-dark clays , and it will still glow (how much though?).
...some people use a lot more than a small amt….check it out by putting it under a light then going into a closet or dark place.
...I made a normal skin tone for my faces that glowed in the dark!
....I didn't want the witch faces to be flourescent green, so I experimented by mixing GITD with some SuperSculpey ...It worked!!! Julie (SS is mostly translucent)
...."pearl" ( mica-containing) clay colors are particularly nice.
... Pearl-ex mica powders ...these will change the colors of the glow in the darks without affecting the glow.... Another thing to try that I like myself alot is to use the Personal Stamp Exchange embossing powders to mix into the Glows... and lighter more translucent colors...Marie S.
...flourescent-neon clay colors mixed the glow in the dark clays can give more punch (see category below)
..
...... instead of that sickly white, i got glow-in- the dark green frogs (glofrogs) and glowing pink flamingos
...........if that creates a softer clay, i'll add stiffer transluscents as filler when i can.
.......
James L's tinted glow in the dark (& fluorescent colors?) bowls, taken with blacklight (see below in Fluorescents for more)
http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/g_01.html (click on several)

I use it, often mixed with yellow, white, gold or silver for all my stars
..........and I mixed it with a touch of translucent and silver and made snowflakes and angels for ornaments
..Pinata Inks work well to mix into the GITD clay since they are so transparent and require very little to tint (see Letters-Inks >Inks for Tinting >Alcohol Inks)

could add GITD crayon bits into GITD clay, or other color crayon shavings or bits ("pearls"?)

... try adding baked GITD bits, grindings, or shapes to liquid clay ...or to translucents
....Then there was the time I spilled an entire load of raw chopped nightglow clay out of my little handy chopper food processor
...... The rug in my studio still glows like stars when I turn out the light, as do some of the rougher parts of the concrete floor.
....could use in various ways... as stars... as inclusions in translucent clay
(raw or baked grindings)

Do the GITD clays colored with other clays work "properly" for a Skinner blend? -- if I made a blend with blue and yellow clays, would I get a blue glowing end and a yellow glowing end with a "green" glow in the middle in the dark? Niki
...may work better with inks or actual GITD clays (...if any of the inclusions are somewhat opaque, the whole blend would be affected)

I have mixed it with colors and used it as the base for light switch and outlet covers. These are especially popular for the kids' rooms.
...I have made sets of rune stones with the glow-in-the-dark straight, or mixed with other colors.
...I have also used it marbled with regular colors in buttons and jewelry for kids.
...For a real neat effect, I have covered a glass with the glow-in-the-dark and then cut stars out of it. It makes a fantastic candle holder, and the after-glow is and added bonus. :-)
........Linda G's glass ball ornament covered with glow in the dark, star-shapes punched out of it (website gone)
...i now use it to sculpt animals that i put under our bedside lamp, giving us a "nightlight"

canes: I was somewhat suprised to find that it works well in canes..
...I gave up on my attempt to use them in canes.
...s
tar canes: if you are using the nite-glow fimo in the center, include a much larger outside wrap diameter; then the much larger diameter will reduce to the desired thickness if the fimo resists
...m
aybe I should try GITD clay for making Kerstin's eye-iris cane (see Sculpting/Body > Eyes) . . ..LOL Hang 'em aroung for Halloween...Tonja

If you'd like to make something from dirty snow, here's the easy lesson: .... make snakes from these clays: Fimo Art Translucent (00), white, and glow-in-the-dark ...bundle the snakes randomly so your bundle has each clay next to each other one... reduce and put the bundles together ... repeat... Dianne C.

*Lorie's glow-in-the-dark wings (Skinner blend with fluorescent green)
.........also her "hair sticks" with small faces surrounded by glow leaves & larger face showing the leaves (click on photo)

http://www.sculpturefromtheheart.com/polymer_clay.htm

...Ria's little wizards (some parts glow-in-the-dark). . . lighted with blacklight
I used Premo GITD for the little stars and moons. That is still a bit brighter then the fimo GITD... I love the Powdered Pearls more then Pearlex which is also very good but the PP's just have a better color palet in my eyes at least for what i use it. Ria
http://www.dragonmagic.nl (click on "Go to Next Page," then look at bottom of page)
...
Sonya's No Smoking plaque.. has glow-in-the-dark smoke
http://www.picturetrail.com/gid2899876

PCC's "night" challenge has a few things with glow-in-the-dark effects
http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/chall_may00.html

see many more examples and lessons re glow-in-the-dark items in Halloween:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Halloween_etc.htm
(hit Ctrl + F ...type in the word glow ...then just keep clicking Next, Next, Next to find them all)

James L's patterns made with fluorescents? & glow-in-the-dark
http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/i_0c.html
http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/i_0b.html
http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/gallery-01-03.html
....In some of my photos, the illumination of the work is from little hand held black light tubes, about 6 inches long. In this photo the piece is sitting on top of one. http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/p_42_13.html They really charge up the glow-in-the-dark stuff! Some photos were taken a split second after turning those light off. http://www.akrobiz.com/polymer_clay/p_35_07.html

The glow-in-the-dark effect is there for very much longer if you 'charge' the clay with black light before looking at it in the dark. Oh the fun to be had! Alan

blacklight will also allow the glow in the dark items to glow even more brightly . . .and they can be photographed
(see more below)

many more Halloween ideas using glow-in-the-dark solid clays and liquid clays are on the Halloween page, under Uses > Ghosts, GITD,etc.
......( ghost cutouts necklaces... skull rings... and other items for trick-or-treaters .....also transfers & clings, etc)

 

Premo's Frost-- "bleached" translucent (CFC 06/5310-bleached) will glow under blacklight, but not by itself, in the dark)
....I used premo bleached translucent in Kerstin's eye-iris cane (see Sculpting/Body > Eyes) and I put it under the black light last night and WOW did it look awesome!!!!! Jen

All the Premo and Fimo Fluorescent colors will show a good glow under UV(Black) light .Alan

You'll also find that most the brightest SculpeyIII colours (red hot red, hot pink etc etc) Alan

blending the glow in the dark with flourescent colors....this way instead of that sickly white. i get glow-in- the dark green frogs, glofrogs and glowing pink flamingos, it makes for a softer clay i"l add stiffer transluscents as filler when i can. you'll have to experiment with colours. i grind up the glow in the dark stuff. the add the colour, paler colours do work better .

(I've also used 60-75 watt blacklight bulb to photograph glow in the dark and fluorescent items. You'll probably need at least a few seconds of exposure though. It's hard to expose for blacklights, just try a wide range first, then narrow it down with progressive exposures. I don't think that most digital cameras have a "bulb" function though which allows the lens to stay open as long as it's depressed (but there could be some?).
As Dotty says, you might be able to get away with the longest exposure your camera will allow (on a tripod or stack of books, e.g.), the fastest film you can get, and maybe at least two black lights. Without the black lights, I'm sure you'd need a bulb function and longer exposure.
......Great fun photos can be made (esp. for Halloween) with anything at all that will fluoresce. You need a completely dark room; the only illumination should come from the blacklight(s).
....In addition to actual glow-in-the-dark items, anything fluorescent will show up much brighter with blacklight. Or you can add fluorescent clays to your glow in the dark clays. Frost--bleached Premo will also glow under blacklight.
...In my photography days, I experimented with using fluorescent (fabric and spray) paints, papers or posterboard, along with mirrors sometimes. I either drew or sprayed with the paints, or added them thickly to water (I think it was water--why was I thinking it might be liquid starch also?) in glass containers to just look pretty and take the shape of the glass, etc.
Lots more things are fluorescent than you might imagine --any white shirt washed with bluing will show up as bright bluish white; some fishing line will work. Seems that there were other categories of things that worked too --sorry, it was a long time ago. Diane B.

more items and materials that work with blacklight

http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/f/blblacklight.htm
Examples (from Anne Marie Helmenstine) of common materials that contain fluorescent molecules:
... white paper (white)...Vaseline/petroleum jelly (bright blue) ...club soda or tonic water due to quinine (blue-white)... body fluids like blood, urine, or semen... Vitamin A and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin (can also crush B-12 & dissolve in vinegar (bright yellow) ...chlorophyll in leaves, etc. (blood red colors) ...spinach or swiss chard (grind in small amount of alcohol like vodka or everclear and pour through a coffee filter to get chlorophyll extract then use the part that stays on the filter, not the liquid (red) ...antifreeze ...laundry detergent whiteners (bluish white) or the older bluing agents, and softening agents (blue) ...tooth whiteners (blue)... at least some postage stamp inks (except 2008 or others?) ...jellyfish ...some minerals and gems (fluorite, calcite, gypsum, ruby, talc, opal, agate, quartz, amber, etc)
http://chemistry.about.com/cs/howthingswork/f/blblacklight.htm


(see also: Baking, Pasta Machines for making thin sheets, Faux techniques, Inclusions, Mokume Gane, Canes for 3-D look & floating canes, Transfers, Halloween,... )

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