Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Experiments with Translucent Polymer Clay

When I created some beads with translucent Sculpey III clay I was surprised to find it was yellowish after it was baked. I googled it and it apparently is always yellowish. So I ran a few experiments...
I cooked it at 3 different temperatures and for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 minutes. It started creamy looking and turned a little yellowish. It was not ever very translucent. I added a tile to the bottom of the toaster oven to even out the temperature and tented the beads with aluminum foil to discourage browning. I had read that dropping the beads in ice water after taking them out made them more translucent but I couldn't tell it made a difference.
Here are some pictures.

(After I had done all this, I realized that sometime in there I had flipped the circuit breaker. So the results aren't real accurate. But I thought they were still interesting.)
A few observations ... after 5 minutes at 225, the clay was still pretty soft. I could gouge it with a fingernail but it wouldn't take fingerprints. None of the other beads were that soft. I could mark a couple with a fingernail but it took work.
The longer and hotter I cooked the beads the yellower and more translucent they got. Temperature didn't seem to make a real difference for that.

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