Polymer clay is a sculptable material based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It usually contains no clay minerals, and is only called "clay" because its texture and working properties resemble those of mineral clay. It is sold in craft, hobby, and art stores, and is used by artists, hobbyists, and children.
In the early 1940s, Zenith Products Company was founded in Schiller Park, IL., manufacturing coatings for the fastener industry. A visitor to the manufacturing plant was "doodling" with a lump of the clay-like substance and created a small figure. It was then baked in a lab testing oven - and Sculpey was "discovered" as a sculpture medium. This happened in the mid 1960's. By 1967, it was being manufactured and sold on a small scale in the United States.
Traditional polymer clay hardens by curing at temperatures created in a typical home oven, generally at 265 to 275 °F (129 to 135 °C), for 15 minutes per 1/4" (6 mm) of thickness, and does not shrink or change texture during the process. When properly conditioned and cured, most clays create items that will not break if dropped or normally stressed. Cured pieces may have additional layers or enhancements added and be re-cured with no ill effect. After it has cured, the clay surface can be left as is, sanded and buffed, or finished with a water-based varnish.
Polymer clay is available in many colors. "Special-effect" colors such as translucent, fluorescent, phosphorescent, mica-containing "pearls" and "metallics". Standard colors, which vary from brand to brand, can be mixed to create a virtually infinite range of custom colors, gradient blends, and other effects.
It can be used in many ways, a number of which have been generalized from other art or craft techniques. Uses for polymer clay include:sculptures of hand-shaped items in any size;beads and jewelry of all kinds, such as pendants, earrings, barrettes, and buttons.
The Arts And Crafts Materials Institute in Boston has tested the major brands of polymer clay and states that they comply with the ASTM D-4236 standard for safety of arts and crafts materials specified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
If you are a talented artist, you can directly buy polymer clay on our website and then make your own figurine.
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