Making Polymer Clay Tear-Away Textures

Four years ago, I attended a workshop with Celie Fago  in which we created exquisite bangles using polymer clay accented with metal clay charms.  In the class we used tear-away texture sheets that Celie had made from polymer clay.  I admired the delicate imprints they left on the metal clay and I also liked the fact that we could make our own orignal designs rather than relying on purchased rubber stamps.  To make these, you draw a design or type text in black and white, then use a toner-based copy machine such as the Canon PC-170 (an almost ancient relic in this age of high-tech!) to make a copy using 32 pound gloss copy paper (don’t use gloss photo paper!).  The next step requires the use of polymer clay – a piece of clay rolled to about 4cm in thickness, then trimmed to a size of about 70cm x 100cm.  For this I used Studio Sculpey clay (which is, unfortunately, being discontinued by the maker, Polyform Company).  The copy sheet is then rubbed vigorously onto a sheet of polymer clay for several minutes, warmed under a 100 watt lamp, and left to rest for seven minutes.  The process is repeated a second time, then the paper is peeled away from the polymer clay and, if successful, polymer clay has transferred onto the copy paper and a very fine etching on the sheet of polymer clay has occurred.  The paper and polymer sheet are then baked at 275 degrees for thirty minutes.  I tried this technique post workshop without much success and abandoned the process.  However, I recently read that someone had used a craft sealing iron rather than a lamp to heat the clay and had great success with the technique.  I decided to give it another try, substituting my clothes iron with the setting on the lowest temperature.  Voila!  This tear-away technique actually worked!   The above photo shows the end result – the delicately etched polymer clay sheet, the paper/clay tear-away sheet, and several pairs of  unfired bronze metal clay imprinted earrings.

~ by BarbaraBriggsDesigns on October 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “Making Polymer Clay Tear-Away Textures”

  1. Glad it worked!! Think of all the new textures you can make.


  2. Yes!!! I’m so glad I’ve finally had success with this technique. As long as my Canon PC-170 holds up and they still make ink for it, I’m good to go!


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