On February 5th, I played with the polymer clay my husband and my boys gave to me for Christmas.
The salesman at Michaels assured my husband that the clay could be baked directly in our home oven. However, I did a fair amount of research on-line and discovered the clay leaves a residue in your oven which can cause fumes at temperatures generally used for cooking food. If you do cook the clay in the same oven you cook food in (information I found on this was mixed), it is my understanding the entire oven - including the racks - should be cleaned before cooking food. Personally, I opted to save up and wait for a 50% off coupon to Joann Fabric and purchased a craft oven just for clay. This also allows me to set the oven up on our back patio, so I do not have to worry about keeping the house well ventilated to avoid exposure to the fumes the clay gives off as it cooks. I also found a 40% off coupon for a clay conditioner (which is similar to a pasta maker, I guess.)
The clay oven I purchased also recommended purchasing an oven thermometer and I am SO glad I did. Sculpey Premo clay should be cooked at 275 degrees F. The oven I bought goes shows 250 and then 300. I assumed setting the dial betwen these two would be roughly 275. Wrong. It was just shy of 300. Thanks to the oven thermometer, I discovered turning the dial just barely to the left of 250 heats the oven to 275. Who would have guessed?
Anyway, my first attempts playing with clay were quite fun. I loosely followed this tutorial by Lisa Clark of the Polka Dot Cottage, because I liked the look of her buttons with small dots. I continued rolling out the scraps and cutting buttons for those pictured on the lower part of the photo above.
After baking the clay, I was surprised to discover the larger buttons were still quite flexible. Thinking I must have done something wrong, I put my Google search engine to work and discovered this is normal for polymer clay. In my case, this was great news. I plan to add these buttons to my CQJP 2016 blocks this year and feel they will be far easier on the embroidery in the washing machine than buttons with a more ceramic feel would be.
Oh - before I forget, I saw a couple of items that may be of interest.
1) Mary Corbet has a crewel embroidery pattern giveaway on her blog that is open until 5 p.m. (Central Time) on February 24th.
2) Pamela Kellogg announced there will be a special Holiday Edition of the Crazy Quilt Quarterly to be released in September. She is requesting submissions of Christmas and Hanukkah themed blocks by May 1st. You may find more details here.
Thanks so much for stopping by!