- polymer clay (Sculpey)
- t-shirt transfer paper for inkjet printers (Avery)
- digital images
- sticky-backed magnets (ProMag)
- rolling pin
- freezer paper and parchment paper
- two disposable metal pie pans, metal clamps
- clay tool or Xacto knife
- bone folder or spoon
- gloss varnish (Liquitex)
- Liquid Sculpey
- pigment powder (Ranger Perfect Pearls)
- embellishments, glitter markers
|What you need, clockwise from left: Sculpey, Liquid Sculpey, image printed on t-shirt transfer paper, rolling pin, magnets, brush, clay tool, pigment powder|
For this project, we're going to combine the versatility of polymer clay with an inkjet image transfer technique. For Week 2, we made an image transfer gel skin using a laser printed image. Trouble is, most of us don't own laser printers. There aren't many options for image transfer with an inkjet printer - but one surprisingly successful trick is to use t-shirt transfer paper. Baked on top of the clay in the oven, the inkjet image transfers beautifully.
Let's get started.
Step 1: Prep the clay
Condition your clay by rolling it around in your hands until it's soft and pliable. I used plain white Sculpey that was old and hardened, so I squeezed on some Liquid Sculpey to help soften it up.
Then put your clay on a nonstick surface (freezer paper works well) and roll it with a rolling pin until it's a uniform 1/4 inch thickness. If you have a pasta machine, you can extrude it that way too.
|Rolling the clay|
Step 2: Add your images
You can use any digital images you have stored on your computer. I used a digital collage sheet with mermaid images from ARTchix Studio here - the images were already created and perfectly magnet-sized.
Cut out the images to the size you want. Optionally, you can rub some Liquid Sculpey onto the clay surface, which helps the images adhere to the clay. Position your images face down on the clay. Remember that your images will be reversed when transferred to the clay, so for words or numbers, reverse the image before printing it out.
Cut the clay to the image size with an Xacto knife or a pointed clay tool.
|Cutting out the clay|
Then rub over the image with the bone folder or spoon to make sure it's completely adhered to the clay.
|Burnishing the image|
You can optionally add some color and shine at this point by brushing pigment powder on the back and sides of your clay piece.
|Adding pigment powder (optional)|
Polymer clay releases fumes when it bakes, which you don't want mucking up your oven. A nice trick I learned from A Work of Heart studio is to bake your clay in a pie pan with another pie pan clamped to the top, keeping the fumes inside the pans rather than your oven.
Place your clay pieces on a piece of parchment paper in the pie pan, then follow the clay baking instructions on the Sculpey package.
Step 4: Reveal and embellish
When the clay is cool to the touch, now comes the fun part: peeling off the transfer paper to reveal your image, now baked into the clay.
You can add little embellishments, paint, or some shine from a glitter pen at this point. The image doesn't always transfer perfectly, so you can hide imperfections by rubbing a similar-colored pigment ink stamp pad (such as Palette ink) over the bare areas.
Once your embellishments or inks have dried, brush a coat of acrylic varnish over the front, back, and sides of your piece (let the back dry before varnishing the front).
Peel the sticky backing off the magnet, adhere to the back of your clay piece, and replace those tacky old magnets with your new colorful creations.