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Using an Extruder with Polymer Clay

Chequered design for polymer clay caneA polymer clay cane design made up of triangular extruded shapesThe ability to create long lengths of uniform shapes from polymer clay helps with the cane making process.  A simple chequered cane can be accomplished from the square shaped disc.  Using 2 in black and 2 in white, the square extruded shapes can be pushed together (as in the image, right), reduced and then sliced to decorate beads and other items.  More complex designs can be built up using the other discs, the image, left shows how the triangle can be used. See our page Making a Polymer Clay Cane Using an Extruder to see a cane made using the cross shaped disc.

   

The Makin's extruders make light work of extruding clay. The clay is placed inside the barrel and the handle is turned to push the plunger along the length of the barrel to force the clay through the chosen disc. This particular extruder has been developed for use with metal clay as it includes an end cap and a water crystal to keep the clay moist for longer.

This extruder from Makin's can be used to extrude both Art Clay Silver Clay and polymer clays

If you're going to extrude polymer clay, you need to make sure it is fully warmed up and conditioned before putting it into the extruder. If you are extruding Art Clay Silver clay, do not handle it any more than necessary as this will make the binder evaporate and dry out the clay.

The polymer clay is loaded into the barrel of the extruder

Select a disc from any of the 10 supplied and placed it in the end cap before screwing it back in place.

A disc shape is chosen for use in the extruder

As the handle is turned, the extruded clay comes out in a uniform shape. If the clay hasn't been sufficiently softened it will come out with small cracks along its length, this may be an effect you wish to achieve.

An extruded shape emerges as the handle is turned

In this photograph, a different disc has been added to the clay extruder.

Here the extruded clay from the previous photograph has been plaited together. The ends of the plait can be joined together to make a bangle or it can be used to embellish a photo frame or greetings card.

Two different coloured clays (pink and blue) were placed in the barrel and they have been blended together as the handle is turned and the clay forced through the disc. The results were surprising. This fine extruded clay can be used for so many things including jewellery, embellishment, paper crafts and OOAK doll making.

 

George Weil sells a large selection modelling tools for clays and there are also a choice of extruders and disc sets.

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