Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Mini-Making Essential Kit List

One of the things I like most about making miniatures from polymer clay, is you really don't need a lot of kit to get started. Of course like almost anything there are loads of things out there to tempt you, but you really don't need to spend much money in the beginning. Here is a list of the essential kit I use for making miniatures.

Polymer clay - I use the Fimo brand purely because it's readily available where I live (Europe) but the Sculpey brand which is more common in the USA is good too. Plus you can mix them together with no ill effects. I prefer Fimo Soft because I am lazy and don't enjoy conditioning clay, but I do sometimes use Fimo Classic for colours not available in the Soft range. As long as you give the Classic range some extra conditioning, it mixes perfectly well with the Soft range.

An oven - I have an electric oven. No special kiln needed to cure polymer clay, just a normal kitchen oven. It leaves a slightly funny smell, but it's non-toxic and perfectly safe to cook polymer clay in the same oven as you cook food, just not at the same time!

For safety's sake, I would recommend
marking the blunt side of the blade, either with
colourful tape, or with a thin layer of clay.
Ceramic tile - I use a large white ceramic tile to work on as the clay doesn't get stuck to it and I can put it straight in the oven to bake without having to move my uncured and fragile miniatures.

Sharp blade - nowadays I prefer tissue blades, which are quite specialised and expensive, however in the beginning I just used refill stanley knife blades. These were very cheap and are just fine for most polymer clay jobs. I would recommend the tissue blade for cutting already cooked polymer clay canes, and for very delicate, tiny jobs. But for most other jobs, refill blades work just fine too.

A round pen - I use this as a rolling pin. It's just a circular, plastic pen that I had lying around the house. To this day, I have still never invested in an actual rolling pin for my polymer clay!

Pins and sandpaper - sewing pins can be used for all kinds of texturing, from dimples and crumbs, to lines and trenches. Sandpaper makes great bread and orange peel textures, and you only need a tiny bit.
The only official tool I have,
and I don't use them all!
 Tweezers - I used teeny tiny tweezers to pick up teeny tiny things.

A nice to have but not an essential - clay working tools. I have this set, but probably only use two of them with any regularity. They're mainly useful for mixing polymer clay with liquid polymer clay as they have some bend in them without snapping.

If you're really into making miniatures, you might want to invest in a pasta machine, but I still don't own one, so clearly it's not an absolute necessity. It just saves your hands from all that rolling!

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