Back in May I wrote a blog about my experiment to see if polymer clay was light fast. After that I wondered how the colours would fare directly in the sun. If you remember, I had cut three strips from the same spectrum gradient blend of Fimo Professional “True Colours”. This time I used the strip that had been on my wall in a North facing room as the colours had not changed much (I wanted to preserve the control strip which had been stored in a drawer, and compare to the strip that had been sitting inside on a South facing windowsill). This time I left the piece on a South facing windowsill outside for the summer.
As you can see, this time there is a definite colour change. The strip has faded overall, but the yellow seems particularly affected. The orange and green (when blending with the yellow) have particularly changed while the others have mostly kept their hue but have become paler.
I am a little disappointed that the colours do fade, although the strip is still nice and colourful when not compared to the original colours. I have seen some lovely garden ornaments made from polymer clay and they withstand the elements very well, but it would probably be best to stick to earthy colours when making something intended to go outside. This way a slight shift in hue would not make a big difference. Perhaps there’s a UV protective varnish that can be used to preserve the bright colours?
Since I’ve only tested one brand of polymer clay here: please let me know in the comments if you’ve had any experience with colours changing (or even better – not changing!).
About 2 weeks ago I finished all 24oz of my polymer clay sample challenge. I unpacked all the beads I had made on a Twitch live stream if you are interested in all the details. Here’s a photograph to summarise.
Now there are so many beads to choose from I’m struggling to know where to start, but I have made a few of these beads into earrings. (If you are subscribed to my newsletter you may have already seen these.)
What was good about this challenge?
It was really helpful for me to have preselected colours to work with. Often I find myself overwhelmed with the unlimited potential of polymer clay that I end up dithering when trying to decide where to start so I don’t actually do anything. I tried to experiment when making some of the beads by thinking that I have already allocated the clay to be used so I may as well use it (actually this is true for any polymer clay since things that are not working out can be squished into scrap). I had to be creative and find different ways to finish some beads as I couldn’t add more clay to do my first idea.
What was not so good?
When making canes I had to keep things smaller than usual as I had an imposed limit to the amount of clay I could use. It would have been better to start with larger canes so I could keep different sizes aside as I reduced. I struggled to find enough scrap clay for the inners of my beads so I didn’t get as many beads as I could have from a finished cane (i.e. by putting a thin decorative slice onto a thicker layer of scrap). There were some beads where I thought it would be nice add contrasting caps or edge the outside of a cane but I had already used up the colours I wanted to use so I couldn’t do that.
What will I do next?
I found it really useful to have a specific goal in mind to keep me motivated so I’m intending to define what I’m going to work on next. Unfortunately this week gone I was completely disabled watching the news of violence and looting in South Africa so I haven’t been able to make any decisions. I’m planning to continue with my colour palette reruns, so there’s still time for you to choose a colour in my survey.
I am continuing to work through my 24oz sample colours and I’ve nearly finished so I decided it was time to use up the scrap cane ends that I had created previously. I used a cane design by Fiona Abel-Smith which creates a colourful pattern that reminds me of crochet Granny Squares.
I made this cane and a few headpins and beads on a live stream earlier this week. If you are interested in how I made them there is a video still available. I haven’t even baked these yet (I like to fill the oven before I do so), so photographing them was a little tricky and is the reason there is glass in the background rather than my usual photo setup.
Of course I didn’t take into account that making a new cane from my scrap ends would result in new scrap cane ends! I think the last beads I make will end up mud tone that I need to texture for interest and add some colour with mica powders or paints.
Anyhow, I think I will soon be finished and able to show you the collection of beads I have made. Let me know if you are doing your own sample challenge as it would be great to share. Stay well, bye for now.
The short answer is “Probably not and I’m definitely not a scientist!”.
Years ago I did a polymer clay painting that I was really pleased with. I even had it framed and it was on display in an art gallery for several months (possibly over a year). However when I got it back the colours looked strange to me. Sure enough when I took it out of the frame there was a definite colour shift visible where it had been under the mount card. I don’t know if it had been in a window or if it was due to the bright shop lighting, but I was really distressed. I was so distressed that I didn’t take a photograph before trying some remedial actions.
To try and save the picture, I carefully scratched off the surface to blend the hard line where the colour changed. You can still see that the foreground is much more yellow at the bottom. I couldn’t do too much of this as I would have lost all the shadows and details added to the surface. You can see more clearly in the next image where I have layered the front and the back of the picture together (both photos taken in the same lighting right after each other).
Because it takes me days to make these paintings, I decided I didn’t want to do any more of them until I could check that the colours would remain as I intended. I couldn’t find any information about the colour fastness of polymer clay, but I did find an article for checking if water colour paints are colourfast. The suggestion was to paint a swatch and then leave it in a sunny place for a year to see if the colours change.
So I made a sheet with a spectrum of colours and cut it into three strips. I made the line wavy so I could fit the pieces together later. I kept one strip in a drawer, one strip on the wall of a room with north facing window and one strip on a south facing windowsill. I don’t know what brands of clay I used for the painting (especially the browns because I blended several scraps to make the colour), but for the test I used Fimo Professional (which at the time was a new product).
I couldn’t see any change for the strip that was on the wall, but for the strip that was on the windowsill there was some slight fading of the yellow where it mixed with the red (it’s now less orange) and the green seems to have faded overall. The colour change is a lot less that that which was suffered by the painting but it occurs to me that the double glazing of my window may have had some UV protection that the shop window didn’t. I think I need to put the “wall” strip in the garden for a year and see how that goes.
Unfortunately my process was a bit too chaotic to make this a nice (and accurate) scientific test. For a start I didn’t write down the dates for when I started and finished and I think there are several other variations that are worth testing. For example:
Different brands of polymer clay
Colours mixed with white
Black polymer clay
Clay exposed directly to sunlight (outside)
So in conclusion there was definitely some colour fading of the yellow and green. Was it significant enough that I don’t want to make any more paintings? Is it unreasonable to expect no change? Was it less faded than before because it’s a new formula or a different environment or because it’s fully saturated colours?
I don’t know!
I told you I wasn’t a good scientist, but I thought I’d share with you what I have found out so far anyway. Maybe in another year I’ll have some results for how the colour strip fares directly outside. In the meantime please let me know if you’ve done similar tests or if you have better information.
I am still working through my 24 one ounce blocks of polymer clay. Here’s the next stage of my progress.
My primary reason for doing the challenge was to give myself a starting place to get making beads again. Unfortunately I was finding that trying to record the steps as tutorial videos was hindering my progress, particularly when the children were home due to lockdown (again). They are very noisy during the day so I’d have to wait till the evening to begin and by that point I wasn’t feeling very sparkly for chatting while I make. Also it was discouraging me from just experimenting as it’s hard to explain what you are doing when you don’t know yet!
Instead I have decided to crack on with the making and show you my progress as I go. If you are really interested in any of the beads I make, let me know in the comments and I may try to do a dedicated tutorial for that. I have at least one video still to edit, so that will turn up eventually.
I’ve got more beads to show you but I’ll save those for another day. I hope you are well and making progress with your projects.
P.S. If you’d like to set yourself a sample challenge, here’s my earlier post with the guidelines I’m using.
I have finally finished editing and uploading a tutorial for making a kaleidoscope cane. I have the footage where I used this cane to make beads, but as you can tell I’m pretty slow at the editing phase so I’m not sure when that will be complete.
This is part of the sample challenge that I set for myself. If you’d like to join in too, get yourself 24 different colours of polymer clay that are 1oz each and use them all up. You can use an actual sample pack or use what you’ve got and mix up your own colours (that’s what I did). Tag what you make with #24ozPolymerClay so that we can find each other on the socials.
Recently I have been dusting off my online shop. Since creating the initial listings I have changed to a different computer monitor with more vivid colours and it became obvious that the colour balance of the photos was off, they were far too yellow. Therefore for the past few days I have been readjusting all the photos. It has taken ages but I think they look better now. You can see the colour difference down the centre of the photo below.
So far I have only relisted earrings and I haven’t been able to add new items for sale just yet but I thought it was important to have photos that better portrayed the colours. Since some of these earrings are now a few years old, I have put in increasing discounts based on the year that the earrings were made. The older the item, the bigger the discount. Have a look, perhaps you will find a pair of new earrings to pep up your day. I know the earrings would rather be worn than be stuck in a drawer!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have set myself a challenge, and I have finally finished editing a video for you to watch with the details.
In summary, the challenge is to get yourself a “sample pack” of polymer clay: 24 blocks of different colours that are only 1oz in size. Then use up all the clay, and only this clay (don’t supplement with favourite colours from your stash).
I’m going to stick to simple additions like glitter or metal leaf, and possibly add touches of acrylic paint to highlight texture. The idea is to work with the different colours, even ones that I don’t really like. I’ve also got different effect clays like “marble” with inclusions that I have never used before.
If you’d like to join in, and I hope you do, please let me know in the comments, or tag your posts with #24ozPolymerClay.
It’s my Birthday today, so I always notice Groundhog Day. Last year my birthday was a fantastic date 02/02/2020 – a palindrome for US and UK alike.
At the time, it seemed like such a lucky number… by the end of February it seemed like a harbinger of DOOM! It turns out that 2020 got worse from there. So I’m feeling cheated. It didn’t happen, I want to try again. Therefore in the name of the movie (Groundhog Day) I am awarding myself a do-over.
So what exactly am I doing again? Back in 2015 I set myself a challenge to work with seven colour palettes throughout the year and make something every week. You can see details here (including links to the colour recipes). At the time I felt like I hadn’t properly explored each palette, so I have decided to have another go. I’m not going to specify timescales at this point because, by now, what’s a year here or there among friends?
I’ve made a little survey if you’d like to click through and choose which colour palette you think I should start with first. You’ve got some time to vote since, at the moment, I’m working on another challenge that I have set myself. I’m working on a video which I hope to share soon (maybe next week?) because I’m hoping others will join in. Here’s a sneak peak…
I have had my head down a bit what with second (and now third) lockdowns in England and preparing for Christmas. I don’t like to start my “resolutions” on the 1st of January as I find it’s still too dark and cold and depressing to try deprive myself of sweeties at that point. However I had reached the point of feeling the time had come to start improving my eating habits and sleep patterns when my sister sent me a link to this beautiful video.
The bit that struck me was when she talked about it being okay to have less energy in the winter and that you shouldn’t force yourself to try to feel the same way that you do in summer. Having grown up in a humid subtropical climate in South Africa, I don’t know that I would ever be able to embrace the cold the way she does, but it does look beautiful from the comfort of my duvet in a centrally heated house. I think in these times it’s okay to have a need to comfort eat and want to hide (for a while), so I forgave myself for being withdrawn and sat down to start making beads again.
I was also inspired by the way she spoke about light. This is important to me since I derived the name Fulgorine from “fulgor” which means “dazzling brightness, the light of the sun” because I want my work to be bright and joyful. I try to look on the bright side of life and focus on the positives but sometimes it takes an effort to remember to do it!
I really enjoyed making things again and I also have an idea for a new challenge that I hope others will be inspired to join in with. I’m working on a video of my own to explain it, so hopefully I’ll be able to share that soon.
I hope you all had a happy Christmas and are looking forward to a bright New Year.
P.S. I have started a mailing list! I’m not ready to send out regular messages yet, but if you would like to sign up now for when I do, here’s the link.