I am an impatient person from nature but Polymer Clay tought me that Rome wasn´t built in a day... Sure, techniques and processing itself are essential for reaching succesful projects but never underestimate the initial preparation. Before you start modelling the clay it is necessary to prepare it, to make it evenly soft, pliable and easy to process. I have gained a lot of tips, e.g. from putting wrapped clay into the bra (it really works particularly when you breastfeed...) to beating the clay with a mallet, etc. I would like to mention also more usual and popular technique: slice the clay, stack the slices one on another, roll them out on a pasta machine and fold the rolled out sheet. If you repeat this process ca 20 times, the clay will be evenly shiny, will not crumble and will be pliable when wet. Such conditioned clay is ready for use.
The process of modelling varies according to types of projects. There are many books and web sites providing particular descriptions.
Baking of Polymer Clay and the temperature of baking varies depending on types of clay. Fimo is baked for 30 minutes at 110°C. Always study producers´ directions for use when baking. Some experts recommend to use aluminium foil and to make a kind of tent from it when baking at your home oven but I do not do it, I just wipe the oven with a wet cloth after baking. However, Polymer Clay is not intended for consumption and should not come into contact with foodstuff. Be careful and do not exceed the recommended baking period, the clay can burn (5-10 extra minutes is fine but not more). Insufficient baking is wrong as well, it can result in imperfect plastic object which tends to break... It is wasting time and effort... This happens when the thermostat does not work well.
Sanding is final work and is as important as creating itself. It is not advisable to underestimate it. The right finishing can highlight quality of your work while, vice versa, due to insufficient completion your idea will fade out...
Sand paper is used for this work. Water sand paper is the best. You can also try Dremel drills – I use them only for sanding flat surface because when sanding round shapes the drills may scratch the surface instead of smoothing it.
Polishing can upgrade your project, so I polish a lot and warmly recommend it. There are several techniques of polishing. The easiest one is using jeans or fleece material. It is more efficient to use cloth and abrasive paste (standardly available in hobby stores). The icing of the cake is a bench lathe which smooths out and decorates jewels to male them look naturally shiny.
If you do not sand you products you can coat them with PVC varnish. Eberhard Faber produces matt and glossy Fimo varnish. Try out also other varnishes for plastic but some of them may become yellow in a time.
You can mark you product and make it original – make up your own trademark, create a monogram on the underside of the jewel.