Guest Author - Sarah Roop
There are several methods of combining rubber stamping with polymer clay. All of them make beautiful finished pieces and are a lot easier than they look at first glance. Once your stamped images are transferred onto polymer clay they can be used for many things, such as home décor, jewelry, and scrap booking to name a few.
The first method I would like to discuss is stamping directly onto raw polymer clay. First you need to soften your clay. Cut or tear off a piece of clay about the size you think you will need for your stamp. Knead and roll this piece in your hands until soft and pliable. Then run this through your pasta machine (if you have one dedicated for clay) or roll it out using yr acrylic brayer, or even a glass. If you want to use Pigment ink to add color to your stamp you can. Using firm, even pressure press your stamp into the clay, pulling straight up when you are done. Trim the clay to the size and shape you desire. You can dust your clay with Pearl Ex is you desire at this point, once your clay is baked it will be permanent.
The second method is to stamp on it as after you bake it, as when you are making polymer clay postcards, or polymer clay coasters. The advantage to stamping onto baked clay is that you have a solid, hard surface and you can finish off your project with elements that would not withstand the oven temperatures.
One of the most popular methods of stamping on polymer clay is called Mica Shift. While this method is more time consuming, it is not as difficult as it looks, and the results are simply stunning! First, take your pearlescent clay and prepare it as in the other methods. After your clay is rolled out tamp the raw clay as before, making sure your image is stamped deeply into the raw clay. Then, before you bake it take a tissue blade (available in the Polymer Clay section of your craft store) and gently cut off the raised portion of the stamped image. Don’t worry if you cannot see a good image at this point, the important part is that you get the clay cut so that it is smooth again, while cutting only the raised sections. Cut your clay into the shape you want your finished product to be. Bake clay according to package directions. When it is baked and cooled you can sand the surface with wet/dry sandpaper and water if you would like a glossier surface. You need to be sure you use 200, 400, 600, and 800 grit sandpaper. As you continue to sand, you will see the image gradually appear in the clay. This is my favorite method of clay stamping.
The last method I am going to talk about today is stamping polymer clay beads. You need a few additional items for this method, but you will find they are worth it if you are a beader. As always, condition your clay before starting. For this example we are going to make tube beads, but you can utilize this method with any size or shape bead. Take your bead mandrel (available in the polymer clay section of your craft store) or toothpick and shape a piece of clay around it, and roll it on a flat surface until it is long and smooth. Don’t worry about the size. Ink up your stamp with pigment ink and lay the stamp face up on the table. Roll your mandrel with the clay on it over the inked stamp. When you have the polymer clay completely filled with your design. Allow the ink to dry for a few minutes. Cut your clay with a razor or tissue blade into ¼” – ½” sections while still on the mandrel. Take a recipe card or small piece of paper and fold it accordion style and lay your mandrel with the beads on it into one of the folds. This helps to keep the clay from rolling and also keeps the clay from developing marks from baking on a flat surface.
While this is not a complete list of methods available for using rubber stamps with polymer clay, it does cover the most common ways to use them in combination. Polymer clay adds a whole new dimension to rubber stamping and is an extremely versatile medium which can allow you to stamp in ways you never thought possible.