Cómo preservar tu trabajo en arcilla polimérica- Parte 3

How to preserve your work in polymer clay- Part 3

The images and videos in this note belong to Ana Belchí. Follow his channel to learn all his secrets and techniques from this link. 👈

In previous articles we focused on the necessary materials and tools to start, to then dedicate ourselves to the question of organization. If you haven't read them yet, follow the respective links. Today, we will move towards on how to preserve your work in polymer clay, the maintenance of our tools and their essential cleaning, since clay tends to copy and paste all the particles in the universe. We will learn to clean our pasta machine, fix errors and optimize results. Let's read!

Step by step cleaning

  • When we talk about organizing your workspace, we mean everything from vacuuming the floor to cleaning the table or desk and any rubber mat or tile where your polymer clay sits until it is stored in a container. Keep in mind that your space may have windows or air currents that drag loose materials into it.
  • Because the texture of the clay is inherently sticky and, on the other hand, it prints at the slightest contact - from a trace of your finger to any speck of dust or fluff - we strongly recommend that you end your work day with a General cleaning, at least of the desk and areas adjacent to it, whenever possible. Why do it at the end of the day? Because you will start with the most important tasks the next day without delaying cleaning and without cleaning taking precedence over any creative process. Usually, the brain has its own routine for waking up with that new design or inspiration that it tried while sleeping!
  • Use glass cleaner type liquids with non-corrosive alcohols that dissolve traces of grease and secure it to a cloth, preferably microfiber, as it is a fabric that does not leave residue or lint. Avoid using dusters and clean from the top (for example, the shelves on the table) to down.
  • Although it is not always possible, arrange the elements according to the steps to be taken, such as avoiding handling paints, resins, and inks when sanding and polishing. Separate workstations for each task, even if they are small, if there is enough space.
  • Everything from your pasta machine to the smallest utensils needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Wet hand towels are extremely useful for cleaning the tips of brushes and bobbins immediately after use, preventing pigments from drying out or mixing with other products; otherwise, we simply forget and ruin the next piece. The brushes in the rinse bowl are the same.
  • Do you use needle-nosed bottles? Other solvents, such as acetone or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), can be used if the material has already cured, as in the case of UV resin. In this case, the bottle must be kept well covered and out of direct sunlight.
  • Gloves, whenever possible!
  • To avoid excessive post-processing that can ruin your pieces, remove as much excess material from polishing as possible and use good quality cutters.
  • Although the information provided above will assist you in reducing the circulation of dust and debris, it is possible that you will need to interrupt your work. Covering it with a cardboard or plastic box will protect it from these materials, as well as the unexpected visit of the cat and the curiosity of the children.
  • Let's get started. Why not wear an apron instead of the lovely sweater full of flying fibers? Pick up the hair as well! This will allow you to work more comfortably.
  • Having a discarded piece of white clay on hand is ideal for handling before touching the mass that will be used in your pieces, acting as a filter for grease and particles in our hands, even after washing them.
  • Soak your pieces in a bath of barely warm water and hand soap after they've been fired and polished. This will pull any remaining particles out into the open. If small hairs or dust appear, you can remove them with acetone and a microfiber cloth, even if they have become adhered.
  • Cotton or cotton buds should be avoided because they leave their own residue. Microfiber cloths with various patterns are available in cleaning stores and will be very useful in leaving a professional finish.

Your pasta machine

Finally, if you are still afraid to disassemble your pasta machine, now is the time to watch this tutorial with subtitles in which you can change the languages (once on the YouYube screen, look for the CC icon -closed captions- and doing click there, choose your language). Thank you to Ana for making her detailed tutorials public!

Did you find this quick refresher on how to stay clean while working with polymer clay useful? Do you have any additional questions? You can leave us your questions in this form, and we will add all of that information to the FAQ's on our special page. Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest news!

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