Cover Image: Polymer Clay for Beginners

Polymer Clay for Beginners

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Member Reviews

Useful and informative. Simple and fun projects making for a great introduction to this versatile medium.
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Beautiful, whimsical models to make. You can see on the cover the style of the projects in this book, miniature and adorable.
The book has in depth instructions for making every project and getting started with polymer clay, an easy material that doesn't need a kiln or too much special equipment to get started. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Cute designs. Some interesting techniques. Some are more straightforward than others, but I think that everyone will be able to find something adorable that they can make.
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Art Makers by Emily Chen is a terrific book for the beginner polymer clay crafter.  It's like a recipe book for clay creations.  Emily tells you exactly what types of clay, colors and tools to use to create each item in this book and she explains precisely how to use each tool, and your hands to obtain the desired effect.   I am a total beginner and found this book to be very helpful.
#ArtMakers:PolymerClayForBeginners #netgalley #reviewathon
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These projects are all easy but interesting to create. I enjoyed the variety of the projects along with how they were presented.
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I wish I would have read it like five years ago when I was a huge fan of clay(I used to use air dry clay because it was easier to find it in my city). It's not that I don't like it anymore but I lost my skills. However, I wish I would have read it before because the pictures were soooo big and the instructions so clear (there's not chitchat, yay) that I finally understood how to make a fruit cane and a cake (without watching a 10 minute video!!). The exercises were really easy, perfect for beginners, and you can find an introduction to methods and materials too.
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I would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster for providing me with a free – temporary – electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Although I’m auto-approved with this publisher, the decision to read this book is entirely my choice and any reviews given are obligation free.

Okay, I have to start by saying that the majority of this rating comes from the amazing talent of Ms Chen when it comes to polymer clay creations. The amount of time and detail that she puts into colour blending the clays for things like strawberries – wow! It might be polymer clay to some, but that is amazing and talented art to me.

This was a great book. Some step by step project ideas that are, for the most part, very basic. And the stuff that isn’t as basic is still doable for the beginner wanting to try something a little trickier – see the colour blending.

It has everything you need to know to get started. From the types of clay and their baking times, the tools needed, and the finishing ideas, etc. It is a great little, all-round helpful book. 

The projects suggest are cute, something I think most people would want to try and in the same way so creative that it is something that lovers of polymer clay would then love to wear. It’s not as if you’re about to be shown how to make something you’d never wear. I would… but I am a tad eccentric. ;-)

I will say I did have an issue trying to review ‘Art Makers Polymer Clay for Beginners’ though and that was the layout and formatting. I am going to assume that the final edit created for print/ paperback book will look fine. But it was obviously not formatted to be easily read as an ASCM of PDF document. The formatting was clunky and all over the place, I had to try both my laptop and tablet to try and read it and, if it wasn’t for my love of polymer clay critters, I might have just given up trying to review it as the copy was just so hard to read. So if there are bad reviews for this book, based merely on Netgalley electronic ARC, I wouldn’t be surprised. I simply tried to look past the bad formatting for electronic viewing and am just going to assume the paper versions is a lot better. Due to this I did not let the poor formatting lower my rating.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It is, as it clearly states, a book for beginners. And I think something those aged 10 and over would enjoy. I could easily see myself and my 12 year old artist in residence enjoying this book together. I would warn people about the formatting though, and strongly recommend they only buy it in paper format and only after being able to see inside to ensure it’s all clear and easy to follow.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I could. See my above comment about my child and I spending an afternoon making polymer clay creations. I mean, I am not a fan of cutesy unicorns, but could still see myself trying the ones in the book just to get a feel for that level of work. That says a lot, if I want to make a cutesy unicorn! :-D

In summary: A great little beginners book on how to make some simply and fun polymer clay creations.
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Netgallery provided me with a digital ARC, all opinions are my own.

Be warned if you are starting from scratch there is a high initial cost, but this is normal for any hobby. I like that Emily Chen included a table of contents, it is broken up into different themes so there is a lot of variety. There is even a section that introduces different techniques. The only thing with that is the average person isn't going to go back and forth between sections to look it up. I also double checked and in the ebook version certain apps do not make the table of contents easily accessible. One think I also noticed that is unique to the ebook I'm sure is that sometimes the text doesn't always line up with the right picture. I do appreciate that she broke each section up by difficulty. She doesn't out right label it but the projects get harder as you move through each one. Personally I would recommend getting a hard copy of this book, stay away from the digital format.
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It's a book of cute polymer clay figures to make for the beginner, which seems quite similar to making figures for cake making with royal icing, though these have to be baked in the oven.  This would be a great book for children and adults alike to get started.

The tools recommended seem inexpensive to get you started, and the book provides 4 sections of figures to make:  food, animals, plants and beads.  There are around 15 projects to do, with rainbow cakes, pugs, unicorns, cacti and beads for making a necklace.

The book has easy to follow steps, with lots of colour photography to show you what to do.  A couple of the projects are turned into charms.  

The only thing I felt missing perhaps is the amount of clay required; it should be given in grams rather than just small and large amounts, and what size the finished figure would be.

I received this book from netgalley in return for a honest review.
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Been wanting to get into polymer clay for a little while now and this is such a good guide for it! It's non-intimidating and breaks it down simply yet not patronisingly. Worth the read!
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A nice book for beginners and those who have some more experience with using polymer clay. Nice set up to show how to make the projects shown.
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This is a very cute book and would be great for beginners such as myself as well as people who have used polymer clay before. The clear, step by step, instructions make this a great book for beginners.  Some projects are very detailed and therefore would be great for those with some experience with polymer clay, and will help them expand their skill set.  Categories included food, animals, and plants.  I’m partial to the animal category and would like to start with the pig and eventually move my way up to the adorable unicorn. I am looking forward to trying my hand at polymer clay and think this would be a fun craft to try with my children.
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This is a lovely book with clear instructions for getting started in working with polymer clay.

The book has full color pictures and step-by-step instructions for several projects, including attractive food, animals, beads and plants. The little cacti were particularly interesting as it could be hard to tell them from real cacti at a glance, though I have to admit that it was the unicorn on the cover that really attracted me.

There is plenty of information on materials, techniques, tools for the job and methods for detail decoration. Trouble shooting problems with heating and how to fix any that arise also features.

All in all I think it's an excellent beginner's book on the craft and I plan to master the art of filling my house with unicorns! Variations in colors and glittering materials are suggested in the pictures and should be loads of fun to explore. The only thing that could have improved it would be to have a dragon design as well!
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I loved this book!  I can’t wait to get my clay and begin my projects.  Kudos, Ms. Chen!

This book begins with the tools need to make figurines with polymer clay.  It discusses the differences in brands of clay and how they corollate with the type of paint used.  Who knew you could get by with a needle, a toothpick as a beginner?!  It shows not only the shapes of rolled clay but how to combine different colors.  The step by step pictures are ingenious.  I could see how they began to form together.  How much or how little blending a project requires could easily be ascertained.  The baking guidelines of different types of clay and project was discussed.

The contained food, animals, plants and beads is vast and filled with variety.  They are all cute and look like fun to make.  I can’t wait.

I received an ARC from Quarto Publishing Group through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way affects my opinion or rating of this book.
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This book has really good, easy to follow step by step examples. I would have liked a little more depth in the introduction.
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I love how accessible this book is! It states it is a book for beginners and it really is aimed at supporting you through using polymer clay right from the very beginning! This book enables everyone to begin to not only use polymer clay but also to be aware of the different sorts of clay, how to choose the right clay for you, what tools to use for detailing, the shapes you can make with polymer clay that will be used throughout the book, baking the clay and troubleshooting before then leading onto projects. The information is very well laid out and is easy to understand. I would recommend this book for children and adults of any age!
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Ohmigoodness, this book made me go out and immediately get some polymer clay to start learning again.  I have done a little bit in the past, but nothing quite as detailed or cute as the stuff in this book.  Chen breaks down the different kinds of polymers and how to set them, so that beginners have a great guide book for even the baseline things that one really must know.  Each of the projects is step-by-step gone through, including step-by-step photos so you can really see what yours should look like after each step.
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I'd never heard of polymer clay and I don't consider myself an artist, but art interests me and has done more so since I started this childrens' picture book series of mine, so anything out of my experience zone tends to attract my attention.

For the most part, this book was well-written and very informative, colorfully illustrated and explained in detail where necessary. This 'clay' is made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC. The water that comes into your house and the waste you flush away more than likely runs through PVC pipes, and the electricity you use more than likely runs through cables insulated with PVC. Polymer clay is treated in various ways with 'plasticizers' to render it into modeling clay. You will need to work it to get it soft and ready to mold into whatever shapes you want, but once it's 'loosened up' it's just like clay. When heat-treated though, instead of melting or drooping, it hardens and retains its shape; it's rather like baking ceramic or pottery. It also retains its color. This makes it perfect for making items you want to keep and even use, such as jewelry. You could make buttons for your clothes and other useful items such as, for example, the pieces for a chess game - and even the chessboard itself!

The author shows many techniques and steps the reader through making a variety of items, some of which look good enough to eat - such as fake chocolate chip cookies and a fruit flan that, when done properly, looks very realistic. Polymer clay comes in a variety of bright colors and it mixes readily with other colors to blend shades. There are also varieties you can get which make for a semi-translucent or a pearlescent finish. You can, as the author explains, add other materials to the clay to change appearance, and make a more matte finish to your project. The clay remains workable until 'cured' by heating at relatively low temperatures in an ordinary oven, but perhaps a dedicated oven might be a better bet, or an alternate heating technique. Here's why.

The author doesn't mention this, which for me was a big no-no, but there are certain health risks associated with long-term use of certain types of polymer clay - specifically those which contain more than 0.1% of any of a half-dozen specific chemicals known as phthalates. This is why polymer clay isn't a good material for making children's toys or for making items which might be used as food containers. I understand that the manufacturers of this clay have sought to remove such plasticizers from the clay since 2008, but it's always a good idea to be fully aware of what it is you're working with and what the risks are, which is why I would have preferred at least a mention of this in the book.

I found this an inexcusable omission in that this was not mentioned at all. I also understand from reading around on the topic, that the clay doesn't necessarily need to be baked - it can be heat treated with a hair dryer, dryer for example, or put into very hot water and left for a time to harden that way. Given that some formulations of polymer clay could exude hydrogen chloride gas when heated, the water idea seems like a safer bet to me, but maybe more modern formulations of the clay do not have this problem.

The fact is that I don't know, and the author made no mention of this in this book. I think this was a serious omission and which is why I am not recommending this book. The author also neglected to mention pricing, which can vary and change over time, I know, but a rough price-range would have been nice as a guide. A dedicated oven (an old toaster oven will do) might cost around $70. The clay itself costs about a dollar an ounce, or perhaps more from a brief survey I did, and a hand pasta roller - which you can use to work the clay and make it malleable prior to modeling, will be around $30, although you can work it by hand or even with a rolling pin, I guess; then you would not want to use that rolling pin for food, so a dedicated roller is also wise.

So while this book did offer hints, tips and advice about getting started, the lack of any sort of pricing or safety warnings made it a fail for me, and I cannot commend it. It may well be that safety concerns have been reduced with newer formulations of this material, but still a note of caution would have been wise I felt, especially if (for all I know) there may be 'cut price' older formulations of this material out there. Hopefully there are not!
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Art Makers: Polymer Clay for Beginners: Inspiration, techniques, and simple step-by-step projects for making art with polymer clay
by Emily Chen is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary. This gives you a list of tools and tips the reader will need to make a lot of fun projects including food, little animals, and other things like unicorns! I fell in love with the cute little pig the size of the first section of my index finger! So cute and small!
Instructions on colors, mixing, making, baking, and coloring your project is included with corresponding pictures. Delightful! I had played with polymer clay before and this book made me want to get back into it! Loved how clear and simple the directions are and all the wonderful projects with pictures!
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Art Makers: Polymer Clay for Beginners is a tutorial guide to working with polymer clay by Emily Chen, the sculptor behind CatBearExpress. Released 19th March 2019 by Quarto on their Walter Foster imprint, it's 128 pages and available in paperback format.

Everyone is familiar with polymer clay. It's available at crafts and big-box retailers, by mail order, and I've even seen it at some larger grocery stores. The disconnect comes when you get your little packages of plastic home and try to make something. Even with the best intentions, none of my creations bore the slightest resemblance to the pictures I had up in my head. I needed a step-by-step tutorial, and this is a really good one.

I'm definitely a process based learner, so this book was perfect for me. The photographs are crisp and clear, the steps are very well delineated, and the projects are super cute and appealing (see the cover). There are a wide variety of subject tutorials; florals, fantasy animals, food, pets, etc.

This would make an amazing activity guide for scouts, church or library kid groups, or classroom art guide. I'm a middle aged adult and I am absolutely going to use the tutorials here to make myself some charms for my embroidery scissors and needle minders. This is a wonderfully inspiring book which has my fingers itching to get started!

Five stars.
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