One of the coolest trends to hit the polymer clay community in recent years is silkscreens. They allow you to create your own printed “fabric” of clay and are a really neat way to make a design that can then be used in your projects in an infinite number of ways. You might have seen the Sculpey Silkscreen Kit in craft stores or noticed one of the fantastic silkscreen artists producing unique artisan designs. And while the basic principle is simple, there’s really quite a bit to know about using silkscreens on polymer clay.
There’s so much to know, in fact, that I realized there was just too much to put into an article here on this website. I started writing and it blossomed to 30 pages before I was done. And it includes 55 photographs that I took while working with silkscreens. Yeah. A website article wasn’t going to work.
Isn’t it funny how little ideas turn to bigger ideas that quickly get out of hand? Well next thing you know I’d planned an entire series of Skill Builder eBooks to offer in addition to my not-exactly-small tutorials. Silkscreens are just the beginning, but for now, let me announce release of my All About Silkscreens for Polymer Clay eBook.
Learn About Using Silkscreens on Polymer Clay
I spent several weeks trying everything I could think of with silkscreens on polymer clay. I used runny paints, thick paints, mica powders, PanPastels, chalks, inks, and mediums. I ruined silkscreens. I bugged the silkscreen makers asking for advice and suggestions. I tried products, and most of all I had fun. Because let me assure you, using silkscreens is fun.
Ultimately, the All About Silkscreens on Polymer Clay ebook, by the time I added all the pictures and formatted it, was over 30 pages. Of course there’s a table of contents. Plus a resources section giving you even more information. And there’s a gallery section where I tell you exactly what silkscreens, paints, and processes I used to get the samples that you will see in the photos. While I do take you through the steps, in detail, of how to make a silkscreen print on polymer clay, I don’t include a project in this ebook as it’s designed to be an informational work and part of my new Skill Builder series. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of colorful fun to be had as I’ve also released a new project tutorial.
Opulent Tapestry Tutorial
After you learn about silkscreens, you’ll be eager to make a project with them. The Opulent Tapestry Tutorial is an easy project tutorial that takes you through every step of making a richly colored, silkscreened pair of earrings. Perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time and want to have a satisfying, completed project, the 42 steps of this tutorial don’t leave you hanging and wondering what to do next. The clear pictures and text make the process very easy, from start to finish. And you’ll learn lots of little tips along the way, too.
The Opulent Tapestry Tutorial shows how to make a pair of earrings, but there are also pointers explaining how to make pendants or a brooch instead. The basic design could be used in lots of ways beyond jewelry, too. Your imagination can take this so many ways.
You may have already seen, or even may have purchased, the Sculpey Silkscreen kit. While it’s a really neat little kit and has a lot of silkscreens to play with, it’s just the beginning. There are several artisan silkscreen makers around the world who use their own designs to hand-make silkscreens for their customers. These silkscreen artisans have distinctive designs and bring an incredible variety to the marketplace.
Malgorzata Wawrzynczak makes the most wonderful crisply detailed silkscreens in all kinds of designs. There are op-art designs, art deco, art nouveau, mandalas, texture-type backgrounds, and even whimsical cartoon styles. You’re sure to find one you like. You can buy them through her Etsy shop or from your favorite clay supplier such as 2Wards Polymer Clay in Australia.
Helen Breil is a well-known polymer clay artist and teacher who has a small line of silkscreens made in her very distinctive designs. These are really nicely made silkscreens with each one being a uniform size and I love that the name of the design is included at the edge of each silkscreen. You can find Helen’s silkscreens in many online shops including PolyClayPlay, ClayAround, 2Wards Polymer Clay, and HappyThings.
Tonja Lenderman has a HUGE array of silkscreens, many of which coordinate with her equally huge line of clear texture stamps.
Tina Holden is a Canadian silkscreen artisan who also sells a really impressive line of tutorials. So do make sure that you check them out as well. Several of them do use silkscreens. Tina’s Paisley silkscreen is the one that I used to illustrate the project in the Opulent Tapestry Tutorial. You can find Tina’s silkscreens and tutorials in her Etsy shop.
Ilysa Ginsburg and Kyra Slye of Polymer Clay TV fame have their own supply shop where you can get their line of silkscreens.