Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Messy Workspace Tips

If any of you are as unorganized as I am then you know how hard it is to keep a workspace clean. For polymer clay crafting this can be very difficult indeed. I often find myself surrounded by beads, unfinished projects, and sharp objects all pointing at me. Here are a few things I've learned about keeping my workspace a little cleaner.

My Question for you to answer: In what ways would you like to keep your space neat?

Tip # 1: Keeping Beads Under Control:

When one first starts with polymer clay beads are very easy and addicting to make. In fact one usually ends up with beads rolling all over the place as more are being made. This was a situation I was in not too long ago. Fortunately there is a certain little tool that not only can help keep beads on the table, but also can be used to bake them on!
This tool is the bead rack, as shown in the picture to the right, it can be bought in any craft store and usually comes with needles to collect those pesky rolling beads. :P Then you can also use it to bake the beads without them rolling off and getting burned (trust me burned polymer clay smells really bad!)

Tip #2 Clay Under Wraps:

In the beginning you may start off with just a few 2oz chunks of clay stacked neatly in a pile, well that won't last long. Polymer clay comes in so many different colors that soon you will have twenty chunks of clay in a not so neat stack or two or three or even five stacks...it goes on and on.

A great storage container for unbaked clay, or even unfinished creations, are plastic tackle boxes with movable slots. The picture on the right shows what one looks like. This is also pretty cheap to buy, at Walmart I have seen a set of three for $5.00.

Tip # 3 Sharp Blades, Needles, and Cutters!

When working with polymer clay everyone will deal with something sharp at one point. For example, you should use a tissue blade to cut clay with, this is a very sharp blade indeed and any unattended blade can do a lot of damage when you are busy working away. A good storage container for all these sharp objects is a small three drawer plastic chest.

Since this chest has three drawers you can put your blades in one, and still have two drawers left over for other tools. I found mine at Biglots for only $5.00 though I believe it was on sale originally being $10.00.

Tip # 4 What to work on:

Polymer clay sticks to many surfaces, so picking the right one is essential of course not spending too much money is also good. I use one of those cheap fold up tables, and then wrap it with wax paper. The clay would stick to the plastic on the table otherwise. Once the wax paper is too dirty I simply change it, for me this works well in my budget. An alternative would be to use tile, but this can get a bit on the pricey side.

Oh and here is one more picture to show a small part of my workspace covered in wax paper. Before anyone asks, yes there is clay in the background, even I can't be 100% neat all the time. :P

Final Say:

Now after all this organizing you may feel as tired as a kitten, in fact why don't you go take a cat nap like my Lance here. :)


rockcreekcreations said...

I always find it hard to keep my different crafts separated. Keeping the polyclay separate from seed beads, seed beads separate from yarn, yarn separate from wool fleece, it goes on and on.

I'm just waiting for a seed beaded, polyclay with yarn and fiber monster to come to life one day on my craft table!!

CB said...

Hehe rockcreekcreations, that would be a terrible scary monster indeed!

Thats another reason why I like the three drawer chests to help keep everything seperated. I admit though, I may need another one of those to put the uh...leftover tools away that seem to collect on my table. :P

v klöch said...

Really great tips. I've started to dabble with polyclay lately and it's super fun. But I have a lot to learn. Thanks!

Carapace said...

cb, I'm wary of those plastic containers-- I've had a problem with my raw clay bonding to plastic in the past. Has it ever happened to you? Do you maybe have ideas on how to avoid it?