Polymer clay is an inexpensive and readily available craft clay that hardens in a home oven. One of the most popular brands of polymer clay is Fimo. Like all brands, Fimo has its own particular formula and, therefore, its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to different types of clay crafts. When using Fimo, understanding a few things about the best projects and techniques for this brand will help you get the most out of it.
Fimo polymer clay has a reputation among crafters for being a particularly firm clay. This firmness makes Fimo a good choice for projects involving intricate detail, since tiny, delicate pieces made from Fimo have a better chance of staying where you put them and resisting any smearing. The disadvantage, however, is that Fimo takes a lot of time and effort to hand soften before you can use it and can be crumbly before it is softened.
To make the softening process easier, do not try to soften large chunks all at once. Break up a chunk of hard clay into small pieces and soften one in your fingertips. Add hard pieces to this one at a time, working them into the soft clay before adding the next. This will save you time and save your hands.
You can also purchase a special brand of Fimo called Fimo Soft. This clay is not as firm as traditional Fimo, but is still harder than most other brands of clay and is a good way to "split the difference."
For the most part, sculpting with Fimo is like sculpting with other brands of polymer clay, but there are some tools and techniques that will help you take advantage of this clay's firmness. Since Fimo rarely smears, it is an ideal clay for millefiori (designs made in rolled canes of clay and cut in cross-sections). It is also good for things like sculpted strands of curly doll hair and doll house miniatures. With Fimo, use fine-tipped sculpting tools or even the tips of needles to create fine three-dimensional detail; use a moderate amount of pressure with the tip of your tool and pay close attention to where the tool is touching.
The firmness of Fimo can make it difficult to blend together two pieces of a sculpture to join them securely at the seams. Rectify this problem by applying a small amount of mineral oil (or oil-based lotion) to your fingertip before you smear the clay. This will soften the Fimo at the joining point, helping the two clays to smear together.
Mixing With Other Clays
Fimo can be used with other brands of clay in the same project, but take care when doing this. Two clays will require different amounts of pressure to soften, which will cause disaster if you try to mix clays for projects that involve rolling clays together, like marbling effects or millefiori canes.
You should also take care when baking a project made from two kinds of clays, since different brands have different recommended baking temperatures. Use the lower of the two temperatures when this is the case. Usually, Fimo will harden when it is baked at lower temperatures, but lower-temp clays are more likely to burn if baked at too high a temperature.