Clay extruders
Smaller clay guns
...plunger type .......(see also Pushers for small guns)
...slightly-larger barrel, squeeze trigger
...somehwat-larger barrel, screw handle
Medium size clay guns/extruders
Other small-medium extruders for soft regular clay (cookie presses,etc)
....icing tips for soft clay
.......extruding liquid clays or other liquids, very soft mediums
Very large & Humongous (barrel) extruders
for some small guns
......bellows type & our bellows
......non-bellows types
........caulking gun pusher? (some
....types and shapes... tips
....additional disks (for sale)
....making your own disks
Preparing clay for extruding
Clean-Barrel extruding (no cleaning nec.)
(Regular cleaning methods)
Misc. tips
for clay guns
.....canes (also quilt canes) ... rows & layers...
.........automatically-wrapped canes .....Extruded Mosaic... logs, sanding
....whole canes or logs
Other uses for extrusions
... Lettering
....Stained glass
... Balinese Filigree & other filigree
... Weaving, crochet, braid, flex.springs
(more) Websites

(clay "guns," cookie presses, etc. )

see also the "condensed techniques list" page for more ideas:

gen. info

There are a number of tools that can be used for extruding clay into long ropes of various shapes (round, square, triangular, etc.).

...The original tool used for polymer clay was actually a clay "gun" extruder which was made to be used with earth clay (softer than polymer clay).
...Since then people have come across or created other types of extruders, as well as "pushers" to use with the extruder guns.
...There are also extruders which combine extruder-and-pusher, and some very large extruders as well.

Lots of things can be done with extrusions from a clay gun !!!

SMALL clay guns

costs, suppliers, brands

Small Barrel...PLUNGER-type guns
(cheap & easily available)

The small clay guns available at craft stores cost around $10 or so (... the larger ones cost more)
... most small guns come with about 20 disks which have differently shaped holes for creating long extrusions which are round or square, rectangular (flat noodle), tri-lobed, etc
(see Disks below for buying different disks, or maybe making your own disks for these small guns) of a typical clay gun plus the 20 disks that come with it (top of page) ...other guns and pushers shown as well)
...and at my photo lessons re using one with a "pusher"
(website gone)

suppliers for the (original small) type of clay gun (aka "clay extruder"):
...RETAIL.... Michaels, or other craft/hobby stores
...MAIL ORDER... many polymer clay suppliers carry one or more brands of clay gun (see Supply Sources > Clays... also has the Sculpey gun for $7-8)
(.....for suppliers for the medium-sized guns, see just below)

brand names of the plunger type metal clay guns are:
....Kemper... Sculpey .... Darice/Catan (Joann's, etc.) ... and maybe others

NOTE: some brands of these plunger guns aren't as well built as others, or don't work with certain pushers, or have disks which are less sturdy than others
........some extra disk sets will fit only in certain guns without having to purchase a separate adapter ring... see Disks below
...Darice... stronger disks ... thicker edges
...Sculpey gun... stronger disks than Kemper? steel rather than aluminum? (will fit in Kemper gun)... but can't do "clean barrel extruding" because of lip at end of barrel (see below)
...Kemper Klay Gun (older ones had strong, rolled edge disks?, but newer guns plunger doesnt fit well and threads not too good either)...disks may not fit in other guns
...the gun "from Pro Arts" at Michaels turned out to be by Loew Cornell. And it was TERRIBLE. was weirdly difficult to clean...only the last inch on either end of the barrel had a smooth finish... the center section was very badly cast and (rough?) not finished (
see more details re this one under "Disks" below)

It's very helpful to have a "pusher" for these small guns to make them easier to use
if you're doing a lot of extruding...or you're not using a very very soft clay like Sculpey...or you want to make extruding easier on the hands and fingers
(see PUSHERS for small guns below)

slightly-larger Barrel... SQUEEZE TRIGGER

Sugar Craft extruder ...intended for use with marzipan (almond paste) in cake decorating, etc.
....this is a clay gun and sort-of-pusher in one unit).... clay is extruded with trigger action (rachet)
.......would put most squeezing pressure on the joint between the thumb and index finger, the palm, and the outermost joints of the fingers
...made from very heavy plastic.... I experimented with mine
... it does well with the softer clays (Sculpey, FimoSoft, Premo and some Fimo Classic colors, but not all. Kay would not fit into any of the pusher devices we've come up with so far. Diane B.
...most are sold in the UK though.. Jane Asher sells lots of wonderful sugar craft tools and things.
.........from their manager: $23.00 US dollars for the Sugarcraft gun and shipping to the US?.... Caroline
....comes with 16 disks... can buy another set?
...... or ... then click on 'mail order sugarcraft' and then type 'gun' in the search box ...
$29.. .
$40 ...'s at The Foodcrafter's Supply Catalog in the U.S.. phone: 800-776-0575 (more expensive though?)

somewhat-larger Barrel ... SCREW HANDLE

Professional Ultimate Clay Extruder ... larger barrel than regular metal plunger type clay guns, but smaller than medium-sized barrels has a screw handle for extruding the clay instead of a plunger
....good clay gun, if you don't want to use a pusher with a small gun to get faster and easier results
........ or if twisting a screw handle repeatedly will be hard on your hands, arms, etc.
....a new clay gun by Makin's ...the metal version was made specifically for polymer clay
bigger barrel is 5 1/2" long (vs. 3 1/2" for the plunger types), and about 3/4" in diameter (vs. 1/2" or so)
....$20 ....made of (green) metal (except at Michaels?) and has a screw handle bar mechanism at end which is about 4" long so you could even use the palm or side of your hand to turn it
..... barrel could also easily be held with either a couple of clamps or a mounted vise.
......the interior disk which pushes the clay along has an 'O' ring around it that cleans the barrel automatically (no scraping, baking, etc. to get the clay out as there isn't much residue). Patty B..
.....comes with 20 ("strong") flat, silver metal disks
....can also buy 2 more disk sets for it
.......can also buy 2
special disk sets which create make an automatic hole all the way through the extruded log
...Suzanne I's video clip showing it being used (at 6:40)
Don't be confused ... Makin's also produces another clay gun which is green plastic and won't work well with polymer clay ... that one has hemispheric "disks" and is all green (sold in craft stores); it's fine for their air-dry clay though's a photo of the wrong
"Clay Gun Extruder" )

MEDIUM size clay guns ...don't generally need pushers

Polymer Clay Express Extruder Gun(s)
PCE seels two guns with barrels about 7" long and 2" in diameter....squeeze trigger to extrude (like caulking gun) ...barrel used to be acrylic?
1. "all-metal" gun (PCE 2" M-Extruder) = $55
...strongest barrel.... 26 thrust capacity in the trigger
...holds up to one lb (8 small bars) of clay (can buy Accessory barrel below for smaller amounts of clay)
...comes with 2 disks only ("floral")
2. aluminum-barrel gun (PCE 2" Aluminum Extruder) = $45 (just steel-not-aluminum barrel, or other parts not made from metal?)
.....holds up to one lb (8 small bars) of clay, in a 2" diameter barrel (can buy Accessory barrel below for smaller amounts of clay)
...comes with 2 disks only ("floral")
Small Shapes Extruder Accessory (a smaller barrel which fits inside either? 2" regular barrel; shaped like dumbbell)
....$19 ....holds up to one-half lb of clay (4 small bars)

Bead Corers...for making single holes in extrusions... can then make tube beads, rod bracelets with single holes running through them, etc, automatically
.....a metal rod with metal shape at one end... placed inside the clay (rolled up into a log) inside a barrel...when extruded, the clay extrusion will have a hole through it in the shape of the rod's end (may be best to use a release on rod --mineral oil, ArmorAll, etc.)
....can be used with any disk which has only a single hole, located in the very center of the disk
Lifting Disc ... makes it easier to remove the last bit of clay left in the gun after extruding by lifting the bottom of the clay above the pusher cup (inserted after cup and nut are threaded on, before clay inserted) ...disk available for 2" barrels, or 1" barrel, or bead corers
"pusher" for guns (Table Holster) = $25...allows gun to be attached to edge of table (upside down) so that clay can be extruded with more leverage
......requires two free sides of a table corner... gun holder is attached to one side of a corner by two (ordinary) long squeeze clamps; the gun is then strapped into the holder with attached Velcro...person then stands on the clamped side of the corner, and presses down repeatedly (with both hands for best result) on the free lever of the gun to extrude the clay (downward)
... requires many pushes and probably not great for those with wrist-arm problems
...all disks are very thick (3/8") and made from laser-cut acrylic
...shapes: quilt block pieces, floral, "circular", moulding for "frames", image silhouette shapes (butterflies, etc.),
.........also "double-hole" disks for making extrusions (in many shapes) with 2 holes built in automatically, for making bracelets, beads, etc., with cording or wires strung through --see also "Bead Corers" below for single hole extrusions)
...most disks are available in both the 2" size and the 1" size gun-barrel
... sets of additional disks are available in various numbers and groupings
....individual disks for either? 2" gun = $7.50
....individual disks for small barrel accessory = $2.50
...38 disks set + small barrel accessory = $85
...38 disks + gun = $260 ...PCE-M (all metal) 2" barrel gun + 38 pre-selected disk set (General Shapes)
USING (more info) reload ... press silver lever with thumb, pull back on plunger... remove end, load clay, replace end
........(demonstrator always rolled up a sheet of clay into log, then rolled and reshaped log to put into barrel)
......many presses of trigger necessary to extrude clay (even after many squeezees to move less than a barrelful of clay down to disk)
.............demonstrator used both hands to squeeze trigger
.............whole gun moves back and forth with each squeeze of the trigger; and flops back & forth when using holster (could be annoying)
..... clay also doesn't come out fast once it reaches the disk (in either 2" or 1" barrel)
......fiddly to put parts together and take apart and somewhat time-consuming (... e.g, cap requires many revolutions, pressing on small lever then pulling on pull-back plunger require effort and is not smooth... several disks and a plastic cup have to also be dropped into the barrel) clean ...demonstator suggested using a small bit of (thin plastic) "deli paper" around back end of clay to help remove excess after extrusion ....(also, just on older version?...has "thick pad" on plunger for helping keep clean --other cleaning necessary?)
Would be great for clayers who:
.....make a lot of certain types of items (e.g., tile or rod bracelets, frames of certain sizes, etc.), or do production work of certain types
.....make items which require larger extrusions, or longer extrusions without having to reload
.....make quilt canes
.....want a huge variety of disks, and the most options possible to play with using just one gun
Not as great for those who:
......can't afford it (or the accessories and disks they'd need
......have too much trouble with fingers, arms, wrists, etc (and also if using a holster, are able to stand --and have a convenient 2-sided table corner to use)

for large and humongous barrel extruders (extruder and pusher in one),
see below in Very Large Barrel and Humongous Barrel

OTHER kinds of "extruders"

use with regular clay

I use a garlic press (for multiple thin strands)..... I find it easier to clean out (than a clay gun). Ruth
...Nancy Lotz's lesson on using a garlic press to extrude a plain color, a Skinner Blend plug (cut into short lengths), or a series of colors (thick disks)... she uses the extrusions to make Balinese Filigree and has suggestions for other things to use them for (plus tips on using)
......she says the diameter of her round extrusions are about 1/8" (same as thickest setting of pasta machine)... but photos of the red ropes and forms look much larger (just for illustration purposes??) (also click on pg. 3 & pg. 4)
.....see much more on Balinese Filigree below

.....some of the ways to clean clay guns should also work for garlic presses (see Cleaning below)
square snakes can be made with a square-hole garlic press ...saw wonderful canes in cross-stitch patterns with them
........ I found a square-hole press at one of the big local linen and kitchen ware stores...was a cheaper one
.........I've made clay 'cartoon' animals, then photographed them and converted them to cross-stitch patterns
........What a neat idea. ..I had thought of using some of my old photos to make canes before, but never thought of cross stitch or mosaics, etc.
(other patterns can also be simulated with square or other extrusions... for those, see Mosaics
... and also Mixing Media > Needlepoint & Seed Beads ... and Canes-Instr. > Quilts --for square patches, etc.)

We have a run going here, (Seattle), on those old cookie press guns for extruding clay.
...The ones that folks like best have a handle that you rotate to push out the clay. It takes more hand strength than I have to rotate the handle however.
....My personal favorite is the ratchet handle where you squeeze the handle and each time extrudes a little more. It looks like a long barrelled gun with a big squeeze "trigger". These were made with aluminium bodies and disks back in the 50's and 60's and I find them in junk stores and antique malls for a dollar or three. .....You have to use more clay to get it to extrude, but, it sure is simple to use..... I have found lots of disks to use by cannabilizing other cookie presses that were too big, etc. Meredith
....Wilton has an all metal cookie press?
.....I have a new ratchet type cookie press. I bought it at a specialty cooking store during one of my Christmas shopping trips a couple of years ago. It's a really sturdy cookie press and seems like it would convert to polymer clay. It is made by Marcato in Italy with a brand name of Atlas (sound familiar?). It is distributed in the US by VillaWare Manufacturing Co., Cleveland, Ohio 44114. ... do a search for 'Atlas cookie press' you will find plenty of online sellers. The price starts at around $12. Keep in mind that this is made for cookie dough, considerably softer than clay. And that the holes in the discs are different than the ones for the clay extruder. Valerie
....don't get a cookie press gun with a push plunger though -- you will hurt yourself trying to get the clay out of those! cookie gun works is approx. 2" diameter – obviously larger than the Klay Gun diameter.... I haven't had any problems with either the threaded handle screw-it-in kind or my ratchet handle one. Both are the same diameter. I'm using Premo clay which is softer . . . Meredith
... If I want to extrude smaller amounts of clay than a whole barrelful, I put a "plug" of scrap clay nearest the plunger end, and the clay that I want to extrude nearest the extrusion plate--then I don't have to fill up the whole gun with more clay than I want. Meredith
....I have taped individual Kemper clay gun disks onto larger-hole cookie press disks --works wonderfully well in the cookie press. Meredith
....metal icing tips work really well in a cookie press, too! ...the holes are bigger in the press disks and so you don't have to modify anything to use the cones. Just get a disk that has the right diameter hole. cookie press came with an adapter for icing tip cones, but, I haven't seen another like this one in all my second hand/thrift store rovings... Meredith
the diameter of the tube is the key...the clay extruder gun has a small diameter, thus the pressure psi (pressure per square inch) is much greater allowing you to exert enough pressure to move the fairly thick substance through the end. (I learned this lesson at work when I was trying to treat a patient by clearing his IV. The patient was a doctor and informed me that if I wanted to exert more pressure I should use a smaller syringe). Sara

DH made me something with PVC pipe, and caulking gun that had worked well, but it is crude since he never perfected it
....he used PVC pipe as the barrel holder of clay, and I used the disks from the first dough extruder mentioned with my stained glass windows
... he used the heavy duty caulking gun for as holder and mechanism to extrude.
....he threaded the PVC pipe himself on the bottom (there are threaded pipes, but the pre-threaded ones do not have the proper threads to fit the end piece of the old cookie press or dough extruder that I wanted to use) and I used the same screw-on cap which holds the dies in place from the first dough extruder mentioned.
....he cut a piece of heavy duty plastic and put on top of the clay.... It fit the diameter of the PVC pipe exactly.
The caulking gun was used just as with caulk except the disc could be removed and more clay inserted. But it was a little work to get the disc out until we discovered we could unscrew the bottom and it is right there! DUH
... So far our experience has been that if one can get the clay soft and keep it warm, then this one would definitely be workable. Jeanne R.

Play-Doh-type-toy tools for extruding (Play Doh Fun Factory and single extruder, available at toy and discount stores)
... $4 at Wal-Mart, in the toy section –OR deluxe version: Play-Doh One Stop Playshop (Deluxe work station - $19.95 at Toys 'R Us)
... Jeannie Havel uses this to make "elements" for canes... after extruding, she lets them set for awhile, then combines into canes the Fun Factory may appear daunting, but you can place tools in freezer for 15-20 minutes. Clay will pop right off. Jeannie H.

Childcraft Education Corp's Clay Accessories Package (and Do-It-With Dough kits) for play doh
various plastic guns and extruders, plus dies ... $20
....It had a strip of plastic that had all those dies cut into it, with space in between. ....I have been thinking that it would be a simple thing to cut the shapes apart, and tape each into a larger-shape die that I have for the cookie press
. . . . For example, the triangle shape just fits into the "sun burst star" shape that came with the cookie press, so it looks like I could tape the play-doh die to the aluminium sun burst die --centered in the sunburst, so the sunburst holes are all covered up.
...........then put the die, play-doh die to the inside, into the cookie press like you normally would. Suddenly you have the shape you want and can extrude it, too.
I have done this with the Kemper clay gun dies (small, or larger ones too?) into the cookie press - works wonderfully well. Meredith

Icing Tips

with regular clay, etc.

YangYang’s icing tip-extrusions (gone), but check later?
...Yang Yang began using the metal icing tips intended for cake decorating in the barrel of a clay gun a long time ago

Yang Yang extruded the softest Sculpey (plain white Original Sculpey in the box)
......created things like lacelike ruffled ribbons, and all kinds of other things
..... she also used for embellishing her baskets and other tiny sculptures

mixing a clay with translucent clay will usually soften it too
...but for making stiffer clays softer in various ways, see clay pusher instructions below for tips on warming and softening the clay, or look in Conditioning, Softeners)

clay could be slightly thinned with various liquids too (Softener-Diluent, liquid clay, veg oil, etc.).

(see also "doughs" below in Icing Tips with Liquid Clay, etc)

Karen's icing tip connector for clay gun (Cake Decorating Tip Adaptor)
....screws onto end of open clay gun (Kemper gun, or let them know which gun you have), and accepts any of the standard small icing tips
... held in place with their metal ring and a plastic icing ring coupler (the ones used for holding disposable bags onto to interchangeable tip connectors)
... the white icing tip coupler is easily removeable (just screw off) and you can change cake decorating tips quickly and easily.. unscrew, place a new tip, screw on and you are ready to go for another design. Karen
....I'd like to have more than one connector (I have more than one gun), so that I could have several colors going at the same time. Then I could change the tips all around, just like when decorating a cake, cookies, or gingerbread house, etc.. Diane B.
...buying this item can make some of the (GRAYED OUT) info below unnecessary ....(thanks, Karen!)

Metal icing tips work really well in a cookie press, too!
....the holes are bigger in the press' disks so you don't have to modify anything to use the cones. Just get a disk that has the right diameter hole. My cookie press came with an adapter for the cones, but, I haven't seen another like this one in all my second hand/thrift store rovings... Meredith

tiny clever "icing tip" and icing "bag" for making "twisted cookies"... should work for flowers and ridged ropes too if not twisted
...metal tip made from a tiny cylinder of serrated metal strip from a box of plastic-wrap + transparent tape attached to it and upward as the icing "bag") (click on Cookie) view in English thru AltaVista's BabelFish, go to:
.....then enter url above in the Translate Page window Japanese to English on Cookie

(see info on cutting down metal icing tips below)

(see also using syringes as extruders below in "for liquid clays"... can use with softened clay, modeling pastes, gel mediums or liquid clay)

I purchased a plastic cake decorating kit for $1.00 that contained 8 different tips from my local dollar store and it works beautifully. The outside is a tube with a plunger and changable tips. CraftyM
.... I got my cheap plastic tips from a kit at the grocery store that came with a white plastic bag

I used my finger to push clay through some cheap plastic icing tips and got different shapes than are possible with regular clay gun disks
...then I chilled them in the freezer a while (then cut the extruded logs into little star slices)
... but you could instead bake the whole extrusion, then slice it while warm (cuts easily). DB (add my photos)

We could also extrude shapes from an icing tip out onto aluminum foil stars, leaves, etc.
....bake...then add them to tiny cakes or gingerbread houses, the insides of eggs, whatever.... good practice too. DB
(for ways to use icing tip extrusions on gingerbread houses... xmas trees or wreaths... for candies.. or all kinds of embellishment, onlays, etc, see Halloween and Christmas and Onlay )

icing tips allow one to create objects like stars, flowers, leaves, wavy or accordion-folded ribbons, and other decorated-cake effects
....number of lessons for using icing tips for diff. shapes & effects
(see books on making flowers, leaves, and other decorations with icing tips, in Sculpture > Flowers)

pages showing many icing tip shapes

Icing tips are also good for certain shapes or embellishments that might get squished while creating or adding to.

Could some of the shapes be used as mosaic tiles?

Could some of the shapes be used as cane building elements? like nesting shapes, or just any element shapes? ...some of the oval shapes would be neat laid together alternating directions, e.g
........or some of the tips would extrude almost flat ribbons, but could be larger than the ones from an ordinary clay gun?
.... could we refeigerate the extrusions, then add softened clay around them to make canes with background?
...I wonder if I could either cut some of the icing tips shorter so they would extrude a larger log (see grayed text for cutting info), or bend some into another shape. I'm afraid they may be too strong for that, but it would be a quick and dirty way to get some larger triangles especially. DB

I'm itching to take a trip to the hardware store just to browse for shaped things that might now fit into an icing tip... this isn't an evolved idea yet, but there must be some things which could shape the clay as it extrudes (though might have to use a wider-opening round tip, or cut off one of the other tips, so the log wouldn't get messed up as it travelled all the way out). DB
... for example, very small hexagonal socket wrench tips could be set into a large round icing tip to extrude hexagonal rods ... haven't tried it yet, but looks like it would work... possibly the wrench tip would have to be baked in a wad of clay formed by the inside of the icing tip?
....or could we actually make clay shapes ourselves which could be baked and re-inserted into an icing tip to make any shape we wanted???? (by inserting a wad of clay into an large-opening icing tip, carefully removing and cutting a shape with a knife or small cutter, then baking)
...Could we simply hold something small and stiff in front of the gun, and press down on the bellows ....
(see more ideas below in "Disks," under Darlin' Designer Disks)

I bet liquid clay, or clay thinned with Diluent, can be used in frosting bags with tips..Sarajane H.
Beckah says that TLS and some black/pearl clays will make an extrudable slip after 3 or more days?? for stained glass leading (but could be used for anything).

icing tips with liquid clay
other liquids, or very soft mediums

I bet liquid clay --or regular clay thinned with Softener-Diluent-- can be used in frosting bags with tips..Sarajane H.
Beckah says that liquid clay and some black/pearl clays will make an extrudable slip after 3 or more days?? for stained glass leading (but could be used for anything).

"doughs" ... various powders or particles could be mixed with enough liquid or very soft medium to make an extrudable material
.....the powder-particles could be things like ...mica powder (Pearl Ex, etc.) or microfine glitter, or maybe even chalk powder, cornstarch, baking soda(?), play sand, ground spices
... the wet ingredient could be things like.... a bit of liquid clay, gel medium, white glue (tacky or not), acrylic paint, etc.
...or regular clays highly softened with Softener-Diluent, liquid clay, veg oil, etc, or translucent clay

(see more on extruding liquid clay in Liquid Clays > Containers & Applicators... and also Drizzling, Piping)

Might waste some, but could also put the icing tip into a plastic bag for extruding if clay is soft enough (or if you're using any soft material)
....cut the tip off a thick plastic bag wide enough for the tip to slip most of the way through (but not all the way)
....drop the tip in the bag and push into hole
....fill bag with softened clay, or dough, etc (try not to get on sides... put the clay only at the bottom of the bag for least waste)
....twist bag so that all clay is pressed into icing tip... secure tightly with twist-tie
... clench-press back end of bag to extrude clay out other end... as clay is extruded, twist bag tighter & tighter

syringes of various kinds (usually translucent plastic) can be used to extrude
.......Betsy N. uses a curved tip glue syringe to pipe "icing" embellishments on her miniature baked & frosted cakes
...various mediums can be loaded into syringes to extrude-- liquid clays, acrylic mediums, modeling pastes, and very soft clay
...Betsy N. uses acrylic modeling paste (sometimes called structure paste) (tinted if desired with acrylic paint, and a bit of well-stirred-in cornstarch if it won't hold a peak) or Delta's Texture Magic, and holds the syringe in her palm using her thumb to extrude (and supports that hand with the other hand if necessary)
...acrylic texture paste is thicker than acrylic modeling paste (?)
...acrylic texture gel works too (but is transparent) can tint texture gels with acrylic paint or paint pigments, but, since gel medium looks "milky" before it dries, it often doesn't appear to be the right tint at first. It dries clear, though, and the color shines through beautifully (which eliminates the color limitation of "structural paint"). .... produced by both "Golden" and "Liquitex" brands. Barb

clean icing tips after use
...if the tips will be used only for polymer clay again, just wipe out any color you don't want around next time (liquid clay and solid clay don't "dry out" so not necessary to do anything further if you don't want---perhaps keep in a plastic bag just to avoid touching other items though)
(for a mix of liquid clay and solid clay)... first clean out as much as you can from from the interior of the tip mechanically (with a tissue, or a twisted tissue, etc.)
....... then use one of the solvent substances that's used to clean liquid clays from paintbrushes to remove any remaining liquid clay (see Liquid Clays > Cleaning for a list of those)
.......afterward, it would be a good idea to wash the tip well with soap and hot water and a toothbrush or something, especially if it would be used to you for food later (must get all crevices clean though!)
(for only softened solid clay)... remove most of the clay mechanically, then just use alcohol or soap and hot water, etc, to remove the rest
small, brush-like disposable applicators by Lee Valley are also good for cleaning tiny areas...,110,42967

See more on cleaning off liquid and solid clay in Safety-Cleaning > Cleaning > Hands

(same stuff as a thick acrylic gel medium??) ....acylic modeling paste, or a product called Form-it, a plastic mousse.... It's perfect for light weight sculptures and landscapes. (see also Liquid Sculpey, Diluent paste, etc.)--could also use as an armature?
....The brand (of modeling paste) I have used for a design class, and as grout for some pc mosaics, is Liquitex. It is found in the same area as the Gel Medium and Gesso... i.e. among the painting supplies. Kat
....I have done 3-d sculptures, etc on wood....using Modeling Paste.....It is just the right consistency to go thru the cake decorating tubes.

An AirPen is a gadget that uses air to extrude very soft materials such as tinted liquid clay, paint, glue, or icing... It comes with a variety of design tips. (it can also be used to decorate cakes or cookies, etc. but of course not after it's been used for the clay)
....Some people use it to extrude thick paints. The new Genesis paints will work with it, and with the clay as they have to be heat set
….You can reverse the flow of air and it acts like a vacuum to pick up small beads or other items so you can place them where you want them. All kinds of uses for this little beauty. …. You can also get additional tips and holders for the liquid clay (or whatever.) Dotty
....It's a nifty new tool... we saw it at the HIA show. It has a little electric air pump- 6 cartidges and 6 interchangeable applicator tips... and 6 cleaning plungers and 6 storage caps and plugs for each cartridge. ....You can fill the cartridge with......liquid clay, paint, glue, or icing and apply precise lines of varied sizes.
.....It can also be used as an air tweezer (if you reverse the flow of air) - it will pick up tiny objects (beads or stones) and hold them for precise placement. I'm hoping to buy a shipment of them -12... for our guild- that will give us a savings of 50% (retails for $140).. . . The air pen won't be polluted by the liquid sculpey... just the cartidge! So you could have seperate cartidges for frosting... etc.!! Kathndolls

cutting metal icing tips
(or buy Karen's adapter above)

cutting the metal tips yourself
(lesson).. . . I wrote to YangYang because I was having trouble cutting the tips…she told me which kind of scissors she was using (tin snips?), but I'm not sure if that term is exact (see above for using a Dremel cutting wheel?) . Anyway, a number of cuts need to be made around the flared base angled toward the tip. These need to be high enough to allow the icing tip to fit and hold properly in the hole of the gun in place of the disk.... I believe Yang Yang then bent these strips back and forth until they fell off.
(for cutting icing tips, see also below in Cutting Disks)
...I have taken some frosting tips and cut off part of the metal cone with my dremel so that they fit into my claygun. Jackie W.
> Which cutting wheel did you use for the icing tips?
I just used the flat round cutting disks that came with my dremel. They cut through the metal okay but it is sharp where you cut them so it helps to grind them down a bit after.
> How far down did you find was best to cut them?
As far as how far down to cut you sort of have to guess at this. I usually cut around them and then put them into the clay gun to see how close I am to getting them fit. Basically you just have to cut enough off so that you can still screw the end onto the clay gun.
> How did you hold them while cutting?
They get really hot when you cut them. I would suggest holding on to them with a pair of pliers when cutting them down to size. I suppose you probably could use a pair of tin snips to cut them with also but it just seems like the dremel cuts them easy enough. I usually cut them outside so that I don't have to worry about having metal filings all over inside the house. Once you get the tip so that it fits in the clay gun then you are good to go.
> What clay or softeners did you use in your icing tips?
I didn't use anything to soften up the clay and it seemed to work fine. You maybe can't do exactly the same things that you could with icing but I'm had some great luck with it.
........Some icing tips work better than others, you just have to experiment.. . .. Jackie W.
Here is my attempt to create a way to push clay through metal icing tips with PVC connectors and wood dowels (website gone)
(one is shown being held in between the two PVC connectors); I pushed down on the connectors over a wood dowel
....... I tried once to make some "sort-of-clay-guns" ... I found that in order to extrude a large backup of clay through a small hole (relative to the barrel size), the opening before the hole needed to be stepped down or it was just too difficult ... I think I tried decreasing rings stacked together, and various cone shapes. I ended up with something that worked, but not well. Got to be some possibilities there though. Diane B.
(website gone)
...DH made me something that had worked well, but it is crude since he never perfected it and used what we had around to work with. He used PVC pipe as the holder of clay and I used the dies from the first dough extruder mentioned with the stained glass windows. He used the heavy duty caulking gun for the holder and mechanism to extrude. He threaded the PVC pipe himself on the bottom (there are threaded pipes, but the pre-threaded ones do not have the proper threads to fit the end piece of the old cookie press or dough extruder that I wanted to use) and I used the same screw on cap which holds the dies in place from the first dough extruder mentioned. He cut a piece of heavy duty plastic and put on top of the clay. It fit the diameter of the PVC pipe exactly. The caulking gun was used just as with caulk except the disc could be removed and more clay inserted. But it was a little work to get the disc out until we discovered we could unscrew the bottom and it is right there! DUH So far our experience has been that if one can get the clay soft and keep it warm, then this one would definitely be workable. Jeanne R.

Very LARGE BARREL extruders

There are also guns with much larger barrels, usually made for extruding earth clay. These look much like a grease gun or caulking gun (but with built-in barrel), and have squeeze trigger handles.

Kemper version (gold barrel)--Industrial Clay Extruder Gun, shaped like a caulking gun (for earth clay)
barrel is 14-15"
..Sax 2002 catalog,... 3 aluminum dies, one of which sports a 1/2" diameter hole...other two can be drilled to suit your needs. Cost is $39.95. Item # is 632-0097 and is on page 447.
Ceramic Supply version (gold barrel) Large Clay Extrusion Gun & Die Kit (barrel is 14" x 2 1/4" diameter)... comes with 3 precut dies and 1 blank; additional die kit available. Gun with 4 dies $38, Die Kit $14" (for earth clay)

..Desiree bought her (same?) Kemper at a local ceramic supply store ...including handle? about 20" long and has a 2 1/8th" diameter tube..."works like a dream") . . .she also shows some multiple-bullseye slices she cut after extruding a log made with a stack of various colored cutouts --see wrapped" in Canes-Instr > Wrapped for more details)

Scott Creek version ---Super Duper Clay Gun (shorter barrel than Kemper ...barrel is 8 1/2" in length and 2" in diameter) (silver barrel, red handle) & Die Kit ("Medium Size" ) (for earth clay) (shows the 8 die accessory kit...Kickwheel Pottery Supply catalog)
disks are 1/8" aluminum; set of 3 dies come with it, or you can order additional 8 dies, or blank dies (more than one smaller shape can be cut in these and masked off with a scrap of plastic or sheet metal, if desired)
....Looks like the cheapest would be $39+SH for the gun and 3 dies, plus another $20+SH for 8 more dies, plus another $2.50 or so for each blank die. That would be a minumum of $65-70 for the gun plus 11 dies. (see below in Cutting Disks for more info on cutting)

Nesco "Jerky" gun (Nesco Jerky Works BJW-1P). . . used to make meat jerky but might work for clay. ...3 "dies" which extrude either a flat ribbon or two sizes of round rope .It looks like (the barrel) might be easy to clean because it is larger.. . Cynthia
...(the first site has a good photo, the second was the cheapest at $14.99).
...There are 3 shapes it can extrude: thin and flattish (1 1/4" or so wide), small round (1/2 " ?), and larger round (3/4" ?). I can't tell if the barrel and tips are made from plastic or metal (if certain kinds of plastic, that could be a problem). Also, the two round tips seem to be elongated sort of like a funnel with a long tip; that might make the clay harder to clean out. That flat one would be useful though in some situations. Too bad there aren't more tip shapes! Diane B.
(same page as above)

humongous barrel extruders

VERY large, expensive extruders... from Scott Creek (Super Duper Clay Extruders), North Star and Brent) . . .
& many dies (middle and bottom of page)
--humongous aluminum pushers; come in 3", 4" and 5" diameters; the 3" one will make hollow or solid forms up to 3". Includes a cast aluminum cap, inner die holder for hollow forms, a blank die and a drilled aluminum die which makes 1/4", 5/16", 3/8" and 1/2" coils. Free instructional video. (~$250-350, without extras)

"When cutting your own dies from these blanks, just draw your design on the die, drill a pilot hole in the center of the design, and cut it out with a carpenter's coping saw. Finish the shape with a small file & emery cloth."
...I love the idea of having multiple cuts in one die though --what a great idea!. . . And cleaning might be much easier since it's so wide. DB
.....If a barrel does turn out to be 2-3" wide, the other problem I can see would be the amount of clay necessary to extrude a small amount. Would one package be enough? Would most people want to put one package of clay in to get out only a small extrusion?
...Seems to me that an additional cylinder of clay, formed to the diameter, wrapped with heavy plastic wrap, could be put behind the clay to be extruded (to keep from having to use up so much clay). Rosie

"PUSHERS".... for small guns

Clay guns can be hard on your hands/fingers if you want to extrude more than a little clay. That's where one of the clay "pushers" come in.
Some people use a caulking gun or other metal pusher of some kind (see below), but other people use a wood bellows affair which literally makes the clay come flying out! DB

-–I’ve used a caulking gun type pusher and I think it puts way too much pressure on the thumb and index finger. mamadude
-- With the (bellows) wood & hinge set-up, removing the clay gun and reloading is a lot faster than the chaulking gun set-up. Kathndolls

--Wow, Diane, I can't thank you enough. I have a health challenge which makes it difficult for me to use a clay gun. After reading your instructions and scrutinizing the photos, I visited Home Depot to purchase the materials to make a pusher of my very own. Put it together in about 30 minutes and tested it. Amazing. Now I'll be able to extrude clay with ease. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ...Okay everybody, you gotta make one. You don't have to wait for a man to do it for you. It's easy. I bought oak only because the pine boards were so shabby. ...Even so, it cost less than $5. Rachel (Alaska)

bellows type pushers

NOTE: We have not had the problem of barrels bending, or paint flaking or peeling from barrels, with our design for the bellows pusher (...though the WeeFolk version has had those problems, due to a slightly different design)

our bellows pusher
(lesson & advantages)

PHOTOS & mini-how-to of our design
( of Kellie's longer bellows pusher made from these instructions)

It's really simple ... and the total cost is around $5.00.
.....we just used two 11" boards (1"x 4")
.... we attached them at one end with a strong 3" hinge
.... drilled a 7/8" hole near the non-hinge end of the one board (leave enough room for a palm to rest)... That's it.
.....optional: a small stop of wood can be nailed on the bottom board to keep the barrel end from sliding, but after awhile it will dig it's own depression in the soft wood, so it's really not necessary)
When extruded, that clay just comes flying out (...
12" or so of Premo will be extruded in 2-3 sec, for example)

I just made this clay pusher and I LOVE it! I am in no way a 'handy man' type person, but it was really easy to make! I just had to buy a 1 inch hole cutting bit for my drill, and a hinge set from the hardware store ....just screw in the hinges, cut the hole, and WOW a TERRIFIC extruder! What fun!! Ruth

This kind of pusher puts no stress *at all* on the hands or fingers
...all the pushing comes from the palm of your hand and also the weight of your upper body leaning over the top board
....or you can press on it with your foot if you place the pusher on the floor . . . even faster
...or sit on it, or kneel, etc. (particularly if the boards are made a little longer)

hole size:
...making the hole larger ( 7/8"+ ), as opposed to smaller, gives several advantages:
...allows the clay gun to be slipped in and out easily for removal or refilling (without having to remove & replace the cap) pressure from the upper board will be put on the side of the barrel during extrusion, which might cause it to bend or to scratch the paint off (...all the pressure is on the "wings" where it's supposed to be)

hole placement:
... It's better to put the hole toward the open end of the boards than at the hinged end, leaving just enough room for the palm of your hand to be placed on the board sideways at the very end).
.......placing the hole in the end which is a wider angle when open, allows the barrel to stand more vertically, and that means the upper board won't press on the side of the barrel when the board is pushed down during extrusion.
...making the hole a tad bigger also helps keep the barrel vertical during extrusion because the barrel has the space to self-correct to more vertical as the upper board is lowered....
......(for the absolute least stress, make sure the gun is always as vertical as possible, especially in the beginning of extrusion
(the hole in the weefolk bellows is smaller, and it's located almost all the way to the hinged end.)
..... There is actually more "mechanical advantage" to having the hole closer to the hinged end, but so much force is obtained naturally just from pressing down on the other end of a 12" bellows that no more is needed.
..... (...if you wanted more force for some reason however, the boards could be made a little longer).

round the corners and edges of the board with sandpaper at the end where your palm will rest, if desired

a "stop" for the base of the gun can be created, if desired, by nailing a tiny piece of wood on the top of the bottom board, but it's easy enough just to set the gun as straight as possible for the first part of the push to get fa-a-st results.) . . my (unavailable) photos of our first bellows unit, the instruction to drill a second hole is not needed.

to use the pusher:
...insert the claygun from the under side of the top board board down with the palm of your hand or foot, etc..... voila! clay comes flying out.
(make sure the gun barrel is as straight up and down as possible for the very easiest extrusion; you may have to readjust it once during extrusion if you've begun with a really full barrel).

differences in design from the original Weefolk bellows pusher:
...The bellows pusher we designed works superbly and I've never had any problems at all with it!
. . . .In fact, this whole conversation (and my posting of our version) came about because I was wondering aloud why no one seemed to recommend the bellows-type pusher ... it seemed to me that the bellows pusher was so much faster, and easier on the hands/fingers/wrists.
....Well, someone wrote back to say that she had had a Weefolk bellows pusher, but had actually bent the barrels of her clay guns with it. . . later another person reported bending the plungers on every gun she had!
I was stunned since this was so different from my experience, so I went to the weefolk site to look at their pusher, and saw that it was a little different than ours:
1. --our hole is slightly larger (or at least there is plenty of extra room around the clay gun barrel) so that all the pressure is on the wings, not the barrel----our hole is large enough to allow the cap as well as the barrel to fit through it
2. --we placed our hole much farther toward the unhinged end of the boards
3. --our hinge was on the inside rather than the outside
4. --we nailed a small stop just past the thumb part of the pusher (but prob. not necessary)
...Of these differences, I think the size of the hole is the most significant. ....the little stop may make a difference too but the plunger digs more into the surface of the wood by itself than it seems to push against the stop.
The DH designed ours from hearing the general idea and he is a physics person, so maybe he just knew to built those features in? All I can say is try it; it's very simple to make --the only unusual thing one might need is a 7/8" or larger drill bit. Diane B.

...I made one of these bellows pushers, and it made all the difference in the world (I have wrist problems).. . .I did have to make a second one though because I hadn't placed my holes well the first time, and bent the extruder. Judy
...As for me I use the cheapest pusher out there a device made up of two pieces of 2x4 (wood) hinged at one end and with a hole drilled for the extruder. Can be used with hands or feet! Trina
... A friend just made me a bellows thing like you described and it works great! I wrap the clay in waxed paper first but make sure it's well conditioned and soft first, I've found that having it nice and soft is the key. Then it just comes squirting out when I push on the wood. I'm now looking for all kinds of things I can add something extruded to. LOL. Nancy

more on bellows

The longer you make the boards, the more torque you will have (keeping the same distance from the end for the hole).
.... Those with serious physcial problems might want to make the boards especially long, even long enough to operate with a foot or by sitting on it...also, if one were really long, it might even handle stiffer clay brands though they would have to be well conditioned I suspect to avoid cracks on the outside edges when extruded, and may even bend the disks (some people may put a washer next to the disk on the inside to help strengthen it.)

Other ways to use the bellows if you need to avoid having to use or stress a particular body part:
(....usually I just lean over the top board with my whole body --with palm on the board)
...but could use a foot... sit on it (if I can to do this often, I'd build one with a longer board to make that easier or see tesselene's design just below), kneel on it with one knee (maybe on a garden knee pad, etc)

My husband Kris already made the wooden presser, and it works like a charm. . . .in fact, I don't even have to use foot or hand pressure if I don't wish; he just picked up a 10- pound hand weight, placed it on the end of the board ...and voila! Nice, steady pressure, no blow out of the disks, no bending. It's great! Pat O.

tesselene and her husband have come up with a slightly differen type of wood pusher for the clay gun, especially good for pressing with your feet (or sitting on, etc.) upsidedown U is created with two 2x4's (about 10" tall) nailed to an 8" or so long connecting board
........a 1" hole is drilled in the top of the connecting piece (wide enough for the clay gun barrel, but not for it's wings)
....cut a 1x2" pusher board (a few inches longer than the U top, and about the size of a foot)
.......add a plunger-top-size groove (depression?) on the underside of the pusher-board, and gouge holes next to the hole on either side (for the wings?), so the clay gun wn't rock.
.....The sides (of the 2 upright board?) are angled out in front (front?) to stabilize it (cut trapezoidal so wider at their bottoms?)

.... to use, drop the clay gun through the hole in the top... and put the pusher board over it
.... push down with your hands or foot (or sit on).
....The clay just whizzes out! Very little effort at all... you're redistributing the pressure with the board, and using the pressure of your foot to push it through. Very nice. My hands just can't take doing that, so it's a blessing to me. tesselene
.......or, as above, could use a 10-lb weight on top of the pusher board?

...Mia's photo of a similarone like this, but hinged and bellows unit is raised on legs

also see below in Non-Bellows, for using a donut weight (from a barbell) alone to act as a pusher (slip over a filled clay gun --wings downward... press slightly with hands or feet)
... and also Snapple bottle and small cushion

I purchased a wooden ruler and using a good strong tape, taped it along one edge of the top (of my bellows pusher). So I could measure my strands as I was cutting them. Jenny P.

I've recently seen the bellows pusher hanging over the edge of a stack of books on a table, with the clay gun poiniting down, so when the clay came it it went onto the table. Sharon.

Some prefer the hinged boards, but I like to extrude clay into a coil on my baking sheet to crochet with, and the hinged wooden board pusher doesn't allow me that freedom. Patty B.
....I don't see any reason you couldn't use the bellows for extruding a coil .... I haven't tried this way, but the bellows could be held upside down and moved in a circular motion while extruding... they're not very heavy or large, and the gun is held firmly between the boards by its wings. The few times I have wanted my strings in a coil in the past, I just held the string loosely in one hand as it was quickly extruding, and directed it into a coil on the surface of the top board just below ... then the coil can be moved to a baking sheet, or maybe a paper could be used on the board to make that even easier.

Non-Bellows pushers
(see for some of the units described below)

Kim's mostly metal pusher with push-down handle on wood base (Clay Gun Assistant) . . . looks easy on the hands/arms (shorter footprint than bellows or caulking gun, but taller); must remove and return cap before refills
...The clay gun fits into the clay gun assistant through a hole in the bottom of the assistant. You just remove the end cap of the clay gun, put it through the hole and replace the end cap. . . . load with clay... and go. Karen

Kathy W's large, all-metal pusher (on a wood base), with two collapsible V-shaped wings on either side which squeeze together depress the gun plunger... twist the wing-type crank to extrude.. pusher can be used with one hand only..... un-crank and re-crank to remove and replace the gun for refilling... is strong enough to extrude firm clay but must cranked slowly because the disks can be bent (as with any gun)

(no longer made?) Cella (Cecelia Determan) offers small pusher for a clay gun must turn a handle (she calls hers a "squeezer", but it only squeezes the gun in place) (website gone) works great, the bit I've used it. It's also comfortable to use. I haven't tried the converted caulking gun, but it seems that it would require squeezing, which is not easy if you have limited strength in your hands/elbows. For Cella's, you basically turn a handle the way you would turn on a faucet, and it depresses handle of the clay gun. (author?)
I have one of Cecilia's clay extruders. It's a screw-like motion. It works great and it's easy to carry for traveling. If you're going to do lots of extruding at one time, a modified caulking gun is the best, but I use Cecilia's extruder for little projects all the time. Susan

caulking gun type pushers
...and caulking gun modifications

Marie Williams's husband simply drilled a hole in the bottom of the barrel area of her caulking gun large enough for one of the clay gun's "finger grips" to drop down into (so it would be held securely and in the right place...eliminates need for putting a disk/plug/block to hold the front end orf the clay gun... she rests the barrel on a short glass, holds the the clay gun in position with one finger and squeezes the caulking gun trigger with the othe hand. (see polymerclaycentral link above)

Polymerclayexpress's shorter (easier to use, and more powerful ) caulking gun pusher $25; $27 for pusher plus plug adapter ..."Extra Thrust Caulking Gun"

Kemper's EZ Squeeze (must use with Kemper brand clay gun only)
...differences from other caulking-type pushers: 1. doesn't need plug ("holder" is built in to the end of caulking gun) and 2. doesn't use the plunger from the clay gun itself; uses the plunger that's part of the caulking gun... 3. must stop extruding short of full press because of design
.....(new . . .to be available at the Clay Factory? ...not available yet, or gone?)

using a hardware store caulking gun as a pusher:
----(....Be sure the caulking gun you get has an opening at the front large enough for your gun body, minus the disk holder, to go through. I had to exchange caulking guns because of this when I first tried it... CC )
--Here's the quickest adaptation for a caulking gun. Get a friend to cut you a piece of 1"dia. pvc pipe that's maybe 3" long. Slide this over the barrel of your Clay gun. Lay the clay gun in the caulking gun so that the thread top is outside the slot. The pvc pipe will hold the rest of the clay gun from moving. This is how I use mine and I can empty a full clay gun in 5 or 6 squeezes of the trigger. Sandy?
--Polyform's lesson for (only) a 2" PVC plumbing "fitting"
or they suggest a 3-way edging clamp to use with a caulking gun as a pusher
--Nan Roche's lesson (see "steps 1-3") on using a Cox caulking gun as a pusher (text instructions, photo doesn't show well), using piece of: PVC pipe - 2" x 1" diameter - 7/8" diameter, rubber O-ring, metal washer with 2" outside diameter and a 7/8" hole in the center, and 1/2" round rubber furniture caster,1158,CRHO_project_13529,00.html
--Sue Lee's wood disk with depressed hole in a caulking gun as a pusher --bottom of page (but she says later she prefers the bellows?)
mtdews' caulking gun with large washer to steady gun & extruding with it (website gone)

adapter plugs/disks (for caulking gun pushers)

Polyform (sells a?) ...2" PVC plumbing fitting which fits inside the slot of the caulking gun

adapter plug disk ($2) for standard size caulking gun ...accepts the nose of a clay gun, so can be inserted inside (Sue Lee's Polytools)

misc. info re pushers

Having to remove and reload the gun from a pusher frequently can be annoying, especially on larger projects or frequent changes of color. One helpful idea is to have multiple clay guns which you can pre-load before beginning.
..... Another
idea could be to buy one of the larger clay guns made for earth clay (maybe the shorter one, or put some kind of baked or other plug behind the clay to take up more space), then drill a *small* hole in one of their customizable dies. Then you could extrude and extrude without having to reload (which is even a pain for shorter projects . . . that's one reason I like the bellows pusher though since as long as you make the wood hole large enough to accommodate the cap as well as the barrel, it's simpler to pop out the whole thing and reload).
.....I'm not sure of the physics of the thing but it seems when I tried to make some "sort-of-clay-guns" with icing tips, PVC connectors, and wood dowels, I found that in order to extrude a large backup of clay through a small hole (relative to the barrel size), the opening before the hole needed to be stepped down or it was just too difficult ... I think I tried decreasing rings stacked together, and various cone shapes. I ended up with something that worked, but not well. Got to be some possibilities there though. Diane B.

When using large barrel guns for clay extruders, there is the problem of keeping the clay warm ... maybe we could wrap them with microwaved gel packs or rice bags, or just wrap well to insulate). Diane B.

No Pusher?... low tech solutions

I have found a way to get the clay out of the gun without killing my hands
... I put the clay gun on the floor, with the opening that the clay comes out of pointing straight at the ceiling. It helps to do it on carpet, because it tends to slip on smooth surfaces..... I sit in a chair or on the couch, then put one foot on each side of the clay gun wings (the part where your fingers usually go). I make sure I'm wearing tennis shoes so I don't kill my feet.... I just push down with my feet and use my hands to guide the clay out of the gun. It is a little akward at first, but you get use to it. The clay comes out FAST

I load the extruder and put it in a vice (which my husband has screwed down to his work bench).... I line it up straight so that half of the "thumb press" and one of the "finger grips" are between the claws of the vice.....then I turn the handle and the clay extrudes as easily as toothpaste from a tube.

I took one of the weights ("donuts") off a barbell on my rarely used weight bench. (It is the large, thinner, old fashioned metal kind.) ...the hole is just big enough for the barrel of the clay gun to fit thru
...I just fill the barrel with clay, push in the plunger
...slip the gun in the hole of the donut .... stand the clay gun, holes-up, on the floor
....the weight of the donut starts pushing on the wings (and I can use my hands or feet very conveniently to help)
....the only thing you have to do is
guide the snakes of clay to keep them off the floor as they grow!
The circumference of the donut means the whole thing can't tip over. Works like a charm! Ronda in Oregon

I got creative. Here's what I used:
1 clay gun + 1 rinsed-out Snapple bottle + something soft and small for cushioning
...stand the clay gun up on a carpeted floor with extruding end facing up the open mouth of the bottle over the clay gun until it is stopped by the gun wing handles
...put your cushion on top of the bottle and gently sit down on it, gradually
The clay will be easily extruded into the bottle. Lisa
(but be careful with the glass!
... or maybe use something like a metal coffee can over the glass bottle?)



Most clay guns come with about 20 aluminum disks and cost around $10. Some of the disks are larger/smaller versions of the same shapes. (website gone)

I am working on (more shapes for) metal discs . . . .Karen

Re the disks bending, I haven't had that problem with any of mine --although I always warm the clay before extruding which helps. I have heard that some people put a thin washer inside the cap just behind the disk, which should create less stress on the disk itself. Some of the shapes don't work as well this way, of course.
I've also heard that some of the disks (the later ones?) are being made with a different metal or strength. I do notice that the one I have that says Kemper on the barrel seem to be stronger all around (although it seems their flatter disks are a tad too large to fit into the other guns.) I thought I was always buying Kempers, so maybe they farmed out production to Asia, or maybe they weren't actually Kempers. Diane B.
...I had heard from Howard Segal that Kemper (I think) is now making the discs out of a heavier metal that's rolled at the edges giving it extra strength. Does anyone have one of these and do they last alot longer than those cheapy aluminum ones? Susan
...You can find the replacement disks at the ClayFactory. Look under Kemper tools. They have to be by special order and sell for $2.49.
I contacted Kemper [Kemper Mfg.,Inc. PO 696 Chino CA 91710 ... I can't find a web site for them... ] about making a "new... improved.. stronger" set of discs to prevent "blow outs"??? I bet Polyform and Amaco have a lot of influence at Kemper! Maybe our favorite clay suppliers can help too?? Let them all know! The(ir) extruder was intended for the ceramists but now that Kemper lists polymer clay "first" in their "uses" for the extruder... pc must be the most popular use for it?!?! Seems logical that since pc is more firm...the discs should be more firm?!?! Cella in SDak

Polyform introduced the Sculpey clay gun. Its discs are definately stronger than the original Kemper ones. I haven't experienced blow out with them at all but I have with my Kemper one.. . . a set of kemper discs weighs 5 grams and a set of sculpey discs weighs 25 grams. opposed to the aluminium type material used in the Kemper tool, these are listed as die cut steel. ..they will fit into the Kemper gun...but they're not sold separately at this time. Petra

I have found that the clay guns produced by Darice/Catan's have much stronger disks --they are reinforced with a thicker edge than those that Kemper makes . . . Darice/Catan's sells throughJo-Ann Fabrics as well as many craft stores. mamadude

I have a few very old Kemper clay guns and they are far superior to any of the newer ones that I have seen from Sculpey or Kemper. Don't know what has happened, but I find that with the newer clay guns the plunger does not fit very well and even threads are not very well done. Jeanne R.

I've been extruding clay a LOT lately and when my tiny one hole (favorite) disk blew through the front of the gun last year, he put 2 washers in; one on either side of the's takin' a lickin' and is still tickin'!, extrudin' ;-) Patti
.... what I did was to get a washer the same size as the disk, then I had someone drill out the hole bigger for me. I put this into the end of the cap, then put the disk on top, now I never get blow outs. Jenny P.

My husband Kris already made the (bellows pusher), and it works like a charm. . . .In fact, I don't have to use foot or hand pressure (either works fairly easily) if I don't wish; he just picked up a ten pound hand weight, placed it on the end of the board, and voila! Nice, steady pressure, no blow out of the disks, no bending. It's great! Pat O.

I needed a half circle that was smaller than the size that comes with the set of Klay Gun disks. I ended up holding an X-Acto blade perpendicular to a circle disk so that, as the clay was extruded from the gun, the blade sliced it into two half circles. This is admittedly easier using Wee Folk's Klay Gun Pusher, and a second person would have made it even simpler.
. .. Maybe you could use this technique with the square disk and slice it on the diagonal. That way, you would get two half-triangles extruded at once. I'm now looking at all those assorted disks, wondering what other sliced shapes I can come up. And what happens when you load two disks into the gun at once, such that one disk covers part of another's pattern?

square disk: I use mine to make small square canes to cut up for small 'real' mosaics, and to use to assemble mosaic canes. Crafty Owl
also checkerboard canes . . .and Trip Around the World quilt canes (see Canes-instr. > Quilt)
....mudra's diagonal rows of colored square logs for beads (same as 1/4 of TripAroundworld cane),0,773930,2,76.html

I saw these real small brass stencils....and I bought a snowflake design.... I grabbed my Cut All shears (or tin snips if you have them), drew a circle around the small snowflakes and cut them out. Put them in the clay gun and bingo, it worked! Custom clay gun disc! I don't know how long it will last as I noticed a small bend after about 10 barrel fulls. But if you turn the design around, it could work for a while! There were 3 small snowflakes so I was able to cut them all out to use! Karen R.

...try putting thin, large-hole washers behind the "disk" in the clay gun barrel?

PVC pipes cut in half lengthwise, or half-tubes of (various shapes) made from other materials can be used to create long clay pieces as well
fill your trough with clay, trim, and carefullly remove.
...or if you have a decorative layer you want to use (cane slice sheet or transfer, e.g.), do as Patty B. did and lay that #1 sheet in first, face down, and an acrylic rod or cornstarched dowel to press it in well; then trim overhang; lay in a narrower strips of clay until full, pressing down; remove carefully and use
(see more in Beads>Rollers>Trough>Making your own ...and details on making a hidden-channels, cuff or tile bracelet (with a transfer) using this technique in Jewelry > Bracelets)

any shapes of bead roller could work for long shapes as well, and may even be a supplement to the clay gun for even, though larger, "extrusions"

additional disks, for sale

My (old) Wish List for Clay Guns and Disks .....(now there ARE some...yay! ....see just below )
hole SIZES -- Disk holes any size larger than what's available now would be great. Taking a wild guess I'd say the most useful size might be an average of 1/2 to 3/4" for the actual hole?? The idea would be to create *canes* most of all (there are other uses of course, for twisted ropes, framing, etc.). If the price were reasonable or if one could buy them a la carte, I'm sure there would be loads of demand!
hole SHAPES (my wish list --there could be more though that I can't think of right now though!) --round (several diameters) --half round --quarter round (grat for pinching the pointed bottom out longer, and using between round petals in a flower cane) --quarter moon (great for making eyelids, petal outliners, etc.) --larger multi-hole one for extruding multi-colored hair, for example, from 2 or more colors of clay put in the barrel at the same time
The next ones are similar to quilt piecing shapes; i.e., the sizes and proportions would compatible for fitting together into one "block" to make lots of patterns: --rectangular (maybe one similar to the proportion that exists now, plus at least one longer, thinner one) --trianglar (half-triangles--2 make a square, AND quarter-triangles--4 make a square, AND long tapered triangles--3 make a rectangle) --square (either 4 or 9 of these would fit together to create the same size square as the triangle combos above)
other shapes: Many of the shapes used in icing tips would be great, especially things like the starburst-type shapes and the leaf shape (imagine being able to create leaves with polymer like you would with icing tips!). Of course, as long as we're dreaming here, how about interchangeable tips like the icing tip couplers?? so one could easily switch colors/barrels or tips. YES!
more --The disks would need to be really strong (steel?) in order to sell well, I would think, or at least the demand would be higher. Some of these sizes could be created for the guns that are out there now, but it would be even better to have a larger gun too that could extrude more volume and have more torque.
If the gun were easier to clean than the existing ones (by having a really tight fit for the plunger end area, for example), I can guarantee a great demand! Perhaps even selling one or more easy-to-use tools for cleaning existing or new clay guns would be a way to go. Diane B.

Quilted in Clay Disk Set (now offered by Jenny Patterson!!!--- yay!! ) .....16 very strong steel disks
...extrusions from these disks will fit together to create many, many block designs
...can also combine extrusions from these disks with square and triangle extrusions created with disks from other clay guns (standard Kemper KlayGun and Sculpey Clay guns) to create an unlimited number of quilt designs... also SugarCraft and Makin's gun if purchase special metal washer--adapter ring-- from Tamila's site (Jenny may eventually sell them too)
...can also use for elements in any non-quilt canes too, of course
..........(Dec. 09, 2005.... MORE INFO TO COME HERE SHORTLY --DB: from Misc-Temp2)

Polymer Clay Express ... very strong steel disks, in sets
.... use in Polymer Clay Express extruder ...will those fit in other guns though?
.... quilt shapes, floral shapes, and moulding shapes available for
....more expensive than most disks
see guns above in Clay Guns
> suppliers, brands--sizes,types > larger small guns

(Oct.02:)... I am working on (more shapes for the) metal discs --so I printed out your wish list!
Karen (none yet?)

Darlin' Designer Disks made and sold by Tamila Darling .....sets of plastic disks
...many different shapes (mostly pictorial... animals, leaves, geometrics, Halloween, Xmas, body parts, etc.)
...disks come only in 20 themed kits....($1 per disk, but can't be purchased separately) the Darlin' Designer Disks: since the plastic of the disks is eaten into by raw clay, Tamilla recommends cleaning them with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol, then dish soap (to remove the alcohol which could have a drying effect on the disks); the disks could probably be left in a dish of alcohol for an hour or so, then washed at one time later.
....her disks may not fit all guns; however the edges can be sanded to fit, or she sells an adapter ring for the Sugarcraft gun (smaller-barrel) ... and for use with Jenny Patterson's extra disks in ________________ guns
....the extrusions can be sliced after baking (while still warm) to best preserve the shape, or they can be refrigerated or frozen first . . . Leigh partially bakes the outside of her raw extrusions with a heat gun before slicing
...Stargazer made a yin-yang cane with the "comma" disk.... she made her interior dots in the commas by using a needle to make/enlarge a hole, but a small straw could be use to remove a round hole from the comma shape and a rope of clay inserted/pressed down
...these shapes are great for buttons for dolls...or other little embellishments for figures, or for necklaces, barrettes...Anita
...could be little spacer beads for almost anything. . .memory wire bracelets., etc. Kathy
...I have (many) containers filled with extruded shapes just waiting to be used. Tammy
see many more samples of how similar pictorial extrusions could be used at: (3-4 pages)

....Linc sells the canes (not the disks for making the canes)...
pre-baked odd-shaped canes (Chop 'M Stix) must be warmed before cutting the slices
....order page for
Linc's canes of tiny gingerbread people, stars, snowman, few animals, etc.

making your own disks

someone suggested using some of your least-liked disks then cutting new shapes in them with a (hand) jewelers saw --Chris Hentz did this at Arrowmont

I would use small needle files and rasps to make the triangle in an aluminun disk
....first drill holes where needed, then just connect the holes with the files
....aluminum cuts fairly easily and quickly, and a hole of less than an inch in a thin disk wouldn't take very long. Steve

or could cut down the larger disks from other extruders?
... or could solder, glue or tape a smaller disk to a larger disk to be used in a larger extruder?

Also in regard to the dies that Carl H(ornberger) made, all I remember is that he said he sweat soldered these together somehow.
...can't recall what he made them out of - copper or brass maybe? Geo in MI.
....He said he used to drill holes in dimes before he came up with the copper(?) ones.
Carl was in Chris Hentz's class at Arrowmont in 1997. Chris is the one who suggested using a dime and a jewelers saw. Chris had made two dies which he used simultaneously to make hollow tubes that he cut with a thick tin snips to create hollow, pillow shaped beads. He was using the same principle as his baker father to make doughnuts/long johns. Cella in SD who was also in the class....and who's dime didn't fit her extruder perfectly.....

(the bit I use for cutting most metal (with my rotary cutter?) is a 'disk' (# 426) that is about the size of a quarter. It cuts anything slick as a whistle. I can cut screws in half with it. I thought it would cut a metal icing tip easier then trying to cut by hand with wire cutters.)
...It's too big though to cut inside the tiny clay gun disks.... the priority there, I would think, would be to hold that disk so it wouldn't fly away (like into your eye), so wear goggles.
... I don't think the Dremel is too fast, & mine has a slow speed also. Actually, I think fast would be better with the soft metal & you won't have to push hard.
......maybe using a stone bit (#84922) or a high speed cutter (#125) for carving & grooving, would work.
.......the cutter #125 is cone shaped & could probably cut a triangle?? Judy
Just a word of caution here! ....grinding stones for the Dremel or other high speed tools are not safe for aluminum... this soft metal clogs the stone. The stone will overheat and explode!
....instead, to shape aluminum, use high speed steel cutters or drills, and hand files
......and always wear safety goggles
when using a Dremel type tool. I have been hit in the face several times over the years when cut off disks break (fortunately no injuries) and cut off disks always break. Steve

I just talked to my husband about cutting dies in thick aluminum (re the Super Duper gun, et al.). He said several important things I needed to understand:
To cut through thick aluminum *wouldn't* be simple for most people.
....As they mentioned, you'd want to drill a pilot hole first, but the actual sawing action (using a carpenter's coping saw, but outfitted with a metal-cutting blade, or jeweler's saw?, possibly followed by emery cloth) would be somewhat tedious and timely.
....He said if you saw too quickly, it's easy to make an uneven cut .....ditto with the filing rasps (though rasps do come in shapes like triangular and round as well as flat which would make cutting triangles, e.g., easier).
...What one would really need (esp. to have a small business for making these) would be something called an arbor press, so that the holes could simply be punched out rather than drilled/filed. He said he thought one of these machines would cost $100-200 ... some punch shapes may be available for sale, but some of them may have to be machined (by the same person or at a machine shop). The way this machine works is sort of like a hole puncher. If you were trying to punch out a triangular hole from a die, the blank die (which may have a pilot hole drilled in it) would be placed on a flat base piece having a triangular hole in it; then a rack-and-pinion (non-electrical) lever would press a somewhat sharp triangular-shaped rod down through the blank die (and through the matching hole in the base). Presto! Diane B.

What about asking at the local high school shop class? They could probably make them they have the right tools and could drill a disk pretty quick. Sarajane H.

shrink plastic disks
... I made a disk with a sheet of shrink plastic took a few tries to figure out what size the original should be to end up with the right shape after baking since it shrinks about 60%
....I squeezed a small amount of clay through to try it probably won't hold up for long, but it was cheap & quick ...and maybe good for specific or complex shapes you don't need much of
.... (they broke in half . . . phooey!) ... maybe they would be stronger if they were two thicknesses glued together, or if they were backed with a metal washer, etc, or if the clays used were very very soft? Diane B.
.... polymer clay cannot be left on this type of plastic, as I remember ...think the plasticizer will begin begin to eat through it (and could be what weakened mine even more?) ...but the disks could be cleaned with alcohol just after use to prevent that?.
... is this what Darlin Designer Disks are made from? (it's recommended to clean them off after use too)

PREPARING CLAY for extruding

The clay needs to be soft enough to extrude..... ALL clays should be warm when extruded using one method or another.
If the clay sits in the barrel for a long time, it will be harder to extrude (so remove it and re-warm it, or warm the from the outside, as below)

--In general, if you're using Premo or Sculpey, simply run the clay through the pasta machine (or twist and roll with your hands) until it's fairly pliable before extruding (of course, leached Premo may not work as well).
--If you're using Fimo Classic (or any stiffer clays), or if it the ambient temperature is really cold, you'll need to soften the clay even more:
.....mixing the clay with a smear of Vaseline (or other diluents or softer clays) is recommended for Fimo Classic.
.....otherwise, simply run the filled barrel under hot water for a few seconds just before extruding, wave a hair dryer at the filled barrel until it gets hot, or keep your gun (or an extra gun) on a hot pad or clay warmer between uses (wrapping with paper may insulate the clay a bit though)
(see more on softening clays in Conditioning > Some Ways to Warm Clay)

At first, extrude slowly to keep stress on the disk to a minimum. I haven't had any trouble with disks "blowing out" of any of my guns, but I always do warm the clay first.

washer options (if you need them) ....the best washers I've found are ¼-inch "hardened" washers --much stronger than the thinner ones
1. don't use a washer (best, but you may need one if your disks are bending and you can't soften your clay sufficiently)
... if using one though, the outer parts of the multi-hole disks and the larger clover shape disks will be masked off by it (website gone)
2. insert washer into cap rounded side first, then insert the disk rounded side first
3. if you need to cut (or scrape across) the top of the disk cleanly, reverse washer & disk, and put rounded sides down (someone mentioned having the washer hole enlarged; that would be great, but who would do it?!)

CLEAN-BARREL extruding!!

If you want to keep the inside of the barrel pristinely clean
(or protect against other colors that may have been left in the barrel)

Makin's Clay has come out with a new clay gun which may eliminate the need for using this method, or for cleaning the barrel after use, because the interior disk which pushes the clay has an 'O' ring around it that cleans the barrel very well as it extrudes (...leaving little residue --but still some residue???)
....see this gun above in .

LESSON..--Clean Barrel Extruding with Paper:
--cut a piece of ordinary white paper, tracing paper, patty paper, or parchment paper (waxed paper or others may also work), into a rectangle approx. 2¼ x 3½" (website gone)
....... (if you like this method, you may eventually want to cut a stack of paper at one time . . . from stacks of 8½ x 11"sheets, I cut a tad less than 2¼" on the long side (x5), and 3½" on the short side (x2)
--roll the clay (or multicolor clay pieces) into a log narrower than the clay gun barrel, and shorter than the barrel's length
...... (the more clay in the barrel, the more difficult it will be to extrude the first part of it)
--leaving the leading tip of clay sticking out just a bit, roll the clay log up in the paper (about one and a half times around; more may be better in some cases?)
--fold over the extra paper at the back end, and cut off just past the side of the log
--then scrunch the extra paper so that it isn't hanging over the edges, but still completely covers the clay (the better you do this, the easier the removal later!) (website gone)

--insert the paper-covered log into either end of the barrel, attach disk and cap (& washer, if needed), and extrude

--remove cap and press firmly on the plunger all the way to the end...or keep the gun in the pusher for this step; doing either will pop out the whole compressed paper wad, wrapped around a pea-size amt. of remaining clay
(--discard the whole thing, or open and retrieve the small bit of clay)

This method may not work as well for techniques where you want the clay to stick to the sides
...for example, when using automatically wrapped logs for things like (sanded-back) multi-color Balinese Filigree, sanded braids, or dot slices canes ... because (at least when using the multi-hole disk when making BF), the extruded colors tend not to switch quickly from one color to the next, & ropes end up with streaks of colors along their outsides. Saran might work better though?
...However, you can do this with a slightly diff. technique (and the barrel still stays clean).... I learned this at the CT Retreat.
......Tightly wrap only the last inch or so of the snake of clay you are putting in the clay gun (with a strip of wax paper).
......Twist off the end leaving a paper "tail"..........Put the whole thing in the clay gun, with the wax paper end last.
.....When you are extruding, watch for the bit of wax paper to come through, and then stop.
.....(All you'll have to clean out is the disk and a bit of the threaded piece that holds the disk in.) It really works! Libby

Also, wrapping the clay with paper insulates it a bit from any heat in the metal barrel ...that's why it should only be wrapped once. This shouldn't be a problem if you use the clay right after conditioning or warming though.

**It turns out that the Sculpey clayguns have a slight lip at the front end of the barrel which prevents the plunger from pushing through and out the end!. This means that the clean extrusion method will not work with this gun (as well?) because the paper will get stuck at the end. It's possible that adding several washers (of smaller diameter than the lip) behind the log and paper will allow those washers to be pushed through and out, releasing the paper?

(--to extrude in the regular way, just don't use paper)

... How about running a cotton ball lightly coated with mineral oil through the gun before adding clay?
(Or using the same kind of saturated cotton ball to clean the barrel, possibly holding it with long tweezers, running it up and down? DB)
Jaqueline finds that she can prevent some sticking by smearing the inside of the barrel with a bit of Vaseline...

...Somebody (forgive me for forgetting who it was) on these boards came up with the idea of using Armor-All (which is a good release agent for molds) in the clay gun. It should make the clay slide better, and not stick to the sides where it's so hard to clean up. . . . or use mineral oil?
Molly: using amor-all works great. clay doesnt stick to the inside much at all. I put it together with the shape i am using and then squirt once into the barrel and put the plunger in so it coats that as well …the extra runs out the end and then i put the clay in…. a few bubbles of armor all comes out but doesnt effect the compisition of the clay at all. (BUT... this will affect its ability to later accept sealers or paint???)
I have noticed that Armor-all causes me lots of problems with the clay gun when not used very carefully. Right now I am making "stain glass" with tinted liquid sculpey. For the lead, I extruded black Premo. When I used it with Armor-all, the liquid sculpey would not flow and adhere to any spot that had been in contact with Armor-all. ...I've also noticed a distinct weakening of clay when using Armor-all. If I used it on thin pieces of clay, they often would not hold up to any stress. The same clay was very strong without the Armor-all. Jeanne

…try adding cornstarch into Klay Gun barrel, then using toothbrush?

REGULAR Cleaning Methods

Other ways to clean (summary):
... bake or freeze them.... use nipple brushes or toothbrushes... hot water and soap... baby oil, baby wipes... paper towels... Scotch Brite pads... baked clay plugs.... raw sticky (boxed) Sculpey clay... large drill bits.... tubs of alcohol, etc.
...Also, some people coat the inside of the barrel with Vaseline or ArmorAll before inserting the clay; this will keep it clean but ArmorAll at least will prevent certain other things from sticking to the clay later (finishes, paints? powders?, etc.), and some say it weakens the clay, so use care.
Do whatever works best for you.

Some people have a number of clay guns and use similar colors in each, or have one separate gun for multi-color BF and other techniques where you might want the clay to stick...
.....I use the same gun for very similar colors. ....White has it's own gun... Reds..... so on!!!!!....You can get the clay guns wholesale at a discount for quanities,so they are really inexpensive that way

if there is residual clay on the sides of the chamber, it is extremely difficult to push through, regardless of the type of clay used.

It isn't necessary to totally clean the gun after each use .....just slide the plunger in and out until it slides freely, then load....and don't overload, fill 1/2 way. Donna Kato

The easiest way I've found so far to clean a barrel with clay in it is with alcohol.
--If you open a cotton ball, press it around the head of a toothbrush (with short bristles) so that it covers the top of it and the cotton is somewhat thinner just in front of the bristles, and pour a bit of alcohol on it, you can then scrub and twist it a few times;
-Or scrub with an adhesive, cotton panty-liner (7", extra long) rolled up over a nut pick, soaked in alcohol (the nut pick grabs the inside of the roll).
...The DH also managed to clean it pretty well with a very small piece of thin fabric, cut in circle just larger than the barrel diameter & soaked in alcohol, then pushed through with the plunger.

I have a small jar filled w/ rubbing alcohol. I drop the gun in there and let it soak a bit
....and then I have a nipple brush from a baby bottle cleaning set and I scrub the heck out of it for a minute or so. It work pretty well, as the alcohol sucks the oils out of the clay really quickly! ANd the stuff just kind of crumbles. I change the alcohol about every 6 mos to a year, depending how grundy it is. can also use one of those small round bristle hair brushes.since the bristles are much tougher than on a bottle brush...

Running the outside of the tube under hot water softens any film clinging inside, too.

use plain white sculpey (from the box) ... It's really sticky and will grab all the crumbs of your previous color.... It works even better once the piece gets a little dirty and less sticky…(for clay gun too?)

When I want my clay gun nice and clean I pop it in the oven at about 250 for 10 minutes. When it cools the clay peels out very nicely. Not only is it easy to do this way but actually kinda fun! Sue in WA

put the clay gun in the freezer for an hour or so, then clean it ... the clay contracts and often falls off the interior of the gun. Barbe

I run the plunger up and down in the gun and rotate clockwise and the excess clay comes off on the plunger head.

I bought a 28 guage shotgun barrel cleaner at Walmart to clean the barrel of my clay gun. I remove as much clay as possible then plunge the barrel cleaner up and down inside the barrel. It seems to work OK. Chris

... largish drill bit just small enough to fit inside (9/16"). It could be a little tighter, but the next size was too big... Just turn the bit against the walls in the direction of the sharp edges - I do it towards me, but I'm left handed - and the clay just twists onto the bit. It takes a couple of passes, but it's the best way I've found so far. I'm now wondering if I should make a longer handle for more torque. With the strength needed to turn it, I don't think a polymer clay one would work, ...This bit was sort of expensive, but I'm sure if there's a home depot around they'd be cheaper. ...make sure you get a real drill bit, not a masonry bit because the masonary bit isn't very sharp. And then, speaking of sharp, be careful with this big bit because it is quite sharp. Jacqueline

I bake a 1/2" cylinder of scrap clay in the gun which makes it the exact size needed for a pusher plug. ...When I'm finished with the first color in the gun, I remove the pattern disk and push the plug through the barrel with the gun's plunger. Very quick and efficient. Diane V.
...make a plug of clay about 1/2 the length of the clay gun tube ...and bake it in the clay can be reinserted after each use to scrape the sides of the clay gun. Patty B.

replacement plunger (or a better one?)...I have a neighbor who manufactures parts, it turns out one of the sensors they make fit into the clay gun perfectly! They fit even better than the original plungers, leaving less clay on the inside of the barrell. The only drawback is that there is no handle on them to pull it out with, so I find using a pliers easier. Although it is NOT so tight that it could not be pulled out by hand. It is really no harder than the original one. I have uploaded a picture to my photopoint gallery so you can take a look. Jenny P.
(website gone)
...I use a workshop vise for my "pusher". But it was so powerful the plunger kept breaking/bending. So I replaced the plunger with a solid metal dowel bought at Home Depot. They cut it to size for me. So that works pretty well for me. The only problem is the dowel is a little bit smaller than the barrel so there is more clay left in the barrel to clean-up. Helen

When I switch to a new color to push through the little screen (disk), I push a tiny bit and scrape the first bit away. The new color pushes out the little bit of old color that is left.

Misc tips for extruders

a film cannister is a handy thing to store disks in

a wide rubber band wrapped loosely around the outside of the cap will help twist off a tight cap

re making a smooth join between connected ends of extruded) ropes, I cut both ends on a diagonal.... press together... then roll the joined section between my fingers to smooth. Desiree

I now own four .gunsand use them for different color groups of clay
...(one gun for white, one for greens, one for reds, one for blues...I plan to buy a couple more, one for silvers, one for golds)
Why clean them at all?....when I do need to clean a gun for a new color, I pick the one closest to what I'm using, so if I don't get it COMPLETELY clean, it won't ruin what I'm working on
...I found a cheaper source for Sculpey clay guns, at $5 each (now $7-8): ... they are based in Seattle, Washington, so if you're on the East Coast, expect the order to take 5 to 7 days to reach you.
(or...... just have two separate guns for lights and darks)

can also make logs using 2 guide rails and a flat-sheet roller (without a clay gun)
I make small logs by using knitting needles as guide rails on each side of the log ...(needles without caps)
.....the log willl end up the same diameter as the needles do this, turn something ("large"and) flat like a ceramic tile (or sheet of glass/acrylic) upside down on top of your needles, so you'll be rolling over both clay and needles with it. Didilarose
..for guide rails, can also use other small round, square, or rectangular rods or tubes-- like brass rods, wood skewers, or even small straws... or use any two wood strips or books or other items which are flat and of the same height (see similar way to make clay sheets using guiderails and a rod-type roller in Pasta Machines > No Pasta Machine)
....the guide rails will need to be placed far enough apart to accommodate the length of log you want to end up with
....the flat-sheet "roller" will be rectangular or square... the width of the tile should be at least as wide as the guiderails, and the height of the tile should be
at least 3-4 times the diameter of the guide rails

..also, to make larger log, you might be able to use something else as your guides such as brass tubes (if you get rectangular instead of square tubing, you'll get two different sizes), acrlic rods, pieces of wood, jewel cases from CD's... or taped-together playing cards, stacks of paper etc!
...Sunni's lesson on accordion-folded and taped paper as guide rails

USES for clay guns
(see below for more details on techniques used )

***click on this link for a condensed list of most all the things I could think of to use a clay gun for (.....part of my handout for an old clay gun class, but may have been more added to this page since that was written)***

There are a number of things one can use a clay gun extruder for:


Extrusions can be combined to make many, many patterns.

Julie Wisecraft's lesson on making ears for a face cane with the clay gun (disc with round hole)

quilt canes and other geometric canes are also good to make with extrusions because the component pieces will be very exact and even throughout their entire length

...Suzanne I's free online lesson(s) on making a equilateral triangle cane pattern using a clay gun
(see many more geometric canes and quilt canes in Canes-Instr. > Symmetry and Geometrics and Quilt)

DVD re makiing various canes with extrusions from a clay gun (by Cindy Beljan)

filling in background areas around flower petals (triangle logs) or just anywhere needed
....can also use extruded shapes to add to the outside of a cane to make it odd-shaped (like adding projecting, triangular, ears to a round cat face cane... see Canes-Instr. > Odd-Shaped Canes)
NOTE: if there are gaps between the extruded elements though, the clay will ooze into the spaces when you reduce

(also see Automatically Wrapped canes below, for times when those special extrusions are used as canes)

Rows & Layers (canes)

....extrusions can be laid next to each other in various ways rows, for example....or spiraled or scrolled into various larger shapes
...if placed on a base especially, the resulting rope sheet can then be cut into various shapes
...try also the non-round dies for extrusions used in these ways (e.g., the triangular disk makes very interesting patterns when extrusions are laid next to each other)
........if ropes are square and then twisted, they can look interesting (could use various colors of clay in the clay gun for a variegated look ...and see Nan Roche's sanded braid below in "Braiding"), but can't get the precision of two-sided color as with cutting the ropes from a two-sided sheet or using mica clays like Mike B.'s beehive bead technique
...the ropes can be laid over a base (bead, votive, etc.) just around and around to cover, or laid in scrolled patterns as in Balinese Filigree (see Onlay > Bal.Filigree)
...rows can also be made without a base too ...freestanding side of the ropes can be colored (powdered, antiqued or filled with tinted liquid clay, patina-ed, etc.) to create a contrast
...areas of contiguous rows can also be manipulated bending up or down or folding over or twisting or removing parts, etc. old Fimo book shows bending over the top few rows of a flat circle or other shape of spiraled ropes as an accent, or to act as a bail
......melnik's use of rows or accordion bends for small areas

"Automatically-Wrapped" canes (bullseye)

(used as canes and in other ways)

There is a nifty trick you can do with the clay gun to create bullseye type canes automatically.
..."automatically wrapped" extrusions from a clay gun can be created when more than one color of clay is used in the clay gun at the same time ....the color in front (nearest the disk) will wrap itself around the other colors behind it during extrusion (in most circumstances)
... the wrap color is all that's seen from the outside...the other colors are hiding inside until revealed by taking slices
(see lessons just below)

For example, put a wad of black clay in a claygun barrel, then add a wad of white clay behind it... extrude.
...from the outside, the log will appear to be a solid black log... but in cross-section, you'll get a length of clay where slices at one end begin as a solid black, go to a little white surrounded by lot of black, all the way to solid white other words, the proportion of wrap color to center color in all the slices won't be the same
....... that may not matter if you're not wanting exact duplications in your slices ... but if you do want exact duplications, you can use slices from the same area of the cane (where they should be almost duplicates, especially if using only one or two color changes).
(...none of this is visible until you slice the "cane" at various places along its length)

multi-wrapped canes & slices... more than 2 colors can be placed in the gun, which will result in more wraps (multi-bullseyes) around the central color (these will also vary at diff. places along the cane like the others)
Desiree's examples from doing this with many colors (in a larger clay gun) ...this photo shows the sequence of changing slices
........she used a stack of thin (relatively speaking) round cut-outs to put in her clay gun, and got many wraps and quick changes in the slices

automatically wrapped canes can be:
....left as they are
...or all be wrapped with the same color (for individual uses, or for creating a simpler look if joined)
...or each wrapped with a different color (creating a more varied, complex look if joined)
... bundled to make more-complex canes
... changed or added to in various ways

scraps or marbled clay can also be used in the barrel to make interesting looking extrusions
.... (would mica clays be aligned on the outside??--see speculations above) DB

clay gun disks....round or square, or any shape disks can be used in the clay gun to make various shapes of wrapped logs

some interesting uses for automatically-wrapped logs/canes

Extruded Mosaic, or "Dot Slices"
(aka Mod Blocks, Retro Canes, etc.)

Nan Roche introduced her Extruded Mosaic canes which used stacked colors in a clay gun which automatically wrapped the colors around each during extrusion
...4 beautiful examples

Individual slices from these extuded "canes" can be placed in any way you want onto a base clay sheet, or onto an object to be covered
...or some of the extruded "canes" can be placed together to create a more complex cane, then sliced

If the canes are placed in grids, certain colors can resemble the "mod" designs of the 1960's

...these are made by stacking many layers of colored clay disks in the clay gun for each barrelful extrusion
.......the discs can be cut by slicing round logs of solid color, or by using a cutter on a sheet of solid (or not) clay, or by pressing balls of color together, etc.
.......the thicker these disks, the more quickly the colors change, and the more often the slices will be multi-bullseye
.......the round log of stacked colors is then extruded through the clay gun (the colors inside the log will change throughout its length)
.......any shape die (hole) could be used in the clay gun for extruding, but often it's a square die (especially for making into a grid later) or a round die (the round canes will become squared if pressed together, but may look a bit different)
...the finished canes could be used for single slices, or as parts of more complex canes
.......if at least 4 of the canes (or just lengths cut from the same cane) are placed together in a grid (2x2, 3x3,etc) (randomly or in patterns), they will form a new cane of "dot slices" which can then be cut into slices and used as any other cane

Geraldine's lesson using thin slices of the solid logs (for knitting stitch markers)
Ria's lesson... using very thin cutouts from a sheet of thickest pasta machine setting, which creates all multi-bullseye (calls them Retro Canes)
Kathy G's lesson using thicker slices of the solid logs, which results in simple bullseye and multi-bullseye (on lightswitch plate),1789,HGTV_3239_4246672,00.html
Naamaza's lesson using thicker slices ... she then uses the canes in patterns of stripes (scroll bar is on left )
Penguintrax's mini lesson on cane made from automatically wrapped extrusions randomly pressed together ("Lazy Woman's Mokume Gane")

Cynthia Tinapples's dot slices inlay in wood bowl rim (browns, yellows)
Babette's dot slices used as top of pendant vessel
Cheryl's 2-color and 3-color dot slices (click on top right photo-- Cheryl)
mostly brown square votive covered with offset strips of dot slices sheet (plain clay on each end of stripe) (click on Sandie's brown votive)

Kathy W's red, white & black dot cane slices, used on jewelry pieces
Lisa uses this pattern often --sometimes with various color backgrounds but all centers the same-color(black), and sometimes not (look all around... keep clicking)
Irene's early examples of using several related colors (she calls hers Mod Blocks) (now gone)

Carl J's grids using multi-colored auto-wrapped canes (with gold clay?...more subtle).. slices on Altoid tin & pendants
...Nan Roche used 2 golds plus black, yum yum, and lays slices on a base sheet in a gradually changing color order in diff. patterns (some mudcloth possibilities with this coloration) (gone)

Nan's example of using marbled or other non-solid colors in the disks used for the stacks (she also onlays some lengthwise slices from the canes) (click on Extruded Mosaic Pin )

Some of the disks could also be Skinner Blend plugs, or inclusions, or anything. . .

Donimique's auto-wrapped canes as pad for "mokume gane"
...she lays a number of fat auto-wrapped extrusions (diff, but same general colors) into 2 (offset) rows
...presses the rows into a rectangular pad to create a "mokume gane" stack
...textures each side of the pad (with long rectangular stamp in this case)
...then shaves the top areas to reveal the patterns
more examples:

Dominique's auto-wrapped canes cut across with sheets inserted, and/or bundled by 2's into more complex canes
...she also has a string of beads made from thick slices of various auto-wrapped canes

eye ball cane ...using white plus one color in the gun :
.....make a (log) of black... roll a slab of blue (around the log) with a bit of white contioned in (remember the clay darkens when baked}, then a slab of white around the outside ... cut across this cane and round the edges a little... pierce a hole across the slab and Viola!, an eye bead...if you are really worried a red slab around the blue inside the white might resemble the blood shot eye? make an eye bead in a clay gun/pusher use the size Round (hole) you want as bead size... put a white ball/cylinder in front of the tube a blue one behind it and a little bit bigger (black?) one behind that... (extrude)...(if) you push (out a few inches) you should have many "eyes" (if you) slice these off and round em and bake em. . . you have eyeballs for little dolls or a million eye beads for a leviation... ( you can also) use this premade cane ...when making face canes. Faun

WHOLE logs or canes (more on) .....not their slices

logs could be any shape that can be extruded from a clay gun (round, half-round, triangular, square, 3-lobed, etc.)

these logs/cane as components in more complex canes
.......for example, anywhere you'd use a wrapped cane or Skinner blend bullseye cane
...... in special technique canes like "gear" canes, or between layers of clay (rolled up in a spiral cane on another sheet, interspersed in a folded cane, between Skinner blend layers for "faux fabric", etc.)

logs could be oriented .together in lots of ways before baking
...e.g., in rows, spirals, twists, braids, lettering, etc.
........ Balinese Filigree often uses rows or spirals of logs (see below in "Bal. Filigree" for lessons & ex's of auto-wrapped stands used for BF)
Donna uses 3 rows of clay ropes to create an Egyptian ankh symbol (thin black, fatter gold, thin black)

sanding or carving to reveal hidden interior colors ...sanding the sides of these whole logs after baking

...braids ...5 of these wrapped logs can be braided (as Nan Roche did)... then after baking, sand off the top areas of the braid back to reveal the colors "inside" the logs (see below in "Braiding")

...logs could also be carved before baking to reveal the color, rather than sanded afterward

logs could touch, or could have spaces between them (if spaces, they might resemble the onlaid strips used to simulate bargello (see Onlay > Bargello)

(see also extruded single-color mica clays for a similar effect?, just above Automatically Wrapped Canes)


also all kinds of hair and other little things for sculptures, bezels and other finishing touches on vessels/boxes/stands with ropes/etc., onlays (by cutting little slices of the extrusions--cool first?; or using the whole length), braiding/weaving/crocheting, and many other things (most of which we probably haven't figured out yet). Diane B.

Eni's wonderful faux metal bezels, and collage of clay rope doodles (with real stones, molded items, mixed media, etc.) (see "New" especially)

nenuphar's many clay ropes and other onlays, thick bezel around glass cabochons, etc. (look through many of the albums!)

Karen G's random clay squiggles and shapes onlaid on animal shapes etc (outlined with wire)
Marina's bezels and multi-wraps around faux stones for pendants (lesson for her opals in Faux--Many)
http://www.marieidraghi.itciondoli.htm ?
...(see also Jewelery > Renaissance for more examples of using clay ropes, etc. to create heavily-embellished faux metal effects)

Marcy's use of different color ropes to used together in various shapes (some with Balinese Filigree)
... and also ropes to separate her pieced pattern sheets

byrd uses long clay ropes to create or outline some of the elements of her mandalas could also use baked polymer cut-out shapes (slice of clay from extruded shape, perhaps embedded at the end of a chopstick) to stamp with (for example, stamping metallic powders or acrylic paint onto raw clay, or even fabric paint onto t-shirts, etc.) (like these "cjopsticks")

Dukky's onlaid "slices" from clay gun ropes used to make patterns such as bargello, radial designs, etc.

(see Cutters,Blades > Wavy Blade for Jody B's "Ripple Ikat" sheet technique (using a ripple blade,and starting with either clay scraps on a base sheet, or clay extrusions from a clay gun)

I have also extruded strands of clay through the clay gun and laid those out and run them through the pasta machine, and it looks rather like wood grain. Patty

Clay gun extrusions can even be used on top of things like needlepoint, weaving, etc.
Josephine Kershner-Veal's wall hangings and collar-type necklace made with clay & wire, beads, bone, feathers, stone, glass, grapevine, etc.

syndee's lesson on making long, coiled spirals of clay as simple Christmas ornaments by wrapping long clay ropes around forms like paper cones or wood dowels for baking (and using a strong clay like Premo)

I extruded gold clay through the (multiple-hole) template of the Kemper tool to make little snakes
... then made some lacey Christmas ornaments from them over glass balls (breaking out the glass after baking)
... (I had also used hand-rolled snakes, with points at the ends, in scroll shapes made from metallic clay. This worked well, too)
... some of the resulting strength comes from how densely you apply the "lace"
...... re the "engineering" aspects of the design, you could also add little decorative elements (I used little flowers, berries) at the structural intersections here and there .... the more clay, the more strength.)

hot air balloons made over light bulbs. . . (not polymer, but inspirational, and could be adapted)...created by onlaying and or painting (inside) light bulbs, then attaching screw-threaded "baskets" underneath with strings of leading... could cut off the metal screw-in part with glass cutter? or perhaps the metal part just a bit lower to remove it? ...drizzling liquid clay or using strings of extrduded clay could work, along with other onlays

bangles (thin bracelets, sometimes worn with other bangles)
First of all, for strength, you want to use Premo clay, and at the section where you join your ends, maybe add some tls -- that is the place where my bangles have broken before.
Do you own a clay gun? You can get some neat and tidy round and half-round strands from a clay gun, great for making bangles. Darla

"molded" and arranged bunches of strands (of regular clay?) .. .. Nora Jean says you can take the baked strands hot from the oven and hold them in your hand (or other "mold") while cold water runs over them; this should set the shape.

Kimba's "Gorkley" effect around a mirror (could be strings from clay gun which have been pulled from the disk rather than cut, resulting in pointed ends for the strands; these are onlaid around in squiggles or other shapes)

one idea I have tried for making small frames is to use a clay gun with the die that looks like a 4-leaf clover (or tri-lobe?)
...after extruding, twist the strand ... it should look like twisted wires
...then you can wrap this twist around an oval or circle that you want to use as the base for your setting…Darla

If more than one color of clay is used in the clay gun at the same time, a number of results are possible:
...marbled or chopped colors will yield variegated strands color behind another will yield strands that either change color down their length (if the clay doesn't stick to the sides of the inner barrel --particularly if using multi-hole disks) ...(see Braiding below for more on this technique)
......or yield "automatically-wrapped" logs with changing slices of "wrapped logs" if the clay does stick (the first color will wrap all subsequent colors, so color changes & wraps are seen only in slices from the cane--see "Automatically Wrapped" category just below for more details on that technique)
...Mia's lesson on making bright strands composed of 5 colors along length by using a multi-hole disk and loading her (5 colors, each marbled with white) into the gun barrel by twisting and pushing with the plung so clay won
't stick to sides --her plugs thicker than Kellie's; colors change less often
..........if you load your clay gun with just little bits of clay (say 1/8-1/4 inch) in a pleasing mixture of colors, then use a (multi-hole) disk, you get beautiful (small strands which may change colors several times along their length). Irwin? (only the dimensional spirals)

single-color mica clays extruded from a clay gun
....this is just a guess, but it seems like the center of the extrusion would have it's mica lined up perpendicular to the length of the barrel since it's being pushed and scrunched by the plunger (not sure how well though)
... but when the clay actually gets pushed through the opening in the disk, the outer parts would get pushed parallel if you cut a cross section of a log, for example, maybe what you'd see would be a very shiny center and a dull outer wrapping (with the center getting a bit duller toward the wrapping)?? ... but the exterior of the wrapping would be shiny???
(also see automatically-wrapped canes just below)


Write (cursive or print) with various long clay snakes and use them as onlays:
....Jeanne R's script lettering with ropes of different colors put in clay gun together

....Josephine Kershner-Veal's art-ethnic lettering with ropes of diff.colors as with Jean's; these letters have some doubling, dots, and culiques

....Another way might be to draw the size and shape of lettering (or whatever) you want on a piece of paper, then lay a piece of patty paper or waxed paper on top of it. Create the lettering by going over the drawn sample with the clay snakes. Then either lay the xmas ornament on the clay writing, rolling it over to pick up all the lettering, or press the writing down a bit then pick up the waxed paper and lay it with the lettering where you want it to be on the ornament (oops, guess this way would require the writing to be backwards--in that case, write with dark ink then trace through on the back side of the paper, or write on waxed paper or a bit of transparency sheet, etc., then turn over before tracing).

Use letter stamps on raw clay, or draw the letters on the clay first with a ball stylus, to act as a guide for the ropes. . .

Another suggestion would be to use two parallel lines for writing *between* to help keep the letters the same height. You could draw lightly on the item with something erasable like pencil or chalk, or use two pieces of tape, rubber bands, etc. to form the lines.

....I made 40 or so personalized pens for the teachers at my school -- covered the pens with polyclay and sanded them, rubbed on a drop of Diluent with my finger (let sit a few minutes till tacky), then stuck on the names I formed with raw Premo extruded string in script. Worked great. LynnDel

(more on lettering made in various ways in Letters-Inks > Lettering)


ropes of regular clay for leading + tinted liquid clay for filling cells

See Jeanne's wonderful stained glass (she uses tinted TLS & Pearl-Es powders for coloring ...)
(the piece is actually very clear--light shines through.)

1. Draw or pick a picture which is much like a child's coloring book picture with just the black lines to color between. The less busy-the better. A 3"X5" size is a good size to work with. (Dover has a bunch in some stain glass designs which are copyright free and will make it simpler to do for a sample.) (If using the paper method, photocopy your picture so that the lines won't smear, or use permanent ink --not inkjet)

2. Condition your choice of clay. I prefer Premo for the "leading." Premo gold with black or some gold with black and a little green can make interesting leading for the stained glass look too---especially if you are going for an older look. Even black with pearl is better than solid black. If you want to make cloisonne, use gold (or other metallic?) Premo.
--Add Sculpey Diluent to make it very workable and for ease of extruding. You will get a feel for what works the best. You want it so it is not dry at all. It also needs a little diluent as it bends at curves much better. Store in a covered "Tupperware" type container so it does not dry out or get dusty and it will remain workable for weeks.
-- Using a Kemper clay gun, squeeze out polymer clay in the small round size. Need to use a size that is consistent with the size picture you are using. The bigger, your picture, the bigger the piping should be. (Do not use Armor-all in your gun as this will cause a problem when you are making the TLS flow up to the piping and filling in the design.)

3. There are two methods which can be used from this point on. (Using glass is actually the easier method, but it does give a slightly different look to the back of the window. It also allows you to reuse your pattern though.)
ON PLAIN GLASS: Place your design under a piece of glass (I bought picture frame glass). Try to use a thin glass because if your glass is too thick (1/4", e.g.) the lines will be slightly distorted or may be hard to get a fine design from it. I use masking tape and tape picture to glass so it does not move if I choose to turn the glass to work at better angles.
ON TEXTURED GLASS: I found some textured glass and it gives an even more "real" stained glass look as the TLS floats into grooves and the "glass" allows a variation of light to come through just like real stain glass. The trouble is the slight bumps make it a little more difficult in preventing the TLS from flowing into the different areas. So if using textured glass, the leading next to the texture also has the same texture to it. Also if too textured, your pattern may be difficult to follow.
ON PAPER: (I made only two with paper and after that, I used glass.) With a flat paintbrush or your finger, brush a thin layer of TLS diluted with diluent right onto the picture. (Hopefully, your print is of an ink that will not smear.) This makes the paper waxy or oily and helps with releasing paper. It will also make the surface tacky to hold the piping in place. Eventually, you will learn just exactly how much you can do before it dries and no longer holds the piping while you work.... The secret with paper is to have diluent on the paper as that helps with separating the paper from the clay when done. I had no trouble, but I may have just caught the "moment" that it was easy to separate the paper....

4. Using the Premo piping or rope, start laying it down following the lines. Using a toothpick or your finger, press right onto the lines, sticking it to the the glass (or to the TLS on the paper.)
-- Cut with a razor blade at any point needed. Angle the cut if needed. Never overlap the piping because then your colored TLS will flow under the edges and mix, and will not look like stained glass. What you will be trying to do is to keep the different colors in little puddles. (There may be a case at the end which you need to add dimension such as my cat whiskers; those would be the last piping done and would go on top of any of the other piping.)

5. Using TLS take just a spoon full and put on a palette. (I use something with a wax like surface so the TLS is not drawn into the paper.) Mix in Pearl-Ex pigments (Caution, the less you can use and get the color you want, the better for the stained glass.) If it is too thick add, Sculpey Diluent. You want it to barely flow off of your toothpick into the sections. -- I pick up the tinted TLS with a toothpick and let it flow into the areas that I want covered. I mix and do all of the same color and then move on to the next color. I also use a straight pin to pull or push the tinted TLS into the corners.
-- Let sit over night so it is very smooth and no bubbles are in the TLS.

6. When finished, bake right on the glass or the paper (if working on paper, after *about* seven to ten minutes check your work. I was able to peel the paper right off of the back and it is very smooth---but not as shiny as glass. Return to the oven to finish the curing process.) This even though very thin is amazingly tough---almost like leather or rubber.
Optional texturing: (Before filling in with tinted TLS, you can use some kind of tool and make a pattern like the gold filligree is usually on old cloisonne. The main outline areas are solid, but the interior lines look like a rope although very fine. . . . though now I see how taking two ropes and twisting them together would give a more accurate look than the wheel --the roller tool wheel that I use is an old pottery marking tool of some sort which I run on each side of the gold piping and it makes tiny indentations in the clay in a very even pattern. I use smaller piping that what I would normally use for the stained glass look.
I even used those tiny holeless glass beads in some of the TLS as I could not get the right color with the Pearl-ex powders. Worked very well. Jeanne

Terry Lee C's stained glass (flowers) wall art with tinted liquid clay and black clay ropes

syndee's lesson on a stained glass effect with thick gold ropes of clay for leading over a silver clay base (on a light switch cover)
... the inside of her leading isn't filled--it's simply textured and powdered,,HGTV_3239_1385126,00.html

Donna C's lesson on making freestanding flat xmas tree ornaments with ropes of clay (hers from a clay gun) made on a tile or sheet of glass
... "closed shapes" created, then filled in with liquid clay (some colored with metallic acrylic paints, swirled Pearl Ex, etc.)

(rather than using a clay gun) ...I bet that frosting bags could be filled with liquid clay, or a clay paste made with Diluent-thinned clay, then extruded through various tips to create leading??..Sarajane H.
Beckah says that liquid clay mixed with solid black or pearl clays will make an extrudable slip after 3 or more days (of sitting?) ...(for stained glass leading, but could be used for anything).

ropes of regular clay for leading + regular clay for filling cells

Cat's lesson on using clay for making both leading and filling for cells (+ liquid clay as glue)
.....draw or copy a stained-glass pattern on paper
.....transfer pattern to baked clay (translucent in this case) with (dressmaker's) carbon paper
....apply liquid clay with toothpick, following lines
......extrude and lay 1mm round ropes of FimoSoft Gold clay on lines (starting at ctr) ..bake 20 min
... mix streaky logs of various colors you'll want (semi-translucent), making several shades
.......make each log into a 1 mm thick sheet of each color one clay sheet onto a cell of baked leading... remove and cut out shape from impression on back side
... apply a bit of liquid clay with toothpick inside cell, then put clay shape into cell to remove any bubbles, and push any excess back from leading
... when all cells of one color or one area are filled, smooth over all with just a bit of aloe vera gel on finger... bake 10 min
..... (she also makes dots impressions before baking, for later filling with black clay)
...repeat with other colors, areas... bake all 30 water plunge 5 minutes while hot for most clarity
....sand, then coat with a glossy finish ... or antique (she made a domed barrette)

sunni's lesson on making precise and realistic faux stained glass with tinted translucent clays
.......(translucent clays don't create "clear" faux glass, but do create partly translucent glass well)
...she creates 2 copies of a line drawing pattern suitable for "stained glass"
...and one sheet of tinted translucent clay at #4 thickness, for each "glass" color she'll use
.she works from the center outward, so she begins with the color sheet which will be used for one of the central images (in this case, translucent red clay for the rose), placing the sheet underneath the drawing
...... then impresses the pattern onto the reddish sheet with a pointed but blunt tool (tapestry needle, or blunted pencil lead, etc.) through the paper, and now has a sheet of reddish clay with all pattern lines impressed on it
...she cuts out each puzzle piece by cutting along the impressed lines with a pointed Xacto knife blade
...bakes the pieces for 10 min at regular temp. under a tile to keep them flat during baking & cooling (...if a ceramic tile or glass sheet is used rather than a terra cotta tile, without a paper separation, the pieces will become shiny as well)... cool .... reassembles the baked pieces
...cuts a number of leading strips from a #4 sheet of black (or other color) clay, all the same width (..or the clay gun also has a linguini shape "hole" which could be used instead to extrude leading, but then the translucent sheets would need to be created in the same height as the linguini extrusion is wide)
...she fills in all spaces between pieces of the central image with leading, snugging them together (...leaving other reddish pieces to the side)
...puts a tile on top again, and rebakes for 10 min. strengthen this unit, and also to fill any gaps, she pours a thick layer of liquid clay onto the back of it and spreads evenly... then turns it back over onto the tile, and bakes again for 8 min. (without a top tile this time to allow liquid clay to stay thick) ...when cooled, she removed unit with a tissue blade
...repeats for each unit (not including any "background color")
...created background pieces in same way as other pieces, but left raw
...laid 2nd drawing under sheet of glass, then assembled all pieces, working from the inside out... adding new leading in background where necessary

more ways to make "stained glass"

For using (or making) a stamp to create leading, see Stamping
...and also for using
reverse molds to create faux stained glass, see Molds > Reverse Molds

For more ways to create faux stained glass, see Liquid Clay > Cloisonne


for other types of filigree, see also Onlay > Molded or Non-Flat + Filigree and Ropey
...Eggs > Vinegar Eggs

...long ropes of clay can be spiraled, or laid next to each other in rows, waves, etc., forming wonderful relief patterns... the ropes can be stamped or textured in various ways, or not...small balls or other shapes can be used in-between these ropes, or not
...the patterns/images formed can be abstract/geometric or somewhat representational/realistic.
...coverage of the BF can be complete or partial, and can be cut into shapes freehand or with med-large cutters if desired
...the ropes can be laid directly on the object (e.g., a glass bottle, mirror, metal tin), or on a thick fabric (canvas, etc.) with liquid clay underneath or permanent white glue if on wood/papier mache/etc, or they can be laid first on a base sheet of clay
...ropes can be square or triangular as well as round for more effects (especially sets of lines)
(for twisted, square ropes used as onlays, see Mike Buesseler's twisted mica beehive technique in Mica)
(see more below)

(BASIC LESSON) ... my method is as follows:
...I loosely lay out the strands from the gun on an aluminum foil covered styrofoam tray (I too use a clay gun, just so much sure to really condition the clay before putting it in the gun --see above on this page.
... I wind up a number of strands into coils and put them back on the tray.... (I make up a bunch of coils,and different sizes before I start.... I also make up a few teeny tiny little balls)
... then I start placing them on whatever i am covering... and I cut away any over lap
....if I want to add texture to a coil, i use my exacto knife to cut lil teeny tiny segment impressions somewhere into the coil after it is in place. . . .
....another method is to make a smaller coil, then put a bunch of tiny balls in a row on the coil, then continue with the strand around the coil.
. can loosely fill in any openings with either balls or segments of the strings. That's it. –Byrd


polymerclayexpress' lesson on making Balinese Filigree and some great tool ideas
Mia's lesson on Balinese Filigree: bright strands composed of 5 colors in turn (bead also)--her plugs thicker than Kellie's; colors change less often
Mia's many filigree items (and showing them in progress) (look all around) (gone?)
PolymerClayCentral's many filigree items
various examples of B. filigree at ClayPen
Eva E's filigree dress on lightbulb angel (spotlight or track light shaped bulb)
2- or 3-colored clays used for Balinese Filigree (covering the backs of wood hair brushes from dollar store), as well as various inlays, onlays, stampings, etc, (look for several pictures showing the brushes)
Rachel A's many filigree boxes (interiors, twisted ropes, granite, roses, balls with depressions) (see them all, click on Enter, then on Next, Next...)
Sunni's BF around an outlined central transfer motif, on a lid
Brigitte's indented BF spirals joined for a large, freeform pendant
(check out Donna Kato's book, The Art of Polymer Clay, for pictures of the BF technique done by a master!)
(Balinese Filigree is used on many "rock" vessels so see Vessels-Rock for many more examples)


clay ropes for Balinese Filigree can be rolled by hand as well as extruded from clay gun
.... to get very even clay ropes, they can be rolled under a sheet of plexiglas, etc, if needed

filigree ropes/etc. can be applied directly onto an item to be covered (e.g., glass bottle, mirror, metal tin)
... or on a thick fabric (canvas, etc.) with adhesive underneath (liquid clay, or permanent white glue if on wood/papier mache/etc)
I just read Kellie's post about reinforcing the bond with liquid clay as you go on the eggshell. I wish I had done that. Claire
..... Joanna S's lesson on covering an egg shell with a layer of white glue (dried) rather than using a base clay layer

...or they can be laid first on a base sheet of clay
... the base sheet could also be textured or of a contrasting color, and the BF not cover it completely, so that it shows in some places

lesson by Lucia on making a drawing (of thin leaf-like shapes) on artist's canvas, covered with liqiud clay
.......then laying glass bugle beads inside the drawn shapes, and filling in the background with Balinese Filigree of creating outlines for a pattern first (on liquid clay-covered canvas) and laying ropes along those lines.... then filling in the areas inside or between the lines with Balinese Filigree ropes by teapotdnky

Rather than spiraling the rope into a round disk shape, it can be spiraled into rectangular, triangular, etc. shapes

Ropes can also be laid as rows, or accordion-folded so they lay parallel to each other, and have their folded ends cut off, to create a quick row of stripes (or folded over for decoration or a bail, or twisted, etc.)
....melnik's use of rows or accordion bends for small areas

Claire's twisted square rope BF using pearl (mica) clays (on an egg) --see more on twisted ropes in Mica > Mike Buesseler -beehive
.......I just read Kellie's post about reinforcing the bond with TLS a
s you go. I wish I had done that. Claire (picturetrail gone)
Liz twisted 2 ropes together, then flattened them slightly on her faux metal (black clay & silver Pearl Ex)-covered bottle
Kim K's several-color twisted rope used to make a BF spiral

Or any of these techniques can be used around or next to a shape:
around a disk, cookie cutter, or other shape to leave a hole in the middle
--next to a disk or other shape (to create a C-shape set of ropes, for example, or wavy lines)

You can also cut spirals into halves, quarters, crescents, arcs, etc., before placing on your base sheet or item to be covered.

You can also use Balinese filigree to create a "picture" of something (see
...e.g., a M.Mouse image at PCC (by TWINMOM2000) used BF circle elements --eyes, muzzle, ears, etc.--to create the MM face
....see Kathy G's butterflies --circular and folded elements --for something a bit similar (website gone)

To insert other shapes of filigree (or non-filigree) into an area of BF, use a cookie or canape cutter to remove a portion from a prepared BF sheet or single spiral, then fill in the hole left with the cutout from another color using the same cutter. (...placing plastic wrap over the sheet before cutting should leave the edges rounded rather than evenly cut, if that's what you want)
...Mia used Skinner blend slices, wavy ropes, and rhinestones withinin the BF (website gone)
...Melnik put a flattened ball of contrasting clay in the centers of her spirals (these could also be decorative "brads," etc.) (website gone)

tiles for mosaics, or other "tiles"
......could use long or short ropes ...or crosswise slices (esp. from larger diameter extrusions, or joined extrusions) as components for mosaics
..... ropes or slices could be raw or baked
..Trina's filigree mosaic technique (on Easter egg pins, etc.), using larger ropes than usual B.filigree?, in different colors to fill in mosaic pictures or patterns; (website gone)
(refrigerate if nec. before slicing, or slice after baking while warm)
...can bake on ceramic tile, glass, or alum foil, for flat & shiny surface (or paint with gloss after baking, or before? if tile’s edges are rounded)

lesson suggesting some great ways to impress the applied strands, from polymerclayexpress
for example using small brass tubes to simulate lines of tiny balls (brilliant idea!), screwdriver tips, ballpoint pen tips, and anything else. . .

Nancy Lotz's lesson and tips on making Balinese Filigree, and putting small beads on the extrusions (after dimpling first with a ball-end stylus tool to create the depressions)
...she also moistens the end of a raw strand of spaghetti to pick up and place each bead
...she uses a garlic press rather than a clay gun to extrude a plain color, a Skinner Blend plug (cut into short lengths), or a series of colors (thick disks)... she uses the extrusions to make and has suggestions for other things to use them for (plus tips on using) (also click on pg. 3)
her bowls, & beaded filigree coverings with gradient extrusions

round ball-things like ball stylus tools (intended for embossing, etc.), hat pins and other ball-headed sewing pins, marbles, ball bearings, etc can also be used for making depressions (some can be glued or mounted on handles, etc. for easier handling)
....or they can be used to make a mold from which a positive is created so hemispheres (domes) can be made
...make a row of "set-in pearls" by making depressions with a ball stylus first, then fill each depression with a clay ball you make can use the concave end of the Etch 'N Pearl tool to pick up the clay ball and set it in place without deforming it)
one end of the Etch 'N Pearl tool by Studio by Sculpey has a concave hemisphere-shaped indention in one end
....when pressed into clay, it creates a raised hemisphere of clay which could look like an embedded bead or row of balls
.........unfortunately, my Etch N Pearl rods bent (right out of the package) and I cannot get them straightened out. I believe they are aluminum Nancy C.

Cindy P used undulating rows of real seed beads (embedded in neutral-colored clay) between some of her ropes
(see also example of using real bugle beads in Balinese Filigree in Lucia's lesson above)

You could highlight the high parts with Rub 'N Buff or a metallic powder. Think I'd try both a silver/gold/or-copper, and also a lighter or darker version of the same color as the base clay and see which I liked better. Diane B. Bal. filigree BOH, highlighted with gold metallic powder (red clay with gold powder , and purple coils with gold)
....Or antiquing PLUS RubNBuff! You could have antiquing all over, but, the "patina" or surface highlighting only in some areas. I tried this balinese silver thing on some beads, and used black antiquing, just like they do with the real beads... it seems to really bring out all that (tedious-to-make!) detail. Elizabeth
...Lizboid made a beautiful faux old pewter Balinese F. covered bottle using Silver Pearl Ex highlighting over black clay.

partial covering
Cindy P's put undulating "waves" of BF on the bottom part of the front of a mini-book pendant

kellie's partially covered a bottle ...also using Pearl Ex over scrap clay
...I covered a glass bottle with scrap clay, then I extruded the same ugly scrap clay thru my clay gun. I applied the BF a little at a time, a coil here, a strand there ...after I felt like it was finished, I applied pearlex powders (two different colors, one on the filigree and one on the bottle). kellie (gone --new site?)
...leave some open spaces, or a lot! ....Flo's openwork filigree eggs (not much open space) (website gone)
(see more partial covering below)

Suppose you could also fill in the lower parts with a soft clay after baking
... or some combination of Liquid Sculpey and clay or a powder, for an inlaid effect too? Diane B.
Kathy W.'s backfilled? Balinese Filigree
...this is what Kathy W. did?... backfilling with blue clay (after baking, & sanded after baking again)
...Nae has backfilled the depressions left on a Balinese Filigree egg with a contrasting clay, then sanded
(a photo will eventually be at her website?

Can also multiple colors of clay in clay gun to create variegated strands, or automatically wrapped strands with hidden variegation underneath
VARIEGATED strands (...strand colors will blend from one to the next color, visibly)
....make one log from 2-6 colors of clay (using each color one only once)... load into clay gun... extrude through a multi-hole disk
......Mia's example using purple-blue-green-yellow-red (each mixed with a bit of white to lighten)
...*kellie's examples of blended-color, Balinese filigree lids (overlapped-cut design)

s bowls with gradient extrusions (w/ garlic press)
...(using lots of beautiful colors in the clay gun make a freeform filigree pendant ) get the effect I took several metallics (sculpey III because I am trying to use up all my S3) and chopped them up into pea sized peices and put them into my clay gun...I made one of the bellows pushers and I usually just put it on the floor and stand on the end.....the clay will come out really fast and the broken look I think is from the speed that it is going through the gun....I thought about sanding the peice some but I liked that look so I didn't sand it....It was kinda an accident.....but then some of the neatest things that come from PC comes by experimentation...... Sara
AUTOMATICALLY WRAPPED (strands will be one color on the outside, with hidden variegated colors inside
............or good way to use up scraps (... here used to cover an egg)
... make logs of 3 metallic colors of clay the diameter of a clay gun barrel (, copper, and metallic green --gold mixed w/ blue SculpeyIII)
... cut each log into many 1/8" slices
....stack slices into new multi-colored logs ...and extrude through clay gun with one-hole disk
....... (the first color will wrap around all the following colors, so the extruded strands will appear to be the same color from the outside
Or to make these automatically wrapped extrusions multi-colored... sand their surfaces (after baking)... the colors inside the ropes will begin to appear ...(longer sanding = more colors)
......(see also Nan Roche's lesson below in "Braid" from which this sanding of variegated strands was inspired)
...Joanna S's lesson on using 5 analagous colors (of rose) in a clay gun to cover an eggshell (after applying permanent white glue and drying rather than using a base clay layer)

could make a *big* sheet of filigree, then have lots of stuff to use for various cutouts, sections, etc.

filigree could be used with any kind of mosaic patterns too, by filling in areas that have been outlined, with folded ropes, or spirals formed in squares/triangles/etc., or meandering ropes. DB

you can also press down evenly on filigree spirals with an acrylic block, etc., to create a different appearance for the spirals, ropes, balls, etc.

make a mold of the Balinese Filigree pattern you create sometimes ...the molds not create casts that are quite as distinct as doing BF from scratch, but sure might sure come in handy! DB

Melnik's "faux" BF?? . . . if not, could be . . .using slices of spiral canes (indentions could be added or shapes could be cut from the slices and reassembled in various ways to fill the space, etc.)??


beadizzygrl's atc with Balinese Filigree clouds with shiny beads embedded here and there

Lizboid's faux metal BF, on a triangular bottle, has large "sections" marked off with straight ropes, in and around which are many double-ended spiral shapes (more coils at one end than the other)... also balls impressed with a center dot ...and flattened twisted ropes on most edges

Shane's BF beads with some empty spaces... she also puts outlines of tiny-tiny balls (or are those glass seed beads?) at the edges of all her blank areas (gold clays on black base bead) (gone)

Kathy W's pie-shaped BF circle (made by impressing rays on a spiral) ...and also grid

Phyllis partially covered the top of a frosted glass ball Christmas ornament with 4 large S-shaped BF spirals of gold clay, each starting under the cap and reaching down one of the 4 sides... at the center of the bottom spiral of each, she attached a gold chain which swagged to all 4 spirals... she also hung a small clay teardrop from the bottom of each swag ... plus some fill-in ropes
Kimba's Balinese Filigree Christmas glass balls (website gone)
Melnik's rattle (or xmas orn) with continuous wrapped rope; blue Pearl Ex applied around center? (website gone)

Charles Mayer's strips and wavy lines of filigree forming backgrounds around transfers (click on each!!)

Rebecca N's Balinese Filigree alternated with cane slices, on rock purse

Helen Breil showed a cool BF coaster in PolymerCafe, summer 2003... she made some BF on a base sheet, then cut out a disk of it smaller than the diameter of her purchased marble coaster, and attached it
. . . leaving a frame of marble around the raised BF disk

Christy's fold-over beads (like taco shells)---spirals of extruded clay colors folded over a skewer, baked, then removed

Looking at the photo on this page of a Tibetan pattern made me think a "faux" mola made with clay strings from a clay gun might be interesting

temari balls ... see Mosaics > Micro Mosaics for simulating these geometric Japanese balls in clay various ways
(here are some real ones: ... )

thewildbunny's BF (including musical notes) covering a real shoe (open-back high heel) (gone?)
nenuphar's (galejade's) many clay ropes and other onlays (look through many of the albums!)
Cynthia Tinapple's strip of BF inlaid into a wooden bowl (gone)
Karen's filigree+ beads (gone)
Krista's filigree beads; some not coils (gone) (yellow beads)

Terry's Balinese filigree box (gone)
Bunny's Balinese Filigreed Altoid boxes (gone)
*Debi's filigree+ pins and boxes (gone)

Darla's Balinese Filigree barrettes (website gone)
Heather R's tiny filigree on beads . . . . antiqued with white or black (gone)
Kim C's BF barrettes and containers (white, blue, purple), one symmetrical (website gone)
Trina's her partial frame pendant (website gone)
Cathy D's filigree eggs, dual pattern metallic powder & gold?, few seed beads (website gone)

Kathy's BF eggs with some powders here and there (website gone)
Darla's BF around a central transfer? motif, on an Altoid lid; no outlining (gone) http://hobbystage
Sara J's cut/reassembled filigree pendant (gone)

.....look in Blends for a different way to do Balinese Filigree --not using ropes, but using long, very flattened Skinner Blend slices-cool

"turntable bearing" --can use to make spirals more quickly

To help create spirals quickly and easily, a lazy susan bearing can be used with a small ceramic tile or acrylic block, etc., placed on top. (--near the bottom of the photo of the small plastic turntable bearing I use; it's on the left side of the photo, and has a square acrylic block on top of it and a couple of small strips of rubberized drawer liner beneath for traction.)

-- roll one end of an extruded rope into a taper and make the first rotation with your fingers, then press it slightly to the surface of the middle of the block. I used my right hand to push/rotate the turntable and the other hand to hold the tail or gently guide it.
--When it's as large as you want, it can be lifted and placed on a base sheet, or straight onto an item you're covering; I didn't have any trouble lifting them but you might want to use a palette knife or blade if necessary.

--Or, you can make a second spiral continuous with the first by lifting the first spiral and treating it as the "tail" above; the length of the second spiral will have to be estimated and the rope cut before rotating (if you want to make the 2 spirals the same length or particular proportions, mark the whole rope slightly before rotating the first one; the mark can always be turned to the underside as you roll it up if it shows). DB

BUYING: (These mechanisms may also be known as "turntable bearings," "single direction thrust bearings"?, "swivels"?)
...I got mine at my local plastics store (look under Plastics in the yellow pages) --("plastic revolving display base, clear" available at eventually?). . . .but some sizes of the all-metal ones can be found at hardware stores.
--Lee Valley: (for the plastic ones, click on Swivels & Bearings, then on Plastic Lazy Susan Turntables, approx $2 ea....for the smaller and larger zinc ones, click on Zinc LazyST, approx $1.00 ea.)
--American Science & Surplus has several kinds and sizes, plastic and metal --"Lazy Scott Bearing". . . I don't know if the smaller round ones can be used as well
.......Sep 02: Right now, there seems to be a sale on their plastic one them at American Science and Surplus ... 2 of them for $2.00 . . . the shipping is probably more than that! Excellent price! but I guess their being on clearance means they won't always have them in stock...boohoo. (30176 Plastic Turntable)

These small rotating disks are better than using a regular (Rubbermaid?) turntable (for spices, etc.) because your hands will be closer to the spiral as it's made, and the disks also take up less space on the work table. (I put a bit of Blue Tac or strips of rubbery drawer liner underneath the acrylic block to keep it from sliding around.)

polymerclayexpress is also offering a 4-5" tall, all-metal?, elevated turntable (AMACO Banding Stand $23.50) ...also puts clay work closer to eye level (intended for painting bands of color on vessels or other objects)

Also the rose-building platforms** are great to form your BF on before transfering it to your piece. Trina
.....**a tool for making roses from icing, petal by petal; it's a disk on top of a short rod which is twirled with the fingers while applying the petals (could easily make your own though)

WEAVING ....CROCHETING, Knitting,Macrame ....SPRINGS, Coils .... BRAIDING


(see also simple Celtic Knot lesson below in More Websites)

Barbara P's woven strips on black backing sheet ...cut into various shapes, like heart, triangle (then framed) ...for magnets
Kellie's (flat noodle) woven barettes
Evelyn's open weave square of clay ropes, embellished with a clay flower (for pin)
Cindy's (flat noodle) weaving vessels (one faux ivory)
lukabara used wide flat noodles of clay to weave a sheet with... she placed and pressed the woven sheet over a base heart shape made of clay (or wood?) ...then baked and antiqued to bring out the depressions
V.R.James' woven "basket" vase hung as a pendant

Tamara's woven vessels (gone) (click on door, Gallery, Objects d'Art)
Marie's shallow wide "basket" made from flat noodles woven together as bottom + fat twisted ropes around top edge (with onlaid flowers & leaves_ ..."Easter basket"?
flyte's lesson on making a simple trisket Celtic knot with a length of round clay rope (gone)

Karen in FL wove wide strips of semi-wood-like mokume gane into her (real wood) split ash basket
. . simply using the polymer strips as just another set of strips .... her polymer ones were all vertical... (calmlakebasketry)

Yep, I (stacked disks of?) Premo in my clay gun --purple, gold, turquoise, and copper
..... after baking, I sanded the tops to expose the underlying colors with the wet/dry sandpaper up to 1500 grit and the buffed with a Foredom Bench Lathe. That's it. No lacquer of any kind. ...It was alot of fun to make! Kay (woven breastplate-type necklace --website?) (see more below in Braiding)

see just below in Crocheting for avoiding breakage when weaving after baking

clay "memory" & breakage
crocheting, knitting, macrame

NOTE: the flexible clay used for these techniques (all produced by Polyform) is now called Bake and Bend (or Sculpey Super Flex Bake and Bend)
... it was previously called SuperFlex clay (and is still called Super Flex in larger bars?)

Patti’s crocheting with Super Flex clay ... and also weaving in circles around an asterisk-shaped base, with thin round extrusions
Violette's loosely crocheted clay ... "doily" shape

Marie's photos of various crocheted and knitted clay items... purses & jackets (size?),1789,HGTV_3246_2698290,00.html
Nancy's knitted items made with Super Flex

Marie's lanyard woven-braided cords made from clay??
large "loops" of clay ...for choker (actually probably figure 8's using 2 ropes, with a cane slice hiding each overlap)

lesson on crocheting + examples (and also other rope-like uses)... by Marie & syndee
cording lesson
I use it 1:1 with Premo to make cording for necklaces... it's soft and comfortable to wear (esp. like it around the back of my neck)
lesson:...extrude a thick rope with a clay gun... roll in Pearl Ex
... insert rope ends into premade holes in pendant with liquid clay
....bake in the shape that's expected when laying on the body
...after baking, just wipe down with a damp cloth (to remove any excess powder --rather than sealing the Pearl Ex, and possibly cracking finish).
...(most of my cording now is either black (flex clay?) w/ black Premo (duh), or a color with gold Premo) syn
. .different? lesson:

info and purchasing:
...wherever you buy, be aware that it may be called SuperFlex ...
.......if online esp., make sure you let them know you want the brand new formula, not the old stuff!
....available in either 6 or 8 color sets in retail stores (it's usually on the hanging racks along with the Sculpey III kids' kits) Patti K. mail order... sets as well as individual 2 oz bars of the 8 colors, are available (at some websites) (see link just above) ...indiv. 2oz bars the Clay Factory (indiv. 2 oz bars... or x 8 = 1 lb) (indiv. 2 oz bars, and sets)

This clay can be mixed with regular clays too can be mixed with other clays to get the best flex for a particular project
........for durability, the 1-to-4 ratio (flexible clay to plain Premo clay)
........for fluidity, 4 parts Flex to 1 part Premo
....... for.macrame, 1-to-1 ratio ... Marie S.
....mix with some regular Premo and you've got a very nice clay, for many uses
....I experimented with three batches -- one to one (one part Flex to two parts Premo)... and one part Flex to three parts Premo.
.......all those blends proved easy to control and eminently flexible after baking (all passed the fold it in half test, though the 3 to 1blend exhibited some stress). Katherine Dewey
...weaker clays like Sculpey III (and new formulation of FimoSoft?) can be strengthened by mixing with Bake and Bend. Garie

If you mix any of the Bend-and-Bake colors with mica clays (e.g., gold, silver or Pearl Premo), the mixed color is gorgeous. syn


my experience with SuperFlex has been that it's very stretchy - almost gumlike

While baking, the extruded ropes must not touch the tray if the tray is metal or glass (or ceramic?), so use few sheets of paper on tray
...clay ropes must also
not touch
each other use sheets of paper, etc, between the layers of clay ropes, and/or extrude the ropes in a spiral of one flat layer so that the parts don't touch, then while still hot after baking, gently stretch and wiggle to straighten them...(Marie S.)
...what about using cornstarch like Jody B suggests? don't have to powder the clay, it will pull apart while still warm if you don't smash it to itself. Valerie

Re-baking this clay can be a problem ...the second baking makes the clay brittle's important to note this flexibility is fused into the clay's once it's been baked, it will hold the original shape ... efforts to change the shape and re-bake produced cracking. Katherine Dewey
...Flexiclay and Eraser clay are problematic; you can only bake them once -- the second baking makes them brittle.... In fact, if you make something thin (like an extruded cord or even a snake or sheet), bake it, flex it, and rebake it in the flexed position, it will break in the oven! Georgia S.
I had some pieces that I had knitted and tried to put back in the oven to attach findings, but they broke in a zillion places -- looked like wherever the string was under tension it couldn't take the heat. Nancy
...that's true for re-baking any braided, twisted, etc. will fall completely apart if re-baked UNLESS completely straight....or close to that condition anyway! :-) Patricia
... Uh oh! At my Katherine Dewey class she had us use flex for the claws on our dragons and griffins and they were baked before our creatures. I suppose they will break now? ........(& also.. I rebaked something I had make with sculpey flex about a year ago, a dolls did break.) Cindy P
...No, think that the claws will be OK... it's that when you take baked clay, and put some sort of constant pressure on it, the heat loosens the clay during baking such that it can't stay together at the points where the clay is being stretched
...... a clay skirt would break however unless it was being stretched across the doll WHILE being baked. Was that the case? Patti
...has anybody tried rebaking crocheted flex strands that were rolled by hand rather than forced through the clay gun (since it stresses the clay to push it through the gun, leaving tiny cracks)? ....When cutting out flex shapes, I have to be careful of over-cutting the corners because if there is a slit there, that's where it can tear pretty easily. If you roll the strings, they'd be smoothly compressed with the "fiber" of the clay aligned and hopefully stronger. Jody B
...I have noticed that if you stop extruding and a bend develops in the clay AFTER you begin extruding need to smooth it or it will break while crocheting, but that was the only breakage I got...and I'm pretty tough on it - on purpose!

SuperFlex (if baked in curves) should work for crochet as long as you are working with the curvature and not against it. Meredith

Rebaking can be a problem, but when I hear of brittle behavior, it's usually because the clay is not completely baked. Meredith

While crocheting after baking, though, I get too much breakage...
.... I've heard that baked clay has a memory! ... in other words, if it's been baked while in a certain shape, it will remember that shape
......if you later try to manipulate the baked clay into another shape (such as in crocheting or basket weaving), it will "snap" because it want to go back to the original shape. Shelly

.....I am Patricia Echeagaray who wrote the article in Bead and Button, and I can tell you that the clay I used for that article was stiffer than that which many others had used. This was what I WANTED (of course, I didn't fully realize how soft and sticky this stuff can get until I bought a different, fresher maybe?, lot just a week ago!)
.......I also had some breakage with this stiffer clay, but far less if I extruded the clay immediately after conditioning it (...when softer, it went through the gun better).

I think also it helps not to extrude too quickly as well. Patricia

I also found that the extruding clay droops a bit and stretches, but the softer, warmer, or fresher the clay, the more pronounced that stretching might be. Patricia

I've had SO much fun playing with my new (baked) strings of Sculpey Flex ...last night I baked up my first batch, crocheted with it and that stuff does NOT break!
....however, then for fun...I crocheted a few rows of raw clay, and then baked it... .the thing just broke and stuck straight out in the places where it HAD been in a nice "bend"... COULD you stop some or all of the "straightening" of the bended parts by wrapping the worked piece in something before baking again?... because I noticed that the bottom --the portion next to the paper while baking-- hardly straightened out (and broke) at all.
Laurie UT

What are the best ways to extrude longer strands and to join 2 strands together? Laurie UT make longer extrusions, just add more raw clay to the clay gun before it's completely empty from the previous extruding
....baked ends of strings can be superglued together, or inserted into other clay with liquid clay

Triche's demo of preparing, extruding, baking... also wrapped cylinder, basket pendant, etc. (website gone)

to make the loop clasps of my necklaces, I add this clay, 1:1, to my regular clay ..makes the clasps much more flexible and almost springy. (I also add it anywhere else I particularly need a bit of flelxibility or resilience) ... Katherine Dewey

(for info on using Bake and Bend clay for flexible items other than ropes and crochet, see Characeristics > Flexible Clays)

(for combining real macrame with polymer clay beads, etc., see Mixing Media > Needlearts, Weavings, Macrame

springs + coils ....chain....+ misc.

I made polymer (covers) sleeves (in the form of springs or coils) to put over leather cording ...I wanted a cording that was simple yet more interesting than leather or buna cord, plus I wanted to be able to match the pendant colors.
...lesson: Extrude a bunch of clay with the second smallest round die of your clay gun. Powder it well with cornstarch so it can't stick to itself. Wrap it around a skewer the right diameter for the cord and bake it. When it's cool, slide it off the skewer. You should have a long flexible polymer clay spring! . . . .I ended mine with a round bead of clay at each end, blending in the end of the spring. To put together the necklace, I crimp and glue a bead tip to the leather, pull it into the end bead so it's embedded, string the sleves and pendant and finish the other end with another bead tip. The leather cord supports the weight of the necklace and the spiraled clay flexes beautifully.
...The springs are pretty cool to play with, though they aren't very strong by themselves. ...I took a length of it and coiled it into a little basket by adding a string of raw clay between the layers. I figured that if I posted this, all you clever clayers would go off and invent a bunch more uses for these nifty polymer springs! Jody B.
...Toine's mini-lesson on long chains made entirely with Premo and Sculpey Flex

I cut up the (springs/coils) and use 'em as beads.
.........try using acrylics to contrast the coils...looks great.
.........I made a bunch with to look like bone, then used burnt umber to wonderfully old looking bone beads.
...I cut wire hangers to wrap the clay around for baking. Great uniform holes and a cheap source.
...And you don't have to powder the clay, it will pull apart while still warm if you don't smash it to itself.
...Use all the different shaped disks that come with the clay gun for different effects... Extruding and wrapping is great FUN!! Valerie

Twisteeze has a lesson on making a "rod" type of coil bracelet by winding two colors of wire around the length of 3 or more bunched wires (at the same time)--for strength/support
... should be possible to use polymer clay strands instead of the 2 wires to do the same thing?... could try raw clay strands, or baked ones (wrapping with the curve) (click on "Jewelry")

Banu's lesson on making coil basket and carrying handle with rope of clay... adds flower to side
Maria's lesson on a making openwork basket (not-woven) with radiating (and ovelapping) loops of clay gun ropes pressed onto a central disk... twisted rope circle is added over the joins... then the whole (daisy looking) shape is turned upside down and draped over a form (small jelly glass?) and baked .. she also adds a twisted-rope handle and flower embellishment over join of handle

(see more baskets in Woven, or could use clay braid or crochet, etc.)

Cheryl's connected rings of Super Flex (chokers, etc.)

Nan Roche video: Ancient Structures and Surfaces (7 projects and includes material from 3 days of Nan's workshops.)
...ancient jewelry techniques such as chain mail... loop-in-loop chains... braids and (other?) plaits
....extrude polymer clay with layers of color within and use these as your 'wire' or 'fiber'. ...
....learn how to rivet with polymer clay while making a neckpiece from components made with these surfaces.... and more.

temari balls ... a Japanese technique in which thin strands of different colors are wrapped around a base ball shape, resulting in geometric patterns
some real temari balls : ... ...seems to me there could be various ways to simulate these using clay:
...could actually wrap base balls of some kind with thin extrusions from a clay gun (using Flex clay if you needed to)
...or create "tiles" to replicate the sections instead:
.....e.g., .could use actual clay gun strands ---a quickie way would be to fold a strand back and forth on a backing sheet of clay... then cut out whatever shapes you need from the sheet (the folded ends wouldn't be included). ...repeat for all the other colors... then put all the pieces together puzzle style like we do mosaic tiles (some Balinese Filigree methods could work here too).
...(see Mosaics > Micro Mosaics for other ways to simulate these with caning or texturing

Alan V. used thread to create "string art" around the exteriors of polymer pendants (more info and lessons in Mixing Media > Fabric > Threads... could very thin baked flexible polymer clay be used for a similar effect?


Nan Roche's 5-strand woven braid .....(use for barrette, bracelet, or anything)
....(in this case made with "automatically wrapped" logs, which are sanded back after baking to reveal their hidden colors),,HGTV_3238_1378538,00.html
...roll logs of several colors of clay (she recommends Premo) the same diameter as interior of clay gun barrel
...cut thick "slices" (1/8 -1/4") of each color slices together to create a new log, alternating colors and making several repetitions along the length.
....roll to make it thin enough to go into the extruder ( barrelfull will make enough for one bracelet). (use the primary color you want to show as the end piece and put that end into the extruder first --the other colors will be inside the primary one and will show up later when the piece is sanded).
...extrude the multi-color log...cut into 5 lengths..
...Using five strands, anchor them at one end by pressing onto a work surface, then braid together (same as regular braiding but braid each strand over TWO strands rather than one.)
…Flatten a log of clay the same as your primary color long enough for the bracelet, to act as a base; lay the braid on top of it. Roll each end with the side of your hand so that each is somewhat rounded.
Wrap around your wrist to measure, leaving the amount of looseness you want, and trim off excess.
... Roll over the braid with a brayer to join and flatten (to any degree you want).
... Bake the bracelet in sort of oval, ends touching.
...Sand here and there to expose the colors underneath. Use a finish or not.

other examples:
Kellie's examples on barrettes (gone)
....for Kellie's lesson and other examples based on this method of extruding stacks of different colors, but used for Balinese Filigree instead of for braiding, see above in Balinese Filigree > "Automatically Wrapped"
.......also see how these canes can be used when sliced across above in Canes > Automatically Wrapped > dot slices

........see more examples of automatically wrapped logs in Canes-Instr. > Wrapped-Bullseye canes

Could cover with metallic powder before baking, and then sand down through the colors? DB

Jo Anne's braid strands all gold (not sanded)
....also her braid has only 4 strands ... and it's braided by crossing over 2 at a time (braided trim on black vessel... bottom of page)
Marcella's 4 cut lengths of braid as strips applied around a long bead lengthwise

sections of polymer braid (some with mica powders) used as large, long focal bead for necklace (thewildbunny adds dangles to underside of braids also)

I used Premo in my clay gun --purple, gold, turquoise, and copper
..... after baking, I sanded the tops to expose the underlying colors with the wet/dry sandpaper up to 1500 grit, and the buffed ...didn't use lacquer of any kind. ...It was alot of fun to make! Kay (woven breastplate-type necklace --website?)

(see also lanyard-style woven braid cording, which may be made from clay ...above in Weaving)


(more) Websites

*Antoinetta's making rings (Dutch Accent site, new URL)
I do wear my rings; some last and some break. When they are not too tight, and made out of well-conditioned Premo, they hold up fairly well, but if you use Sculpeyflex (or a combination of the two) they are stronger. I would never sell them or even give them as a gift. They are too unreliable for that. Antoinetta
Kathndoll’s extruded vessels and chains
(website gone)
Ginny's xmas tree frame (gone?)
Family Fun's lesson on making a tea pot and set by wrapping a wood bead with clay ropes (bees/etc.)

Violette's clay cage made of ropes
(website gone)
Cheryl's framed pin using buna cord and similar red polymer roping, plus two rubber o-rings (website gone)

Kirsten's clay-gun rope frames around barrette and center medallion (website gone)
purple palillon (Rachel A's) Celtic pins with twisted rope outlines (gone?)
purplepapillon's frame-and-hanger on mirror made with continuous revolutions of clay rope onlaid (part of which opens for a hanging loop at the top) (click on "" in album cover window) (no loop at top)
*Anna's fabulous crazy patch of textures, clay gun extrusions, surface techniques and cane sheets (on a box) (one made at Lindly Haunani workshop) (website gone) (website gone)
Terry's clay ropes used around joint of two lentil beads (beads or bells inside) which is looped at two places along the way creating loops for connecting to a cord
Trina's papier mache basket covered with strands and braids of clay (website gone)

Debi Scott's various boxes and other items using many strands of rope
(website gone) ("Polymer Clay 1 & 2")
Rachel A's many filigree boxes (interiors, twisted ropes, granite, roses, balls with depressions) (see them all, click on Next, Next...)

(see also Beads, Onlay & Mosaics )