Summary of possibilities
....using guides for non-crooked lettering
Onlaid, or free-standing
...ropes, canework ropes, highlighting/antiquing, sculpted, liquid clay
...other materials to onlay
...cutters... pattern sheets, etc.
...stencil/freehand w/ Xacto-needle
Stamps and Molds
Carving, inscribing, writing
Other ways to make letters + Misc.

Inks for surface effects + for tinting
....basic types of inks and inkpads, differences
....alcohol-inks (transparent --Pinata, Adirondack, etc)
.......gen. info ...brands....application...thinners....make your own
.........for tinting clays (solid & liquid ... in canes, etc)
.........in stacks (mokume,etc)
.........for surface techniques (patterns on surface, crackling, painting, antiquing, etc)
....pearlescent inks ....crackling, mokume, etc
....chalk inks
Other "inks" + Misc.
More websites
Inks for writing & drawing on clay
...preparation & sealing
...pens, markers, etc.
.......pigment pens
.......dip pens/etc for tinted liquids (acrylics, inks, etc.)
.......markers (alcohol-based, pigment, Sharpies, chalk)
.......gel pens
.......paint markers
...Misc. drawing, writing, painting on clay



SUMMARY of possibiltiies

Condensed list of some technique Ideas:
....transferring (all kinds)
...stamping ... molds, carving erasers ....cells
...canes, and cane work
...carving, backfilling ... etching
...onlaying ropes or other extrusions
...mosaics, micro-mosaics

..liquid clay (piping, painting with, filling in, etc.)

The following pages show or have lessons on many ways of making letters:
Sculpey website

Etsy guild sites have various examples

Most of these techniques can also be used to make polymer clay lettering for name tags ... gift tags... cards...covers for journals, notebooks, etc.... bookmarks, and more.

Guides for Avoiding Crooked Lettering (or not)

When creating words or any combination of letters, it's sometimes difficult to keep them straight (or curved, or however you want them):

Could use two parallel lines (straight, curved, or whatever) for placing the letters *between* to help keep the letters all at the same height, etc.

....perhaps drawing lightly on the item with something erasable like pencil or chalk ... or using two pieces of tape, rubber bands, etc. to form the lines

....or write or lightly impress the letters on the raw clay first with a ball stylus or pin pricks as a guide

....Patti K's lesson on using ballpoint ink to transfer lettering onto clay to create lettering guide for a stamp (for a gift tag)

http://www.polymerclayhaven.com/lessons/gifttag.htm (gone)

What I do is to deliberately tilt the letters in different directions, move them up and down a bit from the 'line' they should be on, and make it look 'random' but 'arty'. Crafty Owl.


(see Clay Guns for more info on making even-thickness ropes which are round, square, rectangular, triangular, etc.)

Karyn's names on kids' pins (or anything) made with thin ropes of polymer clay).. simple, sans serif... along with simple flowers,faces,etc.
various nametags with onlaid ropes from Mile High guild
Josephine's onlaid letters with spirals at end of each
...also made from analogous "blended" colors from clay gun ...(not cursive)
...the initial capital letters have more than one rope line (sometimes wavy, etc.)
Jeanne R's lettering with ropes of colors ...some portions are plain colors which are joined to areas where 2 colors are twisted together (cursive)
Dimples' lesson on twisted ropes of color to shape individual letters (printed)

....Kathy G' used a rope made from 2 twisted rope colors to write on her nametag (cursive, etc.) (website gone)

Dar first covered metal coffee cans, then "wrote" the content on the outside with ropes of clay http://www.dar.addr.com/pctools5.jpg (gone)
Jan Ohio's polymer names with figures & name on sheriff's badge http://www.jjacksondesigns.homestead.com/Elves.html

Marie S's large freestanding letters, embellished with cutouts, and attached to a polymer base
Marie Segal's (large) polymer names... letters made with thick, solid-colored ropes, then pressed together
... tabletop "scenes" with figures
Marie S's large freestanding letters, on a clay base with sports objects as a theme
could place ropes of Balinese Filigree extrusions in letter shape, and bake... then fill in the lower areas in and around the ropes with another clay color of clay
. .(for more on general BF technique, see Onlay > Balinese Filigree)

various kinds of ropes can also be pressed down into a clay sheet or slab (or other shape?) after onlaying... the letter shapes will still be visible
...Leah's name on a plaque made with pressed-down 2-color twisted rope (website gone)
...Clayfreak's lesson on twisted square rope of mica clay, embedded into sheet of clay, for a letter "B"
(gone) (see details on techique tho in Mica > Twisted Ropes)

Evelyn's lettering has unusual "font" ... each letter composed of several tapered, triangular pieces (Japanese-look?)...on a clay plaque

more on ropes:
...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-Softener 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
Draw the size and shape of lettering you want on a piece of paper, then lay a piece of translucent paper (tracing, patty, or waxed paper) on top of it. Create the lettering by placing the clay snakes over the drawn sample. . . . Then either lay the xmas ornament (or other background) 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).

...clay rope lettering can be highlighted with metallic powder
.....or clay ropes could also be completely covered with powders (if onlaying onto another clay sheet, would be best to leave the underside of the rope without powder since it could act as a release and keep rope from having good contact)

...any inclusions could be used to make ropes (or cutouts, etc.) for lettering (see Inclusions and Fauxs for ideas)
Sunni's free-sculpted letters with inclusions
(foil flakes in translucent clay) + onlaid sculpted flowers (as necklace)
.... http://sunnisan.com/crafts/text.html
(see Stamping below for faux stone clay impressed with stamps)

Susan B's faux-ivory woman and decorative wood rod creating the letter D, with cane slice onlays... placed onto a background


... marble 2 or more colors, then roll into ropes, square ropes, etc., and shape as letters

... could stamp or press a texture sheet on top of already-formed rope letters just to give texture (could then highlight or antique too)

Debbie's many sculpted onlays on a large letter W
Diane N's cane slice onlays on tree bark made from marbled clay logs

...cover a permanent (or temporary) armature --purchased or made-- with cane slice sheets or other pattern sheets, onlays, etc,
Karen P. covered a wooden letter with onlays, etc.

syndee covered an aluminum foil in shape of letter with overlapped, torn pieces of black clay colored with various mica powder colors (Pearl Ex)

CANEWORK ropes, etc.
... can cover logs of clay with cane slices or with cane sheets, then shape them into letters (for freestanding letters or for onlaying onto other clay)

Sandy R made a letter as a "scene"... her T became a tree, with onlays of leaves and little critters... background is a grid of mosaic-tiles


LIQUID CLAY (usually tinted) :

create letters by painting or piping liquid clay onto a sheet of glass in letter shapes, and bake
....... then peel off the translucent shapes and place them on other clay, or on a window, etc. (see Liquid Clay > Films, Decals for much more on this)

use tinted liquid clay as a regularl "paint" (maybe for highlighting the tops of rope letters, or in other ways) by adding mica or real-metal powders, or oil paints, or some inks, to tint the liquid clay

each section of Amy K's letter was textured ...then highlighted with stamp pad ink... then backfilled with black liquid clay (..sections then placed together on background)

Patty K's tinted liquid clay (with alcohol ink) painted over baked textured gold clay which has been covered with gold mica powder and surrounded by gold rope frame

Kellie R used purple-inted liquid clay inside each star-shaped cutout cell of a gold clay sheet which had been cut in shape of a letter and framed (on top of a base sheet of clay)
...OR perhaps, the top gold sheet with cutous was placed on top of a solid purple sheet, so that the purple showed through


other materials to onlay ......(dimensional)

acrylic gel medium (that paste stuff in a container which will become dimensional,... when dry?)
.... it comes in all sorts of textures, stiffness, and gloss through flat. . . .You can tint it with acrylic paint or paint pigments, but, since it 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 . You can use it on paper, canvas, or (baked) polymer clay . . . You can also run it through just about any cake-decorating tip to make designs. . . . It is produced by both "Golden" and "Liquitex" brands and available at art supply stores, and I know Michael's has it. Barb
use it alone, or as a way to make a stamp or mold:

Quick Pen....glue pen used with metal leafing . . . write or fill-in-draw as you would with a marker ...let the glue tack-up about 2 minutes, then apply leaf. Brush off excess with soft bristle brush... would also work with foils??
FimoZone http://store.yahoo.com/fimo/73210.html ... $2.49... # 73210

(see info on hot foiling pens in Leaf > Foils)



Alphabet cutters of various kinds and sizes can be purchased --from less than 1" tall to well over 2"-- as cookie cutters, aspic cutters, etc ...or you can make your own cutters
(see Cutters > Sources for suppliers of various sizes of these alphabet and number cutters ...the smallest are around 1/2"?
....also see "technical details" on that page for ways to keep clay from sticking in cutters, releases, techniques, etc.)
(see Cutters > Making Your Own as well)

Marie S's miniature toy train, with each car carrying a (cutout) letter (of a child's name, etc.)

I used alphabet cutters (for the letters of my name)... then I placed the letters right next to each other on the cookie sheet (so they joined)
....put some flowers on for embellishment... baked ...then attached the joined letters onto my computer monitor with 3M-putty stuff. Annadara

These cutters can be used to cut out letter shapes from patterned or from solid-color clay sheets or slabs
...pattern sheets could have second plain-clay layer underneath for more thickness if needed
(see Sheets of Pattern for loads of possibilities)

stencils or freehand ....with Xacto or needle tool

You can cut your letters out freehand from a patterned or solid-color sheet of clay, using an Xacto knife or a long pin, etc.
....for info on how to do that in various ways, see Cutters-Blades > Cutting Out Freehand and Stencils & Templates

Marie Browning's lesson making onlaid raised lettering on "mossy stones"
...she uses 1" alphabet stencil to mark letters (making letters whole)
....and cuts them out with perpendicular Xacto knife...then uses them as onlays (to see more, see Outdoor > Sun > Lessons) http://www.craftsmag.com/projects/project.ihtml?content_id=284&cat_idx=

You can also print your lettering on your printer first
..then make a clay sheet
...place the printed paper on the clay
...use a ball stylus or other object to trace the outline of the number... when you remove the paper, there will be an impression in the clay of the number
...cut around the shape with a xacto knife... remove the excess clay...then bake. Diana

stencils ...or masking off
Get a stenciling template and cut out your letters from slabs using a fine needle tool and the stencil for a guideline. Lyrael
...I had a great idea today for doing very small letters on polymer clay..... I came across a brass laser cut stencil.... straight lines of letters can be difficult...this would solve that problem. The stencil is quite small maybe 2 x 3 inches (that fits the entire alphabet upper and lower case). . . . . There would be a couple of ways to apply the lettering, either with the stylus . .
..... or you could use something like pearl ex powders while covering up the unwanted letters.. -NF
...........small pieces of masking tape would work for covering the other letters while you pearl-ex the letters. Sally
....you could cut your own letters from waxed paper (or other paper, plastic film, cardstock), then use those as stencils to apply metallic powders, etc. . . . or you could use your stencils guides to emboss or carve the clay


Individual letters or whole words can be created with stamps (and molds) of all kinds.


On baked clay, rubberstamps can be used with inks or paints in the same way as one would stamp anywhere, to put flat stamped lettering on clay.
.......pigment inks may work best... or seal or bake them to keep from smearing

On raw clay, stamps can be used to make an impression of the stamp in the clay, often without ink but could use inked stamps (or metallic powders, etc.).
This technique is more common in polymer clay than simply stamping in the normal way.
.....I tried dipping a letter stamp in some Pearl-Ex ( tamping excess off), and pressing it onto a sheet of clay. . . if inked impression is not clean looking enough, can sand upper surface later

highlighting just the topmost areas of stamped raw clay with metallic powders or other things creates a wonderful look and makes the lettering really stand out

antiquing or backfilling, or otherwise using coloring only in depressions of a stamped impression will also make it stand out more :
...impressions can be made in raw clay with uninked stamps or other implements, then backfilled after baking with soft/raw clay or acrylic paints, or tinted liquid clay, etc.
...impressions can also be made in raw clay with inked stamps.....ink can be applied with make-up sponge
.......pigment inks may work best... (or seal or bake them to keep from smearing)
...I tried dipping a letter in some Pearl-Ex and pressing it onto a sheet of clay. . . . may not be very clean looking though (sand)
(...after any of these techniques, sanding the baked clay can remove excess color from the upper areas)
...baked clay can also be carved with various tools, then backfilled (see Carving)
...Jean S's bowls with the word "Dream" or "Galaxy", etc., in the inside bottom (stamped with ink?)
...Marie S's fun necklace ...faux stone or ivory "tiles" each stamped with individual letter, then antiqued with brown acrylic paint
....Denver Guild name tag ...stamped, then possibly covered with gold powder, baked, and sanded leaving gold only in depressions ...(top rolled over to accomodate rattail? for neckwear)

lesson on stamping a cursive text stamp onto raw clay with pigment ink (as a background, before adding other stamped images and baking) to make a pin)... looks like the stamping created isn't very deep in this case?
Debbie Anderson's dangled stamped "Imagine" letters underneath the frame of a pin ( John Lennon transfer)

few options for the background so the stamped letters will show up well
...use a contrasting color solid clay for the background (or use a metallic powders, leaf, paints,etc.)
...or create a contrast in the stamped area by antiquing or backfilling it with a contrasting color of clay, paint, ink, etc.
...marbled clay, or clay patterns, can make good backgrounds too
.......e.g., Skinner or other blends....or a pattern made from just any technique (...cane slices, mokume gane, mica clays, etc.)

After any of these techniques, sanding the baked clay surface can remove excess color from the upper areas.

nowwhatzine 's lesson on making individual-letter tiles (each tile has a letter stamped into it)
...tiles are cut on a tray with cornstarch on it to avoid sticking, following the outlines which were impressed by the edges of the wood mount of the the stamp (can rock stamp in the clay a bit to get these lines if necessary)
...impressed and baked tiles are then arranged onto a background, glued on, then framed (cardboard matte frame)
http://www.dotcalmvillage.net/nowwhatzine/hiddenmessages.html (several pgs)

word stones, "touch stones," "worry stones"... and letters
...Years ago I bought a piece of glass that had been etched with *words*... the kind that speak to you on many levels. I started a word list of my own way back then... and thought they'd work up real well in polymer, but never did it till now. . .
.... I used different faux treatments than you did... and I used stamp sets to create the words & symbols...I sanded, buffed & antiqued 'em... It was fun. Joanie
...I gave some word stones to our secretary in a handmade felt pouch, and she keeps it on her desk... every morning when she comes to work she picks her word (without looking first) for the day. I do the same thing, but at home and its amazing how the word seems to be just what's needed for that day. Joyce
...I was working on some words for sister & my niece who's getting married soon. I think I'm going to make them a bowl as well to hold them in. I'll suggest they start their days off that way too & see how it works out for them, thanks! Joanie
.....would be good for general gifts, AIDS patients, anyone . . . I agree...it would be a wonderful item to donate to troubled people. They make a good *focus* point to bring your mind away from your particular trouble & back to something that's positive, or important, in your life. Joanie
...some touch stones (made with inclusions) http://www.art-e-zine.co.uk/playwithclay.html
...what about number, letter or shape stones for kids learning to read, math, etc.?

individual letters can also be stamped onto faux stone
...Cindy's runes stamped (using metallic powder) onto clay covered with leaf (variegated gold and copper), then covered with thin translucent clay
...rune pendants antiqued, and one highlighted with dark gold powder too?
(for more on impressing words (and letters, runes) into faux stones , see Gifts > Misc. Ideas --near bottom)

Tonja's alphabet letter pins. . . .I stamped each letter using a rubberstamp from an alphabet set from Rubber Stampede onto the clay (they already have a texture)... then I just trimmed away the excess clay around the sides, leaving raised edges (like a raised frame around a depressed interior) ..
. . . I then carefully took small pieces of foil and gently applied it to the center areas, trying to keep it off the raised edges (!).... Then I coated the edges with Pearl-X and baked the letters. ....after they cooled,I applied a very thin coat of liquid clay and baked again (think it took 3 times to get the area filled) ....Once all that was done, I used a bit of that scrap clay to hold on the pinback and baked it one last time.

can also make faux "letter beads" like those for newborns... or letter tiles for necklaces like those which have been popular?

(METAL letter stamps...purchased)
...1/4" alphabet and number stamps, including "&" and "." .....plus holder (brass spring-action setter intended for impressing the letters into metal)
...1/16" and 1/8" metal alphabet stamps
...Tandy Leather Company has metal stamps in small sizes designed for stamping onto leather, including several sizes and styles of alphabets. They are perfect for what you are describing, and have nice long-ish handles that screw on so you don't run the risk of damaging your clay by trying to dig out a flat stamp with your fingertip. I have tried some variations on your idea before, and all were successful! You can still order from Tandy by going to http://www.TandyLeather.com. They are strictly mail order now.
...metal dies used for marking tools. The dies that I found at Harbor Freight (.com) are quite heavy and not as large as 1" . Karen in NC
... IJS and other jewelry supply houses carry metal stamps made for working with metals. Meredith
...find an old typewriter and rip out the keys to use as alphabet and number stamps?
I went to a local antique shop and bought a set of 14pt. Cheltenham (a classic serif face). Upper and lower case alphabets plus 10 numbers and some punctuation cost about $15. It did take over an hour to sort through the type tray to find everything but it was worth it! . . . I tried dipping a letter in some Pearl-Ex and pressing it onto a sheet of clay. Looked pretty good but the impression of the letter isn't as deep as a stamp would be and I had to be careful not to get an impression of the edge of the lead carrier. Experiments continue! --Carolyn

I made my own tiny letter stamps
.. first I bought a rubberstamp making kit of individual letters and numbers ($10.99 from office supply department at WalMart)... the kind that you could make a return address.....
..... I superglued each tiny number to the unsharpend end of a pencil, and now I have a complete set of number stamps. Ohio Jan
or you could put the tiny stamps in the holder that comes with them and use that way.... it does have only four lines, but you could also make a larger holder for the letters out of polymer clay!

I use alphabet macaroni (lettering and numbers) for little stamps to use on the backs of some of my stuff.
.......I bake little squares of clay then superglue the macaroni letters to the clay face down ....one bag lasts a lifetime!
...see also Marie's lesson on using alphabet macaroni (and a background strip or clay shape) to make silicone molds of the letters and shapes (like little plaques) ... just below in "Molds"
... various shapes of macaroni are also sold for seasonal usages.... violins, angels, christmas trees, sample houses....they're pretty small though.
....I baked that "texture sheet" with many pieces of alphabet pasta in it (it worked quite well with the flexible clay & Premo mix... after baking, it was really easy to bend and kind of flick out the pasta, especially if you dusted the clay with baby powder or cornstarch). Jainnie
.......(could also put the letters/shapes in the raw clay sheet, then make a texture sheet mold)
...Mary Lyons' lesson on creating for a spelling, etc. game for kids with cubes of clay and a pasta alphabet letter pressed into each side

To make a stamp that produces raised lettering, use a ballpoint pen to write your name or logo or initials on a sheet of paper. Place the paper ink side down on a raw sheet of polymer clay. Press into place and let rest about fifteen-twenty minutes. Lift off the paper and to reveal the transfered design, a mirror image of the original. Use a ball stylus or a tapestry needle to engrave along the ink lines. Gently, very gently, run a roller over the engraved lines to reduce the burrs or rough edges. Clean up the lines again with your engraving tool and bake. …. Once baked, the ink will be fixed in the clay and won't transfer when you use your mold. This method works best if you scribe your design into a sheet of raw clay that's atop a sheet of baked clay. The baked clay prevents you from scribing too deeply….You can attach to a polymer handle after baking if you wish. After baking, the ink residue left on the clay does not seem to transfer. Katherine
.... to "write" on the clay (to create an impression), I like to use fine tip ball point pen that has run out of ink. (The ink dispensers I like are the clear ones so you can see the ink is really out. I then ( with a syringe), put in some alcohol to clean the cartridge out well.) The pen nib, being a metal ball, rolls on the clay, thus not scratching it. For thicker lines, use a medium size pen.. . Beanster

...To make a stamp that produces recessed lettering, use two-step mold process. Do this by engraving your design or signature directly into the raw clay. Again, use a roller to clean up any burrs, and bake. Make a mold of the recessed image and bake. ....The second mold will have raised edges and be a mirror image. It will produce a recessed signature in the clay. This is the technique I use to sign my sculptures. I keep the original engraved clay master and replace my mold when it begins to show wear. — Katherine
...to make a stamp that produces a raised lettering, print initials (reverse!) into raw clay and bake...
........to make a stamp that produces a impressed or "incised" letterint, .print initials into clay and bake.....then stamp that baked bit into more raw clay, and bake that. Cathy

To make a hand-written or hand-drawn mold (for a signature or other):
... write your name(in cursive, or however you want) or do other writing or drawing on a piece of paper (I use tissue paper).
....place the paper on a slab of scrap clay, then trace over it, pressing hard enough to leave an impression.
....now, carve out the lines, neaten any rough spots, and bake.
..You will now use this piece as the matrix for the next step:
. . . . .Using mold release (Armorall, corn starch), press a ball of raw clay into the carved out section. (I then shape the ball of clay while it's still pressed in the "mold" to a shape I can easily hold) (...the stamp will be properly reversed).
........Bake this and voila! you have a signature stamp! (idea from Tory Hughes' video tape "Molds, Stamps and Tools" ) karen
For large, flat pieces I have used a scrap of super sculpey to make a texture stamp of my signature, but that doesn't seem to work well on small things. Halla

you can also create your own letter stamps with clay ropes which are attached to a sheet of clay (in reverse!) ... bake ...then use as a stamp
... the same thing can be done with string or other cording glued onto a block of wood or clay, etc.

you can make your own stamp with clay ...I made the original signature fairly deep, baked it. Dusted it with cornstarch then pressed raw clay into it, peeled that out, then baked it and mounted it on a scrap of wood as a stamper.

see more on making your own stamps-molds below in Molds... the two techniques can overlap

create your own letter stamps from white plastic erasers .... http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/museum/316/ltr.html
(see more on eraser carving in Stamping)

Ready Stamps....Draw or copy on paper whatever you want in the way of lettering, and send it off to Ready Stamps (see Stamping) .... you will receive a rubberstamp and a mold (positive and negative) for any text (or graphics) you've sent http://www.polyclay.com/ready.htm --or have it done at an office supply or rubberstamp store.
.....If you are getting a logo stamp made at someplace like Office Max, e.g. , I suggest that you choose print that is very thin and has large holes in the "a's, e's, etc." In fact, I use the "economy-print" feature on my printer because it give me the thinnest lines---therefore the stamp impression is "more crisp" and distinguishable. mamadude
....I used a script font in my computer and typed out my first name reversed onto a sheet of paper. I did this in several sizes. . . . then I sent it to a place (ReadyStamps) and had a matrix and a hard plastic sheet (innie and outie) made. Dotty
... I use the hard plastic sheet to "print" my signature onto raw clay. Works great. I use all the sizes, depending on the piece I'm signing. Dotty in CA

signature possibilities:
...nowadays I use a signature stamp. I just press a thin piece of clay into the stamp ... I put that onto each piece.
...... After baking I sand, buff, and often antique so the letters show better.
......The stamp is very small so it can go on most all of the work I do. Dotty

.....I sometimes forget to put the signature on before baking, so after baking I put the sig onto a small piece of raw clay, bake that, then glue it onto the piece. Dotty
....Varda bakes the impression of her name from a credit card to use as a mold for imprinting her name on raw clay
...some people actually "sign" each piece by writing-inscribing in the raw clay. ...I signed my pieces for a long time by inscribing a dot and a large T into the unbaked clay.
......others make signature canes, then cut off a thin slice and put it on their work.
....see making a signature stamp with one's own handwriting or drawing, below in Carving

....see more in Stamping as well
....see also "molds" just below


individual letters can be made from molds (purchased or made )

Sculpey's Alphabet pushmold ...http://www.sculpey.com/Products/products_eztheme.htm
alphabet molds (some are intended for use with gum paste) http://www.sweetc.com/ (Catalog/page 82)

Create any letters or lettering you want with black ink on a piece of paper, then send to Ready Stamps.... they will return a stamp sheet, a mold sheet which can all be used with clay (more details on Ready Stamps in Stamping)

Make a positive of each individual letter by sculpting or otherwise forming the letters out of raw clay (ropes, freehand, cut-outs, molded letters, etc.) (draw or print out the alphabet you want first, if you want). Bake.
....use these single letters as is,
OR....place baked letters on a background sheet of raw clay in the position you want for words or other groupings, then rebake, and make a mold of that (or use as is)
transfer the design to baked clay and carve the letter out.
...then take a mold of the positive you just made, building up the sides for a mold or making a handle for a stamp.

(for words or inidividual letters)
....I bought one of those hand label guns (with the tape) for my raised lettering and made an Alley Goop (silicone) mold from it..... I pressed out the name I wanted with the gun, made the mold, and then put raw clay in the mold! It works perfectly! .....now I can use powders or metallic powders to highlight the lettering! . . . a fast easy way to get your name, or other words onto your product!
.......one tip: to see if there are any areas that need to be corrected, first press some clay onto the label you made...(I noticed that the little hole in the R gets filled in, and the E needs to be more distinct...so I used a wax tool to get into those areas (on the label) and pressed down ...then check it with clay again... when it's right, make a mold and go from there. Karen (Clay Alley)

Varda bakes the impression of her name from a credit card to use as a mold for imprinting her name on raw clay

Marie's lesson on using alphabet pasta to make lettering on strip "banners" or on shaped "plaques"
...place pasta letters onto #1 sheet of raw clay (facing upward) on a sheet of glass or ceramic tile however wanted
...press down on all lettering at one time (not more than 1/2 way through clay sheet) with foam side of foam-backed stamp (or something else stiff, but with a little give maybe) to make all letters extend upward ti the same height
...cut a strip or other shape around each set of letters (or make several strips for rows of words)... remove all excess clay
...bake, on tile without moving clay... let cool on tile
...mix 2-part silicone putty (see Molds>Silicone Putties) --or use flexible clay, regular clay or another molding material, with a release) but silicone will give the greatest detail to the molded letters
......press slab of putty (roughly same shape as clay shape) over baked clay and pasta on tile, pressing down all around onto tile just past baked clay (don't let putty get too thin)
...let putty cure 15 min or recommended time for brand... remove from tile, then remove mold from clay
...use logs, strips, or balls of raw clay to fill the molded areas (see Molds > Making Yourself for info on how to use molds, releases, remove clay, etc)
...apply raw clay to an item as embellishment... or bake clay and glue on later or use singly as spelling tiles, etc.

see more on making your own stamps-molds above in Stamping... the two techniques overlap a lot

liquid clay (tinted or not) can also be filled into depressions created by a stamped impression in raw clay, which is baked (...or by carving, as below)
...for (filling in) impressed lettering, you could tint liquid clay with artists' oil paint (or Pearl Ex, or a few other things), then flow it into the dents... then wipe it off the surface, and bake (300, 10 min for greatest clarity) . Jody B
(... see much more on this technique in Liquid Clays > Cloisonne > "liquid clay in the cells")
.... or use as a glaze on molded lettering

CARVING & writing-/inscribing letters

carve letters into baked clay, then:
....leave as is
...after baking, backfill with another color of clay , and bake again (excess may need to be removed from suface by sanding)
........see more on this in Carving > Backfill
... backfill the depressed areas with tinted liquid clay, etc.
........see more on this in Liquid Clay > Cloisonne > "liquid clay in cells"
...antique the depressed areas with acrylic paints

highlight the topmost areas with metallic powders, or with liquid clay with inclusions
.........I used Rub "n Buff metallic wax to color my raised lettering (...also found out that I could use a tiny bit of Diluent-Softener to "erase" it)

I often sign my work with a scratch tool after baking ...then you can highlight in scrimshaw fashion by brushing gesso on, letting it dry, and buffing off the excess with a plastic wool scrubber.. . better to do it after you've glazed the item. The paint sticks nicely to the scratches, but buffs off readily from the rest. Halla

For years I've been trying to find a way to sign my polymer work without using a magic marker or a stamp. I've finally found what I've been looking for. A small, battery operated hand engraver.... IT'S FANTASTIC! On my first try on baked clay I was able to finally sign a piece that didn't look contrived! And because it's the size of a marker it didn't bother my arthritis, just held it like a pen and signed!!! . . . my engraver is about 7" long, black and grey and has a small 'diamond' point end. The point is about the size of a pencil tip and it engraves very tiny words. I've never had a problem controlling it but everyone is different..... Perfect signature because the pressure is so light and the clay is so soft after baking. . . . Look around in your home improvement stores, you might be able to find one there. ...love the fact that I can sign my work and it doesn't look hokey. Carolyn
http://www.essentialscompany.co.uk/Metal_Labels.html ? http://www.minicrafttools.com/engraver.html ?
... Those are like mine and don't know the name. Think it was one of those no name brands...think of a big fat magic marker that's a bit longer and you've got the size and basic shape. Carolyn

Sometimes I sign with a needle tool before baking. Halla
Some people actually "sign" each piece by writing-inscribing in the raw clay....I signed my pieces for a long time by inscribing a dot and a large T into the unbaked clay. Dotty

(see technique for making a stamp by drawing or writing on tissue paper, tracing over with a stylus, then baking before carving out the slightly-incised lines more deeply to create a above in Stamping)

(see more in Carving) ......and see other ways to put a signature on pieces in Stamping above


Do a direct transfer of the letters onto clay .
. . or create a decal transfer then place wherever needed (see Transfers for many transfer techniques)

Could you transfer the lettering (which had been copied in reverse) onto raw clay, then press in the lettered areas with a tool like I did with an embossing stencil? Hmmmm. Julia S
...or press around the outside of the letters, so they'd end up raised?

I created a whole page of my name and logo in reverse on my laser printer (if no laser printer, photocopy reversed lettering instead). I then cut them apart. . . . When I bake, I set the raw clay object on one of these small pieces of paper (normally a flat spot on the back or bottom). this causes the laser ink to transfer to the object and will be proper. . . . If there isn't a flat spot I wet the paper and mold it to an easy curve, then bake.( If the piece is large and I don't want to bake the whole thing, I will tape the piece of paper onto a relatively hidden area like the base and then get out an embossing gun (or hair dryer) and heat up the paper.) Wala transferred ink. ....I tried to scratch off the ink on my test pieces. On those pieces that were baked sitting on the paper, the ink is a part of the object. . . but on pieces where I have added the label after firing, It does SCRAPE off, but still takes some work. Lysle

I do sometimes do transfers of drawings in graphite &/or charcoal. Presumably, calligraphy letters could work too. Just write them on a thin paper (single-sheet printer paper for inkjet printers is good for transparency), flip it over, & trace the letters in graphite, say a 4B pencil (or softer). The letters come out backward. After that, doing the transfer should make the letters show up on the clay, facing the right way. . . . . Tip: If anyone here does transfers regularly & wants to try the technique above, use Mars Lumograph pencils. They're the best! They make really dark grays. Rap

You can also still buy the burnish-on lettering sheets from office supply, some art supply, or drafting stores, and use those on baked clay as you normally would on paper.

Sally J's spirit beads with words and petroglyphs transferred? onto bead surfaces

Debbie A's various word transfers (covered with thin translucent?)
http://www.geocities.com/thousand_canes (click on "Wearable Art" for various examples)

For using the etching transfer technique to create a stamp or mold of lettering, see above in "Stamps,etc."

CANED letters & words

Individual letters or whole words can be created as a cane, or as the primary image in a cane (with background added).
...If they are individual letters, they can be pressed together to make a "word" cane
.....or they can placed separately to make whole words as needed (as thin slices rolled into a background, or as thick slices used as onlays or for freestanding letters)

caned alphabet letters, each with different background... (Sillie Millies)
Cindy P's caned words ...love, joy, power http://www.cindysartandsoul.com/canes1.html
*Cheryl's entire caned alphabet http://members.aol.com/cmich80220/index.html (gone)
Kim's caned initials (website gone)
Nae's caned initials on an egg(website gone)

lesson on using a small cutter (letter or number shaped) to make a cane
...roll out a small pancake of the background color which is as thick-tall as the cutter is
.........and then roll out an identical pancake of letter color
...then I use a small cookie cutter to cut out the letter from the letter-color pancake
........then cut a hole of the same shape from the background-color pancake
... then I place the letter in the hole (can stretch the hole a bit, or make a cut from the outside of the pancake, preferably at a corner of the letter, to the hole and separate the background apart a bit --but carefully rejoin the cut pieces or there could be a small uneveness in the outside of the finished letter
...reduce .... very easy, and you'll be surprized how little distortion there is.
....I make various letters in different colors... or just different colors for letter or background
The same basic idea (two pancakes of color) can sometimes be translated to making letter canes, by using only paper shapes for the patterns rather than using a cutter, and doing the cutting with a blade
(see more details on both the cutter & paper-pattern methods in
Canes-Gen > Cutters)
(see sources to purchase small alphabet cutters in Cutters)

I made a pretty letter cane using the faux. mosaic "pixel" technique taught by CityZen Cane...turned out so pretty.
(see Canes-Instr. > Bullseye > Mosaic for loads of details)

Can also use a folded cane technique to create letters
(see Canes-Instr. > Folded for details)

Use translucent + opaque "floating" canes
. . . build a cane with your initials in black (or any opaque color) with background of translucent clay. I made christmas ornaments with the word "Mexmas 97" this way. I pressed the very thin cane slices onto my design so the letters appeared to float above the other design elements.
... I also made a christmas/palm tree with black&transparent and they seemed to rise up from the beach scene.
(see details on this technique in Canes-Instr. > Translucent+Opaque)

Use noodle attachment of pasta machine, or clay gun extrusions, to make your cane components very even.

It's a good idea to wrap your letter itself with a sheet of background color before adding the background, to avoid unevenness in the letter outline)
... I did some canes with Chinese words. . . the most important part is to be especially careful about filling in all the spaces that were not the writing. One way I found to help me with this was to do the line for the writing as a sandwich of background----"ink"----background.

I have been working on word canes, too! Mine are also legible, but a little distorted.
.... I have found that with PLENTY of background on the outside of the cane, the distortion is less.. . . I put the canes in the fridge over night (sometimes a little longer). Then I reduce it.
....The rectangular canes had no distortion at all, round canes distort a tiny little bit and I think that is just from slightly uneven pressure on my part when reducing.
....As for cutting, I always put my canes in the fridge for at least 8 hours before cutting.

I have reduced an initials cane that was less than 1/2" thick, 1" long by 3" wide to a tiny 1/4"
....lesson: Keep the cane on a flat surface that is smooth but that it can stick to a little, but not too much. I used my tissue blade and a piece of plastic on the opposite side (my cane was shaped like a rectangle), and kept pulling the clay inward, rotating each side after I pulled it in a small amount. Left+Right inward, then Top+Bottom inward. Every so often you may want to press the top clay that moves faster down very little. Once the cane gets tall enough, then you can reduce it the regular way by pressing in the center, on all sides evenly, and moving outward/upward. I did have waste, but the image reduced pretty clear. Darlene
(see Canes-Reducing for many ways to successfully reduce canes with little distortion)

Some people make signature canes... then cut off a thin slice and put it on their work. Dotty

I also do (custom) name canes for sale.... byrd http://www.3wave.com/chhome/cha/byrd.html

OTHER WAYS to make letters ......& Misc.

micro-mosaic technique ....see more on this technique in Mosaics > Micro Mosaics
http://www.mdpag.org/maryjo.htm (click on Coffee & Blue...)

polymerclayhaven's lesson on making letters with strips of clay, on a sheet of glass with enlarged printed words underneath

OK, this is pretty old news to most of you who have tried etching with Gwens wonderful method. But when I tried to develop new ways to use that, I found a great thing I want to share with you: making stamp sheets for imprinting my name to beads... . . I made a photocopy page full of my name. (No reverse printing this time, kids) I then made a polyclay sheet from it by etching it the Gibson way (see Transfers > Etching). Then I baked it. (This creates a baked clay tile with indented lettering as well as a paper with projecting letters.) Now all I have to do is roll my beads on top of that tile, and voilá: my name is on the beads. (These "name beads" do not need paint, light is the only paint needed. As the letters are raised above ground level they catch the light and show the writing. And if the light is not right, the bead looks like the other ones.)
....This same technique can be used to make small scale surface decorating for beads. I have made some tiles for veins, tiled- wall , lace etc. Really easy way to make interesting beads ! PoRRo?
To make lettering with Gwen Gibson's reversed etching technique using the baked clay left on paper (can paint from behind or back with colored clay, or can use as a stamp by itself but will need to reverse the image) see Transfers > Etched

mica clays can also be used to create "ghost image" lettering using stamps, cutters, or embossing...(see Mica >Ghost Images):
. . . . scratch or impress into the top of a mica sheet with a stylus (or letter stamps or cutters) and flatten before shaving off the top layer which reveals the impressions
.... I've even used this method to write mica shifted words. . . I put some clay (in zigzag or letter shapes) on the sheet of gold mica clay, then put it through the pasta machine. Then I covered (the egg) with the sheet, with the side I had put the extra clay on against the egg. The design doesn't show up at this point at all. Only after baking & a pretty heavy sanding does the mica shift become apparent. ... Claire

Liz's use of real Scrabble letter tiles on layered polymer pin (to spell a name)

Maggie's lessons on making cursive lettering with wire ...writing names (could use as "stamp" too?)

Can use as liquid clay a normal "paint" by adding mica or real-metal powders, or oil paints, or some inks, to tint the liquid clay, then could paint or use on a stamp to make lettering

(see much more below in "Inks for Writing on Clay")

FONT INSPIRATION for making any kind of lettering
loads of personal-use alphabets ... fancy font letters and hobbies/themed alphabets
loads of personal-use kid-oriented fonts and dingbats at Heather's site


INKS for Surface Effects + Tinting:
Tinting ...Stamping ...Mokume Gane ...Faux Enamel ...Paintings...etc

ransparent, alcohol-based, pearlescent, metallic, other inks...)

TYPES of Inks & Inkpads

DB: ADD to STAMPING and/or PAINTING as well

Many inks can be used with clay, though they may need to be treated or applied differently (heat set, sealed, etc).

...the inks in ink pads can be used to apply ink to stamps, or to pat or swipe directly on clay
...ink in the "re-inker" bottles (intended to refill ink pads) can be used as a straight liquids to color clay on the outside or throughout it, etc.

...foam pads are for pigment inks ... and cloth pads are for dye inks. Ellen
... You can make your own foam-type stamp pads by buying (white) Cut 'n Dry foam pads, by Ranger, and pigment ink re-inker bottles.....the foam pad can be cut into smaller pads with a kitchen shears ....Polymerclayexpress carries both
http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/molds5.html & http://polymerclayexpress.com/inks.html Ellen
...Don't forget to store any ink pads upside down so they are ready to use wihout pounding on them with your stamp. Mavis

comparison of inks

It appears that there is no hard and fast rule stating that dye inks work one way and pigment inks work another
....(there is even variation among acrylic inks and paints).
....this is simply because of the different formulations manufacturers use, and they introduce new products constantly.

Buying many inks to test can be costly, so I tend to stick with some tried 'n true inks, like:
...Jacquard's Lumiere, Dye-na-flow, textile... Golden's fluid acrylic... alcohol inks (Jacquard's Pinata, and Ranger's Adirondack)... F&W and Doc Martin's acrylic inks... Stewart Gil's Bryzantia, and Golden's airbrush colors.... I also like Letraset's Tria or Promarkers. Ellen M.
....Which type of ink you choose will depend mostly upon what kinds of techniques you work with the most, and/or what you want the inks to do.
...the short answer re all inks: TEST THEM FIRST! Laurie D'A

on the PCE bulletin board, I wrote a comparison to help people understand some of the basic characteristics of each ink. I still have 6-8 brands to add to it... Elizabeth
http://polymerclayexpress.com/inks2.html (dye inks)
http://polymerclayexpress.com/inks.html (pigment inks )

Kimberly's explanations re the different kinds of ink
single color, office-type felt inkpads. . .*raised* ink pads

Sarajane's visuals on different inks and clay

Laurie D'A's comparisons
...regular pigment inks work great ... will heat set during baking ... no sealing necessary afterward
.......some metallic pigment inks will not set at all though...you can seal them, but there will be some smudging
...dye based inks will not cure at all, and will completely come off when you try to brush sealer on them.
...some hybrid inks (like chalk finish) will set enough to get a sealer on them (if you don't seal them, they generally rub off).
......hybrid pigment inks don't set either.
...alcohol based inks will dry on clay... I would seal them just to be safe
...acrylic paints can also be used for stamping on raw clay ...use a makeup sponge to apply the paint to the stamp.
...pigment powders can also be stamped with, then very carefully sealed so the design doesn't rub off.

Brilliance pigment inks dry on unbaked clay.
...Colorbox pigment inks by Clearsnap do not dry, unless you put an acrylic varnish afterwards; you can also put the varnish on first let it dry and then stamp.

attempt at a SUMMARY (not sure of accuracy though!)

TYPES of inks: dye, pigment (all inks fall under those two main categories?)
... alcohol-based,
embossing and fabric inks, chalk inks ...acrylic inks?, solvent? washable child-safe inks,
...all can be purchased in "re-inker" bottles rather than in the pads

diff's in characteristics
(though re paper)

pigment inks are thick and opaque (...and the color in the stamp pad will be similar to the color they actually stamp out)
dye inks are thinner in consistency and transparent (thinner consistency makes them more concentrated so they appear darker in the stamp pad and bear no resemblance to the color the ink will stamp out)

pigments do not dissolve (and are easier to clean off of hands and stamps)
dyes dissolve in solution, and blend well

pigments are more light and heat stable than most dyes... so are good choice when finished art will be displayed

pigment Inks take longer to dry (and are also a good choice to use as an embossing ink)
....water based, pigment inks do not dry on coated paper or non-porous surfaces.
dye inks dry quickly on all types of paper making them easier to work with

(for info on the properties of the pigments that create color in polymer clay, inks, etc., see Color > Helpful Tips > Pigments)

types & some terminology

DYE-based ink is a fast-drying ink that stamps well on all papers, but is also ideal for use on glossy and other non-absorbent papers.... clear, crisp images
...Ancient Page (ClearSnap's ...very saturated)
...Memories ...Kaleidacolor
...Vivid! ... bright, vivid colors, sharp detail, especially on glossy paper. Dries rapidly, even on coated papers (however, we recommend Ancient Page permanent dye inks or ColorBox Pigment Inks, properly heat set or embossed, for most archival projects).

DYE INKS (WATERBASED) (Stampin’ Up! Classic Ink Pads are an example of dye inkpads ~ EXCEPT Black! Marvy Matchables ...inking surfaces-- felt, linen and sponge. ...used on most any type of paper ...very quick drying time... they soak in and stain the fibers of the paper rather than sitting on top of the paper... (so on darker paper, may not show up well) ...may run-bleed if in contact with water or used in conjunction with water based mediums .Many acid-free, but do tend to fade with time and especially sunlight if your stamped item is not treated with a special UV fixative to help impede that process... no metallics or white...cannot emboss with them... stamp pads can dry out

DYE-BASED ...WATERPROOF (Stampin’ Up!’s Black inkpad is an example of dye-based waterproof ink, so are the Memories inkpads...... Clearsnap's Ancient Page, a line of dye inks that are very saturated.) ...once dry, will not run with water or waterbased markers.
...Some acid-free ....need one of these pads myself, and it is the black one....though NOT classified as permanent

Archival Inks, by Ranger (StampDiva & other websites carry them) (dye?) can be used on baked or unbaked clay .
...they are completely waterproof after they quickly dry, so watercolors, acrylics or water-based sealers will work fine on top of them.
...the container says they are also fade-resistant. Mavis

PIGMENT ...thicker and slow-drying (which makes them suitable for embossing)... glycerin-based?
...the ink sits on top of a surface (rather than soaking in and staining)..available in metallics and white and will show up on dark papers....fade resistant... most acid free ..
...comes off stamps with water ...permanent when heat set ...can't dry out; maybe store upside down for best performance
....when used on coated papers, it does not dry and must be
heat set (can use embossing powder first)
...embossing powders should not be baked in the oven? (run?), so save them for the last step (with clay), and use with a heat gun. Sarajane

...(on regular paper will be brighter since stays on surface... can use watercolors or water-based materials on top, or color in after waiting to dry thoroughly or use a heat gun to speed up drying)..
...Paintbox2 (Clearsnap?)
...Colorbox (Clearsnap)
......Colorbox pigment inks do not dry, unless you put an acrylic varnish afterwards; you can also put the varnish on first let it dry and then stamp. Ellen
...Brilliance..Fastest-drying pigment ink ever, ...the ink dries completely on glossy surfaces (including unbaked clay), it can be used on metals to colour charms or jewellery without having to use artist fixative. You can either leave it to dry overnight or speed up the drying process with a heat gun...matte and pearlescent colors .....use on polymer clay, either before or after baking. ...Use to stamp or daub on natural items such as seashells, rocks, leaves, wood, or leather

...VersaColor (few metallics as well) ......Stampin’ Up!’s Craft Ink ... Inkcredible .... Encore
.......EMBOSSING Inks. . . clear, or lightly tinted so can see easier ...pads, pens, re-inkers?
.............these are the same as glycerine, or glycerine & water
............embossing ink recipe: one part glycerine (at drug stores), two parts distilled water, and one or two drops of watercolor (so you can see what you are doing!). Calligrafos (...or half and half water & glycerine depending on the consistency wanted)
...............can use in sponge-top dauber bottle for wetting envelope adhesive from office supply stores
.....FABRIC Inks & CRAFT Inks (Stampin’ Up! Craft Inkpads ... Fabrico ....ColorBox Crafters Ink ... some must be heat set to become permanent

Fluid Chalk ..dye ink?
...muted, matte, opaque colors unless applied lightly (then semi-transparent)...inspired by the look of chalk pastels... very "fluid" look...28 colors ...stamp and blend like dry inks.... special foam pad allowing selection of the inking intensity ....can stamp lighter colors over top of darker colors ...shake re-inker bottles well (see more below in "Chalk Inks")

...these inks were stamped onto raw white and raw translucent Premo clay... then baked (colors will be far more noticeable on a white background)

....if wanting to add Varathane to give more shine, seal the ink first with liquid clay or it will dissolve in the Varathane. Sarajane
...(true only for Fluid Chalks or all pigment inks?)...the more porous the surface, the more the color will soak in and fade over 24–48 hours.
........for more intense colors, spray the paper surface with a sealant immediately after ink application. can use matte finish or clear gloss finish
... for a shinier finish, wait until ink dries slightly, then buff with paper towel to remove (loose?) chalk for a polished-stone look.

WASHABLE INKS ... usually sold as children's inks... intended to wash out of clothing, etc., and most do but not all (may depend on material)

PERMANENT INKS (solvent based inks and need a special cleaner. .... permanent once dry, and do not require a heat setting. ... will definitely stain your stamps
Posh Impressions inks are solvent-based - they smell like methylated spirits or scale modeler's paints. ....they form an opaque and waterproof film on the surface of the clay, as might an acrylic paint....impervious to alcohol when dry... they are very good for mokume gane, layering and "antiquing," but they don't mix into the clay worth a darn. Elizabeth
..........the Posh inks are gorgeous colors - I have 2 sets, the caribbean brights & the french country colors that I want to play with. Jenn
...Staz-On ... acid free, archival, fast drying (dries in 3 - 5 minutes on non-porous surfaces) ...designed especially for use on plastic and acetate, metal, glass, ceramic, laminated paper, coated paper and leather.
...Zim Ink ... Décor-it .... 123 Ink ....

for ALCOHOL INKS, see just below

(type?).... I tried some Speedball products on polymer clay, but was not happy with them. Could not get them to go on evenly and actually stick well. One of the Speedball inks I had tried appeared to float off the surface even though I had cleaned well with alcohol. Jeanne R.

(.... for writing with metallic inks and acrylic inks, see above in "Dip and Cartridge")

(transparent.... intense colors)
...for tinting & inclusions... + mokume gane, faux enamel, "watercolor"paintings, etc....

These inks are absolutely transparent .....and are incredibly intense colors.
........(you can even see through to mica powders (or metallic leaf) that are underneath them). Karen
....all the inks are soluble resin in alcohol. Patti K.
....use on almost any surface (as long as it's clean and free of oil).... permanent
bought in bottles (rather than in pads) ... like "re-inkers"
alcohol based inks also come in several brands of art markers, such as the Prismacolor. Patti K.

brands +suppliers

PINATA Inks (by Jacquard) ...... used to be called Fiesta Inks
....colors are bright and clear (curr. 14 colors + gray, black and white)
....can get these inks individually, or in Jacquard "Exciter Packs" (assortments). Elizabeth
....your local rubberstamp store ...or maybe fabric or art supply store would have them too
........Pearl's Arts center has the whole line... Ben Franklin carries a few
......check out Jacquard's listing of stores where they're availabel http://www.jacquardproducts.com/stores
.........try calling any nearby stamp stores even if they are not on the list....several stamps stores in Connecticut carry the Pinata Inks that were not on the list. Libby
...or online: ... http://www.clayfactory.net/jacquard/pinata.html or http://www.clayalley.com
or http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/inks.html
(assortment, http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/jacquardkits.html http://www.usartquest.com/products/index.html)
...Dharma Trading also carries them: http://www.dharmatrading.com/html/eng/461917-AA.shtml Elizabeth
(they also come in a carrier as nkpads and re-inker bottles --permanent, water clean-up, archiva)

Tim Holtz's ADIRONDACK Alcohol Inks (for Ranger Industries)... another brand of alcohol based inks
....colors are bold, but more earthtones (toned-down) than clear like Pinatas (curr. 22 colors + black and gray)
.......also work exceptionally well when combined with Pinatas. Libby
work on any non-porous surfaces from dominoes, glass, mica, and metal – to plastics, foils, and more. This translucent colored ink goes on smooth, dries quick, and permanent.
.... can combine it with metallic pens for a shimmer of metallic

I've made my own alcohol-based inks with a square of pre-colored watercolor sheets (they come in a 2x5" booklet with a yellow cover...)
...and some alcohol in a film canister.....works pretty well since the watercolor sheets are also translucent and saturated. Carolyn (not permanent though?)
... I saw on one of the sites that you can make your own alcohol inks by mixing half Rit dye (powdered?) and half rubbing alcohol. Lilo
....easiest ink is tempera powder ... add alcohol or glycerin til you get the consistency you want....i put mine into plastic containers or bottles....if they dry out you just reconstitute .....if you use glycerin you can (hot) emboss.... you can also mix it them with those glycerin inks that come in tiny jars. Tarot_afk
...Once you've chosen the color of fabric dye that you would like to use, you will need to mix that dye with alcohol to the consistency of a thin cream... Next you will add glycerin and stir until it is well blended.... This makes enough ink to replenish an ink pad several times. Me
...You can also add particulate things into or onto the alcohol inks ... like mica powders or real-metal powders, chalks, etc
(There are also alcohol-based markers --Prismacolor, Ranger, etc --see below in Markers.).

general info ... application, etc.

alcohol-based inks are intense, transparent, acid-free, alcohol-based colorants (dyes)....and one of my favorite inks for clay
.....clean up or dilute alcohol inks with either rubbing alcohol or denatured alcohol (...or see Claro Extender and Clean Up Solution below) Eliz.

.... can be diluted, pushed around, and at least partially removed with the use of alcohol or other solvent
.....they mix well into clay (...liquid clay or solid). Elizabeth

....to make them like watercolors, just thin them down with their extender (Claro) or w/ rubbing alcohol (see more below in "painting")
........to keep the intensity of the color, while dulling the chroma (color), you add minute amounts of a complementary color. Elizabeth
...they dry on the surface of raw clay in just a minute (see possible problems with liquid clays though, below)
....alcohol ink deposits the pigment particles on top of the clay as it evaporates, "setting" the pigment that way, so there is no absorption of water by the (raw) clay. Patti B.


....just a drop or two of the ink goes a long way on non-absorbent surfaces
....the pads just move the ink around on non-porous surfaces
....can also dot the pad or intended surface with a metallic Krylon leafing pen for scattered gold, etc., effects

pads: can make your own temporary pad of polyester felt (not wool felt) for applying these inks
........polyester felt isn't absorbent, so any ink applied to it will just sit on the surface
(don't use wool felt)
........ the pad material from their kit might be non-fusible Thermolam though
.... hold onto the felt with a a clip of some sort to keep from staining your skin with those very intense colors. Kathleen

Tim Holtz makes a holder for his felt pad with a wood stamp with a handle
... he pulls off the rubber stamp, and replaces it with a strip of self-adhesive Velcro (the stiffer side)... then presses a strip of felt to the Velcro surface
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_home_accessories/article/0,1789,HGTV_3255_3148534,00.html (fig. J )
........ then he applies the inks here and there to the felt ....dabs the inked felt onto the intended surface (fig. K & L)
.........then moves the pad around the surface to create patterns in the ink
(may need to use new felt pads to avoid mixing the colors too much)
....can dry the still-wet ink with a heat gun (to preserve parts of pattern while working on others?)

esp. on non-porous surfaces:
....can remove alcohol inks from raised areas (or other places) of non-porous surfaces by rubbing them with a "permanent Archival ink pad" (contains a solvent for alcohol inks http://www.rangerink.com/product_archival.html?)... then wipe off

...we did cards on glossy card-stock ...the results really impressed me.
...Tim used a metal foil (2" silver foil flashing tape, from hardware store) in the lesson just above

If you want to make your own stamp pad (for stamps) to use with alcohol inks, make sure to keep them in an air-tight container or just consider them disposable pads because the inks dry very fast. Elizabeth

eyedroppers & syringes:
You can probably use an eyedropper (to place the inks) if you can get the tip small enough to fit into the crevices (for faux amber).
.......maybe wrap a tiny cone of masking tape around the tip?
....I like the syringes because I don't have to clean them, but I've had one sitting on my work table full of ink for weeks, so you don't *have* to toss them. Elizabeth
... could we also make a thin polymer tip to add to the end of a glass dropper... or maybe just make the whole thing from polymer and steal the bulb from a regular dropper?
... . . . If we used translucent clay, we could still see how much ink was in the dropper I think (I do like the idea of letting them sit around filled . . . maybe a pencil-box full!). Diane B.
...In some states you can buy syringes with needles at the drugstore without a prescription. I use them for refilling my cartridges on my ink jet printer. So check your pharmacy, the ones I use are very tiny with tiny needles and cost me about 13 cents each. Debbie
........I can purchase syringes in a variety of sizes from the Farm and Feed Store. Sunni
...If you go to a medical supply place you can buy the syringes in various sizes from very small to huge. ...Now, for the needles, its been a while since I lived in the South Bay, but if Fry's Electronics is still around they have needles and syringes available for electronic soldering. The needles are real handy. They are short, not pointed, and screw right onto the top of the syringe. They fit the syringes from the med supply. These are real handy for squeezing "grout" between mini tiles. magicmoira

Pinata's "Claro" Extender gives you a longer "open" time for working with the inks, and also dilutes them to make the colors less saturated & more transparent. Eliz.
...........when you mix inks with Claro Extender, you get a very shiny surface because of the clear resins.
....Claro is a clear resin, alcohol, and an ingredient which slows the evaporation of the alcohol and thus extends the drying time. Patti K.
......I think it consists mainly of alcohol, water and glycerine. Elizabeth
.........And wherever you have glycerin, you have the capacity for water pockets unless the glycerin is thoroughly dried (for instance, if you've applied the extended inks in between layers of clay).
...But, you also have the ability to introduce some strong plaquing if you mix the extended ink into translucent clay ...if you don't want to get plaquing or bubbles between layers or in translucents, I'd say to just let the inks dry to the touch before mixing them into or layering them onto other sheets of clay.Elizabeth
....if you don't have Claro, you can think with alcohol. ...denatured works best, but rubbing is okay. Dotty

(here are some helpful websites) Eliz.
.. http://www.sculpey.com/Projects/projects_FauxCarnivalGlass.htm
http://www.stampstodifor.com/demo_day/demos_oct2002/pinata_inks.html (gone)

Pinata's Clean Up Solution is pure alcohol with brush conditioners (to keep brushes soft) added (think of the wax in hair conditioners
....you can instead use plain 70% or 99% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol both to thin (extend) the ink and to clean up your brushes and palette because it will re-dissolve resins which have hardened. Patti
....when you mix the ink with Clean Up solution or rubbing alcohol, you get a more matte surface though. Patti

possible problems:
If you're running it through the pasta machine though, the rollers are going to get colored, but the raw clay picks the color back up, eventually and any remaining color comes off easily with alcohol-soaked wipes. . Eliz.
... I've been coloring the clay by partially conditioning it, then painting a sheet with ink, then allowing the ink to dry completely and finally completing the conditioning and so thoroughly mixing the colour at the same time. The various colored clays were then made into canes of lots of types ...I left the canes for 3-4 weeks and when I came back to use them, I found that large deep fissures had developed along the length of the canes...these close fairly easily and so aren't a really great problem. Alan
.....The other more troublesome effect was more noticable with some of the more vivid ink colours. The colours had begun to bleed into adjacent areas - in quite a pleasing way, but not what I was aiming for ...as soon as the stained clay is baked, it becomes as stable as any normally coloured clay. I think the main thing I've learned is that it's wise to make small canes using the stained clay and to try not to leave them for long before using them.. Alan
......when things like this happen... I took my wavy blade and sliced through it and placed it between sheets of translucent with some glitter or bits of silver leaf.... Or dropped it into the pasta machine with some preconditioned trans.... Makes interesting cover sheets for other projects. Kim
...I actually had a similar problem when using the pinata inks for a mokume gane block. It sat around for a while before I was ready to use it, and it was quite crumbly.Lenora
...if using more than one color and you don't want them to mix together into a new color (or muddy), let the first ink dry before applying the next ink

Pinatas don't seem to come in a lot of colors, (but) you can mix absolutely any color under the sun (more now?)
...as with artists' oil colors, there are cool and warm shades of each color
......I would recommend these primaries to begin with:
.........JFC1002 (bright yellow) JFC1011 (magenta) JFC1013 (cobalt blue) (those names are just guesses based on experience with pigments). Tinidril
.........to get a true red, mix a little yellow with the magenta ...for a brilliant purple, mix magenta with cobalt....a bright, clear orange and green can be made with these "primaries". Tinidril
...to make pastels of any of the colors, you add the white (opaque) ink ... Kat?
Tim Holtz's Adirondacks have more colors (but earthtone)

USES for alcohol-based inks

tinting + tinted clays

tinting solid clays (& inclusions)
...to mix these inks into clay for tinting.... rub them onto a raw sheet... let them dry to the touch to avoid later plaquing ... then start mixing the color in. Elizabeth
ome of the colors will dissolve completely
...but some of the (darker?) colors will remain in tiny dark flecks i
f you let the inks get completely dry on the clay before mixing it in. (Rainforest green, Sapphire blue and the brown colors will fleck, that I can remember)
so that could give you some neat intentional effects. Elizabeth
...Yes, this can be messy... I usually have wonderfully rainbow colored hands for a couple of days, but I guess gloves can be worn. Valerie
.......they are a little less messy if you let some of the alcohol evaporate off before using.. Eliz.
.......when you do get it on your hands, you can get most of it off with rubbing alcohol and the rest comes off with a heavy-duty hand lotion. Eliz.
........if you put clear nail polish on your nails, they won't stain if you've got your fingers directly in the ink.

clay that has been colored with these inks seems to buff much better, for some reason...maybe it is just the translucency. Valerie

Use alcohol-based inks to tint translucent clay especially
.... for vibrant, very translucent results similar to FimoSoft's "Transparent" tinted clays, but differ in the huge palette of colors you can mix, and in the intensity of color... Elizabeth (see also Translucents > Making your own)
...I also mix the extended ink into translucent clay as a beautiful addition to faux stones. . . . Elizabeth
.I have mixed the Pinata inks into translucent clay for mokume gane... it's subtle but effective. (I do like using Lumiere paints better for that.)
could mix into Glow-in-the-Dark clays since the alcohol inks are so transparent, and require very little to tint? ...but if you mix darker colors, might it affect the clarity?

fauxs ...for opals, I'm trying the Pinata inks to lightly tint the Premo translucent with bleach clay, then adding the flakes. And of course a good sanding and then buffing should make it look pretty good. Patty
....see lesson on making faux amber stones with alcohol inks (with cracks, into which more ink is put) in Faux-Many > Amber
....you can get good results for faux turquoise with translucent watercolors mixed with rubbing alcohol.

tinting liquid clays . .
(Pinata/Adirondack alcohol inks, Vivid, and Color Box inks can all be used to tint liquid clay)
.....my favorite inks are the alcohol ones though bec. it takes very little ink to strongly tint the liquid clay
.... ( Pinata & Adirondack alcohol inks are alcohol-based... the Vivid inks appear to be water-based, and the Color Box seem to be mineral-based.)
Vivid Inks ....these don't seem to have the tinting strength of the Pinata Inks though, and some of the colors change in curing. Elizabeth
....alcohol can cause bubbling and frothing in liquid clay if there's too much of it
........so I've been dropping the ink onto the surface... and letting it sit for a while in hopes that the alcohol will evaporate off
....... then I mix the color into the liquid clay...sSo far, no problems even when I didn't wait to let the alcohol evaporate. Elizabeth)
...Elizabeth's photos at PCE on mixing Pinata's with LS http://polymerclayexpress.com/octo2002.html
.......(colors will appear lighter and more opaque than will eventually be after drying)
....Jean S's fish "stained glass" made with black clay and Kato liquid clay tinted with Pinata Inks
....would Pinatas work in glow-in-the-dark liquid clays? since they are so transparent, and require very little to tint?...but if you mix darker colors, might it affect the
...lesson on using liquid clay tinted with alcohol inks on textured-stamped clay (cut out into a shape)
...... color is left on upper surfaces a bit too ("staining")...a gloss finish can be added for a "ceramic" or enamel look

coloring clear embossing powders .... Tim Holtz adds sev. drops of alcohol ink & stirs with popscicle stick quickly until alcohol evaporates
...can use more than one color ink in mix... use more ink for lighter colors, less for darker
http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_accessories_jewelry/article/0,1789,HGTV_3225_3857589,00.html (fig. A)

coloring metallic leaf.... yes, Pinata ink will stick to metal leaf ...put the leaf on the clay, then drop inks onto the leaf ....let it dry really well...(can also then stretch the clay, and new "color" of leaf will crackle). syndee

canes & Skinner blend:
...Eliz. applied various Pinata inks in stripes (but could also use other inks) onto translucent clay
...allowed inks to dry, dabbed off excess... then made into a Skinner blend in the pasta machine...
...... she then made the sheet into a jellyroll cane by rolling up with sheet of white
translucent-and-opaque canes (aka "floating canes") can also be made with translucent clays tinted with regular clays (see Canes-Instr.>Translucent Canes)

in stacks

mokume gane. . .you can stamp ..or brush or dab... the inks (pure or diluted) on very thin sheets of translucent clay, layer with leafing foil and treat like any other mokume gane stack. Eliz.
...I have mixed the Pinata inks into translucent clay for mokume gane... it's subtle but effective. (I do like using Lumiere paints better for that.)
... leftovers from a stack using the pinatas I squished together and came up with really neat faux cinnabar. Jeanette
...Jean's examples of mokume gane with Pinatas http://www.pbase.com/stargazer/fiesta_ink
(see more in Mokume Gane and also in Texturing)

stacks ....Tess' lesson on using 8 small clay rectangles of diff. colors, on which she puts various Lumiere paints and Pinata inks (allowing them to sit no longer than 30 min)
.... adding metallic leaf here and there before stacking, cutting and restacking sev. times (she presses down pretty hard in between re-stacks to create waviness)
... then cuts down her stack with a wavy blade

(re stacks & mokume gane) You need to be careful controlling the amount of ink you layer on the clay though since the inked surface tends to dry very non-sticky
...this makes covering an inked surface with more clay a bit of a challenge because any top clay layer(s) won't easily stick to the inked clay layer. Desiree
...try rolling the slabs from toward the back side so the inks will separate some.... Lysle
...would using a fine spray of Diluent, liquid clay, or glycerin from a little spray bottle work? Diane B.
...I think I'll try spraying on some watered down Sobo glue. Desiree

surface techniques

...can drip or draw alcohol inks (or thinned inks) to clay in patterns with eye droppers and syringes, etc (see also above under Application & Gen. Info)
...or apply with brushes, sponges, toothpicks to drag, etc., etc.
...can apply over or under other materials or over itself (sometimes while wet, sometimes when dry)

salt effects
...I used the Pinata ink on the polymer ...and then decided last minute to add salt.
......upon drying, and after the salt residue was brushed off, the clay was left with shiny spots much like those transparent sparkles that are used on christmas cards to denote snow. (how would you rid yourself of those anyway, if you wanted to, without washing away the ink?) Jacqui

...to achieve the best effect (with salt), the surface needs to be really wet
...various salts can be used: rock salt will give big starbursts and table salt smaller ones. You can combine the two salts for a great look.
......."exploded salt" (Silk Salt) is used by the silk painters ...is really like pretzel salt --it's been puffed and air in it ...sprinkle puffed crystal salt on wet dyed fabric... salt absorbs the dye as it dries, leaving textured, halo effects....... works best on medium to dark shades
...once your salt has absorbed the moisture and the piece dried, you can shake the salt off, completely dry it, store it in an airtight container and reuse it. I'm still using the same rock salt (on fabrics) I started with 3 years ago.
...should work on baked clay as well. Nina O

...drop dry salt (Kosher type which has flat & large grains) on clay that's wet with ink, and watch what happens! It is kind of serendipitous but with a little practice you can get desired effects. Trina

alcohol + dried alcohol ink
...wet alcohol removes the shine where it touches dried alcohol ink (drop on, brush on, etc.)

wet alcohol ink over wet alcohol ink ... each layer will push aside the under layers (spritz on, brush in layers, etc.), and be visible if different colors are used
...Jacquard's Claro dropped or brushed on top of dry alcohol ink will make it spread, creating rings of marble or stone-like texture... slight dulling (here and there?)
...when doing the marbling on paper (glossy, non-absorbent paper) with alcohol inks, the best way to get the inks to marble is to coat a piece of polyester felt with alcohol and ink, then pat it onto the paper... after that you can still spray the "design" with alcohol to fan out the ink more (rubbing alcohol works just fine).
......It might be worth a try to do this on a plastic/foam plate, then press the clay on there, right after you mist it with alcohol. Laurie D.
......the felt really doesn't suck up the ink as much as just moves it around because polyester felt isn't absorbent --felt is a man-made fiber (polyester --don't get wool felt btw because natural fibers are too porous) and not very absorbent at all
......a drop or two of the ink goes a long way on non-absorbent surfaces. (I though the one from the kit might be non-fusible Thermolam).
......the results really impressed me. We did cards on glossy card-stock (porous paper) would have ended up with quickly-absorbed ink, too.... (hold onto the felt with a a clip of some sort to keep from staining your skin with those very intense colors). Kathleen

alcohol ink + plain alcohol
...use plain alcohol in same ways as alcohol ink
...if alcohol is sponged on (wet alcohol ink), the mix will create tiny bubble-like textures (good for backgrounds and visual texture) papers and other interesting textural faux effects
...(can also thin alcohol inks with alcohol just to get lighter colors)

alcohol inks + non-alcohol inks..... dripped, etc.
...Jeanne R. dripped various kinds of inks (alcohol-based and not alcohol) of various viscosities on top of baked clay, and on top of each other (after drying previous layer so colors wouldn't mix) to get various "bubble" and other effects... some were thinned to decrease viscosity http://artfortheheart.blogspot.com/2007/05/polymer-clay-atcs-with-faux-watercolor.html
... For the pieces that are sort of starburst or tie-dye effect, first bake your light-colored clay (if not smooth, sand and buff it...any scratches will mess up the flow of the inks).
....I used a layer of Pantone Tria inks on cured clay...it is sort of setting on top of the clay, but not too thick and it is still damp.
....I squeeze out just a bit of Staz-on reinkers and touch it to the surface of the Pantone Tria ink with the tiny ball of a ball stylus ... I do this as fast as I can to cover the area before the Pantone ink dries out.(if it dries out too much, then the Staz-on will sit in more of a round circle....It takes teeny tiny drops or it will then all go together and will be an even different effect.
....If you use a layer of Pantone and then use an acohol ink, you will more than likely get circles. This depends on how dry the first layer of Pantone is. If you use a light Pantone color and then use a few shades darker of the other inks, if you do not like how it looks you can use alcohol and scrub off and even re-sand and try again. When I get time, I will put a tute up as I have already taken the photos.
...Drying doesn't take a long time unless you have them on thick--and thick is hard with alcohol inks as they would be running all over the place. I think 30 minutes should work most of the time. ...I like to use a quick blow with a heat gun or put into the oven on 150 or so for just a few minutes. This seems to set them well.
...I would not leave (alcohol inks) without a glaze or finish though (if anyone with alcohol fingers ever touches them, it could mess them up---even if they had set for six months). ...With alcohol though, they will have a duller look that if you used the Claro-extender that Pinata sells with their inks. Jeanne R.

If you think working with alcohol inks are fun, quadruple the fun and get the Pantone Tria inks and Staz-On reinkers .... oh, yes throw in the Krylon metallic pens with them as well! Jeanne R.

ink "inclusions"
...can also try moving other things around in the alcohol or alcohol inks, like various powders (mica, real-metal, embossing, chalks, etc.), by spritzing or dropping on or brushing with more alcohol or alcohol ink, as above
...other lightweight things not soluble in alcohol could be fun to try too

metallic powders like Pearl Ex
.....can apply them underor over alcohol inks
....add gold Pearl Ex to Pinata ink (or other alcohol-based inks) to get a really metallic looking gold ink. syndee
....coat the outside of a cane with Pearl Ex, then seal it with Pinata ink
- gorgeous. syndee
.you can really metallic looking gold Pinata ink by adding Pearl Ex to it. syndee

...I’m enjoying "watercolor painting" on pc with (alcohol-based inks) Pinata Inks.
..............to make them like watercolors, you just dilute them with their extender, or with rubbing alcohol
............to make pastels of any of the Pinata colors, you add the white (opaque) ink. Kat's CreationsKat's Creations

...I use the inks as a watercolorist would to do paintings, onto raw clay ...(landscapes and florals)
.....washed colors, color bleeding, and color layering with alcohol inks ..these techniques are in my book Polymer Clay Inspirations ...Patricia Kimle .
....(some of this info will differ, or not apply, when using the inks to tint regular clay, or for use on cured clay.)
......When I do my paintings on raw clay, I use 70% alcohol to do wash areas such as the sky in a landscape
.........when using 70% alcohol, the color washes more quickly across the clay surface and dries slower, but the resins will fall out of solution more quickly because the other 30% is water.
........then I switch to Claro (extender), or 99% alcohol for detail work.
..........when you mix inks with Extender, you get a very shiny surface because of the clear resins.
...........when you mix ink with Clean Up solution or rubbing alcohol, you get a matte surface.
...certain colors, like the emerald green in particular, become grainy on the surface, and will clump in your brush with water (but remember, water is a resist on raw clay, so it spreads.)
... I have painted raw translucent clays with extended inks for applying to glass votives - it's a very pretty look, but if I'd tried to put the clay onto the glass before the inks were completely dry, they'd have smeared and probably in the heat, they'd have bubbled outward, maybe even breaking the clay away from the glass. JMO...Elizabeth
...syndee holt's demo on painting with alcohol inks on a transfer?, coloring book style
http://www.sdpcg.org/sc8album22.html (click on each)
Kim Cavender's partial masks painted with alcohol inks
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kimcavender/2473466555 (click also on other 2 photos in photostream, top right)

resists & masking
... liquids can be applied to stamps or drawn with... or sponged on, etc.
.......then apply inks or ink wash ..(leave resist or in place, or gently wash away or melt)
...crayons and wax (melted or paraffin), gum arabic (mix with water to heavy cream)
..."embossing inks"--or glycerin? (which dry slowly) can be a
resist for alcohol and some other dye inks
.....first stamp main image (& background designs) with a clear or a pigment ink
.....add clear embossing powder over it, and melt
...then wash and/or paint surface with inks (the clear embossed lines will resist the inks and remain their original color, but the rest of the background or unembossed areas will absorb the inks)
..... or can leave cured embossing powder on surface to show through color underneath or to show the colored ink used)
Elizabeth's lesson http://polymerclayexpress.com/octo2002.html
(....see more on ways to "mask" and materials to use in Cutters-Blades > Stencils, Masking)
Tonja's lesson re "layered inks" --5 colors, 3 layers (of chalkpad ink)... first layer uses vellum masks, second without.. third layer black text or other graphic stamp

antiquing... & staining-glazes ... I have applied the ink. full strength to textured clay... and let it dry
....then I wipe the upper surface of the textured clay with alcohol to reduce the amount of ink that remains on the surface (staining)
.......this keeps the full strength staining in the lower areas. Desiree

....or use liquid clay tinted with alcohol inks to antique lower areas of textured clay... or allow to remain on upper areas too for "staining" (see Paints > Oil Paints)
.........because liquid clay and alcohol inks are translucent, they can resemble kiln-fired glazes on ceramic pieces, especially if gloss finish is applied afterward

lesson on using liquid clay tinted with alcohol inks on textured clay (cut out into a shape)... color is left on upper surfaces a bit too ("staining")... gloss finish can be added for a "ceramic" or enamel look

coloring in impressions:
....You can st
amp one side of a very thin sheet of raw clay with a design, and color in the design with pure inks or with diluted inks.
........when the ink is dry, you can handle the sheet.... wrap it around a silver-leafed tube bead... or cover a votive, or whatever you want to do with it. Eliz.

.......(for alcohol-based markers like Prismacolor which work the same way, see above in Markers)......

PEARLESCENT inks (acrylic)

Inks (as well as paints and clear mediums) will crackle on raw clay
...use pearlescent inks. ...paint onto raw clay... allow to dry... run through pasta machine or manually stretch

...the thicker the ink you put on, the larger the cracks ...and of course, how much you stretch the clay.

You can even crackle a "painting" (....or a colored pattern)....
....paint a scene or whatever you want on the clay...then crackle it (once each direction?)... as long as you don’t keep passing it thru the pasta machine, you’ll get what you painted but in a crackle effect... It’s cool! Mary V.

Posh Rainbow inks will fracture, as will the Daler-Rowney Pearlescents ...most acrylics will fracture. Valerie
...... it is probably more economical to use the Rembrandt Inks, but the D-R's give you a more shimmery look.Trina

Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Colours, by Daler-Rowney
....http://www.daler-rowney.co.uk/cat/index.html (click on "Lost?Index" at bottom right, then and scroll to Pearlescent --"pgs 4.4 & 4.5")
....Dick Blick:.... http://www.dickblick.com/zz211/11/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=1464 ..
...I get mine at a local art supply store, they have a large variety of the colors, and sell them one bottle at a time...kellie
...Michaels also carries these, but in a 3 pack back by the calligraphy supplies.
........one of their 3-packs has the birdwing copper, mazuma gold and silver pearl, the colors I use most heavily.Lisa
...I've seen the individual bottles at Joanns for $4.99 . . . Blick's lists them at $3.39/ea

When I took Elise Winters class some of us used the Daler-Rowney inks. I have the whole set from Michaels.
....she suggested that we NOT shake them up... instead scrape the gooey stuff from the bottom and use that. ...worked pretty well (because otherwise they're kind of thin). Carolyn

The DR inks are thinner (than acrylic metallic paints). I don't shake these up but carefully dip down to the bottom to get the thicker colored fluid
.....then let my brush drain slightly before applying these to the pc. Carolyn

are the Pearl Ex Inkpad bottles of liquid re-inker basically the same as these ??

Once acrylics are dry, they don't bond well to raw polymer clay before baking -- but they can stick to clay just like plastic food wrap can.
....baking is what actually bonds the two chemically disparate products (acyrlics are water based, polymer clay is oil/grease based). Desiree

I also played rolling up a thin sheet of clay coated with inks, then cutting some football beads from the resulting cane. Desiree

I put quite a bit of ink on the unbaked clay...then I blow through a straw to get sunburst shapes
...or blow to move colors in directions I want, etc ...getting great results using Pearlescent inks!
...I also got some eye droppers so I can put down dots of color... or just more ink in one spot for the straw technique. LuvPat
....Slow-drying inks could be used to create patterns on clay surfaces with combs, brushes, or special wood graining tools (see Faux Turquoise/Wood > Wood > Surface Techniques for details)

Emma R's illuminare beads ...suface of the "base" clay (possibly marbled clays) colored randomly with pearlescent inks or paints (thin-bodied ones like Daler-Rowney's Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic Colours, or heat set Lumieres) or mica powders, etc.
... onlays of various types are then added and rolled down into the surface (cane slices, curving ribbons of watercolor sheets, etc.)

inks also crackle

Elise Winters finely crackled acrylic inks (strips, interesting areas of crackling, inlay or onlay) for jewelery?

***for all info about crackling inks (and paints, etc.), go to Paints > Acrylics > Crackling ***

(... for crackling with clear liquids, see Finishes > Crackling)
(....for info on crackled metallic leaf and foils, see

CHALK inks

Colorbox's Fluid Chalk inkpads ...by Color Box/Clearsnap ....water-based ... acid-free

...can heat set these chalk pastel "inks" ...need to be baked when on clay though? because clay is not absorbent
......... (but even when air-dried only, still resist smearing, bleeding or fading)
...produce a flat & muted surface finish (unless gloss sealed)

... opaque (unless applied lightly, then semi-transparent ..
.can stamp lighter colors over top of darker colors) & resilient like pigment ink
....stamp and blend like dye inks on most absorbent surfaces
...38 soft, subtle colors (including Autumn, with browns, charcoal, etc.)
... sold as individual pads (or cat-eye pads), or in palettes with removable single pads, or in refill bottles (
...shake re-inker bottles well)

Donna Kato used these fluid chalk pads to highlight some textured surfaces (around transfers, etc.)
...gave a beautiful "carved" look
... effect was subtle on lighter colors of clay, but darkened and popped when gloss finish added (was it liquid clay?)

Tonja's lesson re "layered inks" (5 colors, 3 layers) of chalkpad ink
...she lightly brayers vellum cutouts onto raw clay to act as masks for first layer... then presses 3 colors of chalk ink pad over clay randomly (removes vallum with tip of Xacto blade)
...lightly stamps onto surface 2 more colors of chalk inkpad
...stamps (text) onto surface over all colors with permanent black or dye ink

Liquid Chalk markers .....(water-resistant and non-water-resistant versions)
....creates a smooth and opaque layer of brilliant color
....water-based formula made with real chalk
...come in two versions:
.......Dry Wipe not water-resistant ... will wipe off of slick, non-porous surfaces (so need to seal) ...semi-fluorescent colors, which glow under UV light
.......Wet Wipe ....water-resistant
....both come in sets of 3 colors (red,blue,yellow)...... and Wet Wipe also comes in metallic (gold,silver,metallic red)
....... also come with choice of tips...16 mm wedge or 6 mm bullet

(for Decorating Chalks ...... cakes of concentrated chalk color, see Paints > Chalks)

OTHER "INKS" + Misc.

(see Stamping for other ink pad inks)

You can use a thin layer of liquid clay as a sealer on inked pieces which need protection...Linda H.

rubber stamp inks:
Color Box bottled inks (mineral based) can be used to tint liquid clay... fine to mix with the clay too . . . but they're not transparent, so they can affect the clarity of the clay. Elizabeth
...You can use heat set rubber stamp ink to tint clay! You've got to work in a few drops at a time though. I usually make a pouch of clay and drop in a drop, mix, repeat until desired shade is reached. The Heat Set inks I use are from Ranger Industries. You might do a net search for them, but I know they work and very well.. . . Be aware, however, you can't make layered mokume gane pads with them and let them sit. From experience I have found they will bleed into one another. But if you're using within 24 hours go ahead and do MG or jelly rolls and then BAKE to set the colors -- Carolyn

I went to Lemon Tree and found this: Powdered Pearls, Accessories - Fine Line Painting Pen writing tool ... I think I just discovered a way to make those fine, delicate lines with metallic powders that have always eluded me! Laura
(looks a bit like a tjanting pen used for psyanky/batik, etc.)

Pearl Ex Inkpad ink bottles of re-inker

use Future floor polish, and while still wet sprinkle it with embossing powders or micro glitters. Then let dry.

embossing inks come in pens of various widths, as well as in stamp pads. What you want is the CLEAR. This ink holds the embossing powders to either the stamped image, or wherever you’ve drawn/written with the pens. Glycerin works just as well as the special embossing inks though (maybe it's actually the same thing --thank you, Jody Tice!), so maybe you could dip your pen or brush (or letter stamp) into glycerin, write, add embossing powder and tap/blow off excess, then bake to melt it on the lines??
....there are also embossing pens of various widths which allow you to draw the clear embossing powder onto a surface before pouring on the embossing powders. DB
...on (my lentil bead),... I used an embossing pen on the bead, and sprinkled clear powder with sparkles and melted it. Worked fantastic !!!! Might have to try writing a word next time. Tonja
... If you don't want embossing powder to stick anywhere but on your ink lines, do this:
......bake the clay... stamp onto it with Sculpey Diluent.... Put the powder on the Diluent. Bake again.
ball point pen ink also works as (embossing ink), since its ink is kind of gooey till it dries.

I've made my own alcohol-based inks with a square of pre-colored watercolor sheets (come in a 2 x 5 inch booklet with a yellow color cover) and some alcohol in a film canister. Works pretty well as the watercolor sheets are translucent and saturated. Caroly

(see also using a glue pen to adhere metal leafing for lettering above in Other Ways to Make Letters)

(to see much more on all these techniques, look in: Texturing > Texture Sheets, Carving > Etching,

( for making carved and/or impressed clay plates (for printing on paper with etching ... or other clay, etc), see Carving > Etching, and also Texturing > Texture Plates ...plus Stamping, Molds, Transfers )


your name (or any letters/words in cunneiform letters)
your name (or any letters) in runes

"hidden" link with lots of great wallpapers (hard to find?) and your name in chinese! Gorgeous. JAN
http://www.goodorient.com/ (window will pop up to allow you to dowload 1200 Western names; see your name in Chinese)


Inks for WRITING & DRAWING on clay

Preparation & Sealing

Before doing the writing, prepare the clay by wiping it with denatured alcohol to remove any oil or dirt which might act as a resist.

If sealing, applying a coat of clear acrylic finish, clear gesso, white gesso, or even acrylic paint will act as a barrier for the clay underneath any inks that may bleed immediately, or may bleed later.
To avoid the bleeding created when bleedable inks are in contact with brushed-on liquid finishes, a couple of light coats of acrylic spray can seal the top of the ink... and/or the ink can be baked briefly to try and set it quicker/better.

At least with gel pens, p
reheating the clay surface for a few sec. with a heat gun, etc., seems to help the ink flow well.
........can preheat even metallic waxy rub-on surfaces (like Gilder's Paste or Rub 'N Buff... or clear paste waxes like carnauba wax?)


Pigment Pens

Uniball pens work for me --only the micro ones (they are silver)

I've been using Pigma Micron pens with no bleeding problems
...I've found that Pigma Micron markers work better if I swab the baked clay with alcohol first. Otherwise the pen starts to clog and I have to throw it out. Louise

If you just want something to sign your work with, you might try Sakura Micron pens... . I've used these and haven't had any problems.
...they come in various widths (you can find them at Michael's)

Oborochann dips her small baked clay figures into diluted acrylic paint to give an even overall covering and avoid brushmarks (using a wire through the top loop in the item).... pops any bubbles she sees ... then hangs them to drip dry, removing with a brush the drip that forms initially ... could also be used for priming
....the also then adds details with a pigment pen or or dots of acrylic paint stamped on (for more on this, see Letters-Inks > Inks for Drawing & Writing)
....and also then dips the item in clear gloss finish the same way as into the paint --see more on that technique in Finishes > Dipping, under Varathane)
http://oborochann.deviantart.com/art/Octopus-Charm-Tutorial-45828570 (photos in middle of page)

I saw a videotape with Tory Hughes in which she said to use just a plain ballpoint pen. ....I know that it works on clay with no finish over it because I used it on the backs of pins I made for the Christmas swap last year and it's still clear as a bell…

also see Markers below

(thinner-line pens--metallics are mixed in various categories below)

Gel pens

Marie O'dell told us a gel pen she uses at ravensdale...... I couldn't contain my excitement at these things
..... they write in relief on polymer, in all sorts of bright colours. . . the pens are by Sakura and cost me $1.09 each.

some Jel-Rollers do not dry on the clay until they have been baked. So either handle your shapes carefully or test on a scrap peice of clay before you smear your project. (this was before baking!??) Otterfire
Lynn Krucke... mentioned was that to use the Gel pens (in all their wonderful colors and metallics) on polymer clay, you need to set them by popping the piece back into the oven for approx. ten minutes, then they won't smear even under Future or Varathane. .. . when I went to try it for the first time, I forgot to sign the pieces until they were past the point where they could be rebaked. So I decided to try my embossing heat gun. YEAHH! In only 12 to 20 seconds of heat (2-3 inches from surface) the writing was permanently set..
...Mari O'Dell said that baking the (Sakura) gels would set them, but she was using a different kind. .... but I've found that some of them (brands?) burn out when you bake them and the reds pretty much faded on me. Maybe I should try another brand. Dotty

the Milky gel writers are not waterproof; need to seal them???
....I thought that baking was supposed to set the gel rollers (rather than needing to seal them)...or are the milky ones different than the others? DB
...I set my Milky Gels this way, but must admit that I usually seal too with Future.…I just love the smooth clear finish that Future gives...now if I want a satiny look then I go for Varathane matte. Dianne C.

I despise the Marvy gel markers, too. The ones I bought skip and blob and dry out after one letter so you have to tap and scribble start them on a scrap all over again. Sakura gel markers work a bit better. Halla
...Try gel pens by Sakura, they seem to be the best. sandie
...I use Sakura metallic gelly rolls and they work great. After writing on clay, you might want to use an embossing heat gun on...to dry the ink quickly. I also wait 24 hours before putting my finish over the top of the ink. Works better that way. Dianne C.

I have used both Hybrid pens from Pentel and Hi-Tec-C from Pilot. They're the ones with a gel-like ink and they come in lots of bright colors and several point sizes.

Donna introduced me to the use of the Pentel Milky markers on the raw clay. You have to be careful not to push and make indentations, you just sort of drag the pen around. I also use the Sakura metallic gel markers. I found some cheap ones at the dollar store too that work pretty good. I'm not real fond of all the plaque that happens with the use of the markers,,so I've been experimenting. If I let them dry a bit longer, then cover with clay,,that seems to help. Sometimes I think the plaque happens because I may have made indents, which I think are air pockets really. I usually do the chalking then doodle with the markers. Geo

Sometimes the gel pens won't mark well on the clay surface, even after wiping down with alcohol
....but when I tried to write on a just- heated clay piece, the pens flowed beautifully..... In playing around I discovered that hitting the polymer clay writing surface with only 3-4 seconds of the embossing gun makes the writing smooth and effortless every time.
..... I was even able to write over a clay surface that had one of those waxy rub-ons like Rub and Buff, simply by heating for 3 seconds first. Sara Jane in NC

Before using gel pens on clay, I find that a few strokes with a medium grade emery (sandpaper?) or glasspaper (about 220 or 400) provides a reasonable surface tooth for the pens' inks. Alan

When your gel pens have "dried out" or won't write well, you can try heating the tips or using (soaking?) vinegar...
.....or use Perfect Ink refresher marketed by Ranger products.. put a few drops in the barrel of your marker and they will work like new. sandie
...I have dipped them in some water and put the cover on again. After a few minutes, they will work again but it is a termporary fix. intgrtyhon
...somewhere I read that if you put the gel pens in the freezer for a few minutes, they work better (????).... mykittykat88
...pens do get old quickly!.... I am especially leary of pens on sale because they are often old stock that the stores are trying to get rid of.
...I find most of those kinds of pens have to be kept really airtight to work for very long.... think they recommend storing them on their sides too??

smearing experiment with both Sculpey III and Premo
....the pens tested were Hybrid, Pentel milky jel,marvy, Y & C jel extreme.
....after i wrote on all 4 samples, i tried to smear with my finger on one sculpy and one premo at that time. and again this evening (24 hours later) before baking.
None of the samples smeared after curing (air drying?) for 24 hours.
.....The pens that faired best with less smear were the Marvy and Pentel (Milky Jel) , the others had varying results
.......and this is the interesting part..... the pens on raw premo smeared worse than pens on sculpy in the first few minutes, but there was no difference after baking.
... and none of my samples incured additional smearing once Future was applied.
....the only thing i adjusted from what i did the previous time was kicked up the temp at the end.. otterfire

I personally prefer to use the gel pens on raw clay and then bake them in, I think they write better. I have used them to sign pieces without any problems either. Brands that I used, I think it was the Marvey gel pens… Pauline
I tested my gel pens on raw clay. I used a sheet of Premo Black rolled out to #4. I wrote on the sheet with all my markers.
....... Some didn't want to write at all, which then caused me to press into the clay, which of course left ugly depressions in the clay.
.......Some of the ink did flow out nicely onto the clay.
... I waited about 10 minutes, and tried to smear them.
......the gold Marvy and one of the Sakura's smeared a bit, but they were also the ones that flowed out nicely, so there was more ink there.
... I baked the piece and none of the inks smeared after baking. Heather

I tried making impressions in raw clay with letter stamps, then filling the impressions in with the gel pens before baking .... that worked quite well, and next time I make some conversation hearts, I will certainly put the ink on raw clay and then bake. Heather

I dusted colored chalk on my raw clay shape with a good soft brush, then I drew designs with Milky markers and metallic gel markers.
.... I then covered it with a very thin #6 sheet of translucent clay. ... (Donn'a s encased transfer technique using chalk is a bit different.) Geo

(are these gels or fiber tips?) I recently bought some fineline metallic markers from Walmart. The brand name is Sanford and they come in a double pack, Gold and Silver. Has anyone tried these on clay? Byrd
I have Byrd. They worked fine. I've used them on both baked and unbaked clay with good results. As far as I know there's no problem with any reactions to the clay -- JAN

~ I need to do (some special) lettering. I would do photo transfers with words, but some of the colors of the clay will be dark, and won't show up at all. Therefore, gell pens...?? I need the lettering in specific fonts though, so my own writing wouldn't cut it. There is a slight *sheen* to the photo transfer words so I'm hoping to do a transfer, and then just go over the words with a gel pen? The sheen should let me see it ok, even if the clay is black. ( and then I can do any color I choose! Jeanette


Prismacolor markers are alcohol based (not water-based).
....stay colorfast on baked clay ....do not bleed like Sharpies can (even with time).
...Ranger's Adirondack line also offers alcohol-based markers (earthy tones?)
...they can be used on on polymer clay just like you would use the bottles of Pinata (or Adirondack) alcohol inks in some very interesting ways, since they are both alcohol based
.......(see above in "Alcohol Inks" for details on those).
...alcohol-based markers shouldn't be used directly on rubber stamps though just because they dry too quickly to stamp with (water-based markers are ok). Margaret D.

alcohol inks can be used to draw, paint or write on polymer clay too ...for those see, above under Alcohol Inks

Adirondack's Pigment Markers ...these are a water?-based pigment ink (not glycerin-based ink like used in most pigment pads)
... can permanently color and write on slick surfaces
....also works on fabric if heat set (iron) ...then permanent and washable
....can achieve the blends that cannot with other "permanent" markers

Sharpie markers (usually black ones) are used by some to sign their work, but the ink will turn purple over time (or brownish)
and also bleeds slightly into the surrounding clay. Sarajane
...Sharpies can work fine though AS LONG AS you bake the ink (on the piece)
...I think the problem with the Sharpie pens is that the ink is acetone-based. If you notice that it smells like finger nail polish romover (it has the same 'bleeding' effect on other plastics like Tupperware after a while)
... I tried to apply Future to the dried Sharpie ink, but the Future removed the ink.
.......to avoid that, I had to seal with Future first, and THEN draw with my marker...... or could seal with liquid clay (and bake) before writing
....I seal the pieces before I mark them, and I also put a finish over the ink after I've signed the piece. ...the ink will tend to bleed though unless the finish is applied with a quick hand.
(see more on ways to deal with this just above in Preparation & Sealing)

Liquid Chalk markers come in waterproof and non-waterproof versions (as well as in stamp pads)

... (see below under "Chalk Inks" for details about these markers and all liquid chalks)

(for metallic markers, see see just below in Paint Pens)
(for most pearlescent "markers," see below in Inks for Tinting > Pearlescents)
(....also see other "markers" and "pens" below in Other Inks & Misc.)

Dip & cartridge pens & other implements, etc
.... used with various colored liquids, for writing/drawing

Various kinds of inks as well as diluted acrylic paints can be used with dip or cartridge pens and even with the eye end of a needle, etc., to draw or writing on clay.

The india ink is a permanant (see Lysle's posts below) pigment made from lampblack. It might not be as easy to use as a Sharpie, but the india ink won't react with the polymer clay.
I have found that a dip pen and Indian ink is my most long-term, bomb proof ink for polyclay. I did a series of Morris dancer pins for a morris team about 15 years ago - they are still wearing those pins to dance in! I did the faces with a dip pen and Indian ink and they are fine after all the dancing and knocking about they have had. Sue
…I switched to using Indian Ink (hope you call it that in the States - black permanent ink) using a simple dip pen and after 12 years it is still fine.
I find the (India) ink dries in a minute or two - I usually brush the surface of the clay with a bit of meths (alcohol) first to de-grease (otherwise the ink can bead). Then, for extra permanency, I coat all with either matt or gloss varnish.
When I make little English cottage fridge magnets in the shape of pubs, I use this method to write the name of the pub - e.g. "King's Head" etc on the sign- the letters need to be about 3 mm high - but also use it for doll pin faces and loads of other uses like miniature tiles. Sue?
If you are going to india ink-type inks, you might try the type of india ink for use on acetate sheets. It doesn't bead up on plastic.
there are three types (of India inks?): washable, permanate, and view graph. The feature about the viewgraph ink is that it contains a 'cleaner' that cleans and slightly sofens the film thus allows it to adhear to the view graphic film. A good "Crow's foot" Cartogaphers dip pen with the viewgraph india ink sounds like the way to go to me. Lysle

acrylic paint. . . . I also use a dip pen loaded with dilute acrylic paint for fine detail in colour on polymer clay - far more long lasting than any of the ephemeral coloured inks. I cover this technique in detail in my just-published book on miniatures . . Sue Heaser
Dip pens are very versatile to use on polyclay - you can mix up thin acrylic paint of any colour you like and drop it onto the back of the nib with a brush - and draw or write in any colour - even fading into a new colour. Sue
It seems that someone said those metallic markers never really hardened properly on the clay, but you could use gold acrylic paint or maybe there's such a thing as gold ink in a bottle. Either of these could be used with a dip pen (water the acrylic down?)

...see also alcohol-based inks above
...see also the pre-thinned acrylic paints that look like bottles of ink in Paints > Acrylics >> Thin Bodied Acrylics, some of which need to be heated to cure)

....for info on making a "paint" from tinted liquid clay or from clear acrylic mediums with "inclusions" such as mica powders
to create metallic paints, see
Liquid Clay > Inclusions.... and Powders > As Paints

brushes, pens, tools
I think Sue Heaser or some others talked about using watered-down acrylics or india-type inks with a dip pen or fine paintbrush, but don't remember details.
...the large-round tipped #13 tapestry needle ...the eye ends of those big needles also make great dip pens for TLS, frisket and paints. Halla
...A tiny, fine brush and acrylic paint works great too. ...it stays fairly well if unbaked, but can also be baked for even more staying power.
...an Extra Fine Line Painting Pen lets you write a fine line with thinned acrylic paint
........ mine says on the package that it's Distributed by Loew-Cornell, Inc., Teaneck NJ, but when I went looking for it at Pearl I was directed to the sculpting tools since they get it from Kemper tools.
........ It's about $3, all metal, and comes with a cleaning tool. Looks like a tiny pipe with a brass handle and a technical point coming out of the bottom of the pipe bowl. Use a brush or a dropper to fill the bowl and off you go. Just clean it the instant you're done. Halla
..........like a tjanting pen used for psyanky/batik, etc?, which is a small container on a rod, with a hole in the bottom for liquid get out

The eye ends of those big needles also make great "dip pens" for liquid clay, paints and frisket. Halla

Rapidograph pens (non-dip) work fine if you find dip pens hard to use…Sue
....I use Rapidograph pens, aka "technical pens". They come in very fine points and use a waterproof ink. I use the heavy black "India" type ink, but permanent inks are also available in white, carmine (pink), red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and brown. I've never had bleeding into clay over a 20 year period. These pens average $14. (mail order) to about $20. at Michaels.
... Much cheaper technical pens are available as disposable ($5.49 for 3) models. Michael's also carries Rotring Rapidoliner for around $12. They have a refill cartridge with tip, only in black. I have just started using these cheaper ones as they do away with the messy job of refilling and cleaning out the pens.
(Regular Rapidographs MUST be cleaned out after every use, or the tips will be permanently clogged…)
....I use a .18 disposable Rapidoliner by Rotring. You can also use the .25 disposable Rapidoliner. It's a very fine point , dries fast and is permanent. It has to be the disposable kind!!! . . .The nibs on the regular Rapidographs tend to scratch into the clay for some reason, and if the clay gets caught up in there, it's expensive to replace the nib. The disposable one.. once you buy the whole thing, all you have to do is replace the ink cartridge, which is much cheaper than the nibs. The barrel holds all the different point sizes. You can find the .25 at Michaels in the fine art section. The .18 is harder to come by. That you'll need to go to an art store. Anita

"Paint" Pens, markers--thicker ...(metallics & non-metallics)

Paint markers use opaque inks... but, they don't contain actual paint (some are solvent-based, others water-based).

Krylon Leafing Pens
....Michaels has them, as do many other places ...give great results
....the pens are soluble copper so the metal particles just sit on the surface (bec. there is no latex, acrylic or resin binder in them)
....the Silver (a good shiny sterling silver look) and 18K Gold are excellent. Jan ... Copper?
........new colors --a bright coppery red (great color for holiday projects) ,& a pale reddish gold (betw. the gold & copper).Patti
....the tip is chisel shaped, so one corner of it can also be used for a fine line.

I've used Krylon pens (all 3 colors) on everything (clay, mat board, glass, paper, plastic) for years
.... they just take a while to dry (esp. on nonporous surfaces?)... I usually don't touch it for about a 1/2 hour or so.Robin

sealing... if the Krylon ink will be exposed to friction or banging against objects, such as with a pendant or bracelet, then it needs to be protected with glaze. Elizabeth
......on an edge or surface that will get wear, I seal them with Varathane... but I in recessed areas they don't need sealing. Patti
.......some glazes may smear or remove the ink though. Dotty in CA (so don't apply heavily? or rub around, for first coat anyway)
...... If I feel a need to coat them, I wait several days till well dried, and then use Varathane or Fimo Mineral glaze .DottyinCA

These inks can be re-baked, but they tend to darken a little when you do (the copper is oxidizing in that case. Patti
...I like using the Krylon gold & silver pens to get a metallic look, but the finish seems to get dull very easily. Is it advisable seal it afterward? Mavis
.....they hold up pretty well, but if handled a lot they sometimes darken and look like old gold (if not sealed). Dotty
....... if the ink is going to be in a recessed area where it will not receive wear, then you can get away without glazing it, though the metallic look may dim. Elizabeth

prep: I did sand and buff (first) and found the gold (or silver or copper) flowed on nice and smooth
...... I just had to be careful not to get any oil from my hands or other sources on the clay as that caused the ink to bead up. Dotty in CA

I have also used the leafing pen on top of Future (or other acrylic finishes). Catherien

.... highlight the tops of textured surfaces
.........I am making some big "silver"polymer clay beads to go on a "turquoise" necklace ....they are every bit as convincing as the turquoise....really rich looking!
............firstI formed the bead, carved it , use teeny rope overlays, teeny balls, etc from a darkish silver and hit the highlights with the silver leaf pen. Jan Clausen

antiquing...Patricia Kimle used a for the gold infill in her carving... and on the trim of her leaf beads

draw or paint with them ... or whatever you can dream up!
...Eberhard Faber's lesson on drawing on baked clay stoppers with a metallic marker (+rhinestones)
...paint or markers? http://www.eberhardfaber.de/FIMO_classic.EBERHARDFABER?ActiveID=8556
Eberhard Faber's drawing on (baked) translucent clay-covered? glass candleholders with squiggles using marker?

I use a gold Krylon leafing pen for coloring the edge of CD's. Sputnik
...good for coloring the edges of a flat pendant or other clay where the sides show (looks more finished, framed)

Jean-stargazer used metallic pens (or metalic acrylic paint, I forget).... she puddled it... then swirled on a sheet of clay
.... she let it dry ....THEN she stretched the clay sheet to get this crackle finish ...Nora Jean

The other brand I bought at Michaels doesn’t get sticky either.

it was actually the Marvy Metallic Calligraphy pen that I had stickiness problems with. Lib

I have tried UNI paint markers without success...... the paint did bleed into the clay over time... got a chuckle too -- UNI paint markers are made by Sanford (distributed by our friends at Eberhard Faber) --but they sell other markers too.

I used a Deco paint pen on some baked clay because it is advertised as being waterproof and that is what I needed. However, the painted cat is now sticky.
....try baking again to set the ink. (The rebaking did not help,so I painted over the cat with another paint.)

I went to Lemon Tree and found a Fine Line Painting Pen writing tool to use with mica powders (under Powdered Pearls, Accessories)
...I think I just discovered a way to make those fine, delicate lines with metallic powders that have always eluded me! Laura
.....(looks a bit like a tjanting pen used for psyanky/batik, etc., which is a small container on a rod, with a hole in the bottom for liquid get out)

(info on the ArtZArt Hot Foil Pen is in Leafing > Hot Foil Pen, for applying foils to many surfaces...battery operated)

(also see other "markers" and "pens" above in Other Inks & Misc.)

Miscellaneous ...writing, drawing, painting

Many things can be used for drawing or painting on polymer clay so some of those could be used for writing too.
...see Paints for using colored pencils and pastels and chalks (pastes), as well as all kinds of acrylic and oil paints and painting with polymer clay
...see above on this page for Alcohol Inks and Chalk Inks
...see Powders for drawing/lettering with metallic or other powders mixed into clear mediums to use as "paint"
...see Transfers for transferring scanned photos or computer-generated letters/images to polymer clay

misc, lettering: .. . the old tole-painting lettering --i.e., having a big dot at the each intersection and at the ends of each letter-- helps with making the letters all look uniform.



(see Stamping for stamp pad inks, etc.)
(see also
: Canes, Molds, Powders, Transfers, Liquid Sculpey, ClayGun/Extruders, . . . .)