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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Color Mixing in Polymer Clay




This week I took advantage of my organized polymer clay stash so that we could talk about mixing colors of clay. How many colors of clay do we really need? If you are just starting out you probably won't have a collection of 100 colors to pull from. You can however mix the colors you do have to get a lot more colors. You just have to understand what colors work well with each other and how to make them do what you want them to do.

Have you ever run into the situation where maybe you needed just a bit of say purple clay and didn't have any? Probably what you did was to pick a random package of blue clay and a random package of red clay and combined some of each. Did you get the color you were expecting or did you get something that was kind of muddy with a tinge of brown to it? I go into why this might have happened in the video and once you understand the why you can use this to your advantage.

Think back to grade school when you forgot to wash out your paint brush while painting with the set of watercolor paints that every teacher required us to have. Did you ever forget to rinse out your brush and end up with a muddy mess instead of a pretty picture? Usually by the end of the year my watercolor paints were all different colors of brown not the pretty colors I started out with. This happens with our clay too, unless you happen to have a red that is a true red and not a red that tends toward purple of orange and a blue that is a true blue and not tending towards green or purple you could end up with a dark muddy color. Now if both your blue and your red are tending toward the same direction on the color wheel (purplish red/purplish blue or greenish blue/orangish red) they will play well together too.

We can also use the color wheel to our advantage in making our collection of clay colors go further. If you need to tone down a color add a tiny bit of color opposite of it on the color wheel and you will take the edge off the color and mute it a bit. If you add a color from next to it you can make it brighter (though a little harder to predict the result) Just use tiny bits to add in, you can add more but it is harder to take it away. Be especially careful adding in red, it is a very strong color and tends to “take over” the other colors.

I do get asked on a regular basis what colors I recommend to buy if you are just starting out making polymer clay foods. The first two colors I recommend to buy are white and translucent along with a basic set of chalk pastels, with this you can make so many foods. After that start adding the basic primary and secondary colors. That said if a color really calls to you and you love it (and can afford it) go ahead buy it. If you love it you will find a way to use it. Just try to make sure you have the basics too.







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