One question that will come up sooner or later when working with polymer clay is what kind of materials can you use together with polymer clay. You may want to use a wooden frame as a base for your polymer project or you have a metal armature, that you want to use as a base for modeling. After reading this article you will know exactly what kind of materials you can use with polymer clay and what you have to look out for.
So which materials can be used together with polymer clay? In short, with the right technique and preparations you can stick polymer clay to Wood, Glass, Metal, Aluminum Foil, and other similar materials. You just have to make sure, that the material can survive the temperatures, that you need to bake the clay, and that the materials don´t have much water within them (wood should be dry, for example)
Will Polymer Clay Stick to Glass?
The short answer is no, it won´t. You can bake your polymer clay on the glass but after cooling down, the polymer clay will not stick to the glass. You have to either glue the clay to the glass afterwards or you have to make a design, that will hold itself on the glass mechanically (wrapping the clay around the glass, for example.)
Polymer Clay will not stick to glass on its own after you have baked it, so you need to find a way to stick it to the glass surface.
There are several ways to do this but before you even start modeling you should make sure, that your glass that you plan to use for this, can take the temperature that the polymer clay needs to be baked at. Normally this is not a big problem but you should make sure anyways or you may end up with a cracked glass.
Also after baking make sure, that the glass can cool down slowly, I always leave the glass in the oven and let the oven cool down together with the glass in it. If you cool down your glass too fast then it may crack because of the temperature shock. So be careful!
Now we will have a look at the different ways, that you can stick polymer clay to a glass surface.
The first way is to simply glue the clay to the glass. Just model the polymer clay directly on the glass and put the glass together with the clay in the oven. After it is completely cooled down and hardened its time to glue the clay to the glass.
There are several types of glue, that you can use but I would highly suggest using a two-component liquid Epoxy Resin. The resin will harden out and stick very well to any flat and non-porous surface. I would still rough up the surface with a little sanding paper before glueing your sculpture to it but you really don´t have to.
The reason why I recommend Epoxy resin is because it is temperature resistant, water-resistant, and bonds very well once it is dry. So even if you put a hot beverage inside a glass, that has some polymer design glued to it, the epoxy will not lose its strength. Most other regular glues will not hold for long under such “harsh” conditions.
The other way to stick polymer clay to a glass surface is by creating a connection with the polymer clay. What I mean by that is, creating a design, that will hold itself to the glass even though it does not stick to the glass. You can, for example, wrap the design around the whole glass, and then it will hold on the glass mechanically and not because it really sticks to the glass.
This is a very nice trick so that no glued has to be used but it can be kind of hard to make such a connection sometimes.
There is an awesome video from “PolymerClayTV” where she explains the two Methods, that I mentioned above, a little more in detail.
Will Polymer Clay Stick to Wood?
The short answer is, it depends on the type of wood. Generally, Polymer Clay does stick to wood depending on the surface of the wood, if it is treated, sealed, or untreated, for example. The smoother the surface the less it will stick and if the surface is treated it might not stick at all. Before you bake the wood together with the clay, make sure that the wood is dry, if there is too much water in the wood it may crack.
You can use polymer clay with wood without any problems. As long as the wood isn´t treated or sealed the clay will stick to the surface quite good.
If you have problems with sticking your clay to the surface or if the wood is treated or sealed then you can simply use a sanding paper to rough up the surface and then your polymer clay should stick to it.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you work with polymer clay and wood is that the wood has to be dry before you bake the clay together with the wood.
So let the wood dry for a couple of days before you bake it or you may run into problems later on.
If the polymer clay got wet, for example, then it might not harden well enough and it may end up crumbling after it is cured. Or if the wood was too wet when you put it in the warm oven then the wood might crack as a result.
Also make sure, that you don´t put the wood directly on a metal sheet it is best to put a silicone matt underneath it to prevent it from burning.
You may have to seal the clay together with the wood when you are done but that depends on the type of wood and if you plan to use it outside where it can get wet.
Will Polymer Clay Stick to Metal?
The short answer is, no it will not stick directly to metal. Polymer clay will not stick to metal but it can be glued to a metal surface with an epoxy resin or you can wrap clay around the metal to make it hold itself on the surface without any glue.
This is pretty much the same as with glass.
Polymer clay will not stick to a metal surface on its own but you can glue it to the surface or you can mechanically fix it to the metal surface by wrapping the clay around the metal form.
If you want to use a metal rig underneath the clay to give it some form then don´t worry. That is entirely possible without any problems at all.
Will Polymer Clay Stick to Aluminium Foil?
The short answer is, it depends. If you want to bake Polymer Clay on aluminium foil then no, it won´t stick to aluminium foil. If you crumble the surface of aluminium or form it to a ball the surface of the foil will no longer be flat and the clay can stick to the aluminium foil easily.
So polymer clay can not stick to the flat surface of aluminum foil. If the surface of Aluminium is rough, however, it will stick very well.
So you can crumble the foil up or form it into a ball to make the surface rough enough for polymer clay to stick to.
You can safely bake polymer clay together with Aluminium foil without any problems, which makes it perfect for creating a core four your polymer clay project. This will safe polymer clay and in some cases, it may even make the project easier to create because you can form a rough form out of Aluminium foil before adding the clay and refining the design.
If you found this article helpful, then you can check out my other articles about polymer clay, like how to color polymer clay and how to find the best polymer clay for your project.