Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway : Polymer Clay Essentials

By on Monday, June 12, 2017 68 Comments

Polymer clay is one of the most versatile and colorful media you can use for jewelry making.  Many designers and artists show how amazing it can be. Yet, there are a lot of misconceptions and uncertainties with the material.  So it pays to really understand what polymer clay is and how to handle it well to get the most out of it.



I received a copy of Ginger Davis Allman's Polymer Clay Essentials eBook for review.  I've curated some of her excellent resources on her site, The Blue Bottle Tree, before. However, this book goes in much greater depth and provides invaluable information for anyone working with polymer clay.  The book is 96 pages long. So understandably is only available in the digital format due to its length.


This is not a project book as you can see from the content pages. It deals with all the practical details of buying and working with clay.  As Ginger is scientifically trained, the lead section on the chemistry of clay is solid and clearly explained for everyone.  Polymer clay is indeed a plastic material, one that is already polymerized -  the building blocks have already been put together. There is no polymerization when you bake the clay.  

This section goes over what other materials go into the making of polymer clay. So knowing what they are will give you a greater understanding of why brands differ, what happens when the clay is baked. or when it crumbles, and so on. 

Polymer clay safety is  also covered.  Unfortunately, the internet is rife with outdated articles (and sometimes discredited claims) such as this  very old 2002 article about the dangers of phthalates in polymer clay. People still get worried when they stumble on it (see the comments in my past post on 5 Polymer Clay Questions and Answers for Beginners) . But since 2008, those kinds of plasticizers (needed to make plastic softer, flexible and durable) have been eliminated from polymer clay as regulations were brought in. Safer plasticizers are now used.

Ginger goes over many aspects of safety and dispels many myths. She answers the common questions on whether you can use your regular oven, whether the fumes dangerous and whether you be using polymer clay to make dishes used for eating!   


Another stellar section is the one on different kinds of clays including air dry clays which are not polymer clay.  Ginger said, " I am often asked which brand is my favorite. It seems that people want to pick one brand of clay to invest in and never use any of the other brands."  She goes on to say, "There is no one best brand." It will depend on what you use the clay for - sculpting or caning? Or on personal or project preferences for flexibility or rigidity after baking. Some clay brands will never buff to a glossy finish so it helps to know which one before you spend too much time trying to do so! Liquid clays from different manufacturers are not the same.

So the information on the pros and cons of each brand was incredibly useful as it will guide users to choose according to their needs.


Also invaluable is her advice on mixing polymer clay brands - you can indeed do so and cure them at the higher temperature. But there is one exception which she covers in her book.

How to tell whether the clay is properly conditioned is perhaps one of the most common questions, someone starting out with polymer clay would ask.  There is no magic number of passes through the machine to count on! Ginger explains what to look for - the lack of cracks is not a measure of conditioning - and how to deal with dry clay.

The book is filled with a lot of tips and tricks and how to solve problems which inevitably occur. I also liked her section on which pasta makers to buy depending on the state of the wallet.  I have to agree, the basic model you get from Michaels (which I have) is temporarily useable, but there are better ones out there! What astonished me was the use of a modified arbor press to compress and resurrect hard, crumbly clay!


This book is beautifully designed and full of in depth information for polymer clay workers who need answers!

Giveaway
If you'd like to win a copy of Ginger's Polymer Clay Essentials ebook, please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, June 19, 2017. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

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68 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to try polymer clay.

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  2. Hmmm ok sign me up for this one...thanks!

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  3. Wow, this sounds like just the book I need!

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  4. I have been thinking about getting into polymer clay and this book sounds like it would answer a lot of my early questions. Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

    (Don't want to post an email address here, but if you go to my Blogger profile, you can find a link to my Amazon reviews, where there is contact information.)

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  5. Oh yer, need to know a lot more about best use of polymer! Such a versatile medium & I have a lot of polymer supplies but could definitely use it better. Blog follower, subscriber and facebook fan, I can be reached at retro-grrl@hotmail.com.

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  6. Wow! This is one wonderful book, suitable for all clayers. I would love to read it. Thank you for all your articles, a great source of information and inspiration.

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  7. Would love to win this...Thank you for the opportunity!

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  8. A few years ago I got all excited about polymer clay and purchased a lot of it plus a number of tools. Then life intervened and I had to put my supplies aside. I need this book. FYI - I looked for it on Amazon and it's not available.

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    1. No, it isn't there. It is a self published book available only from her site.

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  9. I Always wondered about clays. Worked with different ones, bought books and would like to learn the truth about different clays. This is what I've been looking for. I like working with my hands and learning.

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  10. I've always wanted to try polymer clay, but no classes near me. This might have some the answers I need

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  11. I have just started to play with polymer clay so this book would be very useful.

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  12. Thank you for the chance to win. I have been interested in polymer clay after seeing a few very modern jewelry pieces. I am also interested in it to learn how to cover my crochet hooks to have a better grip on them!

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  13. wow, this would be an awesome score

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  14. Ginger always has great info. I can always learn more.
    Blog subscriber and FB follower.
    zanc@me.com

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  15. Ginger is very comprehensive and thorough in her testing and writing. Her new book would be a valuable addition to any clayer's library!

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  16. I am just beginning to learn to work with polymer clay. It seems pretty strait forward but the more I read the more confused I get. It would be awesome to have a one source guide. Thanks for the super giveaway!
    Ruthroberts13@gmail.com

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  17. This sounds so very useful ! Thank you for this giveaway,
    voltzia@gmail.com

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  18. I recently went on a polymer clay cruise and now I am hooked! I would love to know all the details regarding polymer clay!

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  19. This book is on my wishlist, thank you for the chance to win it!

    lwest.86@hotmail.com

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  20. I love the thought of learning a new product and its techniques. Thank you Pearl. Blog follower: zoowatcher10@yahoo.com

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  21. Ginger is a wealth of information! Would love to have this book. Thanks for having the giveaway and I love reading Beading Gem's Journal! bfickle2010@yahoo.com

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  22. Sounds like there are some great tips and advice in this book. I'd love to win it! Thank you!

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  23. I sure could use this book! One of my tenants left a boat load of materials/supplies pertaining to polymer clay, but no book to be found! I've been trying to decide what to do with it. Winning this book would probably make me try to understand the art. My email address is Ddonnasmith1@aol.com. Thank you

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  24. Have wanted to work with polymer clay for a while and this book would be a great start!

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  25. No matter how long I've been working with polymer clay there are days when I sit down and get stumped by a problem and have no idea what the solution is.

    Then there's always the newer developments that I haven't worked with yet - like liquid clay - colouring liquid clay - making liquid clay?....

    Then there's always the problem of dealing with the oven. Embedding in corn starch doesn't work for all of my projects so what is the solution?

    This ebook would be invaluable to all clayers no matter how long you've been working in the medium. Because we all have brain stutters and who can waste time trying to remember the solution to a problem when you're in the creating mode. That just kills the buzz!

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  26. Ooooo have been meaning to pick this up for a while. But my new clay storage has been keeping me busy. Ginger always has the best tips on her site and have has some wonderful information on her site. I would love to be in the giveaway. Would be cool to see the winner on her FB page as well. My name is Dorian and my email is czariana.gamer@gmail.com. Thanks so much!

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  27. As a beginner this book would be a time saver. I have all kinds of notes from on line sources...even those that disagree. To have a go to guide from a true expert would be like winning the lottery. Thank you for this opportunity
    mlc4123.mc@gmail.com

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  28. I've followed Ginger's blog for a few years now. I have her book on sanding and buffing. She's my go-to gal! Would love this book as well. Let me know if I'm the luck one; I can be found at s_wiatrowski@yahoo.com

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  29. Thanks for the great review and chance to win! Ginger has wonderful tutorials and this will be a perfect addition to my polyclay library!

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  30. This book reads like a "must-have" for every polymer clay enthusiast.

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  31. I have discovered this amazing medium (polymer clay) and am working on a line of jewelry to hopefully launch in 2018 if I can learn everything there is to know about PC. This book would surly help my business. Thank you! Mona

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  32. I'm a beginner and have been looking for a book that gives me a deeper understanding of how to use polymer clay. my email address is jdesignsnc@gmail.com. Thank you, Janet

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  33. Wouldn't it be nice to have this kind of direction BEFORE starting a new area of interest? Might be a novel thing for me to do.

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  34. Everything Ginger does is awesome and very professional!

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  35. I didn't want to be anonymous-just wouldn't let me post otherwise. melodyhill2000@yahoo.com

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  36. This book would be so helpful for the beginner like me.

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  37. What a wonderfully interesting book.
    icbnett (at) gmail.com
    (I'm subscribed via Bloglovin)

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  38. I would love this as I am just beginning to work with polymer clay! Also I follow Blue Bottle Tree on FB for Ginger's great ideas and helpful tips!!

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  39. I haven't used polymer clay in a while.

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  40. Packed with information and easy to read and follow.

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  41. I sure it is a fantastic reference tool !
    Montarsi@ Cinci.rr.com

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  42. Looks like a great book for all clayers

    smamabird@aol.com

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  43. Looks like an excellent resource and guide. I've been following Ginger Davis Allman for a while now and having seen the quality of her website and willingness to help others this is a great tool for anyone. Would love to be the lucky winner
    Mona
    bijouxgemsjoy@gmail.com

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  44. Looks like this book would offer a lot of information for someone​ just getting into working with polymer clay.

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  45. I would love to win this book! I have started to dabble in polymer clay, but would love to know the answers to all my questions!

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  46. What a terrific collection of "Tried and tested" polymer clay information. Her website it terrific but I would love to see this book.

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  47. What a fabulous book. I'd love to win this one!

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  48. Polymer uses oohhh! via FB

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  49. How timely! I just told a fellow newbie about Ginger Davis Allman and The Blue Bottle Tree! I shared a link to your website on my Facebook page. Would love to have this ebook! Thanks for the chance to win! Via FB

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  50. Kirsten Helene SawardJune 13, 2017 at 8:37 PM

    Would love to have this book as a reference source. via FB

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  51. I'm just starting to get into clay, so this book would be a great help!

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  52. This looks like a great piece of receive material for all polymer clay crafters, I'd love to get my hands on it!

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  53. Polymer clay is a wonderful medium and exploring artefacts and jewels using same can be challenging and this book certainly takes the basics to reach the destiny

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  54. I am just getting back into polymer clay after being away from it for many years. Ginger's book would be very useful as I am sure there are many new techniques & materials.

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  55. This book would be a endlessly useful tool to any clayer! I'm starting again after years of being away from crafting and it would be an amazing tool to own!

    synzora@hotmail.com

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  56. Would love to get my hands on a copy of Ginger's new book.
    Meljptoo@gmail.com

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  57. You can't ever have enough information on polymer clay so this would be great

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  58. An Amazing book contains complete details reg clay and trouble shooting.. being a starter like me it will be a best book to refer.. I'm from India..

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  59. She has not only an amazing knowledge of all things Polymer Clay related but is also a great person, always there to help others and share her knowledge! It is for shure an amazing book!

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  60. Sounds like a terrific book to learn more about working with the polymer clay.

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  61. I have Ginger's other ebooks, and would love to add this one to my collection. She is an inspiring artist and her books and website are full of useful tips.

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  62. I would love to have this book

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  63. Understand this is a great 'go to' polymer clay clay book.
    Need a good resource book for general info as well as troubleshooting.

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  64. Polymer clay is something I have always wanted to try, but I don't feel I know enough about it to just jump in. I have clay experience with lots of adult classes, and I absolutely love raku! I have done lampworking classes and hope to eventually have a studio where I can get back into that. I have really gotten into making jewelry with the help of your website. I think a book like this with the most up to date information would be a terrific resource for the beginner, and would love to have this book so I can take the plunge!

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  65. Yippee! This looks like a fantastic book.

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