Fimo is a brand name of polymer clay, which is available in an assortment of colors that can be mixed together to create new shades. Standard Fimo does not air-dry like a modeling dough; it requires hardening in an oven. If you've never worked with polymer clay before, you may find it surprisingly firm, but it eventually softens from the warmth of your hands as you work with it.
Softening, for Starters
You must soften Fimo clay before you create your project; standard polymer clay is tough like cold taffy and does not mold or flex until warmed and conditioned by hand. Squeeze the Fimo repeatedly, rolling it and manipulating it with your hands until it becomes soft and pliable enough to form into shapes easily. If it becomes too soft, place it in a refrigerator for a few minutes.
You can work Fimo entirely by hand as if you're playing with modeling dough to create just about any object imaginable. If you plan to work with the clay often, a pasta machine helps condition the clay and roll it out into sheets of consistent thickness. The pasta machine also comes in handy for creating layers of color; for instance, a rainbow-colored roll begins with a red snake shape, rolled on the table by hand. Wrap a sheet of orange clay, fresh out of the pasta machine, over the red roll, cutting it to size with a craft knife and rolling it smooth over the red. Continue with subsequent rainbow colors such as yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. it's important to note, however, that after working with Fimo the pasta machine will no longer be safe for pasta-making.
Other Tools of the Trade
A craft knife or a clay slicer allows you to cut your creations, such as colorful layered rolls, into slices of any thickness. Slicing through layered rolls or stacked clay colors is the key to creating a series of identical beads or colorful shapes. Clay forms similar to cookie cutters are a simple solution to creating specific shapes. Craft stamps may also be used on softened Fimo clay.
The Hardening Process
Most Fimo clay -- except a special air-drying variety -- stays pliable unless it is baked. Fimo instructions call for baking the classic clay at 235 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes for every 1/4 inch of clay thickness; therefore, if the project is 1/2-inch thick, it takes about an hour to bake. Check the Fimo package instructions for recommended baking temperatures, as the company offers several clay varieties and sometimes changes the clay formulation, which may result in a different baking requirement. Bake flat pieces between two ceramic tiles to keep the project from warping. Rest non-flat creations on a ceramic tile or cooking stone to bake. Do not use the stone, or any utensils used for clay, on food after using them for clay projects.
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