24 August 2014

Hollw form experiments - failed

After returning from the EurosSynergy Conference in Malta, I was excited to try creating a hollow sphere from polymer clay using a polystyrene ball as the form. Here is my first attempt.
To save wasting too much clay (if it didn’t work) I just covered about two thirds of the polystyrene ball and then baked it according to the directions. It was fascinating watching, through the glass oven door, the polystyrene ball slowly shrinking and at the end how small and compact the remaining polystyrene was.
I thought this was going to turn out well but at the very last few minutes of baking, the shape seemed to collapse a bit at the base, losing its spherical shape.
This was only a small sphere, creating a shape suitable to house an electric candle. I still want to be able to create larger spheres to use as lampshades for electric lamp bases. I am thinking that polymer clay is not structurally strong enough to support itself at the size I am thinking of, although I thought a sphere might be more self-supporting than other hollow shapes.
Next experiment – tissue papier mache base for polymer
I wondered if a few layers of tissue paper would still be translucent enough and strong enough to support a thin layer of polymer clay. So I covered a small inflated ball with several layers of tissue paper and glue ( I think I used PVA glue rather than wall paper paste but I can’t remember now). When it was totally dry, I pierced and removed the ball.
The papier mache shell was not very strong, it crushed with the slightest pressure from my fingers. I did not feel confident that it would support a layer of polymer clay and as I was rapidly running out of translucent clay, I did not want to waste it on another failed experiment.
I concluded that the only way to make the type of polymer clay lampshade that I have in mind is to find a glass shade to use as a permanent base. This might be difficult and I would require a whole lot more translucent polymer clay. Once again I think this idea will go on the back burner, for the time being.