I get asked a lot of questions sometimes! O: And it's not that I don't mind answering, it's that sometimes I get asked the same question again and again and I don't have time to explain it every time. So I made up this quick list of commonly asked questions!
Updated on 05/12/2014
► What kind of clay do you use?
--- I use polymer clay, it's an oven baked clay that hardens at 275°F (130°C), so you do not need a kiln to bake it. The brands I use are Sculpey, Sculpey III, Sculpey Premo!, and FIMO. You can find these at basically any craft store [and at Wal-Mart in a starter pack with 12 colors ($13 I think?) or just in white (around $6)] and the prices range from $0.99-$3.00 depending on the brand. I almost always buy my clay from Michael's Arts and Crafts.
► How long do I bake it? How do I bake it?
--- It depends on how thick your clay is. Read the package! It will tell you everything you need to know about how long to bake. It's also a bit of trial and error, and I will never be able to tell you an exact time to bake it, you will have to figure that one out yourself. Experiment!
To bake it, just put it on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet and put in the toaster oven or oven at the specified temperature. Never wrap your charm in foil, you will burn it. It's not a baked potato.
► Okay... but I can't find this clay where I live!
--- semi-sweeties has a great list you can use to find where to buy polymer clay in your country! You can find that here: semi-sweeties.deviantart.com/b…
► How do I turn my creation into a charm? What do I need?
--- see this
► Ive seen you use popsicle sticks in your charms before, is wood safe to put in the oven? Are headpins safe to put in the oven?
--- Yes, both are completely safe at the temperature polymer clay bakes at. Don't touch wood or metal fresh from the oven (or your hot charm, for that matter) because it will be very hot to the touch, but it will not burst into flames. As for putting metal in the oven, what are cookie sheets made of? Metal, right? xD It's entirely safe.
Do not put any plastic in the oven for any reason. This is NOT safe. It will also make a huge mess. And stinky fumes.
► My clay is too hard/soft, what should I do? or My clay seems to be having a weird reaction to plastic, what should I do? or My charms always seem to be way too brittle after I bake them, have I done something wrong?
--- see this! all of these questions relate to plasticizers in clay, and this guide covers all of them.
► Can you paint polymer clay?
--- Yes, you can. I would recommend you paint after you've baked the clay and with acrylic paints. You can paint before you bake, but only if it's something very small (like JUST eyes or a mouth). Wait until the paint has entirely dried before you bake the clay. If you're unsure about this or it makes you uncomfortable, then paint it only after it has baked and entirely cooled off.
The cheap little $0.75 bottles work best because the paint is thin and can be applied with any old brush in 1-2 coats.
► Okay cool, but how did you get your charm so shiny?!
--- I use a glaze. Sculpey sells gloss glaze and satin glaze, and in my experience don't even bother with the satin glaze if you're not going to use it all up within a month. Every time I buy it, it turns super thick and gooey after just a few weeks, while the clear glaze remains easy to apply.
► No not the glaze... the glitter!
--- My signature "style" is to add pearlized clay to everything to make it sparkly. You can use pure mica pigment or purchase any polymer clay with "pearl" in the title and it will be glittery.
► Some of your items have this glow-in-the-dark powder or little crystals, what is that and where did it come from?
--- It's glass. I'm keeping my exact source a secret on these, sorry! I provide many resources and I'm always happy to help, but I have to have a few secrets right?
► What is decoden? What is the fake frosting that you use on phone cases?
--- Decoden is made from the words "decorate" and "denwa" which means telephone in Japanese. It started by just decorating mobile phones, but now decoden is an umbrella term for putting cute frosting and sparkles on whatever you want! The exact materials I use for my decoden are another trade secret, but if you do some research you can find plenty of materials to use yourself.
► How did you make _______?
--- Sorry, but I don't have time to make tutorials anymore.
Older tutorials can be found here, though some techniques may be out of date (meaning someone else has explained it better, hahaha) sarah-chan.deviantart.com/gall…
► You have too many secret materials, that's not cool! I'm just starting out and I want to know everything.
--- The only materials I keep secret are ones that took a lot of time and effort to locate or create. I want everyone to enjoy crafting and discovering their own materials and techniques, which is why I choose to keep certain things private.
► Why do you charge so much? Your items are way too expensive!
--- Ah, the question that makes artisans everywhere curl up and die a little inside. I price my work based on three things. The cost of the material, the amount of labor, and the amount of time spent crafting it. Labor refers to mixing the clay and conditioning it, craft time is the actual time spent sculpting the specific item. Not only are my materials costly (they add up fast) but I spend many hours hunched over a table carefully adding details and painting on faces. You have to consider all the work that goes into a commission. First there's talking with the customer about what it is they want, going over reference pictures and planning out the cost. Once payment is made I have to mix up all the different colors of clay that are going to be used on their item, then I have to plan out how I'm going to sculpt it. The sculpting phase could be as short as an hour, and it could take as much as three days to complete. Then comes the baking, which is another hour. Then painting, glazing, photographing, resizing the photo, uploading it, going back to the customer and showing them the final product, discussing possible changes, then finally packing it up neatly and driving to the post office. Would you really do all of that for $5?
There's a lot of work and care that goes into my creations, and I understand that not everybody will be able to afford my work. If it's out of your price range then I apologize, but I'm not going to rip myself off to whoever complains the loudest.
► I saw you made [CHARACTER] ... but you didn't include their [blah] or their [blah]! And this color is different!
--- Was it a commission? Remember when I do custom work for someone, sometimes they want a character seen WITHOUT certain items/trademarks. Or maybe they want them with something crazy for an inside joke. Or maybe they wanted the colors to be changed, or done a certain way. I didn't exclude something to make you angry or confused, I simply did what the commissioner wanted. As long as the person who paid me is happy, I don't care what a character is holding or not holding, or what colors they have. I would be more than happy to remake the charm to your specifications if you want to pay me for it.
► How long have you been working with clay?
--- Since August 2010. O:
► Where did you get the name "Grandma Thunderpants?"
--- It's actually a Venture Brothers reference!
It comes from an episode where there was a giant garage sale on the Venture Compound and Triana finds a giant pair of underwear, along with some other "kitschy junk." She proudly holds up the giant underwear and calls it "giant grandma thunderpants." Now for some reason this line always stuck with me as super hilarious, so in 2010 when I went to name my shop, I didn't want it to just be "my kawaii clay shop #5985" or anything, so I thought about what would be a good name that really stuck with people. In the end, I decided that grandma thunderpants as a name would either haunt or delight people-- but stick with them either way. That's why I chose it.
► Do you do art trades?
--- I very selectively do art trades. I don't do this to be mean, I do this because I don't have a whole lot of time to do art trades with everyone. I also can't only do trades, because then I would have lots of cool loot but I wouldn't have money to buy more clay. If I want to trade with someone, I'm usually the one who approaches them.
► I want to request a charm... but I don't have money. Will you make it anyway so I can see it?
--- Requests are currently closed, I just don't have time for it. I always take suggestions, but please understand there's a very good chance I won't do it. I don't want to let anyone get their hopes up, I'd feel guilty!
► Where's your custom item information?
--- My commission info is here: grandmathunderpants.deviantart… and I love you.
► Do you accept points commissions?
--- Yes, I do! O:
I'll accept an extremely limited amount of point commissions per year. Contact me if you're interested in paying with points! I will calculate the amount of points needed by converting exactly the cost of the item to points. 80 points = $1 USD, so something that's worth $15 will be 1200 points, and so on. I know a lot of people are used to seeing like 5 point commissions and 30 point commissions, but 30 points is equal to like $0.20 and there's no way I could make anybody anything for that, ahaha.
Shipping costs will also be calculated into points.
FOR OTHER CONCERNS
This is the item disclaimer from my website. It might answer your question.
DISCLAIMER AND ETC.
While our items are very cute and childlike, please do not give them to small children or pets for any reason. Some small parts can break off and become a choking hazard. Do not for any reason chew on or put our charms in your mouth. While polymer clay is non-toxic, the glaze used to protect the clay is not and can make you sick if you ingest too much of it (though it's perfectly safe to the touch! just no chewing.)
Keep in mind all of our items are handmade and thus may differ just slightly from the images you see on this website. Every item is unique and no two items are made exactly the same. It is not suggested that you wear your goodies in the shower or while swimming. The glaze protects the charms but the small metal parts holding it together might tarnish if exposed to water for extended periods of time.
Have any questions for me? O: Don't be afraid, ask me! I'm always eager to help out.