Start And Operate Your Own Polymer Clay Business At Home
Polymer clay is a type of craft compound which is quite easily shaped and molded (or moulded if you are British) into various types of products.
The clay is fired or cured inside an oven instead of the conventional fire brick kiln. It has also become a popular medium for miniature artists, jewelry makers, and kids (even big kids like me). This is why it is not a big surprise that more and more people are interested to learn how to start a polymer clay business at home.
Creating some craft items with the use of polymer clay then selling the finished products for profit is a great way to gain entry into the small business of arts and crafts with very minimal upfront investment.
Later in this article I will share with you 3 effective promotion / advertising strategies which are either free or low cost. Put them into practice and you will get customers quick !
Create Exciting and Unique Crafts
Polymer clay offers a great surface for decoupage artwork and decal transfers. You can form craft products such as decorative ornaments, miniature picture frames, doll body parts and faces, and small vases. You can then sell these items at online craft forums, arts and crafts fairs, and directly to fellow crafters using clay elements in their work.
If you like, you can also buy a type of polymer clay which can turn into an eraser material after being cured.
This will give you the chance to create kid-friendly erasers in various styles and colors. You can then sell these directly to students, parents, and teachers, at back to school fairs, or as a fun fundraiser for PTA.
Design Jewelry Pieces
Being an extremely malleable product, polymer clay is available in an array of textures and colors. The clay doesn’t harden that quick, which makes it easy to form, sculpt, and shape. Common jewelry items made using polymer clay include embellished hair clips, shaped pendants, and beads.
Thanks to the short curing time, you can form simple pieces of polymer clay jewelry quickly to let you form an inventory within a short span of time. If you want to discover how to start a polymer clay business at home, you can make money through having your jewelry pieces up for sale in local boutiques, consignment shops, or mall kiosks.
You can launch a website or you can also sell your pieces in online handmade products platforms such as Etsy.
Sell Accessories Made from Polymer Clay
Polymer clay items range from inexpensive to simple to pricey and complex. You can explore opportunities to distribute polymer clay items to local arts and crafts shops, or you can also have your very own line of supplies and tools. Clay artists usually search for unique shaping and cutting tools, texturized or decorative clay extruders and presses. You can even design your very own molds for clay shaping then sell these on your or better yet, sell your design to a manufacturer of polymer clay.
Be a Polymer Clay Design Teacher
Another way on how to start a polymer clay business at home is to teach polymer clay use and design at the local community or recreation center, or you can also be a private instructor. You can even hire yourself out for kid-friendly functions and birthday parties and help kids design their very own masterpieces using polymer clay. List down the services you want to offer and the charges for each, such as use of supplies and tools, clean up and set up of work space, and individual or group instruction.
These are only a few great ideas on how to start a polymer clay business at home.
Getting Customers / Making Sales
Promoting your polymer clay sculpting business may turn out to be very enjoyable and provide you with a satisfying challenge, especially when you begin making your first sales and see money coming in.
Here are 3 very effective techniques to begin getting your first customers :
1. Clubs And Groups
Clubs, associations, and organizations which are targeted to people who are interested in polymer clay sculpting or similar hobbies would be an excellent place to start promoting and getting leads / sales.
A few places to find large groups of people online who could potentially become your customers are Google Plus groups, Facebook groups or pages, Tumblr, Twitter and Pinterest.
In addition, you can simply do a quick search on Google for “clay sculpting forums” or “polymer clay forum”.
After finding and joining some of these groups and forums, simply share your tips, ideas, photos of your projects, etc. After a short amount of time, you will capture lots of interest in what you have to offer and start making your first sales.
2. Offer A Prize From A Contest You Create
Offering a prize or bonus to people who enter and win a contest you offer would be a very effective method for promoting your clay sculpting business.
You could offer the winner of the contest one of your best clay sculptures.
You will create an extremely targeted and interested list of potential customers when you offer a valuable prize from a contest, especially if the contestants come from the groups and clubs which you joined and are now a participating member of.
3. Joint Promotions With Other Businesses
Make alliances with other businesses, websites, or groups that you have joined who sell products that are somewhat related to clay sculptures (but not your direct competitors who are trying to sell their own clay creations) and help to get the word out to potential customers for one another.
As an example, you could have an agreement with a flower shop that you will mention their business to your followers on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or even to the people who have already bought items from you previously.
In return they can mention to their customers that you create beautiful clay vases and give them your contact info, business card and / or your website address.
Necessary Tools for Polymer Clay Sculpting
Aside from your hands, a block of clay, and an oven, there are still several necessary tools for polymer clay sculpting that you need to make the whole process easier, simpler, and faster.
Your work space must be nonporous. A plastic place mat, glass or plastic cutting board, smooth glass or ceramic tile, craft mat, and other nonporous surfaces can be used. Polymer clay tends to leach oils into porous surfaces such as unsealed stone, bamboo, wood, and others. This will not just ruin the surface as it will also make the clay stiffer once the oils leached out.
It is important to have something you can use for rolling your clay with. There are a lot of techniques which need a good flat and even polymer clay sheet that you have to roll out. Acrylic rollers will be best for this since these are nonreactive, nonporous, and smooth. Good alternatives include acrylic brayers, a drinking glass with straight side, plastic kitchen rollers, or the side of a pen. As you advance, you will surely want to use a pasta machine for rolling out your polymer sheets.
One of the necessary tools for polymer clay cutting is something obviously a cutting tool. There are some who use a razor blade or a knife although a clay blade might be a better choice. There are a lot of options out there complete with a set of handles and several blades. You can use the blade to cut shapes, canes, strips, and to lift the clay sheets from the work surface. If you don’t have a clay blade, you will find hard to accomplish these tasks.
If you wish to sculpt or make something that has some details or shapes to it, you will need several basic sculpting tools. It can be something as simple as the side of a pen or a tooth pick. However, there are other great tool options for sculpting out there. You can use these tools to create rounded shapes and cups, ruffle flower edges, draw on details, sculpt faces, and others. As you advance, it is expected that you will be adding more tools to your sculpting collection.
After you have finished creating your masterpieces using polymer clay, you will have to bake them of course. It is a must that you do it properly since pieces that are under baked will break, while those baked at extremely high temperature will discolor and scorch. You will require an oven thermometer, an insulated tile or pan, with a pen layering, and a foil pain or tent lid to keep your pieces protected from the top element.
These are just some of the necessary tools for polymer sculpting that you will need when starting your own business at home. Having these tools (and knowing how to use them) will ensure that you will be able to create the most stunning masterpieces. Make sure that you add these to your arsenal to enjoy your sculpting even more and find joy in every step of the process as I do !