General tips for working with FIMO leather effect
What is FIMO leather effect?
FIMO leather‑effect is an oven-hardening modelling clay that can be shaped and worked in the same way as FIMO soft. After hardening it looks and feels similar to leather, and you can feel the effect even when you're kneading it. Unlike other oven-hardening types of FIMO, FIMO leather‑effect is hardened for 30 minutes at 130° C / 266° F. After hardening, thinly-rolled sheets are highly flexible, and can be bent, cut with scissors, punched or sewn, for example. This modelling clay is ideal for making unique jewellery pieces such as earrings, necklaces or bracelets. It also makes wonderful leather effect decorations for your home.
This handbook provides useful information on FIMO leather‑effect:
- Benefits of FIMO leather-effect at a glance
- General tips for working with FIMO
- Tips for working with unhardened FIMO leather-effect
- Special hardening process for FIMO leather-effect
➤ The different ways you can work with FIMO leather-effect after hardening are set out in the handbook Working with FIMO leather‑effect.
- You can shape or work FIMO leather-effect in any way you like, e.g. by embossing patterns or lettering.
- You can achieve the thickness you want for your FIMO sheet by rolling it out as appropriate.
- Leather effects vary: the more firmly you compress the modelling clay (e.g. by rolling it out), the smoother the leather effect you will create. If you pull the clay apart gently by hand after rolling it out, the leather effect will have more of a “raw” look.
- FIMO leather-effect (and FIMO in general) is what is known as self adhesive, i.e. when two pieces of FIMO are placed on top of each other, they will stick together. Pressing and smoothing the clay will strengthen the bonding. So you can lay two colours on top of each other, for instance, creating different colours on the front and back. FIMO will also stick to glasses and tins, making them easy to cover. (Individual FIMO decorations (e.g. little hearts, etc.) applied to items after hardening will not stick permanently)
- The FIMO leather-effect look is visible on both sides after hardening. This is particularly useful if you are creating earrings, handbag charms, etc.
- FIMO leather-effect is especially flexible and bendable after hardening. When FIMO leather-effect is rolled out thin, it can be punched, sewn (by hand or with a sewing machine) and cut into shapes with scissors.
Choosing the right working surface
You can use a range of working surfaces for FIMO: tiles, glass sheets or baking paper. These surfaces ensure that no unwanted patterns are created on the FIMO as you work. They are also particularly easy to remove the modelling clay from.
Keeping hands and work surfaces clean
It is best to clean your hands and work surfaces with a damp cloth. This is gentle on the skin (particularly if you have been doing a lot of work with FIMO) and removes dust and dirt, to prevent them from being transferred to the modelling clay.
The best way to store FIMO
If you have FIMO left over after crafting, it can be stored and reused. Oven-hardening FIMO must be stored in a dust free but not airtight environment. Storage should also protect against heat and sun. We recommend you store FIMO in a cool, dry place in aluminium foil or plastic bags, avoiding contact with polystyrene, PVC or Styrofoam.
FIMO leather-effect can be worked in a similar way to FIMO soft, but it shrinks slightly once hardened. So if you need one of your creations to be a specific size, you should initially work with a slightly larger size. You can then cut it to your desired size (e.g. with scissors) after hardening.
If you pull the clay apart evenly in different directions after hardening, the leather effect will become more obvious. The further you pull the clay apart, the more obvious the leather effect will be.
Colours can be combined with each other. Twisting them together gently will create a beautiful marbling effects, for instance. It’s also possible to create patterns and colour blends.
Kneading your chosen colours together thoroughly will create a new solid colour.
FIMO leather-effect can be combined with FIMO soft, for instance.
But its important to note that the more FIMO soft you add to the mix, the less pronounced the leather effect, and flexibility of your hardened pieces, will be.
FIMO leather-effect has a unique texture. You can feel the difference from other types of FIMO when you knead it. Colour mixtures and blends take slightly more effort to create and the leather effect gives them a particular feel.
When positioning pieces, the clay should be firmly bonded to avoid any slight loosening (even after hardening).
If the clay has become a little too hard, you can soften it by kneading with FIMO Mix Quick.
This can make the colour somewhat lighter and reduce the leather effect slightly. The more FIMO Mix Quick you add, the greater the impact will be.
When a block of FIMO leather‑effect is rolled out to a thickness of 1 – 1.5 mm, it gives a sheet of about 340 cm².
The leather look means that fingerprints are less visible on FIMO leather-effect than on FIMO soft. You can avoid creating fingerprints by wearing rubber gloves when you work.
To avoid lint, we recommend you do not wear dark colours or wool when working with FIMO. Surface lint can be wiped away using a damp cloth.
You can create figures with FIMO leather‑effect, but the leather effect will be less visible.
Preheat the oven to 130°C / 266 °F (upper and lower heat). Once it is up to temperature, place your pieces in the oven and harden them for 30 minutes.
Since every oven is different, we recommend you use an oven thermometer to make sure nothing burns and your pieces don’t take on any undesirable colour. It’s important to control the temperature during hardening and ensure that you do not exceed the recommended temperature or baking time.
(FIMO should not be hardened in the microwave.)
To achieve optimal hardening of FIMO leather-effect, you should use only one baking sheet in the oven at a time. Pieces should be hardened for 30 minutes at 130°C / 266 °F on upper and lower heat.
Can FIMO pieces that have already been hardened be put back into the oven?
We recommend that FIMO leather‑effect is hardened once only under the conditions set out above.
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