Polymer Clay Repair: How to Fix Broken Figurines
Accidents happen, stuff breaks and sometimes it’s your polymer clay creation. I had such an incident happen to me with a refrigerator magnet I recently made. Luckily, I didn’t paint or glaze it because I can now fix the damaged area and rebake the figurine. In this tutorial, I’ll do just that!
Polymer clay damage control
The other day I was getting ready to get on the elliptical. I have a case of water on the top of my refrigerator. I put on a thermal long sleeve shirt because it’s winter time and my elliptical is out in the garage. As I reached up to grab a bottle of water, my thermal shirt hooked on to my refrigerator magnet witch I created a few weeks ago.
Apparently, it got caught on one of her strong facial features and down she came, crashing down to the floor. The damage wasn’t that bad, there were three main pieces of clay that broke and the hat fell off. If she were glazed, there may not have been any damage at all. Still, since she wasn’t glazed (or painted) gives me the opportunity to fix the damaged areas and rebake her!
Paint and glaze
I’ve mentioned several times on both my YouTube channel and this website about how you can’t rebake a polymer clay creation if it’s been glazed or painted. I also mentioned that glazing sometimes makes a stronger figurine more than once. This recent incident with my witch refrigerator magnet allows me to make a tutorial on polymer clay repair and how to glaze a polymer clay sculpture. Glazing will come directly after this article.
This tutorial focuses entirely on polymer clay repair. Remember, as I said many times, once a polymer clay sculpture is glazed or painted, you cannot rebake it. This means you’ll have to use crazy glue or something similar which (no pun intended) may or may not work. It depends on how bad the damage is. In my particular situation, the witch probably could be saved by some carefully placed crazy glue. I know I’ll be more satisfied with the outcome if I go in and fix her with some more polymer clay. I’ll then rebake her and she should be as good as new! It’s been a while since I’ve had to do this but I have on more than one occasion. Let’s get right down to it.
Adding new polymer clay to a hardened figurine
The consistency of the fresh clay added to the dry, hardened clay feels weird. The two different states of clay feel much different from one another. When placing soft polymer clay to a hardened figurine, you’ll have to get a feel for it. You’ll also have to be careful. After all, the number of times you’ll be able to rebake the figurine is beginning to run out. Not to worry, you’ve got this. Take the clay and smoothly join the areas that have cracked. Make sure to fill in all gaps and openings with new polymer clay. Of course, you’ll want to use the same color to make the blend. Hopefully, you still have some left, or it wasn’t a color you created yourself that will be hard to match. Go in like a trooper and patch up the broken areas. Check out my YouTube video below to see how I fixed my broken polymer clay witch refrigerator magnet.
Our witch was an easy fix, it came out great! Check out the video tutorial to see exactly how it all went down. Here’s how I did it. I had three pieces of broken clay. I quickly disposed of the two smaller pieces since it’s easier just to add more clay to the figurine.
First, I concentrated on the hat of the witch. This is the most important part that got broken. At the base of her hat, where it connects to the top of her head, I simply added a small piece of black clay creating a base, cementing the foundation. From there, I added a couple of thin pieces of black polymer clay around the top of the base, suturing the clay and filling in any holes.
Next, I added another small piece of clay to the front of the hat which is the second and last affected area. Once again I simply placed the clay along the front of her hat of the damaged area. Once I was happy with that, I took one of my tools and re-added the detailed indentations similar to the rest of her hat.
Just as quickly as I started, I was ready to put her back in the oven for the second time. On this second occasion, I placed her back in the oven for only fifteen minutes and not forty-five. There’s no reason to bake such a small area for that long. Once I pulled her out of the oven, I’m happy to say she’s as good as new! That’s another great thing about polymer clay; as long as you don’t paint or glaze it, you can rebake it, fixing any issues.
What about the magnets?
I’m glad you asked! I had two adhesive magnets on the backside of the figurine. Luckily, I was able to get them both off without damaging it further. They came off fairly easy, be extremely gentle if you find yourself in the same situation. After I glazed her in the next tutorial, I’ll place another two magnets on. It’s important to reiterate that while glazing strengthens polymer clay figurines a bit, it may not have saved this one. On the other hand, it might have, I don’t know.
Time to wrap this one up and take it home. As you can see, fixing broken polymer clay sculptures and figurines is easy if you haven’t already added glaze or paint. In some situations, with smaller polymer clay creations, it may not be as easy as our witch refrigerator magnet. It also depends on how severe the damage is. It could have shattered into smaller pieces making reconstruction a bit more difficult.
I have a large polymer clay dragon whose head I intentionally took off, cutting through the wire. I cannot remember why I did it, I think it was because it was too generic looking and I thought I’d add a few more heads. What makes a fix like this difficult is the fact that I cut through the main wire. I’ll have to build up a foundation, perhaps a crest like a vulture to hold the heads. Somehow I must figure out how to reconnect the wire, making it strong again, but that’s for another time. Have fun out there!