Polymer clay from the pack is oftentimes firm so that they can be manufactured into their respective blocks. Before you can morph it into your desired shape, first you condition it.[B]”Conditioning” is actually just a really fancy word for kneading your clay, either with your hands, a clay roller, or a pasta machine.
Certain brands of clay are harder to condition than others (FIMO Classic, Kato) while some clay brands are made softer and easier to condition (Bakeshop, Sculpey III).
The bigger the piece of clay, the more time you need to spend conditioning it!
Properly conditioned clay will bake with a smooth surface.
I can’t tell you how long to condition a clay on specific, because it really all depends on the amount of clay you’re working with. Just make sure that there are no hard bumps and lumps that you still feel while kneading the clay![B]”HELP! MY CLAY IS VERY TOUGH AND IT’S SO TOUGH TO CONDITION IT!”
Some clays are much tougher than others and can be difficult to condition for those with more delicate hands.[B]Or sometimes you’re just unlucky and end up with “expired” clay—these are clay packs that are brittle, and fall apart and just not want to stick with each other when you start to handle them.
Hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions, and don’t forget that every Wednesday (GMT+8) I’ll be posting Polymer Clay tips for newbies, so please follow if you’d like to stay tuned!