Updated: Apr 26, 2020
These are my favorite tools regardless of the medium I am working with--here’s why:
Note: In order to maintain food safety, I have two sets of tools which are used, cleaned, maintained, and stored in separate locations--never use your clay tools on food items.
The artist color wheel is my constant companion when selecting basic colors to use at the beginning of a project. Color combinations are not always obvious, and this allows me to think out of the box and come up with some very nice color combinations. It’s also very helpful providing guidance for enhancing items using tint and shade to develop natural looking variation as I further mix colors and work on final painting and shading techniques. Color is very important. Think of it this way—no matter how beautiful each individual item you make is, if the colors don’t look good together the overall impression is likely not cohesive nor professional.
Nivea hand cream is another item I keep around all the time. I wash my hands constantly, and this is a great product for re-hydrating the skin afterward. I keep it on my hands when working with clay to maintain a moisture barrier which reduces clay adhering to my skin. It also assists with smoothing cracks/wrinkles in some clay products as well. There are many types of skin moisturizers out there—just letting you know I’ve tried many and this brand is my favorite.
The texturing stick tool in the photo represents tools that are critical to obtaining the level of detail I prefer—adding texture to creations is one of the best ways to individualize, enhance, and set your work apart from the rest. Visual interest in a project is increased when there is dimension, variety, and detail. With some practice texturing sticks quickly become a go-to tool for many crafters. They are available in varying patterns and can be purchased through online sources. Contact me if you would like more source information.
Paint brushes are another favorite tool of mine—there are so many styles and sizes I was overwhelmed at first trying to determine which ones to select for use. I have settled into a small number of brushes that I use constantly. I prefer acrylic brushes because of the soft bristle texture. Whether it’s using acrylic paint, dry brushing with oil paint on clay items, or using color dusts for gum paste items, blending is better achieved with a softer brush.
Fine point scissors, sometimes called embroidery scissors, are essential for many projects. Creations requiring small, detailed cutting are best done with this tool. A fine point blade knife works in some applications such as trimming, but not for cutting details in flower centers, or removal of burs in tight areas. Note: if you have larger hands be sure to test the finger hole size in the embroidery scissors prior to purchasing—some are small and do not fit all hand sizes.