Introduction: How to Cut Polymer Clay With a Digital Die-Cutting Machine

About: I'm a Craft Evangelist, Maker, Social Media Consultant, Mom, Wife, Musician and Traveler. Not necessarily in that order.

A while ago my pal Lisa Pavelka was showing off her fabulous Pardo Jewellry Clay by Viva Decor at CHA Winter 2011- it’s so flexible after baking, you can actually use a paper punch to cut it! So I got to thinking- why not cut it with a Cricut? I played around a bit, and actually got it to work. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Condition Your Clay

Condition your clay well- I actually used scrap clay from various projects, so it’s a mish-mash of Pardo, Sculpey and Premo. (PS- I tried this later with straight-up Premo & it did not work as well as the mixed clay.) Roll it through a pasta machine (yes, you kinda need one for this) until it’s at it’s thinnest setting. Then place the clay on a sheet of deli-wrap and roll it through again. Do this carefully-make sure there are no bubbles or huge wrinkles- because you’ll bake the clay on this sheet.

Step 2: Cure Your Clay

Bake your clay. Watch it carefully- it’s so thin it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes or so! Remove the deli paper as quickly as you can. It likes to stick if it cools fully. (That’s not a problem, though- you can just use a scrubbie to remove the excess paper that has stuck on.)

Step 3: Prepare Your Mat

Get ready to cut. Using blue painter’s tape, secure your sheet of clay to the mat. Set your cutting guide to “heavy paper” if you have an E2, or use {speed:5 pressure:5 depth:2} if you don’t. And for both, I recommend the multi-cut feature and have it cut TWICE.

Step 4: Cut!

You may need to troubleshoot a bit if it doens't work perfectly the first time-like uou may need to go back over it a bit with a craft blade or replace your blade, but I’m still pretty impressed with the results!

Step 5: Ta-DA!

I have also written a follow-up article on what brands of polymer clays are best formaking polymer clay sheets, or "veneers" , for using with punches and both manual and electric die-cutting machines. That may help you out, too.

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