There are many things that can be done with leftover polymer clay. It’s very useful.
I had a plastic baggie full of various colored scraps that I’d collected over time. I roughly grouped them into piles and mixed each pile together. The result was these beautifully colored grays. I can add a bit of black or white to make them darker or lighter, or add a bit of their complementary color to make them neutral.
To make more colorful clay, please continue reading.
If your collection of scrap clay includes red, you can often end up with a pinkish putty color. You can change it into a neutral gray by adding some blue clay, as shown in the following two photos. Neutral gray goes with anything and can be mixed with pure color to tone it down.
If your scrap is greenish, add a teeny tiny bit of its complement (red) to neutralize it. If your scrap is violet, add a bit of yellow. If your scrap is bluish, add a bit of orange. (Complementary colors are directly opposite from one other on the color wheel.)
If you mix pure color with the neutral gray scrap, you can get some lovely muted colors. They automatically go together because they have the same gray base. Here I’ve mixed four different pure colors with neutral gray.
You can skip the step of making the clay neutral and simply mix pure red with scrap that has a reddish hue, or mix pure green with scrap that’s somewhat green.
I had a cane tutorial I wanted to try, and scrap clay is a good way to test it out without using new clay. The first three canes aren’t quite right, but the fourth one I like. In the learning process, I used quite a bit of my scrap clay.
Here’s a pair of earrings I made using one of the canes and adding a layer of translucent clay stenciled with a white pattern and a tiny dot of gray-blue scrap. These subtly-colored canes can either stand on their own or make a nice backdrop for another design element with more color or value contrast.
Great tips there Phyllis, I often wonder what else to do with my greys, I hadn’t really thought of making muted colours! Mind you, I’m more of handful of crayons type of colour person, but I do like to paint with my polymer sometimes.
Thanks, Jennifer! Muted colors have a beauty all their own. If you like bright colors, they can enhance them or make them stand out.
This is just wonderfully helpful. Thank you for your knowledge and generosity!
Thanks, Hope! I appreciate your kind words.
Thanks so much for this great tutorial! Great advice, and I love the resulting colors so much! I can see them as mokume gane.
Mokumé gané would be a great use!
I absolutely love how you share your vast knowledge. It’s so inspiring. Do you have a link to the tutorial for the cane? I’m on a cane making frenzy atm. Xxx
Thanks, Hazel! Here’s where I got the cane tutorial: https://www.doodlepippin.co.uk/products/polymer-millefiori-tutorial-doodlepippin
WOW! This is a game changer! I have about 15 pounds of scrap at least. I love the colors you made. Thanks so much for sharing!
Yes, make some nice colors and use it!