Fanciful Allure’s Review- The Poly-Fast Clay Sander #oneofakind #polymerclay

Hi everyone!

Lisa here. I apologize now for this lengthy post review with so many pics, but I wanted to give you as much information as possible.

I was working on a project recently and had to rest quite often while sanding. I broke out my Dremel but quickly put it away. It just isn’t the tool for delicate sanding and  it vibrates so much my hand always goes numb. I also have a shoulder injury I’m currently in PT for that makes working with clay difficult as it is right now, and the Dremel made it hurt something terrible, not to mention the arthritis pain it stirred up.

Unfortunately, this is not unusual for me. You see, I have osteoarthritis. Believe it or not, my disease is one of the reasons I love to work with clay, it is soothing and good exercise for my sore hand joints. Well, usually, but warming and working the clay to begin any project and sanding hurt more than help. Because of the pain I have tried to use my Dremel for sanding and buffing. My Dremel only has two variable speeds; fast and very fast. Neither work for sanding or buffing clay because it will cut the piece if not done just right. I don’t have a “just right” setting.

Then, I ran across this awesome-looking tool on a couple of different blogs that caught my attention. One blog is Ginger Davis Allman’s, and you can read her review here: The Blue Bottle Tree. She reviews a lot of Polymer Clay products and tools and shares her findings in great detail. She did an in-depth review on the tool, as did the other artist, which I seem to remember was a video on YouTube. On presentation, both reviews made me think I need this tool.

What am I talking about?

It’s called the Poly-Fast Sander, and it’s the only tool of it’s kind at the moment. Specially created for Polymer clay! It comes out of Belgium.

Now, I know me enough to feel the buy-it urge creeping in, and not so stealthily, either. LOL I also know me well enough to know I have purchased tools I “had to have” in the past, only to discover I couldn’t use them efficiently with arthritis. Thankfully those tools haven’t costed very much, so I didn’t mind giving them to my daughter. But the Poly-Fast Sander was a fair bit of dollars that I can’t afford to spend unless I can use it. The problem was that in order to use it…I had to buy it first. Then, if it turns out incompatible with arthritis I’d have to go through the hassle and cost of shipping it back, getting my money back, etc. Folks, I don’t know what it costs to ship to Belgium, but it was another expense I wasn’t willing to take on blindly.

I offered to review the Poly-Fast Sander from an arthritic’s point of view. You see, I have not seen many, if any at all, actual reviews on tools or products that address real issues for those of us with painful arthritis. Maybe I just haven’t found those and they are out there. If you know of any, I would love to check them out, so leave a link in comments, please. This review is from me to others suffering, wanting or needing tools that others take for granted.

At this time, I have to apologize to Sofia and Jean. I was supposed to have done this review a few weeks ago, but life intervened, as it usually does at the least inopportune moments, and it’s terribly late. I was pleased with the members I dealt with at Poly-Fast.com. Sofia and Jean were prompt in their response to my concerns as a handicapped clayer about their tool and immediately agreed to let me test it and some of the products that go with it. Thank you!

Now, on to my review of the Poly-Fast Sander tool! https://poly-fast.com I’ll break the parts down in two categories; what comes in the kit and what I thought of each part.

The Kit-I inspected all the pieces sent to me and read the full instructions on the back of the package first. The kit comes with various sandpaper discs, the hand tool and a tip attachment—that I call a nose.

Noses-Three of the noses I received have a hard top and three have a half inch foam sponge tip, all are equipped with very short- looped Velcro that does not remove. Each and every disc has the soft Velcro side to attach onto the tool nose, then you simply stick the nose onto the body of the tool. All noses are available for order.

Sandpaper Discs– the kit includes 10 discs each  of  80, 150, 320, 500, 600, 800, 1000 and 1500 grit. You can also order 2000, 2500 and 3000 grit discs in 25 count packs. All disc grits are available for reorder.

The tool– is constructed of hard plastic with a flexible section that separates the nose from the hand part. It has a slide on/off switch and uses two AA batteries. They also have a professional’s two-pack tool kit. This is worth the cost because the tool needs to rest ten minutes after every thirty minutes of constant use. You can switch out and not have to worry about wasting time while your tool sits idle. I would seriously consider purchasing a second kit for that reason alone.

I have some vases I need to t make, so the Poly-Fast Sander arrived in perfect timing. I cleaned the stickered label off my Starbucks coffee bottle and got to work. I prepared my clay and decorated this Independence/Veteran’s Day vase. You can see that creative process in an upcoming post.

Once I had the clay on the bottle, and (most) fingerprints smoothed out, I baked and was ready to play with the new tool. I was as excited as a kid in a candy store as I opened the package and held my Poly-Fast Sander for the first time!

Noses– I used both types of noses for this test project. I began with the hard nose and lower grit disc, then switched to the foam nose and higher grit paper. I’m not sure why I did it like this, other than because the foam end retains water.

You’ll want to be careful and don’t get in a hurry when removing the discs from the foam attachments. I suggest holding the foam end with one finger while peeling the disc off with the other hand. I didn’t do this at one disc change and almost ripped the foam from the nose. I don’t know, because I was cautious, but if you rip the disc off the hard attachment to quickly or roughly, it might possibly tear the Velcro off  it too.

The positive is that you can reorder more attachments. The bad news is that it could take a week or more to get the new pieces from Belgium (if you are in the US). If you are down to near desperate need of a replacement, I advise ordering before you are left with no foam noses at all. I’m actually considering ordering another full set of each, just to be prepared because I liked working with them so much. 🙂

Sanding discs-I used about four different grits, starting with the 80 grit, to start, but for this project that was too rough and left deep scars that I wasn’t able to fully remove without doing more damage. I switched to 150 and that was better. I used the foam-topped nose with water and the higher grit paper to get a polished end result.

I might reorder more of these as well, just because each disc only goes so far before I had to replace it with a fresh disc which means I went through several of each grit. On the other hand, these discs are just over one inch in diameter, so it’s understandable I’d need to use more than a couple, especially when smoothing out deeper scratches.

One thing I recommend is to write the grit on the backs each disc to keep from mixing them  and spending unnecessary time sorting them (yes, I did), or using a wrong one accidentally. Funny enough, I doubt I need to add this tip, when doing research I discovered Ginger and Poly-Fast also give this same suggestion. The only thing I will add is to use a felt tip or a fine tip marker of some sort. I started with a regular Sharpie and you can see what a mess that turned into before I grabbed a felt tip marker to finish.

The Tool– Now, for the real reason I reviewed this tool. I was prepared for the vibration to make my hand numb or my shoulder to hurt. IT DID NOT. Sure, I felt the vibration but the flex section broke the vibration down before it reached my hand. But it didn’t bother my injured shoulder, nor did it aggravate my arthritis in any way and the cylindrical shape is just right for my small hands. I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased to find a sanding tool I can use without pain or unpleasantness.

I knew the machine worked through vibration before I got it, but I wanted to know how much vibration, how it would affect my arthritic hands. I’m happy to report that this tool works well on clay, as expected, is easy to hold and use for a long length of time and without concern.

If you’re wanting an aggressive sander, this may not be a tool you want. It has a gentle vibration; gentle being the key word. After all, it is a strictly AA battery powered tool—batteries NOT included. I did ask about ordering, since I’m in the US and their prices are all in Euro. I was told that you’d pay through PayPal and the currency is automatically converted for you. They do ship all over the world.

As is the case with most experiments, this one did not turn out as smooth as I would have preferred, but the overall sanding process was nice. I am very happy with how the Poly-Fast Sander works.

The batteries lasted longer than I thought they would, completing this project and left with plenty of battery life for the next piece.

After having sanded only one project with this tool, the only real negatives I found so far: the sponge tips and Velcro are somewhat delicate when removing the discs. In my honest opinion, I feel this is a negative only because it’s necessary to change discs so frequently that tearing one is imminent unless you have several tips to rotate various grits, therefore, needing less changes. You don’t get all of these tips I have for review with the initial kit.

On the other side of that coin, you get three when you order the tips and there’s a video for tricks to change tips without tearing off the Velcro. Check it out and go ahead and Like their page. https://www.facebook.com/polyfast/videos/883852095079920/

Okay, so that is the only negative of this fun tool, and even that can be avoided with the proper  how-to knowledge! I might do another review at a later time as I try this tool on other projects, smaller ones that require a delicate sanding. Of course, there are just some things there is no way to sand, like the delicate flower in honor of veterans and the vase lid.

All-in-all, I would and do recommend the Poly-Fast Sander. I mean, who wouldn’t like to save the wear and tear on our fingers by using plain sandpaper? Especially, when you don’t have to. Who wouldn’t choose to avoid unnecessary pain if you have a joint disease like I do? Maybe you have one? I’d love to hear about your experience in comments.

About Poly-Fast:

We are a small family company based in Belgium, with a department and suppliers in Portugal. We started to develop Poly-Fast when we noticed that some artist friends were having trouble with the sanding process since it required much effort and ruined their hands. Jean Vilain, the owner of the company, had already previous experience in inventing tools, so he co-invented and patented the Poly-Fast. We started our website in the end of 2015 and during 2016 we established important partnerships and retailers. We currently ship to the entire world and have clients from all continents, and the business keeps growing steady. ~Sofia Baptista

https://www.facebook.com/polyfast?sw_fnr_id=172399451

https://poly-fast.com

https://www.instagram.com/poly.fast/

Will you be looking for one of these little tools?

Thank you for joining me today to find out about this tool.

My 2016 Polymer Clay Challenge #polymerclay #2016PCchallenge #ornaments

Hey, hey!

This new year, beginning January 1, I’ve decided to officially jump on Katie Oskin’s 2016 Polymer Clay Challenge to make one item a week. I’m sure some weeks I could even slip in two or more, but I’ll focus on one each week.

Yep, amid my outside job, everyday life and romance writing, I’ve chosen to add one more thing to my busy schedule and make an ornament each week. YAY! I will use secondary mediums to spice up these primarily-clay items. I like bling; glitter, gems, etc., and being creative, stretching my mind outside the box.

I think ornaments can say so much to and about someone, plus I love making them (as you can tell from my previous post featuring these stockings http://ow.ly/WsVKC ). And they’re cute. 🙂 When you hear the word ornament, you probably think of the major holiday, Christmas, right? But I feel ornaments are not just for that one wonderful, joyous, but isolated season (yes, I believe Christmas IS a season all it’s own. 🙂 ). Why not have special ornaments for anything, any occasion?

Valentines Day? Yes! Fourth of July? Yes! Christmas? Yes! Birthdays, personalized, dated and just fun? Yes, yes, yes, YES!

So, 2016 will be my year to make lots and lots of ornaments! 52 of them, in fact. If you’d like to join in, go to Kater’s Acres and see how you can sign up! Don’t forget to join Katie’s 2016 Facebook challenge group too.

Check back weekly to see what’s new. If you’d leave a comment to let me know what you think, I’d love to meet other artists and fans of PC!

Have a blessed and healthy New Year!

Christmas Creations-2015

Last year I began making ornaments for family and friends. I chose wild animals, zoo inhabitant-like creatures; giraffe, zebra, monkey, etc. This year I chose Christmas stockings for the grandgirls and my co-workers. I was thrilled that everyone loved their little gifts. So thrilled I wanted to share some with you.

First, here’s a few pics of last years’ creations.

Giraffe

Giraffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey

Monkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowman

Snowman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I’m aware a snowman isn’t an animal. LOL

I can’t find the pics of the zebra, so I added this little guy my daughter made.

 So for this year, stockings! As usual, I used Premo! clay.

These are personalized with each person’s name stamped in the front and the year stamped into the back of each. I made, decorated and baked each tiny gingerbread man and candy cane and added them to the backs of the pre-baked stockings (approx. 2.5 inches tall). The bows are actually fabric gift decorations left over from last year and the balls on those are plastic, so bows were glued on last, since you can’t bake plastic. 🙂

I made and attached 20 ga wire eye hooks before the final bake, and made (20 ga) wire hooks to hang these on the tree. I will give my husband credit for suggesting the toes and heels of these little darlings. Once they were formed and ready to bake, I added sticky gemstones, then I glazed them with a clear glittered acrylic paint and baked. Once they were baked and cool I sealed them completely, front and back, with acrylic paint sealer. You could also use sculpey sealer, or polyurethane.

Recipients have to be careful because two of my little ones broke their candy canes by dropping their stockings, and I broke one on another by handling it too aggressively during sanding. Luckily, I was able to salvage and repair them.

Later I’ll post the steps to making a stocking. I hope you enjoyed this holiday post. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy New Year!

Stockings- 2015

two of my granddaughters’ ornaments.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pavelka Project 2015- April’s Challenge #polymerclay #TPP2015 #craft

Hi. I know it’s been a while since I posted here. It’s a slow process kick-starting a new blog. Especially when I’m in the middle of a blogging project on my writing blog. LOL To see what Calisa Rhose, the writer in me, is up to join me for Blogging A to Z Challenge 2015 on Pen of the Dreamer, my writing blog. We’re on the letter ‘T’ today and that post will go up later today if you want to check back.

I mentioned over there yesterday about April’s special challenge project for the Pavelka Project 2015 that I’m posting here. I promised pictures of the Carmex lid I made for Spring. I’m really excited about this one. It took me literally hours to create. The regular project for this month is to do a foil technique, but I don’t think I’ll get that one done. Here are some pictures of my Spring Garden.

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Top view

This top view is to show all the elements I made on my Carmex lid. Can you spot the butterfly, dragonfly and lady bugs?

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Top front view

This is probably the only spring flower garden I’ll have this year. 🙂 I made each and  every flower petal and grass stalk. You can’t really see them, but there are tiny cane leaves on the flowers too.

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Butterfly close-up

The butterfly is a little hard to see or photograph in a good angle, but I think you can see it here. I might try again to get a good pic with my light box.

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Top side view

 

 

 

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Lady bug close-up

You can see a few leaves stuffed among the grass and stems here if you look close.

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Dragonfly close-up

This little guy was actually supposed to be a butterfly, but like my writing, characters often take on a mind of their own. LOL

I started by covering the lid top in a green I custom mixed with Premo! Green, a touch of a lighter one and a touch of Jungle. I used a brown I had laying around from another project for the rim. I think it was a mix of Souffle Cowboy and Premo! Brown.

 I rolled bits of Premo! Green and Wasabi (the yellowish stalks) for the grass stalks, clumped them into three or four and molded those around the ‘garden’ first. For the flowers I used mostly Premo! colors, which is my favorite clay to use so far. I haven’t tried Fimo yet, but Kato has a really strong plastic-y odor that kills my allergies to use and it doesn’t work as well for me, a bit tough to soften. I made each petal and stem, then bunched them in clumps of four which I molded onto the lid around the grass clumps. At this point I baked the lid.

Once the ‘garden’ was cool from baking I added the butterfly and dragonfly to the flowers. I made the lady bugs and placed them on the rim, then added the green balls. Those are made with green Premo! as a base to help them stick to the baked clay, then I used upside down metal bead caps filled with Wasabi balls. I used Bake & Bond to help all the raw clay pieces like the bugs that were added to the baked piece stick where I wanted them. Last I added the lady bug foot prints, then baked a final time.

I was going to add a touch of Ranger’s Perfect Pearls Interference Green powder to add extra glimmer to some of the flowers and grass, but I just remembered I was going to use it. Oh well, next time. 😆 I might still add a few drops of Sculpey liquid to make dew drops. Maybe I can add the powder to that. 🙂

I almost always bake for an hour at the suggested temperature, no matter what the project or how small. Larger pieces I bake for two hours or more, depending on how thick it is. For Premo! the package says to bake at 265* for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch. Since my lady bugs were about that thick I gave them an hour, just to make sure they baked through. Over-baking won’t hurt most Premo! clay unless your temp is too high. As long as you have the correct temp you could probably bake a piece all day and it won’t burn, and since polymer clay is plastic, it won’t dry out like Play Dough. I say it won’t burn, but I should add that I cover every piece I bake with aluminum foil in a foil pan. I have burned a couple of items early on that weren’t covered. I also believe I was still using Sculpey III then, which is a much softer clay. I’m not sure if it burned because my oven temp was too high or because I baked it too long unprotected. I discovered my (convection toaster oven) temp is way off to just set and go, so I have since bought an oven thermometer that I use to set my temp correctly.

March’s project was all about learning techniques for faux stone in ivory, turquoise and cinnabar (a red stone). I haven’t done anything with the pendents yet so I haven’t shared them here.

That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed looking at this project as much as I did making it. Thanks for stopping by!

The Pavelka Project 2015 and me #firstpost

Hi. Welcome to Fanciful Allure! I am so excited to start sharing creations and ideas and maybe a few tutorials, with you here on my brand new website/blog.

I am currently participating in Katie Oskin’s and Lisa Pavelka’s year-long The Pavelka Project 2015 challenge.First I need to give credit to these two wonderfully generous ladies for offering this FREE learning experience.

You can find Katie on Kater’s Acres: http://katersacres.com

Lisa Pavelka at her site: http://store.lisapavelka.com

As promised in my About page I want to share what we’ve done so far. But before I do, if you’d like to join us for a monthly project challenge through all of 2015, you can sign up here: http://katersacres.com/pavelka-project/pavelka-project-sign/ We’d love to see your clay projects and talent!

In January we were challenged to make a Suspended Crystal Snowflake. I’m not sure how I feel about mine, but I completed the challenge so I am happy about that. I decided to make mine a pendant.

Pavelka Project- Jan. challenge- Suspended Crystal Snowflake
Pavelka Project 2015- Jan. challenge-Suspended Crystal Snowflake

Sorry about the foggy picture. I forgot to wipe the camera lens. Once I get my new camera box put together, I’ll take new pics.

January had a second, mini project we were challenged with. Lisa Pavelka is addicted to Carmex lip balm toppers. She actually made one a day for a year in 2012. I don’t know about you, but I’m in awe of her ability to think up 365 different designs! But she did and you can check them out here.

So she and Katie challenged those in the project to make a Carmex topper with a Valentine’s Day theme. I think I did ok for my first one. What do you think?

Jan. Carmex lidRim

Then, in February we were challenged to make a clock. How fun does that sound? It was suggested by both Lisa and Katie in their tutorials to use a CD. I never would have thought of that but it worked (once I remembered not to overcook the plastic disc lol). Here’s my second attempt. I didn’t think to photograph the warped first one. 🙂 Yes, this actually is a working clock.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t wait to begin March’s project tomorrow! We’ll be making something with faux techniques. Katie hasn’t shared just what yet. 🙂

I hope you’ll check back in March to see what I make. In the meantime, I’ll be posting some of my other clay and bead work.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll return. While you’re here, feel free to let me know what you think of these projects in comments. 🙂

~Lisa~