Category Archives: New Products!

Nano Gems – Update

After conducting some further testing of Nano Gems in the Cool Tools Studio, we found that Nano Gems are highly responsive to light. To keep Nano Gems true to color, it is very important to fire with an azure, or a hole for light to pass through, behind the gem. Without an azure, Nano Gems can change color, get muddy or lose luster.

Nano Gems can also change properties when they are fired above certain temperatures, and the maximum temperate that a Nano Gem can be fired to varies from gem to gem. We have found that all of the Nano Gems we currently carry are safe to fire up to 1675°F / 913°C on an open shelf in clay, with the exception of the Dark Orange and Orange, which can be safely be fired up to 1650°F / 899°C on an open shelf in clay.
Initially, we fired the Nano Gems on an open shelf – not in clay. The Nano Gems could be fired up to 1725°F / 940°C safely without change, with the exception of the Dark Orange and Orange which could be fired safely up to 1700°F / 927°C on an open shelf.

The first Nano Gems testing we performed in clay was in FS999 Fine Silver clay on an open shelf, fired at FS999’s recommended firing schedule of 1650°F / 899°C for two hours. The top row of Nano Gems all have azures behind them. They stayed true to color and brilliance. The only exception was with the Amethyst Green, which reflected some champagne tones with the light green ones. The bottom row of Nano Gems do not have any azures, as the gems were placed directly into the clay. All changed greatly in color, clarity and luster. The exceptions were with Orange and the Kryptonite, which just lost some of their luster. You can clearly see the difference the azure makes for the stones appearance. Nano Gems with azures behind them are on the top row.

 

 

The next test we did was similar to the previous, however, we fired the Nano Gems in EZ960 Sterling Silver clay. The sample was fired open shelf at EZ960’s recommended firing schedule of 1675°F / 899°C for two hours. Again, the top row of Nano Gems with the azures behind them stayed true to color and brilliance. The exceptions were with the Dark Orange and Orange, which began to lose their luster and became slightly dull, and the Amethyst Green took on some champagne tones as it did in the FS999. The bottom row of Nano Gems, without the azures, respond very similarly to the ones fired in the FS999. Some did get darker and duller do to the higher firing temperature. At this point it is very evident that the Nano Gems are dependent on an azure to stay true to color and luster. We tested the Dark Orange and Orange in EZ960 and fired open shelf at 1650°F / 899°C and fired for 4 hours. They stayed true to color and brilliance. Both the Dark Orange and Orange cannot be fired above 1650°F / 899°C in clay.

 

Nano Gems with azures behind them are on the top row.

Nano Gems with azures behind them are on the top row.

The third test was the Nano Gems with azures in EZ960 fired in Magic Carbon. It was fired at EZ960’s recommended firing schedule when firing in carbon, which is 1590°F / 865°C for two hours. All fired beautifully, without any change in any of the stones. The test was repeated with FS999 in Magic Carbon fired at 1650°F / 899°C. Once again, they all fired perfectly. As of this writing, we have not tested firing silver clays and Nano Gems in coconut or coal carbon.

The next question… How do the Nanos respond to base metal clays? We did a test strip of Nano Gems with azures fired in Hadar’s One-fire High-fire White Satin fired in coconut carbon fired to 1000°F / 538°C and held for two hours, then continued to fire to 1705°F / 929°C for two hours. All the stones did change due to the higher temperature, with the exception of the Amethyst Green which stayed true to color and luster. Some just darkened and dulled slightly, others changed dramatically. We also did a test strip in Hadar’s One-fire Medium-fire Bronze and fired 1100°F / 599°C and held for two hours, then continued to fire to 1560°F / 849°C for two hours. All of the Nano Gems fired beautifully, with exception of the Dark Orange and Orange. The Dark Orange and Orange do not fire well in coconut carbon; in both samples they turned black as shown below.

 

Nano Gems with azures behind them are on the top row.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We worked on some other tests to get some conclusive evidence on cause and effect of firing Nano Gems. One test was to see if the size of the stone matters. We tested the London Blue Nano Gem in a 2mm, 3mm and 4mm round all with and without azures. All the Nano Gems with azures stayed true to color, and the ones without an azure did not. The upshot being that the size of the Nano Gem does not matter. We tested Cubic Zircons in 4mm round with and without azures to see if they responded to light the same way that Nano Gems do. They do not. There is only a very light change of color and luster when they are placed directly into clay.
All in all, the conclusive finding is to always fire Nano Gems in clay with an azure, or hole for light to pass through behind the gem. If the Nano gem is too small to effectively create an azure behind it, the next best option may be to use a small cubic zirconia instead, as their brilliance is not diminished when placed directly in clay – with or without an azure.

Nano Gems with azures behind them are on the top row.

 

New Polymer Clay Products!

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FIMO Clay

FIMO is the first polymer clay brand to ever be created in 1954. For many years, it was the only polymer clay brand, and now is most common in Europe. FIMO is easily worked, holds its shape well and is strong after baking. We now carry two kinds of FIMO – Effect and Soft. FIMO Effect has different effects including night glow, glitter, translucent, metallic, stone, pastel and gemstone. FIMO Soft is smooth and soft, with blending made easy by practical division into 8 portions.

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Rub’n Buff

Rub ‘n Buff is a wax-based cream that comes in 1/2 ounce tubes. Use to add a metallic look to your polymer clay. Lightly brush Rub ‘n Buff on, or rub it in with your finger. Keep in mind that this product contains actual metallic particles and gives a more matte look.

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Sculpey UltraLight & Polyform Model Air Clay

Sculpey UltraLight is lightweight and extremely soft but bakes so hard that it won’t crack or break, even in larger pieces. UltraLight can be used as a filler for polymer clay beads, making the beads light and comfortable. The baked-hard clay can be sanded, drilled, buffed and painted with acrylic paints. It even floats, making it perfect for crafts such as floating candle holders. It can also be mixed with other clays to add color!

Polyform Model Air Modeling Clay needs no oven or kiln to cure. It is perfect for adding detail to polymer clay projects. It is smooth, lightweight, durable and can even be painted!

 

 

 

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Wipe Out Tool 

The Wipe Out Tool is a polymer clay tool for sculpting, smoothing, cleaning up edges and painting all in one! This tool is a great alternative for when your finger just can’t get into those small areas or make that certain shape.

 

Announcing a Fabulous New Metal Clay

Artist Lisel Crowley has written a great review of our new EZ960(tm) sterling silver clay. Check it out below and here: Lisel Crowley News

Lisel Crowley

Over the past few months, (March, 2016 to June 2016), I have had the distinct pleasure of testing a fabulous new Sterling Silver clay. Created by Bill Struve and distributed by Cool Tools, this clay is an open shelf sterling silver clay with wonderful working properties and incredible post firing strength. It is called EZ960 and is 96 percent silver and 4 percent copper. I am very excited to share with you what I discovered using this product.

Working Properties
This clay is smooth and creamy out of the package. It rolls and textures perfectly. I use a lot of delicate coils in my work and it is great for rolling long, strong and flexible coils. It also has a long working time before drying and cracking, is very easy to reconstitute with a bit of water and remains slightly flexible even after drying. I have attached fine silver bezel cups and they adhere strongly and are fully bonded after firing. I also find it easy to join pieces with just water and the post firing bond is strong and durable.

Lisel Crowley

Bezel set cubic zirconia, combined with delicate coils and textured leaves

Lisel Crowley

Firing and Finishing
Bill Struve recommends firing this clay on an open shelf, no carbon necessary, to 1675 Farenheit for 2 hours for full sintering. I found that in my kiln, which is a paragon SC2, it sintered fully at 1650 for 2 hours. I ramped at full speed, and held for two hours and then crash cooled. The fired color is slightly grayer than fine silver clay, which is to be expected. I tested for sintering by dabbing the fired piece with water, which was not absorbed. I find that the clay shrinks between 10 and 11 percent when fired at 1650 for 2 hours.

I brushed the pieces with a stainless steel brush and tumbled for an hour. They came out of the tumbler with a beautiful shine. I then applied liver of sulfur patina and finished with a blue radial disk to achieve a satin finish. I love the final finish this clay provides.

Lisel Crowley

Rings are a great item for this new clay due to its excellent post fired strength. Each of these rings has a fine silver bezel cup attached.

Strength!!!!
This is what I am most excited about. The post fired strength of this clay is fantastic! I have long wanted to make cuffs out of metal clay, but did not feel fine silver would have the strength required. With EZ960, not only do the cuffs have the required strength, but I can form and fire them flat and bend them around a mandrel after firing. This allows me a lot of creative freedom when designing the cuff. I also created a variety of rings which I formed and fired flat and bent around a mandrel post firing. They were so easy to shape and finish and I am thrilled with the design possibilities. I have been wearing and testing both the cuffs and rings and find that they can handle a lot of use and abuse with no distortion or problems.

Lisel Crowley

These cuffs were formed and fired flat and then formed over a bracelet mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

I have worn them to test their strength and they hold up beautifully.

Lisel Crowley

Here’s a close up of one of the rings I formed and fired flat and then shaped around a mandrel post firing.

Lisel Crowley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is another ring, without patina

Conclusion
This is proving to be  my new favorite clay. I love its working properties, the finish I can achieve and the strength it provides. I have long admired the genius of Bill Struve and the dedication of Cool tools to providing metal clay artists with the best tools and supplies to fuel their creative passion.

I have not been paid to write this review, nor was I paid to do the testing. I do believe in this product and feel it will provide you with endless creative possibillties. Enjoy. Here is a link to Cool Tools if you would like to order some clay for yourself.

Tutorials
I recently visited Cool Tools, where I filmed several project tutorials using EZ960. They will be released over the next few months. If you are on the Cool Tolls email list, you will receive a notification when they are available to view. I will also post a link on my facebook page and on my resources page on here on my website. I hope they will help you to expand your creative approach to metal clay in new ways. I always welcome feedback and questions. You can reach me at lisel33@sbcglobal.net.

New from Cool Tools….

New from Cool Tools
New Pliers! Choose from 3-Step, Bending/Forming, Half Round, Concave Round, Crimping and more.
Shop New Pliers
New Metal Blanks! Fun new shapes in Brass, Copper and Nickel Silver.
Shop Metal Blanks
Thompson Enamel Sampler Set – Start with this complete color sampler containing all 169 colors of Thompson medium temperature/medium expansion enamels.
Shop Sampler Set

Tim Holtz® Alcohol Inks, Blending Solution & Pen!

Tim Holtz® Adirondack® Alcohol Inks, Blending Solution & Pen
Acid-free, fast drying transparent coordinating dye inks specially formulated to create a colorful, polished stone effect. Alcohol inks are an intensely concentrated dye dissolved in alcohol. They are permanent and once dried, are not water soluble. These alcohol inks are perfect for metal and disperse beautifully into translucent polymer clay.

Alcohol Blending Solution was specially formulated to dilute and lighten the Alcohol Inks’ vibrant tones. Not only is this solution useful for lightening and blending the Adirondack Alcohol Ink colors, it will also remove them from slick surfaces, hands and art tools.

The Blending Pen is an empty, dual-tipped dry pen that needs to be filled with Adirondack® Alcohol Ink Blending Solution to blend and lighten Adirondack® Alcohol Inks. Use the Blending Pen with Adirondack® Alcohol Ink colors for endless creative possibilities.
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New Soldering Products at Cool Tools!

New Soldering Products at Cool Tools
Desoldering Wick

High quality desoldering braid with unique, no clean flux. Pure oxygen free copper wire. Available in three sizes: 1.5, 2 & 2.5mm.

360° Soldering Pan
12″ soldering pan rotates 360º with easy access. The heat reflecting pumice is perfect for supporting your project in any position – flat or embedded. This pan comes with an attachable third hand custom designed to fit the pan. Includes pumice.

Extra Easy Solder Paste
Easy paste solder flows at 1205°F and melts at 1145°F. Combined solder and flux eliminates over- or under-fluxing. This paste solder reaches melting temperature quickly, reducing heat damage. Lead and Cadmium-free. Perfect for soldering Goldie White Iron.

Vigor Heat Shield with Applicator Syringe – 1 LB
Protect components from direct flame with this clay-like heat sink. It protects most stones while your are soldering around them, and it acts as a barrier between the stones and flame, so stones don’t have to be removed. Effective for direct-flame temperatures up to 5000°F (2760°C). Non-toxic, odorless clay-like material washes off with water. Handy applicator syringe included; replacement syringes are available.

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Artist’s Concrete from Create Recklessly & Beadsmith!

Artist's Concrete
While concrete may seem an unlikely material for jewelry, this specially formulated powder creates a final product that is lighter than stone, resin, metal clay or metal. It’s easy to use: just add water and it sets in minutes, cures in about an hour. Artist’s Concrete is versatile and strong: pour it, mold it, tint it, and embed it with virtually anything! Color the concrete with pigments sold separately. There are no toxic odors, and the pigments are non-toxic.

Shop Artist’s Concrete

NEW ImpressArt Products at Cool Tools

NEW ImpressArt Products at Cool Tools!

NEW ImpressArt Products at Cool Tools
SHOP NOW! Ergo-Angle Metal Stamping Hammer – Ergo-Angle™ handle provides ideal positioning for clean, even impressions. Check out these features:
* One pound head provides optimal weight for deep impressions
* Short handle design features multiple holding options for maximum control and comfort
* Brass head provides a soft striking surface eliminating double impressions

Simple Strike Jig – The Simple Strike Jig is designed to help you produce perfect stamped impressions. Simply place the stamp in the jig, hold the jig firmly, and stamp. The jig holds the stamp flush, so you will always achieve an even, clear impression while saving your fingers! Available in 3, 4 and 6mm. Check out these features:
* Protects fingers
* Keeps stamps flush
* Fits 3mm ImpressArt stamps
* Includes 3mm heart design stamp

New Design Stamps – Designed by artists for artists, ImpressArt metal stamps will make a lasting impression on your jewelry.
Designs are precision-cut from carbon tool steel, hardened to last project after project.

Stamp Enamel – ImpressArt’s Stamp Enamel is an acrylic ink used to darken stamped impressions so that your design will be clearly seen.

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NEW Polymer Clay Products

NEW Polymer Clay Products…

NEW Polymer Clay Products
Check out our new arrivals:
* Helen Breil Silk Screens
* Liquitex Acrylic Paints
* Sculpey Silk Screen Kit
* Squeegee’s
Beautiful silk screen patterns from Helen Breil work perfectly with our New Liquitex heavy body acrylic paints. Don’t forget the squeegee! Also check out the Sculpey Silk Screen Kit that includes Gold and Silver paint. Perfect for beginners. Check out Helen Breils video for inspiration on each product page.

Shop these NEW Products