Fimo is a name for a brand of polymer clay made by Eberhard Faber. Though other brands of polymer clay exist, Fimo is the best known, to the point where it has almost become a generic term for the substance. The material comes in many different colors; there are many finishes to choose from, and even a softener to use with it because it can be hard to work. It is used for making many things, including jewelry, accessories, and small trinkets. Once shaped, Fimo is baked in a standard or toaster oven for about 30 minutes at 110°C to harden it. Once baked, it can be cut, drilled, painted, sanded, and sliced thin.
FIMO was first a plastic modeling compound brought to the attention of German dollmaker Kathe Kruse in the late 1930's as a possible replacement for plastic compounds that were scarce from war privation. It was not suitable for her doll factory use, and she turned it over to her daughter Maureen Kruse, who was known in the family as "Fifi". FIfi's MOdeling Compound was later sold to Eberhardt Faber and is marketed under the name "FIMO".
Fimo and other polymer clay products can be worked in a variety of techniques.
Fimo can be sculpted in ways similar to other modeling materials such as ceramic, modelling clay, and play-dough.
Marbling and color mixing
Because Fimo is packaged in colored blocks, the colors can be mixed while soft, then baked. By mixing two or more colors, then twisting, folding, bending, and cutting, various marbled surfaces can be achieved.
If multiple colors are mixed thoroughly enough, the marble effect will fade and the colors will blend to make a new color.
Caning or caneworking, also known as millefiori, draws from a traditional glass technique where a two dimensional design is constructed in three dimensions, with the various colored elements of the design extending all the way through the form from the front surface to the back surface. Once the initial form is completed, the form, known as a "cane", can be sliced (with the blade held parallel to the front surface) to produce a number of nearly identical copies of the design.
Additionally, the form can be extended by squeezing or rolling the sides so that the form becomes longer from front to back, while becoming narrower in the other two dimensions. When the resulting form is sliced, the original design will be preserved, but shrunk to a smaller size. This technique also allows a larger number of slices to be extracted from the same amount of clay.
In glass work, the nature of the material dictates that these be round, but with polymer clay the shapes can be more varied, although round and square canes are the most common because they are easiest to extend. Cylinders can be rolled out to a longer length very easily, while cubic forms can be squeezed on their four side surfaces. More complex shapes such as hexagons can be worked with, but it is difficult to extend complex shapes without distortion.
Polymer clay can be formed into beads, with the holes poked before baking or drilled in afterwards.
Eberhard Faber produces and sells Fimo-branded glossy lacquer. The lacquers are thick liquids applied after baking. They dry to a hard finish that protects the clay as well as changing the surface texture.
There was a matte finish lacquer as well, available for some portion of the '80s and '90s, but it has been discontinued.
Eberhard Faber produces and sells a number of Fimo-branded metallic powders for surface application.
Fimo can be painted. Acrylic paints are best as oil based may not dry completely.
Since the original product, Eberhard Faber has introduced new forms of Fimo - the Fimo of the early 1990s is sometimes called classic Fimo. Fimo Soft is easier to condition but not as strong as the original classic Fimo.
Beadseller Beads & Jewelry Supplies