Arts & Crafts Magazine

Using Extruder Discs In Clay Modelling

By Alison_wood @midnight_eden

polymer_clay_jewelryThe extruder disc that is commonly used is a small, slightly hollowed-out, round metal plate that is placed at the mouth of a bathtub drain or sink drain. It performs the function of a sieve and keeps hair or bits of food from escaping into the drain, thus preventing clogging. Another type of extruder disc is that which is attached to the front of an extractor fan. This fine mesh traps minuscule abrasive or dust particles and purifies the air that flows through it. An extruder disc may also be used in the precise and highly-creative art of clay modelling.

Giving Shape To Your Imagination

The art of clay modelling makes use of clay that is moulded into various forms and shapes. The clay can be expressed through an “extruder” into tubular or thin strands. One end of the extruder tool has a disc that has perforations of a particular shape. It can be likened to a cookie cutter and works in a somewhat similar manner. Brick-shaped blocks or clay planks can be cut out with a rectangular mold. For clay designs that need columns or tree trunks, a circular mold will have to be used. Clay jewelry makes use of numerous shapes of clay bits and there is a range of discs that can be used for it as well. Here are a few frequently-used moulds and their applications:

  • Screen Disc- Flower stems and blades of grass are used in scenery and the extruder disc that is used for this is a finely-pierced one. This same disc can be used to make likenesses of animal fur and human hair.
  • Slotted Disc- Thin strips of clay are required to make ribbons, bows and woven baskets. An extruder disc with a thin rectangular slot can be used for this. These strips can be used for creating letters as well.
  • Semicircular Disc- Some clay models have timber or column designs in them. A disc with a semicircular slot can give you the desired curvature for this kind of application.
  • Circular Disc- Basic shapes and 3-dimensional letters can be created with these discs.

Adding Colour To Design

No matter what you create, adding some color to it adds the attraction quotient. The jewelry or model that you make will need the perfect mix of colours and shades to make it look more appealing. Research a bit and experiment with a combination of colors. Weaving differently-coloured strands of clay can form stunningly unique accessories. Take some time and look at online clay modelling tutorials. They provide step-by-step instructions about mixing, moulding, baking and varnishing. Baking is a critical step of clay modelling and so is varnishing. Baking lends strength to clay while varnishing adds a gloss and smoothes the surface of the products you make.

Easy Does It…

Build-up a good collection of extruder discs and then take a sample-cut from every single one. Create a tagging and labelling system that coordinates with the mold. This will make it easy for you to cross-reference sizes and shapes when you start on your new project.

This article has been produced for Cadisch Precision Meshes, the leading UK supplier of extruder screens, discs, filters and fabrications designed for a whole multitude of applications (

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