Altered tin question...
July 3, 2011 11:24 PM   Subscribe

How to attach polymer clay to a tin?

I want to try to make an altered tin (i.e., a decorated mint tin) covered in polymer clay (Fimo or Sculpty). How should I do this? Should I cover the tin with the clay and then bake or bake the clay, then glue the cooked clay to the tin?
posted by wandering_not_lost to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'd bake the polymer clay and then attach it to the metal using E-6000 adhesive (available in the glue/adhesive section of big craft stores and some big box dept stores.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:28 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Goop. RTV silicone might do well, too.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:11 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

If making holes in the tin is an option you can get a much better mechanical bond (it's always optimal to use a glue in conjunction with a solid physical connection).

In this case, you could punch a few strategically placed holes in the tin, with corresponding ones part way into the (cured) clay. Then, from inside the tin, push a shortened finishing nail through the tin and into the hole in the clay. If everything fits correctly, disassemble and reassemble with the proper adhesive across the bottom surface of the clay (you may want to roughen both surfaces, depending on the adhesive), and get some into the drill holes for the nails.

Almost every instance I've relied on adhesive alone, it's failed me eventually. The mechanical connection takes a ton of stress away from the chemical bond.

Whichever way you try, make sure you remove any oils or debris from either surface; sometimes it helps to wipe them down with alcohol and a lint-free cloth. I don't know what category polymer clay best falls into, but here's an entry from This to That on plastic-metal bonding.

Best of luck.
posted by evil holiday magic at 12:37 AM on July 4, 2011

I've made similar items using old altoid tins and just put the fimo on the tin and then baked it in the oven and had no problems. These were not high use items but the fimo has stayed put no worries. The only one I had trouble with had a glass bead imbeded in it which cracked in the oven. I only put fimo on the textured lid, I also sanded it a little to give it purchase, it also covered the whole lid down the sides etc and wasn't just one small piece sitting on the top.

I used this site as inspiration. Though my tins didn't look anywhere as nice as the ones she makes. Some in her gallery are so detailed.
posted by wwax at 10:47 AM on July 4, 2011

And be careful putting tins in the oven - some tins are coated with sizing and varnish which might cause off-gassing* at higher temps. If you're going to bake a tin with Fimo, you might want to just do one at a time.

Also drawn tins can sometimes have a vinyl varnish used to protect the metal as it is bent. It's a kind of rubbery finish and it can really be hard getting things to adhere to it. Even drawn tins that look like 'plain tin' will usually have a wax coating required in the manufacturing process; again this causes problems with adherence. Clean your tin well with mild soapy water, rinse and let it air dry.

*the gas may or may not be harmful, depends on what process the lithographer uses and unless you know the manufacturer of the tins and where the litho was done, I'd err on the side of caution.
posted by jaimystery at 11:39 AM on July 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

E6000 is the best craft glue that I've ever used, and I first heard of it from a Fimo book.
posted by radioamy at 11:13 AM on July 6, 2011

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