Getting started with ClayLinks® Kits is an easy four-step process.
1. Choose the Size of Your Order
The size of your order depends on how you plan to use the Kits. For instance, some family support professionals use ClayLinks® Kits for celebratory occasions, like welcoming newborns, as well as to create memorials after a loved one's death. Others, like NICU nurses, limit their use of ClayLinks® Kits to making impressions of infants who die. Many businesses and organizations, like funeral homes and hospice programs, make impressions for all ages, from babies to adults, and each impression may require two, three, or even four ClayLinks® patties. In addition, many care providers make more than one impression, so each family member has their own memento.
The best way to determine your needs, then, is to estimate how many impressions you might typically make in an average week. Then, multiply that number by two or three (if you plan to provide families with multiple impressions) and by two, three, or four again, if you typically make prints of older children or adults that require more than one patty. These calculations should give you a fairly accurate estimate of your weekly total. Next, decide how often you want to reorder (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) and, again, multiply accordingly. We guarantee our clay for six months from when you purchase it.
If you'd like to get started with 6 ClayLinks® Kits and the essential tools you need to make them, try our ClayLinks® Prints Memory-Making Essentials Kit. Or, if you are ready to buy 12 ClayLinks® Kits and want to get started with one of each of our Add-Ons, like the Stamping Kit and Birthstone Charms Starter Kit, choose our ClayLinks® Prints Memory-Making Deluxe Kit.
2. Choose a Size and Shape for Your Prints
Our Patty Pad and Molds Kits are specifically designed to work with the pre-measured clay in our ClayLinks® Kits. Patty Pads create a smooth, clean surface for print-making. Simply knead and squeeze the clay to release and evenly distribute the oils. This process warms and softens the clay so your impressions will be distinct and permanent. Failing to knead the clay may cause your imprints to crack or deteriorate over time. Knead the clay until it's soft and warm, then roll it into a ball, place it between the covers of the Patty Pad, and press. For impressions that are the perfect size and shape, use the:
Maroon Circle Mold (4") with one clay patty. It’s a good fit for very young babies' hands or feet.
Maroon Heart Mold (4 3/8" wide by 3 3/8" tall) with one clay patty. The smaller surface area is a fit for newborns or premature infants.
Green Large Circle Mold (5.5") with two clay patties. It’s large enough for impressions of older babies.
Green Large Heart Mold (6" wide by 5" tall) with two clay patties. The smaller surface area of this Mold fits older babies and young children, but is not large enough for handprints of older children or adults.
Yellow Oval Mold (6" x 8") with three clay patties to make impressions of older childrens’ hands. It will also accommodate most adult-sized prints.
Blue Large Oval Mold (7" x 9") with four clay patties to make impressions of adult hands.
3. Choose Your Accessories
Even without decorations, ClayLinks® prints are meaningful keepsakes. But, if you want to personalize your prints or make them more colorful, you can use decorative accessories, like our:
Each accessory is carefully chosen to work with our clay formulas and our charms will withstand the baking temperatures required to complete your impressions. When your impressions are finished, you can "gift-wrap" them by adding a ribbon and placing them inside one of our Keepsake Bags. If you'd like to get started with a sampling of our accessories, try our Decorating ClayLinks® Prints Starter Kit. Or, if you just need a way to keep your accessories together in one place, try our Decorating ClayLinks® Prints Storage Container.
4. Choose Where and How You Bake Your Prints
Our ClayLinks® Kits must be baked in order to cure the clay and make the impression permanent. It's fast and easy to do, especially if you use a counter top sized craft oven that is designed for use with polymer clays. Whether you use a clay craft oven or a simple toaster oven, impressions should be baked at 275° F for 20 minutes in an ungreased baking pan. If unbaked prints are sent home with families to be decorated and personalized later, they can bake the impressions at home in their regular, conventional oven for the same amount of time and at the same temperature. Be sure you also send home the complete baking instructions that are included in each ClayLinks® Kit.
Please note that ClayLinks® Prints should never be baked in a microwave oven.