I’ve been working with a lot of polymer clay flowers and leaves lately. They always look so much nicer when the have veins added. Suitable leaves aren’t always available – that silly little think called “seasons” often interferes – or it’s raining, or as is usually the case with me – it’s too darn dark to see what you’re looking for! I can’t find where I’ve buried all my veiners from my cake decorating days, so I decided to make a whole batch.
Read the pictures from left to right as you go and hopefully it all makes sense to you.
What you need to get started:
Tools are minimal – a work tile, a tile for curing the veiners, a brayer, craft knife and tissue blade and your pasta machine.
A good selections of strong veined leaves – the more defined the leaves, the better the impression you get.
A supply of scrap clay.
What to do:
Condition the clay and roll through the pasta machine. Your prepared sheet should be rolled through at the 3rd or 4th thickest setting. You need a certain amount of flexibility in the finished veiner.
Position the leaves with the back of the leaf on the clay till you’re satisfied with the spacing, then roll gently but firmly with a brayer.
Make sure the edges of the leaves are well defined by smoothing gently, but firmly with your fingertips. If there are any areas which appear ‘bubbled’ and have not impressed cleanly, press down with your finger tips so that all the vein detail can be captured in the clay.
Carefully separate the leaves and the clay sheet.
Place the sheet with the leaf impressions on your work tile and using a craft knife carefully cut around the outline of the leaves. Remove all the surrounding scrap clay and set it aside. If you need to trim any areas around the impression, now is the time to do it.
Place the cut out leaf impressions on a tile and cure per the manufacturers instructions. The photo on the right is the pile of impressions I made. These are all positive impressions. Now we move onto the next stage!
What? You thought that was it? No, sorry – not yet! :)
Prepare a second sheet of scrap clay the same way as the first. This time brush it lightly with a release agent like talcum powder. Place the cured impressions face down on the sheet. Hold down the impression with one hand and carefully cut around the outside with a craft knife.
Carefully align the two cut outs, making sure that the cured impression is on top. Firmly press down on the top, making sure that the impression is transferred to the bottom sheet. Separate and if needs be trim the edges, before curing. You now have a selection of positive and negative veiners. The negative impression is what you use to texture your leaves.