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Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

While I was making the leaf veiners, I found a corn cob in the fridge that still had it’s leaves. Now from past experience I know that the corn leaves are very useful for texturing so I decided to make a texture sheet from it. I can see all sorts of uses for it. Basket weave, leaves etc. etc.

Read the photos from left to right please.

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What you’ll need:

Pasta machine, tissue blade, tile, scrap clay and a corn leaf.

What to do:

Condition some scrap clay and put through the pasta machine on the 4th thickest setting. Make sure there are no air bubbles in the surface.

Gently unroll the corn leaf – they tend to curl – and wipe it with a clean cloth to make sure there is no residual grit or dirt. Stretch it slightly and place it on the clay sheet.

Position the sheet of clay and corn leaf between the rollers of the pasta machine at the same setting you used for your sheet of clay. Carefully roll it through keeping the corn leaf stretched and even. See how mine creased slightly? Carefully separate the leaf from the sheet of clay.

Trim the edges of the texture sheet using a tissue blade, place on a tile and cure according to the manufacturers instructions.

Nifty don’t you think?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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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.

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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.

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Pearls galore

Pearls galore

I played around with faux pearls yesterday and after a few people saw the pics that I posted I was asked “tute please?”  So here goes.  This is really not a difficult project, loads of fun and is suitable for all levels of polymer clay skill.

What you need:

Materials and equipment

Materials and equipment

White, pale gold, pale pink or pale blue pearlescent or pearlex powders.

Premo Pearl or similar polymer clay.

Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss Sealer or similar.

Blade, tile for curing, soft brush, craft knife and a soft cloth for buffing.

How to Make the Pearls:

Getting started

Getting started

Thoroughly condition a piece of pearl polymer clay about the size of a golf ball.

Roll it into a log about 3/8 inch in diameter.

Cut sections

Cut sections

Cut slices of varying thickness off the log.  These will form the pearls.  The smaller the pearl the thinner the slice.  If needs be cut the slices in half if you want even smaller pearls.

Formed pearls

Formed pearls

Roll the slices of clay between your hands to form a round ball.  Don’t worry about the mica shift that happens at this stage.  That will give the tonal variations in the colour of the finished pearl.

Pearlescent powders

Pearlescent powders

Place a tiny bit of the pearlex or pearlescent powder into a small ziplock baggie.  If the base colour is too intense use a ratio of 1 part colour to 3 parts white and mix thoroughly.  That will make the colour a lot softer.

Coating the pearl

Coating the pearl

Drop the clay ball into the bag (do one at a time!) and shake thoroughly.  Remove the “pearl” from the bag and roll on a flat surface to work the pearlescent powder into the surface of the clay.

Adjusting the shape

Adjusting the shape

This is where you decide what shape your pearl is going to be.  If you want round pearls, simply keep the coated clay balls round.  You can pierce holes before hand or drill them through afterwards.  I recommend you bake the pearls on a layer of cornstarch if you want to keep the rounded shape perfect.  If you are making mabe pearls, flatten the ball slightly, so that the top is rounded and the base flat.  If needs be tweak the shape of the pearl between your fingers.  Mabe pearls are not perfectly round.

Curing the Pearls

Curing the Pearls

Using a flat blade lift the pearls onto a tile for baking.  Smooth the surface of the pearl so there are no fingerprints or scratches to mar the lustre of the pearl.  If needs be use a piece of cling film or a soft brush.  A sheet of paper under the pearls will eliminate  any shiny spots on the underside.

The finished pearls

The finished pearls

Once the cured pearls have cooled down LIGHTLY buff with a very soft cloth to remove any excess powder from the surface.  Use in whatever setting you desire and coat with one or two coats of a water based sealer such as the Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss Sealer.

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This is not intended as a tutorial, but responds to a question asking how on earth I make these hanging baskets. I’ve got some photos taken, and the rest will have to come as I take them so as to complete the actual visual steps. For now, here’s what I have. I’ll continue working on this post as I make more flowers and baskets

Making the baskets.

Buckram, canvas or other suitable material is cut into small squares, wet and shaped over suitable molds and secured till they’re dry. Once dry, the squares are eased off the molds and trimmed to the correct shape. Fine cord, bunka or string is used to edge the basket. Handles are attached or jump rings inserted in the case of hanging baskets. I tend to make a selection of baskets at a time and fill a drawer with them till they’re needed.

Next comes the process of making the flowers.

These are single impatiens – a variegated variety that has a white line running down the centre of the petal. The flower is shaped and glued to the stem. Once the glue has dried thoroughly I use white paint and a 20/0 paintbrush to paint lines from the centre to the edge of each petal. Lastly the black centre dot is placed using a fine liner or black paint and a very fine ball tool.

Single Impatiens ready to be potted. In amongst the impatiens are tiny narcissus and stems with african violets. Similar structure to the flowers.

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Mushroom Tutorial

Take a small ball of clay (or larger depending on the size of the fairy!) in whatever mushroom colour you feel appropriate. Flatten into a disk using your fingers. The centre of the disk needs to be slightly thicker and the edges very fine. If they tear slightly it doesn’t matter. Dust a little talc onto a tile and place the disk on that. Use a needle, toothpick or porcupine quill to make the gills on the underside of the mushroom, but leave the thicker centre plain. Shade using a soft brush and dark brown eyeshadow or chalk.

Pinch a tiny ball of clay about the size of a pea and flatten it till it’s really, really thin. Place this in the centre of the mushroom, making sure the edges don’t stick to the mushroom cap. Now, take a ball of clay and ‘pull’ the stalk. Trim to the required length. Roughen the narrow part of the stem with a blade or toothpick and use a tiny bit of TLS (translucent liquid sculpey) to adhere it to the centre of the mushroom. The frill should ‘gather’ around the top of the stem. Shape the base of the stalk with your fingers and shape the whole stalk to lie as you want it. Carefully life the mushroom off the tile and shape the cap until you are happy with the way it falls. Support the cap with little bits of batting or cotton wool while baking/curing.

To see a photo of the finished mushroom click on the link below.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaysminiatures/sets/72157603197645931/

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Tutorials

From time to time I get requests for tutorials on the items I make, especially my polymer clay art.  Some are simple items, others far more complicated and needing step-by-step photographs to follow the instructions.  I’m going to use this space for some of the more simple items and for the free tutorials I have to offer. 

Tutorial leaflets, complete with photographs, will be available for purchase as soon as I can find a reliable printer!  Where the tutorial is linked to a specific site or crafting group, I will post that link.

 If you get stuck anywhere with the tutorials and projects I have listed, please contact me.  I’ll try and help you through as far as I possibly can.  What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone else and we’ll find a way through any problems that you might encounter. 

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