Have you ever noticed that musicians usually play more than one musical instrument? Or that folks who do crafts rarely have just one project going? I think this is a mark of all creative people that we want to explore the horizons of our chosen field and that means trying as many different media as we possibly can.
Although my focus for the last several years has been working in polymer clay, looking back now I can see that no matter what I worked in, whether it was quilting, scrapbooking, card making or something else, I always found myself drawn to the sculptural elements.
So when the opportunity to try a new sculpting material came along, I went for it!
In today’s Friday Findings video I’m going to tell you all about what I’ve learned regarding working with Apoxie Sculpt clay.
One of the things I forgot to mention in the video is that you can only color the white so dark. If you are going for a dark color I suggest you add paint to get it close to that color, and then paint over it after the clay has hardened.
As I mentioned in the video I colored my Apoxie Sculpt clay with acrylic paints, but I encourage you to try other colorants such as mica powders, chalk pastels, oil paints, or maybe even alcohol ink. I don’t know how all of these will react with the clay but it will be fun to experiment and find out.
Many of you have asked me for advice in choosing and using colors in your jewelry and polymer clay work. It always makes me so sad to hear of folks who say they are afraid to use color, as for me it’s such a fun, enjoyable and intuitive thing.
Using color shouldn’t be scary, but joyful. What a wonderful and blessed thing our creator gave us when he introduced all of the colors into the world!
This Pinterest search for “colorful garden flowers” just makes my happy to scroll through. Click to brighten up your day!
When I was younger I used to think there were certain rules about using color, like red and purple don’t go together, nor do pink and orange. But now I think that any color can go with any color as long as you get the tones, shades and tints right. One of my favorite sights is a riot of colors in a garden, the more the merrier!
In today’s video I will give you several tips and ideas for how to approach using color in your creative work. I usually don’t start with the color wheel although, as I mentioned in the video, I do always keep the color wheel in mind because it is the basic tool and understanding its principles will only help you.
One of the more helpful things I have learned about using color I learned from quilt making, specifically a project in Gai Perry’s book Color From the Heart. The lesson is that the more shades of the color you throw into a project, the richer and more interesting it will look. Above is a mini quilt that I made many years ago as an exercise from the book. The colors are green and purple, but the greens range from bright kelly green to blue greens, light greens, dark greens and yellow greens. The purples are bright purples to fuchsias, blue purples, deep purples and lavenders. It’s so much more fascinating to look at than if I had just used two or three greens and purples. I try to apply these principles in anything I do, whether it’s a piece of jewelry or a polymer clay sculpture.
One thing I didn’t think to mention in the video is that if you have a smart phone there are a multitude of apps to help you play with/design with color.
Here are a few color resources you may find helpful:
No, this is not a sponsored post, but I wish it were. 😀 (Glad, if you’re listening, sponsor me and I’ll come up with lots more ways to use your cool product!)
Seriously though, I just recently bought my first package of Glad Press’n Seal and have been really impressed with all the different useful things I can do with it just in the studio alone. I haven’t even brought it into my kitchen yet.
In today’s video I show several ways I have found to make your jewelry making, polymer clay work and general crafting a whole lot easier using Glad Press’n Seal. Please feel free to share other ideas that you have found for using the stuff so we can all learn together!
Here are a few of the products I show in the video:
This week I have another haul video for you, this time it’s a large Amazon order I recently placed. The order consists mostly of supplies for jewelry making and polymer clay, but also has some rather unexpected things with unexpected uses. Then there is that one item that is a gift for somebody else, but actually a gift for me. 😀
I’m so grateful to those of you who have chosen to support me on Patreon! Your kind encouragement, sweet appreciation for my work and your financial support mean so much to me. The first few months of the year tend to be lean ones for my family and I was so thankful that because of my patrons I was able to place this order.
Btw, my patrons got to see this video a week before everyone else. Just one of those little extras I pass along to say thank you.
I hope you enjoy the video and that perhaps a few of the items I got will inspire or encourage you in your own creativity. At the very least I hope you find the information helpful and interesting!
You’ll find the link I mentioned to Ginger Davis Allman’s article on conditioning Pardo translucent clay at her site, The Blue Bottle Tree.
These little gingerbread houses are so much fun to make! Just like making a real gingerbread house the first thing you do is gather, or in our case make and pre-bake, all of your candy decorations.
We’ll also pre-bake liquid bakeable Sculpey in the color Pearl to resemble icicles dripping off the roof of our house.
Then it’s time to make our gingerbread “cookies” that will form the body of the house. Just a couple simple techniques will make these truly resemble baked gingerbread cookies. The fun part comes after that, the decorating!
One thing I neglected to mention in the video is that after I glued my prebaked “icicles” to my roof I went back in with some more of the liquid bakeable clay and filled in all the gaps around the edges before baking one more time. This gave a much more smooth and finished appearance.
It’s been so much fun making these polymer clay Christmas ornaments for you all! I especially love these pink poinsettias. I was inspired by a Fire Mountain Gems advertisement that came out a few years ago with red poinsettias on clear glass balls, but I wanted to make mine a bit different.
I decided to make shaded canes for the leaves and flowers (bracts I think they are technically) to add the detail that I wanted.
Shaping the flowers is really just simple, basic sculpting. What’s fun about these is that once the polymer clay is baked it peels right off of the ornaments. You can then glue the pieces back on the ornaments in whatever configuration you want. This is much easier than having to place them precisely while trying to hold onto a round ornament.
Make sure that your balls are glass so that they can go in the oven and not melt. Also, if you’re not sure if the ring around the top of your ornament is metal or acrylic, remove that too, just in case.
Another really pretty combination would be to make white poinsettias with a bit of green in the centers, and perhaps put them on red glass balls. I can see those with a little bit of gold mica powder dusted on the edges. As usual, so many ideas and not enough time to do them all. 🙂
Some curling, twisting ribbons add a graceful touch, be sure to watch the video for a cool trick for cutting perfectly straight strips of clay for the ribbons.
Tools and Materials:
polymer clay in pinks, greens and white (or pearl)
These snowflakes are a relaxing project to do with older children or with friends, but they’re also kind of nice to work on by yourself! It was fun digging through all of my small shape cutters and finding different combinations that would work to make interesting designs.
I love to hang these on my windows with suction cup hooks and very fine gold thread. If the light shines on them they sparkle, and if they’re back-lit the silhouettes are pretty.
Here’s another tip: If you’re going to make spirals or scrolls, make one first, then gently unroll it and measure it. Cut five more clay pieces to that length and they all should end up being the same size.
If any of the shaped bits fall off after baking, which may happen since they are so small, just use a little dab of super glue to stick them back into place.
Also, I didn’t mention it in the video, but if you use a mat like mine with the blue printed lines, make sure to design your snowflake on the side without lines. You may have noticed in the video when I flipped one of my snowflakes over that it had blue marks on it. My lines came right off onto the clay, oops!
There are so many different combinations that you can make, the possibilities are endless. Don’t forget that you can also brush portions or the entirety of your snowflakes with mica powders. Perfect Pearl would be a great color, or perhaps a pale blue like Interference Blue would be pretty. You could even cover these with flocking powder after baking for a really interesting look. Have fun creating and designing!
This year I decided instead of making charms I would make ornaments, The first of which is this cute little gingerbread man. These were so much fun to make that I couldn’t stop at just one! I kept thinking of new and different ideas and things to add. I didn’t have time to do all of my ideas which included giving them festive striped scarves, Santa hats or chefs toques. How about a baking pan with cookies on it? Kind of ironic, but still funny and cute.
I got a wonderful note back from Sculpey regarding the problem with the icing cracking. Here’s what they had to say:
I think it is because you are baking the pearl squiggles on the ceramic tile for 15 minutes at 275°F is the issue. I don’t think you are getting full fusion of the liquid Sculpey because of the ceramic tile. We have noticed that when baking items on glass or ceramic, the glass or ceramic takes a long time to heat up versus using other baking surfaces like metal or paper.
The ceramic tile probably takes a good 10 minutes or more to heat up to the 275F, so really the Liquid Sculpey side that is on the ceramic tile is not getting baked properly and is really only baking at 275F for 5 minutes or less at 275F. I think this is causing the breakage. Since you are bending the squiggles to put them on the cute gingerbread figures, if the piece is not fused properly, it will break.
You should try baking the pearl squiggles for longer – 30 minutes at 275Fand see if that helps.
Keep increasing the time by 5 minutes until you get the pieces to not break. Or you might have to bake the squiggles at slightly higher temperature to get full fusion.
I am sure you are doing this – but use or recommend that your viewers use an oven thermometer on the inside of your oven to make sure that the oven is accurate.
That’s such great info! I never thought about having to heat up the tile first, before the clay even starts baking, but it makes sense.
cartoon by Dave Coverly
One thing I forgot to mention in the video is how to turn them into hanging ornaments. Once you have baked your ornaments you just want to find the center of balance so that they will hang the way you want and then gently screw in a screw eye, starting the hole first with an awl. Once the screw eye is in, back it out, add a drop of super glue and then screw it back in. Add a ribbon and you have an ornament for your tree.
Today I have for you a rather different type of video that I usually do. I was looking around my craft table and studio and realized I had a lot of bits and pieces that I’ve been gathering for future projects. In fact as I’m putting together this blog post I realize there are several more things that I didn’t include in this video. Lots going on!
I’ll leave it up to you to let me know in the comments if you like this type of video and would like more like it or if you prefer that I just stick to tutorials. 🙂
Here’s a better view of the fairy garden lamppost that’s featured in the latest Polymer Café magazine. This tutorial was a fun one to put together. I made two variations, including one you can stick into the ground in your garden and it won’t topple over.
What I didn’t mention is that the flowers are made out of glow-in-the-dark clay. I just love turning off the lights and admiring them. 🙂
Here are links to the things I could find links for. Let me know which you found interesting and helpful.