Mar 242017
 

ff polymer clay bails

Sometimes the trickiest part of making custom polymer clay jewelry pieces is locating findings that enhance and work well with them. We can easily solve this problem by creating our own findings out of yet more polymer clay.

It’s not only solves the problem but actually makes our pieces even more unique and creative.

In today’s video I will show you how simple it is to make fancy, decorative tube style bails for your clay or other pieces.

I show enhancing them with textures, mica powders and Gilders Pastes, but you can be as decorative as you need to be in order to get a cohesive look in your jewelry.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the DIY Polymer Clay Jewelry Bails-Friday Findings Tutorial video on YouTube.

Mar 212017
 

bangle illusion cover

The first time I encountered directions for making a memory wire bracelet I thought it was a fairly basic piece of jewelry and one that you would only make once. Since then, however, I have been fascinated to discover all the different ways you can use memory wire and even all the different configurations you can have for just a single long length.

Here are a few of the memory wire videos on my YouTube channel.

Today’s project is the longest memory wire bracelet I’ve made. It gives the look of a stack of seven bangles. To get this design right takes a little bit of planning, but most of your time will be spent stringing all those beads. Because three of the “bangles” are duplicated I needed quite a few beads and necessitated a trip to the craft store to fill out what was already in my stash. Always a fun necessity!

In the tools and materials I have links for as many of the products I used as I can find online. But I strongly suggest that you first raid your stash and see what you already have that you can use. Then, like me, you can fill in the corners with a fun trip to the bead store. 🙂

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Bangle Illusion Memory Wire Bracelet-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Mar 172017
 

ff polymer clay tube bails

Although shopping for and using unique jewelry findings is a lot of fun, it’s even more satisfying if we can create them ourselves. This is one reason why I’ve really been wanting to get into metal clay, as I think it’s the perfect fusion between creating in polymer clay and having quality precious metal jewelry.

However, since that is cost prohibitive at the moment we can content ourselves with making our findings out of polymer clay. It’s a great way to make perfectly matched findings for your polymer clay jewelry and makes each piece even that much more unique.

In today’s video I will show you how to make simple tube bail. Interestingly, a couple hours after I shot this video I watched a video from a Patricia Roberts-Thompson, who has a relatively new YouTube channel, showing how to make polymer clay end caps. Her process is very similar to mine. The only difference between the end caps and the tube bails is that the bails need to have a wire loop inserted and the end caps need to have one end capped, naturally.

I show a simple way of texturing a bail, but don’t forget that you could also make smooth bails and then add swirls, dots, flowers or whatever else you like and then do one more baking. This would make the bail more of a focal piece than an accent, but with the right pendant it might be just what it needs.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the DIY Tube Bails Out Of Polymer Clay – Friday Findings Jewelry Tutorial at YouTube.

Mar 162017
 

2017 pdfc #5 Isabella 1

Today you get the pleasure of meeting Isabella. Isn’t she a cutie? She is a flower fairy and the fifth of the polymer clay sculptures I’ve challenged myself to make this year.

This was my first time sculpting bare toes, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. While digging around in my molds I discovered a hand mold and decided to use that to do the hands since I was already nervous about sculpting the feet. Using a mold definitely simplifies things, but it doesn’t do all the work for you. There’s still a lot of cleaning up around the edges and shaping to do, but it sure gives you a good head start!

2017 pcfc #5 isabella 3

Isabella’s wings are made out of Pebeo Fantasy and Moon paints that were drizzled inside a wire frame stuck to a piece of packing tape. When the paint was dry the tape was peeled away, revealing her lovely fluttering wings.

2017 pdfc #5 Isabella 2

I just adore her cheeky little smirk! Over the course of these five figures the sculpting is definitely getting easier. I didn’t have to fuss with this one nearly as much as with any of the others. The trickiest part was probably getting her legs shaped nicely, and that’s because I haven’t done those before.

I’m also learning to have a light and gentle touch with the clay, to be patient and make it move with little gentle pushes rather than trying to shape it all with one big shove.

Check out this brief YouTube video for a 360° view of Isabella.

To see all the figures I’ve made so far, watch my Polymer Clay Figures playlist.

Mar 142017
 

tribal dragonfly necklace cover

This necklace, like many of my jewelry projects, began with the supplies. Something reminded me of this tribal Thai silver dragonfly charm that I’ve had for a while and I pictured pairing it with other silver findings and some pretty pink beads. A search of my stash turned up these pink chips.

I had recently watched a YouTube video where the jewelry designer did this cascading beads design using jump rings. It’s one I’ve done before but haven’t in a while and I thought it would pair nicely with the dragonfly.

Such is the way designs are born!

Take the time this week to look in your stash for a forgotten charm or pendant that you could feature in a design.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Tribal Thai Silver Dragonfly Necklace-Jewelry Tutorial video at YouTube.

Mar 102017
 

ff feb 2017 haul

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.

Here’s a list of everything in my order:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Sharing the Love of Creativity – KeepsakeCrafts.net

Watch the Jewelry & Sculpting Supplies Haul-Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Mar 072017
 

mokume gane cabochons cover

If there’s one thing polymer clayers love to do, it’s to see how well they can imitate other techniques and materials. In fact, there are entire books on imitative techniques such as Polymer Clay Gemstones: The Art of Deception and The Polymer Clay Artist’s Guide: A Directory of Mixes, Colors, Textures, Faux Finishes and Surface Effects.

mokume gane

One of the most approachable imitative techniques is that of mokume gane, which is a Japanese metalworking technique with quite beautiful results. Above is a screenshot of an image search for mokume gane. Yup, those are all metal. So many lovely things to be made!

Doing polymer clay mokume gane is really quite simple, and even if you only use a small amount of clay you can get lots of material for covering things.

blue green mokume gane

Here’s some mokume gane I made several years ago. I used it to cover pens for Christmas gifts for guys. (They were a big hit!) Even though I made at least a dozen pens I still have this chunk of lovely striated blue, green, silver and white to use in other projects.

In the mokume gane project I show in today’s video I use a very definite pattern but you can just do it randomly. One artist who has done some beautiful things with this technique is Julie Picarello. You can check out her book, Patterns in Polymer and see all the different variations she’s come up with.

Tools and Materials:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the Mokume Gane Cabochons-Polymer Clay Tutorial video at YouTube.

Mar 032017
 

ff wire protectors

Wire protectors are one of those jewelry findings that I definitely could have used way back when I first started making jewelry. As you’ll see in the video from the examples of my fails, they are especially useful when making jewelry with thread, but serve wonderful purposes when using bead stringing wire as well.

As with most of the findings I show you they come in all the standard finishes: gold, gold plated, silver, silver plated, copper, gunmetal, etc.

I don’t often find these at the local craft stores,  and if they do have them they’re often of poor quality and you don’t have many choices of finish. So I usually buy mine online. Although they only cost a few cents apiece, they add a great deal of value and longevity to your jewelry!

Below are a few of the different finishes of wire protectors that I like to keep on hand.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Watch the How Wire Protectors Will Save Your Jewelry! Friday Findings video at YouTube.

Mar 022017
 

fairy garden teapot 1

This was a fun and a really interesting project to work on. It’s based on Marlene Brady’s 2016 Polymer Clay Adventure class on making a fairy garden teapot. I found this teapot at the Salvation Army last fall for two dollars, and it’s been sitting on my desk, patiently waiting ever since.

Marlene made mushroom awnings over her doors and windows, which I thought was utterly adorable but wanted mine to be different. So I made flower blossom awnings over the doors and windows. 

I had envisioned doing some vines and leaves trailing around the teapot and then connected the ideas and now have the flowers looking like they’re growing along and up the teapot in order provide the shade. It’s a fun kind of whimsical touch that I love.

fairy garden teapot 2

My first thought had been to use polymer clay and not the Apoxie Sculpt clay that she suggested, however I decided to order some Apoxie Sculpt and give it a try. I ordered the 1 lb. set of Apoxie Sculpt and used a little less than half of it for this project. If I decide to work with it more I’ll definitely order the 4 lb. set as that’s much more economical.

The nice thing about Apoxie Sculpt over polymer is that it is stuck quite permanently to the teapot, there is no need to lift it off and glue it back down. It also dries very, very hard and is not flexible at all like polymer clay, which depending on your application, can be a plus or minus.

fairy garden teapot 3

One thing I did not like about working with the Apoxie Sculpt over polymer clay was working with the white clay and then having to paint it afterwards. It was especially a pain to paint the vines that were right up against the teapot without making a mess at the edges.

For the little veggies and mushrooms in the garden I decided to color the clay with acrylic paint before sculpting and save myself the painting steps. This changed the clay in an interesting way. It made it more pliable, it was easier to roll and stretch out thin snakes. However, it was also stickier and made shaping difficult, especially while wearing plastic gloves.

fairy garden teapot 4

The teapot is 7 inches from spout to handle and about 4 inches tall. The cauliflower are about 1/2 inch wide and the carrots are between 1/8 and 1/4-inch wide. Sorry that I keep forgetting to put something in the photos to give you a size reference!

When I got down to creating the itty bitty leaves on the turnips and carrots working with this clay had started to drive me crazy. One trick I found is that when the Apoxie Sculpt starts to get too sticky to manage you can spritz it with a little water and that will help act as a release and allow you to handle it firmly without it sticking all over the place.

fairy garden teapot 5

All in all this was a fun project. I love sculpting little tiny things and I think it came out really cute.

I actually picked up yet another teapot a couple weeks ago and have some ideas for doing perhaps something Alice themed. We’ll see.

A few things I learned about working with Apoxie Sculpt:

  • DO wear gloves! You don’t want it drying on your skin
  • If you are mixing up large amounts, use a scale for accuracy
  • Only mix up what you think you’ll use in about an hour
  • Because the clay is white, it’s difficult to mix in paint and get dark colors. Just mix in some paint and then finish the darker details by painting afterwards.

I’ll likely be doing a Friday Findings video on this interesting medium soon and will have more helpful info for you then. 

Have any of you taken classes at the Polymer Clay Adventure? And if so have you made any of the projects?

Happy creating!

Mar 012017
 

2017 pcfc #4 violet 1

Meet Violet, the fourth polymer clay sculpture in my 2017 polymer clay figure challenge. She is based on Mischievous Mike from Maureen Carlson’s book How to Make Clay Characters. Maureen had Mike with his cute little tongue sticking out and to me it just begged to have an ice cream cone in his hand. Obviously I changed Mike from a boy to a cute little redheaded girl. Instead of stripes on the shirt I inset flowers. I also had a lot of fun making her red sneakers based on yet another photo of tennis shoes that I found online.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 2

She has she even has little drips of ice cream on her fingers. Cuz that’s how *I* eat ice cream, don’t know about anyone else. 😀

2017 pcfc #4 violet 3

A while back I had thought of focusing on making polymer clay food as it’s a lot of fun to do, but there are so many folks out there doing such a wonderful job I decided to work on something else. It’s fun however, to have an excuse to make something like this ice cream cone every so often.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 4

I’d like to think that even over the course of just these first four figurines that I’ve gotten a little better at sculpting hands and faces. I’m going to do the next two of the neighborhood kids in Maureen’s book and then I’m looking forward to moving onto more realistically shaped faces.

2017 pcfc #4 violet 5

Also, I really need to make those upper eyelids a bit bigger and avoid the somewhat crazed wide-eyed look. 😀

Watch a video of Violet at YouTube.