Today’s project is the result of combining several different ideas I’ve come across in the polymer clay world. Christie Friesen in her book Flourish showed the idea for using silicone putty molds in a variety of ways, including making partial impressions on clay shapes. I’ve seen several projects around the inter-webs using metal charms and bits of clay to make a little wearable scenes. And of course I’m sure you’ve all seen lots of projects incorporating spirals and scrolls and swirls.
I call my project “Sculpted Seascapes,” since they all seem to have a beachy theme, but you could make yours any style you like. Creating the base goes fairly quickly, but adding all of the details can take a while. I find it to be a relaxing, meditative process. Don’t forget to stand back on occasion and take a look at the piece as a whole. It’s easy to get lost in all those little details!
Although you can pop out the metal charms and other mixed media used in your piece after baking and glue them, I prefer to arrange bits of clay around them so that they are trapped in there once the clay is hardened by baking. It’s a much more secure bond than trusting in glue, which at times can be unreliable.
If you incorporate things that you found perhaps on a nature walk or vacation, you’ll have a special, wearable momento of that time.
I’ve gotten lots of requests for more jewelry findings made out of polymer clay, so today I have for you a simple way to think about making bead cones.
The basic coiled cone that I show you it’s really just a starting place. As I mentioned in the video you should consider applying paint, patinas and surface effects to these to make them work perfectly with your jewelry pieces. Also, I think I would like to experiment with applying slices of canes or pieces of veneers such as mokume gane or a retro cane. Of course, if you’re not careful your bead caps will end up stealing the show!
With that in mind in upcoming videos I will be showing you how to make jewelry that allows these bead cones to be the stars.
If you want to make lots of cones that are all the same size you might consider making a mold of your form. Use two-part molding putty to mold the form, once set fill it with clay and bake. This way you can make as many forms as you like that are all the exact same size and shape.
Let me know in the comments if you find any interesting cone shapes in household objects. Like I mentioned in the video I found it to be one of the toughest shapes to locate.
I was hesitant at first to do a video with polymer clay roses as they seem so very basic to me. However after thinking about it I decided to go ahead because even if you’ve made polymer clay roses before you may not have thought of using them in this way.
I love the vintage look you get when putting these delicate flowers on metal and filigree pieces!
As you can see, the possibilities for application are endless. I made just a few pieces of jewelry, but you could use them to decorate all sorts of things. Think about covering boxes, home dec, pens… anything that doesn’t get too much handling, as they are rather delicate.
One thing I forgot to mention in the video was that for the earrings I only used six petals in addition to the center to keep them small and in proportion to the findings. It’s really simply a matter of using as many petals as you need to get the fullness and shape you want.
Tools and Materials:
Polymer clay in colors of your choice (I like to add some Pearl for sparkle)
I never really thought much about stretch rings until I bought one at a local fashion clothing store and found it so comfortable that I absolutely loved it and wore it all the time.
In fact I wore it out! When the elastic used in the purchased ring broke I noticed that the way it was strung together was with metal sections that had two holes or channels running through them. This gave me the idea of using two hole beads to make my own custom ring bands.
In today’s video I will show you how I took a polymer cabochon and with the help of a few Tila beads turned it into a gorgeous statement ring.
I would recommend using a strong glue such as two-part epoxy for this process. If you find that the glue dries with sharp edges on the inside of the ring after it’s cured, you can gently file those down to make them smoother.
When I first started this, the sixth of the polymer clay figure sculptures I challenged myself to make in 2017, I planned to make her patterned after the final of the neighborhood kids in Maureen Carlson’s book How to Make Clay Characters. But I was getting a bit bored and decided to make my girl steampunk style.
As with all of the neighborhood kids projects, I started with the shoes, or in this case, the boots. I don’t know why but I’ve found I really love adding all the details to the footwear.
Once I got the boots done I realized that my proportions were going to be different from the figure in Maureen’s book. After studying rules of body proportions I proceeded to make her legs, and then added her skirt and petticoats.
From the base of the box to the top of her hat Savina is 7 inches tall. If she were to stand up, she’d be about 10 inches tall.
The petticoat ruffles are strips of white clay that were cut on one edge with a wavy blade. I used a dotting tool to make them look more like lace.
Although I love the color and the pearly shimmer of the skirt, every time I look at it I wish I had added some texture. Something to remember next time, texture everything!
My decades as a seamstress came in handy when planning, drafting and fitting her “leather” corset.
Those puffy white sleeves were the trickiest part of the entire project. Try to picture how you would texture the clay, gather and shape it to look like a puffy sleeve and then press it into place on the figure without smashing any of the texture or gathers or shape!
It was at this point I realized that my figure was large enough that I should have started off with an armature as a base. The neighborhood kids are small enough that they don’t require an armature except perhaps a couple toothpicks on the inside for supports. This little girl would’ve been a lot easier if I had made her body first and then fitted the clothes. Instead I found myself doing it rather backwards, having to sculpt and smooth the skin of her neck around the neckline of her blouse rather than just draping the blouse over her body.
I did save myself some of the difficulty of sculpting hands by deciding that she was going to wear leather gloves, really LONG leather gloves. 😀
I was thrilled that the “suede” strips twisted up and around the gloves came out looking like real suede.
When it came time to do the face I decided that the simplistic faces from the neighborhood kids really wouldn’t suit the style of this project and so I moved on to Maureen’s next tutorial in the book and based my face on the more realistic faces that she taught. I’m fairly pleased with how the face came out, although, even after removing a lot of clay the nose is still three times larger than I wanted it to be. There’s always next time!
Instead of making clay hair I decided to use some alpaca wool I had bought a while ago for doll making. The nice thing about this wool is that it’s very fine so the scale is good for dolls. Also, it can be styled similarly to human hair. I used mousse and a curling iron. I’m not much of a hair stylist but it came out okay.
Making the top hat was a lot of fun. It was a bit of a challenge to get the shape just right, but once I figured it out I had a blast decorating it with all kinds of bits and pieces from my stash. You might notice, especially if you read the title of this post, that there is not a single gear in sight. Even without the gears it’s apparent that she’s a steampunk girl, which goes to show you that steampunk is about more than just gears. 🙂
This figure is so large and so complicated that she is going to have to suffice for #’s 6, 7 and 8 as I just don’t have time and need to move on to other projects which are more of my bread-and-butter. Priorities, you know!
So yeah, only one figure for March and one figure for April. I’m a little disappointed in that, but not going to stress about it. Instead I am going to move on to my next project with which is creating another class for you guys to enjoy. I’m excited about this project and hope you’ll love it once I get it done.
I’m also working on an email newsletter to better keep you informed on what’s going on with all my classes, videos, projects and such. More on that soon. So, yeah, busy, busy!
I named today’s project after the dogwood tree that will be blooming soon in my yard. Every year in early May I so enjoy its beautiful pink and white blossoms. These pink ceramic beads, white crystal and crackled beads and the white enameled metal focal all bring to mind the springtime beauty of the dogwood.
This necklace design began with a photo I found online. My apologies, but I cannot find the original source. It appears to be from a catalog, and not a jewelry designer, though. If you recognize it, please let me know so I can give proper credit.
I was intrigued by the way the largest beads are not at the usual center front position. My version is a little bit more asymmetrical than the inspiration piece. Even if I did have two of those white metal flowers, I’m not sure that I would have used them both. The almost perfectly balanced design is more interesting, I think, than complete symmetry.
This piece goes together quickly, especially if you use the One Step Looper tool. Be sure to double check the security of all your loop and chain connections.
There are lots of different ways to hang polymer clay pendants from necklace cord. Some of the more obvious are adding a hole, adding a loop to the pendant or embedding some kind of metal finding. But sometimes the design just doesn’t warrant it. Sometimes you don’t want any of the findings to show on the front.
I’ve seen lots of different styles of polymer clay bails pressed onto the backs of pendants, but they can often be bulky. Today I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to secure a hidden, low-profile bail to the back of your polymer clay pendant.
If you don’t have the coiling gizmo to make your coils you can wrap your wire around anything cylindrical. But using this cool tool will make your work much quicker and it’s easier to get consistent results.
Remember to first plan your stringing cord so that you can make a wire coil of the appropriate size. The thicker your coil, by the way, the thicker the backing of your clay should be. But don’t embed your coil so deeply that you can no longer fit in your cording!
As I mention in the video, all the pendants I use for demonstration in the video were made with directions from Christi Friesen’s book, Flourish.
I’ve always admired the sweet, dainty look of polymer clay faux embroidery and decided it was high time I made a few pieces of my own design.
In today’s video I will teach you the basics, including how to quickly sketch out your own design. Those of you who are my patrons can download my sketches from my Patreon posts.
In preparation for making this project I looked at a lot of examples of polymer clay faux embroidery. One thing I noticed was that they all had beautifully rounded and smooth bases. In the video I will also show you how to achieve that for yourself when filling a purchased bezel with clay.
Many of you many not know that before I had this crafts blog I had an organizing blog, even wrote an e-book on organizing… even sold a few of them, lol. So, yes, I love to organize and am pretty good at it. 🙂
One of the tricky things about polymer clay is the wide variety of tools and materials that can be used with it. It’s wonderful and fun, but how do you store and sort it all?
These little Kemper cutters are so very useful in my clay work, but it can be a pain to find the size and shape you want amidst the jumble. Which is why I decided to make these little trays to keep them neat and organized and eliminate the jumble. I also labeled the sides of the holders with the size of each tool for future reference.
I hope you find this tip helpful. Let us know in the comments in you think of other ways to use it!
Here are a few of the tools shown or referenced in this video:
I’m sure it’s no secret that I love multi-strand necklaces. I love the layered look and combining together lots of different colors and textures for a rich looking piece of jewelry.
Sometimes, though, I just don’t feel like taking the time to do all that stringing. Today’s necklace gives the rich look of a multi-strand necklace, the drama of dangling teardrops, but the simplicity of using shorter strands. If you want yours to be a little bit fancier do beaded strands on the sides rather than a plain chain.
Many of the beads I used have been in my stash for a while, so it was hard to find the exact same thing for you. The links lead to similar items I could find online, but I encourage you to shop your own store of beady goodies to see what works!