Most of us love creating with the many cool polymer clay products available these days.
But, once we’ve spent good money, we want to make the most of our purchases!
This technique opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for using silk screens and image transfers (and likely many more things I haven’t thought of yet.)
There are two methods for doing the inlay:
One is careful and precise and results in custom pieces with lots of detail
The other is quick and easy, but results in less detail and precision
Choose whichever you are most in the mood for!
I recently shared how to do this type of inlay in the Polymer Clay Universe magazine. One of my patrons, Ramona, requested I make it into a video to help those who prefer learning with that style of tutorial.
Your wish is my command, Ramona!
Here are the tools and materials I used in the video:
These polymer clay pendants with phrases are so much fun to make, and so very satisfying because they say exactly what you want them to say!
If you want to get even more words to fit onto your pendants, just use slightly smaller images and really squeeze all the letters in together, not worrying about where the line breaks are.
The results will be interesting to look at, as it won’t be as readily apparent what they say, but will require the viewers to look a little bit more closely.
You’ll notice from the cover photo that I ended up using the nativity stamp after all, and was very pleased with the results.
Sometimes if you’re unsure you just have to go for it and see how it turns out!
If you find there are areas you aren’t thrilled with, such as the little flower in the upper left of my “give thanks” pendant, feel free to add sculptural elements to embellish and cover up.
The little flower I used (you can see it in the cover photo) is perhaps a bit big for the pendant. It was just something in my stash, but I think I need to sculpt one that’s a bit more in proportion.
To color the flower that the bird is holding I used a tiny detail brush dipped in water and then in a little bit of Inka Gold. It worked great for adding color and a bit of shimmer to small areas. (Gotta find more opportunities to play with those!)
Don’t forget that any projects decorated with Gilders paste should dry for at least 24 hours. Then you can buff them to a nice sheen. The product directions say to wait 12 hours but I have found that often that isn’t enough, perhaps because I put a lot of layers on mine.
It’s always nice to wear pretty jewelry, and even sometimes interesting or unusual jewelry.
Then there is the jewelry that’s meaningful, perhaps because it came from a loved one or has special memories.
Today’s project makes jewelry that is meaningful in a different way. By using words and images that resonate with you, you can make your piece completely unique and special.
These pendants would also make one-of-a-kind, meaningful gifts for friends and loved ones.
The materials list for this project is long, so I suggest while you have the supplies out you make several. This gives you an opportunity to experiment with different shapes, phraseology, colors and finishes. Along the way you’ll find some pieces that you like more than others and get practice with the techniques.
Ever since the first time I got crackles on a piece of polymer clay ( I think it was by accident) I’ve been fascinated with the look and the concept.
One of my go-to techniques for creating an interesting finish on polymer clay is to simply add a sheet of metallic leaf to a sheet of clay and then run it through the pasta machine:
once in one direction
then turn 90°
make setting slightly thinner
run though in other direction
This gives you sparkling, even crackles in both directions.
I’ve also been seeing a lot of clay on clay crackles lately and wanted to explore this. The chunky crackles look especially cool and I’ll be sharing how to do those soon.
The dreamy, atmospheric looking crackles in the center of the above photo were done by folding and then rolling the sheet through the pasta machine a few more times after the initial crackling. As I mention in the video, this would be a gorgeous background for a landscape or beach scene.
Keep in mind that you likely will have to clean your pasta machine well after doing this!
In today’s video I’ll show you how to get a fine crackle effect on polymer clay and also explain the variables so you can understand and control them as you experiment.
Next week I’ll show you a way of using these crackled sheets to make beautiful cabochons.
Make your own custom cabochons – in any size you need – using paints with unique self-manipulating properties.
Add your choice of sparkly inclusions – like metal leaf, iridescent flakes and more – for a truly customized look.
Incorporate your cabochons into a lovely sculpted statement necklace!
In this class, I show you how to make a summer pendant (above) full of sparkling splendor. With the techniques you’ll learn along with the templates included, you can go on to make a pendant for fall, winter and spring, too!
I also show you several additional techniques to enhance the fantasy of your piece including how to:
Create a pendant background that sparkles like dappled sunshine.
Sculpt a complex-looking tree (using a very easy method!) and add beaded foliage for extra sparkle.
Accent your pendant with a twisted rope border for added texture.
Embellish your cabochon with beads.
Add and decorate a matching bail and finish your necklace with ribbons, chain and beads.
Every technique in this class can be used in so many ways, and your seasonal themed necklaces are just the beginning!
Or perhaps fantasy pendants aren’t your thing, but you’d like to learn just the cabochon technique?
We’ve got you covered!
In the Fantasy Cabochons class you’ll learn to use fantasy paint effects and mixed media to make gorgeous cabochons that can be used in a wide variety of projects. No need to search for the perfect cabochon when you can make your own!
Create intriguing cabochons – in any size you need – using paints with unique self-manipulating properties.
Add your choice of sparkly inclusions – like metal leaf, iridescent flakes and more – for a truly customized look.
Mimic the look of opals, and customize colors to enhance your projects!
I include lots of tips, hints and tricks to ensure your cabochons look amazing! This technique is quite addictive, so be sure to experiment with colors, sizes, shapes and inclusions.
This class is on sale for $12 instead of $18 through Tuesday, June 13.
Please note: This class is included in the Fantasy Tree Pendants for All Seasons class above. If you want to take this fantasy technique a step further, consider purchasing that class instead!
In case some were on your wish list, my other classes are on sale through Tuesday as well.
Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I have a new tutorial available! It’s for how to make these beautiful vines and flowers covered pens. This is a downloadable PDF tutorial.
The tutorial is nearly 20 pages long with plenty of full color photos and detailed step-by-step directions. I show you how to prepare, cover and texture the pen, how to make canes for the vines & flowers and how adding crystals to the flower centers creates a lovely, realistic shape.
There’s also a bonus coloring page at the end. It’s vines and flowers, of course. ?
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.
Here’s a short little video I made for you looking back on all of the tutorials I’ve created in 2016. It’s kind of amazing to think that it’s been a year since I finished my dragon challenge, as the habits I developed over that year I have served me well this year. I learned to be more disciplined, to work at my art whether I feel like it or not, and to make it a priority.
I really love making polymer clay tutorial videos for you all! As I mentioned in the video, I added a third weekly video to my YouTube channel in February. What I didn’t mention was that in August I realized making three a week was just too much. So now I’m back down to two per week, alternating weeks (more or less) with polymer clay and jewelry videos, but always with a Friday Findings video every week.
One hundred thirty seven videos is a LOT and I hope you all have enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if there are any that stand out to you as particular favorites.
I also created one class for CraftArtEdu.com this year, my Gradient Swirly Lentils Necklace class. This is a fun polymer technique that can be quite addictive. I strongly suggest if you enjoy polymer clay tutorials that you get on CraftArtEdu.com’s email newsletter list as they regularly send out coupon codes for 30, 40 and sometimes 50% off their classes.
Another thing I was really pleased to do this year was create tutorials for fairy garden accessories for Polymer Café magazine.
They kicked off my series with the March/April issue in which my fairy garden birdbath was featured on the cover! That was quite a thrill.
I then went on to make five other fairy garden accessory tutorials, concluding with the fairy garden bridge in the January/February 2017 issue. If you’d like to learn how to make these but don’t have a subscription to Polymer Café or can’t get the back issues, keep an eye out because I will be releasing them as individual downloadable PDF tutorials, once the rights revert back to me (about 18 months after publication.)
Dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters, cat-because he’s a cat
One thing I put in my 2015 looking back and looking ahead article a year ago was that I wanted to do more figure sculpting. Sadly I have only managed to do a grand total of ONE figure this year, this little dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
I really have a strong desire to do figures expressing relationships, emotion and interactions and have been studying the work of other artists to see what resonates with me.
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!
Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I have a new tutorial available! It’s for how to make this cute little fairy garden house. This is a downloadable PDF tutorial.
The tutorial is nearly 20 pages long with plenty of full color photos and detailed step-by-step directions. I show you how to make these realistic looking faux stones, how to texture the leaves and make a real leaf-like roof, plus how to construct and put the whole thing together.
There’s also an adorable bonus coloring page at the end. It’s a fairy garden house, of course. 🙂
There are so may details that bring this charming little house to life: vines, leaves and flowers twining over the roof, a touch of gilding and a paint technique that totally makes your faux stones look real!