Here’s a video showing my method of making polymer clay beads using a core of scrap clay and a decorative veneer on the outside. Previously I did a picture tutorial of this technique.
Here’s a video showing the technique I use to create a sheet of polymer clay mokume gane using a variety of stamps. I’m working on another video showing some things you can make with your finished sheet. I’m due to get a new phone tomorrow so the quality of the video footage should improve soon (although I still have a few demos that I have already filmed which are waiting for editing).
Here are some earrings I made using the sheet so you can see it all nicely sanded and finished. I have another video with a tip for sanding when there is wire embedded in your polymer clay.
It’s been a while since my last blog, so here’s a look at my current project. It’s a proddy rag rug. Inspired by hours looking at the rugs in Craftworkshop, I decided to give this a try since I have a lot of scrap fabric.
Of course I didn’t actually look at any tutorials, I just looked at the rugs in the shop and guessed how they were done. I’m using scraps of fleece fabric and a knitting needle for the prodding. I’m not using a frame, but perhaps I should be, since it’s curling a bit on the back. I suspect my scraps are a bit densely packed too, but I think it will be ok since there is a recess at my front door which I am making this to fit into. I’ll just jam it in and stomp it flat when I’m done.
I’m doing an abstract design, just planning it as I go. It’s like a very slow motion doodle and is strangely addictive. Often I find it helps keep me interested if I don’t plan things out too fully. It’s also satisfying finding a way to recycle my scraps of fabric.
If you’d like to see a pro making one, here’s a nice video:
And this pdf tutorial even gives instructions for making the tools you will need.
Update: Here’s a more recent photograph with further progress on my rug.
Here are the gifts I made this year.
This lentil bead necklace is a descendant of one of my earliest necklaces, and was actually a Christmas gift for the same sister. I hope she agrees it’s an upgrade. This one was a very easy baby to make :).
The next necklace was for a Boxing Day birthday. looks simple but it took a huge amount of time to make.
The first issue what the fact that the beads are ivory and white, so I had to work really carefully to keep the polymer clay clean and free from specks. The next issue, which I really felt when it was time to sand, is that the beads are…
BIG! Each bead is about the size of a bantam egg and there are a lot of them to make a long continuous necklace. As they say on the cookery competition programs: “Something this simple needs to be executed perfectly.”
For the surface decoration of the beads, I made a marbled cane using ivory, lots of white and transparent polymer clay (I had to redo some of them since my first cane was too yellow – doh!). Here is a tutorial I did for a marbled cane which in turn was based on this tutorial for mother of pearl.
I’ve had to accept a work in progress for this week’s focal bead. All the extra Christmas activities have been taking their toll on my time.
The pattern on the bead is a crushed helix (or reduced Damascus Ladder). I still need to finish the ends (I’m going to wrap a string of polymer around the domes) and sand the bead.
Maybe I’ll finish next weekend (sometime after I finish making Christmas gifts, and beads for next week’s challenge but before we go Christmas shopping)? Hmmm, ok, maybe not NEXT weekend, but surely before the end of the year? Oh wait, that’s only two weeks away!
I mentioned in my previous post that keeping my colour recipes in percentages helped with mixing gradients.
Sometimes I don’t keep track of my gradient mixes. The one above is made up of coordinating scraps of colour…
which becomes a lovely skinner blend…
that ends up as beads.
At other times e.g. for the Art Bead Scene challenge pieces, I want my gradient to include specific colours to match the inspiration painting.
Here are my colour recipes using Fimo Classic:
I take my grid paper, and using 1 square to represent 10% of the recipe, I mark out the target colours. I leave spaces between them to allow for a gradient blend. I chose to put the bordeaux in the middle for the mustard colour on the right because it was such a small percentage I thought it would be difficult to cut accurately if it were on the bottom.
Then I mark diagonals for the blends. I chose to fade to white on the edges.
Then I cut out the paper shapes to use as a template for the clay.
Here is the resulting blend. I’ve included the target colours – there is a slight difference as the swatches have been baked while the blend is still raw. This method means I can mix the colours at the same time that I make the blend (instead of mixing the 3 colours separately and then blending them).
I recently discovered that some mica powders (e.g. Perfect Pearls) have an added resin which means they do not need to be varnished to seal. WOOT! I love the shimmer, but I have been avoiding using them because I find varnishing such a hassle – all that washing brushes and waiting for it to dry…
Since then I haven’t been able to stop myself adding pearlescent powder just about everything.
Yes, I only have one colour of mica powder at the moment, but I have ordered a few more… so watch this space for more pearls of polymer clay.
In other news, I have received my Art Charms 🙂 but you will need to wait till after the reveal on 14th November 2014 to see my treasures as I want to include some of the artists’ inspiration.
I was inspired by Sonya Girodon’s necklaceto make beads by stacking layers of polymer clay.
I was quite pleased with my efforts at the time but unfortunately now that I look at them in comparison to hers they look horribly juvenile. Or maybe it’s just because I’m having an “everything I do is horrible” day? 😦
Anyway check out Sonya’s work, she even shares a tutorial for making beads similar to the focal ones in the necklace.
A while back, with the help of this blog post about photo backgrounds, I decided I needed to pep up my plain white cartridge paper backgrounds.
The photo on the right has a better sheet of paper which I think is warmer and more interesting, but it also looks like a fly has been rather busy! I had a scrap from a lovely sheet of handmade paper with wonderful texture, but…
I thought the purple inclusions were just too distracting. So I decided I needed to buy some handmade paper. Then I thought: “Hang on, I have hands, I can make paper!”.
I don’t think this is the proper way to make paper, but it works. 🙂 A few years ago, I even used this method to “paint” landscapes (excuse the retro quality of the photo).
The next step is the most difficult – waiting for it to dry. Once it is dry, carefully peel off the mesh (try not to stab yourself on the edge of the mesh – no one actually wants to see the blood, sweat and tears on the finished creation).
While I was waiting, my little owls flew off to a new home, so I chose the next most neutral earrings I had to photograph with the new background.
There are a few hard edges from the cotton squares which I should have shredded more thoroughly. What do you think? Better?
Here are some videos of the demo I did at Craftworkshop making mobius Christmas ornaments.
The first video has some information about using metallic clay, and I made a jelly roll cane.
Finally I make the ornament and… it all goes wrong!
I used a different brand of clay for the second try ornament and I had some issues when I baked it 😦 I’ll try to do another post about that with images, but in the meantime I suggest you do the following:
* Edit: see my follow up post about the problems I had *