Monday, July 21, 2014

Polymer Clay Class at Orlando Clay Fandango 2015

I will be teaching my polymer clay Faux Cloisonne class at Orlando Clay Fandango in 2015. 

The retreat will be on Lake Yale, from April 30 to May 4 (five days and four nights). 

You can find more information about this event and access the registration form on Orlando Area Polymer Clay Guild blog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Orchids in Washington, DC

There is an annual orchids exhibition in United States Botanic Garden (Washington, DC).  This year, it is called Orchid Symphony, and it will be on display until the last Sunday in April.

They have absolutely gorgeous music fountains this year, set to a few beautiful pieces of classic music.  There are also orchid arrangements in shape of musical instruments, but I found myself still drawn to the beauty of individual flowers.

I realized after this trip that I have not sculpted any orchids in a while.  It is time to expand my collection of polymer clay orchid tutorials, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Free Polymer Clay Tutorials and Example Pages

Updated all my polymer clay tutorial descriptions on to include the free picture versions of some tutorials and the example pages from the rest of them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I am back

This weekend we came back from a camping trip to Florida.  We were in Central Florida (Ocala National Forest) and in St-Augustine.

Although the weather in Florida this year is worse than usual, I totally enjoyed it.  There were some rainy days, yes, but the whole trip was wonderful nonetheless. 

Pictures are better than words, so I will just show a few pictures from our trip.

...And this what we came back to:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tutorial Embossed Polymer Clay: a Couple More Ideas

I would like to add a couple more ideas to the tutorial described in my previous two posts (below).

As you can see, in this tutorial I explained how to use a lever paper punch to create a custom stencil for embossed design.  However, you may also use commercially-available stencils.  Please refer to the picture below.  To obtain this design, I used two plastic stencils - one of them is for a letter and the second one is for a decorative corner.    

Please note that a better (deeper) design may be obtained when a thicker stencil is used.  The design created with a thin stencil is more shallow and less visible.

Here is another idea: to create your own pattern, cut a stencil out of a thick paper.
I decided to make a rather complicated stencil, with two trees (see below).  After sketching the trees, I cut them out with an X-acto knife.  I can now use the obtained silhouettes of the trees to make an impression in my clay in the shape of this trees.  However, if I want to have these trees embossed in polymer clay, I will have to collect all the little cutouts of the spaces between the tree branches and glue them onto a separate piece of paper.    

Too bad I cannot show you this design finished in polymer clay since I am still away from my studio...  You will have to use your imagination and experiment a little bit to use this approach.

Happy claying!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tutorial Polymer Clay Embossed and Impressed, Part 2, Christmas gifts, DIY gifts

Look for the first part of this free polymer clay tutorial in my previous post.

Following the steps described in the first part of this tutorial, you made and baked a polymer clay veneer with embossed and impressed design.  

Your next step is to sand the edges of this veneer with a piece of relatively rough sandpaper (100 grit or similar).

Below are the pictures of the polymer clay veneer edge before and after sanding.

At this point the obtained polymer clay veneer may be used to decorate the notebook cover.  However, if you would like to highlight the design with acrylic paint, it could be done in one of the two ways described below.

Option 1. 

Apply small quantity of paint onto your index finger.

Gently tap the polymer clay veneer with your finger. 

Repeat as needed until the whole veneer is covered.

Option 2.

Paint your polymer clay veneer with acrylic paint in contrasting color.  Let the paint dry.

Using a piece of sandpaper, sand off some paint to reveal the pattern underneath it.

To complete the project, first put the covers back onto your notebook.  Gently press the wire loops together to restore their original shape.

Using Super Glue or glue E6000, attach the obtained polymer clay veneer onto the cover of your notebook.

This technique may be used for decoration of many other objects, such as picture and mirror frames, various boxes, business card holders, jewelry. etc.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tutorial Polymer Clay Embossed and Impressed, Part 1, Christmas gifts, DIY gifts

In this free polymer clay tutorial, I will show you how to create an embossed effect in polymer clay using stencils.  These stencils can be made out of paper or plastic, handmade or commercially-produced.

While the techniques explained in this tutorial may be used to decorate many objects (including jewelry), I decided to demonstrate their use for transferring a plain and inexpensive journal into a beautiful hand-made gift.

First of all, you will need a blank journal to decorate.  The ones I am using in this tutorial can be found in most craft stores (particularly, in Michael's) for about a dolar or so.  A journal like this is held together by a spiral, which can be easily removed to take the journal apart.  

Open the journal and rotate the spirals so that one cover could be removed, and then another.

You may have to gently pry open each loop as you free them up one by one.

 Spray-paint the covers.

This is better to be done outside. Cover the ground with old newspapers, place both covers side by side on the newspaper and spray them evenly.
Note: I recommend doing this step before you start working on your polymer clay veneer to give the paint enough time to dry.

For this project, you will also need a lever paper punch, such as the one shown in the picture.  These punches are available in every major craft store for about $4 each.

Besides snowflakes, you may find punches with a butterfly, leaf, heart, and other designs.

Prepare a card stock paper template for the polymer clay veneer and then use the lever punch to make decorative holes in this template.  Save the cutouts.

Please note that due to the design of these punches, you will be able to make decorative holes no father than about 1” from the side of the template.  Plan your designs accordingly to this limitation.

When you will press the obtained template into a sheet of polymer clay, the holes in the template will make embossed (raised) designs.  The cutouts glued to the template will make impressions in the clay.

Use just enough clay to attach the cutouts and do not allow the clay to show around the sides of the cutouts.  Wipe off any access of glue right away.

Set the template aside.

Condition polymer clay and roll it out into a sheet bigger than your template and about 2 mm thick.

Please refer to the page on my web site How to Condition Polymer Clay if you need additional instructions:

Transfer the obtained sheet of clay onto a smooth ceramic or glass tile on which you are planning to bake it.

This step has to be done slowly and carefully to avoid trapping any air under your polymer clay sheet.   Air bubbles expending during baking may cause unwanted bumps on a polymer clay sheet. 

To prevent this process, lay the clay sheet on the baking surface starting from one of its shorter ends and simultaneously use your roller to squeeze out any air from underneath it.

Place the template on top of the polymer clay sheet so that the side with the glued-on cutouts faces the clay. Roll it over with an acrylic roller.

Press the paper template hard into the clay using a roller or a brayer to make sure that you get a nice and clean design.

Carefully lift off the paper template to reveal the obtained design.

If any of the cutouts get stuck in the clay, you may carefully peel it off using a needle.

Note:  If you ever decide to use this technique in a smaller item (such as a pendant, for example), removing a cutout in a similar situation will be much easier.  All you will need to do is to lift the polymer clay pendant and slightly bend it right under the cutout.  The paper is stiffer than clay and tends to remain flat, so you will be able to separate it from the clay.  For the current project, however, you cannot use this approach, because picking up the whole sheet of clay will most likely distort it; plus you will risk trapping some air under this sheet of clay when you place it back.

Trim off the clay sheet following the lines impressed into the clay with your template. Use a metal ruler and an X-Acto knife for this task as shown in the picture above.

Bake the obtained polymer clay veneer according to the instructions for the brand of clay used in your project.  For additional information about baking polymer clay, please refer to the following page on my web site:

After baking, place the second ceramic or glass tile on top of the polymer clay veneer while it is cooling down.  This additional weight on top of the polymer clay veneer will prevent it from warping during the cooling process.

To remove the obtained polymer clay veneer from the baking surface, slide your metal slicer for polymer clay between the polymer clay veneer and the baking surface.

Look for the second part of this tutorial in my next post.

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