Dec 20, 2016

Last minute recycled Christmas tree decoration

As we are in the holiday season I thought you might like an idea for creative and inexpensive Christmas tree decoration. Apart from polymer clay stuff (that you already have if you are a clayer) you probably have all you need at home to complete this project.

For a part of this project, a tree stand, I used almost all of my FIMO stuff but you can use the clay of your choice. It would not change a thing.

Firstly, make a cone out of the cardboard. It doesn't have to be precise, just fixed well. As you can see I used a stapler and a bit of glue to keep it in place.

Secondly, you need to decorate it. Choose a piece of fabric like old silk scarf you're not wearing, lace, denim from old jeans, a leftover from a skirt you shortened etc. Pick some larger plastic beads or a piece of your existing holiday decoration such as small ornaments, snowflakes, smaller lights... you get the point. You can use a glue gun to attach all to a cardboard cone. But don't do it just yet. You will have plenty of time while the stand will be in the oven.

Thirdly, make a stand or a foot (this makes me laugh all the time) for your tree.

I used:
- Black FIMO professional polymer clay
- Cardboard tube
- Plastic FIMO texture plate
- Liquid FIMO clay (deco gel)
- Round cookie cutters 5 and 6.5 cm/ 2 and 2.55 inches
- Brush for liquid clay
- PearlEx #658 Aztec gold
- Tissue blade
- Coarse sanding paper

I also used other polymer things that imply: pasta machine, work surface, baking paper, cleaning stuff.

Cardboard tube can be found in a lot of household product such as aluminum foil. Cut the length you would like for your tree stand.

Condition the polymer clay and roll it through the third largest setting on your pasta machine. Put it on the work surface over the baking paper so it doesn't stick to it. Use the plastic texture plate to make a texture. It doesn't have to be too deep just to be lovely and raised a bit. Of course, you can use any texture you like or if you don't own texture plates use some kind of fabric or plastic to make a motif.

Cut the textured sheet of clay to fit the cardboard tube. Spread liquid clay over the cardboard tube with a brush. Put a textured sheet over the liquid clay on the cardboard tube and make sure it fits to it completely. Check for trapped air between the cardboard and clay. If left there it might cause your clay to crack during baking. Take some time to make a seam tight, nice and blended with a texture.

Roll out two small sheets of clay through largest setting on you pasta machine. Put it one over the other tightly. Texture both sides with a coarse sanding paper. Cut a circle with a 5 cm/ 2 inch cookie cutter.
Use PearEx Aztec gold powder to add a festive look to your stand. Pick just small amounts of powder with your finger and smear it over the raised parts of clay. Cover the 5 cm/ 2 inch circle with the PearlEx powder too.

Use good amount of liquid clay on the inside of the cardboard tube near the edge on one side. Put that side in the center of the 5 cm/ 2 inch circle and press for 1.5 minutes. Goal is for liquid clay, cardboard and clay circle to stick to each other.

Bake in the preheated oven for at least 20 minutes. Always follow the manufacturers recommendations for the baking temperature and bake in the well ventilated area.

In the meantime roll the sheet of clay on the largest setting on your pasta machine, texture it, highlight raised parts with PearlEx powder and cut with a larger cookie cutter.

Start decorating a cardboard cone with chosen materials in order to make your tree.

After 20 minutes, take the stand out of oven and let it cool a bit. It would take another 5 - 10 minutes. Again, add a good amount of liquid clay inside of the cardboard tube, near the edge. Put that side in the center of the 6.5 cm/2.55 inch circle on the textured and powdered side.

Press it for a while and then return it to the oven and bake for another 30 - 45 minutes.
Now you have enough time to finish decorating your tree.

I recommend glazing the tree stand with at least two layers of glaze when it cools down after baking. It will prevent a metallic powder to come off and leave marks on your hands or furniture.

Use soft brush to add a thin layer of glaze. If you wish to speed the process you can bake it for 5 minutes in the oven set on the baking temperature for clay. Take it out, cool the stand, and then add another thin layer of glaze and bake for another 5 minutes. Quick and easy!

But even if you are not a clayer you can make this project by making a tree stand using a cardboard tube which can be painted or decorated with fabric.

Use a glue gun to attach your handmade stand to your recycled tree top.

Voila! You have a gorgeous, unique and inexpensive decoration for holiday diner table, kid’s room or any other part of your home.

Happy holidays to you and yours. :)

Nov 3, 2016

Cactus mania

I just finished an interesting project. It all started with a sweet email from a cactus lover wondering if I am willing to do a custom order for her. She admires my work and was willing to give me full freedom to make fridge magnets with cactus theme. Naturally, I was intrigued.

Once in childhood I actually had a window full of potted cactuses (or is it cacti, I am never sure) and I even sat in one, which was an unfortunate experience, as you can imagine. Once in my teen and young adult years I had a house full of pot flowers of all kinds. I loved and took care of them and they loved me back.
Suddenly, about 15 years ago it all stopped. I don't know exactly why but I lost interest in house plants. Fast forward to my recent project I realized as much as interesting this assignment might be it will be challenging. I had to familiarize with the house plants once again and with those with thorns!

So this project quite unexpectedly turned into a study. My customer wanted bright magnets to stand out so I decided to use my Nambi technique.

I found a book of flowers and actually made detailed sketches. Since I am not familiar with the material I had to see how it will turn out in clay within Nambi technique. Surprisingly, I had so much fun in the process of sketching. Most of the time, for my polymer clay projects I just use very primitive drawings. This time I took time to color the sketches too.
Since both customer and I were pretty happy with sketches, I used my template paper to copy the shape that will become a magnet.

I use this template paper for years, it is sturdy and somewhat transparent, allows making original templates made based on your drawings which can be used many times. You can find this template paper in my Etsy shop.

After that the whole project has gone awry. Right about Halloween my oven decided to play a trick on me and burnt me two batches of these magnets and a batch of beads for another customer. It was crazy! I was mad and cried and tried to eat my misery away.

By the time this third batch got to the oven, they were made quickly and looked great! It is proven that practice makes it perfect after all. I put two thermometers in the oven and sat in front of it the whole baking time. Tell me about being dedicated to the project! They were baked perfectly and were ready for finishing.

Cactus magnets are colorful and vibrant, I like them very much. My customer is happy, apart from purple color on the pot. But since she forgot to mention it in advance, she says she can live with it. Once they were finished I attached magnets to their back.

It is always fun to revisit a technique once developed and make something different with it then jewelry. Nambi tutorial is available in my Etsy shop if you are interested.

I hope you will find these magnets interesting as I do. Leave a comment or a question if you wish to.

Oct 7, 2016

Frame your beads - Free polymer clay tutorial

I recently made few beads featuring colorful circles. At this point they were half way finished.

They needed a thin frame for a proper finish. While working on these beads I made a short free tutorial to show how I make these frames.
It might be useful for a beginner or might give you an idea.
Follow this link and have fun!

Sep 15, 2016

New tutorial: Tangled earrings

I am writing this post to announce my new tutorial: Tangled earrings.

I know what you must think: She made another earring tutorial? Why?
Oh, but darlings why not? 

Earrings are jewelry and they make you pretty or feel good or preferably both. Earrings come in every color, shape and size and for every occasion. They are happy to accompany you wherever you go and they will never get mad if you choose different pair every day. Earrings can tell a story, make a statement or simply match your outfit. Earrings can be gift for yourself or someone special to you. They can keep secrets or be reminders, just like best friends.
What's not to love about earrings?

I'll tell you a secret: First thing in the morning after I brush my teeth and wash my face I pick and put on a pair of earrings for the day before I even brush my hair.
Now you know why most of the time when I am in studio playing with clay, I think of making earrings.

So if you don’t like earrings you should probably skip it. Or if you like neat, precise and project based tutorial with a particular style you should skip it.

This tutorial is sharing a wonderful idea on how to make earrings in a certain way but it is actually wild with a touch of order, somewhat organic but it doesn’t have to be, great to make identical earrings as well as totally different within a pair. You can make them plain colored or colorful, you could sand but you don’t have to, you can mix and match them with many other techniques and the best of all you can always make them your own.
I dare you to make two exactly the same pairs. I simply cannot see how that is possible.

The earrings you see can be big and long but lightweight and fun. They are somewhat flexible and if you take care of them reasonably they will last. I was asked by the customers non-clayers will they break. Yeah eventually! They are made of polymer clay not steel. But as we tested them by wearing and torturing them (dropping, throwing them, stepping on etc. - I am not proud of this you know) they are fairly good as any other pair of earrings.

Also they are so addictive. You can finish one pair and have an idea for another. I have spent many hours with them. I hope you will have as much fun as I did.
When you do, please share what you made, I am so curious to find out about your creations.

May 30, 2016

Jewelry box

I love a good storage space and I have a thing for boxes. I love them squarely, with clean lines, not decorated much, but pretty. So from time to time I am inclined to make them for myself and as gifts. I use either cardboard boxes, thick cardboard or wooden boxes. I use polymer clay, use acrylic paints or decorative paper to cover and decorate the boxes. 

My latest project was a jewelry box for my dear friend's birthday. When visiting her, I noticed that she missed a larger jewelry box. I also took a photo of her wall and shelves while she was making coffee. I also measured the shelves, to be able to purchase a right size box, as a decent spy will do.

Finally, I made a plan and purchased a wooden box, paper, thick cardboard, lace, glue, glaze, a piece of felt and a button. I had a few brushes at home, sharp scissors,working mat and I was ready to start.

The result was very feminine, bohemian style jewelry box. I had the best time working on it. It was a somewhat ambitious idea and I was happy for being able to make it happen.

Here is the photo of the box:

My friend's room is greenish so the box fits in it perfectly.

Open and empty box:

I added a subtle thin lace to the bottom.

I used a green felt and white lace to make small bags for her necklaces and pendants.

This is how it looks when filled with jewelry.

There is a secret door here too.

Behind the door is a world of earrings.
Lace is there for dangling earrings and felt is for storing stud earrings.

A closer look at the earrings storage section.

It looks interesting when filled with earrings, doesn't it?

I hope that you like this one. I am currently working on a new box, same style different colors. 
Stay tuned....

Apr 21, 2016

Tile for FIMO 50 World Project

If you work with polymer clay you must have heard of the FIMO 50 World Project. It is all about birthday, celebration, charity, sharing and love for polymer clay. It is going on from September 2015 and it includes all the polymer clay enthusiasts all over the World.
Read all about it here: You can also visit a Pinterest board showcasing all the tiles:

Naturally, I wanted to participate in this project. It took a while to decide on what should I make and the deadline was approaching. I finally decided to make it simple using two things I really like: triangles and color.
So I present to you my modest contribution for this project, a simple geometric triangle tile. I call it "All is well". It reflects my thoughts and my life right now and it really speaks to me.

After finishing my tile I used some leftovers to make these cute hollow doughnut pendants just for fun. I love the colors and the triangle motif on a round shape.

They are colorful, shiny and simple just perfect for Summer. Don't you think?

I am keeping this little candy to myself.

Feb 29, 2016

Making scrap

There was a time, when I was beginner, when I used all the polymer clay I was working with. I could not understand how people made scrap clay or what are they going to do with it.
In time I got it, especially when I taught workshops frequently. It is so easy to produce scrap when you experiment for the workshop projects or demonstrate to your students.
It also made my frugal self frustrated so I had to find ways to use all that scrap. I looked up to other artists for example Melanie West, Ronit Golan, Alice Stropel, Artybecca, Cindy Lietz or found it by myself (Gypsy Nights).

Today I decided to clean up and organize my studio a bit. I found several metal boxes full of old clay. It's like a time travel! I remember clearly that some of it is from 2008 and the other parts are unused scraps from workshops and past projects, mostly from 2011 and 2012.

Well, it is Monday and the day is good as any to make some scrap.
I also found few blocks of very hardened translucent FIMO and decided to start with it. This is not scrap clay but I am happy to revive it.
I will use a food processor and pasta machine after that. Oh, this will be a long evening. Wish me luck.

Do you make a lot of scrap clay? How do you use it?