Saturday, November 22, 2008

Polymer Clay Tutorial

Yes Elena here is your tutorial on polymer clay faces. Here are the supplies you'll need to do this project. (Click on the pictures to see them full size.)

1. Baby Powder (or corn starch) and small bowl
2. Large Mop Brush (to apply powder)
3. Polymer Clay in assorted colors
4. Metallic powders or paints (Pearl Ex, Primary Elements or Lumiere)
5. Pre-made silicone molds or Mold-N-Pour to make your own.
6. Polymer Clay Glaze and Brush to apply it
7. 4x4 Ceramic Tile
8. Small Toaster oven (or kitchen oven will work)
9. Eraser Tip Clay Tool (Optional)
10. Items to make your own mold from (optional)

I'm going to start this tutorial on how to make your own silicone mold using a 2 part compound. It is called Mold-N-Pour and is made by Suze Weinberg. You can find it at Michael's in the rubberstamp aisle with the melting pot supplies.

Here are a bunch of items that I have made molds from. It includes beads, pendants, buttons, doll heads, statues, tiles, toys, charms, and my own hand made clay pieces.

To get started I am going to make a metal pendant I found in the jewelry section into a mold. First thing I need to do is cut off the ring at the top.

Next I need to file the rough edge where I cut the ring off. If you leave it rough it will show when you make a mold out of it.

Open the 2 part silicone molding compound and get out equal parts of each color.

Mix them thoroughly by twisting and kneading it together. When the colors are combined evenly then you are done mixing.

Form a ball or oblong shape that mimics the object you are going to mold then push the object into the silicone and form it up around the edges.

I like to place the silicone on my table and gently push it down to create a flat area on the back. This will help keep the mold level when you are filling it. This is really important if you want to use them with liquid polymer clay or hot embossing liquid from a melting pot.

Once it has sat for about 10 or 15 minute you can unmold your piece.

Here is what the final mold looks like from the face pendant.

Here are some of my favorite molds that I have purchased. (Be sure to check out the links I have listed.)

Now on to how make polymer clay pieces from your own molds. (Or ones you have purchased.)

You will need to "squirt" some baby powder or corn starch into a small bowl. You will also need a mop brush to apply the powder to your molds.

Get a fair amount of powder on your brush and coat the inside of your mold. Blow any excess out. (If you over do it it will leaves small pock marks in the clay.)

Knead your polymer clay to get it warm and pliable. I usually sit on a small ball of it in a plastic baggie while I am preparing other things.

Pinch off a piece of clay that you think will fill the mold and roll it into a ball. (You'll get the hang of judging how much clay a mold needs after you do a few.) This is to smooth it out and make sure there are no cracks or folds in the surface of the clay.

If the mold is oblong like the one I am working with, mold the clay into a rough oval. If you are working with a face mold that has a prominent nose then roll the ball to a small point. (The point will be inserted into the nose to make sure it reaches the bottom of the mold.)

Push the clay into the mold and work it out to the edges. Don't worry if it doesn't go all the way to the sides. It's OK to do partial molds.

Gently peel back one edge of the mold and work out the clay without distorting it too much. If you are having a real problem then re-powder the mold and try again. Sometimes you can take a small ball of clay and stick to the back of the clay in the mold and pull it out.

Place the clay piece on a ceramic tile and gently push down the edges so it sticks slightly. (This will keep it from moving when you pick up the tile or powder the clay.)

Take a pot of metallic powder dip your mop brush into the powder. (A little goes a long way.)

Gently brush the powder all over the clay making sure to get into the creases and around the sides. (Once it is powdered try not to touch it.)

Add other polymer clay pieces to fill your ceramic tile. I find it helpful to use an eraser tipped clay tool to redefine any features that may have been "smooshed" or just don't come out too well. (It has a pointed tip on one end and a chisel edge on the other.) You can find these in the polymer clay aisle at Michael's for next to nothing.

Bake your clay pieces at the manufacturers reccommended temperature and time. Remove them from the oven when they are done and gently slide them off the ceramic tile to cool. (It only take about 5 minutes for them to cool.) Once they are cool you can paint them with metallic paints if you left them plain. You can also paint over the metallic powders with a dark metallic paint, a dark glaze or Rub-N-Buff and gently rub off the excess leaving the color in the creases. Once dry you will need to seal them with a polymer clay varnish. (Otherwise the metallic powders will rub off.)

Here is an assortment of faces I have done in various ways. (Click on the photo to see a good close-up.)

Here are some projects I have made using those faces and a few other things I have made from polymer clay.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Heavy Metal

Here's a real DUH moment for you. I was going to post a message on the ATC World list that there was still time to join the monthly techniques swap I host. It wasn't due until the 15th and that..... OH S*%# It's the 20th. I was wondering why I wasn't getting any more cards in the mail for that swap. Seems they are all here and I haven't done the card that I am going to include in everyones envelope. This revelation came at 4:30 this afternoon so I have been sequestered in the basement frantically working to get them done. (MY BAD!) Well they are mostly done but I will be able to mail them tomorrow. (I really am thinking that Halloween is going to be any day now.) It's just not time for it to be Thanksgiving next week. SIGH.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Building an ATC & Aerosmith

Well here is the final card in this series of tutorials on how to build an ATC. I also finished another altered CD and this time it is on Aerosmith. (I guess you can tell I am a rocker chick from the 80's.) Hope you like them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Auditioning Embellishments

Well it is very cold here and we already have an inch of snow on the ground. My husband is in Florida so I am in hibernation in the basement all day today. (I had to come up to put my heavy duty slippers on and warm up my feet.) So while I am letting my toes thaw I decided to do another card tutorial. This one shows more of the auditioning process by letting you see the embellishments I tried out but decided against.

Here's a few tips that always help me when I am creating. They may seem simple but if you let your body process things naturally you'll be a much happier artist.

1. Whenever I am doing my ATC's I never glue anything down until I have decided exactly what I am going to do. (I keep a herma fix dotto with repositionable tape in it for auditions.)
2. If I am having trouble finding the right thing then I leave my workshop for a few hours or even over night. Coming back to something later lets my brain work on things subconsciously and often I have remembered an embellishment or idea I have forgotten about. (It also helps your brain forget the art and you come back to see it with "new" eyes.)
3. Another thing I ALWAYS do is this. Once I make a mistake I am done working. No need to up the frustration level any more then it already is. Usually if I make mistakes it is because I am tired or frustrated and I won't make good art anyways so I quit.
4. Keep an art "idea" journal. I have one sitting on my coffee table and one on my bedside table. I can't tell you how many times I am watching a craft program and I want to write down the idea. (Boy I love my DVR's pause button!) I have also woken up in the morning or in the middle of the night with an idea in my head.
5. Clean and organize your craft space on a regular basis. (I clear my desk and put away everything from the most recent project once I am done with it.) This is part of the creative process and it helps you reconnect with forgotten items. Let's be honest... most of us artists are pigs and we need to do this anyways otherwise how would you ever find your desktop again.
6. I try and work on something creative at least every day. I know for some of you that this is impossible but set a similar goal that works for you. (Once or twice a week, once a month etc.) Remember your brain needs to be exercised and so does your creativity. If you find that you just aren't doing any art then go on-line and find inspiration by surfing around. The point is to do something!!!

Well I'm off to the basement to try another altered CD. I'll be up when I am hungry or frozen. Which ever comes first.

Elvis Has Left The Building

I decided that I better get busy and finish the rest of the altered CD's I need to make since they are due in England on Nov. 29th. So here is the second one of "The King" ...Mr. Elvis Presley. I rather like the way this one turned out. VIVA LAS VEGAS BABY!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Building an ATC

Here's the first of the three cards that I chose images for. This one was pretty straight forward in my auditions of what I wanted to use for embellishments. By "auditioning" I mean that I try things out before I glue down everything. Pretty much whatever I chose first is what I ended up using.