Fall and polymer clay

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. I live in the South, where fall is very definitely not in full swing yet- today its so humid that pea soup comes to mind. However, it is October, pumpkin spice and apple cider are everywhere, so its time for me to get with it!

There are some great pumpkin themed items on Etsy right now. I have a set of pumpkin earrings and a pendant available here. They are available as traditional pumpkins, or as glow in the dark pumpkins.

I saw these adorable acorns- they are clay, and could be used as pendants, keychains, or even added to a fascinator! You can find them in Sweet Birch Designs Shop here.

 

Selena Jewelry Bijoux has these amazing leaves, so perfect for this time of year. As a pendant, or added to a wreath, they are breathtaking and reasonably priced.

 

I am always a fan of clay food, and I adore pumpkin pie! CMYKlays has some adorable pumpkin pie earrings. They are fun, and look entirely edible.

 

If you are feeling crafty, I do have a pumpkin tutorial that was published here on Crafthackers last year. Its simple, and takes under an hour from start to finish. It can be found here.


Pokemon meets High Fantasy

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Coming up with a title today was a bit challenging since by virtue of it being a fictional world Pokemon is already Fantasy, but the art today has a bit more of a classical fantasy take on it.

A casual gamer herself, Jae of From Jae take her love of fantasy and makes quite lovely traditional and sculpture art with it. Besides her Pokemon inspired pieces, some of my favorite ones are her her-animals.

Her line work and attention to detail is really quite magnificent. I especially love her color selection in this Mer-Cat piece. All her sculpture pieces are unfortunately sold out at the moment, but you can find her shop here should you wish to check out future designs or even join her update list so you’ll be alerted when they go up.


DIY Ring Bowls.

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Hey Thursday Readers!

Still being in the throws of wedding season, I thought another DIY gift would be in order. You can make something like this for a shower before the wedding so that the couple can use it on the day of their wedding, or it can be a gift for after that they can leave by the sink to put rings in while we wash dishes. This project was taken from Intimate Weddings, so feel free to check the full tutorial here.

For this beautiful and simple project, you’ll need:

  • 795 gram package of White Oven Bake Clay (which should be available at any local craft store.
  • Letter Stamps (also should be easy to find at a craft store)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Bamboo stock or chopstick for to use as an awl to poke holes.
  • Lid to cut out the shape (like a lid for a tub of ice cream)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Parchment paper.
  • A smallish oven safe bowl (like Pyrex)
  • Spray sealant and paint for finishing if you would like it.
  • A fabric doily

Your first step is to form your dough into a ball and place it on the parchment or silicone liner. Roll your dough out with your rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your fabric doily where you would like it to appear (you can put it in the centre or off to the side and either way it would look fabulous). Roll your rolling pin over top of it to press the design into the clay.

Use your lid to establish how big your bowl will be and to use it as a centre point to choose where to put your letters. You can do initials, or names, you could even do a small poem if your letters are small.

When you’re ready to cut the shape, peel off your doily to reveal the beautiful imprint.

Use your lid to cut the clay and form your circle. Save any excess clay for future projects.

After you remove the clay and the lid, you’ll have a circle that’s ready to be moulded into a bowl.

Use your awl tools to poke two holes at the top of the plate if you’re thinking of giving this as a ring bearer bowl at a wedding. You can omit these if it’s to be used as a ring dish at the sink or elsewhere.

Next you need to form your birds (if you’re making birds) or any other accents that you would like. If you’re making something you’d like to have stand on the side of the dish, use an existing dish to form the clay underneath them so they will be easy to adhere to the bowl.

Place your soft clay plate into the bottom of your oven safe bowl. Remember, it should be big enough to create a bowl, but not so small that your bowl is a teacup.

Place oven-safe bowl (and birds) on a cookie sheet and put into the oven for approximately 30 minutes (use the baking directions on the package, please!). When it’s done, remove from oven and let cool inside bowl for 20 mins. When cool, turn bowl over. It should pop right out.

Sand down the edges of your bowl until they are nice and smooth, as well as your birds. A sandpaper sponge would be ideal for this as opposed to regular old sandpaper. Use a little superglue to adhere your birds to the dish.

And you’re done! Well. If you’re inclined to paint your project, now would be the time, or add accents in paint or gold leaf or anything fancy like that. If you’re adding extra touches at the end, or if you’re going to be having this dish be for ring removal when you’re washing, I would make sure to use a good spray sealant so that the paint is sealed on, and the water can’t get in.

and you’re done! A beautiful gift, that takes just a little creativity.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Using Molds and Texture Sheets

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Its Wednesday again, and after constant storms and rain, the yard is starting to get green again. I am back home after three days at a local event, and working hard on new stock for my upcoming show.

When I am working with clay, two of the most invaluable tools at my disposal are molds and texture sheets. There are some things you simply can’t make on your own, or would take too long, and these are very handy for that. Texture sheets allow you to change the appearance of the polymer clay’s surface. The photos below are pieces I have made with the help of texture sheets and a pastry mold.

They can be plastic, silicone, metal or ceramic. The flexibility of silicone or plastic can be easier to work with, as the clay typically releases quickly from the imprint you make of it. You can buy pre-made sheets and molds, or create your own. I do both. There are some great two part silicone kits that will let you imprint texture or design into them. You can recreate the texture of leather, linen, scales, or even a raised pattern on a rock or a piece of pottery. GF Art Store has great sheets and cutters.

A mold good for polymer clay are mostly from silicone or a soft plastic. a hard mold will not release the clay. I have seen some instructions for baking in heat resistant molds, but I generally change up the piece I am molding enough that the flexible variety are best for my work. From molding pastry shells, dog bones, feathers, shells, or frames for a piece, and even molding doll parts, there are thousands of molds to inspire you. I have found several excellent shops on Etsy with great pre-made silicone molds. The Mold Studio is one.

Another is Sweet Treat Collections. They also carry baking supplies and cutters. If you make any projects with molds or texture sheets, please link to them. I would love to see what everyone comes up with!


Feather Cane Tutorial

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Happy Wednesday everyone! We are firmly in art show and ComicCon season and I’m spending every spare minute sculpting pieces for upcoming shows. This Saturday you can find me at a small local event in Shelby, NC. It’s a great little con with tons of dealers, a Pokémon tournament and a costume contest.

One of the things I like to make are flamingos. I found an excellent tutorial for feather canes by Donna Kato. It’s extremely time consuming, but the results are stunning. Plan to spend between 2-4 hours on this project. You can use any colors, but I went with the suggested pinky-peach blend for my flamingos. The results give you enough for several projects

You can find the tutorial here.


Tiny Animal Figurines

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We all know at this point that I have a weakness for the cute and adorable. So today’s post will come as no surprise.

Made entirely by hand, Baiba Gabranova has quite the skill at not only molding adorable cute animals, but painting intricate detail as well. While they may look like glass, that’s simply the shiny coat she applies afterwards.

Based in Latvia, she make each of her figurines from sculpy clay by hand (with a few resin cast exceptions) and then lovingly paints beautiful details and sometimes textures onto each one. The colors and detail she brings to each piece is nothing short of wonderful. If you’re on the look out for some cute figurines I highly recommend her work.


Teeny Tiny Sculpts

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Happy Sunday, all!

It’s been a very busy few weeks around here but as the weather continues to have it’s ups and downs, I hope everyone will be able to spend more time outside. If not, maybe we can help bring some of that lovely nature inside! If you drop in for Sunday posts on a regular basis, you know that I have a little obsession with all things cute…and it’s time for more! I stumbled across this wonderful artist on Etsy that makes beautiful micro-mini sculptures that I will absolutely have to make mine. Iko, working under the studio name ChikoCraft creates wondrous little tiny worlds in bottles, detailed miniature jewelry, and adorable trinket dishes out of clay, ceramics, and resin:

I very delightedly scrolled through the pictures of her sculptures, simply amazed by the details she achieves at this size:

I mean, look at the fine details on the lily pads and froggies!

I also enjoyed some of the little surprises she includes in some of her jewelry, like these stamp necklaces. So simple from the side, yet they have a working seal for putting your mark of choice on anything at the bottom:

 

Of all the lovely little things she had to offer, though, my favorite things (which I must utilize in the near future) is Iko’s custom pet sculpts. That’s right, she will take pictures of YOUR little fur (or maybe not so furry) babies and create tiny replicas of them for you to wear:

How perfect are these?!

I have a feeling I will be owning two new kitty pendants in the near future and I promise to post pics when I get them. So if you would like to own a teeny slice of adorable from Iko, she can be found on Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram. If you have an hour or so to spare, I encourage you to get lost in her work.

Next week, I have a few ideas for Mother’s Day gifts as it’s coming up quickly here in the U.S.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Cookie Ring Tutorial

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Hi there and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share this quick and simple project with you. It’s a cookie ring, using polymer clay for the cookies.

What you’ll need for this project is:

  • Premo clay in ecru and burnt sienna
  • an adjustable ring base of your choice.
  • A straight blade. You can use a knife, a tissue blade, or whatever you are comfortable with.
  • Somethjng for texture, either a texture mold or even some wrinkled up foil.
  • A miniature plate. You can check the miniature section of your hobby store, or even a toy store. It need to be oven safe to 275 degrees F.
  • Adhesive.

Steps:

  • Condition your clay by kneading it. Separate out three pea sized balls of ecru clay.
  • Flatten the balls, leaving them a little rounded like real cookies would be after baking.
  • Using your texture stamp or crumpled foil, add some texture to the cookies. 
  • Make some very tiny balls of your sienna clay. These are your chocolate chips. Randomly place them on your cookies, flattening the balls as you place them. 
  • Optional- add some bronze pearlX powder to simulate baking color. You can also do an acrylic wash with brown after baking instead.
  • Using adhesive, attach the cookies to the plate and bake in your oven. Premo bakes in an oven at 275 degrees F, and I would bake your plate for 30 minutes. After cooling, it can be attached using the same adhesive to your ring base.

If you don’t like rings, it can be done as a pendant, or even earrings.


Birds of a Felted Feather

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Perhaps it’s my bias towards sewing skills, but felt and embroidery projects always catch my eye. It’s like my brain is playing a Where’s Waldo type game but with fabric and thread without telling me. 😛 It’s no wonder I easily came across these awesome felt sculptures as a result.

Jill Ffrench, is the owner and artisan of Fantails and Feet, a custom felt sculpture artist that makes beautifully expressive birds out of felt, thread, wire and wax. While you can see she has a passion for peacocks, her entire collection of birds is simply lovely.

I especially love the extra detailing the feathers get to selectively make them pop, but they’re all wonderful. If you’re a bird lover, or know someone who is, I definitely recommend giving this shop of fine feathered friends a look over.


Fruit Tart Tutorial, Part 2

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Good Morning and Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, of Fantastical Menagerie. Today I’m bringing you the second half of my Fruit Tart Tutorial. The first part can be found here.

1. Roll out five small balls of Premo brand polymer clay in Pomagranate. Approx 4 mm in diameter.

2. Shape each one into a teardrop shape.

3. Flatten it slightly on your finger.

4. Using your needle ended tool, make small dots on the teardrop shape. They should be in alternating rows, all the way to the back end.

5. Place into the shell, with flat ends in the center.

6. Take the fifth berry, and add the green leaves to the top. Place it on top of the other four.

7. Optional- use green Pearl X on the leaves, and a dusting of the macro pearl on the berries for shine.

8. Put the finished piece into the oven. I would recommend 240 F, for approx 30 minutes. Once it cools, you can add findings to turn it into a pendant, earrings or a pin.

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