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.


Using glazes, seals and top coats on polymer clay

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Its Wednesday, and I’m back in my studio. This weekend I had the privelege of being a vendor at DragonCon. We had an amazing time, and it was so much fun to see everyone. I can’t wait for next year. Meanwhile, I am low on stock, and need to start working for my next show.

One question I am frequently asked is whether I seal my pieces, and what I would recommend for others to use. Polymer clay itself doesn’t need to be sealed. On its own, it’s durable and the color doesn’t change over time. If you have inclusions or a finish, then a seal or glaze would be recommended. The article I’m linking to does an excellent job explaining the different types, depending on your project. I recommend bookmarking it so you can experiment with them.

https://thebluebottletree.com/understanding-polymer-clay-glaze-sealer-varnish/

Once you’ve read the article, you can decide what finish works for you, or even if you need one.


Polymer Glitter Clay

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Happy Wednesday, and welcome to Crafthackers! Its been a couple of years since Polyform introduced their new Premo glitter clay lines, and they’ve been giving us some great projects and ideas on color combinations when working with it. They are a lot of fun, but also require extra care.

What is glitter clay? It is polymer clay that has had glitter or flakes added to change the color, texture or composition. The full list can be found here. 

The main colors I am talking about are opal, rose gold glitter, yellow gold glitter and white gold glitter. These have larger glitter inclusions. It is important to feel the clay before you purchase it, so I would recommend buying these clay variants in person. The texture should be softer, and allow indents when pressed. When not working the clay, keep wrapped in plastic or waxed paper. This clay must be completely conditioned before working. The glitter is large enough to make the clay harder to work. You can still combine it with other colors, just make sure it reaches the same consistency as the other clay or it will break while working it. Because of its stiff texture, its best to work the clay in one session. It seizes up easily, and projects can be damaged.

Have you worked with glitter clay? Let me know how it goes!


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!


Mark Your Stitches

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Happy Sunday, all!

This week we are continuing our journey through useful but fun tools in the crafty world by offering up some examples of stitch markers! Stitch markers are generally used by those that knit or crochet to keep track of rows or stitches/types of stitches on larger projects. The idea is to insert a stitch marker where you need to remember to take that action (new row, switch stitches, etc.) or keep track of where you are. The first ones I found from Yarnistry Shop are very practical and help as visual aides for when you need to keep track of numbers of rows/stitches:

They are very reasonably priced and look quite durable.

I like how colorful they also are so that they are easy to spot! The second ones I found go right back to one of my favorite shops, which I have mentioned before, A Needle Runs Through It:

These can go along with the sheep needle minders!

They also have a line of NSFW stitch markers that you can view here. They are so amazing for the sweary crafter in all of us! The third stop should appeal to all those out there that appreciate a little bit of cute fake food. These sweet markers from Chapel View Crafts really take the cake:

I would not recommend using them if you are hungry.

My final offering should not be a surprise as I always love a bit of geekery. So these Harry Potter themed stitch markers from Mandas Knotty Crochet should help put some magic in all of your yarn projects:

Accio stich markers!

Hope you find something fun to help you keep count in any case. Next week we will explore some cool needle cases!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Polymer Clay Tools

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share some of the resources I use to find tools to work with my polymer clay. A lot of us start with the basic tools that can be found at most craft stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Sometimes you need a more specific tool than what can be found there. In my years of working with clay, I have found some great alternatives for sculpting tools and texture tools.

AmCreatures on Etsy has some nice hand designed tools. They are based in Canada. Their tools are mostly directed at sculpting dolls and faces for puppets, but work well for polymer clay. Some are for sculpting scales, eyes, and tiny detail work. Their prices are very reasonable for custom tools.

If you find that kneading clay fills you with dread, this next tool has great reviews, is simple to use, and does it in seconds. Its called the NeverKnead. Its an expensive investment, but works based on pressure. Instead of spending a great deal of time and pain with clay, try this!

If you need sharper straight blades for your clay, especially for cutting canes, Creative Canes Etsy shop sells tissue blades, which are medical grade and extremely sharp. Flexible enough for cutting curved shapes as well. The shop also offers different polymer clay finished cane projects.

Pottery114U sells pottery clay stamps that help with imprinting texture into your polymer clay. They are inexpensive, durable, and versatile.

When searching on your own, include searches for cake decorating, pottery, and other crafts, since tools may work for other mediums.

 


Adding whimsy to cosplay

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Happy Wednesday! I am here in Chicago this week, prepping and waiting for C2E2 to start. If you are attending the show, I can be found in Booth 273, along with Blacky Cat Creations. My friend and I have been checking out some local museums, landmarks and amazing food. I love to cosplay when I vend at shows. Even though I work with polymer clay, sometimes I see accessories I love but someone else makes really well.

Prism Moon Designs on Etsy makes amazing horns, antlers, antennae, and alien pieces.

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Beautifully crafted with amazing detail, her work shines brightly in a sea of clay. Her prices are reasonable, and she does take custom orders.

 

Her work can be found here:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/prismmoon


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.


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.

Continue reading »


Fruit Tart Tutorial Part One

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. Last week we talked about keeping clay soft in winter, today I’m going to start you on how to make fruit tarts in clay.

For this project, you need the following:

  • pastry shell mold, preferably silicone. You can find them on Etsy here
  • a small dollhouse plate
  • Sculpey Bake n Bond. This can be found in the polymer clay aisle.
  • Premo clay in ecru, pomegranate, and either green pearl or jungle green. You can get it from any craft or hobby store.
  • tweezers, needle tool, and flat blade or razor.
  • Optional: pearl x powders in Macropearl, green and antique bronze.

1. Condition your clay. Leave the red until last because the color transfers.

2. Take a small piece of the ecru clay, roll it into a ball, and press it into your mold.

3. Carefully remove your clay from the mold. If there is any excess, use your razor to trim it to shape.

4. Add a small amount of Sculpey Bake & Bond to the plate. Put your tart shell in the center over the adhesive.

5. Optional- use a brush and add a little Pearl X Antique bronze on the tart shell to simulate color from baking. Add a bit of Bake & Bond to the center of the tart.

6. Make your leaves for the strawberries. Roll two small balls of green clay into a teardrop shape. Flatten them, and use your needle to run a line down the center of each. Then use the needle to draw veins into the leaves.

7. Roll out five small balls of Premo Pomegranate clay. Approx 4 mm in diameter. These will become your strawberries.

This tutorial will pick up next Wednesday, where I will show you how to form the strawberries, and then put everything together to form the piece.