Week Six – Polymer Clay Challenge

With Valentine’s Day happening this week I decided to make a little love letter charm. They’ve got cute little faces and a heart in place of a stamp. I made a few of these so I could hand them out to some girls at work.

love letter charm

I’ve really been trying to perfect the method I use when I make these, but at the end of the day I have no idea if these charms would really hold up in an every day environment. So that was part of my reason for handing these out at work. They came with the stipulation that the girls were to report back to me on how well they are holding up. They shouldn’t have issues like paint chipping, eye pins coming out, or even breaking, but I would rather know of issues from a friend.

All these charms so far have been in small batches, less than five. The charm I’ve currently got in the works will have twenty total. It’s definitely more to do and I only have time to work on them in my free time, but I get a few done from sculpt to bake so I don’t get tired of doing one step all the way through.

Week Four – Polymer Clay Challenge

This week, I decided to skip the word prompt and get some ideas from my sketchbook. The cardinal charms I made last week were so much fun I decided to make more charms. The result of this week’s work was a trio of avocados.

Avocado charms

These little guys were so much fun to paint, but it took much longer than I expected. I’ve got a tube of green paint but I needed to add yellow to get the greens right for the avocados. The yellow paint is not opaque at all so the green took so many coats to not look patchy. But in the end it was worth it.

Week Three – Polymer Clay Challenge

This week’s word prompt was “cardinals”.

Cardinal charms

I made three of these cardinal charms because I wanted to experiment a bit with each one. Two of the charms used translucent clay as a base and one used white. Of the two translucent charms, one was painted over with red paint directly and the other had a white paint base coat first. The white clay made the painting much easier from the start. Once they all had enough coats of red the process was the same for all. After the paint, they all got numerous coats of Varathane.

I have plans to make a couple more charms this weekend and see if using colored clay for each part is any easier.

Arizona crafty weekend

I travel the short distance from Orange County to Phoenix, Arizona every six weeks to visit my mom. We usually have a few scheduled appointments but the rest of the visit is usually spent crafting… Or running from one store to another picking up new supplies for whatever project we have planned.

This weekend we didn’t really have any specific projects planned, so when my mom asked when I was going to finish her cake charm bracelet, I decided to start work on another charm. I settled on carrot cake and and managed to fully finish one slice charm.

Carrot cake charm

I’m really happy with the way this charm came out although it ended up being a bit bigger than the other finished cake charms I have made for her bracelet. This is mainly because I don’t have a pasta machine at her house so I relied on playing cards as a guide to get an even thickness. I must not have used the number of cards that corresponds to the pasta machine thickness I had used on the other charms.

Because I visit my mom so often, I have started buying duplicate supplies so I can leave them at her house. That said, there is one rather large tool my mom has that I would happily take home with me.

Vintage magnification lamp

I’m sure she got this at a garage sale years ago. I realize I could probably buy something similar brand new, but I’m such a sucker for vintage, especially the style of appliances from the 40s and 50s.

Magnification

It’s in great working condition and my mom does not have the best lighting in her living room where I tend to set up a workspace so this was an eye saver while working on her charm.

I left all the finished cake charms with my mom so she can start work on the bracelet in her own time. I’m not sure if I will get any more cake charms done in the next six weeks, but I can always make them one at a time when I visit her.

Week Two – Polymer Clay Challenge

When I was thinking ahead to the week two idea prompt I was getting zero inspiration from “snowflakes”. If I can come up with a project I’m excited about and I get a word prompt that doesn’t sound terribly exciting, I’m not going to hold myself back from working on a project I want to work on. I had a feeling week two would be the first non-prompt week until I made a trip to Michaels and picked up these Wilton fondant blossom cutters. The regular side looks like flowers but I noticed the wavy side looks like snowflakes.

I’ve always admired Kay Miller’s ornaments and the embroidery technique so I used those for inspiration. I haven’t tried anything on the size of Kay’s ornaments but I have tried the embroidery technique with unimpressive results. The snowflake I made is much smaller than Kay’s ornaments but probably on size with some of the embroidery pendants I’ve seen.

Snowflakes

I don’t think it came out too bad at all! Much better than I was expecting. Originally I was going to take a bit of time and try to plan out a design, but I just kind of went with the symmetry of the shape and I think that helped. I would like to try something like this again with planning on the details to get a more appealing design.

While making the initial snowflake I decided to try making a snowflake with a frame that I could use with the Pebeo paints I have. I liked the way the first one came out so I made a couple more.

Snowflakes2

I’m probably going to put a magnet on the back of the small snowflakes and give them out as gifts and I think the bigger embroidery snowflake will get a pin back and go to my grandmother.

Week One – Polymer Clay Challenge

Quite often I get stuck with an inspiration block. This happens with clay and in my graphic design job. I have trouble getting started without some kind of idea kickoff. It can be anything from a word or color to a full theme or idea but that’s usually all I need.

Week one of the polymer clay challenge was no different, so I used Katie’s suggestion list and went with the week one word “pinecones”.

My first thought was to make texture molds from actual pinecones to use for beads, so I went to the park and gathered a few. All I currently have on hand for molds is Sculpey Mold Maker, which is not ideal.

making texture molds from pinecones

I would eventually like to get some silicone mold putty but I need to do some research in the different kinds available.

I ended up making three flat textures from rolling the pinecones and two matching molds from the top of one pinecone.

two part bead mold with bead from pinecones

The two beads I made from the matching pinecone top molds didn’t come out as impressive as I had hoped, but it did have an interesting look. After baking, I rubbed on some black acrylic paint and wiped the excess off with a paper towel to add definition. I also made a textured tube bead by rolling the clay across one of the flat textures I made. Using a silicone putty to make a thinner flat mold with more flexibility probably would have yielded better results. The flat textures from the pinecones reminded me of lizard or dragon scales, so I’m hanging on to the pinecones for when I do get some silicone putty.

Three finished pinecone beads

The beads didn’t take as much time as I thought (and I would have made more if they looked better) so I decided to make a pinecone for a necklace or something.

pinecone pendant

Ok, well it’s supposed to be a pinecone. I didn’t put any extra detail into it, so I think it kind of looks more like a dragon egg or something.

Overall, I’m pretty ‘meh’ on my week one results, BUT I’m doing this project to challenge myself and do projects I might not try without motivation. And I’m happy with just trying 🙂

Day One

I’ve thought about starting a blog for awhile now but I keep putting it off until I get design and branding figured out. Neither of those have happened yet, but I finally realized that I should start the content and the rest will come in time. Most of that motivation has come from a post I read at Kater’s Acres on the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge.

2015 Polymer Clay Challenge

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my current skill level with polymer clay and there are many things I would like to improve on and new techniques I have yet to try. I hope getting in at the start of this challenge will encourage me to make time in my busy schedule for PC each week and keep me held accountable to the challenge.

Since this is also my first blog post, I want to take stock of the things I would like to accomplish or learn in 2015.

  • canes – it’s been almost 20 years since I last made a clay cane!
  • mokume gane – I’ve only just started trying this technique
  • larger jewelry items such as cuff bracelets
  • armatures for figures – I usually make smaller figures
  • finishing techniques – finger prints aren’t a problem

And last, here are a few photos of the small projects I’ve finished in the past few months.

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