Sunday, September 11, 2016

Embossing Folders and Polymer Clay Buttons

I have been so busy with some big (well, big for me anyway) custom orders the past few weeks that I haven't had time to play. But all of that changed yesterday. I finally had an afternoon free to do what I wanted to do.

I bought an embossing folder some time ago and was really itching to use it. Wait? What? An embossing folder? Yep, you heard right. An embossing folder. Now you may ask, "What the heck is an embossing folder?" Well, let me explain...

Spellbinders - Flowers and Leaves embossing folder

Embossing folders are just that. A plastic folder you use to emboss a design onto paper, usually card stock, to make cards and such. They have a design on each side, negatives of each other, that match up perfectly when its closed.

This is a paper that I embossed with my folder.

Now if you are a card maker these folders are great tools to have around. But just because I don't craft with paper doesn't mean I can't have fun playing with them. So here's what I did with mine.

I made buttons!

I used my paper embossing folder to make buttons!

For these buttons I used the side of the folder that gave a raised design.
I used the other side of the folder for these buttons. The design is stamped into the clay.

Experimenting with some different effects. Plus, there are so many other possibilities!
If you are interested in trying this for yourself the only thing to remember to do is to use some sort of a release. I sprayed a little water on the folder before pressing the clay into it. You could probably use cornstarch, baby powder or baking soda too. But I found that a little spritz of water was all that was needed. And don't actually close the folder onto your clay, the way you would paper. Just use one side at a time. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below.

I'm really loving the look of these buttons. And I'm going to be on the look out for more embossing folders with different designs. Sounds like an excuse to go to the craft store!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mandala Wall Art

About 3 weeks ago I was contacted through my Etsy shop about making one of my polymer clay mandalas. Now, most of my work is small scale. I like to start and finish a project within a short amount of time. That way I can move on to my next project. But I was asked if I could do something bigger. Of course I can (have I ever said no?!)

And so it began. The customer not only wanted it bigger, she also wanted it to be domed. Hum, that got me thinking....what could I use as a base that was round, about 10" across, oven proof, and domed. Think, think, think......I think I'll go to the thrift store and have a look around.

 An old pot lid should do the trick! A few turns of a screw and the handle is off.

I was given the color scheme and made a few canes.
Next step, covering the entire lid with a pale, off-white and then starting in the center with a design.
Nope, not enough negative space. Time for a do over.
Nope, wrong shade of green. Try again.

Making progress.

A few more changes.


After about 3 weeks, many e-mails back and forth and lots of changes I was able to create something that both the customer and I were happy with. I hope it adds an interesting and colorful element to her bathroom wall. Something that will be enjoyed for many years! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

One thing leads to another

This is a true story

If an artist goes to the craft store for polymer clay, chances are she will look up and down the other aisles. And when she's looking around she is bound to see something that piques her interest. She finds something she thinks could be quite useful and takes it home.
Once she gets home she will open her new found art supply and immediately think about Mexican tiles. Working on tiles reminds her of ring dishes (which she has been meaning to make).
While making ring dishes her mind will wander to pottery shard jewelry. But instead of jewelry.....hmmmm, what about buttons? So she makes a few.
And chances are, after making tiles, dishes and buttons, she will need to go to the craft store for more clay.

The end

This set of fondant stamps looked interesting to me. I  hoped I could do something with them that didn't involve cupcakes!

I love the patterns and colors of Mexican tiles and experimented with different variations.

Heart shaped ring dish

Square ring dish

Small round ring bowl


A close up look. I think the rust colored leaf ones are my favorite.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Great Cover Up

Every January finds me wanting to clean up and reorganize closets and drawers. Well earlier this month, while doing just that, I found a sack full of old beads....I'm talking A LOT of beads! Ugly beads I made years ago when I first started learning and experimenting with polymer clay. (Admit it, every beginner has them.) Well, I questioned what I would ever do with them all. I certainly didn't like them any more (and I'm pretty sure no one else would) and I couldn't just throw them away! Then I remembered......some famous artists, like Picasso and Van Gogh, painted over, or covered up, some of their original paintings. Whether they felt their first attempts were failures or they just didn't have the money to buy more canvas, they persevered and kept painting. So with that thought in mind, I took out a couple dozen beads from that sack, feeling pretty certain I could do better this time around.
This was a pretty messy job and a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I wanted to change the shape of the beads and was hoping to be able to cut them clean in halve but that didn't happen. Polymer clay is tougher than I thought! I don't know if it was me, the knife, or the brand of clay. Some cut fairly easy while others chipped and crumbled. But none of them gave me two perfect halves.

Once I had several halves I experimented with covering them in different ways. Some I covered with slices of a skinner blend bullseye cane and I added texture using rough sandpaper. For some, I covered them with a thin layer of solid blue clay and then imprinted lines around them. And for others I used some dry, chopped up clay much the same way I used to make some ring dishes last year. (You can find those instructions here).
They remind me of something you might find washed up on shore somewhere!

After they were cured (and a little white paint added to the blues) I was pretty happy with the results so I decided to make a few more, using some more of my "ugly" beads in various other shapes. 

So much better, don't you think? I really love the organic look. I'm so glad I decided to keep on trying! I'll be listing these soon in my Etsy shop. I don't have time to make them into jewelry. I have more beads to cover up!