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!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inchie Frame

Several weeks ago I started making polymer clay tiles to decorate some thrift store picture frames. They were relatively simple tiles to make. I just stamped sheets of clay with a rubber stamp, cut them with a tissue blade and attached the cured tiles onto the frame. Easy-peasy.

Well my creative gears went into over-drive. What if I used cane slices to decorate some small square tiles? I've made magnets and buttons this way before but they were round. What would they look like square? There was only one way to find out!

Slice, place, repeat.....12, 1" square polymer clay tiles. I love 'em!
And I had the perfect frame too! One I had purchased at the thrift store weeks ago, long before I made the tiles!  If only I had taken a "before" picture of that ugly two-toned, fake wood grain, brown frame.

See the corners? These are raised areas on the frame so I ended up making 12, 1/2" tiles to place there, 3 per corner. It's really hard to show all of the details in the pictures (or either I haven't learned how to use a camera yet). The frame can stand or hang vertically, as pictured, and the two openings are 2" x 3".

real close-up shot of one of the tiles
So, there you have it. Another successful thrift store make-over! I hope you'll join me again soon for more creative ideas.

Friday, June 19, 2015

National Martini Day

These days it seems like there is a day set aside for just about everything. Have you ever heard of some of these:  National Donald Duck Day, National Hazelnut Cake Day, National Go Barefoot Day.....the list goes on and on!  Take a look at the list of National holidays for yourself, you just might want to celebrate a few.

But today, June 19, is National Martini Day.

A few years ago I covered a set of martini glasses which both sold. Knowing this, my sisters gave me a couple..... almost a year ago.....thinking I could make some more. I guess I was just needing the inspiration to do it. Well, today was the day!

So, raise your glass and say a toast for such nonsense holidays like least they can inspire me to be creative!

If you would like to be the owner of this glass I invite you to take a look in my Etsy shop. Or if you want a custom one done in another color scheme contact me. I would love to create it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Frame It

I don't know of a better way to personalize your home or office than with photographs. Whether it's a school picture of the kids or a snapshot taken while on vacation, pictures take us back to those memorable times. Those special photos deserve an equally special frame. So this month I worked on a few.

I started by shopping at two local Goodwill stores where you can always find a bargain. I looked for frames that were in good shape and were wide and flat. I wasn't worried about the finish or even the color as these are two things that can be either fixed or covered up.

This is the first frame I did. It's a painted wooden frame that needed a little TLC. I started by sanding it and really liked the aged, weathered look so I decided to leave it that way. I made the tiles by rolling out sheets of specially blended polymer clay colors, stamping the designs and then cutting out various sized rectangles and squares. After the tiles were cured and cooled, I added a little acrylic paint, which was then wiped away, and placed the tiles around the sides, fitting them as best I could. To me that part was the most fun. Like putting together a puzzle!

collage frame
close up

This next one turned out really nice! Again, I followed the same steps as above. The only difference being I spray painted the frame solid black.

5 x 7 tabletop frame

close up

This one looks very masculine to me although I'm not sure why.....maybe it's just the colors: dark gray, brown and blue with a weathered wooden look.

5 x 7 frame with easel back and wall hangers
close up

This one was a special order for a new nursery. I think a black and white photograph of the new baby would look darling in this frame!

And finally I used up some of the left over tiles from these projects and made this little frame. A patch work, hodge-podge of colors.

2.5 x 3.5 easel back frame

Do you have a special picture looking for a perfect frame? Perhaps you could make one yourself! Or, if you don't have the time maybe one of these would be just what you need. They are for sale in my shop. Just follow the link at the top of the page.

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...