Candle Holder in Purple

Well, a little later than promised, here is the Purpley Goodness I mentioned in my last post 😀

I made this with a specific friend in mind and I’m delighted to say she loves it as much as I do. 🙂 If I could do anything differently I think I’d probably make it more purple! You can never have too much purple in my opinion 😀

I was really pleased with the marbelled effect I managed to achieve in the Green Fauxsaic so I decided to experiment further with this piece. Not only did I create several marbelled ’tiles’ for this mosaic but I also used a purple and fuscia ‘jellyroll’ as an additional focal point. I love how this turned out!

As you can see from looking closely at the (occasionally wonky) pictures, this piece has a touch of sparkle about it 🙂 Instead of using a white ‘grout’ clay I tried using some pearlescent clay instead, which added a little glitz to the overall effect. Pearlescent clay contains tiny mica flakes which gives it a subtle, glittery effect.

I’ve been struggling to get a good photograph of this piece all lit up, it’s actually much more purple in real life, but I hope the pictures I have posted  give you some kind of idea 🙂

Please take a peek at My Creations to see some of my other candle holders, as always if you would like to own anything you have seen on these pages please drop by my Etsy. I’m always delighted to receive custom requests if you had anything specific in mind 🙂

Thanks for stopping by, as always your comments and critiques are always welcome 😀

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Bottle Top Mirror AKA Project Decision Fail

Greetings, fellow humans 🙂

It’s been a few days since I last posted, that’s the problem with a craft addiction, life sometimes gets in the way! To ease my withdrawal symptoms I’ve been having a go at what should be a quick and simple project; a bottle cap mirror frame. Quick? Not in my vocabulary, sorry 😉

I knew that I already had everything I’d need for this project; wood off cut, mirror, bottle tops, glue, spray paint – so I gathered up everything I needed. This was where I hit my first snag! Bottle tops? Check. Spray paint? Check. Wood off cut? Check. Mirror? Errrrrr… I’m sure I saw it laying around here somewhere… Not the best start to a project which principally consists of using bottle caps to adorn a frame around a mirror. *sigh* After turning my house upside down for nearly an hour I found it, less than six inches to the right of where I had looked first, naturally 😉 I needed a cup of tea and a sit down after this highly traumatic experience, so I took a break before I had even begun!

After a mug of lovely fair trade tea I sprayed my wood off cut black and left it to dry whilst I washed my bottle tops. I’ve been asking friends to collect their bottle tops for some time; I really wanted enough to mosaic my coffee table but during the time I’ve been amassing my collection of bottle caps I’ve had other ideas, but I digress. I have around 120 bottle tops now and need several hundred more for the coffee table, so I thought I may as well make use of the items at my disposal to make something I could use immediately 🙂

Once the paint was dry I super glued my mirror into the centre of its new ‘frame’ and began to arrange my bottle tops. This is where I hit my second snagaroo. For the record I am terrible at making decisions and the problem is that I just can’t decide on an arrangement of caps that I’m really happy with. This makes me sadface 😦

Here’s a couple of layout’s I’ve tried but I still feel like it’s missing something. Any ideas? I started this project three motherflippin’ days ago – I need help!

I would love your input if you have any thoughts, please leave a comment if you have any suggestions or ideas 🙂

I’ve been working on another polymer clay project today, I’ll be posting again very soon with some pretty, purpley pictures 😀 Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to receive updates.

*air kisses*

Fly Agaric

This is a little Fly Agaric toadstool/mushroom that I made for my dear Mother 🙂 It stands just over an inch tall by around an inch wide which I think is the perfect size for this little beauty 🙂

I don’t usually use paint on polymer clay as it comes in just about every colour you could possibly want, but I really like the texture of the brush strokes down the stalk and on the spots. Plus when I fired it I left it in the oven for a couple of minutes too long, and some of the clay was burnt! :O Whoopsy! The paint covered all sins though and I actually prefer the painted effect to the original – so all in all I’m quite pleased 😀

I put the mushroom on a keyring so it’s sealed with Sculpey Satin glaze diluted with a little water, to prevent the paint from wearing away with use.

She loves it, I hope you do too 😀

The Green ‘Fauxsaic’ Returns!

Good day to you, fine people of The Internet 🙂

Well today, as promised, I have been excitedly using yesterday’s ‘Fauxsaic’ cane to cover a tea light holder 😀 I’m so delighted with how this has turned out and can hardly wait to get it listed in my Etsy shop!

After yesterday’s epic saga of a post, I promise I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible! If you have any questions that I haven’t answered then please do leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer 🙂

You can see from the pictures that I cut lots of very thin slivers of my ‘fauxsaic’ cane and apply them one at a time to the glass tea light holder. I then carefully blend the joins of each ‘slice’ whilst taking care not to damage the design, this is a painstaking process but quality control counts 😀

As you can also see from the pictures I am wearing sexy surgical gloves 😀 this is to ensure I don’t leave fingerprints in the clay, sometimes I use cling film wrapped around the piece itself, both work equally well in my experience 🙂 I take the opportunity to have a peek through the glass against the sun to get an idea of how translucent it is. that’s right I said the sun! In January! Spring really is just around the corner 😀

After the tea light holder is covered in my delicious new cane I roll it on a ceramic tile. this helps to blend in any joins I may have missed and also gives a much more even finish 🙂

Then it’s time to fire my piece in my dinky little mini oven 😀 I find they need keeping a constant eye on and maybe even giving a quick turn halfway through firing in my mini oven, otherwise they may burn, which is VERY BAD 😦

And there it is! I’m particularly pleased with the effect of the marbelled clay, it shines through in all the different colours and gives the finished piece more depth. I’ll definitely be doing this again 😀

Looks like I have a new addition to my Creations page 🙂

Fauxsaic Cane

As you’ll have seen if you’ve taken a look at My Creations I’m a huge fan of the faux mosaic (or Fauxsaic as I like to call it – see what I did there? :D) ‘cane’. A cane is simply put a log of polymer clay with a design running right through it, much like a stick of rock, that can be sliced off and used in a wide variety of ways. A heck of a lot of time goes into creating these designs and so I thought it might be nice to document the process.

I start by blending my colours. I’ve been waiting for a chance to try this cane in many shades of green. It’s currently January and the weather outside is grey and miserable, these colours remind me of Spring which I have to keep reminding myself is just around the corner 😀 I love Spring, it’s so full of life – unlike midwinter which I find rather dark and depressing! 😦

I marbelled some of these colours as I thought it might look interesting, and mixed some pearl ex powder (in duo green/yellow) into the lighter, almost turquoise green.

Each of these colours (I find six varying shades give a really nice effect) is rolled into six equally sized logs, which is the covered with a very thin sheet of white clay ( I use a pasta machine for this but you can do it by hand using an acrylic roller or even a glass. Don’t use a wooden rolling pin – the clay WILL stick to it and that is a real pain!)

The next step is to arrange the logs in a pleasing way. Once I’m happy with this I then begin the process of turning this cluster of logs into one big one! It’s most important at this stage to ensure there is no air trapped inside. I press the logs together in the middle, working my way around the sides and moving outwards until I’m sure all the air is well and truly out.

This ‘shape’ is now worked into a large log of all six colours. The ends are now quite distorted so how the cane will actually look is really kind of unknown at this point! This is one of the things I love most about this cane, you have a rough idea of how you want it to look but the final result is always a lovely surprise 🙂

Now I am faced with a big, squat log of clay and the fun really begins 😀 The next step is to cut right through the log. It’s best to try to intersect as many colours as you can, the more blocks of colour you cut through the more ’tiles’ your mosaic will have. Next I cover one of the exposed ‘faces’ of clay with more of my ‘grout’. The next step is crucial, flip one of the cut pieces over so the colours are no longer aligned 😀

I repeat the action of slicing and grouting several more times and carefully reposition my pieces in an arrangement I find pleasing.

Then it’s time to reduce my cane, again starting in the centre and creating a kind of hourglass shape before thinning out from the centre.It’s important not to roll a cane to reduce it as this distorts the image inside.

Then the advice usually given at this point is to leave your cane to rest, ideally placing it in the fridge, before cutting into it, in order to reduce distortion. I however am an impatient human being so as soon as I’m finished I need to cut off the end of the cane to take a peek!

Squee! I’m really happy with this 😀 The next step is to create a new tea light holder which I’ll be documenting tomorrow so be sure to subscribe to this blog in order to be notified of updates 😉

This cane took around five hours to produce and will probably cover up to five tea light holders which will likely take the same amount of time again! This is why I LOVE handmade items. No mass produced item has had this level of love, care and attention paid to it’s creation. Handmade or crafted items have soul, which is simply priceless if you ask me 🙂

Thanks for staying with me to the end, if you’ve made it this far you deserve a reward! Sometime soon I’m going to be offering special discounts on my pieces to regular readers of this blog 😀 so make sure you subscribe, I’d hate for you to miss out!

Tshirt Geekery

Thanks for stopping by 😀

I made my husband this tshirt for christmas and thought it might be nice to document the process 🙂

To stencil the shirt I used:

  • Fabric paint
  • Stencil brush ( I use a kids stubby paintbrush with trimmed bristles)
  • Small brush for touch-ups
  • Stencil and pen (or you could print off the image you want to stencil. Sadly my printers ink cartridges are a dry and barren place, but my stencil worked fine for this project)
  • Acetate ( I used a sheet of laminate)
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape
  • Sheet of card

The first thing I did was create my design. I used a stencil to write the ‘<body>’ tag (and ‘</body>’ for the back of the shirt – for maximum nerd love!) onto the sheet of laminator plastic, then cut it out carefully with my craft knife. Then I simply taped my stencil in place and made sure my sheet of card was behind the area to be painted (inside the tshirt) to stop the paint bleeding through and ruining the other side.

When stencilling it’s important to really load the brush with paint; I dipped my brush into the pot of fabric paint, then dabbed it inside the lid a couple of times and then finally on a sheet of newspaper. This drives the paint all the way up the bristles of the brush and helps your coverage stay even.

After applying a few coats of fabric paint I left the paint to dry. It’s a good idea to let the paint dry between coats, I was pretty pushed for time trying to make this while he was working so I resorted to giving the drying process a little outside assistance with a hairdryer;

Then it was time for the best part of stencilling: the reveal! I slowly peeled back the stencil…

Woohoo! It worked! Now is the time to fill in any gaps left by the stencil 🙂

…and the rest…

and there it was, done! With just enough time to spare for one last blast with the hairdryer 😀

Thanks for reading!

Tea Light Holder By Request

My very best friend was the very first recipient of one my tea light holders 😀 In fact if she hadn’t loved them as much as she did I probably wouldn’t have been inspired to make so many more! When I started listing my creations on Etsy she decided to order a custom item, similar in design to the Retro design (which you can see if you click on My Creations) but in various shades of green.

Green Retro Design

Words can’t express how excited I was to have my first custom order! I decided to experiment with a slightly different technique for such a special project and ordered myself an extruder gun – I’d wanted one for ages and this was the perfect excuse! Extruder guns are a lot like sugarcraft guns  – you insert a plug of clay and extrude it slowly through a shaped die by pressing the plunger.

A word of warning: this is VERY hard work! There’s a lot of advice around the web on how to make it easier, I personally was luck enough to find a caulking gun hanging around the house. I slot the extruder into the caulking gun and hey presto – super easy extrusion 🙂

To get this fantastic retro effect takes several steps:

Blend custom colours – small amounts of the chosen colours were blended together with translucent clay so the light will shine through them. I do this by working the two colours together in my hands until they’re fully mixed. This takes time but patience is a virtue, or something 🙂

Make lots of tiny disks – these form the ‘log’ of clay that will be fed into the extruder. Imagine something like a Scooby Doo style sandwich with lots and lots of layers 🙂 I try to arrange the colours in a pleasing way, but I don’t know if it actually makes any difference

Work In Progress

Extrude! Extrude, my pretties! – using the square die on my extruder I create four long square snakes of clay, they don’t look like much right now…

Build a cane – many poly clay designs are created from a ‘cane’, this one is inspired by the art of Gustav Klimt and is known as a ‘Klimt Cane’.  The four square logs are arranged together to make one thicker square log, taking care not to distort the shape but also making sure they are firmly attatched and there are no gaps. This works essentially like a stick of rock, the design runs all the way through and you can take tiny slices and cover pretty much whatever you like!

Cover pretty much whatever you like (am I repeating myself?) –  if it’s safe to go in the oven (at 110degrees for around half an hour) then cover it with clay and bake it – that’s my motto! Ok, so it’s a bit long winded and lacking in ‘zazz’ – it’s a work-in-progress :p

Green Retro Design

I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so was my friend 🙂 I couldn’t possibly ask for more!

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