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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 6

This week in our clay 101 tutorial I want to talk a bit about how to roll out your clay so that it is both a consistent thickness across the surface and it is the thickness you want it to be. It really is simple just collect some wood scraps that are various thicknesses from about 1/16” to about ¼” thick. You can even glue thinner pieces together to make the different thicknesses. Just lay one piece on each side of your clay and roll until your clay roller comes in contact with them. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 5

This week we are going to talk about the chalks I use to color my clay projects. The ones I use are in a stick form and are sold for people that do drawing with them. I just bought cheap ones because that is all we need for what we are doing. I have a lot of colors I will probably never use but I also have many options and you never know when there might be an occasion to use those fun colors.

When I do run out of a color I will probably replace just the ones I need to replace. If you look at some art stores (the ones that cater to artists as opposed to crafters) they usually sell similar chalk/ pastel sticks individually.

For applying the chalk I prefer an eyeshadow brush to a paint brush. I get a much better result from them. After all the eyeshadow brush is made for a powder product where a paint brush is made for a wet medium. I just buy my brushes at the dollar store and if you take care of them they will last a very long time.

I do recommend having at least 2 brushes, that way you can use more colors at a time.

Do be sure to wash the brush after every use, you don't want to muddy up the next project with the chalk left in the brush from the last one. A simple wash with warm water and a mild liquid soap works best. Shampoo is my preference for soap for my bushes but any liquid soap will do. Be sure your brush is completely dry before you use it next time.

Now for applying the chalk. I noticed that the problem most of you have with applying chalks is that you don't seem to be burnishing the color in enough to get the color even across the project. You do want to really work with the brush and the chalk and work that chalk into the surface.

Just like anything else this takes some practice, just keep working at it and you will get the hang of it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 4

This week we are going to talk about texturing our clay projects. This is one of my favorite parts of working with clay. It is just so much fun to take a piece of clay and use some simple tools to give it the texture to make it look like something els.

These are my favorite tools for this process and none of them are expensive. Most in fact are free or almost free. None will cost you over a dollar or two.

First up is the peppercorn. Yes, you read that correctly a peppercorn from the kitchen. These little things are really just little balls of texture. Each one is just a bit different and they are small and easy to use. Look for one that has lots of texture, some are much more smooth than others.

Next is really a category and I will just call them “pointy tools” these can be anything that comes to a sharp point. The three here are my favorites but look in your stash and see what you can come up with. My all time favorite is the dental pick, I like it the best because of the long handle so I can get the point to just the angle I want it. The pin is my next favorite, try to find one with the bead type head, they are much easier to hold onto (and they don't get lost as easy on the work table)

A ball of aluminum foil is the next tool we are working with. Either a large ball or a small one, or have a few on hand of different sizes. Just crumple the foil up a few times then mash it into a ball that is comfortable to hold.

Our fourth “tool” is some sandpaper and/or an emery board. They are really used for the same texture just different scales of the texture. I also occasionally bake items on top of a piece of sandpaper, that way the texture just happens automatically. I also use the emery board to help me hold/support items when I am using some of the other tools.

The pot scrubber, you can get these near the dish washing items in the grocery store or the dollar store. I actually prefer the texture of the ones from the dollar store and they come 3 for a dollar (at least at my store yesterday)

Our last tools are the brushes. I use both some wire cleaning brushes that I purchased at Harbor Freight and a dollar store toothbrush. I am sure you can get the wire brushes just about anywhere that sells tools. These both are so handy and I use them a lot.

So those are my favorite tools to texture clay with. I hope you are finding this series helpful. If you have specific areas of working with clay you would like me cover be sure to let me know. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 3

This week I am going to talk about the very basic tools you need to get started working with your polymer clay. I did spend some time really thinking about what the basics are. You know those things that I feel you actually need to start work with the clay. Sure, there are a lot of other tools that are fun to work with but in my opinion if you have these items you can do a lot of fun projects.

I also made sure to pick those items that are inexpensive. I don't want you to go out and spend tons of money on tools. I want you to feel like you can pick up these items and still have plenty of money left for lots of clay.

So to start you need a surface to work on. I think a 12” by 12” ceramic tile is the most practical surface out there. You want to find one that is smooth and a neutral color. The one I have in the video has some not so smooth areas off to the one side but the center (work area) is smooth. I like to stick to a gray or beige color because then I get a better idea of the color my clay is. With tiles that are other colors sometimes they can make the clay colors look off. You should have no problem finding a tile that will work for under $2 at your local home improvement store.

Next we need to roll our clay out for a lot of projects. For this I give you 2 options. One is a real acrylic clay roller. These will cost around $10 and you should be able to find them anywhere that polymer clay is sold. My other option is an empty jar like capers come in. I like these jars because they are about the same size as a roller and they have the same straight sides. You get the bonus of having a built in area to store some of your texturing tools inside of the jar. When you get more advanced at working with the clay you might want to look at a pasta machine that can be dedicated to your clay.

Next we need to be able to cut our clay. For this I do recommend you go out and purchase a clay blade. I really haven't been able to find anything that works as well as the real thing for cutting the clay.

After you get your clay project ready you are going to have to bake and for this you need something to put it on. I almost always use the cheap un-coated paper plates. Look for the really cheap ones, they seem to actually be much better for this than the nicer ones. I occasionally bake on a ceramic tile and those are the only 2 surfaces I ever use to bake my clay on (well, almost always there is one exception we will talk about when the time comes) The tile will give a shiny surface to the bottom of you project.

And lastly a package of wet wipes, you know the kind in the baby aisle of every grocery store. If possible I get the ones that aren't alcohol free but sometimes that is all the stores have. Either type will work just fine for cleaning your tools and your hands while and after you are working with the clay. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 2

This week we are going to be talking about conditioning your polymer clay. When you open the package of clay it needs to be warmed up, kind of like when we stretch before we exercise. Just like an athlete's body needs to warm up so does your clay.

It doesn't matter if you are opening up a brand new package of clay or if you are picking up a block of clay you used before you need to condition it every time you work with it.

Don't worry, it's really easy. Just work with it in your hands to make it more pliable. Depending on the brand and age of the clay this process can take a while. Some brands (Fimo) take longer and so does clay that has been around a while.

If your clay is really cold and or hard try warming it up a bit. I usually tuck the package into a item of clothing against my skin for a while. Body heat can do wonders for getting you clay ready to work.

Now if you have some really hard or dry clay and you have been trying for a while and it just isn't coming together some of the clay manufacturers have products that can be added to help with the process. If you are really desperate and want to get the clay softened quickly add just a drop or two of oil. You can use mineral oil or vegetable oil for this. Remember I said a drop or two. Don't add much just a tiny drop and try to work it in.

Now what if you have the opposite problem and the clay is too soft. Yes, this does happen, some of the brands are very soft and hard to work with. For this take a plain sheet of paper and lay the clay on it for overnight. In the morning you should see an “oily” stain on the paper and the clay should be a slight be firmer.

Now you may be asking why would we want clay that is harder, of more correctly firmer? When you are trying to make items with really fine details you need a firm clay. You just can't get the details to stay with a soft clay. On the scale we are working with for the 18” dolls this is not as big of an issue as it is with my dollhouse miniature work.

I hope this information was helpful, let me know if you have any questions. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 1

Ever since I posted the very first polymer clay tutorial on this channel people have been asking me to create a series of tutorials on the basics of working with polymer clay. I finally got around to it, so welcome to week 1 of Polymer Clay 101.

First I feel like I should say that I bought my first block of polymer clay around 30 years ago so I have been playing with this clay for a while. The things I am going share in this series, just like my other tutorials is based on my experiences from working with the product.

If you have questions on what I covered in the video be sure to ask. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Doll Size Cinnamon Rolls

This week I thought it would be fun to make some cinnamon rolls for the dolls to enjoy. These are really easy but a bit on the messy side because of the liquid polymer clay.

For the bread part we are just using an off white color clay. Mix any white polymer clay with a little bit of beige polymer clay, just enough to “warm up” the color. The idea is you don't want a bright white color, slightly off-white looks more realistic.

For the “cinnamon” mixture I just mixed some Transparent Liquid Sculpy with some of the two darker colors of chalk we always use for our baked goods. (the brown and the reddish brown) You will have to play around to get the right color.

Then assemble the cinnamon roll like I did on the video. These are super easy to make.

I used a bit of the liquid clay to adhere the roll to the craft stick to make it easier to handle. That way my fingers stay a lot cleaner and the roll doesn't get smashed by my holding it.

Since the rolls are rather thick you do want bake them long enough to get all that liquid clay baked. I recommend 275 degrees for about 15 minutes.

For the frosting use a 3-D type fabric paint in a white. This stuff takes while to dry so be prepared and don't touch it for several hours.