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Sunday, September 21, 2014

18” Doll Pizza

This week I decided to take on the task of making both dollhouse scale and 18” doll scale pizzas with videos. It was interesting moving back and forth to make the video. Hopefully it worked out okay and I got everything in both videos.

If you want to see the dollhouse pizza that video is here.

Since I am trying to break down polymer clay projects so that those that haven't tried working with this medium will be comfortable I tried to keep this as simple as I could and still help you to create a beautiful project. One thing that I did to help with that was to limit the number of colors of clay I used. The entire project only uses 3 colors of Fimo brand polymer clay!

For the pizza pan I used the lid from a large (28 oz) can of tomatoes. I have one of those really cool can openers that un-rolls the seam on the top of the can rather than cuts it. If you don't have one of those don't worry either make a pan with some aluminum foil over cardboard or make your pizza without the pan.

For clay you will need Fimo in the following colors:
Translucent Yellow
Light Flesh

You will also need: something to roll out your clay, a work surface, a baking surface, artist chalk in: ochre, reddish brown and dark brown, a brush to apply the chalk, a craft knife, a clay knife, a brass brush and an eyeshadow brush, Tomato Spice Acrylic paint, lemon yellow and white shiny Scribbles paints. (I'm really hoping I didn't miss anything I that list)

Basically you are going to fill the bottom of your pizza pan with the clay, brush it with the chalks to “bake it” make the toppings and brush them with the same chalks to make them looked “baked”. Then you will bake off all your clay pieces, add the tomato sauce paint and allow it to dry. Add the “cheese” paint and use it to glue on your toppings.

You can make any toppings you want. I chose these because they are among the easiest to replicate with the polymer clay. If I get enough interest I might show you other pizzas in future videos. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

18” Doll Cheese Crackers

I have another really simple polymer clay food project for you today. As I was eating my lunch I took a look at the simple cheese cracker I was eating and thought these would be a great project here on this blog.

Finished doll size cracker with the real thing

You won't need a lot of tools or materials for this especially since I decided to show you how to do this with just one color of clay.

What you will need:

FIMO Sunflower Yellow
Yellow polymer clay- I found that FIMO brand in Sunflower was the perfect color.
Some artist chalk in a golden yellow (yellow ochre) and orange
A brush to apply the chalk (I use an eyeshadow brush from the dollar store)
Something to roll your clay out with- I use a pasta machine dedicated to clay but you can use a roller or straight sided bottle for this.
A knife to cut the clay- clay blades are best and can be found near the polymer clay at the craft store.
Ball ended tool, brush and pointy tool
A “pointy tool” I use a dollar store dental pick- a toothpick or a pin would also work
A ball end tool- you could also round off one end of a toothpick for this
A work surface- I use a ceramic tile
A ruler
A paper plate to bake on- the uncoated kind
An oven to bake in

It is nice to have some of the real crackers to use as a reference while you work.

The first step as in all polymer clay projects is to condition the clay. All this means is to take a small amount of clay out of the package and work it with you hands until it becomes more pliable. Once your clay is conditioned roll it out very thin. My pasta machine has 6 thickness settings and I use the 4th one to do this. It probably about 1/32” thick. It doesn't have to be perfect but remember the thinner the better to stay in scale.

Now cut yourself a rectangle of clay that is about 2” by 1”
our piece of clay

Next cut this lengthwise into 3 approximately equal strips each about 1/3” wide. 
The next cuts will be crosswise and again about 1/3” apart. This 2” by1” piece will give you 18 crackers. Take your time and try to make your cuts straight and your little squares fairly square.

Now before you move the crackers use your pointy tool to make a small hole in the center of each cracker. This is much easier to do while they are still in a together. Also while they are still on your tile brush the top side with some dust from both the sticks of chalk. You don't need to go very heavy just a light brushing of chalk to give a bit of a baked color. This side will be the bottoms of our finished crackers.

before chalk

after chalk

Now carefully move your clay squares to your paper plate being sure to put them chalked side down.

Now the slightly tricky and very tedious part. You will use your pointy tool again to make the little marks around the edges of each square. I find it helps a lot to rub my index finger on my left hand over the golden yellow chalk and then use that to hold the clay gently while I use the pointy tool in my right hand to make the marks. These marks need to be tiny but are so important to making the crackers look real.

The next step is really easy use that ball ended tool to make the hole in the top of the cracker. You should be able to see where you made the hole on the bottom side earlier just gently press the tool into that spot.

Now we are going to make these crackers look baked. Scrape both sticks of chalk to create a tiny amount of dust and use the brush to brush it over the top surface of the crackers.

this is how they should look before you out them in the oven
Bake the clay according to the directions on your package of clay. I baked mine at 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

That is all there is to it! Your dolls can now have a snack of cheese crackers while they do their homework or watch some TV.

all ready for your doll's snack time

Oh! I think my program is just starting!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies- a polymer clay project

our doll size cookies next to the real thing

polymer clay in the color Ecru
For this project you will need:

Premo! Polymer clay in the color Ecru
Artist Soft Pastels: a golden yellow color
a rust color
a brown
A brush to apply the the pastels (I use an eyeshadow brush from the dollar store)
soft chalk pastels and brush
Dish scrubber pad- see photo
A thin tool- double ended small gauge knitting needle, toothpick, dental pick, etc (use what you have)
A ball of aluminum foil
Emory board (or small piece of sandpaper)
Un-coated white paper plate (to bake clay on)
Work surface (I use a 12” square ceramic tile from the home improvement store)
dish scrubber
Oven to bake clay in (I use my regular oven and have for over 20 years with no problems)

pointy tool

This is a super simple project perfect if you have never worked with polymer clay before or even if you have made a few things. I wanted to do a project that anyone could do without having to buy a bunch of stuff.

I will say it does help to have the real thing in front of you when you are making any doll food if at all possible or at least to have some good photos to refer to. 


The first step in any doll food project is to really look at the real thing. What shape is it, how big and what color? Those are the first questions I ask myself with every project no matter how many times I have made it.

For these cookies my real ones were about 3” across so for our dolls that will translate to 1” across. They are pretty thin but the feature that always sets a Peanut Butter cookie apart is the cross hatch design on the top. They tend to be a pale brown/tan color and it just so happens that Premo! Brand clay has a color that is pretty darn close called Ecru. This color is one of my basic colors that I use a lot for baked goods so it is a good one to have on hand if you are going to try to make more foods.

Texture with the dish scrubber
I start by conditioning my clay which simply means kneading it with my hands to get it warmed up and a bit softer. I then made as many balls that were about ½” in diameter as I wanted cookies. For most of my crafting I use a 12” square ceramic floor tile that I got at Home Depot for a very low cost. It is a wonderful work surface since it is easy to clean after use and portable so I can move my project if need be. After I had all the clay balls made I then used the dish scrubber to flatten to about the thickness I wanted the cookies to be in the end. Your clay should now be about 1” flattish cookie shapes with a fairly rough texture. This scrubber does a lot of the work of texturing for us. 

Next I use the ball of aluminum foil to add more texture and to “tone down” the texture that the scrubber left.
ready to use the foil ball

after the foil- now ready to use the emery board

Next I use the emery board to work on the texture some more. 

I go back and forth between the foil ball and the emery board until I am satisfied with the texture.
work with the texture tools until you are happy

starting to add the cross hatch design to the top
Now I use a tool that is thin and round to make the crosshatch marks on the top of each cookie. You can use a small gauge double pointed knitting needle like I did in the photo or whatever you have on hand. A round toothpick would be perfect, a dental tool would also work just find. 

one cookie done


starting to look a lot like cookies
cookies moved to the paper plate
Now we are going to move our cookies to an un-coated white paper plate. I like to use these to bake my clay on because they leave the bottoms of the items with a matte finish rather than making the bottoms shiny.

the chalks you are going to use

some dust has been scraped from the chalk
After moving the cookies we are going to give them some baked color. Start by using any tool you have handy to scrape some dust from the golden yellow, rust and brown soft chalk pastels onto your work tile.

golden yellow color added

 Start with the golden yellow dust and brush it over most of your cookie's surface (trying to avoid the lower areas of the crosshatch.

mix a bit of the rust color with some of the yellow
 Now mix a bit of the rust color dust into some of the remaining golden yellow dust and go over the edges and the very tops of the cookies but use a very light touch you just want to do some spots not cover the cookies with this color. 

rust chalk added

Next add just a touch of the brown chalk dust to some of the golden yellow and add just a few touches to a couple of the cookies. (too much brown and it will look like your dolls burnt the cookies)

chalks added to the cookies

Spend some time with the chalks adding touches until the cookies look just the way you want them to. If you feel you have added too much of the darker colors you can go over them with the golden yellow to tone it down a bit.

Now you will need bake the cookies in your oven according to the directions on the package of clay you purchased. The temps these clays bake at are fairly low and they won't take much time.

Once they are out of the oven let them cool and your dolls can enjoy their cookies.
Cookie time!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Comparison of 18” Doll Sunglasses

In my recent order from American Girl I got a pair of Tortoise Sunglasses. I mainly got them because I wanted to see what makes them cost $10 compared to the Springfield ones I can get at the craft store for around $4. Are they really twice as good????
Well, here they are side by side in their packaging. The American Girl pair does come in a cute little plastic box that does protect them in shipping. (I saved the box it will show up in one of my blogs someday as the basis of a project- I just don't know when, where or what yet) and they also come with a sunglasses case. The little case is really cute although a bit bulky but would protect the sunglasses from being scratched. The Springfield pair is just packaged in a plastic bag with a card that invites you to join their free “style Club” this packaging really offers little in the way of protection from getting broken before you get them home.

So right off the bat before you open the product the folks at American Girl has presented their sunglasses in a much more attractive way. Some people feel that if that much detail is given to packaging there must be more detail in the product. So we have to ask is this the case here?

Here are some pictures of both pair together from a couple of angles so you can kind of get a feel for both of them.

both pair, you can already see a scratch in the right lens of the white pair

look how much bulkier the white pair looks

take note of the size of the hinges and the overall shape

notice how curved the brown pair is

Now let's look at each pair separately.

The American Girl pair is definitely much more delicate, everything about them is lighter and more in scale. The hinges are nice and tiny and if you were to look at a photo of them you might mistake them for real people size sunglasses. The ear pieces are tiny and straight and there is a slight curve to the temples (that's the correct name for the arms of the glasses that hug your head) Even though the hinge is very delicate looking it feels rather sturdy for its size. The bridge is again very delicate and in scale and there are tiny little nose pads molded into the glasses. This pair has lenses with a nice tint more amber than green and seems to be nice and even. Now the on the downside, I am worried that these might be a bit fragile in the hands of a child. Since all parts are more delicate I am wondering how they would hold up to playing and being taken on and off as many times as a child might do so. On the doll these sit very nicely and look comfortable. They do have the case which would be wonderful protection if it is actually used, how many children are going to put the sunglasses back into the case after each use? I think for the adult collector or older child that is responsible these would be a wonderful addition to the 18” doll wardrobe. For a younger child I am not so sure.

 Now let's look at that $4 pair from the craft store. I do see these at the larger Joann's that I shop at and also at Michael's and both of these stores often have coupons to bring the price down even more. Looking at this pair they are not as pretty, they are bulkier and much less in scale. The temples are really large with very little in the way of a curve and don't fit the doll as well as the other pair. The hinges look to be as big as the hinges on my real sunglasses so that too is way out of scale for the size of the doll. The bridge is much bigger in comparison to the lenses but since this is a point that real glasses tend to break I am thinking this might not be all bad. They also have the nose pads molded on but not they again are largers. This pair has pink lenses and there is a bubble visible in the coating and they are already scratched just from the handling I did to them taking the pictures for this blog post. On the doll this pair sticks out a bit in front of the face so the fit is not as nice as the American Girl pair. I am not sure if these would stay on the doll as well during play either. Since this pair is so much cheaper (especially with those coupons) I think for a child that doesn't take as good of care of their dolls or for just occasional use this pair might be preferable. They really are cute and even though they have some flaws I am glad I got them.

So in the end, I think the real American Girl pair is much nicer but are they really that much nicer. I mean that is a $6 difference (more if you have a coupon for the craft store ones) so you could buy at least another pair or another accessory with the money saved. You will have to decide which pair your dolls need to get but for now my girls are just going to have share both pair!