Come Back often

Have you checked out all my blogs?


Dollhouse Minis: http://joannes18dolls.blogspot.com/


18” Dolls: http://joannes18dolls.blogspot.com/


General Crafts: http://joannes-place.blogspot.com/


Cooking:https://joanne-kitchen.blogspot.com/





Also if for some reason I can't post I will try to give a head's up on the Facebook page so check there too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Doll Size Scrambled Eggs





This week I thought we should give an egg alternative for the dolls that like theirs scrambled. This project is so easy and really fun to do. You can keep chopping the clay until you get just the look you want.

We are using the same clays we used for the fried eggs from a few weeks ago. And these are even easier and a lot quicker to make than those.



If you missed the fried eggs tutorial you can find it here.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Doll Size Snake Plant





This week I decided to do something a bit different for our project. I love how houseplants in the real world make a room feel more lived in and comfortable. I love to add plants to my dollhouse miniature scenes so I thought it was time we started adding some simple plants to our 18” doll scenes.

The snake plant is one of my favorite plants to show how to make because it is so simple to make it look realistic. Also it is one of the few houseplants that I have much luck with. You see as much as I love plants I am famous for killing my plants. At least the snake plant has a chance of survival under my care.

In order to make this project really easy for you to make I created a PDF pattern sheet (actually 2 sheets) and you can find the page 1 here and page 2 here. You can download the files to your computer and print them to use for the project. Be sure to print them at 100% and to check that the test square measures 1”.


You will need something to use as a plant pot, I used one of those disposable condiment cups from the dollar store.
Some foam to fill the cup, I used the builder's foam I have on hand but styrofoam or floral foam would also work.
Dried coffee grounds.
Tacky Glue
Mod Podge
Dark green paint
A medium or light greyish green paint
A yellow paint
A brown paint
Paint brushes
18 ga floral wire
Wire cutters
Toothpicks
Ceramic tile (or other surface to work on)
Scissors
Wet Wipes
Plain white printer paper
Spray Matte sealer
Something to hold the leaves while they dry


The drying rack that I used to hold my leaves while they dried is one I made a few years ago I have a video on how to make it if you would like to make one too. You can find that video on my dollhouse miniatures channel here.

I like to use a spray sealer on my projects like this to make them look more finished, the one I used is a matte finish and can be found with the craft paint at the craft store. Just be sure to use it outside and read the instructions on the label.






Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Doll Size Mugs





This week I decided to adapt a recent project from my dollhouse miniatures channel and make it for the 18” dolls. So today we are making the dolls some mugs and we aren't even looking at our clay, we are using scrapbook/ cardmaking cardstock. Yes, that's right we are making the dolls some really sturdy mugs out of cardstock. And they will look like they are made of ceramic when we are done.


On camera I made just a basic mug but I have been making mugs for a few days using this method and have made a small variety of mugs so I will share the variations here on this blog.

All the mugs require the same basic materials/tools to make them.

We need some heavy cardstock, the kind you would make cards out of that measures 12”. The piece I used in the video came from one of those books of cardstock that you can get that have a bunch of sheets that all coordinate for projects.

You will need a dowel or something similar to form your mug on, in the video I used a piece of 1” diameter dowel that is just a couple of inches long. It is covered with a strip of parchment paper to keep the mugs from sticking. You could also cover it with plastic wrap of waxed paper.

You will need a good glue stick as well as tacky glue.

Something to cut your cardstock accurately, I like to use a straightedge, craft knife and self-healing mat.

The best clear finish to give the “ceramic” finish to our paper in this scale is Triple Thick, you will need the brush on variety.

A soft paint brush.

Optional: embellishments (stickers, etc)

For most of my mugs I cut my strip of cardstock 1 ¼” x 12” this gives a good height and thickness for the mugs.

Mug #1 (the one from the video) is just a basic mug and you saw how it went together.









Mug #2 Again just a basic mug, the handle is slightly different is about all.








Mug #3 This one is taller and thinner, and was inspired by my favorite mug for tea. The cardstock strip was cut 1 ½” x 12” and it was formed over a ¾” dowel. It is decorated with some stickers to give it a bit of a different look.






Mug #4 For this one I again cut the strip of cardstock at 1 ½” x 12” but I used the same 1” dowel that I used for the rest. This gives a nice oversize mug. My youngest son has several mugs like this in real life and he loves them.








Mug #5 For this mug I actually used plain white cardstock for the mug and added a single layer of a lightweight scrapbook paper. The lighter paper was cut at 1 ¼” tall by just enough length to go around the base mug. It was glued on with glue stick.







Mug #6 This is a basic mug but before I glued it around the dowel I drew straight lines ¼” from each long edge. Then I cut 2 strips of the cardstock that were ¼” by 12” and using glue stick I glued them to the mug base while it was still on the dowel using the lines I had drawn to guide me. I then glued both ends of the handle to the strips. I had intended to leave the mug like that but when I was going through my stickers I had the perfect silver strips to glue on and I just had to do it.

Mug #7 This one is short and I think it is cute with the others. It is made exactly like the basic mug except I cut the cardstock strip at 1” x 12” and then used the same 1” dowel. I also formed the handle slightly different.






As you can see the variations are probably endless, I can think of a dozen more variations just sitting here.


A couple of things in closing:

If you have stickers you want to use, be sure to test them with the Triple Thick, I had a couple that the ink ran. So test first so you don't ruin your project.

And secondly check for loose brush hairs as you work. I found out too late that one of my brushes was shedding and I now have hairs stuck in the finish of some of my mugs. Hopefully I can get them out without destroying my work.






Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Doll Size Fried Eggs





This week I decided to expand on the breakfast theme for the dolls and make some fried eggs. This is another really fun and easy project to make with clay.

For the clay you will need-

a yellow “yolk” color, I am using Premo in Cadmium Yellow, Fimo Golden Yellow is also a good choice and I am certain that Sculpey has a similar color.

a white mixture of equal parts white and translucent clay The brand of these clays really doesn't matter just pick a good white white. (this is a clay combination I use so much that I often will purchase blocks of the two colors on sale and premix them together so I can get right to work on making clay foods)


Again this week we are working on a ceramic tile because we are going to coat our eggs with Gallery Glass paint in the end.

For the white portion of the eggs you will need balls of clay that are about 5/8” in diameter. You will them smoosh these balls out to irregular shapes. Remember eggs that you cook in a skillet aren't perfectly round, they are usually far from it in fact. So have fun and smash that clay down until it is about 1 ¼” across. Do this right on the tile you are going to bake on and don't put them too close together.

Now using the yellow clay form small balls about 3/8' in diameter then gently flatten until they are about ½” in diameter. Place one of these on each egg white.

Now bake the eggs at 230° F for about 10-15 minutes and allow to cool.


Once the clay and the tile have all cooled down you can add the coat of clear Gallery Glass. I also added just a bit of Amber in small areas at the very edge of the pool of clear. This will look like those crispy bits at the edges of the eggs.

Allow this to dry thoroughly!! it takes a while and it will be best to let these set at least overnight.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Doll Size Cooked Bacon




This week we are continuing with the bacon cane we made last week to create some cooked bacon for the dolls. This does mean that you will need the bacon cane we created last week. If you haven't made that yet the tutorial can be found here.

Since bacon shrinks when cooked we will first need to make our cane thinner in width. Just a bit, stretch and push on it until it is about 1 ¼” to 1 ½” wide. Anywhere in that range should be fine. Next cut some slices of bacon and lay them on your baking surface. Since I am sure the bottom side of mine will never show I am baking on a ceramic tile (this will make later steps easier) if you are going to have your slices loose you might want to bake on a paper plate. If you do that be sure to chalk and paint both sides of you bacon.

Once your bacon is laid out the first step is to give it a curve. When bacon is cooked the “meaty” edge always seems to shrink more than the fat edge so curve the slices with the meaty edge on the inside of the curve. Next use your fingers and any tools you are comfortable with to give the bacon slices some ripples like cooked bacon has.

The next step is to brush some reddish brown (brick red) chalk over the entire surface of the bacon. Remember if you are going to have your bacon loose do this on both the top and bottom. After this chalk is rubbed in sprinkle with a bit of dark brown chalk and rub that in. (again on both sides if you are going to leave yours loose)

It is now baking time, bake for our normal of 10 minutes at 230° F. Remember if you are baking on a tile it will hold the heat longer than a paper plate so it will take you clay longer to cool to room temperature.

Once the clay has cooled to room temperature paint on a coat of Gallery Glass (glass paint) in the color Amber. This will go on kind of milky looking but will dry a nice transparent amber color. Be sure to have your clay on a smooth non-porous surface for this step not a paper plate (you want to be able to peel your bacon off the surface and not have bits of paper stuck to it) If you are making loose bacon be sure to paint the backside too.


So that is all there is to making the cooked bacon. I love this easy project because once again it looks difficult but it really isn't. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Doll Size Bacon




This week I decided it was time for all you to start making some clay food for the dolls. We have learned so much in the Clay 101 series and now we can make some foods.

I love making bacon for the dolls from clay because it is one of those projects that looks complicated but it isn't. I mean look at the finished bacon in the photo, that looks really hard to do, doesn't it? But, if you watched the video you saw how easy it really is. One thing that is in our favor is that every slice of bacon looks a bit different. All you have to do is get the clay colors correct and the basic shape/size right and you have it!

So for clay colors:

First we need a bacon fat color. This is basically a slightly translucent off white color. This time I used some Original Sculpey and Translucent Sculpey III in equal amounts.

Next we need the “meat color” I used Fimo Indian Red and Sculpey III in Hazelnut again in equal amounts. A bit of a warning when you first start mixing these two colors it is going to look awful, just keep mixing and it will turn into the color we want.

But we need 3 meat colors, so we need to mix them from the two colors we just mixed.

Take some of the bacon fat color and an equal amount of the bacon meat color and mix those. This will give you bacon meat #2.

No take a small amount of bacon meat #2 and mix it with an equal amount of the bacon fat color.

Those are the colors we need to make our bacon.

So for that basic shape we want a finished slab that is about 3” wide and ½” thick. It needs to have 3 layers of meat with the darkest on at the bottom and the lightest at the top. Each of these meat layers is topped with a layer of the fat. Just don't make any of the layers even, you want them lumpy and bumpy. Only the top and bottom want to be relatively flat.

This slab should be a bit larger than the finished size (3” wide bye ½” thick) so that you can kind of smash and smoosh it to size.

Once you are happy with the size/ shape brush the top with a light yellow chalk, you want one that is close to the yellow ocher we use for baked goods just a bit lighter in color.

Now slice off some bacon slices and bake according at 235° F for about 10 minutes.

Allow to cool.


Be sure to hold onto the rest of the slab of bacon we will need it next week to make some cooked bacon. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 14




I know I gave a very brief discussion about baking surfaces in an early video in this series but I thing it is important enough to discuss it in more detail.

I have included photos of the bottom surface of the pieces of clay I baked on each baking surface. I know some are difficult to see, hopefully you can see the differences. 

If you are a regular viewer of my channel you may have already noticed that most of the time I bake my clay projects on paper plates. Yes, it is perfectly safe. The burning temperature for the clay is much lower than the burning temperature for the paper. In my opinion there are several advantages to using paper plates to bake on. Fist they are cheap, only use the really cheap kind that is plain white and has no coating. Secondly the paper plate doesn't really leave any kind of marking on the bottom side of your clay. The top and the bottom of flat pieces of clay look pretty much the same texture wise.

One of the things I do a lot is test bake clay mixtures. Whenever I am working on a new project I mix my clay and then bake small pieces to see if I have the mixture the way I want it. With the paper plate I can make the notes about the mixtures I have tried right on the plate next to that piece of clay.

If you are working with a group of people doing clay projects you can write each person's name right on the paper plate that contains their project. Makes keeping everything straight much easier.




Another surface I use often is a ceramic tile. Just one from the home improvement store. I like to stick to the 6” by 6” ones for baking and reserve the bigger size to work on. The major problem with tiles is that they leave the bottom of the clay project very shiny. This can be a distraction on many projects. The only time I always use a tile is if I am using liquid clay, then the tile is a must so you can cleanly remove the project from the baking surface.



The other surface I use regularly is sand paper. I love how it makes the bottom side of the clay look like a real baked good. I especially like this when making doll cookies.










Now these are not the only surfaces I use, these are just the top 3. In many projects I will specify what I suggest you bake on, and I usually choose the surface based on what texture will look best with the finished item. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Doll Size Green Onions




I decided it was time we put some of the skills I have been teaching you in the Clay 101 series to work. I love how we can use the skinner blend I taught recently to make the green onions look realistic. If you missed that tutorial (or just want a refresher on the technique) you can find it here.


The clays I used were:

Fimo white
Sculpey III translucent

mix these in equal parts for the white blend

Sculpey III String Bean
Fimo Translucent green (or the same translucent you used in the white blend)

mix these in equal parts for the green blend

I find it really useful to bake a sample of my clay blends when I am adding translucent clay to the mixture since the color of those blends changes a lot when baked.

Feel free to use the same plain translucent clay in both blends, I used the green translucent because I had a lot more of it than of the plain.

We want our finished green onions in this scale to be no bigger in diameter that 1/8th “ and about 4” long.

Any time I am using a translucent clay I lower my baking temperature to 235° F because translucent clay has a bad habit of discoloring at higher temperatures. Bake these for about 10 minutes and allow to cool.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 13





This week for our Clay 101 series I decided to talk about a topic that actually touches on one of my pet peeves about doll foods. That is clear finishes. The first thing I want to stress is most projects don't need any clear finish.

I'll wait while you think about that statement.

Okay, now back to the blog. Take a close look at the foods you eat, how many of them are actually shiny? Not all that many when you get right down to it. So don't overuse clear finish. Especially don't overuse the thick super shiny finishes.

If you decide you want to use a clear finish on your project use something that is compatible with the clay. The first thing to check for is it water based? The easiest way to determine this is to check the instructions for cleaning up your tools, if you can clean up with water/ soap and water you have something to try. I wouldn't go and put an untested finish on a huge project though unless you know for sure it is compatible with the clay. Many finishes will eat the clay so test or talk to someone that knows what will and won't work.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 12





Since we have spent the last two weeks on the pasta machine for working with clay I thought this would be the perfect time to show you my favorite technique for the pasta machine. Today I am showing you the Skinner Blend. This is a way of making a very pretty blend of two (or more) colors that is very evenly blended. We will be using this in future doll food projects.

There are really only a few “secrets” to this technique first be sure to use well conditioned clay that is not too soft. Try to make sure both colors of clay are close in their texture. Start out with pieces of clay that are the same size and thickness. Only run the clay through the pasta machine in the one direction and always fold the same way.


If you follow these rules you will succeed at this pretty technique. Later I will show you some variations that kind of break a few of the rules. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 11




This week we are going to be cleaning the pasta machine. It is really pretty easy to do and you should do a minor cleaning every time you use it. By that I mean run a wet wipe over the bars to remove residue and wipe the base up a bit.

If you are going to be using a light color clay run a piece of scrap white clay (I use a chunk of Original Sculpey for this) through the rollers to make sure you have them clean.

A more thorough cleaning can be done as needed. I prefer to take the clay machine off the table for this more intense cleaning so I can see all the parts. I do use a wooden skewer and toothpicks but do be careful to not scratch the rollers.


Cleaning these machines really isn't too difficult and should be done regularly.  

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 10





This week on our Clay 101 series we are talking about a tool I use every time I work with polymer clay, my pasta machine. I am so glad I decided to bite the bullet so to speak and use this pasta machine for clay.

A bit of a back story about how I came to get this pasta machine. Anyone that knows me in real life knows I love to cook, it is one of my passions and years ago back when I was a new bride my mother-in-law gifted me with a top of the line pasta machine. I had seen this machine in a kitchen store that used to be local to us and my thought was “who would pay that much for a pasta machine” Then I found myself opening it up for my birthday. I thanked her profusely and I did attempt to make pasta with it. One time. That was more than enough times to make it really clear to me that I was never going to be making fresh pasta. At least not with that pasta machine. I have better things to do with my time. I would rather make the sauce and buy the pasta.

Anyway, the pasta machine sat at the back of my kitchen cabinet for years, over a decade close to two decades. I would pull the box out occasionally, wonder what I should do with it. I felt guilty that it just sat there but I really could never convince myself to make pasta again. I even moved it to a new house and it took up residence in the back of a new cabinet. I really felt bad but....

Then I started working with polymer clay. I read some articles where people were using pasta machines to roll out their clay. That made me think... should I? I wanted to but I again felt guilty. I knew that once I put a piece of clay through the machine I couldn't use it for pasta again. I debated for a couple of years and then one day I just boldly took that pasta machine out of the cabinet, un-boxed it and clamped it to my table. I then found a lump of clay that really needed some rolling out and I never looked back. The only regret I had was that I hadn't done this years before.

My pasta machine and I have spent hours together, it is always clamped to my work table and I use it every time I work with clay.

Then there is that second pasta machine, the one that was marketed for clay. I was at a store closing sale one time and they had this one machine left and it was marked down to less than $5! I felt like I couldn't pass that deal up.

My thought process was that I would be able to use the cheap machine for dark color clay and the good one for the lighter colors. The problem is that having 2 pasta machines on my table just took up way too much table space.

Maybe some day I will figure out how to use both machines and still have work space. In the meantime it doesn't take up too much space in the storage room and I can always dig it out if I need it.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 9




This week as we continue our discussion of working with polymer clay to make our doll foods I wanted to go a bit more in-depth on how to color your liquid polymer clay. I am working with the same 2 brands I showed you last week in our introduction to liquid clays.

The two easiest ways to color this product in my opinion is to use either chalk or tube oil paint.

For using chalk just scrape off a bit of the chalk from the stick just like if you were going to use it to color your clay. Then mix it into the liquid clay with something like a toothpick. This will give a slightly cloudy color and you can often see the granules of the chalk. This can be a good or bad thing depending on what you are making. For some applications it is just what you do want.

To use tube oil paint just start with the smallest amount you can and just use the amount it takes to color the product. You don't want too much, a little goes a very long way. The paint gives a richer more solid color and is the baked liquid clay retains more of its translucency.

I do want to take a moment to say I know there are a lot of tutorials out there where acrylic paint is used to color liquid polymer clay. This is something the manufacturers do not recommend. Acrylic paint is water based and it can cause big problems when you bake the clay. I have heard of instances where items exploded when those water vapors expanded in the oven. So please stay away from the acrylic paint. The oil paints I use are the cheapest ones from the craft store so the investment in them was less than $5.

The last thing I covered in this video was how to mix the liquid clay with a dry crumbly clay to revive it. As you saw it is really easy to do. This is also the same way you make frosting (or other spreadable food items) from polymer clay.

Lastly I hope the difference in the surface shine was apparent on the video. There is a world of difference in how these two brands look when baked. That is one of the reasons I keep both brands on hand.





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt8




This week I decided to just talk a few minutes about liquid polymer clay. I know we will need to get more in depth later but for now I just wanted to give you a quick overview.

I am sorry this is so short but time was an issue this week. Darn real life kept getting in my way of making doll stuff. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, this week we are talking about the two liquid polymer clays I use the most. The first (and easiest to get my hands on) is Translucent Liquid Scupley. You should be able to be able to get it almost anywhere you can buy polymer clay.

The second one is Liquid Kato clay and for me that is something I have to get when I am on vacation since the only store I have ever found it in was Hobby Lobby (and we don't have those here)

Both of these products are very useful and I if possible I would say try to get both. If you are only going to get one (or just to start) I would probably say start with the Sculpey product.


In future weeks I will go over working with the liquid clays in more detail. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Making Doll Food Polymer Clay 101 pt 7




This week we are building on the skill we talked about last week. If you remember last week we talked about easy ways to make sure you were getting consistent results when you rolled out your polymer clay. This week we are taking that a step further and talking about making consistent portions of clay.

When might you need to use this skill might be the first question to come to your mind. The answer is anytime you want to make multiple items that are the same size. Things like batches of cookies, berries, and so many more that I can't list them.


The secret is to roll the clay out to a consistent thickness and use a cutter (any shape) to cut pieces. If your clay is a consistent thickness and you use the same cutter to cut it all the pieces will be the same size. They will have the same amount of clay. If you find that your portions of clay are the wrong size for your project it is easy to adjust. You can either make the clay thinner (or thicker) and/or use a different cutter to cut it. 

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.