Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame – Version 2

I’ve been trying to find a way to make the clay more “regular” by trimming the back and the front “picture frame hole”.  It would require another layer of polymer clay to “trim” the edges, but not necessarily another process, as I can bake it in when I do the wings and the other embellishments on the face of the frame.

You can see in the picture below how I had added an orange border on the picture hole, and how I had cleaned up the back to have it fit the circular cap I baked separately.  (If I baked it together, it might adhere to the main frame instead of being removable.

Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame Back

I cleaned up the back by filling in the irregular back of the frame with same color clay, and while it’s still pretty rough in this first piece, you can see what I’m trying to do.

Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame Version 2

I’ve been creating clay canes for the wings, and while I’m not too happy with the color combination for this piece, I have quite a stash for colors to choose from.

I already created the silicone molds for the letters of my niece’s name, “LUX”, and that, too, will be in different colors.  Just waiting on the magnets I ordered now to test how much I would need to have the frame stay anchored to a metal surface like a fridge door.

My Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame – A progress report

Last week, I tried to create a “hollow” face by using corrugated cardboard as armature (or a support / inner mold) for my owl, and while the “face” or outside portion of the owl turned out nicely, the back was rather scraggly and “dirty”.  I took out the cardboard and saw how the edges of the clay had taken its form, leaving a corrugated and unkempt look that was just not desirable for my project.  Leaving the cardboard on didn’t look good either, so I guess I am letting go of the idea of using some form of armature for the frame.

Over the weekend, I tried something new.  I created a pattern on clay and baked it and used this as the basic mold pattern for my owl body.

I cut a total of three layers of clay but in different thicknesses.  It wasn’t a matter of just putting the clay layers together, but each layer served a purpose.

My first cut was the middle piece which I rolled on the 4th setting of my clay machine.   For this piece, I cut the body and the actual photo frame hole as I had on the clay pattern.

The second, I cut at the thickest setting, but I only used the clay mold for the outer shape and I used a larger circle die to cut a hole in it, and I positioned this behind the first cut I did, taking care to make sure it fit the owl snuggly.

Note that pressed clay like this can stretch one way or the other if you tug at it, so it’s important to endeavor to keep the shape.

Then finally, I put in a layer of clay which I had rolled at the 6th settingand “wrapped” the two layers together, folding it into the sides and molding it clean.
Polymer Clay Owls for Lux

I baked the piece encased in a parchment paper “envelope” of sorts and put them between two bottoms of a baking pans.  The back is hollow and my next step is to create a molded back cover for the picture and something to attach the magnet onto.   I’d have gotten to it sooner but I’ve been feeling under the weather.

I’m still hoping to do it this weekend somehow.

Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame – First Attempt

Party Favor: Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame (First Attempt)

So I’ve started experimenting with creating a polymer clay picture frame souvenir for my niece’s first birthday this September. I modified an existing pattern online and have created the above piece in stages. It’s an interesting learning experience for me because I am getting to know more about working with layered clay with this project.

Party Favor: Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame (First Attempt)

Here’s a palm-perspective size-wise to give you an idea of how big the frame is. Since this is my first attempt, I used the pink base which I intended to do for most of the owls, but I used one of my polymer clay cane experiments for the feathers on the wings. It came out rather nicely but I need to reduce the actual clay content because the frame is a little heavy to hang with magnets on a fridge door.

I am also trying to figure out how to attach the backing to the frame, whether or not it ends up as a standing frame or a fridge magnet.

Party Favor: Polymer Clay Owl Picture Frame Inscription (First Attempt) 

While my original idea was to create polymer letters to inscribe my niece’s name, I attempted stamping the clay while still raw. I just wanted to see th effect. If I do use rubber stamping, I’m going to stain the stamping with a dark colored paint to make it “Visible” beyond the engraving.

I’m actually rather pleased with what I have come up with but it needs a lot of work.  I will try and do another version tonight until I come up with something I like.  Then I need to produce a few dozens to ship home to Manila.  It’s a good thing I have time!

Craft Experiment: Pressing flowers for use as embellishments

This is probably nothing new to a lot of serious crafters out there but I have experimented with this quite a bit and have found a good formula or method (in terms of timing) to press rose petal leaves.  It appears that this is crucial if you want to maintain a semblance of the petals’ original color, or keep the integrity of the petal when it dries.

Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquetI’ve used rose petals extensively for card making and as embellishment for Artist Trading Cards or ATCs, etc.  When dried and flattened correctly, they adhere easily to paper surfaces with the use of mod podge.  They lend a rustic feel to a background when used in a collage.

Let me warn you, though, that it might mean “cutting” the “vase-life” of your blooms to achieve the desired effect.  You’d have to start the process between after the bud begins to open and before it actually blooms.

I was fortunate enough to have received two elegant bouquets for my 10th anniversary at work, and one of them, the one from the big boss, had two of my favorite blooms: hydrangeas and pink roses.  The roses were of interest to me because they were not solid-colored, but graduated from pink to white towards the center.  (Craft happiness!)

I am also trying to dry the peonies which started to crumble yesterday (Day 4 from their delivery), and it shows promise, but we’ll see.

It’s approximately 6 days since the flowers have been cut and put on a vase.  The petals are still relatively fresh — no signs of wilting (as of yet).  I know from long ago that roses need to be cut at the base an inch from the tip for it to eventually bloom.  I purposely didn’t do that to preserve the rose stem “mid-bit”.

Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 1

I wiggled the bud lose and started to make it easier to take each petal off.  I discarded the outer layer which has browned in some portions. Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 2

I then arranged the petals with enough space between each petal between pages of an old dictionary.
Pressed flowers: Anniversary bouquet 3

I also experimented with some hydrangeas and I”m keeping my fingers crossed that comes out nicely.  I left the book under two reams of paper to weigh it down and help press the flowers flat.  Let’s see how that comes out on Monday.

Philippine Map – Mail Art Postcard

I’ve started slowing down with the swaps at Swap-bot but have decided to start drawing postcards with the Philippine map.  I’ve done some handmade postcards the last couple of months, but none which included a particular collecting interst of mine among postcards, particularly maps or lighthouses.

With the lack of map choices for the Philippines, I thought it was worth giving it a try. 
Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChickI started by printing an outline of the map on plain white 5 x 8 index cards in a dark grey, then coloring them with alcohol-based ink and water.  I tried to work with the blue and red and fuschia pink shades of Dylusions and a spray bottle of water and came up with my initial 11 sheets above. 

I kept one print out plain to have a reference guide because although the ink was transparent, the color was very vivid and strong.  It also makes it difficult to just trace an outline because of the archipelagic nature of the 7,100 islands of the Philippines which are not all visible in the drawn map, of course. 

Work in Progress: Handmade Map Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChick

Postcard of the Philippines by GothamChick

I traced the outline of the map and hand-lettered PILIPINAS which is how it is denominated in Pilipino or FIlipino, the local language. 
Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1
You can see the gaps by the edge, and I filled that out with Dylusions stain and then dabbed on some walnut ink with a foam blending tool to cover the edges and provide a visual border beyond the drawn frame.

Here’s the first of the series:
Mail Art Postcard: Philippine Map 1

So I have 10 more to go for this series and hope to keep this going.  If you’re into making your own postcards, this is a good way to reproduce your actual art on a postcard.  If you’re interested to get one of these, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox@gmail.com.

MATERIALS USED:

 

Polymer Clay: Hand-molded Beads

Someone had passed on a beautiful vase of flowers which included lavander and pink roses in the mix to me just before memorial day weekend, and I was hoping to try and create rose petal covered polymer clay beads.  The plan was to create hand molded beads from left over polymer clay and then “wrap” them with the rose petals which I was hoping to coat with resin as a sealant.  Ambitious, indeed, and sadly, it didn’t work.

I ended up with quite a bunch of handmolded beads which I had made by pressing together two halves from a silicone rubber mold.  If you look closely, the edges are not perfect although the face is smooth and the shape came out rather well.  I pressed the two faces onto a gold eyepin to embed a bead hole and then “smoothed” the edges together with my fingertips to “seal” the two faces together.

Polymer Clay Hand molded bead 1Polymer Clay Hand molded bead 2Polymer Clay Hand molded bead 3

I then created a polymer clay coating over it using earth tone colored clay.  These are by no means perfectly round and are obviously handmade, but it will enable you to create your polymer clay beads without resorting to creating cane-related designs.  I baked the beads over the weekend and have come up with quite a batch and will be creating a piece out of it before the week is out.

Waves Polymer Clay bead 2

Please bear in mind that I’m experimenting here.  The colors I chose were: Jewelry Gold, Pottery (Terra Cotta), Antique Gold, Brown and Copper.  I also balanced out two matte or solid colors (Pottery and Brown) with three pearlescent colors with a shimmer (Jewelry Gold, Antique Gold and Copper).

Waves Polymer Clay bead 1

I used two regular shapes, puff round and puff oval, and experimented with this swiss cross bead which was a little tricky to “coat” because the corners were blunted by the polymer clay coating. (Lesson learned.)

My original plan is to coat this with resin, but I am thinking now that the matte texture of the baked polymer clay looks good as is.  I’m trying to weigh the pros and the cons.

Over the weekend, too, I created some square canes with leftover polymer clay, still using this same design.  More on that later.

Paper Crafts: Recycling Gift Wrapping Tissues into Flowers

One part I like about the holidays most is the wrapping of the gifts. This year wasn’t all that much because Angelo had picked smaller toys, and we really didn’t have many gifts going out. I had postponed my holiday giftgiving to after Christmas, being that we as Catholics, do the Feast of the Three Kings which is another excuse to give gifts. I only have a few I’m putting together, so it won’t be much.

I hate having to throw away good giftwrapping paper, though, more so when they have those cute designs. For my own gifts, I stick to the regular green, red, silver or gold giftwrappers. I am trying to get rid of my stash of several years which I had acquired at a post holiday season sale at IKEA. I had bought some 10 rolls of at 25% the original selling price. January is always a good time to buy holiday wares because everything is being pushed out of the store for a song.

I’ve been busy putting my craft corner in order, and while I am nowhere near finishing, I think I did major progress sorting things out, and one problem I have is that I put away stuff to cut or punch at a later time that the best way to get rid of them is to actually do what I had intended to do in the first place.

I had a beautiful holiday gift bag that had held a present from a friend with gold and white striped tissue in in it. Two sheets. I usually fold my gift bags and had to get rid of the tissue when an idea struck me. How about trying to do pom-pom type flowers? I thought I’d give it a try, and I ended up with a half dozen or so “blooms” like the one pictured below.

PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 1

How I did it:

1. Fold the paper tissue into two, then fold further into a width that would accommodate your paper punch. I had used a rather wide mega punch so I ended up folding the two-fold into three.

2. To achieve the pompom effect above, I used a multi-flower punch and you can see the original shape below with a view of the back of the flower:

PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 3

3. I ended up punching a dozen (6 x 2) and I moved the batch by a 1/8th inch turn clockwise to make the flowers separate.

4. I then stapled the whole bunch together and fluffed the petals to form the pompom.

These, I will use sooner than the coming holidays, but if you have a lot of pompoms, you can store them in a jar or a shoe box to avoid them from getting flattened, or you can punch, move the petals to “alternate” but not fluff and store flat.

Voila!

PaperKrafts: Recycled giftwrapping tissue - 2