Showing posts with label clay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label clay. Show all posts

Marbled Polymer Clay Pen Tutorial

Sculpey Clay Tutorial: Learn how to use a marbled, polymer clay cane to make a beautiful twist pen.

In the crafting world, things don't always go as planned. Last week I showed you how to make a couple of quilt block inspired polymer clay canes. My intention was to use one of those canes in this pen tutorial, and then I had a craft fail. I tried to reduce the cane too quickly and the quilt block turned into a quilt blob.

As I was smooshing up the leftovers of my mistake learning experience, I realized that in my frustration I was making a lovely piece of marbelized clay. What a happy mistake! We'll call this marbled clay pen tutorial Plan B, but I think you are going to love it.



Make sure to protect your work surface. Sometimes the colors can stain. I like to use a piece of parchment paper if I am working at the table. I also have a cutting board dedicated to clay crafting.

Squish, swirl and smoosh 2-3 colors of clay until you get a nice marbelized piece.

Shape the clay into a square cane that's about 3/8 of an inch in on each side and at least 2 inches long.
Use a cutting blade to cut the cane into thin slices (about 1/16 of an inch or less). For the best results, make sure your slices are an even thickness.
Cover each brass tube from the pen kit with the clay slices. At this point, it's okay if there are small gaps between the slices.
Gently roll and press the clay to fill the gaps, conceal the joins and make sure that the clay has the same thickness all the way around.

Use a blade to trim the clay at the ends of each tube.
I made three pens with different colors. (That green one used to be my beautiful quilt block cane.)

Once the tubes are completely covered with clay, they can be baked according to the manufacturer's instructions.
After the pieces come out of the oven and cool completely, you can use a piece of sandpaper to buff out any imperfections or irregularities if necessary.

I wanted a glossy finish for my pens, so I added a couple coats of glaze to each tube.
When applying the glaze, I like to run a skewer through the pen tubes and balance them on something like a plastic container so I can coat the pieces evenly and avoid smudging them with my fingers.
Once the glaze has dried completely, It's time to assemble the pen.

If you plan to make a lot of pens, it would probably be wise to invest in a pen press. However, you can get good results by using a rubber mallet instead.
The tip of the pen goes into the end of one of the tubes.

Again, make sure to protect your work surface. I am using my (non food) cutting board to avoid dents in the table as I tap the pen pieces together.
Next, the twist mechanism gets tapped into the other end of the tube.
Finally, the end cap and clip get tapped into one end of the other tube.
Now that the hammering is done, slide on the center band then  insert and twist the ink cartridge into the twisting mechanism, and slide on the pen top.
Of course, you could use a decorative polymer clay cane to make a twist pen in much the same way. But if something goes awry and you have a craft fail, don't be afraid to embrace your mistakes and use up your scraps to make something more random and beautiful.

Sculpey Clay Tutorial: Learn how to use a marbled, polymer clay cane to make a beautiful twist pen.

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Gentleman's Fancy Polymer Clay Cane Tutorial

Learn how to make a quilt block inspired polymer clay cane using Sculpey clay.

Earlier this week I showed you how to make an easy, quilt block inspired, polymer cane called Friendship Star. I have one more to show you that is a little bit larger, and more intricate called Gentleman's Fancy.



The only extruder disk you need for this project is the right triangle. I cut all of my extruded lengths to 3 inches, but you can make yours longer or shorter depending on how you will use your cane.

Extrude 8 light colored triangles, 12 medium colored triangles and 16 dark colored triangles.
Press together a length of medium and light colored clay to make a square. Make four of these squares.
Press together the four squares to make a block that has the medium clay at the center and the light at the corners.

As you may be able to see, to create this cane we are going to work from the center out.
Next, make 4 dark colored triangles by pressing two triangles together, side by side.
Add the dark triangles to the block.
Next, using two medium colored triangles and a light colored triangle for each piece, make 4 trapezoids.

(This may be the first time I have used the word 'trapezoid' in a blog post.)
Add the trapezoids to the block.
Make 4 more large triangles using the dark clay as before.
Add the corners to the block.
Once this block is assembled, it's easiest to compress the pieces together with a roller.
After the block is completely compressed, you can use reduce the cane and use it in your work as desired.

Learn how to make a quilt block inspired polymer clay cane using Sculpey clay

If you make a project using this cane design, please share a picture on my Facebook page or tag me, @thechillydog, on Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr.

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Friendship Star Polymer Clay Cane Tutorial

How to make a simple polymer clay cane inspired by the Friendship Star quilt block.

You don't have to be a quilter to appreciate some of the stunning designs and motifs used in traditional quilting. One of my favorite quilt blocks is called the Friendship Star. And yes, many years ago I even made a quilt using this design. Today however, I am going to show you how to make a polymer clay cane that incorporates the Friendship Star motif.



The clay extruder comes with a bunch of different shaped disks. For this project you only need the square and the right triangle.

I cut all of my extruded clay into 3 inch lengths, but you could make them longer or shorter depending on how you plan to use your cane.
With the triangle disk, extrude 4 pieces of dark colored clay, 4 pieces of medium colored clay and 8 pieces of light colored clay.

With the square disk, extrude 1 piece of medium colored clay.
Press together a dark clay triangle and the light clay triangle to make a square. Repeat to make a total of four square lengths.
Now make four squares using the medium and light clay.
Next, make three rectangles by placing the square strands together as shown.
Carefully stack the left rectangle on top of the right.
Then stack those onto the last rectangle.

Carefully press or roll the entire stack together.
Once your block is completely compressed, you can reduce it and use it in projects just like any other cane.
Later this week I'll show you how to make another quilt block inspired polymer clay cane called Gentleman's Fancy.

Quilt block inspired polymer clay canes

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Book Review: The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide

The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide by Marie Segal is a must have reference for clay crafters of all skill levels.

Over the years, I have dabbled with polymer clay projects. Kindly speaking, my creations have been primitive at best. For some reason, I always thought of clay as a simplistic kid's craft. I am learning that polymer clay is a quite versatile material and can be enjoyed by crafters of all skill levels.

My favorite clay crafting reference is The Polymer Clay Artist's Guide by Marie Segal.

If you are a newbie to polymer clay crafting, the book has very clear explanations about the materials used  as well as the different types of tools needed. It also simply explains some very basic techniques to get you started with making beads or even jewelry pieces.

And then the real fun begins! There are pages and pages filled with stunning photos and step by step tutorials for creating different effects and designs that you would never imagine possible. I was wowed by the directory of effects ranging from textures and printing to caning and mosaic.

At the end of each section are photographic examples of how the 50+ featured polymer clay artists incorporated the effects into their own real world creations.

Every image in this book will get your creative juices flowing and there are enough different techniques described that as a casual crafter you may never get through them all, but won't it be fun to try?

Happy crafting!

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Simply Organized Craft Supplies

Hi! My name is Ellen and I am a craft-a-holic. Lucky for me, I have an entire room in our house dedicated to my obsession. Even though it doesn't always look like it, I try very hard to keep my tools and supplies organized so they are easy to access when the creative bug bites.

For the most part, I'm able to keep my supplies organized by craft type (i.e. sewing, drawing, beading, etc.). But sometimes it can be hard to contain all of the little bits and pieces I have collected over the years. My secret? I use small lidded organizers to compartmentalize all my notions.

Most beaders are probably already acquainted with using this type of container for storing their supplies. I have three of these Darice organizers for my beads so I can keep all my gems and findings sorted by type.

Quick tips for keeping your beads and findings neatly contained.

I also like to use ArtBin Storage Containers. My small clay cutters and tools fit neatly into a single box instead of rattling around in the bottom of my clay cubbie, just waiting to jump out and slice my finger. My polymer clay is separated by color and brand into multiple boxes. (Oh yeah, there are four more boxes of clay that didn't get invited to the photo shoot!)

Quick tips for keeping your polymer clay and sculpting tools neatly contained.
For sewing, I wrangled all of my snaps, rivets, buckles and clasps into a single bin making it so much easier to see all of my sewing closures in one spot without having to open a bunch of little baggies and packages.

Quick tips for keeping your sewing notions neatly contained.

How do you store and organize your craft supplies?

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