Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What I've Been Working On

I told them to look at the goodies like they wanted to eat them.
What have I been working on?  Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas!  I made a black and pink quilt for my oldest daughter and she and I made a playhouse (a fabric thing that goes over a table and they play under it) for the two littlest girls.  The kids helped me make about 30 simple clay ornaments to give away and we all spent a day making goodies.

I made this quite a while ago but realized I still hadn't shared it.  This was my first real attempt at sculpting a rose.

This will eventually be listed in one of my shops.

I never make stuff for myself so I decided I would make me a pendant to match my favorite black and white skirt.  Um, yeah.  DON'T bake polymer clay at 400 degrees for 10 minuntes.  Unfortunately, I don't own a black and dirty brown skirt.

I wanted to try something new in a flower sculpture.  I used pink skinner blend slices for the middle two rows, lace cane slices for the next one or two and black skinner blend slices on the outside.  It's kind of unusual but I think I like it.

So there you go... which one do you like best?


Monday, January 9, 2012

Polymer Clay Tutorial: Striped Pen

This is a really quick and easy way to cover a pen that can be quite striking in the right colors.  It's also a good way to use up any strings you have left laying around from your last filligree project.  You can find out more about covering pens in this blog post and more about extruding polymer clay strings in this one
Supplies Needed:
1 Bic Round Stic pen or similar
Several colors of clay strings (about 6-7 feet altogether)

Tools Needed:
Round-nose pliers
Extruder (unless you've already made your strings)
Sharp craft knife (a tissue blade will work but I prefer my X-acto knife for more precision)

Extrude your clay (if you haven't already).  I'm using strings leftover from a filigree project.  You won't need near this much, it's just my leftovers.

Figure out what in what order you want your stripes.  (Keep in mind that the two outside colors will be touching each other as well.)  Lay the ends together on the table and gently press them together.

Keep arranging your strings and pressing them together until you get to the other end.  Don't squish too hard, this is just to make it easier to wind the strings around the pen.

Use your pliers to take the barrel out of the pen.  Leaving a tail about 1-2 inches long (mine should have been longer), start winding your striped ribbon around the pen.  Try to get all of the strings flush with one another.

If one of your colors runs out, you can add another string.  Cut the end of the finished string at an angle.

Cut the end of the new string at an angle as well and put the two together.  This makes it a lot easier to not have a gap.

Keep winding until you get to the end of the pen.  Carefully trim the excess clay from the open end of the pen.  Try to cut in the direction the strings are going.  For instance, I cut the excess of this one in a clockwise direction.

Now go to the other end of the pen and wind the excess clay around the exposed part.  

Like this:

Now unwind a couple of the strings back to just before they came up above the rim of the pen.

Trim the ones that are still wrapped flush with the end of the pen.

Roll the hanging strings into a spiral and press them onto the end of the pen.  (I should have left my end a little longer - had to flatten the spiral a little to get it to cover.)

There you go.  Now, you can bake it as is or...

You can roll it flat a little or a lot.  I rolled mine sort of flat but still with grooves in it to cover up some imperfections I didn't like.

Bake it and use your pliers to put the ink barrel back in the pen and you are finished!


P.S.  If you ever make a project from one of my tutorials and want to share pictures, I'd love to see them!  Post in the comments or on my Facebook or you can email me: