Mar 2, 2014

Rigid and flexible molds for Polymer Clay

I use both rigid and flexible molds. Flex molds are becoming so popular and they are certainly easy and fun to use. One or the other may not necessarily be better  however. Depending on use, a rigid mold can sometimes give better and cleaner results. The rigidness of a mold allows for more control and prevents the design being molded from getting stretched and distorted. Flexible molds are great for when the item is rounded, like a button for instance. Rigid molds are impossible to use for a rounded object like a sea urchin that has a bit of a curved underside. In this example you can see the advantage of being able to stretch a mold to pop out a 3 D item, without distorting the curvature and details and you can virtually turn the mold inside out.

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Flexible molds do have their limitations however, in that it is difficult to create texture plates with them. If one has a large surface area to cover such as creating a 4 x 5 sheet, for example, it’s pretty much guaranteed that one will either end up with an unevenly textured piece, that is some areas will be more deeply impressed and others not enough and some of the details may look stretched. Even if one is successful in creating a texture plate with silicone rubber, creating a positive from such a large mold is difficult as the rubbery texture will shift and distort the image you are trying to copy. Another limitation with the flexible nature of such a mold is that if you are trying to create an equal front and back for a pendant, the stretchy nature of the mold might cause one to end up with 2 slightly different sized pieces.

Here is a short version tutorial on how to create a 2 sided item using a rigid mold.

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Materials: 

  • Polymer clay such as Premo

Tools:

  • · Tissue blade
  • · Rigid mold made from polymer clay
  • · Water
  • · Soft or absorbent brush, or small spray bottle for water
  • · Rubber chisel blending tool
  • · Needle tool
  • · Small metal spatula or exacto knife
  • · Texture such as coarse sandpaper or rough craft foam
  • · Small textured bead or stamp to hide seams

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Step 1: Spritz or brush your mold with water. If you are going to use Fimo to cast from the mold, then do not use water as it will make the Fimo sticky. Use corn starch instead.

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Step 2: Condition clay, roll into ball and press into the mold. Starting in centre of clay press outward to edges of mold.

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Step 3: Use tissue blade starting at about centre of mold and slice away excess. Use the edges of mold as a horizontal blade guard or as an indicator of how much excess to trim. Hold the blade as horizontal as possible as not to slice into the mold. It’s kind of like slicing multi levels of colour clay for mokume gane.

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Step 4: Turn the mold 180 degrees and slice away clay excess on other half.

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Step 5: Using your thumbs, push the clay toward centre of mold or away from the edges of the mold.

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Step 6: To remove the clay from the mold, press onto coarse sandpaper or a coarse craft foam texture.

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Step 7: Mold should lift away, by causing the clay to stick onto the texture, but if it doesn’t…

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Step 8: …you can also use a small metal spatula or needle tool to carefully lift the edges up and then the molded item is easier to remove.

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Step 9: Create another piece as before and then mount the 2 pieces together matching the edges.

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Step 10: With a rubber chisel tip you can easily blend and smooth seams. You can also use your fingertips to gently pinch the largest seam together first and then use the rubber chisel for the finer details.

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Step 11: Seams won’t then have any of the texture. To camouflage you can create a similar texture by using the sandpaper to impress a little bit of texture over the seam, use part of the mold itself, or…

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Step 12: If you have any metal beads with an interesting texture that matches, you can use this as a roller on the seam.

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Step 13: This pendant is done. All it needs is a hole for stringing and a bit of colour. One of my favourite method is to use mica or metal pulver on black for an antique metal finish. Of course you can choose any colour you like.

Find my latest molds, both rigid and flexible in my Etsy shop

WWW.beadcomber.etsy.com

I’ve added a variety of molds to my shop including this Raven Thor Hammer Pendant mold. There is another hammer, a Sea Horse, Mermaid, Egyptian Themes and much more. I’ll be adding more tonight!

Feb 2, 2014

Spiky Elegance Bangle Bracelet Tutorial

I forgot to tell you about my latest tutorial! While it’s not persé a Polymer Clay tutorial it could certainly work with polymer clay beads! A while back I created faux rock spiky beads and used a shambala style clasp, that is with the macramé pull strings. The tutorial shows how to attach metal clasps and beadwork, but you could add the cord pull strings.

This is the initial bracelet I made with the polymer clay beads

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And this is the Tutorial. It’s in all my shops, including Zibbet.

08-09-2013 spiky bracelets

Feb 1, 2014

Waterscape Jewellery

Currently one of the things I’m working on are some Waterscape Jewellery reminiscent of what I used to do in the early 90’s. Back then I called the popular miniature pieces ‘Underwater Scenes’ because they involved fish, octopus and other marine life. I created tiny pieces like coral, fauna, flora and fish from polymer clay and then mounted them on Hair barrettes, brooches, earrings, necklaces etc. Now I’m also creating scenes that take place above or on water that include lizards, frogs, and dragonflies. I just spent a few weeks making a variety of pieces and am told to prepare a bucket full, that these will sell well this season, but I also want to create each piece as a unique piece. Although tedious and a bit time-consuming, not only because of the small scale, but because of the multiple curing process in between elements, I do enjoy making these. Right now I’m contemplating putting away the clay and focus on completing some of these with cording, or beadwork such as bead-embroidery. The other part of me says to keep going with just a few more while the materials are out and on the go. Am thinking the later would keep the momentum going. That’s the downside of a small studio, not having enough desk or counter space to work on multiple things on the go or through the stages from start to finish, even though my husband keeps telling me I would have enough space if I didn’t clutter up my work areas so much. He’s probably right, but as an Artist I keep an ‘organized’ mess. I need to have a lot of materials in front of myself to keep the muse entertained, right?

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I have a couple new creatures to add, such as lizard, toad and dolphin…

Jan 20, 2014

Kick-starting 2014 with a Mini Tutorial …

Kind of a late kick-start, but it’s still January. With ‘everyone’ seemingly on Facebook now,  it’s easy to neglect ones Blog, but it is actually easier to navigate. One can search for a particular subject, keyword or even tutorial. Posts on Facebook get lost amongst all the posts from Friends in the Newsfeed. The benefit of a blog is that while it shows up on my FB wall, I’ll also have it here to refer back to. This year I strive to bring you more updates. I tinker around so much with stuff in my studio and do have so many tips to offer, but I just get so involved that I forget to show you! I need to re-evaluate how I spend my time, you may be able to relate, lol.  I also want to focus more on my Zibbet shop as my Etsy and ArtFire are well set up. My Zibbet is far less costly and we all appreciate some savings right? You may have heard about an Exodus from Etsy to Zibbet, but I don’t intend to give up on Etsy yet, as each shop has its own benefit. Enough said, I digress. Show me already! you say, lol. Okay, okay! The Mini Tutorial!

USB Cover!

I had thought of doing this last year, but never got around to it, but recently a clay friend inspired with her version, so I bought a bunch of USB sticks. Mine are by HP (Hewlett-Packard) which is my fave trusted brand for computer geekery. And these sticks are very small physically, but not so small when it comes to saving Data. I bought both 16 GB and 32 GB. I plan on listing some finished ones that I cover, like this one…a mere 1 1/2 inch tall. A cent for comparison. Cute eh? If you want to make some consider the shape as you won’t be able to cure the actual USB or you may ruin the delicate technology within.

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This truly is a MINI Tutorial in regards to both size of finished product and steps involved. My paid tutorials go into much greater step by step description and photography meant for any level of ability. My minis are meant for those who can look at something and know how to get there without the steps in between.

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From this… …to this and a regular USB stick for comparison.
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Create a slab cut to same size as the mini USB and cure. This will be your USB template. Here you can also see the larger USB without its cap, to show how deep the USB part is that gets inserted into a laptop or computer. Score your blank for appropriate depth. Then use Armorall, Kato Repel Gel or Vaseline to coat your clay blank surface.

Cover top half of template to the score line with a clay sheet and cure both pieces together. When cool, the wrapped clay should simply slide off the template. Before removing (or mount back on) Use a cutting tool to score some shallow lines into the template.  The carved ‘inny’ lines on template will translate to little ‘outy’ lines to the cap and will grip the USB stick so the cap doesn’t just fall off.

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Repeat last step,  for the cap, by using Armourall or Kato Repel etc…and then cure. Let cool and test fit on USB. Then decorate both pieces by adding more clay. Here is one of my examples. Glue the top part to the USB, but don’t glue the cap!

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Going to hang this one on a pretty cord of sorts. I have a whole bunch more stuff to show you soon. Jewelry in the works and another Tutorial to publish tomorrow!!!

Oct 17, 2013

Time to let go and on to bigger things

Summer means a lot of production work, namely small pieces and quick sellers. It also happens I get asked for something more substantial but I don’t have a lot of time to spare during the busy season as beadembroidery takes several hours if not days, so I set aside Fall and Winter to work on that. I also intend to blog a bit more often.

The big destash. Time to let go of a few things, mainly my handmade components as I can’t use them all. I’ve already sold quite a few as I’m listing these at insanely low prices, $15 for a pack which means individual pieces are going for less than a Dollar and some for just cents. Normally I sell these between $5 and $15 a piece each. Why am I selling them and why for so little? Because I don’t have enough time to use them all, plus I continually make more than I can use. I also collect them with the intent to list and sell, but end up not having the time, and the box full grew and grew, so it’s time to start fresh. I kept a few pieces to create into beadembroidery (shown below) and the rest are now in my shop. If you enjoy beading you will enjoy these. What do they look like? Here are a few examples, but have a look in my Zibbet as there are close ups photos and better descriptions.

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I’m planning 3 beadembroidered neck collars with matching earrings, maybe bracelets as well. I have sorted colours of beads to compliment the polymer clay cabochons. I’m not quite sure if I should add the amber glass to this Hawaiian Hibiscus? My husband thinks yes, what do you think?

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Then there is the Fuschia and Orange, and Turquoise with Green.

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I still need to destash other things, including molds, textures etc, but this will have to wait as I’m going on the road until end of November. I’ll take this netbook (and bead collars) with me, so I can blog and still send my PDF tutorials and show you some progress.

Sep 9, 2013

Fall is the time for new things

or is supposed to be. In my last post I told you about the unexpected renovations around here, but I still managed to get another couple of tutorials done. I also realize that I hadn’t even posted the one just before that, so should tell you about it also.

If you like Pandora, Pave, Panda or Beads with large holes and eyelets, I’ve created a Beach Themed bead that even comes with (or without) molds (your choice). The one with molds is $19 and includes shipping and the one without is $6. The molds are also available separately for those wishing to purchase but live outside of North America.

 

The newest tutorials are the Fish and Dragonfly tutorials. This is the Combo Tutorial for both. It’s only $14 for both, or $9 for the Dragonfly and $7 for the Fish.

These tutorials have a lot of information.

Make a small gift for the guys, someone that fishes for sport or just because! Or His and Hers key chains.
A variety of things in this tutorial: sculpting, molding, casting, painting with alcohol inks, gilding, and assemblage. First sculpt a Fish and a Dragonfly, and then create molds with backgrounds. Next, add a subtle and soft color, or another that is much bolder and vibrant. Some paints are optional but demonstrated. The projects here can be used for key fobs, pendants, pins, key chains or even box tops.


The Fish tutorial consists of 35 photographs, 38 steps, 12 pages, the Dragonfly has 49 photographs, 59 steps and 17 pages, both with a List of Tools and Materials, in 2 instant pdf file downloads. The precise instructions will guide you to create the projects outlined.
The PDF tutorials are Instant Downloadable files


© Tina Holden 2013
Beadcomber

Aug 27, 2013

Crazy Fogust

Foggy August equates to Fogust in this part of the world, but for our family it could be called the same for the blur of activity that went on and is going on. Right during the busiest time of our season a pipe in one of the bathrooms decided to burst.
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We woke up to a puddle in the kitchen, and a flood in the bathroom and hallway. The water had also seeped into our daughters bedroom and laundry room.  At first we thought the toilet had flooded and that our daughter who has Autism was trying to use the plunger, but it was quickly obvious that a simple leak was not the problem,  it turned out to be much bigger. The valve couldn’t be shut off because the break had occurred just below it. As our nice laminate floating floor began to blister it became obvious that we’d have to involve the Insurance. Water was being trapped between it and the original floor. Their first question was  “Is it Poly B?” They know it is a problem. In 2010 a class action lawsuit for $950million had been settled in Canada and the USA, but of course we were oblivious to that knowledge. Fixing this pipe would be at our own expense since the Insurance considers this a home maintenance problem, not ‘damage’ itself.

Insurance, assessment, repairs. Noisy fans, nights spent at hotels, no access to washer and dryer, no bedroom and respite room for our daughter, no access to her washroom, most of the furniture crammed into the living room, all during the busiest and most stressful time of the year. It’s been difficult to concentrate on work. Right now things are quiet and work should be completed by September 12th. We decided to pay extra and have our daughters room renovated with a floating laminate floor also, instead of carpeting,  plus hubby painted her ceiling while it sits empty. We also had a Plumber replace all the Poly B pipe to PEX which is a relief because we don’t want to risk another disaster. I feel for the people that have this plumbing in their home and don’t even know it. 

OH…and before I forget…I have a SALE in my Etsy shop. Until August 31, use SUMMERTIME2 for 20% off any purchase, no minimum required...if you miss it, use SUMMERTIME20 until Sept 21, but there is a $12 minimum.
The Sale...just because…

Aug 1, 2013

Reflections and Eyeglass holders

Now what may those two things have in common? Not much other than Reflections can be something one sees when looking in a mirror or when remembering the past. For me it’s the latter because today I received an email from my father who lives in Germany. We haven’t seen one another in many years and he told me he had been looking at some photos of when I had visited him in Germany in late1989, including this one, of when I first started to work with Fimo! Gosh…that is almost 24 years ago!! Perms…never again, lol. You might recognize some of the metal pulvers on the desk and the paper in the basket at my feet is a good indicator of the year. What was I working on…brooches. I’ll have to find that booklet I was using…or maybe create some of those pins again.

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Nice to think back to some good ol’ days.

So what was I working on over the last couple of days? Brooches…but of a different sort. I was asked by a local Gallery to make some eyeglass holders. Normally one would think of those long leashes worn as a necklace with the little rubber gasket type of ends. I made a few beaded ones, but then wanted to make some with polymer clay and came up with these since the Gallery likes my Ocean Themes. Sand dollars which can be worn either as a brooch or pin, but also as a necklace as the brooch findings have a loop for cord.

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Now that I made these I have even more ideas…back to the work table…

Jul 3, 2013

Shades of Turquoise

 
Today I mixed 4 shades of Turquoises in order to recreate one of my Starfish pendants I have for sale on Etsy. In my listing I used a hint to myself that it includes Turquoise and Peacock (Pearl) and when I used the recipe for it (2nd from left), quickly realized that it was the wrong 'hint'.

45mm turquoise peacock handmade Sea Star Pendant with daisy bail


 I searched and searched my notebook and couldn't find it...so attempted to just wing it...until I found it on my own blog! from when I created Pantone 2011 mixes.

I realize colours on monitors still vary, but which of the above do you think matches the starfish the best??

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