Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fun with Fimo

Materials and Tools:   Fimo (other brands available), Craft Knife, Pasta machine, Cookie cutters

Fimo needs to be conditioned to allow it to be worked into whatever is being created. Conditioned clay is soft and can be manipulated without it cracking. This is achieved by rolling and kneading the clay making it warm and soft.  This process can be done by hand or helped along using a pasta machine (on the widest setting). 
For the next stages the conditioned clay should be in one of three forms. Rolled in a ball, rolled out into a sausage shape or rolled to an even thickness (using pasta machine is ideal or alternatively can be rolled by hand and spacers at each side of the clay will ensure an even thickness).

Making canes
Once conditioned the clay can be built up into canes. A cane is a stick of clay which contains a pattern depending on how different colours have been assembled. 

bullseye - Think of a bullseye at the centre of a dart board. It consists of a solid colour surrounded by a ring of another colour.
Roll one colour into a sausage shape. Take a flat sheet of clay in an alternate colour and wrap it once around the sausage. This should be a single layer, the seams should meet with no overlapping. Can add more layers to suit (an additional layer is a good start). 

swissroll - Lay one flat piece of clay on top of the other. Trim so that both pieces are the same size. Starting at one end Roll the two pieces together. At the end trim at an angle so that the outer colour is complete. The view from the end of the cane should be a two colour swirl. 

stripes - Lay one flat pieces of clay on top of one another.Trim to make all layers the same size. 

The canes can be sliced thickly to make individual beads, or thinly to be impressed into base pieces to make beads or pendants.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Polymer clay beads ... experimenting at home

The topic for the class this week will be polymer clay beads. So with the Fimo having arrived and lots of tutorials on "You Tube", particularly those from "The Crafts I couldn't resist having a play.

Polymer Clay Beads

Materials and Tools:   Polymer clay (I'm using Fimo ), Sharp knife, Baking tray, Oven

Polymer clay comes in blocks. Cut off a piece to use and wrap the remainder of the block in plastic bag or other airtight container.   Work the piece by kneading and rolling. The purpose of this is to make the clay more pliable, easier to work with and eliminate air bubbles.

I'm going to leave any discussion on patterns until after the class. This was just having a go and I limited myself to two colours (ochre and turquoise). I made a check pattern by layering the colours then cut into cubes which I rounded into beads, and pierced a hole. As the colours became more mixed there was more marbling and I tried a couple of different shapes. 
The clay is baked (according to instructions) at a relatively low temperature (110 degrees C) for about half an hour. 

All tools used for polymer clay are no longer fit for food use so the baking tray needs to be covered in tin foil or made exclusive for non-food use.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Paper beads

Making beads with paper. Can be made from any paper and very effective using junk mail, magazine pages, wallpaper.

Materials and Tools:  Paper, Glue Stick, Dowel or cocktail sticks, Ruler, Pen/pencil, scissors/trimmer

Take piece of paper and make a mark 1/2” along one side, then make marks at 1” intervals. On the opposite edge mark at 1” intervals.
Score from the marks on one side to the other resulting in long triangles.
Cut along the scored lines so that you have the triangle shaped strips of paper.

Glue a narrow strip along the base of the triangle, on the wrong side of the paper. Place the dowel on the paper and fold the glued edge over to stick to the paper on the other side of the dowel. The dowel is there to provide the hole in the bead and should not be glued to the paper.  You should have something that looks like a pendant flag. 
Put glue on the wrong side of the paper down to the point. Continue to roll the paper around the dowel.
Slip the bead off the dowel and allow glue to dry. Applying a coat of varnish will help to protect the bead and make it stronger.  

So what am I up to?

Well, the assignments are done, revision is in progress and I've just started an evening class in Jewellery Design. So, l thought I'd keep a record of the fun stuff :-)