Pretty Owl Necklace created for Chocolate Baroque

Good morning. This was one of my show samples using the Bold Blooms stamp set from Chocolate Baroque. I decorated an MDF owl and added it to some recycled chain and bead strings to make a pretty necklace. I made a little gift tag to match.

AW Owl Necklace

AW Owl Necklace 2

Materials:

  • Bold Blooms stamp set
  • Gesso (white) and acrylic paint (turquoise)
  • Inkpads: Versamark, Stazon (Jet Black)
  • Coloured pens (Pentel – pink and turquoise)
  • Glitter Glue (clear)
  • Ultra thick embossing powder (UTEE – Clear and Clear with mica)
  • Recycled chain and bead strings, clasp findings and jump rings
  • MDF owl and mini tag

How it was made:

  1. The MDF owl was coated with gesso (primer) then acrylic paint. The image was stamped with StazOn and coloured with pens. A little glitter glue was added for sparkle.
  2. When fully dry the piece was coated with Versamark and coated with pearlescent clear UTEE. Two more layers of clear UTEE were added to give a sealed shiny finish.
  3. The pendant was attached to the recycled bead and chain to make a necklace, A little gift tag was stamped and coloured to match.
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New Year, New Beginnings, Sculpey Polymer Clay Butterfly Necklace Set

Good morning. I had only ever tried out polymer clay once several years ago to make some beads but experienced absolute disaster as I scorched most of them on baking. The majority were consigned to the bin and I never got around to trying it out again! I would just look in envy at the gorgeous projects others were making with this medium.

I have since used various air dry clays and had been meaning to give polymer clay another try for ages, particularly for making beads and jewellery. However, I wasn’t feeling all that confident with my ability, or with my very old gas oven which varies so much in temperature (front to back and top to bottom).

I was immensely flattered when renowned polymer clay artist Debbie Bulford asked if I would like to take part in this month’s Sculpey polymer clay challenge. Oh gosh! I really wanted to get the process right this time. I needed a challenge like this to push me into giving it another try.

The theme was ‘New Year Celebrations’ and could be interpreted how I liked to make any item with Sculpey Polymer Clay. I thought that ‘New Beginnings’ would be an apt title for my creation. New year, and evolving myself with new techniques and challenges. What better than the metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly. So here it is – my ‘New Beginnings’. I am going to enjoy wearing this over Christmas.

AW New Begin NL finished 1

Before starting on this piece I knew that I had to research and learn more about the properties of the clay. I also wanted to ensure that the baking was done under more controlled conditions. I put my scientist head on first this time. I read around, watched lots of YouTube videos and carried out several baking trials before I started on my piece. My baking times are longer than many others use but I have based them on my trials with my particular baking conditions. Renowned polymer clay tutor Cindy Lietz is also an advocate of longer baking. I am going to blog all my findings and trials in another posting after Christmas. I hope that others just starting out will find it useful to help them begin with their own creations.

Materials:

  • Von Chef table top oven with raised silicone baking mat and oven thermometer (see pic below)
  • Scrap card to sit items on for baking
  • Sculpey Premo Polymer Clay (57g packs): Black (2 packs), Antique Gold (1/2 pack), White (1/4 pack),Wisteria (1/4 pack), Blue Glitter (1/8 pack)
  • Sculpey Bake & Bond
  • Antique bronze coloured copper wire (1mm and 0.6mm), plain copper wire (0.8mm and 0.6mm)
  • Mica powders (Jaquard – Super Bronze, Aztec Gold, True Blue, Flamingo Pink)
  • Clay extruder with petal and circle discs plus an adaptor to make hollow tubes
  • Acrylic roller, glass mat, Teflon mat, various clay shaping tools
  • Leaf shaped push cutters (3 sizes – 5cm to 3cm length range)
  • Pasta rolling machine
  • Ready made antique bronze leaf toggle clasp and earring hook findings

Step by Step – how it was made:

I first tested my oven to achieve even temperature without big fluctuations – 125 to 130 degrees centigrade. The important thing is to have the oven hot enough but without it getting too hot and causing scorching. I used a raised silicone baking mat to raise my baked pieces away from the hot surface (the temperature fluctuates immensely right next to the base as the thermostat clicks on and off)

Note: The clay will give off a slight plastic smell while baking but if you get an acrid smell it is too hot (ventilate the room well if this happens). I have given baking times for my pieces based on my experiments – different ovens may give different optimal baking times. Thicker pieces will need longer than thinner (more about all this will be included in my blog after Christmas along with how I tested my optimal baking times etc.).

AW Bake polymer 2

 

Clay was conditioned by hand kneading and by passing repeatedly through the pasta roller. Black clay was extruded using a circle disc and adaptor to make a long tube of clay (approx. 6-7mm wide). Different coloured micas were applied to the surface to give shimmer. This was then baked in a lightly curled up state to set a slight curve into the tube (40 mins). The baked clay was then sliced to make beads approx. 2-2.5cm long.

AW New begin 2

The beads were then threaded with 1mm antique bronze wire. At one end the wire was looped and pushed into the end of the bead to close the opening. A loop was created at the other end with extra twirls and coils added for an organic look. A little space was allowed at the bead ends for wrapping clay to cover the open bead ends and loops were aligned in a horizontal orientation (see next step).

AW New begin 6

Thin ‘cords’ of black clay were created with the extruder and wrapped randomly around the beads using Bake & Bond to ‘glue’. The open ends of the beads were covered to hide the holes and ‘set’ the wires in place.

AW New begin 7

The bead ends covered and wires anchored with clay coils.

 

The leaf/petal shaped disc was used and the extruded ‘cane’ sliced to make little leaf shapes. These were squished, shaped and attached onto the beads. A little Bake & Bond was used where needed (i.e. if attaching to the prebaked clay areas). I designed the slightly curved beads to fit around the neck so they had a front and back side. Leaves were added to the front so they would not be lumpy and sticking into the skin (particularly as the pendant section is quite heavy). The fresh clay embellishments were dusted with mica powders then baked for a further 60 minutes (10 beads for the necklace and 2 for earrings).

AW New begin 3

Beads, extruded ‘cords’ and ‘leaf cane’ created with extruder discs.

AW New begin 8

Leaves added and mica powder applied ready to bake.

 

AW New begin 9

Finished beads after baking.

The beads were joined together with 1mm wire using random swirly joining loops (5 beads each side of the clasp). Note the slightly curved beads were orientated so that they would fit the curve around the neck. I tried connecting with double jump rings but they gave too structured a finish. The random swirly loops gave the more organic look that I was after.

AW New begin 10

AW New begin 11

The front branch was created next. I estimated the size by holding up the beaded section onto my neck and estimating the width and depth that I wanted. I created a shallow ‘V’shaped branch approx. 10cm across and 5cm deep using 1mm wire as an armature for the clay (to give it extra strength). Attachment loops were created at the apex and tips.

AW New begin 12

2 ‘sausages’ of black clay were slit and wrapped around the wire armature to create an organic branch shape. Extruded ‘cords’ of black and gold clay mix were wrapped and twisted around the branch to give added texture. Mica was brushed over to colour (see pics below).

Next the leaf embellishments were created using a blend of black and gold clays and push cutters (rough Skinner Blend to get colour variations – see below). The clay was put through the pasta roller to create sheets of approx. 1.5mm thick. The push cutters were used to cut and emboss the shapes at the same time. Leaf fronts were cut from the blended colour sheets and the backs cut with black clay.

AW New begin 13

0.6mm copper wire armatures were added for extra strength and to help with shaping (which also held the shape while baking).

The leaves were arranged onto the branch and wires pushed into the clay to hold. Mica powders added extra colour variation. The branch was then baked for 40 mins.

AW New begin 14

Note some wire ends were left protruding on the left and right sides to aid attachment of embellishments later.

AW New begin 15

The branch back.

0.8mm copper wire was used to make an armature for the caterpillar. Black clay was rolled and cut into slices to make disc shaped beads which were thread onto the wire and pushed together. A small amount of white clay was extruded with a small circle disc and sliced to make little circles for eyes. Shaping tools were used to add texture details and a little mica powder added extra colour. The caterpillar was attached to the branch using Bake & Bond and baked for 30 minutes.

AW New begin 16

Several Skinner Blend mixes were created to makes canes which were wrapped with black clay and joined together to make a butterfly cane. There are lots of video tutorials out there about making blends. Triangles of glitter blue or Wisteria clay were blended with white by repeatedly passing through the clay roller.

AW New begin 16a

The long blended strips were then folded concertina style and eased into a sausage shape. I didn’t worry too much about getting it perfect as it was not really essential for this project. A thin layer of black clay was then wrapped around the outside to make a Bulls Eye cane with a colour gradient across the middle.

I then started combining these canes to build up my butterfly cane. I really struggled with this bit. However, I did manage to get some pretty canes. I definitely need a little practice at this!

AW New begin 17a

Some of my attempts at butterfly cane – oh dear! One of my distorted canes was however perfect for creating the newly emerged butterfly wings and I was really pleased with how it looked. I again used a 1mm bronze wire armature to add strength and to create an attachment loop (baked for 1 hour).

AW New begin 17

I persisted and made another butterfly cane. I really struggled with reducing it so made it close to the size that I wanted. However, where I wanted a delicate butterfly look it turned out to be more of a moth look instead! Again I used a wire armature (0.8mm copper) to add strength and to hold the shape while baking. The butterfly was attached to the branch using Bake & Bond and the piece was baked for another hour.

AW New begin 19

AW New begin 20

The newly emerged butterfly was attached at the base using double jump rings created with 1mm wire. The branch was attached to the necklace beaded section using 1mm wire and ‘organic’ loops.

AW New Begin 21

One of my ‘reject’ butterfly canes also made some lovely earrings to coordinate. I made a couple of delicate slices and added holes using a ball tool. Baked for 1 hour.

AW New begin 18a

The butterfly wings were attached to the beads using jump rings created with 1mm bronze coloured wire. Ready made hooks were attached to the bead tops.

AW New begin 18

I have loved my first big adventures with polymer clay and I know that I will enjoy wearing this one. A definite statement piece! Here’s to new beginnings x.

AW New begin finished NL 4

AW New begin finished tree

Hopefully there are not too many typos or errors in my post – rushing around to get ready for Christmas – tee hee. Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a fabulous New Year, Anne xxx.

Sneak Peek Chocolate Baroque on Hochanda Tomorrow

Lesley Wharton is on Hochanda tomorrow (Sat 23rd Dec) with FAB pick & mix shows of Chocolate Baroque stamping goodies. Freeview Channel 85 or watch online (12 and 3pm)

 

Here is a sneaky peek.

AW Pic mix SP

Easy Christmas Earrings

Good morning. These Christmas earrings are a really easy make and don’t take too long. Great for blinging up a Christmas outfit. I made them with earring clips for friends without pierced ears but they could be attached to stud & loop fittings or earring hooks too.

I used ready made wire hoop earring findings and simply wrapped then with lovely tinsel thread (Madeira Glissen Gloss). I used high tac fabric glue to attach tiny star sequins and to add a little fine polyester glitter for extra sparkle. I attached a simple beaded drop for extra dangle and movement.

AW Christmas ER 2

AW Christmas ER 1

AW Christmas ER 3

AW Christmas ER 4

AW Christmas ER 1

AW Christmas ER 3

AW Christmas ER 4

Sneaky Peek of Wrapped Buttons coming to Create & Craft TV Saturday

Good afternoon. Gina Barrett (Gina B Silkworks) is back on our screens this weekend with more gorgeous wrapped buttons with added embroidery patterns, and some lovely mini button frames which can be used to display and mount them. Here is a sneak peek at some of my samples. I have used some of the frames to create pendants too. Her show is this Saturday (9th December) at 2pm on Create & Craft TV (Freeview Channel 23 or watch via their website – they keep catch up videos too if you miss the show).

 

AW Button show dec17

Adjustable Kanzashi Flower Ring Powertex Jewellery

Today I am sharing a pretty little adjustable Kanzashi flower ring created using fine printed cotton fabric which has been treated with Transparent Powertex to stiffen and protect it. Treating with Powertex adds strength and protects against dirt. Ideal for jewellery pieces.

There are lots of videos on YouTube showing Kanzashi flower making but most are using synthetic ribbons which are joined and sealed by melting. I used instructions from Gina-B Silkworks (this was a sample for her recent show on Create & Craft TV). Gina’s method is the traditional Japanese way using natural fabrics (silk or cotton). Being natural fibres these little flowers are simply ideal for treating with Powertex. Ready-made silk flowers could work very well too.

 

AW Kanzashi Ring 6

Really pretty and comfortable to wear (sorry that my hands are older crafters hands and not modelling quality – tee hee).

 

AW Kanzashi Ring 5

The ring is adjustable so easy fitting.

 

AW Kanzashi Ring 2

I coloured the back to match the wire colour. You can also see the adjustable ring form more easily in this pic – the backing and flower being secured to one of the flat wire coils.

 

Note: One thing to consider when using transparent Powertex is how it will affect the colour of the fabric. It will considerably darken many fabrics, giving them the appearance of their colour when wet. Always test out a spare scrap first so as not to be disappointed. The printed cotton that I used here changed very little in colour so I was really pleased with the result.

 

Tools and Materials:

Optional extras:

I used additional tools for making the flowers which are really helpful and make the process easier. They are not essential but you will probably want to get them if you decide that you like this craft.

  • Pack of straight and bent fine tweezers – great for manipulating fiddly items such as the small fabric squares while folding, and for placing the petals. I would say that tweezers of some sort are pretty essential unless you have really nimble fingers.
  • Kanzashi Flower Making Tool Kit – contains a mini turntable, gluing table and spreader plus a small drying table. Great to have.
  • Petal Holders & Medium Drying Table – another useful kit if wanting to make several flowers. Cotains 2 sets of petal holders (for small and larger petals) plus a bigger drying table (for more flowers).

How it was made:

AW Kanzashi

AW Kanzashi 2

My Kanzashi flower makes using the starter kit. I used the 7 petal rainbow one for the ring.

  1. I used the in Gina’s starter kit to make the seven petal rainbow flower. Basically little fabric squares are folded to make petals. The raw edges of the petals are then placed in thick Kanzashi starch to hold their shape while making up all the petals and building the flower. The petals are then glued to a base piece of cotton using PVA glue and left to dry overnight. Excess fabric on the base is then snipped away. I glued a small metal brad into the centre with Gemtac glue. Sorry that I am unable to give full instructions here for the flower as the specifics of this flower design belong to Gina.
  2. To make the adjustable ring I wrapped the wire around a ring mandrel and tapped the wire lightly with the hammer to work harden the ring structure. A nylon hammer helps protect against stripping off the coloured coating.
  3. I trimmed the wire and made a small curl on one side using the round nosed pliers. On the other side I made a larger curl, big enough to sit the flower onto the front and the wooden cabochon onto the back. I worked hardened and slightly flattened the wire curls using the hammer and steel block.
  4. I added a coat of clear Powertex to the back/base of the flower and wooden cabochon and left until touch dry. I then added another coat of Powertex (as a glue) and used Powertex Easy Structure to fill the voids in the wire curl, attaching the wooden cabochon to the back and flower to the front of the larger wire curl, and left it to cure overnight. The Easy Structure paste makes a nice solid bridge holding everything securely onto the back and front of the wire curl. A little Stone Art Clay would also work. Note: If you don’t have a suitable wooden cabochon a thick card/board or MDF shape could be substituted. I would advise an absorbent natural material for a strong bond with the Powertex. It also needs to be smooth so as not to scratch or irritate the skin when wearing.
  5. I then painted the cabochon and flower with Transparent Powertex, working it well into the fabric flower and crevices with a brush. Tip: If you find that you have big blobs or pools of Powertex use a piece of cotton rag to lightly dab and mop up the excess, or it can dry giving shiny blobby areas which will spoil the natural look and texture of the fabric flower. Leave to dry.
  6. Finally I painted the back of my cabochon attachment and flower base using Starlight acrylic paint. The colour match was simply perfect for the metallic pink wire that I used. If you are using copper, silver or gold plated wires you could paint with Colortricx pigment and Easy Varnish instead (to coordinate with your wire).

Powertex treatment has made this delicate fabric flower ring much more robust and protected against dirt – a more functional piece of jewellery. For further protection and full waterproofing you could add a final coat of Easy Varnish.

Spring Bird Heart Pendant created for Chocolate Baroque

AW Bird Pendant 1

Good morning. Today I am sharing one of my TV show samples using the Spring Birds Daffodil stamp set from Chocolate Baroque. This was done in rather a rush to catch the post so I just upcycled an old sparkly floral pendant and chain to finish. However, it does mean that this is a really easy project for beginners to make. No specialist tools or jewellery making techniques are required.

I am thinking of making another version with a more elaborate necklace ‘chain’ – perhaps a beaded spiral rope in colours to co-ordinate? I will share when finished.

 

Materials:

  • Spring Bird Daffodil stamp set
  • MDF heart approx. 6cm X 9cm (at widest points)
  • Pebeo acrylic paint (black) and gilding wax (gold)
  • Versamark inkpad
  • WOW embossing powder (Gold Rich)
  • Starlight Paints (Aegean, Cyclamen)
  • Small sparkly pendant and chain (upcycled)

 

How it was made:

  1. The pendant was painted with black acrylic and left to dry.
  2. The bird branch was stamped, embossed with gold powder and coloured with Starlight paints. I edged the pendant with gilding wax to finish.
  3. I used a Crop-a-dile punch to create a hole and looped the chain through. I secured the little floral pendant with a little 3D glue to cover the hole.