White dove cane

Here’s a new cane, a white dove.  Made it from a 50/50 mix of Premo and Fimo.  I think it came out really well. Though reducing a cane in a rounded triangular shape was a challenge!  The last photo is a Pandora-sized bead I made using the dove cane and the red rose cane I’d made a few weeks ago.

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Take Online Classes From Me

I’m so excited to be announcing this!  Starting in January 2015, you can take an online class from me and 21 other polymer clay instructors through the Virtual Retreat at Polymer Clay Adventure.  That’s 22 classes for only $99, and you can take those classes all year long!  Talk one-on-one with the instructors, share your projects– it’s like experiencing a real retreat without having to leave your home, and at a fraction of the cost of attending one in person.

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cane828I’ll be teaching my newest flower cane, a Frangipani Cane.  This design is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and it’s something even a beginner can make.  Use the cane to decorate crochet hooks, light switch covers, wine glass stems, silverware handles— anything that strikes your fancy.  Lots of lovely floral projects can be made with this cane and you’ll find that you return to it again and again.

Win FREE Merchandise!

Lately I’ve just been coasting with polymer clay.  No real highs, no real lows… just:  well, I had other things on my mind.

I was talking to my #1 daughter-in-law the other day, and she just asked me a bunch of questions about how I was doing with my clay.  My answers kindof surprised me– I didn’t realize I’d slid into a bit of a rut until I heard it coming out of my mouth.  She’s a pretty perceptive chickie, and she gave me a few suggestions that really got me motivated again.  Most of those things surrounded reconnecting with the people who clay.  That’s really where I get my energy from.  Sharing stuff we’ve made, talking about this project or that Pintrest pin, etcetera.

So as I mulled over what she said, I decided to do something I’ve never done before:  have a giveaway.  And thinking about it and doing some research about how to do a giveaway actually got me pretty excited.  It’s a fun way to reconnect and just restarted my motor, plus some lucky soul gets to spend 25 bucks shopping in my store.  I can’t wait to see who wins!

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New Unbaked Polymer Clay Canes

After a 2-year hiatus, I’ve started making polymer clay canes again.  Currently I have been working on perfecting a design for a Frangipani flower cane, that I will also write a tutorial for.  Frangipani is one of my favorite tropical flowers, and I’ve made frangipani polymer clay canes before.

The first one was in cane5502007.  I think it was a pretty good attempt, all things considered.  I had the generally right idea.  But in analyzing the cane, I think it needed a bit more depth to it.  I liked the curled sides of the petals, and I liked the color at the tips, but I thought the petals themselves were longer and more pointed than I wanted. I also thought the pink at the center should have been a different color.  But all in all, I did use the cane in my own work and sold the rest of it, so it was mostly a success.

cane647The next one I made was in 2009, and it wasn’t what I really wanted.  It was okay; but the design changes I made from the first cane didn’t evolve the design in the way I wanted it to go.   However again, I kept the design, used it in very small sizes (1/8 inch, so as to minimize the flaws in the design), and it worked for me.

cane827So this week, I decided to tackle this ‘problem child’ afresh.  I reviewed many photographs of real Frangipani flowers.  There are different varieties with different petal shapes, but I still liked the 5-petal pinwheel variety with the curled edge the best.  Many of the ones I saw had a yellow to yellow-orange center, so I added that into my design this time.  I revisited the petal color only at the tips, and rounded the points.  An improvement– but not exactly what I was looking for.  that being said, it’s still a good flower, and will make a nice accent design for my beads.

perfecting-a-designI went back to the drawing board — literally.  I printed out a photo of this last cane and wrote notes on it, delineating the changes that needed to be made to get me closer to where I wanted to go.  I needed to make the shadow that falls under the curl of the sides of the petals lighter– I’d used a gray to white blend, and it came out much darker than I’d hoped.  I also needed to do some slight outlining at the tips of the petals, I thought, to give them a bit more definition.  But that would have to be very light, or else it will look too cartoonish.

cane828So with my notes and photographs on my work table, I began another cane last night.  And YEA.  This is what I wanted.  I’m really happy with the design, it meets what I was hoping to achieve.  I liked the new touch of the thicker curl right at the tip.  Yes, that’s good.  I also changed the assembly of the main petals a bit, which made a difference in how the design construction fit together (aka the assembly of the puzzle).  I’m now going to practice the design by making more colors;  but I think this one will become a permanent part of my polymer clay cane collection.

 

 

How To Slice Fimo Nail Art Canes

Fimo nail art canes are logs of clay with a design that runs all the way through the log– sort of like those slice and bake cookies you make at the holidays.

Polymer Clay and Stemware

Yesterday I had a question posted on one of my Polymer Clay Basics pages of my old website.  The reader wrote:

“I am placing canes and/or sheets of polymer clay on wine glasses and bar ware. Do I need to sand these items? I just did a test sand, and a few of the dots and triangle embellishments came off. Horrors!!!  Did I not bake the glass long enough or was I too rough? I’m using Sculpey III. Bake 275 15-30 min. I baked the glass for about 20 minutes. The canes were about 1/4 thick.”

I had written a pretty long reply to her, and thought it might be something that other fimo fanatics have had questions about.  So I’m reposting my reply here:

“That’s a great question! You’re wondering why the cane slices sanded right off. Okay, here are some possible solutions for you:

1. Sculpey III might be the problem. This particular kind of polymer clay is known for it’s brittleness and tendency toward breakage. I would recommend using Fimo Soft or Premo for decorating your stemware and barware.

2. Using liquid clay to “glue” your cane slices on will help. Liquid clay bonds two clay items together. Brand names are Liquid Sculpey, Kato Liquid Clay, and Fimo Decorating Gel. Or, you could use Poly Bonder, which is a super-glue like substance that can be baked. All three kinds of “glue” would be baked at 275 degrees for 30 minutes to seal the bond between your cane slices and your clay base.

3. If you are attaching the cane slices directly to the stemware glass, then you will want a 2-part epoxy to adhere the baked cane slices to the glass. Nothing works better than a good, strong epoxy like Gorilla Glue’s 5-minute epoxy. It dries to a translucent yellow, and if you are sparing in how you use it, the yellow isn’t obvious. It will provide a permanent, water-resistant bond between the baked clay and the glass.

4. Baking times may need to be lengthened if you are placing raw clay onto the stemware. I highly recommend a minimum of 30 minutes in the oven, at 275 degrees. with aluminum foil tented over the glass while it bakes (to prevent browning of the cane slices.)

5. Sanding is a good idea, but only if you are embedding the cane slices into a sheet of clay to create a pattern sheet.  Pattern sheets benefit from sanding and polishing, whereas dimensional cane slices used in a 3D applique technique don’t necessitate sanding. It can be done, and nothing wrong with it – sanding will smooth the surface of the clay and even out the thickness. Ii would use an 800-grit sandpaper for this purpose.”

Does anyone have any advice to add to this polymer clay newbie?  Please post a comment if you do.  And this has sparked a question, don’t hesitate to ask.  If I don’t know the answer, I will have a pretty good idea where I can get it answered.

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