Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Felted Christmas Tree Baubles

How to make your own special Christmas Tree decorations - a ball of cling film, a few wisps of Merino wool fibre, and a couple of minutes of elbow grease (find out more from our Fact File page).

Amongst the shop bought baubles are our two red and green hand felted baubles and our polymer clay heart-shaped ornament

Friday, 16 December 2011

Simple Christmas Tree Ornaments

Here's a simple Christmas project which will appeal to the whole family.  We all love using modelling clay and cutting shapes out of it.  Polymer clay shapes have the added bonus of becoming permanent when baked at a low temperature in an oven.  Choose two colours of clay, a festive shaped cutter, and a glittery powder such as Jacquard Pearl Ex, and you can make a Christmas decoration which will last for years and years, visit our Fact File page Polymer Clay Tree Ornaments to find out more.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Painting on Glass

Deka Cristal and Deka Transparent paints have been formulated specifically for painting on non-porous surfaces such as glass, metal and ceramics. 

Deka Cristal can be diluted and cleaned up with water making it a good choice for use with children. Deka Transparent is solvent based and adheres to the surface more effectively and should be used in a well ventilated room.  Both paints dry to a hard, transparent varnish.

Before painting it is important to clean off any grease or dirt from the surface of the glass.  Wash in warm soapy water, rinse and dry with a lint free cloth.  Try to handle the glass as little as possible to prevent transfer residue back onto the surface.

Painting by Maisie Parker
The paint has a relatively high viscosity and can be applied free hand with a medium sized paint brush.  Areas in a design can be defined by an outliner.  This is applied to the glass before painting and creates a raised border, giving the traditional effect of a stained glass window.

Cocktail sticks, kitchen paper and cotton buds are ideal tools for fixing mistakes.  Dip in water for water based paints or white spirit for solvent based paints.

The Glass Painting Explorer pack (this link will take you to the George Weil website) is a good way to get started with glass painting and includes a selection of glass shapes, 3 jars of Deka Cristal and a brush.

We also have a selection of glass shapes on offer in addition to the glass paints and out liners.  Visit the Glass Painting section of the George Weil website to find out more. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Iron Age Tools at The British Museum

Evidence that wool has been used for clothing exists at The British Museum as far back as the Iron Age (800 BC - AD 50). There are a selection of combs carved from animal bone probably used to prepare the fibres and stone whorls which were used to weight the hand spindle. The wooden tools used for creating the cloth have long gone but the large stone weights used to keep the warp tight on the loom still remain.

Linen was also used for cloth. The fibres from the flax plant are long and strong, making a robust yarn. The stalks from the flax plant were first threshed to remove the seeds and then the inner stalk was rotted away in water to leave the outer fibres intact. This process is called retting.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Extruding Polymer Clay Shapes

The Makin's extruders make light work of extruding clay shapes. This particular extruder has been developed for use with metal clay as it includes an end cap and a water crystal to keep the clay moist for longer.

The clay is placed inside the barrel and the handle is turned to push the plunger along the length of the barrel to force the clay through the chosen disc.

The clay extruders come with a choice of discs allowing a variety of shapes which can be used for jewellery making, embellishment, paper crafts and OOAK doll making.

Take a look at our Fact File page Using an Extruder with Polymer Clay to find out more about this fun technique.