Friday, 27 January 2012

Felt Wrapped Soap

Why wrap soap in felt? I hear you ask. Well, felting this beautiful wool and silk blended fibre around the soap makes the soap lather a little more than it ordinarily would and provides a lovely texture against the skin. The fibres felt together more tightly as the soap is used and by the time the soap has been fully dissolved, you are left with a hollow felted pouch which can be stuffed with lavender or other items. These felt wrapped soaps make special gifts.

Visit our Fact File page Felt Wrapped Soap to see how it was made.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Valentines Card with Polymer Clay Hearts

Polymer clay is a versatile and exciting medium for decorating cards, scrapbooks or handmade books. It can be rolled out very thinly and is lightweight and durable once baked.

These simple cards were made using a blended red and pink polymer clay which was rolled out between two parallel rolling strips. The rolling strips ensure that the clay is rolled out evenly and to a specific depth.

Either Premo Sculpey or Fimo polymer clay are fine for this project and both bake in a domestic oven at a low temperature within 30 mins. 

The Makin's Heart shaped cutter set contains 3 sizes and other sizes are available from the range of Precision cutters which provide sharp cutting and a good finish.  The heart cutter was used as a template for the paper heart.  
The baked and cooled polymer clay heart shapes were stuck to the card with PVA Tacky glue.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Translucent Liquid Sculpey - Tried & Tested

Translucent Liquid Sculpey is a bakeable liquid polymer medium which shares many of the same properties as solid polymer clay.

Image Transfer

Choose clear photos with bright colours, I used magazine images.

Squeeze the medium onto the images and spead a thin layer over the parts of it you want to transfer. Place on a heat proof tray and bake in your oven for 15-30 mins at 130°C remembering to ventilate the room.

When baked, allow the sheets to cool before washing off the paper backing. You may need to trim the set Liquid Sculpey to define the outlines better. I used my flexible image transfers as useful markers for my cook books.  This image shows the cake transfer pressed onto the window which illustrates the effectiveness of the transfer.

Stained Glass Effect / Tile Grout

Thinly rolled out polymer clay shapes were placed, unbaked, into the oven proof bowl and the liquid clay was carefully poured around them.  I left the liquid clay to settle down and popped any air bubbles with the nozel on the bottle.

The clay was then baked in the same way as the image transfers above and the dish was allowed to cool before I carefully lifted the edge away with my thumb nail. 

The baked clay has a smooth gloss backing.  In this image you can see the reverse of the polymer clay shapes (these were against the bottom of the bowl).  The liquid clay seems to have enhanced the colours on this side.  I was able to stick this glossy side to a window and a mirror. If I had made it bigger it would work as a pretty tax disc holder! You can see from the sheet of paper below that the clay is translucent.

A photo of the 'right' side, showing the polymer clay petals and leaves just proud of the surface, other inclusions such as dried petals would have worked equally well. 

The Translucent Liquid Sculpey can also be combined with Jacquard Pearl-Ex powders, oil paints or coloured pigments to create other exciting effects.  When baked the clay remains flexible but robust making it a useful material for a number of crafts.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Naturally we're delighted!

Our MD, Ian Bowers was delighted to receive this email today:

'A very delayed note to say thank you for the natural dye kit you donated to the All Wales Event - Guilds in Wales - I was the recipient of the kit and had been saying that there wasn't a lot of choice of dyes to buy at the show, so what a welcome surprise to find I had won a dye kit. Quality offers of prizes are few and far between in these days of such competition, showing that you put the customer first. Yours H Beckett - Tawe Guild Member'

Natural Dyed Wool Yarn & Silk Fabric
And a thank you to you Heather for acknowledging the contribution from George Weil.  We have to say that the Natural Dye Kit is one of our most popular products, offering an introduction to the fascinating craft of dyeing using naturally occurring materials such as elderberries, marigold, turmeric and iron.

Friday, 13 January 2012

More on Art Clay Silver 650 Clay

Although the price of Art Clay Silver has been affected by the rise in price of silver, this valuable clay remains popular with our customers.

Work Smart and Plan

Take care when working with Art Clay Silver to get the most out of it with little waste.  Here are some tips:
  • Plan your project before you start.  Work out how to make the item as efficiently as possible, calculating quantities and measurements.
  • Do not expose the clay to air until you are ready to use it.  Keep wrapped in cling film and place in an air-tight container with a piece of damp sponge.
  • Rub a little olive oil into your fingers before handling the clay as this will help to stop it drying out.
  • Ensure the clay is thoroughly dried before firing as damp clay is likely to crack.
  • Recycle powder left over from filing by adding a little water to make silver paste which can be used for repairs or for joining pieces togethr.
The precious Art Clay Silver clay can be shaped by hand or in a mould made from silicone. Detailed original shapes can be created from polymer clay, which when bake and cooled, can be pressed into the silicone to replicate the shape. The silicone mould kit contains a 2 part moulding putty which when combined takes just 30 minutes to set into a flexible and reusable mould.

Other useful tools for shaping silver clay include Kemper cutters which are perfect for making tiny shapes. The sprung ‘plunger’ releases the clay with a minimum of waste.  The Ring Sizing Sheets are an ingenius pad of 'post-it' sheets which can help to measure your ring size and then be transferred to a mandrel for accurate measurement.

It is still difficult to believe that this incredible medium can be transformed into pure silver when fired on a gas hob! A stainless steel mesh is placed over the burner to give the object something to rest on and the item is transformed in minutes. Our Fact File page provides further information on how to fire Art Clay Silver and also includes information on how to use a Blow Torch or a Kiln. 

The fired jewellery or ornament is 99.99% pure silver and contains more silver than sterling silver which is 92.5%. Very special items can be sent to an Assay Office for hallmarking.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Quick & Easy 3 colour Polymer Clay Beads

Sue Heaser's cane
I was trying to recreate Sue Heaser's perfectly worked spiral cane when I started to make these beads out of left over polymer clay (visit the Fact File to see How to make a Spiral Cane).  However, a lack of practice and patience resulted in a skew-whiff pink and white version which I decided to use regardless.  The black and white 'spiral' cane was deliberately made to emulate the first.
Choose colours to compliment an outfit
With the remainder of the clay, I made three sausages and divided them into equally sized pieces before rolling them into beads.

Each of the spiral canes were then sliced and divided out so that there were 3-4 slices for each bead which I then applied before rolling them into the surface.  There is no need for glue as the clays blend together easily.

Each bead was given a hole with a thin knitting needle before baking them in a cool oven for 30 minutes.  Baking the polymer clay turns it into a hard and durable material, remember to bake in a well ventilated room and not to use ovenware that will be used for cooking food.  I use disposable tin trays, lined with baking parchment.

When the beads cooled, I strung them on a length of black elastic.

Visit the website to see our selection of Polymer Clays in the Jewellery Making or pop into the Fact File to see what else you can make with polymer clay.