I can stamp for days on end without sleep, requiring only 7 ounces of water to drink, a single snack size Twix bar, and 12 Fritos for sustanance. Carol Duval has me on speed dial and Martha insists on calling me her "BFF." My cards and paper craft projects can be seen in an exclusive stamper-only gallery at the The Louvre. I once saved a small developing people group in New Guinea from total destruction using only Mod Podge, one bamboo skewer, and a bottle of Fray Check. Yesterday morning I wallpapered my living room, dining room, and half bath with this Boxer Fedora patterned paper by Basic Grey and still had time to teach my 4 year old to knit. And yet, I have never blogged.
First, you should know these things:
- My style is
lazyclean and simple. Not to say that clean and simple is easy. It's just that 99% of the time, clean, simple, graphic, etc. is what happens when I sit down to make something. I so envy all of you who can add just the right embellishments and layers. Layers scare me. So do embellishments. Except ribbon. Ribbon loves me.
- In my previous life (i.e. before 2 children) I was an editor of radio scripts for an internationally broadcast radio program. And you know what's great about editing/writing for radio? You write how people actually speak, which is not necessarily grammatically correct. So, I am embracing that ideal for blogging. I think it's brilliant because I love incomplete sentences. A lot. However, I cannot spell. At all. So, I use google as my own personal dictionary.
- I am technically challenged. I do not own an ipod. I can call people on my phone and... yeah, that's about all I can do with it although I'm sure it has lots of other fancy functions. I can Tivo, but that's about the limit of my techy-ness. Chalk any blogging errors up to this fact.
- Yes, I realize I am wordy. Verbose. Long-winded. All that. And I know some of you just want to get straight to the project pictures. So feel free to skip all the words. I won't be offended. I mean, I would be offended, but I'll never know, will I? It's a win-win situation.
And now for the said project and pictures. It's a detour (yes, I just googled "detour") from the paper crafted items that you might be expecting, but still utilizes some of my best friends... stamps. And one of my new best friends... sculpey clay.
Here's what you can love about sculpey:
- It's cheap. Like 99¢ a block. Right up my alley.
- It's easy. Especially since I've made all the mistakes for you and can definitely tell you what *not* to do.
- It requires no fancy tools. (Did I mention I'm lazy?)
- It is a very forgiving medium. If you mess up, just ball it up and start over. (This is a great relief to someone who has trouble actually making the first cut into that pretty patterned paper for fear that I'll end up making a mistake and wasting it. Anyone else feel my pain?)
Here's what ya need:
- Sculpey (I used black)
- Pearl Ex Powder (I used True Blue)
- Sculpey Glaze (I used Gloss) or Future Floor Wax
- Stamps (I used Casual Chic Alpha by Paper Salon and a little stamp from the Polka Dots & Petals set by SU)
- Key ring
- something to cut with - clay artists use a long razor blade tool... I used a 6 inch plastic ruler
- something to roll with - I actually purchased a small pasta maker from Joann's for this; there are super cheap rollers in the clay section of most craft stores if you prefer (but remember... me = lazy; I say go with the pasta maker)
- a non-stick sheet of some sort - I used non-stick foil; Ranger's craft sheet or a Silpat, etc. would work, too. (Con - the clay did stick stick to the foil. Pro - the foil did not leave any texture on the clay like some of my craft sheets did.)
- something to make holes with - I used my anywhere hole punches and a skewer
- brush for sealant
- Cut off a chunk of clay (1/4 of the block) and warm it by holding it in your hand. Knead it a bit and then condition it by rolling it through the pasta maker several times (my pasta maker was set on 8, which seems to be about a 1/4"). Try to get it to a somewhat rectangular shape.
- Cut a long straight edge with the side of the ruler. Make another cut to create a 90° angle. This will give you a straight edge to use while placing your letter stamps.
- Stamp the name and circle image into the clay. (My letter stamps are polymer stamps, the circle image is rubber. Both worked really well. The clear stamps were pretty awesome for placement's sake.)
- Cut the other two sides of the rectangle. Make a hole through the circle image. *Gently* smooth the edges of the rectangle by running your finger over them.
- Open the P.E. powder and tap some into the lid. Use your finger to pick up some powder. *Gently* rub the powder onto the image, trying to cover only the "mountain" parts of the image and trying not to hit any of the "valley" parts of the image. You can also use a brush for this, I just felt like I had better control with my finger.
- Bake the piece at 275° for 15-20 minutes. I just left the image on the foil I was using and transferred the toil to a baking sheet. I did loosen the image from the foil first, though.
- Let the piece cool. This happens pretty quickly.
- Use a brush to apply the glaze. This is necessary to seal the Pearl Ex to the clay; otherwise it will wear off over time. I used Sculpey glaze on this particular project because it is thicker than the floor wax. This item will be handled a lot, so I wanted to protect it as much as possible.
- Bake again for 10-15 minutes. Recoat and rebake if desired (I did). At this point, you could also add more info (full name, parent names, and phone number) to the back of the nametag if you'd like. You can either write it on with a sharpie (silver would show up against the black clay) or print it out with a labeler and stick it on. If you do sharpie, just let it dry, then seal the back and bake it again. (This will keep it from scratching off.)
- Thread onto key ring.
The jewelry charms were made in the same basic manner. I used floor wax instead of glaze on some of them. If you look at the "original" charm, you can tell that it is not as glossy as the nametag. Future is great for a more satin finish; the Sculpey Glaze Glossy is just that... very glossy. If using Future, I would recommend doing at least 2 coats of it, baking in between each coat.
Random notes... do *not* use spray paint to paint naked Sculpey. I tried it and trust me, it does not work. It is actually very tricky because it appears to work, but because of the chemical interaction with the clay, it turns sticky a few days later. In my case, this would be just after you have given the lovely pieces of jewelry to your friend for her birthday. Not awesome. If you do want to use spray paint, you have to seal the item first, then spray paint it. (I haven't tried this, though.) Also, remember that this project is very forgiving. Perfection should not be the goal. I ended up with some of the PE in the valleys of the stamped images. I just tried to brush it out to even it a little and it turned out fine once the glaze was on.
For further info, here's a great site with easy to understand explanations of all things polymer clay: http://www.polymerclayweb.com/
Also, please note that the opening paragraph of this post was completely inspired by this satirical essay written by Hugh Gallagher. Go read it... it's hilarious!
Thanks for stickin' with me through this, the longest blog post ever.