Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How-to and Give away

I trained as a metalsmith so I still think in terms of metal techniques sometimes. And sometimes...this doesn't work at all but other times it does, as in the case of tube rivets.

For those who are unfamiliar, a tube rivet is a cold connection for metal - meaning no soldering required. You drill a hole into two pieces of metal that you want to connect, line up the holes and put a small piece of metal tubing into the hole. Then you hammer into the tube, flaring the edges and sandwiching the metal pieces together.  I don't NEED this technique to connect polymer but you can use it as an interesting way to finish a hole.

- polymer clay in colors of your choice
       I'm using bright yellow and medium grey for the tube rivet as it "suggests" sterling silver                    
- large needle
- pasta machine and roller
- cutters, patterns or templates of your choice
- flexible blade

1. Condition your polymer and make a base shape, cut out with a cutter or template or, as I did, just roll a blob through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.

2. Next make very tiny balls of grey clay - these are your mock tube rivets - they can of course vary in size but mine were about the size of peppercorns.

3. Mark a whole with your needle in the flat piece of clay to mark your opening.

4. Put the small ball of clay over the hole and CAREFULLY flatten with your acrylic roller. You don't want to squish the earring,  especially if you have any texture on it, and you don't want the rivet totally imbedded in the surface. Go slowly, you can always roll a little more if you need to. You want it close but not totally flush with the surface of the earring.

5. Re-pierce the hole with your needle and widen it further by twirling the needle.

6. Bake according to package directions. 

7. Enlarge the hole even more with a drill if you'd like. (I do.) The hole should correspond in size to the rivet - the larger the rivet, the larger the hole should be. 

Optional: if you like you can distress your earring with black acrylic at this point, wiping the excess off quickly. The little bit that is left at the edge of the rivet enhances the effect even further. Still too much paint? Buff with some steel wool. 

So here I've used this idea with some of my Shape earrings - I'm sure you can modify it to suit your purposes and style.

top: Grey Mountain earrings
bottom: Blue House earrings

The give away is now closed! Thanks to everyone who followed and commented. The winner will be announced Tuesday, Feb. 26!

I'm no longer posting to this blog but you can follow my new blog here...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How-to postponed

Feeling under the weather (cough, cough, cough...)
and the how-to I'm working on didn't get finished. I'll post  - How I make mock tube rivets with polymer - next Tuesday along with a give away for one of the pairs of earrings I made using the technique. Have a good weekend! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Securing post earrings - how I do it

Although I've never had a problem with backs coming off of post earrings, I know cyanoacrylate
 glue (Super Glue) can break down with time. So I decided to start covering/securing posts by enclosing them with another thin layer of polymer clay. This is the process I've come up with. 
(Sorry for the blue photos - dang this winter light!) 

First, I glue the earring back in place with cyanoacrylate glue and allow to dry. This will hold the post in place still while I work.

My materials are...the earrings, small piece of scrap computer paper, small lump of clay the same color as the back of the earrings, tiny needle, tiniest circle Kemper cutter, blade and Genesis medium (you could use liquid polymer but the Genesis is thicker and does ooze as much). 

 I roll the clay very thin (second to the thinest setting on my pasta machine) and cut 2 circles with the Kemper cutter. 

I put a small dot, just as a marker really, in each of the circles of clay using a small needle. And I put a hole in the paper using the same needle. 

Next I put a thin layer of Genesis medium on the back of the earring.

 I put one of the circles onto the earring back and push it all the way down to the base. 

Then I put the paper right over the post, all the way down to the clay circle. I've shown it here in one hand but I actually use both hands, pinching with thumb and forefinger, pushing the paper down, turning the earring as I go, making the clay circle flatter and flatter to the earring. Pull the paper up, check the clay, push flatter if you need to. Until it looks like this... 

This is what they look like when they're finished, just about perfect circles, no texture, smooth against the ear. (I've already darkened the earrings so that the circles that I just made show up but normally I would do my finial finish with acrylic after they are cured.) It really doesn't take very long at all to do this extra step and I think it will increase the strength and longevity of my earrings going forward.

And I'm all about going forward.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Toga Beads How-to

Here's a short how-to for making what I call, for lack of a better name, toga beads. They remind me of marble "fabric" drapped on classical statues.

All you'll need is white polymer clay, a cutter, needle, black acrylic paint, paper towel and possibly some steel wool.

1. Make a ball of white clay about double the size that you want the finished bead to be.

2. Pinch and twist opposing sides of the ball making "handles" (sort of) and continue to twist until the bead has layers/twists to suit you. Less twisting will result in thick folds, more twisting results in thinner folds.

3. Carefully cut the handles off the ends of the bead.

4. Pierce, flat end to flat end, with a needle and bake standing up on one end or using a bead rack.

5. Brush with black acrylic paint, getting the paint into all the indentations, then immediately removing paint from the "high spots" with a paper towel. After the paint dries if you find you want more white showing, remove even more of the black paint with steel wool.

Black and white gives these beads a marble/toga feel but different colors of clay and paint would be fun too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Its simply nice to share

Along the way, I've had some polymer artists extend themselves and share their knowledge and present me with great opportunities. Kindness should overflow, shouldn't it? So it seems appropriate that I make my first small attempt to 'give back' with a tutorial at the beginning of America's week of Thanksgiving.
( A special thanks to Ronna, Cynthia, Claire, Lynn, Tracy, and Christine.)

There has been some interest in my fiber-y beads so here goes. Yes, yes, its simple (but I tend to be pretty simple) and they make a nice contrasting texture with smoother beads .

1. Roll a ball of clay.

2. Flatten slightly to make a chunky disk. Put a hole through the center to made a bead.

3. Cross hatch with a tissue blade all around the sides. Don't leave too much blank space. Change the angle of your blade after 5-7 or so slashes tilting the blade so that your lines cover the entire side of the bead. Cross hatch but with a blade.

4. Squeeze either side of the bead with your fingers to make the cross hatch lines open up, revealing a fiber-y sort of pattern. And you will probably need to re-open the bead hole at this point too.

Here are the beads used in a finished piece. They can be used as is, sanded to make the raised areas shine in contrast to the "canyons" or, as I usually do, I distress with acrylic paint to enhance the texture.

(Please feel free to use the beads anyway you want. Crediting me would be nice. Sending me pictures of what you made would be great too and I would be happy to post your projects here.)