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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature- Cheese Board

This week is really exciting for me because we are putting the cheese board display together that we have been working on for a few weeks.

It is always fun to take all those little parts and assemble them into a larger display.

So this week we are taking the marble board (I had baked off the leftover marble clay into a couple more boards and I ended up using one of those this week too), the crackers, the cheese and the fruits to make some wonderful pieces. These could be displayed together or separately. Or you could take the parts and make something totally different.

Here are some closer photos of the project.

Remember if you make any of my projects I want to see pictures!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature- Fruits for the Cheese Board

This week I am going to make just a couple of simple fruits to add our cheese boards we started a few weeks ago. Next week we will be doing the assembly of the cheese board and bringing all the elements together.

I started with grapes, mainly because the are fun to make and really easy. The real secret to the grapes is to use a lot more translucent clay than your colored clay. In the case of the ones shown on the video I used Sculpey III in Plum.

Off camera I also made some green grapes and for those I used a mixture of a leafy green (Sculpey III in Leaf Green) and a yellow (Fimo Sunflower)

For the grapes start by making the core that we will build on and some loose grapes. Then bake those. While it is possible to do this without pre-baking the components it is much harder. By pre-baking and using some TLS to stick the parts together we get much better control and don't have to worry about smashing our tiny pieces.

I like to add grapes to the core then bake and repeat. I do this as many times as necessary to get the bunch to look as full as I want it to be. Depending on how the grapes will be displayed I sometimes fill in the flat bottom of the bunch too. This time since I am going to be attaching them to the marble board I decided to leave the bottom flat to make that attachment easier.

For the last baking I usually bake the grape bunch for a full 10 minutes to ensure that the TLS is completely cured.

For the apple slice again we are using mostly translucent clay with just a touch of colored clay. Since most of the apples I have recently purchased have been of the red variety that is what I made for the dolls. For these red apples I mixed a touch of yellow (Fimo Sunflower) into just a bit of white clay. Since this particular yellow is so strong I ended up adding more white and only using a portion of what I mixed.

If you want to add some green apples to your display substitute a leafy green for the yellow . Mix that with a bit of white and proceed just as I did on the video. Use a pretty apple-ly (I know not really a word LOL) green color of chalk to corm your apple peel.

Since I wasn't concerned with the apple slices squishing a bit while slicing so I didn't chill the clay. If you want to have your apples more consistent in shape feel free to freeze the cane for a while to get it hard so you can slice without squishing. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Cheese

This week we are going to make some cheese to go on that cheese board we are working on. This time we are making 4 of my favorites both in real life and to make in mini.

One of the beauties of making mini cheese is that the shapes are pretty simple so once you mix your colors of clay together the forming of the clay to get the end result it fairly easy.

Before we talk about the individual cheeses and what clays to use I want to say that I have been working on the color mixtures for a long time, I don't even remember where I got the clay “recipes” from in the first place. Depending on the brands of clay and the exact colors I use I almost always have to fiddle with the proportions each time. That is where baking off a sample of the clay mixtures will save you both clay and time in the long run. On the mixture I was using for the Swiss and Gouda cheeses I showed an example the value of this step. I do bake off samples on most of the projects I show you but I don't always tell you about it. This time I wanted to use it as a part of the tutorial.

Also before we get to the individual “recipes” for the cheeses I want to talk about the measuring system. You can make as much or as little of these mixtures as you want. Simply pick an amount to represent 1 part. For me this was based on how much clay I had left in a block of white clay I wanted to use up. I knew I needed 8 parts of white for two different mixtures today so I cut the amount I had in half and then one of those halves into 8 pieces. That amount became my “1 part” you could use any measurement you want as long as you keep the that measurement the same throughout the project.

First up is cheddar, I figured most of us are very familiar with this one so it is a good place to start. Now I know that cheddar from different areas can be vary a bit in color. This is the color that works for what I buy, you can add or subtract clay to get the color you want. My mix today was:
8 parts Fimo White
2 parts Fimo Sunflower yellow
1 part Tangerine orange

For my cheddar I just wanted to form a block or brick of the cheese and to make some slices for display.

Next we made a clay mixture for two varieties of cheese the Swiss and the Gouda. For this one my mix was (this is corrected one that I used in the end)
8 parts Premo Translucent
2 parts White (this one had no label it was another leftover bit)
1 part Fimo Sunflower yellow

Today I made the Swiss into a wheel shape but just as often I make a brick of it also. I used a ¾” round clay cutter for the wheel.

The Gouda uses some of the scraps of the clay left from the Swiss. Simply form some clay into a small ball and cover it with a very thin layer of red clay (I used Fimo Indian Red) You could also change out the color of this outer “wax” coating to fit your brand of cheese.

Lastly we made a round of Brie. Just form a slab of clay and cut it into a circle with another cutter, I used the 1” one.

Now before we can go on that clay needs to be firmer and to accomplish this we are going to freeze it. It doesn't hurt the clay to freeze it and it makes it a lot easier to work with. I wanted some of these pretty solid so I froze mine for 30 minutes. You want it firm but not totally frozen hard.

Once the clay is frozen to the point of being firm we can go ahead and do any cutting without worrying about distorting the shape of our cheese.

When you are happy with how you have cut the clay let it come back to room temperature and do the final work on shaping on the cheeses that need it.

For the Swiss we need to add the holes. Super simple to do with a ball stylus or two. Add as many holes as you want.

Since I like my Brie on the runny side that is how I make it in miniature too. For that just mix a bit of the clay that we cut out of the wedge with some TLS and add it to the cut edges.

When you are happy with the way your cheese looks go ahead and bake the cheese and allow to cool.

Now the only step left for today is to paint the rind onto the outside of the Brie. Just be careful not to get the paint on the cut area.

I hope you enjoyed today's project. I would love to see pictures if you make any on my projects. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Crackers

First off I wanted to let you all know why the “Sunday” tutorial did not show up until Thursday this week. I had a really busy week last week because my oldest son got married on Saturday. I was busy making my dress to wear (yeah, I put it off until the last minute) and I have to admit I was a bit on edge worrying about everything coming off on time and with no major problems. I am very happy to report that the day was wonderful and even the weather was perfect!

So on to our project for this week. Originally I was going to make the cheese before I made the crackers but at the last minute I decided to do the crackers first. For one thing they are a bit easier and quicker to do. For the crackers we are building on some of the skills I have shown you in the past.

The next tutorial will be the cheeses, I am currently planning for 4 types. After the cheese I am thinking we will want some fruit for the dolls to eat with the cheese and crackers. Then I will show you how to put the cheese board together.

I made 3 basic types of crackers this time but by taking my methods and changing out the colors of clay and the shapes of the crackers you make any crackers you want. I purposely made my crackers in the video to not reproduce any specific real cracker, at least none that I am familiar with. I wanted to leave it up to your imagination what ones you make.

The basic clay mix of equal parts white and beige clays is the place to start for just about any cracker you can think of. The brands of clay don't really matter in this project. Today the clays I used were a white from Premo and beige from Sculpey, mostly because those were the ones that I found first in the correct colors.

The first cracker is a simple round shape with 4 larger holes in the top. Super simple to make. For this one I used a brown chalk to dust over the top.

For the second one I added just a touch of Fimo Sunflower yellow to the base mix, not enough to make the clay really yellow, just a hint of color. To shape this one I rolled the clay very thin and used the teardrop Kemper cutter. Use whatever shape cutter you have that is about the same size (3/16”) Remember crackers come in all kinds of shapes.

For the last example I added just a touch of Premo Burnt Umber to the base mix. This made a light brown. For this one I just cut the clay into a series of tiny squares. See you don't need to have any fancy cutters to do this project.

I did brush each variety of cracker with a different color of chalk. The chalk does two things (at least 2) it highlights the texture you have given you crackers and it makes them looked more baked.

So pull out your polymer clay and have some fun making crackers. And be sure to show me what you are working on. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dollhouse Miniature Marble Cutting Board

I was looking through a cookbook a while back and came across a photo of a really pretty cheese board display. It was set on a beautiful marble cutting and was so pretty I decided I needed to replicate it in miniature size. This week we are going to create the cutting board. Of course this cutting board could go into many scenes with or without the cheeses we will be making in future weeks.

I love to make marble with polymer clay because it never turns out exactly the same two times. Every time I make it I get something just a bit different. And watching it develop is just fascinating.

I am making a typical white marble with gray tones. You can obviously switch up the colors to make whatever type of marble you wish. This one just happens to be my favorite and I feel it lets the foods stand out too.

I like to start with mostly a white/translucent clay mixture. (2 parts white to 1 part translucent)This is the clay that I use the most of and it can be any brand of clay. Today I think both of these happen to be Premo (I used what was already out on my clay table)

Next as far as the amount of clay used is a gray, and I was so happy when gray clay came back to some of the clay lines. Today I am using Sculpey Elephant Gray, I love this gray color because it is slightly cooler in color and but still very neutral so it goes with almost any other color.

Color number 3 is Fimo Pearl White, I like to use this because it just adds a tiny bit of glow to the project. I can't say it sparkles but it just looks so pretty in a marble as long as you don't over do it. A small amount goes a long way.

And lastly I like to use just a tiny bit of black. It will blend out to almost nothing, really it usually becomes a dark gray but I always feel something is missing without it. This time I decided to use some Premo in Twinkle, Twinkle. It has some wonderful gold and silver glitter running through it. I was a bit nervous about it but my gut told me it would be wonderful and I was right! I love the tiny sparkle it gives. Not enough that you notice it all the time just a when the finished board is moved a certain way you see it for a second.

Marbling is fun but you do need to patient. Just take your time and work slowly. You don't want to blend the colors together you want they to still be streaks of their own colors, like the veins in the real marble.

After baking you have the option of buffing the top surface to give a gentle sheen. This is totally optional but I felt it was worth the time. The little piece that I did as an example took me about 20 minutes to get the way I wanted it. I did that while watching a Youtube video so the time felt like it went pretty quickly.