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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Polymer Clay 101 pt 4 Texturing Tools


Watch the video here.

This week we are going to talk about texturing our clay projects. This is one of my favorite parts of working with clay. It is just so much fun to take a piece of clay and use some simple tools to give it the texture to make it look like something else.

These are my favorite tools for this process and none of them are expensive. Most in fact are free or almost free. None will cost you more than a few dollars. In a future Clay 101 we will cover things we add to clay to give it texture today I am limiting the items to tools that we use on the surface of the clay.


First up is the peppercorn. Yes, you read that correctly a peppercorn from the kitchen. These little things are really just little balls of texture. Each one is just a bit different and they are small and easy to use. Look for one that has lots of texture, some are much smoother than others.

Next is really a category and I will just call them “pointy tools” these can be anything that comes to a sharp point. The three here are my favorites but look in your stash and see what you can come up with. My all time favorite is the dental pick,
I use it all the time for so many things. In working with minis it is really just an extension of my hand. I like it the best of these pointy tools because of the long handle so I can get the point to just the angle I want it. Do note that dental tools come with different styles on the pointy part, for me the style I show in the video is the most useful and easiest to use. The pin is my next favorite, try to find one with the bead type head, they are much easier to hold onto (and they don't get lost as easy on the work table) Pins are really good when you need to texture really small areas since the point is so much smaller than the one on the dental pick. Toothpicks on the other hand have a much larger point and are a good addition to your texturing tool collection as well as being so useful for other areas of crafting.

A ball of aluminum foil is the next tool we are working with. Either a large ball or a small one, or have a few on hand of different sizes. Just crumple the foil up a few times then mash it into a ball that is comfortable to hold. I love that from one piece of foil I can have so much variety in texture depending on how I crumple it. It is also great for texturing a large area quickly so I can lay down a base layer of texture then use the other tools to refine the texture.

Our fourth “tool” is some sandpaper and/or an emery board. They are really used for the same texture just different scales of the texture. I also occasionally bake items on top of a piece of sandpaper, that way the texture just happens automatically. I also use the emery board to help me hold/support items when I am using some of the other tools. To really work well for texturing you need a coarse grit and I am completely out of that kind. At least I couldn’t find it in time to do today’s video.So you really can't see the texture in the photo. 

The pot scrubber, you can get these near the dish washing items in the grocery store or the dollar store.
Different brands seem to have different textures and you can usually see what they look like in the package. Check both the regular stores and the dollar stores, the ones I normally find in the dollar stores tend to be softer so the effect is very different from the firmer texture of the grocery store brands.


Our last tools are the brushes. I use both some wire cleaning brushes that I purchased at Harbor Freight and a dollar store toothbrush. I am sure you can get the wire brushes just about anywhere that sells tools. These both are so handy and I use them a lot.

So those are my favorite tools to texture clay with. I hope you are finding this series helpful. If you have specific areas of working with clay you would like me cover be sure to let me know. 

As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Dollhouse Miniature Omelet


Watch the video here.

This week for the Saturday tutorial I decided to make an omelet. You could fill your omelet with whatever you wish, I made mine a ham and cheese one today.

Like with a real omelet we start with the eggs. For the egg portion I mixed some of my pre-mixed white/translucent clay (1:2) with an equal amount of Cadmium Yellow clay from Premo. You don’t need to have the exact yellow I used after all egg yolks do vary in color so omelets are not all the same color.




Mix the clay fairly well, a few streaks of white or yellow is fine in this since sometimes omelets have a few streaks too.





Once you have your clay mixed roll a ball of clay that is about ¼” in diameter for each omelet you wish to make.




 Use your fingertip to flatten the ball of clay. I like to have my clay on a piece of parchment paper for these steps so that it will be much easier to transfer the omelet to my baking plate and the parchment will also not stick to the TLS we will be using later.


Now use some tools to texture the top of it. I started with a medium size ball tool. This was used to mostly thin out the edge of the omelet. I like to also use this tool at bit all over the top of the clay so that the edge won’t be as harsh later.



Then use some crunched up aluminum foil to add some texture to entire surface of the clay. Be sure to blend out the texture from the ball tool.




Now lastly use a dish scrubber to soften the texture over the surface..






Once you are happy with the top carefully flip it over so the textured side is down.





Now use the ball tool to just texture the very edge all the way around. This will make the edge of the omelet more in scale when we are finished.




I next made my cheese sauce. For this I used some TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) colored with some oil paints. The paint colors I used were Vermilion Red, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ocher, and Titanium White. 




Mix the oil paints together first to get the color you want then add just a tiny bit to some TLS and mix it well. This will give you a very nice sauce/melted cheese for the omelet. It will also help to hold in any other fillings you add.



I also added some ham to my omelet. For the ham I pulled out some of the cane I had made back when we were prepping to make the meat and cheese tray. The video where I made this ham mixture is here. You don’t need much of the ham, and what you do use should be chopped up pretty fine.




Now just spread some of the “cheese” onto half of the omelet. 





Then sprinkle in some of the ham pieces. Concentrate the ham bits around the edge they will be seen once the omelet is folded.




Once you are happy with the amount of filling in your omelet fold it in half like a real one. I find if I start the fold with a toothpick laying on the surface of the omelet where I want the fold to be it is much easier to get it to fold nicely. Make any adjustments to how your omelet looks.



To make the omelets looked like they have been cooked we are going to add 2 colors of artist chalk, a light yellow ocher and an orangery reddish brown.




I used my normal eye shadow brush to apply the yellow ocher color over the top of the omelet. Try to not give a really even coat, leave some spaces where the clay shows with no chalk covering it.



 Now using a very small brush and apply the reddish brown color in just a few spots.

This will make the omelet look cooked.


Now bake at the recommended temperature for your clay for 10 minutes and allow to cool to room temperature.


For a garnish I used some of the tissue paper we painted in the salad tutorial (you can find that video here) and cut some very tiny pieces. These need to be really tiny. Since mine are kind of long and skinny I think they are either chives or green onions. If they were cut a bit more square of rounded they would be something like parsley.


Now use your fingertip to wipe on a very tiny bit of Mat Mod Podge to just the top of the omelet. Allow it to sit just a moment until it gets a bit tacky. 






Then add your garnish where you want it. I used my piece of raw spaghetti to do this precise placement.




Now you just need to let this dry and your omelet is ready to plate up and serve. We will be plating and adding a side dish next Saturday.

As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Dollhouse Miniature Decorative Basket


Watch the video here.

One of the YouTube channels I watch that is a combination of crafting and home decorating had a recent video using tobacco baskets and I loved all the ways that they could be used. She placed them on tables as well as hung them on the walls. She added floral decorations to some of them these can be used so many ways.  I also loved the lines and overall look of the baskets so I knew I had to make some mini ones.

I did take a few liberties with the design. On most the real size ones I saw online there were diagonal pieces of the woven base in addition to the open weave that I used. When I tried to add the add the additional pieces and it just looked too busy in this scale. I think if you are making one of these in Barbie scale (1/6) you would be fine adding them. I mean if you really want to you could add them in this scale but my opinion was they were just too much.

So to start you need to pick something to use as a form to help build your basket. Since I especially love the square version of these I used a square nail polish bottle. Mine was about 1” across. You can make these baskets square, round or oval. So check around and see what you have that can be use.

You will need some card-stock to make your basket from look for the kind that is heavy enough to make greeting cards out of. Most craft stores have loads of this paper in either pads or packs and it comes in every color you can imagine. Even though we will be painting our basket later I do recommend using a card-stock that is close to the color you want your finished basket to be. This will save you time in painting later.

My card-stock was 12”x12” and I cut 5 strips that were 1/8” wide. Cut one of these into two pieces that will wrap around your form and overlap enough to glue together (my overlap was close to ½”) These will be your basket inner and outer rims. Cut the other 4 pieces in half so you 8 pieces that are around 6”. (this is all based on using a form similar to mine. If you use something smaller you will need less strips if it is bigger you will need more.



Start by forming the inner rim by wrapping one of the strips around your form and gluing the ends. All this to dry off the form.





While it dries lay out 4 of the 6” strips spacing them evenly and tape down (or secure in some other way) now weave the remaining 6” strips into them forming a woven area that is very open that is smaller than the base of the form you are using.



Carefully add dots of glue to the intersections on the outer edge of this woven piece and allow to dry.



Add glue to outside of the inner rim, slip it back onto the form place it so that it will form the depth of basket you wish to make and add the woven part of the basket. Make sure all the pieces are where you want them and are running straight.

Hold in place until the glue grips on its own. Allow to dry in place.


Once dry use a small pair of scissors to trim off the excess of the strips you wove the bottom of the basket with. I like to angle the basket so I am cutting from the inside so I can be sure that I am cutting all the strips even with the top of the inner rim.




Put the basket back on the form and add the outer rim being sure to line it up with the inner rim. Allow the glue to dry.





Use some craft paint to coat the basket to hide any glue that might be showing. It will also help make the basket look like a real basket and take away some or the “paper” look.






Once the paint is dry give the basket a coat of mat Mod Podge and allow to dry.




I love how these look and it really is hard to stop at just one.

A big thank you to the folks at Plaid for supplying the paint, brushes, and Mod Podge used in this tutorial.

As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dollhouse Miniature Hummus & Pita Bread


Watch the video here.

This week we are making a snack that I served my kids growing up, hummus and pita bread. My daughter especially loved this and she ate it for lunch many times also.

We need to start by making a bowl to serve the hummus in. For this I uses some of my pre-mixed white/translucent clay. I use this clay mixture so much that I almost always have it pre-mixed to save me time. It is simply equal parts white and translucent clays. Any brand will do for this.



Roll this clay out into an even sheet of clay and cut with a round cutter. I used some craft-sticks to make sure my clay was a consistent thickness and cut with my ¾” round cutter.


Then carefully place the clay round over a marble, be careful to center it so that your bowl is nice and even. Then press the bowl down on your work surface to give it a flat bottom so it will stand nicely when you are done. Bake this at the temperature recommended for your clay for 10 minutes. 



Allow it to almost cool and carefully remove the marble. This will work best if the clay is a little warm. If yours seems to be stuck put it in a warm oven for a few minutes and try again.





Place the bowl upside down on a piece of fine sandpaper and even out the top edges.




Now we need to make the hummus. For this we are going to start by baking off a blob of clay, I used Sculpey III in Beige. Try to get close to the color you want your finished hummus to be. Bake this piece of clay for 25 minutes to be sure it cures all the way through and cool to room temperature.



Now use something like a nutmeg grater or the grater thing from a pedicure set like I used to make a pile of clay dust from the blog of clay.




Now I have 2 ways for you to make your Hummus. The first way I really think is the best one and I know it will hold up since I have been using this method to make mashed potatoes for years. The second one uses Mod Podge in place of the TLS and I am not sure how well it will hold up over time.

The first method
: Mix up some white and yellow ocher oil paint to make a creamy color and mix just a tiny bit of this into some TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) then mix this mixture into some of the clay dust. I did use a bit of the beige clay to fill the bottom of my dish so I didn’t need to use quite as much of the TLS mixture. Mix in enough of the TLS mixture to make something that has about the same consistency as real hummus. 


Then spread it into your bowl (or whatever serving container you wish to use). Be patient, and work with the top to make it just the way you want it. You could get really fancy with your swirls on the top. Then bake at the recommend temperature for 10 minutes.



Once cooled give the top of the Hummus a thin coat of Satin Mod Podge and allow to dry.




Now lets add some olive oil to the top of our hummus. For this I am showing some thing I have been working on for a while. In years past I would have most likely used something like Gallery Glass paint or another glass paint to make the oil. Since these paints are getting so much harder to find I decided a few months ago to work on coming up with something we could use on our clay that would give us that same wonderful clear liquid look.

If you have some alcohol ink in the correct color for your olive oil you can skip this first step. Since I don’t have any alcohol ink in the correct color I show you how to create it. First using any alcohol marker (I am using my Bic one) color on a white ceramic surface with a yellow marker and some green ones. You might need to experiment with the markers you have to get the color you want. Then add a few drops of Isopropyl Alcohol and mix it really well. The alcohol will dissolve the ink and mix with it forming essentially alcohol ink. (like I said if you have the bottles of ink in the right colors you can skip this step)

Now mix in some gloss Mod Podge to the alcohol mixture and add it to your project. You will need to work pretty quickly since the alcohol evaporates pretty quickly. Also the two will not want to mix together but will if you keep at it. Now just add it to your project and allow to dry. Just like with plain Mod Podge it will become clear as it dries and I love the way it looks. 



Now for Method 2
- for this method I mixed some cream and golden yellow craft-paint paints with some mat Mod Podge and mixed that with the clay dust. This makes a much wetter mixture that you will have to come back and work with for a while as it dries but if you don’t have TLS it is an alternative. 


Follow the instructions above for the olive oil.

The bread- for this project I wanted what I usually see labeled as Greek pita bread. The kind with no pocket. This is a really simple bread. I used some Original Sculpey and it worked nicely. Even though this is a white clay it is not as white as other white clays.



Just roll the clay into a snake (about ¼” in diameter) cut into ¼” segments. Roll each one into a ball, then flatten slightly with your fingertip. Then use the soft side of some Velcro to texture the top.



Now using a mixture of yellow ocher and white chalk give the tops a light brushing, don’t try to color the entire top just part of it. Then follow up with a reddish brown chalk on a very tiny paint brush to just hit a few spots on the top of each piece of bread.

If you want to display the bread cut texture the cut side with a pointed tool but just teasing the surface lightly. Since my kids (especially my daughter) wanted the bread left whole that is how I left most of mine.

Bake the bread at the recommended temperature for your clay for 10 minutes and allow to cool.

Now all you need to do is pick how you want to display your hummus and pita bread.

As always I do want to sincerely thank all of you for watching my videos and reading my blog posts. It means so much to me that you are supporting me in this way. If I could ask you all to do just a bit more by subscribing to the channel and liking the videos and leaving comments. Those help more than you can imagine. Also if you could pass the links on to your friends I would appreciate it so much.