Archive for the ‘polymer clay’ Category

Project #268 – Christmas Ornament Collection

Monday, October 26th, 2009

I’m making a batch of ornaments to ship out with this month’s Little Black Box sample shipment. I need to make 100, so to avoid the tedium of making just penguins and cardinals, I’ve been experimenting with making some new birds.

I’m about two thirds of the way through my task and I’m astounded by how much time this is taking me. I estimated that I could do about 30 birds per hour, but it’s turning out to be about a third of that. I always overestimate my output!

I think I’m going to need a break from polymer clay for a little while. I noticed a lot of new smudges around the kitchen sink, on some of the light switches and along some of the walls in the house. It look me a little while to figure out that they all came from me. There is something about the new, softer formula of that really makes it cling to the skin on my hands after a while. Even with intense soap and water, I still retain a patina of clay and the house is starting to look once again like a steel worker lives here. I think I need to find out whatever they use to clean baby ducks soiled by oil spills, buy a bucket, and spray the whole house with it.

Project #266 – Dinosaur Family

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

This set of cake toppers was a disaster from the beginning. From the benign Barney the Dinosaur looks of my supposedly vicious T-Rex, to the total collapse of my Brontosaurs (which doesn’t even exist anymore), this was a failure of design.

I spent so long mix, mix, mixing the special sparkly color, that it’s a little disappointing that these are destined for disposal. I don’t know what to do with them, on the one hand it’s hard to toss anything with that much time and energy behind it. But on the other hand, what can you do with a dinosaur with a broken neck?

I’ll use the T-Rex as a package embellishment for Christmas, but the other one will just have to serve as a lesson in hubris. Oh, and a lesson learned that long necks need structural integrity.

Project #264 – Fake Cake Tier

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

I’m trying to improve my presentation in my Etsy store, so I decided to redo some of the pictures of my cake toppers in order to make them look more cake topperish. They are already a little unconventional, so anything to put them in context would be a service.

My solution was to make it look like they are sitting on an actual cake. Real cake would just get old and get frosting all over them. Plus, I hate the idea of making a cake I can’t eat. So, instead I made a reusable fake cake, one that would last and showcase my wares in the best way.

I merely took a paper-mache box from the craft store, painted it white, and covered the top with a carefully blended mix of white and transparent polymer clay, a mix that would look just like fondant. The oven temperature needed to set the clay is much less than what would burn paper, so I was able to bake the whole thing without much trouble.

I am now ready for some commerce!

Project #252 – Wedding Cake Cake Topper with Rosettes

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Okay, take two. The more I look at the first set of wedding cake toppers, the goofier they look. So, I took a little extra time today and made a more serious set, with better actual wedding cake resemblance. I should package them with a seal that says exactly that. “NOW WITH ACTUAL WEDDING CAKE RESEMBLANCE!!” Oh, and “NOW WITH FRESH VANILLA SCENT!!” I will sell millions.

I would need special tools to add faces to the people at the top of the cake. Do half inch tall people with no faces freak people out? I could spin it in a positive light. “NOW WITH DISAPPOINTMENT-FREE FACES!!”

Project #251 – Dia De Los Muertos Cake Toppers

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Sugar skulls are not that tasty, but I will still eat them with my mouth until gone. I love sugar a little to much.

I’m Hispanic, but I wasn’t raised in a culture that celebrates Dia de los Muertos. Instead, we celebrated All Saints Day and the children in my church could dress up like their favorite saint. It was a second, Catholic halloween and every year I dressed as Joan of Arc. We were expected to pray for the souls of our deceased friends and family, especially the ones that died within the year before, but not with the pomp and ritual of the Day of the Dead.

It’s a holiday I wish we had. To me, I wish there was a less painful was of saying hello/goodbye to loved ones every year. I’m on board for anything that involves a celebration and party favors and sugary treats in lieu of sitting alone and crying during the hard years.

More importantly, they glow in the dark. That is not only awesome, but useful in case of a power outage to keep guests from tripping over the cake.

Project #250 – Wedding Cake Cake Topper

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Continuing on my wedding cake topper trend, I decided to carry out my previous imagining of a wedding cake topped with smaller wedding cakes. I wanted the wedding cake cake toppers with even tinier wedding cake cake toppers, but they looked a little too abstract to be read as tiny wedding cakes. So, I replaced them with tiny brides and grooms.

I think this is one of the goofiest, dumbest things I’ve made for a while, but they make me smile on some primal level, possibly the same primal level that secretly enjoys Ziggy cartoons.

Project #249 – Teapot Cake Toppers

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

I’m glad that we, as a people, have managed to shed the confinement of pastel wedding colors and branch off into the more saturated areas of the color table. In fact, it’s been ages since I attended a peach or mint green affair, two colors that seemed to be very popular circa 1974 according to my family albums. Even the weddings that I’ve attended lately with something pale like pink as a signature color always have something bold like chocolate brown to keep the palette from being washed out.

I like it. I like reds and bright blues and deep, limpid purples. I love golden yellow bridesmaid dresses and wedding cakes that reject the traditional white on white palette. It’s pleasant to attend a wedding and spend an evening stewing in a carefully selected set of colors.

I’m kind of in love with bright blue and yellow as key colors right now. I made this coffee carafe and teapot out of some leftover blue polymer clay that transfixed me like a bower bird.

Also, I’m a tea aficionado married to a coffee fancier, so I kind of hope that I don’t sell this set and get to keep it for…I don’t know…something. Um, a birthday? I’m already married, but everyone needs a teapot with a veil, AMIRITE?

Project #243 – Tiiiiny Cake with Rosettes

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

My love affair with tiny fake food will never die. It’s the best use possible for the fingernail-sized scraps of polymer clay that end up in my work box. Plus, I figured out how to make tiny rosettes for this project (swirl of clay surrounded by flat dots of clay for outer petals), so high fives all around.

Project #239 – Fake Chicken Eggs

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

In order to get chickens to do what you want, sometimes you have to play to their instincts. Chickens naturally prefer to lay eggs in a nest that has already been used. It’s better to use a nest that has been proven safe rather than taking a chance and building a new, untested one. Most people take advantage of this chicken behavior and put out fake eggs in a place of their choosing. Otherwise, free-range chickens will just lay where they please and their humans are left playing a real-life Easter Egg hunt.

But why fake eggs? Why not use real ones from the supermarket? Chickens are curious and they have a way of discovering that real ones, even hard-boiled, are delicious. Once they go down that path it’s hard to make them stop. They’ll peck at the fake ones and then ignore all eggs because those first few sure weren’t tasty.

Our chickens are almost old enough to start laying eggs and we’d prefer that we got a first crack at them. I decided to make a few test eggs out of polymer clay and see how they worked for the chickens. Polymer clay is expensive, so I decided to make two with different materials in the center to see which worked best. I wrapped my clay around a ping pong ball and a large marble and then baked them at 215 degrees F for 30 minutes.

The marble egg came out just right, but the ping pong ball one exploded right before I pulled it out of the oven. That’s too bad because we have a lot of defunct table tennis balls sitting around the house that are dying for a purpose.

I’m going to make at least two or three more and add them to one of our nesting boxes. The funny thing is that these are supposed to work even if a chicken has never seen an egg. There is supposed to be something about round objects that trigger a nesting instinct in those little peanut brains.

Project #234 – Baby Pengiuns

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

I guess wasn’t done making penguins even though I ran through almost all of my black polymer clay making yesterday’s penguins. Every flock needs their own little guys. I went through a few drafts trying some different beak, face and tummy colorations, but this was the better combination. Still, I think they need some work and it doesn’t help that the metallic clay is a little weird.