Over 500 Silk Screen Designs Available

It seems I can’t stop digging up fun and unusual designs to turn into silk screens.Β  I find I have a thrill for the hunt. This means I am gearing up for another sampler sale which will be held on my Facebook business page this time. I anticipate at least 50 new designs and only the most liked will make it into my Etsy shop, but all will be found for sale on my Facebook business page.Β  Check this album for all the available designs. Be sure to check my Facebook page or here on my blog for updates on the date and time of the Sampler Sale Event.

Here are some images of what new designs to expect in the Sampler Sale. I’ve gotten requests fro smaller designs that would be a better fit for earrings and beads. So hopefully I have hit the mark with some of these designs. πŸ™‚ Once I test them all for usability I will announce the Sampler Sale.

icons changing spots daisychain bowwow ripples coiled up growth rings mini alphabet cells round leaves sleet Seismic

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Friday’s Featured Artist: Janine MΓΌller

I saw this picture on Facebook and I was quite intrigued. So I headed over to Flickr to look at more of Janine’s work.Β  Talk about eye candy ! This is one talented lady. I love her use of color and organic design.

I supposed i you twisted my arm to choose a favorite I might say this one called Tiger Heart

But then there is a really good chance I might say it’s this one called Violas Garten

or perhaps these earrings becasue I adore ginkgo leaves πŸ™‚

You can browser through all of Janine’s pictures in her Flickr Gallery

Polyform has a new line of products for 2014 !

I am totally drooling over some of the new products in the Polyform 2014 product line !

 

On my wish list are the 2 silicone molds – you can bake with your clay in them ! One has cabochons, while the other has matching bezels. I know, right !! How cool is that?

 

Also the Hollow Bead Maker has different size domes to create different shaped beads.

 

The Silkscreen Kit also look like fun πŸ™‚

 

Plus there are 4 newΒ  graduated shape cutter sets, a Bead Maker the creates 3 different round beads – 13mm, 16mm, 18mm – with a measuring tool so you always have uniform size beads and a Bead Making Kit with all the tools you need. Oh, and they have a new sandpaper kit.

 

I saved the most interesting one for last. πŸ™‚ There is a new clay called Souflle. It is light weight, but very strong. This quote is from the web site – “Experience a different kind of polymer clay.Β  Souffle is an innovative lightweight clay perfect for jewelry making! Its strength and ability to hold detail makes it an excellent clay for advanced techniques such as mokume gane, bargello and caning. Β  It is strong and self supporting and doesn’t crack in large pieces which makes it great for larger clay projects as well.Β  Beautiful suede finish when baked.Β  Comes in 22 fashion forward colors.”Β  I hope it makes it onto the nearest Michael’s craft store shelves soon, because I an just dying to try it !!!!

There is a great blog post about Souffle here that you can read. http://thebluebottletree.com/sculpey-souffle-introduction/

 

You can also sign up at http://university.sculpey.com/

“Free Registration!

Get access to the latest courses for free! Sculpey U provides monthly informational videos for registered students. Follow along as experienced designers demonstrate techniques and corresponding projects. Each class includes an in-depth video and printable instructions that include a shopping list. Sign up today! Happy claying!”

 

 

Free Tutorials You Just Have To Try !

First on my list was Bettina Welker’s cane she calls “Pixelated Retro Blend Cane”. It’s a twist on the extruded retro “Klimt” cane that has become so popular. Here is what I made using her tutorial.

Next I want to try Marie Davis’ border cane


The next is a fun, funky bracelet and I believe was written by Anna Anpilogova. It’s in Russian ) I think) but the pictures say it all πŸ™‚

I use this tutorial by Valerie Wallace to make tile beads a few years ago. It sure helps keep the bead holes even!

I recently did a variation on this tutorial to make a quick and easy pendant. The tutorial will soon be on the Polymer Clay Central website.

A great faux bone or ivory tutorial written my Desiree McCrorey

This is a really cute way to make faux denim. It’s also in Russian ( I think LOL) But he pictures are great.


Yep, another one I can’t read. Good thing the pictures tell me what I need to know to make this fabulous extruded bracelet.

It’s a Russian invasion !!! Just kidding πŸ™‚ But these gals are so talented. Just saying πŸ™‚ Here is an amazing Poppy cane

Last but not least, I love this use of scrap clay to make a Magic Swirl Cane

If you want to see more great polymer clay tutorial both free and for sale join us over at the Facebook Group “Just Polymer Clay Tutorials”.

Fun polymer clay projects to keep you busy this Winter

Golden Polymer Clay Beads

Golden Polymer Clay Beads

Spring Bouquet Tutorial

Spring Bouquet Tutorial
Songbird Eggs

Songbird Eggs

Rough And Tough Polymer Clay

Rough And Tough Polymer Clay

Radiant Mica Shift

Radiant Mica Shift

Persian Beads

Persian Beads

Faux Enamel

Faux Enamel

Butterfly Cane From Basic Canes

Butterfly Cane From Basic Canes

Earth Toned Mokume Gane Beads

Earth Toned Mokume Gane Beads

And a cool tip :) Inside of pop can bottom makes a great curved surface to bake on. Just be careful of the sharp edges.

And a cool tip πŸ™‚ Inside bottom of pop can makes a great curved surface to bake on. Just be careful of the sharp edges.

Why Attend a Workshop? For results like these !

I am so jealous of all the people who are in a position to attend a workshop with one of the soooo many wonderful polymer clay teachers that are out there. I see pictures and I can not help but drool. If I’m drooling (and dreaming) then I choose to have you doing the same thing. LOL

Look at the student photos from this Kathleen Dustin Workshop that just happened on May 19 & 22, 2011 in Schaan. That’s in Germany I think.

This next photo is of the cuff bracelets students made during a class with Bettina Welker in Linz Austria.

And another of Bettina’s classes making Etched Pendants.

These pendants and mosaic boxes were created in classes taught by Anke Humpert

Tiles bracelets stamped with chalk taught by Jana Lehmann

Canes made in Leigh Ross’ Millennium Garden workshop

And what they made with the canes πŸ™‚

A Kaleidoscope Cane workshop with Kerstin Ruprecht

Canework from a Sandra McCaw intricate caning class.

Lovely beads made in a Donna Kato class

Student’s mokume gane projects from a Julie Picarello classes.

I seriously need a clay time fix now. How about you ?
Happy Claying !!!

Smooshers Feature Artist: Dawna Sharp

Dawna is a new found Facebook friend and a fellow Smoosher. We basically met when she decided to buy a camera from me. πŸ™‚ It really touched my heart that she felt so happy having that camera and that it would help her fulfill a long time dream of taking photos as perhaps more than just a hobby. This is my favorite of her pictures so far. She titled it “Here’s looking at you kid”.

Okay, so it’s not clay LOL but look at that face πŸ™‚

Dawna does make great jewelry and these are just a few of my favorite pieces.



You can see more pictures of Dawna’s work in her Flickr Gallery
Purchase her jewelry and canes in her Artfire Shop
Friend her on Facebook

Smooshers Featured Artist: Gaia Copia

I am proud to present Emily of Gaia Copia. πŸ™‚

Her work is so jewelry unique. I guess you would put it in the mixed media category. I love that she uses the hammered, textured copper and fancy wire wrap in conjunction with the polymer clay. To me it has an funky-organic-medieval feel and I LOVE it !!!!




Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Gaia-Copia-Artisan-Jewelry/
Her blog – http://www.gaiacopia.com/

Sanding and Buffing Polymer Clay

I will be the first to tell you I honestly hate sanding my clay projects LOL Buffing I actually find a little relaxing. Which I guess is a good thing, since the sanding part is so tough to get through. πŸ™‚

Hand Sanding (sort of)

My favorite tool for sanding is a Black & Decker Scumbuster. I have the old style version with the removable, rechargeable batteries. I upgraded the batteries to Versapak Golds and they last twice as long.

To prepare the sandpaper, I tear the large sheets into 1/4’s and soak the paper in hot, soapy water for 5 minutes to make it pliable. Then I center the sandpaper over the largest scrubby pad that I have already attached to the Scumbuster. I pin (using floral T pins) the 4 corners of the sandpaper into the side of scrubby pad. It sands like a dream ! I started sanding this way years ago when the idea was published at PC Polyzine. http://www.pcpolyzine.com/february2001/scumbuster.html The writer opted to cut sandpaper circles and use sticky velcro to hold her sandpaper on, but that was to much work and cost for me. LOL

There are other versions of sanders people have set up using rechargeable toothbrushes, Tide stain brushes and similar inexpensive devices. I believe they hot glue little circles of sandpaper to the bristles. If you use the toothbrush method and it has interchangeable brushes, you can put a different grit of sandpaper on each brush.

Here is the one my pal Eva in Denmark made for herself
Eva’s comments:
“Ever since I saw the Scumbuster mentioned as a great sanding tool, I’ve had this idea on how to use an electric toothbrush instead, since Scumbusters isn’t an item sold in Denmark (as far as I know). I recently came across a battery powered toothbrush that might do the trick (and was cheap, too), bought that and two 2-packs extra brushes.

I wrote a grit number on each of the five brushes with a permanent marker and with a 1/2″ circle leather punch I punched out little dots of the sandpaper in five different grits and glued them on the bristles of the five brushes using a hot glue gun.
Note: Put glue on the bristles and then the dot of sandpaper on top to make sure it gets a good grip – the little glue you can put on the dot of sandpaper will not be enough to keep it adhered when you start sanding.

….and it works like a charm – wet or dry! It’s great for small items like beads/jewelry and I think also for hard to get to places on sculpts, but might be a little tedious for larger things, but then again it might not. At least it saves your shoulder and wrist a lot of work. (not to mention your fingertips and nails)
When the sandpaper is worn down just rip it off and replace it. I keep my lil’ dots in zip lock baggies, as you can see.”

Here is a short tutorial where the author opted to remove the bristles from the brush head and use velcro to attach sandpaper.

And yet another take on the toothbrush sander πŸ™‚

Tumble Sanding

If you make a lot of small beads there is no way you will ever have time to sand them all by hand. Invest in a rock tumbler. I purchased an inexpensive child’s model at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon, making it about $15. You can shell out more money for the top quality Lortone tumbler. They are quieter and come with 1, 2 or 3 vessels to tumble your beads in. Which means you can be sanding up to 3 different grits at once. If you make beads for a living it would be a great investment and time saver.

Some people say to line the inside of the tumbler’s chamber with sandpaper. I never have. All I do is cut my sandpaper into very random shapes approximately 1/2″ across. I put the sandpaper chips into the chamber and fill it up 1/2 way with very warm water to soften the paper. In my opinion, if it’s pliable it works better. Add 2 or 3 drops of liquid soap, which will act as a lubricant. I start with 320 grit wet/dry sandpaper and work up through all consecutive grits – 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200. You can go up as high as 1500 and 2000 grit if you really want to, but I haven’t found it necessary. ** It must be wet/dry sandpaper. The kind meant for woodworking will not work. You can find wet/dry at automotive stores or the auto dept at WalMart.

The first tumble with 320 grit is the most important and will take the longest. Maybe 12- 24 hours. Check occasionally to see if the beads are uniformly sanded. When the first tumble is done, it may only take 10 – 15 hours for the second tumble at 400 grit. As before, check occasionally to see if they all feel sanded evenly. I found that as I used each grit it took a little less time to sand the beads. By the time you reach 1000 grit it may only take 8 hours. 1000 grit is really just polishing anyway. It hardly feel like sandpaper at all, it’s so smooth.

Buffing
I opted to get a less expensive bench grinder and buy muslin cloth buffing wheels for it. The whole setup only cost me about $50 and I purchased it all at Harbor Freight. I know a lot of artists who swear by their Foredom buffers. They aren’t cheap, but worth the investment if you are making a living selling your clay goodies. I’m just a part time artist, so cheap works for me. πŸ™‚

A little education on using a buffer. First and foremost – READ THE OWNERS MANUAL ! πŸ™‚ Seriously folks. It can save you an injury. That wheel spins very fast. Need I say more. My bench grinder spins away from me, but I think some buffers may spin towards you. Be sure to get familiar with your machine. Always use the lower section of the buffing wheel and have a firm hold on your piece. If you lose grip of it, you will have a small plastic projectile flying across the room. Make sure there is nothing expensive and breakable in the path it will fly. I put an empty cardboard box behind my buffer. That works for me, because my wheel turns away from me. If your wheel turns towards you be sure nothing behind you can damaged. And wear safety goggles for goodness sake !

With that firm grip on your piece, hold the clay up to the wheel, just touching it. You don’t need to cram the piece into the wheel. A light touch works very well. You will get the feel for it in no time. Practice makes perfect.

If you need to buff beads, I find it easiest to slip them onto a steel rod and buff several at a time. Assuming you already have holes in your beads. If not, get drilling. πŸ™‚ The beads will want to spin on the rod, so I tend to rest my finger on the rod and snug it up next to the bead to slow the spin. Don’t run your finger on the area of the bead you are buffing. Friction from the wheel heats up the surface, softening the clay, and you can transfer you fingerprints to the bead. There goes all the sanding you did and now you will have to repeat the process. Not fun.

Well, that’s all folks πŸ™‚ Happy creating.

Incredible Canes !!!!

Wandering around Facebook I noticed one of my Friends had shared a link to one of their Friends. The link took me to a blog called Polymer Clay Shed. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen this blog yet, because I was definitely missing out.

The artists name is Carola Greiser and she goes by CraftsByCag. She’s a member of PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy). Carola has one Etsy shop for her jewelry , which has some amazing bead for sale and a second shop for her other items, like crochet hooks and pens. But what I really want to share with you all is Carola’s cane work. It is nothing short of stunning !!!! I sooooooo want the 2 purple background one in the first picture πŸ™‚

That is just a tiny fraction of the cane work you can see in Carola’s Flickr Photo Gallery. Enjoy and try not to drool πŸ˜‰

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