Clay

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Draping   fabric.   It is probably best for circular table cloths on round tables.   I'm sure some of you out there will find a way to use the technique in other ways as well.

Condition some polymer clay in a color that blends well with the main color of the fabric.   I would recommend using only natural fiber fabric, that is no polyester blends.   cut a circle of fabric slightly larger than finished piece.   Put the polymer clay through a pasta machine until you get a smooth, thin sheet.   Lay your fabric over the clay and run the whole works through the pasta machine again. Carefully cut the clay/fabric to the finished size.   Drape this over an oven proof form such as a small glass jar or wood haps and bake as usual. I saw this idea in one of the dozens of books I've read on polymer clay.

Kathy in Wisconsin


Quick Christmas present for miniers. Take a metal washer that would suit for a door or window wreath size. Marble 2 color green polymer clays together. Roll into snake and press onto one side of washer. "FLUFF" clay with a toothpick to look like holly. Add tiny red beads or tiny red beads made with clay. Roll out a snake of red clay and fashion into a bow. Press to bottom of wreath.Bake as directed. TADA! A polymer clay wreath just the right size for those drab Christmas doors and windows

Jennifer Spray


Crayola model Magic: http://community.webshots.com/user/katt8003 I just read about suggestions for Rusty's Wizard of OZ poppy field and thought I would type my suggestion and a great hint for anyone who has never used it before. Crayola model magic........wonderful stuff. I use it for Landscaping all the time--it is light weight, it air dries over night, and you can add things to it, paint it, glue it, and plant your wire plant stems in it after it is dry because it is like styrofoam after drying. I also used it as the base of my pond, which can be found on my site in the Pond Album.........I used a large Tomato Juice can cut down and molded the model Magic around it and even on the bottom of the pond part where the water went, I painted the bottom of the pond and then I glued the entire area with green flocks, added the accessories, and then added the water and the boat before the water firmed up.

Kathy in Cedar Springs, Ontario, Canada


Warping Foamcore: Foamcore has a nasty habit of warping. I always use plywood for the floor to prevent warping. On the other hand, if just the paperclay is curling up and not the foamcore, then you probably didn't spread the layer of yellow glue evenly on the foamcore.

Rik Pierce


Warping Foamcore: So this is what I've learned. 1/4" thick foamcore can't be used with paperclay. But paperclay, as Rik has proved, does make great stone and brick and rock. Still, Harry Potter's classroom needed a floor so I made a new floor using the technique Joanne Swanson used in her wizard's classroom how-to in Dollhouse Miniatures. She said to use 1/2" foamcore but I had none, so I used the 1/4" and worked fast. I scribed the rock outlines on the floor as Joanne directed and painted a grey basecoat with bottle acrylics. These dry fast so within 10 minutes I turned the foamcore face down on wax paper, rubbed water over the back with my hands, added more wax paper and weighted it all with some very heavy horse reference books overnight. Did this again for another basecoat the next day. After that I was able to add shading with paint for more realism but the foamcore stayed flat.

I think the Paperclay just had too much moisture over a long period of time for this technique to work.

Denise Pritchett


Clay Flowers: I use polyclay for certain flowers - roses, iris, orchids, fox gloves, poppy's etc - but I never use it for leaves strangely enough - even the thinnest clay leaf looks clumpy - just my opinion / technique

Lesley, South Africa


Clay Tools: The clay tools you need for Fimo and other polymer clays can be found at http://www.clayfactory.net/kt.html    They are Kemper Pattern Cutters. I used these in another lifetime when I made bread dough (yes, that really ages me).   You can buy them in sets or individually.   I would buy them and then use needle nose pliers to reshape them .  You then have to level them off with a file because the reshaping distorts the tube.   Look at ceramic shops in your part of the world first.   However, they aren't heavy for shipping.

Diane Foster, The Colony TX


Punched Clay: Let's say you have a hand held (as opposed to those square plastic ones) maple leaf shaped paper punch. You want to make a maple leaf shaped candy dish, but out of polymer clay, not paper. (You can use the other punches too, and the method is basically the same.)

The first thing you have to do is remove that 'trap' on the back of your punch, meant for catching the cut outs.  Take a good size piece of polymer clay and dust it lightly with baby powder. Press part of your clay into the hole on the hole punch. Pull it out using the rest of the chunk of clay as your 'handle'. Using a NEW, sharp single edged razor blade, dusted with baby powder, slice the shaped part of the clay away from the backing.

Now you will have a chubby maple leaf shape. By gently squashing it, and curving the edges, you will have your maple leaf shaped candy dish! You can paint and give it a coat of gloss to make it look like ceramic, too!

I have done this with many of my punches, and it has not seemed to adversely affected their original use!

Alice Zinn- Pt. St. Lucie FL


Making Bricks: The pasta machine bricks, I believe are ours, and you can find them on our website. http://www.thomasopenhouse.com   Happy bricking.

Noel & Pat Thomas, IGMA Fellows, NAME AOH


OLD Fimo: When I took Sharon Warner's fimo food class in Dallas, she told us that old fimo could be revived by mixing in tiny amounts of hand lotion (any kind). We tried it in class and were quite impressed.

Anyway last night my sister and I tried it on some fimo that was about 25 YEARS old. IT WORKED!!We broke it into about 1/2" cubes and worked it adding hand lotion a bit at a time and within minutes it was totally workable. And colour stayed exactly the same. Wonderful!!

Maureen in St. Albert AB Cda


Bricks: I rolled paper clay out thin (about 1/8" thick) and used the sawed off part of a disposable bristle brush that Rik provided at the class, and pounced it over the clay surface to give it a used and porous look. You can even gouge it a little here and there for a really used look. Then I used the little wooden thingy that Rik provided at the class to divide the clay into brick pieces. Of course you don't know what little wooden thingy I'm talking about. It's a thin wedge of wood with tapered edges. You can use the edge of a putty knife too. I was just too lazy to go out in the shop and look for it, LOL.

Now paper clay shrinks so I divided mine into rectangles,1/2" by 1", and they shrunk up okay for my immediate use. One day I will most likely experiment around until I get the right size raw, to shrink down to the right size dry. The trick is to divide the bricks first and let the clay dry, because as it dries, it separates at the cut edges.

I forgot one thing: it sticks so roll it out on a piece of glass, marble, or granite so that you can ease it up with a putty knife when its dry. The neatest thing is when it dries it shrinks like I said, and the bricks almost break themselves apart. Now that it is all dry you can apply you paints and washes, and Voila, you have some pretty nice bricks. I bet someone else has a better idea, but this worked for me.

Carol Wagner, Joshua Tree


bricks and stone: On making bricks: I have used Das terra cotta air-drying clay. I roll it between two sheets of wax paper. Score lines using the edge of a steel rule. When leather dry it can be cut with scissors. It takes paint washing well for color variation and can be stippled for texture. I have also taken scored wood (very thin, maybe 1/32) and broken apart the strips. Painted them, snipped and glued individual bricks. These can be seen on my Colonial farmhouse at http://www.picturetrail.com/l.b.lee on the brick piers holding up the front porch pillars as well as the bedroom and study fireplaces. Then look at the stone piers under the brick ones. For these, I used the Rik Pierce techniques. Shape paper clay, stipple with a pouncing stiff bristled stencil brush and then paint wash. Both products are available at Joann.

Linda in Leroy, OH


Bricks: Here is my method for making bricks. I use Das terra cotta air dry clay. I run a small amount through the pasta machine to the thickness desired. On a sheet of paper I have drawn a whole sheet of bricks the desired size. I put a heavy clear plastic over this. The piece of clay is laid on this. I take a long straight sharp edge and line it up with my lines of bricks and slightly indent the clay. When this is partially dry I break it apart and turn it over to dry as the edges seem to dry first. When completely dry I glue the brick to the surface to be bricked after drawing lines to insure accuracy. When this is dry, I spray with a sealer. Then I mix water putty and apply as mortar, wiping off the excess gently with a wet paper towel. When this is thoroughly dry, dry brush with various colors.

Juanita in Missouri


Citrus texture:  You probably already know this one but.....To create the right  texture on the orange skin, roll the fimo ball over a used toothbrush.   Leaves an indented look just like an orange. Ditto for lemons."  A bird perch scraper works very well also. 

Sue in CT.


Cakes: We were making cakes at our mini club on the central coast NSW in OZ and after the meeting of course I'm sure we all did some more at home , well I woke at 3.am  with this idea to decorate a smooth cake we had 'iced' to stamp it with a small stamp we can get a 2.00 shop, usually children's play stamps, just the right size and looks good. Not earth shattering but good if you are not an artist.

Judith


Cornish Pasties: If I was on holiday in Cornwall and bought the real thing we would have  eaten them hot in our hands as a snack for lunch. No doubt some may eat theirs differently. They were a complete meal in a pastry case with meat and vegetables inside. Made originally for workers to take with them.

If I made or bought them we would have them with thick cut chips/ French fries and peas or baked beans. Or with mashed potato, thick onion gravy and boiled vegetables. , like carrots, peas and cabbage.

For those that would like to know what they look like to make some English fare, the famous Be-Ro site has the old recipes with pictures. Look for pastry then Cornish pasty. http://www.be-ro.com/f_insp.htm

This is the book I learnt to bake with. I have several editions including the 100 year old anniversary one. The firm has been going since 1880.  So many recipes are from the original, so lots of ideas for mini Fimo food. Also on the home page is a picture of the first one produced as well as later editions.

Pauline, UK


Potatoes: I make russet potatoes from white FIMO, poke a few little holes with a needle tool for eyes and bake at 250 degrees for 12 minutes. For the coating, I use ground brown chalk. Just rub the chalk over a piece of screen. When I put them in a pot with Envirotex (casting resin), they then look wet and under water. Different colored chalks have a lot of uses. I've scraped many over a screen and store in one of those 12-section plastic boxes.

Ruth


Multi-Grip Hardware, Household &   Marine Adhesive: Speaking of praising and glowing about glues... Here is the new glue I just discovered.   Works as well as Quick-Grab without the mess, or losing half the tube to the clogged nozzle; great bottle, somewhat  like theTacky Glue bottle but clear;   bonds Tile, Brick, Concrete, Wood, Glass, Leather, Fabric & Plaster.  Waterproof and dries crystal clear.  With all those credentials, silly me, I find it great for Polymer Clay work - neat and clean.

Anyway, it is Multi-Grip Hardware, Household &  Marine Adhesive (by Beacon)   I bought mine at my local hardware store (another place we miniaturists lurk).  Hope you can find it to try it.

Mary (Eccher)


Future Floor Wax for Fimo: Yes, Future Wax works beautifully for getting a shiny coat on Fimo items. I learned this from Judy Kafka, renown for her Fimo Candy Castles and trains. No stickiness whatsoever. Future is made by Johnson Wax Co. of Racine, Wisconsin and is still available as far as I know. I've used it on my no-wax floors, too, to enhance them.

Jeanette in Wisconsin


Fimo/Sculpey/craft supplies: Sunshine Discount Crafts Largo, FL. Order by Phone 1/800-729-2878 order by website: http://www.sunshinecrafts.com      They have the best craft catalog in the country!!!!!  They carry the regular Fimo and the new Soft Fimo at better prices than retail stores.   Delivery is great - I usually get my order (I order by phone)  within 6 to 8 days.   Sometimes faster.... No matter what it costs, GET THEIR CATALOG. You will receive updates and sales brochures periodically.   Trust me - I've been buying from them for 15 years and they can't be beat.  

Joanne Briggs


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