Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tutorial: Clay Peonies

Here's another flower tutorial from CreativeNimi at Crafts For All.    This time she uses Delight air-dry clay to show us how to make a Peony.   Cold porcelain and many other brands of air-dry would work as well (the softer clays seem to work best).   

With 3 Peonies and some flower buds, she demonstrates this lovely floral arrangement.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kissing Ball Made with Clay Flowers

A few days  ago I came across this great idea from CreativeNimi at  Craft Ideas for All.    It's a Pomander Ball, also known as Kissing Ball, made from clay flowers.  These decorative flower balls are used in weddings, at Christmas, at baby showers and other festive occasions.   The clay flowers can be made from cold porcelain or any of the softer air-dry clays, such as Deco clay.  To make the flowers, see our list of Clay Flower tutorials in the menu tab above.

CreativeNimi made the beautiful blue and white clay flower ball shown above.  She says: "Usually fresh flowers are used as it requires a lot of flowers. Making them in clay makes it extra special and this way it lasts longer. Pomander Ball with clay flowers is a labor intensive project, but once completed you really get the satisfaction of creating something magnificent."   Read more about her idea at Craft ideas for All.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tutorial: Clay flowers-Make this festive rose arrangment

This flower arrangement is very striking. I like the red, green, white color combination.   This would make a lovely decoration for the Christmas holidays.   Maybe if I get started on making an arrangement like this now, I might finish it by December!  LOL  

Deco Clay was used to create flowers shown in demo.   Homemade cold Porcelain, purchased Craft Porcelain, Delight, Daisy, Hearty and Makin's Clay are a few other clays suitable for this project.

See tutorial at Craft Ideas for All

Red, white and green clay will be needed.   For cold porcelain and clay brands that aren't available pre-colored, tint your white clay with a little acrylic paint, with color paste made for cake decorating & sugarcraft or with colorants made especially for cold porcelain.    

If you're not familiar with colorants, Wilton Icing Colors, shown here, is one example of colorants that are available in paste form from cake decorating suppliers,  at Michaels and online at Amazon.   Jars of paste colorants can be purchased as individual colors or as sets. 

Colorants specifically for cold porcelain are not readily available in USA, but you might find a supplier on the web. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tutorial: Roses made with air-dry clay

Follow this tutorial to make a beautiful white rose floral arrangement with green and red accents.  The green buds are made with clay but the red berries are purchased fillers.  Delight clay (lightweight clay made by Creative Paperclay) is used in demo  but many other brands of air-dry clay would be suitable, as well as cold porcelain.   See step-by-step tutorial for beautiful clay roses.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tutorial: How to Make a Clay Doll

Hamkaastostie at Deviant Art shows us her method for sculpting a doll with air-dry clay.   Click the image on this page to enlarge to a readable size.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Make a Trick or Treat Sign with Clay

This tutorial is from Makin's Clay and uses their "Glow-in-the-Dark" clay for the bats.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blog is silent today....

To honor and remember all those innocent people who were murdered on 9/11...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fetcher: Figure Modeling with Hearty Clay


'Fetcher' is one of the comical pack-rat characters seen in one of my favorite claymation movies, 'Chicken Run'.    For my first project with Hearty Clay, I thought I'd try to re-create Fetcher.   Following are the steps I used to create him and the problems I ran into!   (This is a follow-up to my Hearty review posted yesterday)

Hearty Clay is soft, pliant and easy to work with.  Ready to use right out of the package.  Cured Hearty is lightweight, firm and a little flexible.   Because this clay is very soft,  it does not hold detail well when modeling.  Definitely not suitable for making fine-featured dolls, but OK for whimsical figures, flowers, push molds and such.

#1 Armature

Step 1 is making the armature.  This figure is about 6" tall, which is large enough where it will need some support.  First I made a 'stick' figure of wire.  Then, to save on clay, I filled up parts of it with rolled up aluminum foil.    Next, I used floral tape to wrap everything up and hold it together.  I usually use white floral tape, but I happen to have a roll of brown that needed using up!   Wrapping the wire with floral tape (or any tape) helps the clay stick to the armature. 

#2  First layer of clay for 'pants'

Photo #2 shows where I have applied the first bit of colored clay to my armature.   Hearty Clay stayed moist enough to handle for quite a while, even after going thru pasta machine a dozen times to custom mix the colors I needed to match the movie character.   The pants for my 'Fetcher' figure had a lot of wrinkles in the clay as I worked, so I used water to moisten and smooth the surface.   But!  When I wet the surface to smooth it, the color in the clay transferred to my hand washing is important.   I didn't see any color transfer on my hands from clay out-of-package,  just when water was added.

Lots of shrinkage around tail and cracks on back of knee and elsewhere

Twenty-four hours have gone by and my first application of Hearty Clay to the 'Fetcher' armature has dried.   It has a matte suede-like appearance that looks soft but isn't.   I think it's attractive.  It was easy to mix the colors and easy to apply clay to the armature.   The only problem I had was a lot of shrinkage and some cracking when dry.   It shrank quite a bit and pulled away in the length and around the tail.   Cracks are not too bad and mostly my fault for wetting surface too much when trying to smooth it.  One of the reasons given for surface cracking is ..."when there is an excess of water or when there is water added on top, varying the degrees of humidity in the same mix".    Well, I DID get surface pretty wet....and it DID surprise!   But it looks repairable.

Cracks repaired.

The photo above shows the cracks and gaps all filled in and repaired.   I just took some fresh clay in the same color and blended it in.    It was easy to patch and you can't even tell where the cracks used to be on back of knees.  (Those cracks you see around the tail and around the waist are just rough edges.... I haven't finished that part yet!)

Beginning of final layers

For the next step I added more clay for his shirt and shoes.  This is just a base layer and will be built up with more clay and more detail as I work.

I found in working with Hearty Clay that building up thin layers of clay seems to work best.   Hearty is very easy to work with, but thick layers of clay seem to crack.  For most air-dry clays, adding clay in layers or sections seems to work the best, especially when working with an armature....but it seems especially important for the soft air dry clays like Hearty Clay.  The thinner layers allow the clay to cure more evenly.   Uneven curing causes cracking.


Here's the finished 'Fetcher' character!   I didn't have any more trouble with cracking once I learned to limit use of water for smoothing.    What looks like cracks around the sleeve and neck edge of his sweater, isn't.  It's "torn".  Fetcher is a pack rat and he is wearing a sweater made from a recycled argyle sock...with 'torn' edges for neck and arm holes!

Sorry, I forgot to take more photos as I was finishing his head, his sweater and other details.   The main focus was to discuss Hearty Clay and I wasn't even thinking of step-by-step photos as a WIP demo!   But, if you have any questions about how this was done... I'll try to answer!  ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review of Hearty Clay

Fetcher, from Chicken Run
my first Hearty Clay project
A while ago I purchased a few packages of Hearty Clay because it was soft to handle (but dried hard) and because it was suppose to have true primary colors for color mixing. However, the thing that interested me most about Hearty Clay was the fact that it dried to a matte, velvety-like finish that has a unique feel.

Manufacturers description:
Hearty Air Dry Clay is super lightweight and air dries to a firm consistency in 24 hours or less. When dried, Hearty has a soft suede-like feel that is pliable. It is suitable to make delicate objects like flowers as well as jewelry, pins, sculptures, magnets and other crafts projects. Hearty does not stick to fingers and it is easy to work with. It comes in 13 colors (including flesh) that can be mixed together to create infinite varieties. Color pigments used in our primary colors of Hearty Air Dry clay are faithfully reproduced for consistent color mixing results.

Cured Hearty is lightweight, firm and a little flexible. The package label says "no kneading" is needed. The clay is "ready to use" right out of the package.  But...if you plan on mixing the'll have to knead to mix or use a pasta machine to blend colors..

Hearty feels quite different from Creative Paperclay or LaDoll. Out-of-the-package it has the consistency of soft pie dough. I didn't find it specifically written anywhere, but I believe that Hearty Clay is a polymer-based clay and has many similarities to other polymer-based soft clays (the air-dry polymers...not at all like the oven-baked polymers).

Using Hearty's cyan, magenta and yellow (plus black and white) you can make any color on the color wheel.  I was very interested in being able to mix my own colors from these the 3 primaries, but, because of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) in my hands, kneading is painful for me, so I tried sending the Hearty Clay thru the pasta problems at all!  It went thru without sticking and colors mixed well. Before I tried that, I had heard you couldn't use the pasta machine with air-dry clay. Well, that may be true for some brands which are really sticky....but you can use pasta machine with Hearty Clay. I can vouch for that!

I found Hearty soft, pliant and easy to work with. It's a bit softer than cold porcelain, if you're familiar with CP.  Except for color mixing, no kneading is needed, which is good news for those with arthritis in their hands or other problems that make kneading of some clays difficult. However, because of that softness, Hearty does not hold fine detail well and realistic figure sculpting would be difficult.  It's great, however, for simple, whimsical figures.  Hearty can be pressed thin and it's pliable when cured, so works well for making flowers. It also works well in small press molds, which makes it suitable for jewelry, pins, magnets, scrapbooking and other crafts projects.

Hearty sticks to it's packaging (mine stuck quite a bit) and will stick to itself but does not stick to your fingers when modeling. However, if you use water with the colored clay to keep it moist or to smooth the surface, the color will come off on your hands and also smear onto adjacent clay pieces. This characteristic could maybe be used to your advantage to create blended colors for flower petals...I've haven't tried that yet!

I didn't see any color transfer on my hands from clay out-of-package, just when water was added. To avoid this, use cold cream instead of water. 

Hearty shrinks quite a bit when cured and cracks can appear. However, I didn't have any trouble patching these cracks with some new clay. Mixed colors stay true and it's hard to tell the difference in color between 'wet' clay and cured.

Un-cured balls of clay on top of cured
figure....comparing wet & dry colors
Hearty is readily available...carried in many craft stores and can be purchased online at a number of sites, including Amazon. Hearty may be a similar formula to Artista in Europe and Angel in Asia. It also has a similar consistency to Claycraft by Deco but they're not exactly the same.

I'm a little confused about this Hearty Clay and who in the heck manufacturers it. Project tutorials for Hearty Clay can be found on both websites for 'The Clay Company' and 'The Mountain Idea'. The website for The has a bunch of tips for using and coloring the clay but doesn't say much else. Hearty Clay is also shown (on website) as one of the products for 'Padico' (makers of LaDoll) but the package label says 'Venture Crafts' (Japan). Recently it has been advertised as Activa Hearty Clay and is also on their website!

Next post I'll share photos of work in progress of a small figure made with an armature and Hearty Clay and the problems I ran into...but satisfactory results in the end. That would be "Fetcher" (who is shown at top of this page).


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to Make This Cute Clay Angel

Here's a tutorial from Ben Franklin Crafts for a cute little angel made with Hearty Clay.   This would make a good beginners project.

Glue a magnet to the back and you've got a useful and decorative item!  ....Glue a pin to back and you have jewelry!    ....Add a hanger and you have a tree ornament!    ....or ... Make it big and put a hole in the back to  hang on the wall!!   ;-)

Friday, September 3, 2010

More About Lumina Clay

Lumina® is an air-dry polymer/resin clay that does not require heat to cure.  It is translucent, waterproof and dries flexible.

We posted about Lumina last April, with a short review of the translucent air-dry clay by Camille Young. Yesterday I came across this extensive review of Lumina by Mixi at Kawaii Frenzy. Mixi provides lots of photos, including a demonstration of how the light shines through very thin pieces.

Lumina is also said to be waterproof.   Read the full review here:

On this page Mixi talks about experimenting with different products to color Lumina

See this page to follow Mixi's experiments using Lumina in molds and testing it's flexibility (it's quite flexible when cured).

I recently bought some Lumina myself, but haven't had a chance to give it a try yet.   When I do, I'll be sure to share my own personal experience with it.   If you've used Lumina, please tell us your own pros and cons!


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