Monday, January 31, 2011

How to Make Barbed Wire Clay Jewelry

Nov 2016 update....Sorry, this tutorial (and Camille Young's website) seems to be offline now. I'll keep looking for this tutorial and will post the revised page if I find it again.

Jewelry made from barbed wire....guaranteed to be a conversation starter!    Actually this is faux barbed wire made from air-dry clay and isn't dangerous at all!   Click here for step by step instructions from Camille Young.   She's using Lumina Clay to make her faux barbed wire.  Lumina is very flexible when dry.   It's up to you to design the necklace or bracelet or ?????   Have fun with it!  I know I will.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Make Valentine Candy Jewelry with Clay

Giselle uses cold porcelain clay to form Valentine's Day chocolate candy earrings and pendants.  See video demo at Valentine Craft - Mold Chocolate Clay Jewelry

Friday, January 28, 2011

Experiments with Coloring Air-Dry Clay

There are 2 main types of air-dry clays....those that are pre-colored and those that are not.  Most of the clays that are not pre-colored are white or off-white in color. (A few are terra cotta or gray.)   The question of what to use to pre-tint the "white-only" clays comes up quite often (the alternative is to paint after cured).  

The answer is:  Just about anything soluble!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Make Miniature Calla Lily and Dandelion

I know that many fans of air-dry clay are also fans of dollhouse today we'll show you how to make some miniature flowers with air-dry clay.   Pedro Ramirez says the Dandelion and Calla Lily are two of the easiest flowers to make out of clay. He shows us how to make the miniature flowers in this video demo. I think he's using polymer clay for the Lily, but he also mentions creating the flowers

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ball-Jointed Doll (BJD), Step by Step

BJD from BlueFairy dolls
What is a BJD?   A BJD is a ball-jointed doll .....any doll that is articulated with ball and socket joints.  Body elements are held together by thick elastic cords, making them fully articulated and highly poseable.  BJDs are capable of standing on their own, without a stand or other support, and are also capable of very natural looking poses.

WIP by Morezmore (OOAK)
Such a doll is sometimes called an 'articulated puppet'. A favorite pastime among collectors and hobbyists are posing their dolls and photographing them in various positions that imitate real life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Photographing Your Clay Creations

Taking professional-looking photographs of small-scale objects can often be a challenge. I think the key is having good lighting and a plain background. Of course, a deluxe camera would be nice but it's not necessary. The photo above of some 3 inch tall clay snowmen was taken with a moderately-priced Kodak digital camera that I've had for a few years (7.1 megapixels). I think the photo came out pretty good for an amateur photographer! ;-)

I'm no expert, but this is what I did when I took the photo of the 2 snowmen above.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Think Outside the Box

On a wild and stormy night.......

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car?

Think before you continue reading. This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams."

Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tips for Storing Your Air Dry Clay

I often get asked "How can I store my unused air-dry clay so that it doesn't dry out?"

One of the pros of air-dry clay is that it air dries.  No need to bake!
One of the that it air dries!  Long-term storage is always a problem.  
Any exposure to light and air will start drying the clay.  Some brands start drying faster than others, especially some of the polymer-based clays such as Model Magic and Cloud Clay. 

I've had pretty good luck with the vacuum bag storage systems.  These storage bags are made for food storage but work great for clay!!   

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Cutting Tool Ideas

Minmie1412 shares with us her ideas for making your own cutting tools for crafting with clay.   Leaf cutter and heart shape shown in this video.

More 'make yourself' cutting tool ideas in previous post

Monday, January 17, 2011

Color Mixing Exercises

Clay Art by Maggie Maggio (Smashing Color)

On Saturday we posted a little Introduction to the Color Wheel which just covered the basics for all types of artists.   Today we talk about clay in particular.    Many pre-colored air-dry clays may be mixed as shown in the following exercises or you can use what your learn from them to create your own recipes for pre-tinting non-colored clays and cold porcelain.

Detailed information about color and the color wheel is offered by Maggie Maggio at Smashing Color.    Maggie's tutorials and exercises are designed for polymer clay but are useful to air-dry clay artists also. 
Her Clay Color Scales are shown in the 3 videos below.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Introducing the Color Wheel

Learning how to use a color wheel is one of the basic tools for knowing how to mix your colors and how to get the same color repeatedly.   The color wheel shown above is from Maureen Carlson's book "Imagine Your World in Clay"  Although Maureen Carlson primarily works with polymer clay, mixing colors is essentially the same with air-dry clay and all other clays. 

Let's  start with Maureen's introduction to the color wheel.  In her book she says:

"In this color chart, the dragonflies in the middle represent the primary colors, which are red, yellow and blue.  This chart shows how all other colors are made by mixing different amounts of these 3 colors.   Flying out between the red and yellow dragonfly is one with an orange body.  Orange is made by mixing together red and yellow.   Look at the other 2 dragonflies. Mixing yellow and blue makes the dragonfly with the green body.   Mixing red and blue makes the purple dragonfly.  The circles on the outside show what happens when you mix different amounts of the 3 primary colors.   You get different shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple."

Are you ready for some more in-depth lessons on using the color wheel?   Empty Easel has a more detailed explanation for Artists and Painters.  Using the Color Wheel  

Learn the color wheel and you'll be able to mix whatever color you want with the pre-colored air-dry clays or know exactly how to tint your non-colored clays and cold porcelain. You'll also know which colors will best  compliment the colors you're using and how to soften a color without ending up with a muddy drab color.   Within the next day or two, we'll post some color mixing exercises for clay artists.   

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do you do outdoor arts & crafts shows?

Pop Up Canopy Tent with Sidewalls...typical show size 10'x10'
"What Kind of Tent or Canopy Do I Need For Shows?"
This question frequently comes up for artists and crafters who are either new to doing shows or want to move from 'indoor' to 'outdoor' shows.  Kessler Craftsman Blog explains some tips and options for purchasing a show tent.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Sculpt a Fairy Head

Great photo tutorial from the late* Hannie Sarris showing us, step by step, how to sculpt a fairy head.   Hannie used LaDoll for this tutorial but says this sculpting technique is suitable for other air dry clay.

The basis for the head is a special type of styrofoam, also used for coffee cups.   She inserts a small dowel or stick completely thru the foam and coming out the top of the head.  This just makes things easier to handle while sculpting.  The hole in the head can always be patched later or covered with hair.

Example of completed fairy below:

Psyche by Hannie Sarris

*Hannie Sarris passed away suddenly and too soon due to complications from pneumonia on May 2, 2010   In Memorium

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Make an Easy Owl with Model Magic

A super simple variation of how to make an owl.  Quick and easy.   A great project to get you started with air-dry clay.  A great kids project also!  Make a large one for a paperweight or a smaller one for a fridge magnet!   Tutorial suggests using Model Magic.  Although white is shown, Model Magic comes in a variety of colors.  How about a purple owl??  LOL   Have fun with it.  4 Crazy Kings shows us how it's done.

On same blog is another tutorial with a full body variation


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Build Your Own Armature Stage and Armature Jig

Finished Stand with Armature
Chuck Needham has prepared a step-by-step tutorial for creating your own "2-bit Sculpting Stage".  It's a lazy-susan style armature stand made of wood and easy-to-find supplies.   Suggested dimensions are for a 1/6 scale figure and can be adjusted based on your own favorite scale.   

Instructions are also given for creating an armature jig in various scales along with instructions for making an body armature using the jig.
Armature jig and partial armature
I came across this tutorial at a Spanish-speaking forum, however the tutorial and downloads are in English.  Go here for tutorial:
The same tutorial is not currently available on the writer's website (Chuck Needham, 2 Bit Studio)

On the same page, following Chuck's tutorial, are instructions for making an armature using an image reference.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Create fancy miniature doughnuts with air-dry clay

In this video demo,  Cheily of Petit de Cherries shows us how to make fancy 'twisted' MINIATURE doughnuts with air-dry clay.   I could not find where she says exactly which brand of clay she uses but she refers to it as 'resin clay'.  I've heard that all commercial air dry clays are referred to as 'resin clay' in Japan.   Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!

For tinting and frosting the doughnuts, she appears to be painting with craft acrylics.    A "dry brush" technique is being used for the golden brown of the unfrosted doughnuts.   'Dry brush' means you load a small amount of paint onto your brush and then wipe brush on a paper towel (or something similar) until brush is almost dry.   Use a very light touch when applying to doughnut.   The dry brush technique is very similar to the method you'd use to apply powdered blush.   Tap off a little and then lightly apply.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Make This Cute Kitty

Another excellent 2-part video demo from Marisol Romero, showing us, step-by step, how to make the cute cartoon kitty shown above, using cold porcelain.   Marisol is speaking Spanish in the videos but, even if you don't understand what she is saying, you should be able to follow along easily.  Every step is clearly shown.  

This would be a good beginner's project because of the character's simplicity!   Instead of cold porcelain, many other air-dry clays would work as well...especially the soft  pre-colored brands such as  Deco Clay, Cloud Clay, Hearty Clay, Makin's Clay and other brands of soft, or semi-soft, pre-colored clays.   This would also be a suitable project for the not-quite-as-soft clays such as Creative Paperclay and LaDoll.  You would just have to pre-tint the clay first or paint when cured. (see menu tab above for tinting tips)    The clays I would NOT recommend are the heavier clays designed more for throwing on wheel and the low-price "school-grade" clays such as Crayola Air Dry Clay (which has a tendency to crack easy).


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