Friday, February 18, 2011

A challenge for myself!

This week, I discovered Auntie's Beads! They don't have the LARGEST selection of beads and supplies, but they do offer this really cool Bead Grab Bag. The one I ordered had a PINK theme!

The two long strands of rounds look like either glass or acrylic - dark pink and clear. There is a strand of faceted rondelles in VERY light pink - I'm not sure if they are Chinese crystal or just glass, but very pretty nonetheless. The pink rose is listed as having been made of a composite material, but it looks a little like polymer clay. The two frames have a paisley pattern in them, and the silver roses appear to be silver plated acrylic. The stone focal is Pink Variscite (which you may already recognize from another listing in my shop - what a coincidence, huh?), and there is a large crystal heart, and a ceramic bead.

The grab bag also came with a bag of glass bicones, and flat-back rhinestones. I think the rhinestones will be really neat in my current polymer clay project!!

So, for the challenge: I am going to make jewelry using ALL of these components, and I will show you all what I made by next Friday. Well... I'll use SOME of the crystals, and SOME of the rhinestones - I can't incorporate ALL of those into the designs I have in mind. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the large stone, so that one might be longer than a week, but I DO have something in mind - don't worry! One of my designs that I have in mind is going to be for a giveaway for my SECOND ETSY-VERSARY, which is coming up in a little over a week!!

So, stay tuned to see what I come up with!

Monday, February 7, 2011

What I've been working on...

About a month ago, I was browsing through polymer clay items on Etsy, and saw a few pieces done in a Faux Batik fabric style. One of them was actually a Tutorial, but I'm not really one to PURCHASE a tutorial. After looking at the different pieces done in this technique, I tried to figure it out on my own. These two pieces are what I came up with so far. MY Faux Batik is not the same as the stuff I saw, but I really like it! AND, in the interest of sharing, I'll tell you what I did below (but I don't have any pictures of my process - sorry!).

Here's what I used:

White clay (I used a mix of Premo and Fimo, because that's what I had)
Mylar Foil (NOT metal leafing) - I used the Lisa Pavelka foils, which can be found at most craft stores.
Texture Sheet
Acrylic Roller
Liquid Clay (I used Liquid Kato)
Alcohol Inks (I used the Adirondack brand)
Magic Glos or another Resin

After conditioning my white clay, I rolled it through my pasta machine on the largest setting, and then folded that in half.
I then applied the silver foil, but placing it on the clay, and then using the texture sheet on TOP of that to make an impression. *note: for some other beads I made, that didn't work as well, so I used my acrylic roller and applied the foil first, and THEN made the textured impression*
I cut out my shapes, and made holes, and baked.

WHILE BAKING, pour some liquid clay into a plastic cup (preferably one you can throw away, or will never ever drink from again, LOL!), and drop some alcohol inks in. While baking, the alcohol will evaporate, and then you can mix your color. The amount of ink you use is really up to you - it's kind of a trial and error thing.

Once your pieces are baked and cooled, you can apply your colored liquid clay. I used multiple colors, and I really like the way everything mixed together. Make sure that you apply thin layers! The color will settle in to the crevices, but you don't want TOO much, otherwise you won't see the shimmer of the foil.
Then you need to bake this again.

Now, you CAN stop after this step, and have a lovely piece that you can use for jewelry or whatever you want! However, if you feel so inclined, you can apply some resin, and you will give your piece some amazing depth and shine. I used Magic Glos UV resin, and I also used a UV light. Here in Oklahoma, it is so windy that too much junk would get into the resin before it cured fully.

So, there you go. Have fun!