Friday, 27 August 2010

Part 2 - what to do with the left overs and another interesting experiment

Here are some more ideas using virtually the same techniques with clay, stamps and mica powder to use up the offcuts and disasters.

First, whilst you have most clay left, roll it up into a ball and press it to flatten a little with the palm of your hand. Then take a texture plate, lie it on top and carefully roll over it ONCE to make a patterned surface and to press the clay thinner. I'm sure this is probably not the recommended approach but it is super quick and easy and provided you don't roll repeatedly backwards and forwards you get a clear pattern.

I used a Sculpey texture making plate, but stamps with a background or script pattern are good and with improvisation you could use a Cuttlebug embossing folder too.

I generally cut the patterned clay into random shapes like tags and rectangles before colouring so they don't all have to be the same colour. These make useful embellishments to have on hand for cards and projects. In the example below I have cut a square to fit a papier mache frame to make a Christmas decoration. These frames a cheap and great fun. They have an aperture on both sides so as well as using remnants you could really go to town with Christmas stamps to make the clay pieces. The result is not very heavy and so suitable to hang on the tree. (Yes I know - it is too early to be talking about Christmas.)

I used green mica powder on the clay as before and then after baking it I rubbed a bit of gold (Krylon pen) with my finger over the raised pattern to emphasise it.

If you don't already have alphabet stamps, cookie cutters and texture plates this starter kit from Walnut Hollow is a neat way to get started - and comes with a box to keep everything in its place.

The alphabet pieces are designed to slot into a small handle with even spacing between letters - and there is a blank if you need to leave a space. It is quick and not too fiddly to use. The main challenge is to remember to assemble the pieces with the word and letters backwards. Working with individual letter stamps is easier in some respects because you spell as you go, but putting the whole word together first helps with sizing and centreing.
Here is an example. You can make little personalised tags, embellishments and add wording to larger projects in this way.

And finally, when you are down to the smallest ball of left over clay, roll it in your palms into a sphere and then press it with your thumb onto a texture mat or background pattern stamp to make a little button shape.

You can either add mica as before or paint them after baking. The black one below is a scrap that had some metal leaf mixed in (recycled error). The blue one is painted with acrylic paint and rubbed over with some metallic paint to higlight the pattern.

And now for my first experiment with Sculpey Bake and Bond. This is a bakeable adhesive intended for bonding Sculpey pieces to each other or to porous surfaces. I'm not entirely sure my experiment was what they had in mind, but paper is a porous surface right?
I conditioned, rolled out and trimmed to size a piece of clay - buttercream colour. Then I applied the Bake & Bond to the clay. It is very gloopy and sticky and so tricky to spread neatly. I ended up using my fingers (happens often) to spread the liquid without wrecking the smooth rolled surface of the clay.
Then I positioned some images face down onto the Bake & Bond and smoothed them down - again using fingers. I start in the centre of each piece and rub gently outwards to try and ensure complete contact. I anticipated that this first attempt might not be very tidy which is why I chose seaside images so the end result could justifiably look "weathered".
A quick tidy up to straighten the edges where working on the clay had distorted it and I created faux tiles by indenting the clay in between the pictures before baking.

Now the exciting bit....
Once the piece has baked and cooled take a dripping wet dishwashing sponge and press to thoroughly soak the paper bonded onto the clay.

Then rub the wet paper to peel it back in layers from the clay leaving behind the pictures. you may need to keep re-soaking as you go but you can be fairly vigorous without damaging the image.

As I suspected my first go was not completely successful. I had not pressed one corner into contact properly and the edges of each image were as wiggly as the gloop spreading. You also need to remember (and I know this but got carried away with new toys and didn't think about it) the images with writing come out backwards. Fortunately here the boat is so small you can't really tell that the name is back to front.
Nevertheless, I was please enough to incorporate it into a little project. I painted and weathered a little box with seaside colours, netting pattern, and flicks of dark blue spray which also "altered" another of my tops!

The materials used in these projects are available from The Altered Element. Click on the links in the text to see them.


  1. Cool! I'm always amazed by all the ideas you come up with. I know what you mean about the individual letters. I once made a card and then stamped haqqy dirthday on it :-))

  2. Thanx for sharing this wonderful idea I can often forget techniques I have used before, thank you for the reminder

    Love Dawn xx