Sunday, January 18, 2009

Clay Heart Plate for Valentine's Day

A few tips before we begin: Fimo clay can stain so don't wear clothes you care about. You can either use gloves to keep from staining your finger nails or you can paint your nails before you get started (and let the polish dry first) so that when you take the polish off, the clay coloring will come off with it. It doesn't seem to stain skin, I wore gloves so I didn't leave my finger prints in the piece, but I didn't wear them the whole time. This can be done with any air dry or oven bake clay and if you have a kiln you can use kiln baking clay. Since I haven't used a kiln since high school and I don't know other clay-like materials well (ie model magic), I will be talking about fimo clay. Well, I used Sculpey which is one of fimo's clays and the other one is Premo. I have all three, but I liked the colors Sculpey came in best for this project. I recommend you use some wax paper to work with the clay since it will stain the surface you are working on. Lastly, you will want to wash your hands after working with each color (in the beginning) so you don't create the ribbon effect, unless you want it. It is a beautiful look, but I didn't want it in this piece.

To begin, slice off some clay. In the end I used half of each color. Whatever you take out can be put back in as long as you don't let the colors rest next to each other. There is no waste with this clay! (unless it falls on the floor or a kitten comes wandering in to see what's going on and walks across some of the clay, that stuff may need to be thrown out.) After you have the clay set out, work each color so it is malleable and then slice into small pieces and make them different sizes. Roll the slices into a ball and move on to the next color after washing your hands.

In the second picture I have a few balls of color together because I am starting with those. I like it to be random, but if you want to work in rows you most certainly can. So, put some colors together and start pressing until you have the shape you want or something big enough to work with as in my case.

Next, you can see that I have something close to a heart and each piece of clay looks like a pebble. In the picture after it, you see a small rolling pin with wax paper around it so I don't damage the wood of the rolling pin or the piece. I use the rolling pin to spread and smooth the entire piece and then we go to the next step.

I have a mix of heart shaped cookie cutters and I used the largest to form my heart with edges...

After I mold the clay around the shape I need to remove the cookie cutter and smooth out the edges inside. You can use water to help the clay form a smooth surface. The wooden tool is perfect for smoothing clay in tight spaces. Set your oven to the right temperature and bake for as long as it needs to. I baked mine for 20 minutes at 275 F. After it is out of the oven and it is cool you can glaze it. I use Sculpey glaze you can get at any craft store. I don't glaze the bottom and I put a lot of glaze inside so it can fill in anything that isn't touching. It's kind of hard to find a spot that isn't smushed together, but apparently they are there. The instructions for baking are on the package. Not all colors bake at the same temps so either bake 5 minutes longer or stay with the same temperature requirements. The colors I used required 15 minutes per quarter inch at 275 degrees fahrenheit.

Here is the finished piece. I show the finished piece with my keys so you can see it's size.

Don't want to make this, but you still want it? It's for sale in my Etsy shop!

Next: I will be working with my nephews to make valentine's cards for mom and Grandma. (and anyone else they want to make a card for) I hope I can get them all engaged in it, but one or two will do. :)