Saturday, August 13, 2011

Air dry clay designs

So, in case you didn't know my big dream is to get my own kiln one day and work in pottery/ceramics. I absolutely love ceramic beads and pendants. That's the main reason I started working in polymer was the closest thing to pottery I could find. It's fairly easy to re-create the look of ceramic with polymer clay. Sometimes I think p/c may be easier to work with than clay. However, the earthy feel of working in clay can never be replaced. On my quest to work with earthen clay I have delved into the world of air dry clay (which is simply clay that doesn't have to be fired in a kiln). I really love working with the a/d clay as anything that can be created with fired clay can be done with a/d clay. Only problem is that it is not near as stable and strong as kiln fired clay. It's great for making beads and pendants as long as you make sure and seal it with a varnish or sealer. My next project is to take some of my pieces to a ceramic studio and have them fired (this gets a bit pricey when you only have a small amount to fire so I'm waiting until I get a large batch ready before I take them in).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Faux Ceramic Polymer Clay Pendants

Today I mixed up some gorgeous turquoise glaze. I just had to find something to put it on so I pulled out a couple of pendants that were underglazed in earthy brown hues. This is the result...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More fun with crackle finish...

I love the look of crackle ceramic beads. I have developed my own technique to make my polymer clay beads look like kiln baked ceramic beads. Simply by applying the crackle finish over my final design I get the look of fired ceramic.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Test beads in coral...

Here are some photos of my latest 'test' beads in coral hues. I just received my crackle glaze this week and am so excited to start using it in my designs. It adds a totally different look to the beads. Kind of looks like a faux raku fired bead. I like to stain the crackle with a bit of distress ink to add a vintage effect. I'm still playing with my crackle varnish but I'll post more pics as I get them.
New faux ceramic clay design...."My Heart Shall Beat Because of You". This is a new pendant design finished in a copper glaze. I love using my glazes to create that beautiful faux ceramic effect. One day I hope to get my own kiln and work in ceramics but for now I'm content just copying the look in the clay:)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hot out of the oven....

Here's what I'm up to today. A large batch of lotus blossom pendants are headed to the oven to bake. After that, lots of glazing going on. Hoping the glaze I ordered gets here soon. I don't want to run out mid-glaze. Still using Studio by Sculpey for now. However, I have positively decided to switch to Varathane as soon as I can find some. I actually found a large 1 gallon can of it today at Lowe's.......way to much and I didn't have $40 to drop on Varathane today LOL. I just need a small can for now. Think I'll just order it online. Seems to be more and more the norm these days. I'd rather order online than waste time, money and gas driving all over town to not find what I'm looking for (and it's soooo hot here in South Alabama). Come on fall...I'm ready for some cooler days!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Making Word Beads and Charms...

I ran across this website awhile back on Polymerclay Web (Chatty Charms) which inspired me to make my own word beads/pendants. I used the basic idea presented in that tutorial using various colors of base clays (mostley browns and blues). Then I stamped my images and text into the clay and baked. Once completed I embellished them with various thin coats of acrylic paints (in layers). The techniques in the link are excellent resources for more information on how to create word pendant. These little pendants are totally addictive to make.

Trying out new glazes....

Here's the results of my glaze experiments for the day. The first pendant (lotus blossom) is the new glaze technique. I used Triple Thick Gloss Glaze by Decoart. I mixed a bit of my ink tint in with it for the color. I'm really happy with the outcome. It's actually just a bit more shiney using this glaze than my usual Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze (this glaze has been discontinued by Polyform). The second picture of the square heart is the Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze (which will always be my fav). They look fairly similar. I am hoping for the same results in my other designs. I'll post pics as I go.
P.S. If anyone has any comments or info on using Triple Thick Gloss Glaze I'd love for you to comment:) I've never used it so I don't know a lot about it. Okay, so I have really been researching this whole polymer clay 'glazing' process for several days now. I never thought much about it as I was happy with my old product. However, now being forced into finding something new it seems that the professional p/c crafters highly recommend "Water Based Varathane Diamond Polyurethane Interior" for all their glazing needs. See this link for a wonderful explanation by polymer clay artist SaraJane . For more info on using Varathane check out Polymer Clay Web. is another great site for more info on glazing (plus a ton of info on creating with p/clay)...
Wow, now that's what I'm talking about....Tina Holden, polymer clay artist of Beadcomber Originals has the perfect formula for making faux ceramic on p/c. Take a look at her gorgeous pendants (looks just like ceramic...I need to get some mica powder today!!) In my research it seems that the Fimo Gel is hard to find in the U.S. I think it has to be specially ordered from Europe. I'll post more on how to purchase Fimo Gel when I find a source.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Polymer Clay Glaze Comparison Tests

I was so disturbed to learn that Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze is no longer being manufactured. My supply was getting low so I had looked for it at Michael's & Hobby Lobby on my last few trips. To my dismay, I couldn't find it at either location. I figured they were just out of it. After several months of not finding it I searched online and alas, I discovered that they don't make it anymore. GRRRRRR!!! That was an essential part of my design process. It was how I got my faux ceramic effect and it's not available any longer. I read that Polyform is not going to replace it with anything comparible either. Now, it's back to the drawing board. I've got to find a comparible product to achieve the same effects. Here's a great post from Garie International on a comparison between Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Kato Liquid Polyclay and Fimo Deko Gel. I've never heard of Fimo Deko Gel but it seems to be the best of the three for my purposes. I am still hoping that Polyform will change there minds and put it back out there (even if it's in a new package). Until then, I am forced to find a new source.....SIGH!

P.S. I will keep adding links to this post as I find more helpful info on glazing. Here's some great links that I've found: Craft Test Dummies did a comparison test on several glaze products with some interesting results. Mossy Owls on blogspot has great info on using Kato Liquid Polyclay as well.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mermaid Beach Bead Studio Gallery


Art beads in polymer clay.

Great tip on glazing issues for polymer clay....

I found a great tip on one of my fav polymer clay sites on the topic of glazing your polymer clay beads. This is a great tutorial, (I positively have to get this tutorial). I have been using Sculpey Studio Glossy Glaze for several years now with no problems. I can add my own color blends with my alcohol inks and it mixes up nicely. However, I do not care for regular Sculpey has a totally different texture to it (to me). I've never tried the Future floor polish or Varathane (simply because I have not been able to find any locally). Still keeping my eyes peeled for some though....always up for new techniques and ideas. Here's a few pics of my latest designs.
P.S. I will keep editing this post as I find more great tips and ideas on polymer clay glazing. Here's another great technique (freebie) at Polymerclay Web. This is basically the way I do it. I have tweeked it here and there but this technique works wonders for a faux ceramic pendant.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Retro Blues....

Here's a few more of my retro blue designs in polymer clay. I mixed some teal blue clay (small half pea size) into some transluscent clay for a bakelite effect. Works really well.
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