What you will need:
- Polymer Clay – I use Sculpey which you can find at most craft stores in a variety of colors. Any brand of polymer clay will work.
- Studio by Sculpey Antiquing Medium – If you want to add color to your piece once it is baked. I like the chocolate brown color the best.
- Studio by Sculpey Satin Glaze – This is a clear glaze that goes onto the piece at the end to protect it and seal it. They also make a gloss if you prefer that.
- Rubber Stamps – these can be wood block or clear, it really does not matter. You can also use anything with a texture that can be pressed into the clay.
- A spray bottle with water – I use an old windex bottle but any type of squirt bottle will work.
- Scrap Paper – Any type of white paper will work, I use scrap paper from my office or old homework sheets from the kids.
- Paint Brush(es) – I find it easiest to use smaller brushes to apply the antiquing medium and satin glaze.
- A Wood Barbeque Skewer – Or anything that will make a hole in the clay so you can add a jump ring or put some sort of stringing material into it. You will want your hole to be at least a 1/16 inch and I find these bamboo skewers work best for me.
- Small bowls or cups – for water and to put your antiquing medium and satin glass into while you work with it. You can use just about anything that you have around.
Step 1 – Pull a piece of clay from your package. The clay is marked in bars and I usually pull out one of those bars and start working with that. Whether your clay is soft or not you will want to work with it for a good 15 minutes. Knead it, fold it, roll it, flatten it, roll it again. This is what cures the clay and gives it strength. If you do not work with your clay then it may be brittle and/or break after it is baked. A good test to see if your clay is ready is to flatten out a piece to about 1/8” and if you see any cracks around the edges you will need to work with it some more, if not it should be ready to go. If the clay is really dry you can add a bit of water to it and work it in slowly.
Step 2 – Decide how big you want your piece to be and pull off a piece of your clay, shape it and flatten it to approximately 1/8” thick. I don’t like to go much thinner than this so the piece is strong. You can roll it out with a roller and cut a shape if you want but I like to organic look of shaping it myself. I will sometimes use the back of a stamp block to flatten it so it is a nice clean flat surface.
Step 3 – Pick a stamp or other textured item to imprint into the clay. Spray it will a spritz of water from your spray bottle. This helps to keep the clay from sticking to the stamp. Place your stamp so the impression size is face up and place your clay where you want the image to be. Using the other stamp or your hand press down firmly on the clay without flattening it out completely. Pull your clay from the stamp and take a look at it. If the image is not even or you don’t like it then just scrunch up your clay and try again. This is the best part of this project, if you don’t like what you see you can just scrunch up the clay and try again until you get something you like.
Step 4 – Using your skewer or other tool make a hole in your piece where you can either put a jump ring or run a string through it to hang it. Be mindful of not getting too close to the edge. After you make your hole look at the back of the piece and flatten out any clay that may have been pushed through with the skewer.
Step 5 – Place your clay piece on a sheet of paper on a cookie sheet. Follow the baking directions on the clay you purchased. For the Sculpey they suggest 275° for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay. My pieces are usually closer to 1/8 inch and this time works fine for me.
Step 6 – Let your clay cool completely
Step 7 – If you choose to add the antiquing medium to your clay now is the time to do it. Simply put a small bit of the antiquing medium in a bowl and also have a bowl of water ready. Dip your paint brush into the water and then put a small amount of the antiquing medium on it. Then paint over your piece. The idea is that the color will go down into the impressions made on the clay. If you have too much color then add some water to your brush and go over your piece again. This is another time you can play with how you want it to look. If you don’t like what you have done you can wash it off, dry off the piece and try again. Once this is dry you can do the same to the back of the piece if you want or leave it as is.
Step 8 – Using a clean dry paint brush put some of the satin glaze into a bowl and then using your brush apply to the front of your piece. It is clear and may bubble up a little but these will disappear as it dries. Let it dry completely and then do the back of your piece also. You want to be sure that all sides are covered with the glaze so the piece is sealed. Let it dry completely. (takes about 20 minutes to dry completely).
That’s it, you are done, except for hanging it. You can hang it on a cord or a chain or whatever you have handy. I put a jump ring through mine and then put them on a suede cord (you can find these at most craft stores also.
Happy Creating from Hang Ups in KC!