Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to celebrate Easter using Sculpey III Polymer Clay: a tutorial

I would like to thank Kym at Totally Tutorials for the opportunity to create this tutorial, and to Sculpey for providing the products I will use to create it.  Kym does a wonderful job with her exchange program, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

The products Sculpey sent me are shown above.  They include the Sculpey III 30 Color Sampler, the 11 piece Sculpey Essential Tools, two Sculpey Texture Plates, and two sets of Premo! Mini Metal Cutters, although the set I didn't use is out of camera range.

And although I must apologize for the poor lighting, I will walk you through the steps of how I made this Easter basket that uses a wood substrate which measures 12" X 12" x 1" (30.48 cm X 30.48 cm x 2.54 cm). This heavy piece will stand on any mantel, table, or desk.  It even classes up my guillotine cutter located in my craft room.

As with all my tutorials, I take photos every step of the way.  This one is no different, because, before I can begin using the polymer clay, I have to cut a few egg templates.  Note the gloves I will soon put on to keep the clay off my hands, while lessening the chance of color transfer and fingerprints.

After the templates were cut, it was time to choose the colors.  What a wide and wonderful variety I had to choose from, too.

After I chose the first color I realized it was too close to the color I had painted the substrate.

When I finally chose the first color, I opened the Nature Premo! Mini Metal Cutters I would use for the project.

It was time to pinch some orange clay, then

wrap the remainder in its original package and place it in a baggie that seals.

Whether you plan to run your clay through a dedicated* pasta maker, or choose to use the roller in the Essentials Tool Kit, you must first soften your clay by kneading it in your hands.  One of the things I love about Sculpey III is how soft it already is.  It didn't take nearly as long to condition it as I expected (*A dedicated pasta maker is one that will only be used for clay in your craft room, and never, ever for creating pasta in your kitchen).

Once my clay was conditioned, it was time to open the Sculpey Essential Tool Kit.

I was thrilled that the tools stayed in place, even if I turned the container upside down.  When I saw the tools Sculpey sent me, I made a conscious decision to only use the tools in the kit to create this tutorial, even though I own a dedicated* pasta maker.

Because I'm using the roller I was sent, and not the pasta maker, I had to be able to control the height or thickness of the clay.  In order to do that, I  used two paint stirrer sticks.  These are readily available at all paint and home improvement stores and are always free for the asking.

To shorten the time it takes to roll out your piece, you should flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand (do as I say, not as I show, please).

Roll out to the proper thickness,  

add your template,

then roll again.

Now it's time to use the combination clay knife and clay shaper to cut and smooth the egg.

Shape the egg until you are satisfied with the shape and size, then

repeat, this time using hot pink.

When both eggs are shaped properly,

it's time to dip the mini cutter into water, Armour All, or mica powder, then cut the tulip from one egg.

If the tulip sticks to the cutter,

you can use your blunt point tool to remove it, like I did.

Now that both inserts had been removed,

it was time to swap colors.

Using the leftover clay from the first two eggs, I mixed the colors together for a beautiful mottled effect, then used the Vine design in conjunction with the Texture Wheel, another of the Essential Tools.

For the next egg, I chose the Landscape Texture Sheet that had the six mini patterns, one of which was the Cherry Blossom design, perfect for this spring inspired piece.  As you can see, I placed the texture sheet face down and rolled the clay roller over the egg.  The color I chose is called Ballerina.

For my final egg, I wanted it to be speckled, but didn't realize even a tiny bit of blue added to the beige would expand so much when I used the roller to adhere the specks.  I had learned a valuable lesson, at least.

Now it was time to bake the eggs using the manufacturer's directions.  Always keep your directions, because different manufacturers use different temperatures.  According to the Sculpey web site, for Sculpey III, the recommended temperature and times are: 
275 °F (130 °C) and 15 minutes per 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness.

That was just the amount of time I needed to clean up and put away everything I wouldn't need for the basket, which was next.

From the very beginning, I knew I was in trouble, because I didn't have enough Hazelnut or Chocolate to make the type of basket I had in mind.  So I combined bits of both colors, for a slightly mottled look.

You have no idea how happy I was that the tissue blade, called the Super Slicer, came with handles.  I've often worried that I would cut myself if I picked the blade up on the cutting side.  This was like a dream come true.  However, I know you feel a BUT coming, and the BUT is, the handles don't come with instructions for assembly.  Each handle has three pieces, two black and one green.  You can see I've attempted to take one apart in the photo.  Don't you just hate it when the handle is smarter than you?  Obviously, I finally figured it out, but it took far longer than if I'd had some basic instructions for assembly.

Thankfully, I had enough clay to make a partial basket, although I would not have enough for a handle.

I'm sure I don't have to show how to create the basket weave I used to make this basket.  I created it on the tray I would be baking it on, and I placed a few index cards under the middle of the basket for a bit of clearance.

To clean up the edges and to seal them, I used the Rope Design Wheel with the Texture Wheel base.

All that was left was to bake the basket, put everything away, and assemble.

I used E-6000 to attach everything to the wooden substrate.  I cut bits of "grass" for the basket using a cheese grate, and cut the worm from one of the Mini Metal Cutters from the kit.

Granted, the lighting isn't the best, but I think you get a good idea of what the the project looked like.

One final shot shows the size of the assembly.  I hope this gives you ideas of how to use these supplies and tools.  Should you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section and I will get back to you on YOUR blog, not mine.

Once again my thanks go to Kym at Totally Tutorials for the opportunity to create this tutorial, and to Sculpey for providing the products I used to create this mixed media assemblage.

15 thoughtful remarks:

peggy gatto said...

What fun, thanks for the ideas!!!

Unknown said...

What a fun, colorful, and artistic way to celebrate Easter! xo

Anonymous said...

Cute Easter tutorial. I love the texture sheet you used on the purple color is so great. xox

elle said...

You've done a fine job, Elizabeth. I need to get my out sometime soon and let the grand kiddies have at them! ;~)

Rita said...

I haven't had my polymer clay out for must be a couple of years at least. Might have to put that on my list, too--LOL! Nice springy basket. :)

Krisha said...

How funny that you poste about Polymer Clay, it has been on my mind for the past couple of days.

Your Easter basket is very cute.

Vicki Miller said...

Great tutorial and a lovely project!

Jo Murray said...

Sculpey looks like a lot of fun Elisabeth.

Carol said...

I know I have Sculpey around here somewhere...need to get it out and play again..Very cute basket arrangement.

Julia Dunnit said...

Genius idea with the paint stirrer sticks..I shall use that a lot. Except that to ask for free paint stirrers here in dear old blighty would just get a blank look and then probably, once understood, gales of laughter! well done you, great tutorial, great photo step by step. A lot of work E!

Glennis F said...

Love your tutorial (and all the photos) this is not something I have ever used - very interesting

Craftymoose Crafts said...

You did a wonderful job with your tutorial. An Easter basket is, of course, so timely! I like the two tone look to the basket and especially the way you "sealed" the edges with the design wheel! The tulip cut out color switch reminds me of something I've been wanting to try with jewelry. Hmmm, do I see another tutorial in my future?

Janet said...

Great fun to switch mediums for a bit!

Darla said...

Great creation. I gave all my Sculpty stuff away. Conditioning the clay was too hard on my hands. However if I'd had all your nifty tools I might have tried harder to work with it.


Monica said...

I am not going to do this, in fact it is one of the few decisions I made a few years ago and stuck with. Instead i will live it through you. It looks quite absorbing and interesting. Do like your creations and I am sure Bluebeard was full of ideas.