Monday, January 16, 2017

Making Flat Sheets of Creative Paperclay®

Because I'm often asked about how to keep clay flat when it is drying, I'm reproducing the instructions from my booklet "101 Uses for Creative Paperclay" here.  I often use dry sheets of clay for my art projects and miniatures.  (If you would like a copy of the booklet please email me)

How to make flat sheets of clay

You will need:

- Creative Paperclay® modeling material
- 2 pieces of hard plastic grid.  The type I use is “egg crate” styrene, which is sold in 2’ X 4’ panels as a lighting diffuser for fluorescent ceiling lights.  It is available in most hardware stores for $20 or less.  The sheet can easily be trimmed to more manageable sizes with flush-cut nippers or a saw.  I generally cut mine into thirds, which gives me three pieces approximately 15” X 24” (some length is lost when snipping off the sections in between strips).  Two sections are needed for each flat sheet of clay you intend to make, so you may wish to cut one of the 15” X 24” sections in half to use for small sheets.
 - 2 wood strips in the thickness you want your finished paperclay sheet to be (I'm using 1/8" square strips in the example).  The clay sheet will be slightly thinner than the strips, since it shrinks a small amount while drying.
- 2 pieces of screen fabric (the nylon type used for screen doors and windows) or, thin fabric strips.  The purpose of the fabric is to avoid grid marks in the clay - Just about any fabric will work, as long as it is made of a material that will allow air to get to the clay, and will allow you to put wires through it easily.

- plastic wrap
- masking tape
- rolling pin

- 4 to 10 lengths of wire about 5” long.  The number you need will depend on the size of the clay sheet you roll out.  Look ahead at the photos and you will have a better indication of how these are to be used.


- Tape a piece of plastic wrap to your work surface, then tape the wood strips on either side of it - make sure that the strips are not spaced farther apart than the width of your rolling pin.  If you are using thin wood strips, also tape along the sides so the strips don't spread out under the pressure of the rolling pin.

Put a lump of clay on the plastic wrap, lay another sheet of plastic wrap over that, and start rolling.  Lift and turn the clay occasionally to avoid it sticking to the wrap.  Use caution when turning the clay though – lift and flip quickly to avoid letting the weight of the rolled clay stretch the sheet.  Or you may lift one edge and roll it onto the rolling pin, as is done with pie dough.  Continue rolling out the clay until your rolling pin is flush with the wood strips (the clay isn't getting any thinner; the rolling pin is riding along the wood strips).

If desired, cut clay to size by running the BACK of your craft knife through the clay (using the back allows you to do this without cutting through the plastic wrap or into the table :) )

Place one piece of screen on one of the plastic grids, then carefully lay your clay sheet on top. Place a second piece of fabric on top of the clay. Un-tape the wood strips from your work surface and place them on either side of the clay.

(I’m using white tulle for the photos because the dark nylon screen didn’t show the process very well).

Now place the second piece of screen and the second plastic grid section over all of this, so you have a "sandwich" of screen, wood & paperclay, between the two plastic grids.

Secure the sandwich together by putting a wire tie through one of the sections on the grid, close to one side of  a wood strip, through all the layers, then back up through the bottom piece of grid on the opposite side of the wood strip.  Attach as many ties as necessary to hold the grids securely.

Set aside until paperclay is dry.

Please let me know if you have questions or comments about this process!

Here's is a peak at some of my dry paper clay stash :)  I should probably store it flat to keep it flat, but I just put the sheet scraps in a box after I've used them for a project.  As you can tell, I have many different shapes and thicknesses saved up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Halloween is Just Around the Corner!

It's going to be here before we know it!  We've spent the last two and a half months in a hotel, so the Design Team posts have been a bit of a challenge, but then again, it was kind of fun to see what kind of sculpting I could do with just some plastic utensils and a toothpick while sculpting a skull.    Sharing my relevant Halloween posts since last year - search for more on this blog for previous year's posts - I've got instructions for clay pumpkin lights, cauldron party favors, and more - use the term "Halloween" - still plenty of time to make Halloween goodies!  Click on the photo captions for full instructions.

Make a Mandrake with Glowing Eyes!

Poseable Skeleton Hand and Forearm

Modeling a Skull - Part One

Tips for Finishing Clay to Look Like Bones, Teeth, etc.

Hope you will share some of the things YOU create for Halloween!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Testing, Testing...

Well friends,  I'd like to start out this post by saying THANK YOU! to those who have left comments, and that I apologize for not being able to respond here.  I have no idea why that isn't working, but I'm looking in to it.  I do appreciate your comments and hope to be able to post responses as soon as I get this figured out.

And speaking of figuring things out, this post will be a test to see if I can edit and upload pics with this little netbook of mine.  I have had connection problems since I've been here in early November, and when I do get connected it hasn't lasted long enough to get much work done.  It never was intended to be my primary computer, and in computer ages (like dog years only they go by even more quickly) this thing is ancient.  But since it looks like I'll be on this thing for a while since I am in Tucson and my real computer is in New Mexico, here goes.

Now for the best news since my arrival - I'm announcing the birth of my newest granddaughter - Jubilation Lee!  Born 11/24 - a happy, healthy, beautiful girl! and here is my first picture upload test to prove it!

and the second test is a different file type - it's a picture I took of the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun here in Tucson when I went with my oldest grandson's class.  We had a great time and it was another beautiful day in Arizona!

Hopefully the uploading will work out, and I will post some more.  I need to get caught up with my Design Team updates.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Prizes and Projects!

Two posts in one day.....because I want to remind all of you about the blog hop going on today with Gina's Designs and Creative Paperclay® 

There is a chance for you to win some great prizes (craft supplies!!!!!!!)

All of the design team members got a really awesome bunch of lasercut Halloween goodies from Gina's - I took mine to Tucson with me when I went for some events there, planning to do something with my grandsons when I came back the next time (because my studio is mostly packed up here in prep. for the pending move).  Unfortunately I got sick and didn't make it back in time for Halloween projects, so I don't have one to share.  Trust me though (or follow the link and go have a look for yourselves :) ) Gina's has some fun stuff

If you'd like some more Halloween projects, here are a few I've created on the blog and my site-

 Jack-O-Lantern Tea-Light Covers How-To
Jack-O-Lantern Tea-Light Covers How To

Cauldron Favors How-To

Quarter-Scale Pumpkin House How-To

Miniature Candy-Corn House

Scary trees (1:12th scale miniatures) How-To

Some small and large Halloween Props and more

Thanks for joining me again!  I have big hopes that we will get our move done before long and I will get my studio up and running - I'm really, really missing my creative space!

The Joys of Jack-O-Lanterns

Happy Halloween!

Unfortunately, this year I haven't been able to participate much in Halloween activities due to moving preparations and illness, so I'm just going to share a gallery of previous pumpkin carvings.  Wanted to do another "painting" this year but didn't get to it.  Hope you enjoy the carvings here, it's one of the other artsy things I love to do!

I hope all of you have a safe and fun holiday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween Project with Creative Paperclay®

Looking for something fun to create for Halloween?

"Try your hand" at making one of these poseable skeleton hands and arms

Complete how-to directions are on the Creative Paperclay blog

It may seem a little daunting, but I had so much fun making this one!  I'd love to hear about what you've created for the holidays!

Not much else to post for the day, we are still trying to get ready for the has been a fits right in with the holiday ;)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Back to Where I Once Belonged!

Things have been pretty busy here - my husband will be retiring in a few months and we are trying to get ready to move back to Tucson, Arizona.   I am a second-generation native of Tucson.  My grandparents settled there in the 1930's, and my mother, her two sisters and 4 brothers did a pretty fair job of adding to the population throughout the years.

Ten years ago, when Steve got a job at Los Alamos National Laboratory, we moved to New Mexico (it was only supposed to be a five year least that is all I agreed to, but, that is a story too long to tell).  I have missed my home so much, but at this point I'm also thinking about how it is going to be upon my return.  In the last ten years not only have both of my parents passed away, but most of my aunts and uncles and some of my friends are also gone.  I think part of me will have a very hard time getting used to Tucson without those people in it, it seems like there is already large parts of my home town missing.   I still do have many family members there though, and some I haven't met yet. I'm looking forward to getting re-acquainted with the ones I have missed and haven't seen much of - expect some dinner party invitations cousins!  Looking forward to visiting and hugging the many friends I haven't seen over the years also, some have been friends for more than 40 years!

Thankfully, I have been able to see my kids and GRANDkids "fairly often" though of course not nearly as much as I would have liked, and getting to hang out with them full-time will be the greatest joy of going home.

I've missed "my" mountains, cactus wrens, saguaros, monsoons, and so much more.  Tucson, my beautiful sunshiny desert---- I'll be home soon!