Springy Celebration Ornament

Craft Ideas Craft of the Day

Add sparkle and fun to your tree this year. This clay ornament is quick and easy so you can create a batch in many color combos!

Materials

  • Polyform Premo! Sculpey Red Glitter Oven-Bake Clay
  • Green glass crystals

Tools

  • Polyform Sculpey: Clay Conditioning Machine, Clay Extruder (with half-circle extruding disc)
  • Copy paper
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • Tape

Basic Supplies

wax paper

Directions

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 275° F. Run clay through Clay Conditioning Machine on several passes on widest setting. Fold clay in half after each pass; insert folded side into rollers first.

STEP 2

Create cone with sheet of copy paper; tape in place.

STEP 3

Fill extruder completely with Red Glitter clay. Extrude completely.

STEP 4

Lay extruded piece of clay down on flat side. Using fingers, create point at one end. At other end, create loop and connect back to strip.

STEP 5

Press crystals firmly into clay in random pattern.

STEP 6

Starting with pointed end of strip and small point of paper cone, wrap clay around cone.

STEP 7

Bake clay on paper cone on parchment-lined baking sheet in oven. Let cool. Remove paper and hang ornament on tree.

Tip

  • For a different look, mix two colors of clay together to create marbleized look. Run marbleized clay through extruder and follow instructions to wrap around cone.

by Polyform Products (http://www.sculpey.com/)

Cloud Clay Embellished Cuff

Burlap is a very popular fabric to be working with right now. It’s got a very natural feel and inspires a lot of creative possibilities. I’ve been making a lot of things with burlap and today I’ve got a project that combines burlap with Cloud Clay!

Now these are two media that you may not consider combining in the same project but, in fact, they go quite well together. One of the features of Cloud Clay is its ability to stick to itself so for this project I wanted to apply the Cloud Clay to the fabric and the solution was to sandwich the fabric between two pieces of Cloud Clay.

As soon as two pieces of Cloud Clay are pressed together they’re only too happy to stick fast. Here’s how to use this feature to make a cute Cuff with Cloud Clay accents:

To complete the project you will need:

  • AMACO Cloud Clay: White,  Red
  • Burlap
  • Felt in colors of your choice – I used grey and two shades of pink
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread

To begin, take a piece of burlap long enough to wrap around your wrist comfortably. Typically, you’ll want a little more than 8-9″ of burlap to start with. Pull some threads out of the burlap so the Cloud Clay can poke through the holes in the burlap and form a nice join with itself.

I pulled three long threads out of the middle of the burlap and then every eight threads on the short edge I pulled out another two threads. This gave me a nice even grid to work with. Depending on how coarse your burlap is, you may want to adjust the number of threads that you pull out. Basically, you need to make square holes smaller than the embellishments but large enough to get good adhesion for the clay.

Condition some White Cloud Clay so it is nice and pliable and then add a tiny piece of Red clay to it to make a pale pink color. Put some of this clay aside and add another small piece of Red Cloud Clay to the remaining pink clay and make a slightly darker pink clay. Continue until you have 3-4 shades of pink clay.

Pinch off small pea-size pieces of the colored Cloud Clay, roll them into small balls, and press them over the holes in the burlap, then flatten them slightly. Use a range of colors so you have a pattern of Cloud Clay pieces that go from light to dark and back again.

Now take some half pea-size pieces of Cloud Clay and roll them into balls. You’ll place these under the burlap directly under each of the Cloud Clay pieces and then press lightly to adhere them. Make sure the topmost flattened balls are nice and round as they’re the side that shows.

Because the Cloud Clay pieces are bigger than the holes in the burlap they won’t pull through it and the Cloud Clay pieces on the back will keep the pieces on the front in place and secure. Check that everything looks good and set aside to dry while you do the sewing.

For the cuff, take three pieces of wool felt and cut them into the lengths to use for the cuff. The inner piece (grey in this case) needs to be wider and slightly shorter than the outer pieces. You need to make the cuff large enough so that you can pull the cuff on and off your wrist without requiring a clasp but not so large that it falls off!

Start by sewing the gray felt into a circle to make the base of the cuff. Over the top of this add a piece of dark pink felt – it will be narrower and just a little bit longer than the grey felt. Sew it to the grey felt using small stitches and coordinating color thread.

On top of that, add another layer of lighter pink felt – it will be narrower and just a little bit longer than the previous piece of pink felt. Sew it in place.

Once the Cloud Clay on the burlap layer is dry, you can add it. Use small stitches and make a stitch over each of the burlap threads to make sure that the burlap won’t fray any further and to affix it to the felt layers below.

The finished cuff is a quaint and unusual mix of Cloud Clay, felt and burlap, a little bit chunky, and a lot of fun!

You could take this design idea a step further and instead of using small balls of clay, make your own molded embellishments by pressing small pieces of Cloud Clay into a mold. Place the molded shape on top of the burlap and press another piece of Cloud Clay to the back of it to make your piece is secure.

You can make your own molds using a molding compound and buttons or other found objects or you may find small molds used for candy making that will have nice design elements you can use.

by Helen Bradley for AMACO (www.amaco.com)

Under The Big Top

It’s hard to pinpoint just what I love most about the circus. Is it the color of the big top, the wonderful animals or the clowns and their antics? The circus itself is a minor miracle – it has survived the internet, the iPhone and Netflix. And while drive-in cinemas are no longer to be found, there are still circuses performing around the globe entertaining a new generation of kids.

To celebrate the circus, I have a project that you can make yourself or make with the kids. The clown and circus tent are made in AMACO Cloud Clay which is an air-dry clay that has a lovely suede-like finish and which comes in a heap of colors just perfect for this circus project. The wet clay sticks to itself so the pieces are easily assembled, and when dry, the pieces are astonishingly robust.

To complete the project you will need:

  • AMACO Cloud Clay: Green, Orange, White, Blue, Yellow, Black, Purple, Red, Orange
  • Recycled toilet roll or cardboard cylinder
  • Aluminum foil
  • Acrylic roller
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • Scallop scissors (optional)
  • Non-stick work surface

To condition the Cloud Clay, pull off a piece of clay large enough for the element you are making and knead it and pull and fold it until it is pliable and soft. Keep the remainder of the clay sealed in an airtight container. I double-bag mine, wrapping first in cling wrap, and then storing it in zip-lock bags. Start with the clown’s feet, shape some Red Cloud Clay to make his shoes. Break a toothpick in two and push one half into each shoe – you will use these to anchor his body.

Scrunch up some aluminum foil to make a sphere for his body. Cover the bottom of the sphere with an overlarge piece of Blue clay; pull some clay away from the body and cut it in two with scissors. Shape the clay to make his trouser legs. Cover the top of the sphere with a large piece of Orange Cloud Clay for his shirt. Press the completed body onto the toothpicks in his shoes, pressing everything firmly together and ensuring that everything is angled correctly so he stands upright.

Make two flattened teardrop shapes using White Cloud Clay for his hands – use scissors to cut the thumb and then curve the shapes to make one left and one right hand. Add some Orange Cloud Clay to his wrists to make sleeves and press the sleeves onto his shirt.

Roll a small egg shape from White Cloud Clay for the clown’s head. Add small pieces of Orange Cloud Clay for the nose and mouth and pieces of Yellow, White, and Black Cloud Clay for his eyes. The image shows how these pieces should be assembled. Press a toothpick into the eyes to make pupils.

Flatten pieces of Green Cloud Clay with your fingers for his ears. Cut around the ears with scallop-edge decorative scissors and press the ears onto the head. Press the head onto the body, ensuring that the clown still stands upright.

Press some Purple clay flat with your fingers to make a bow tie shape. Cut the edges with decorative scissors. Press the bow tie on the clown’s shirt. Finish his trousers with some buttons made from tiny flattened balls of Purple Cloud Clay.

To make the circus tent, roll a piece of Orange Cloud Clay flat using an acrylic roller. Cover a recycled toilet roll with the Orange Cloud Clay and trim away any excess clay. Roll some White Cloud Clay to a similar thickness and cut it into long flat strips. Press the strips of White Cloud Clay onto the Orange clay to make the stripes in the circus tent.

Roll some Orange clay flat and cut a half-circle of clay from it. Press into a cone shape, pull out the bottom edge of the cone to flute it, and sit it on the striped tent base. Make a small flag from Orange clay – roll it around a toothpick and press it into the top of the tent.

Set all the pieces aside to dry.

by Helen Bradley (www.amaco.com)

Clay-Swirled Pens

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day

Don’t show up on the first day of school with the same boring pens as everyone else. Create vibrant and stylish clay-covered pens to start the school year out with a bit of flair.

Materials

  • BIC round stick pens, three
  • Soft polymer clay: red, gold, white, fluorescent pink, metallic purple, black, granite

Tools

  • Old gift card or promotional credit card (for cutter)
  • Clay-dedicated rolling pin
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven

Basic Supplies

ruler, plastic tablecloth (to cover work surface)

Directions

(Note: BiC pens won’t melt when baked in the oven. Don’t substitute!)

Step 1

Cover work surface with plastic tablecloth. Use pliers to pull gold tip and ink stick out of pens. Set aside.

Step 2

To condition clays, remove from package and roll in hands until soft. (Note: For one pen, 1⁄3 package of each color is needed.) Flatten clay and fold in half. If clay cracks when folded, keep conditioning.

Step 3

For one pen, choose two or three colors to blend together. Use rolling pin to shape clays into 1⁄8”-thick flat rectangles. Stack two or three different-colored rectangles together. Use rolling pin to flatten clays into one 1⁄8”-thick rectangle.

Step 4

With hands, roll rectangle into tube. Continue rolling tube until colors blend together and clay is smooth.

Step 5

Use gift card to slice off pieces from tube. Roll slices onto pen, covering length.

Step 6

Smooth out pen by rolling on work surface.

Step 7

Place pen on parchment-lined baking sheet. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to bake clay.

by Laurie D’Ambrosio

Seasonal Decorating Success is Guaranteed!

I have a long history of good intentions followed up by last minute rushes to get things done. I love to send handmade Christmas cards, but a week before international Christmas mail closes is not the time to be making them. I also love to decorate the table for holidays but that too needs to not only be planned in advance but also executed in advance. So this year I’m combining intention with execution and getting started early.

My table project for the holidays is autumn-themed and I’ve chosen oak leaves and acorns. The oak is a wonderful tree – it looks great all year round. In California, where I live, we have them in abundance and each year I watch as they sprout small green shoots of leaves that quickly turn into wonderful canopies of the deepest green. In autumn, they turn a wonderful gold and litter the ground with acorns that get scooped up by bouncy squirrels.

This year’s holiday decorations are oak leaves and acorns fashioned into table decorations and napkin rings made from AMACO Cloud Clay. Cloud Clay is an air-dry clay that is soft to work with, it stretches easily, and it dries to a light and flexible finish that feels just a teeny bit like suede. For this project you’ll need browns and yellows, so I’d grab a 4 oz. pack of Terra Cotta or Brown, one of White and one Yellow or Orange. You will also need an oak leaf cookie cutter – or some other leaf shape cutter. While you can cut the leaves by hand, cookie cutters make the project go a bit smoother. Add an acrylic roller, thin knitting needle, and a non-stick work surface and you’re done.

Start by pinching off an egg-size piece of clay and pull and fold it until it is nice and pliable. If you like, you can mix bits of various colors of clay to get custom colors – the colors mix very quickly so you can easily get a range of autumn golds and browns.

Roll the clay to around 1/8 -1/4″ thickness and press out the shapes with the cutter. Use the knitting needle to press veins into the leaves. Bend the leaves along the middle vein and curve the ends. Set the leaves aside to dry a little.

Make the acorns from small teardrop shapes of clay and add caps made from a second color of clay. Use the pointy end of the knitting needle to texture the acorn caps.

Assemble the leaves and acorns into groups – two leaves and two acorns. If the clay is still a bit wet, the pieces will stick together easily. If not, dampen them slightly and adhere.

Napkin rings are easily made from a small snake of clay flattened slightly and twisted around to make a circle. Press the ends together to seal. You can then add a leaf and acorn combination to each napkin ring.

Plan for a napkin ring for each guest and a few extra leaf and acorn combinations to scatter around the table. Cloud Clay items are extremely durable, so at the end of the holidays, pack them up carefully and they’ll be ready for the next year’s festivities.

by Helen Bradley (www.craftinggoodness.com)

Garden Pot and Thermometer

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day

Transform a clay pot and plastic thermometer into outdoor art. Before Mother Nature has a chance, you can easily give your garden set a weathered appearance, making it fit perfectly with its surroundings.

Materials

  • Terra Cotta air-dry clay, 1 pkg.
  • Clay pot and saucer, 8” diameter
  • Outdoor thermometer, 2-1/2”x6-1/2”
  • Dow STYROFOAM Brand Foam Sheet, 1” thick, 6”x10”

Tools

  • Cookie cutters: Leaf, 1-1/4” across; Round, 1” diameter
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paints: Light Buttermilk, Arbor Green
  • DecoArt DuraClear Matte Varnish
  • Foam cutter
  • Rolling pin or acrylic brayer
  • Leaves (fresh or artificial)
  • Woven placemat
  • Beacon Adhesives Hold The Foam! Adhesive

Basic Supplies

ruler, soft cloth, paintbrush

Directions

Thermometer

1. Center thermometer on plastic-foam sheet; trace. Cut 3/4”-deep groove into plastic foam to fit thermometer. Cut plastic-foam sheet, leaving 1-1/2” border around thermometer and rounded point at top as shown.

2. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to condition clay. Roll clay to 1/8” thickness. Apply glue to front and sides of plastic-foam sheet. Cover plastic-foam sheet with clay; trim excess. Use rolling pin to smooth surface. For texture, press woven placemat onto clay. Cover back of thermometer in same way.

3. Roll clay to 1/8” thickness. Use cookie cutter to cut out leaves. For texture, press leaves onto clay leaves; remove.

4. Press clay leaves onto outside edge of thermometer as shown. Adhere thermometer to plastic-foam sheet.

Clay Pot

1. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to condition clay. Roll clay to 1/8” thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out leaves and grapes. Create vein lines in same way as thermometer.

2. Press leaves and grapes onto pot as shown. Roll thin strips of clay and curl; press onto pot along grape clusters as shown.

Finishing

1. When clay is dry, mix equal parts Light Buttermilk and water; paint pot and thermometer. Use soft cloth to wipe excess paint. Repeat with Green Arbor.

2. Apply varnish.

by Lorine Mason

Garden Markers

Crafts ’n things Craft of the Day

 

Stamp clay garden markers to keep track of your plants this year while adding a touch of class to your garden décor.

Materials

  • Oven-bake polymer clay, in color of choice
  • Copper wire: 10-gauge, 36” lengths, two; 18-gauge, 24” length
  • Bead of choice, 1⁄4”

Tools

  • Stamps of choice (designer used script wording, dragonfly, flowers, and grass)
  • Metallic rub-on finish, in color of choice
  • Acrylic brayer or rolling pin
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet and oven
  • Clay-dedicated pasta machine (optional)

Basic Supplies

toothpick, craft knife, pliers

Directions

STEP 1

Follow manufacturer’s instructions to condition clay; roll to 1⁄4” thickness. For each sign, cut two rectangles of desired size (1-3⁄4”x2” shown in photo); shape edges as desired by pressing with fingers

STEP 2

Stamp one rectangle. Indent wording of choice with toothpick. Apply rub-on finish.

STEP 3

For stake-style marker as shown on right in photo, press 10-gauge wire length against remaining rectangle, leaving portion of wire above and below rectangle. Place stamped rectangle on top, matching edges; press together. Apply additional rub-on finish to sides.

STEP 4

For double hanging-style marker as shown on left in photo, slide bead onto 18-gauge wire length. Position and press wire length against two remaining rectangles, leaving portion of wire above and below rectangles and small portion with bead between them. Place stamped rectangles on top of rectangles, matching edges; press together. Apply additional rub-on finish to sides.

STEP 5

Bake at 265° for 25 minutes. Let cool. Use pliers to shape wire as desired.

STEP 6

For hanging post, use Figure 1 as guide to shape post from 10-gauge wire. Hang marker.

Figure 1

by Linda Welsh-Peterson