Wednesday, March 1, 2017

POLYMER CLAY JOURNEY: Earring dangle Drops Using A Faux Stained Glass Effect

Stained glass is so amazingly beautiful. The light shines through the coloured, translucent glass. We have a side light stained glass window that is so beautiful, handmade by a friend. When I remember, I will take a photo!
Due to a variety of reasons, I can not work with stained glass as an artist. It requires physical ability that I do not have. But, I discovered (thanks to all the online tutorials), that we can use liquid polymer clay or translucent polymer clay, coloured with alcohol ink or if it is already coloured then you can use as is.
I do plan on putting the many great photos I took of a variety of faux stained glass pieces. But for now, I wanted to share a mini tutorial for earring dangles.

Materials Needed To Create Faux Stained glass Mini Dangles
💗Polymer clay blended to colour of your choice for the "leading line."
💗Kato Liquid Polymer Clay OR FIMO Liquid Clay (a.k.a Deco Gel)
💗A shiny and smooth Ceramic Tile to work on and then bake.
💗Alcohol inks of your choice 
💗A craft knife, small ball tools and needle tool
💗A baking pan used just for your Clay work 
💗An aluminum sheet or baking pan to cover your peace while it bakes
Step number one: Create the Leading for the Line
Real stained glass as you may know already, has something called leading that forms the patterns and shapes that run around the coloured glass pieces. since we are making faux stained-glass and using liquid clay, we need to create something that represents leading. I used a bit of metallic silver and black Premo Clay. It is up to you what colour of lime you would like. I just thought it would be cool to try to replicate actual stained glass.

Step number two: Planning and Making the Shapes
To prepare the clay to use it to draw your shapes, just Roll out pieces of clay super thin and long enough to make the outlines and details for your little mini dangles.

Plan your shape, it just works better that way. You can be whimsical and just start making shapes out of your polymer clay colour mix. Or you can pre-draw out the shapes first. I drew the shapes in my sketchbook first because it was important that I remembered to make Twins of the same shape but in reverse. By reversed I mean when E-Ring dangles are created, I think it looks best if the shapes our mirrored images of each other. Now if you happen to make say, a cat and you forget to make a mirror image, both earrings will look identical. So you would have on your left ear say, the tale Close to your face and on the right here the tale away from your face. Okay I just realized how confusing that maybe, by think you know what I'm trying to say. Of course if your images are squares circles, something that is already symmetrical then it doesn't matter you can just draw one shape and make a copy of both for your dangles.

Step number Two B: Laying Down the Line
Now you can take your thin rolled Clay and lay it down on your drawings to match up the shapes and then transfer that onto a shiny ceramic tile, or, because the shape is so delicate, I suggest trying to make it directly on the shiny ceramic tile. It is important that the raw Strip of clay adheres to the ceramic tile. This is why it is important that the tile is shiny so that there are no air pockets there would be in a textured tile. If you don't have a tile a smooth piece of glass works well too. 

Step Number Three: Preparing the liquid Clay
 I wanted to see which liquid clay come out the clearest and most stained glass like, so I used both Kato liquid polymer clay and the FIMO liquid polymer clay, also known as Deco Gel. The conclusion was that both clays work well.  I learned from watching online polymer clay tutorials that the Kato liquid polymer clay can be made much more glossy and translucent buy putting a heat gun on to it after it has come out of the oven. I have not tried this, but I have seen it transform in videos. I was still happy with how it came out just the way it was.

Zapping it very carefully, with the heat gun to get the best effect, is wise. The warning is, don't put it too close, don't go too long with the heat, be super careful or Will ruin your piece.

Back to preparing the liquid clay.... On a separate non-porous surface, either glass or ceramic tile or actually even a piece of card stock, I placed Little quarter sized blobs of liquid clay, been added drop by drop, the alcohol ink. Just mix it with a clean needle tool or toothpick until combined.

Step number Four: Adding the Coloured liquid clay
Sorry I don't have a photo or video of this, but to Music colour to to liquid polymer clay to my shapes, it works well to pick up the clay with the toothpick. Make sure it is close by so it doesn't drip off. Point the toothpick downward, so the Clay can drip into your form. Push the liquid clay right up against the edges of the shape and pop any bubbles. That's it.

Step number five: Baking your Pieces
Set your oven to the correct temperature for the solid clay. You may notice that liquid polymer clay bakes at a different temperature. So I set the temperature that is correct for the Premo polymer clay, which is 275°F.
Place your tile into the baking tray. Lay tin foil over top to protect from scorching. Then bake for about 20 to 30 minutes. Normally, I follow the polymer clay tutors advice and bake solid clay for at least one hour, even if the pieces are small. In this case, use your own judgment because it is liquid clay and like I said, the temperatures are different.
When it's done, let cool on its own and do what you want with them!
Check out the extra pictures down below!
Save Money! Colour Mixing 101 Tip:
The alcohol inks are a great tool to have in your art studio, but they can be very costly to buy every
single colour that exists. I learned long ago in university, that you only really need Basic colours in order to create every other colour. The best thing to know about colour is that there are three primary colours. You may already know them if you are a practicing artist. What are they? Red, yellow, and blue. These three colours cannot be mixed or made. Hence the term, primary - meaning one or first. By mixing certain combinations together, such as red and yellow in equal parts, you create orange. That is a secondary colour. Our art professor taught us how to save money by learning how to mix our our own paint colours. It matters what types of red yellows and blues you use with each other, to get specific secondary and tertiary colours (meaning three of course), so spending money on variations of the primaries can help you achieve the colour mixes that you would like.

Acrylic Painting by me, Anita Berglund.

So what about alcohol inks? The same rule would apply. I have purchased some of the basic primary colours in their variations and I am  therefore, able to mix a majority of my own colours of ink. It doesn't take a lot ofink to tint liquid clay anyway. Personally, colour mixing is one of the bestest parts of being an artist. 
Not Black!
It may be easier to squeeze Black out of the tube, but as Moe, drilled into our heads in our painting class, never ever ever, use black out of the tube. It makes things muddy and just doesn't look right. Much better to make your own black. Not a big fan of black, but obviously, we need something to create drama and paint two dimensional images, to appear three-dimensional. 
The higher the contrast from light to dark, the easier it is to achieve that look.  
If you ever watch any of my videos, you may see you in the background that their are some paintings hanging on the wall. All of the flour and fruit and vegetable paintings you see, contain absolutely zero black acrylic paint from a tube. Pthalo Green and Alizarin Crimson, mix the perfect black.
Okay one more idea about shading with black. I also like using indigo or just mixing opposite colours to create a neutral like brown, can be a great alternative to using black for depth.

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