Monday, June 20, 2016

Practical Polymer Clay Project: Happy Dad's Day - Gift Idea - A Hybrid Faux Stone "DAD" Key Ring

2016- Faux stone from polymer clay - key chain for my Dad made by me!
Yah, I know it is the day after of D-Day (Dad's Day), but I still want to share what I tried to create for my Dad. He loves rocks. In fact he and my sister have risked life and limb to get some good rocks via Lake Superior. (Hope I got that right)
When you want to make a gift for someone, it helps to try to focus on coming up with an idea based on what  you know the gift receiver likes. It just makes it more meaningful and might please them. Mind you, anything handmade from a friend or family member, is always meaningful!
Faux Stone or as my mom calls it "Fox" Stone, means "fake" in English. Faux is a French word.
Rock, Stone, Gemstone?
When you want to try to make your clay to look like a specific surface, such as faux stone It is best of
course to have a reference point to look at. Or just make it up. That is what I did. Nope, I just worked from my memory and instead of getting a Jasper stone surface, I have a hybrid, (made my own kind) a cross between granite and jasper.   Here are some samples of granite and jasper types. As I looked them up, I was inspired to try more re-creation in poly clay.  As well, below are some great links about other stone types as well. Be inspired....
Click this link to learn more about granite.
Click Here to See Rock Types
Click here to see the many varieties of Stone including gemstones

I am sorry I didn't take any how to or works in progress photos. But,  here are the basics incase you might be inspired to try making a personalized key chain.
What I Did
1. Smooshing Colours:
We all know what it means to smoosh right? As an artist, colour mixing is one of my favourite things to do in the art making process. When I use paint, I use a paintbrush. But when I work in polymer clay, I smoosh. That means to take the colours you want to combine to get another colour, like blue and red make purple or red and green make brown...and mix it together until the colours are well combined into the colour you want.
Depending on the kind of colours used for mixing, your end results may surprise you. If it isn't what you wanted, do not give up. Keep adding and subtracting. I don't do this, but I know other clay artists who like to keep records of "colour recipes." Where you might either make a sample of the colours you used and how much of each, to result in the colour you wanted.
This works well, if you want to get the exact same mixed colour every time. Maybe it is the visual artist in me, but, I like to eye ball it. Mind you, that means I never seem to get the same colour twice. As well, I often run out if the project is large. So mental note to self, "make sure I mix A LOT of the colour I need.
2. Colours used? In this project, my goal was to create rock like surface. That means I then took the colours I "smooshed" together, made ropes, thick, thin or use chunks of colours I thought might make a great faux stone look. Then do some smooshing, or twisting and folding and twisting. The goal is to marbel-ize the clay, creating that rock look. Be careful not too over smoosh the colours or else you may cross the line from marbleizing and effects to a whole new colour mix.
3. Shaping It. In this instance, my goal was to make a personalized key ring for my Dad. So, it makes sense that I wanted it to spell "DAD." My husband had the idea to cut "DAD," out of the clay instead of making each letter and trying to connect them into one piece. I tried Craig's idea and that is what worked.
You can shape it how ever you want.
4. Armature or Support: I forgot to say that if you want your piece to be extra strong, you can place a sturdy 18 gauge wire inside the piece. This piece has a wire running through some of it to strengthen it. At least I think I did. My memory is a tad foggy.
5. Texturizing: Once you have the shape you want, then it is time to create a rock surface.
2016- Faux stone from polymer clay -
key chain for my Dad made by me!

Some rocks are polished and shiny. Natural rocks usually are never polished and shiny. For my keychain, I wanted the stone to look as if it was hand cut or carved and then ground down to a semi smooth surface. How to texturize a stone surface. You can use an old toothbrush, sandpaper (just push rough sandpaper onto the clay surface. You can use a needle or pointy tool and literally dab the clay until it looks how you want. I used a spiral bristle tool that looks like a giant mascara brush.
6. Rings and Do Dads: I wanted to embellish the clay to make it interesting. Using a drop of liquid polymer clay, I set in a steampunk gear and poked some details into the clay. As well, I needed a place to suspend the key ring attachment so, I inserted a large metal steampunk gear ring.
Also, while the clay was unbaked, I added some light touches od shimmery mica powder for fun and pizazz.
7. Finishing Touch Ups. Once the clay is baked according to package directions on a
2016- Faux stone from polymer clay - key chain for my Dad made by me

ceramic tile, tented with a foil piece or foil cake pan and it is cooled completely. You can sand it a little and buff it up a bit. Or leave it as it is...or you can use a polymer clay compatible glaze in the finish you want. I used a renaissance wax to protect it.
7. Gift It!
2016- Faux stone from polymer clay - key chain for my Dad made by me!

2016- Faux stone from polymer clay - key chain for my Dad made by me

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