Weeding vs. Beading

Although I absolutely LOVE my garden, weeding is not something I have any time for.  I did, however, find time to go and pick some really small, tender weed tops to make into molds for my polymer clay jewelry components!

I use Sculpey Mold Maker, though I’m sure there are any number of products out there that do as good or better job.  I find if you bake them properly to the manufacture’s specifications, it comes out flexible so I’m able to just bend the mold in half to lift the clay out without distorting the impression.

Choose weeds…well, of course you can use anything with texture…with deep veins in the leaves.  I sometimes use the back as they seem to be deeper.  In the examples I’m blogging about today, I used a thistle leaf (one of them I impressed the little flowers after I impressed the leaf); and a Jacob’s Ladder leaf.  Yes, I do use real flowers or plants on occasion.

After I baked the molds, I conditioned some very light colored neutral clay (you could just use white) by running it through my pasta machine about 20 times.  I’ve read that this helps distribute the polymers and makes for a successful bake that will be slightly flexible and won’t break on you…or worse, a customer you’ve sold it to.  I rolled first into a ball and then into a bit of a long oval.  I just got some finger cots (little rubber things that protect from fingerprints on your clay), but rubber gloves would work too.

I used a rolling pin to get the clay to get into all the little detailed impressions of my new molds and I almost always texture the back with something to give it some personality and hide any fingerprints or flaws you might making in handling the raw clay, and bent the molds in half to release the clay.

On these particular pendants I used a metal tube to make a hole for maybe leather to go through…design comes later but you want to be ready.  You can also wait to drill holes after baking. If you want a large hole as I did, start with a small drill bit and work up gradually using a large bit each time.

I used soft brushes and my fingers with PanPastels to color the pendants on both sides.  Bake to manufacturer’s recommendations.  I sometimes bake twice if they are not as flexible as I think they should be._DSC0005

Then I coated them with several layers of Varathane Satin, letting each coat dry thoroughly in between. If you want to get Varathane, make sure it’s water based.

Here are the finished pendants, with some killer beads that just came in that are screaming at me, “pick me, pick me…I’ll be pretty with these.”_DSC0008

So Weeding vs. Beads…Beading wins every time!!

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