Crafting Lately: A Polymer Clay Hedgehog for My Staff

Hi everyone. Today is my assigned staff’s last shift at my home. This afternoon, we did a little handover between her and my new assigned staff and I put the new assigned staff’s work E-mail address in my phone. You see, I used to E-mail my old assigned staff quite regularly and the staff at least are hoping that I can build up some trust in the new one if I can E-mail her too. I’m not sure what I think of this.

Like I mentioned before, my old assigned staff has a pet hedgehog. As a leave-taking present, I made her one out of polymer clay.

I had already created a polymer clay hedgehog from a tutorial before, so I knew roughly how to go about it. However, with this one, I wanted its snout to be a different color from its body. This meant blending together the body and snout without distorting either too much. My staff’s pet hedgehog is a four-toed hedgehog, which has a white or slightly creamy belly. I used Fimo Soft white for its body and Fimo Soft in the color Sahara for its snout.

I then added its ears, which were slightly pointed on my original hedgehog but I’d since figured out that at least my staff’s hedgehog has round ears. I chose Sahara for those again. For its eyes, I chose black. I think my black is Fimo Professional, which is usually too hard to condition for my liking especially when it’s older. That doesn’t really matter though, since I only use it for small details like eyes.

Adding the hedgehog’s spikes was difficult the last time, but easier now. I created very thin, cone-like spikes and then added them to the hedgehog’s body. With my last hedgehog, they kept falling off when I added more, but with this one, I was more lucky. My staff’s pet hedgehog has spikes in two colors, so I alternated between Chocolate and Sahara.

I decided to bake the hedgehog for 90 minutes, because I wanted to make sure it got thoroughly cured. After all, I hadn’t used anything such as tinfoil on the inside of the hedgehog, so it was a relatively thick sculpture. After baking, I painted the little white dots in the hedgehog’s eyes. I usually do this to make the eyes of my creatues appear more expressive.

I gave my staff the hedgehog last Sunday and she immediately recognized Willow, her pet, in it. She especially loved the way I’d done its eyes. She says she’s placed Fimo Willow on flesh-and-bones Willow’s cage. I feel very honored about that.

Crafting Lately: Polymer Clay Kawaii Sun, Cloud and Star

Hi everyone. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been quite creatively inspired. Today, I want to show you all some of my sky-themed polymer clay creations. Here goes.

Polymer Clay Kawaii Sun

The first one is a sun. I did its “body” using Fimo Soft in the color Lemon. I started by creating a ball, then flattening it into a dome shape.

For its rays, I used Fimo Soft in the color Tangerine. I created short snakes that I flattened on one end and turned pointy on the other to form the beam. This was not how the person doing the tutorial I followed, did it, but I felt this is how it worked for me. I then attached the rays to the body. I decided to turn them slightly upward, as I liked that better than a completely flat sun. Once I’d baked my sun, I found out that at least one of the rays is bent upwards a little too much.

Then I created eyes and a mouth out of black Fimo (I think it’s Fimo Professional, but not 100% sure). I still struggle to get my eyes to be equal size, as you’ll see in the picture of the cloud below. Finally, I used an orange chalk pastel to color “cheeks” on the sun. I didn’t like pink for the sun, because I wanted to give it a little sunset-style look.

Polymer Clay Kawaii Cloud

The next thing I created was a cloud. I struggled a little with its indents or curves and, to be honest, I like this one least out of the three creations. I did this one using Fimo Kids in the color Glitter White. I again added a black mouth and eyes (you can probably tell its left eye is larger than its right eye). This time, I added light pink chalk pastel for its cheeks. I had originally wanted to go for a blue overall dusting, but my staff said pink cheeks looked better.

Polymer Clay Kawaii Star

Finally, the star! This was the one that took me the most practice. I shaped the entire thing using my fingers out of a ball of clay, in my case Fimo Effect in the color Pastel Vanilla. I can’t explain how I did it, but Creative Rachy on YouTube has the tutorial. I again added a black mouth and eyes and pink cheeks (a darker shade than for the cloud).

I cured each of my creations on my oven-safe workmat, because I was scared of damaging the back if I’d bake directly on the tile. The back didn’t turn out as well as I’d like to, but you don’t see this when not holding the things in your hand anyway.

Because I’d used chalk pastels on each of these creations, I had to glaze them in order to protect the chalk pastel. I used Cernit varnish in matt for this. I did two coats on each of these things and then popped my creations in the oven again to harden the glaze.

I really love these little projects. Each of them was relatively easy. I am still looking to improve my craft, of course.

Linking up with Fabulous Friday.

My First Proper Pair of Polymer Clay Earrings

Hi everyone. I finally have been motivated to actually make something out of polymer clay again. I guess last Saturday I kicked myself in the behind with my post, saying I fully intended to actually be crafting again rather than just looking at crafty YouTube videos. In fact, these earrings aren’t based on a YouTube tutorial at all. That’s honestly because I still consider the YouTube tutorials a little out of my ability range, but oh well.

I say these are my first proper earrings because I previously, about eight or nine months ago, created a pair of “boiled egg” earrings. I think I showed them here too, but anyway, VoiceOver, the iPhone’s built-in screen reader, guessed that they were two halves of a boiled egg. They were rather ugly in terms of color (yellow in the middle, then white, then purple) but more importantly, I’d glued the earring studs to the polymer clay using a cheap brand of jeweller’s glue. Now for those not familiar with polymer clay: most glues don’t work well with it. Only superglue gel will do and I’ve even heard mixed results about that. Don’t bother with E6000, let alone cheaper glues like the one I used. Bottom line: the earring stud fell off within several hours.

Now on to these earrings I created yesterday. First, I decided to roll out a slab of caramel Fimo with my pasta machine. I had to do this several times over because I kept getting horizontal roller lines in my slab. Finally, once I was satisfied with the result, I cut out the flower shapes. I later learned that it is recommended to lay a piece of copy paper over your slab and lightly roll your acrylic roller over it in all directions. This is called burnishing and should even out any ridges in your slab. I then had my staff poke a small hole into my pieces with a bead piercing pin. This is to guide my drill later on.

Then I baked my pieces at 130°C for 45 minutes. (For those reading the Fimo packaging that says to bake no longer than the recommended 30 minutes, this is flat out wrong.) I baked the pieces on a sheet of parchment paper which I’d put onto my ceramic tile. The oven I use is a convection oven where the fan can’t be turned off, so I had to put an aluminum container over my sheet of parchment paper to prevent it from flying all around the oven. Unfortunately, the parchment paper might’ve flown a little underneath the container, as my pieces did turn out slightly crooked. Either that or I should’ve used copy paper rather than parchment paper, as is recommended by some.

Once the pieces had baked for 45 minutes and then cooled down completely, I drilled the holes into the earrings. I had already decided I wanted to decorate the edges with gold Fimo liquid, but this was my first time drilling actual holes into polymer clay pieces, so I was too curious to see how it’d go to wait till I’d finished the project. I did the drilling mostly independently, only needing my staff to hold down my pieces because I needed two hands to drill.

I then sanded the pieces. There was a bit of a bump on both of my earrings, one bigger than the other. I’m not sure it was an air bubble, as sanding it didn’t leave a hole. I think I did an okay job of sanding them away.

I then decorated the edges with Fimo liquid. I needed some help with this, as of course I’m blind and I cannot feel my way to where I’d need to put the liquid or I’d put it all over my fingers.

Then another round in the oven for 30 minutes (which I’m not sure is enough, but my pieces look fine). Then my staff attached the jumprings and attached those to the earring hooks.

I intend on giving these to my sister when I visit her on Sunday. She’s more of a silvery girl than a goldy one, but I didn’t have silver-colored earring hooks.

Other than the earrings having become slightly curved in the oven, I am relatively content with how they turned out. What do you think?

Linking up with Inspire Me Monday, Busy Monday, Love Your Creativity and the Craftastic Link Party.

YouTube: Finding Crafty Inspiration in YouTube Videos #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter Y post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to talk about YouTube and showcase some of my favorite crafty YouTubers.

When I first started working with polymer clay about nine years ago, I didn’t know much about YouTube. It did exist, of course, and there were definitely tutorials out there, but I was clueless. Now that I’ve restarted the craft, I get most of my inspiration from YouTube videos.

Of course, it helps if the YouTuber talks me through the process of doing the craft, although that too can get confusing. At least, I’ve found with macrame that it gets really hard when someone says one thing and essentially does another. With polymer clay, thankfully, I haven’t run into this problem that much.

My favorite YouTuber, for this reason, is Creative Rachy. Her voice-over is great and her tutorials are easy to follow. I particularly love her “Easy Charms for Beginners” tutorials.

I also love other YouTubers who share polymer clay charm tutorials, such as CupOfCuteDIY. This YouTuber in particular has some great compilations of kawaii (a Japanese term for “cute”) polymer clay charms sorted by theme or color.

When I want to do something specific in polymer clay, I now usually do a YouTube search for this term. For example, when I wanted to create the tulip for my mother’s birthday, I searched for the terms “polymer clay” and “tulip”. I then select a video that’s not too long in length. In this case, the video was about five minutes. Unfortunately, there was no voice-over. This is okay if my staff can explain what the YouTuber is doing in the video, which some staff are better at than others.

I usually watch a video in its entirety before starting the project, because that way I can tell if I need any supplies that I don’t have or whether any techniques will be used that I don’t understand yet. In the latter case, I can then look up another YouTube video with the explanation of said technique.

So far, YouTube has been of great help and inspiration on my polymer clay journey. Now of course I will need to step outside of my comfort zone and start experimenting.

Xenos, Action, Fimo-Shop, Etc.: Shopping for Craft Supplies #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter X post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I want to talk about shopping for supplies related to my creative hobbies. I am cheating a little as, while Xenos is a store that does sell craft supplies among other things, I haven’t ordered anything there in years and the last thing I bought there wasn’t craft-related. It was a wax melt burner. So, that’s all I’ll say about Xenos for this post, but I needed something for the letter X. I guess a lot of people cheat with this letter, so it’s okay. And even if it isn’t, I don’t care.

Action, much like Xenos, is another store that sells lots of things. Also like Xenos, its prices are usually lower than those in other stores, as Action usually sells imitation premium brand products. I did in fact buy a lot of my crafting supplies there. I refuse to buy polymer clay at Action, but I did buy my acrylic paints, my glitters, my brushes that I use for applying the acrylic paints or glitters or Fimo liquid, etc., and many other supplies there.

My polymer clay, I usually buy online. There is a craft store here in town, but they only sell like five different colors of Fimo at a time. One of my favorite shops is Fimo-Shop.nl. That store usually has the entire Fimo collection in stock.

Sculpey and Cernit are brands of polymer clay that aren’t that commonplace in the Netherlands. I haven’t used their clay, but if I need something from that brand (such as one day I needed a Sculpey glaze), I order from HappyThings.eu.

I buy my color recipes on Etsy. So far, I’ve ordered from DewDropInc and PolymerClayLoves.

I order from other stores too, but these are the ones I’m happiest about. For example, I once ordered my polymer clay letter stamp set from an online art store that happens to sell polymer clay supplies too (won’t name the store because this’d be a negative review) and, not only did the description of the stamp set not match what I got (it was fine, but still), the polymer clay I’d also ordered was extremely hard and crumbly. This is one reason I usually order my clay at specialized polymer clay stores now.

Origami, Card Making and Other Paper Crafts, Oh My! #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter O post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, as suggested by one of you lovely readers, I am going to talk about origami. And card making. And other paper crafts. After all, if I were to just talk about origami, I could’ve been done within a sentence or two about those two dozen (or what did I say?) frogs I crafted in second grade. I haven’t done origami in years. No, not even a paper airplane, if that even counts as origami. Not that I ever could do those, but well.

That brings me to the other paper crafts I couldn’t do, which include basically all paper crafts. The first craft I started out with, when I decided I wanted to do something creative, was a kind of art journal using scrapbooking supplies and random quotes. I originally intended on typing them out on my Braille typewriter, but ended up just having the staff print them out on the psych hospital printer. Then, I’d glue them onto a page of cardstock and decorate the page with random embellishments.

Then came card making. Like I said, it wasn’t for a lack of trying that I wasn’t successful. Or for a lack of supplies. I literally spent over €1000 on card making supplies and that probably doesn’t include my €100 Big Shot embossing machine. Granted, before I bought that one, I did visit another card maker to see if I could actually operate the machine. I could. Actually making good-looking cards with the pieces I cut and embossed with the machine, was the problem.

I also for a bit tried quilling. For those not familiar with it, quilling involves cutting stripes of paper and then rolling them, sometimes with the help of a needle, into interesting shapes, such as coils, teardrops, etc. It was kind of fun to do for the short while that I tried it before deciding I couldn’t meet my own standards with the practice I was willing to put into it. Thankfully, I only had to buy a starter kit to try it.

I still would like to someday pick up paper crafting again. If I do, I’ll make sure to watch some YouTube tutorials first before just randomly starting out designing my own creations. I will also make sure to buy my supplies at low-budget stores and to limit myself to just a few supplies before I go broke with a hobby I don’t know whether I’ll ever truly like.

Lessons I Learned While Working With Polymer Clay #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome to the letter L post in my #AtoZChallenge on creative self-discovery and self-expression. Today, I want to talk about things I learned along the way during my creative process. I am going to limit myself to polymer clay this time, as there’s so much I’ve learned.

My very first polymer clay creation was done after a blog post I’d found, but the blogger wasn’t specifically focused on polymer clay or even crafting in general. Maybe because of that, her skill level was quite basic. This was good for me, as I could easily follow the steps to creating my first project. It was a flower that I’d rolled out using a wooden rolling pin, cut out using a cookie cutter and then stuck a blob of clay onto as its center. I stuck a thick crochet needle through it to make a hole. When it was baked, I colored around the edges of the center with a sharpie.

There are so many things I did wrong with that one. First, I used a wooden rolling pin. I quite quickly found out that wood absorbs some components of polymer clay and, for this reason, wooden tools shouldn’t be used. I should have used an acrylic roller. Or, better yet, a pasta machine. Honestly, even though I do still have an acrylic roller, I hardly ever use it for rolling out sheets of clay now.

Then, the blob of clay. My flower center was raised and I had no way of preventing that at the time. Now, I can roll out my clay on a thin setting on my pasta machine, then cut out the desired shape for the center and put it onto the flower and, if I want to, give it a roll with my acrylic roller. To be honest, I haven’t tested that process recently.

Then, the hole. I eventually decided to buy bead piercing pins to be able to pierce thinner holes into polymer clay pieces that needed holes. Getting the holes in without distortion was quite the learning curve and I still honestly cannot do it myself. I can instruct my staff, but they have to do the actual twisting of the bead piercing pin.

Finally, the sharpie. Sharpie ink reacts with polymer clay or so I’ve heard. My piece is fine so far (I still have it because it was my first creation), but I did eventually decide not to use sharpies on polymer clay anymore.

After this one project came many more failed projects from which I learned one or more lessons. For example, I at one point used cheap glitter glue to cover my baked polymer clay piece. Well, that wouldn’t stick. Instead, I now add glitter to the raw clay just before baking my piece. Please note that you cannot run polymer clay that you’ve added glitter or mica or anything to through your pasta machine. At best, it will create a mess and at worst, it will ruin your pasta machine.

Finally, of course, I’m currently learning about colors and color mixing. Just yesterday, I downloaded a book off Bookshare about color mixing specifically for polymer clay artists. I think I’ll love it!

Jewelry-Making #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone. Welcome to my letter J post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to share about one of my crafty hobbies once again, because I thought it’d be an interesting distraction from the more philosophical musings. Besides, I just didn’t have another topic for this letter, ha.

I made my first pieces of jewelry back in the psych hospital in like 2014 or 2015. Back then, I bought quite expensive beads, such as gemstone beads, even though I could only make basic necklaces and bracelets. That is, I did make one necklace with three different wires, but I needed a lot of help with it.

Then, after a while, I stopped making jewelry, because I just needed too much help with it and couldn’t really produce the quality I liked. I restarted about a year ago. This time, the first beads I bought, were simple acrylic beads that weren’t too expensive or precious. I did try to go for shapes I liked, such as butterflies. I also at one point bought a collection of 90 silver-colored, plastic charms for €5,95.

For my birthday last year, I got a surprise package of jewelry-making supplies from a store local to my parents. In this package were a lot of glass beads, which I loved. Thus came back my love of creating glass and actual metal jewelry.

Because most of my glass beads are irregularly shaped, I at first struggled to get each side of the necklace, with the charm or pendant in the middle, equally long. To solve this, I got myself a beading board to be able to count out the length of each side of the necklace. My best glass beaded necklace is one I created about two months ago using this board as a guide.

I also like to make my own beads and jewelry out of polymer clay. I created one pair of earrings back in the early days of my polymer clay journey, but glued the earring posts to the polymer clay using generic jewelry glue. Now some people do use E6000, but even that’s generally recommended against for polymer clay. The best way to attach polymer clay earrings to their posts is to cover the posts in an additional layer of polymer clay. If you want or need to use glue anyway, choose a brand of superglue gel, such as Gorilla or Loctite. I had my staff glue the below brooch to its pin using Gorilla superglue.

Color Mixing Recipes!

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week asks us to write about something we collect or used to collect. Another asks us to write about something we’ve been working on this week. Yet another asks us to make one superficial wish. I am going to combine all of these and talk about color mixing recipes for polymer clay.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am totally blind, but I did have a bit of useable vision growing up. As a result, I do still have a concept of color due to my memory of sight and also due to my synesthesia (in my case, ability to see Braille letters in color when I touch them).

As regular readers also know, my main creative hobby recently, besides blogging, is polymer clay. I love the fact that polymer clay comes in so many varieties of colors and that you can also color it with alcohol inks (which I’ve never used so far), soft pastels, acrylic paint, etc.

However, a few months ago, I discovered color mixing recipes. The vendor I impulsively bought a small collection of five recipes from, builds its recipes on four basic colors of Fimo soft: white, sunflower yellow, Indian red and brilliant blue. I immediately bought all four colors, but didn’t yet have a precision kitchen scale to be able to weigh out 0.25g, for example.

This past Sunday, I bought such a scale and also bought another collection, this time of 60 color recipes. Even though I can’t yet say I actually collect polymer clay color recipes, I would really like to.

That brings me to my superficial wish: an endless supply of free Fimo color recipes. There is an app that provides color recipes based on the colors in photos, but it’s available only on Android. Besides, one of my staff tried it yesterday and it constantly crashed. It also uses Fimo professional. Now I don’t mind that, since the advantage of Fimo professional is it actually comes in the true primary colors, such as true yellow, true magenta, etc. I would really love to be able to try to mix those colors too, as I’ve heard mixing actual true primaries creates more vivid colors than mixing fake primaries such as sunflower yellow and Indian red.

By the way, here is a blob of polymer clay in the first color I created using my new collection of color mixing recipes and my precision scale: moss green.

Of coursse, since I didn’t create anything with this color yet, it looks a bit weird, but I’ll be using it in a fall-inspired craft project I have in mind.

Since then, I’ve created two more colors, both for the fall-inspired project too: camel and burnt sienna. I have also been oohing and aahing at a ton of color recipes I would like to buy someday still. But they’re better if they don’t cost me money. So, if Mama Kat’s friendly genie would please pop by me and grant me that endless supply of free Fimo color mixing recipes, I could create all the colors I want.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Crafting Unicorns!

Hi everyone. I came up with today’s prompt for #JusJoJan and it’s “Unicorn”.

I love love love unicorns! I have two unicorn soft toys. One, I got when I left the first day center with my current care agency back in early August of 2018. The other, I got in my Christmas hamper at the next day center that year.

Other than soft toys, I also have a number of unicorns I crafted out of polymer clay. Today, I am going to show you a few of my recent creations.

First up is a white unicorn charm. It is mostly two-dimensional, which I don’t really like, because it means its horn sticks out up rather than forward. It has a rose on top of its head. That one took me about half an hour to craft, because my Fimo Soft polymer clay was just a little too soft for my liking. For the rose, I used the color Cherry Red and I used Tropical Green for the leaves. The horn is done using Metallic Gold Fimo Effect.

The next unicorn I’m going to show you is my favorite so far. It was done using Pastel Lilac Fimo Effect. I did the mane and tail in Metallic Gold and Metallic Silver and used Metallic Gold for its horn. I added some purple glitters to its legs and ears for some extra sparkle.

Then last Thursday, I tried to create the perfect unicorn. I originally wanted to create the same unicorn as above but put it onto a green, flower-shaped slab. Eventually, I ended up choosing a different color, Fimo Soft Lavender, for this unicorn’s body. I did create the mane and tail using Metallic Silver and Metallic Gold again. Again, I added glitters, gold this time, though just to its legs.

Unfortunately, I forgot to blend the unicorn’s horn into the head and/or secure it with liquid clay. Rather, I secured it using wire only. This means the horn is a bit loose, which I’m told isn’t really visible but it does bother me. This is the reason I don’t think this is my best unicorn so far.

What do you think of these? Do you like unicorns?