Friday, December 27, 2013

Snowman Finger Puppet

Hi!! Carole here with a quick and easy project that you can do with kids!! A clay finger puppet!!

You can vary the complexity of the project depending on the age of the child. Let the child do as many of the steps as they can/want to.

Start with a ball of clay.

Flatten the ball of clay. An older child could use a rolling pin, but this four year old just pressed in down with her fingers.

Mold the clay around the child’s index finger. Try to use a small amount of clay, so the puppet isn’t too heavy, especially for those pre-school fingers.

Shape this base as desired. We decided on a snowman. Simple and easy for my four year old grand-daughter. An older child might want more detail.

Gently lift off the finger and set aside. Next we made a little carrot nose.

Now the hard part—waiting for it to dry. Set expectation about this at the very beginning of the project, so your young artist doesn’t expect a finished product immediately.

Next, we embellished our snowman. We painted the carrot nose and while it was drying, we painted the snowman body with thinned down water-based adhesive and sprinkled with fine clear glitter. We glued on his googly eyes, nose and rhinestone buttons. (Yes, you'll see blobs of glue around the eyes, nose and buttons. The form isn't as smooth and refined as it could be, but

There are lots of ways to embellish this basic form to get a whole cast of characters. Paint it brown, add a red pompom or rhinestone nose and chenille stems for antlers, and you have a reindeer. Paint the lower two-thirds green and the upper third flesh-toned. Add button eyes and a nose, use a Sharpie to draw a mouth and you have an elf.

Visit my Create & Craft blog to see what else I'm working on.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Testing the Limits: Susan's Tip for December

Hello there, It's Susan from with a Creative Paperclay® Modeling Material storage tip, er experiment, for you. The storage instructions on the back of the clay's package says to store unused portions in a air-tight bag. Since I'm me, as soon as I read it, I had a million questions. I decided the simplest way to answer them was to just try it and see what happened!

My Packing Steps:
  • Folded over origional packaging to get it as close to closed as possible
  • Tacked it down with a small piece of tape
  • Put the package in a standard plastic sandwich bag
  • Pressed out as much air a possible, closed bag
  • Folded over top of the bag and tacked it down with a piece of tape as well
  • Dated the package with a sharpie on the bag.
  • Stored in a drawer away from heating/cooling and out of direct sunlight

It has been roughly 60 days since I closed it up. I can tell a difference in the clay's feel. It is not as moist or soft as it was on the first open. I don't think that is a bad thing! I like the texture and consistency of it and think it would work perfectly for larger simple shapes or shapes that need to be cut out. I intend to use the drier clay for January's project, be sure to come by and check it out!

I wonder what will happen with another 60 days? Only one way to find out!

Thank you so much for reading, see you in 2014. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Gloriann Irizarry's Drying Your Clay Tips for Creative Paperclay®

Many Drying tips and techniques for different armatures and cores.

Drying times can be affected by altitude, weather,  humidity and armature type used.
Have in mind the best way for your clay sculpture to be strong is by having the clay dry evenly.
This will reduced the amount of cracking on your piece.

If you use Styrofoam you should never place it in the oven to dry your sculpt.
Styrofoam when it melts it will produced toxic gases. This is not safe to be exposed to.
Also if you try to rush the drying process with ovens or heaters the clay will not dry evenly. Drying the clay with heaters or ovens will produce more cracks and opening that will need to be repair and cover up . 

But Styrofoam ball are great to use. I like them because they reduce the amount of clay consumption.
 It will allow you to sculpt more with the less clay. I like to used them on my Ball Joint Dolls heads. Is very nice because it will give you a great base to work and you can easily cut it in half to add the other details to the piece. I allow the piece to dry normally.

If you want to lower the drying time with out hurting your pieces. Specially on those high humidity places. I can recommend a homemade  Creative Paperclay® drying booth method I use. 
Is very easy to make and it will help your pieces to dry properly. 


Book shelf unit.You can use a old bookshelf unit. 

Eva-Dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier - White (EDV-1100)
A portable or small dehumidifier unit. 
 I can be a use one, garage bought or check your thrift store. All you need it to make sure it works safely. The one on the photo is from Target  Eva-Dry Electric Petite Dehumidifier (EDV-1100) 

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Painter's plastic sheets



Seal the painters sheet to the book shelf using the duck tape.
Make sure you place the dehumidifier next to the book shelf and cover it with the painters plastic sheets.
Create a door opening for you to load your sculpt and pieces to dry.
See the drawing for build reference.

More armatures and safe drying techniques I like to use is the wires, foil and masking tape. 
I favor this method for non moving parts Art Dolls Sculptures.
If your sculpting big pieces I strongly recommend it to be sculpt in layers and make sure the are fully dry before a new one layer is added. Doing this not only will ensure the project is properly dry but it will also be a lot stronger sculpt.

Built your armature with wires. Cover with aluminum foil and secure it with masking tape.

Start Layers one and wait to be completely dry.

Layer  two and wait to completely dry.

Layer three and keep doing this until your satisfy.

Between each step I place the sculpt in the homemade drying unit to get all the humidity out of the piece.
It works great, you will love how much even and faster your projects will dry. 
I hope you like these quick drying tips. More to come shortly so please stay tune . 

Any questions feel free to email me at

Gloriann Irizarry

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Think outside the ... cookie? A Creative Paperclay® Inspired Cookie Tree

Hi Everyone and Merry Christmas to you!

I hope you are all ready for the holidays.  Most of us are busy shopping, cleaning, doing last minute decorating, and of course, making cookies.  At this time of year, I always reminisce a little about my dear, sweet Grandmother who has long since pasted.  As a child, I would help my Grandmother make tons of holiday cookies.  Rolling out dough and using cookie cutters was my favorite.  This tutorial is just that, but with Creative Paperclay® instead.  It was really fun and there are so many variations to it.  I hope that you create some wonderful memories with your kids / grandchildren and try it out.  I will be making a Creative Paperclay® inspired cookie tree.  Are you ready?!!

I am sure some of you have see this item before.  It has various sized star cookie cutters in it and you can stack up your cookies to make a Christmas tree.  I bought this set some time ago, thinking that I would make cookies and do this, but alas, it sat unused for a few years.  So, this year I brought it out and thought what about paperclay?  

Why not give it a try?  So let's get started!   Here are the supplies you need, however, you can always omit some and use others.  The world is YOUR laboratory ... venture out and modify if you want.  

Various sized cookie cutter stars
Creative Paperclay®
Rolling Pin
Various Decorative Stamps
Baby Powder
Baking sheet, tin foil and toothpick
Rubber Scrubbers / Sand Paper
Gel Stain / towel
Matte Varnish
Paint Brushes
Modge Podge
Distress Ink / Cotton balls
Spray Adhesive
Christmas Paper & 2' block of wood
E6000 Glue

Let's start by prepping out our work space.  You can see that I have my silicone mat out and have sprinkled it with some baby powder.  Baby powder works like flour would to cookie dough.  It really works great on Creative Paperclay®!  Sprinkle a little on your counter and roll out your paperclay.

Looking good so far!!  Keep rolling!  I rolled my clay out to about 1/4" thick.

Next, find a cute stamp and stamp your clay.  This one has all sorts of holiday words on it.

IMPORTANT:  Since the cookie cutter set has 6 different sizes.  I needed to figure out how many of each size I was going to cut out for the tree.  This is what I came up with.

#1 --- Star on top of tree (smallest star) --- Cut out 2 - (no stamp imprint)
#2 --- Next size up --- Cut out 2   (Stamp both with same stamp imprint)
#3 --- Next size up again --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#4 --- Next size up again --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#5 --- Next to largest --- cut out 3 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and one with a different one)
#6 --- Largest size --- cut out 4 (stamp two with one stamp imprint and the other two with a different one)

This is the largest cookie cutter in the set.  Cut out four of these guys.  I used two different stamps on this size.  I did, two stars with the holiday word stamp and two stars with a polka dot stamp below.

Here's a tip ... If you wet your finger and go around the outside of the star smoothing down the rough edges before they are dry, sanding will be a whole lot easier.  Once you cut out your stars, place them on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

Here are my largest stars.  Two with polka dots and two with holiday words stamped on them.  Let's put these babies in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour or until they are completely dry.  Make sure after 15 minutes, you flip them over.  They will want to curl up.  Turn them over every 15 minutes to keep them as flat as possible.

If you don't want to make a cookie tree and want to make ornaments, now is the time to poke some holes in the tops of your stars. I think these would look great as ornaments - just string a ribbon through them.  If you have letter stamps - stamps your family's names into the clay.  So easy and the kids will have so much fun trying out all your cookie cutters shapes!

Here you can see the rest of the stars in various sizes.  I tried to vary the pattern stamped on the stars.  Since we will be layering the stars, I wanted each layer to look different.  

You will notice that two stars in the upper left hand corner, have holes in them.  You will want to do this too.  These are the stars that are the next size down from the smallest star.  Poke a hole right in the middle of each one -- there should be two.  Make sure the hole goes all the way through.  These two stars will hold the top star of the tree.  Let's make that now.

To make the star on top of the tree, cut out two of the tiniest stars and glue them together with water.  Use the water to smooth out the seam line.

Next get a toothpick and poke a hole in the bottom.  Keep the toothpick in while baking the star.  Wouldn't these make cute magic wands.  Hmmm ... something else to try!

Bake these stars again at 250 degrees until completely dry.  Don't forget to turn them over every 15 minutes to avoid curling up.

Once the stars are dry and have cooled down.  Now, it's time to sand them.  The star on the left is sanded, the star on the right is not.  There is a big difference as to the rough edges vs smooth.  Sanding just gives your piece a clean, professional look.  Plus, I love to sand!

I use these little sanding pads called Rubber Scrubbers.  They are heaven!!  No harsh sand paper on my skin!  Love these!  I spoke of these in my last tip on this blog.  Check it out!  See how nice they bend to conform to what I am sanding on.  Sand the edges and underside.  Lightly sand the tops because you would hate to lose your pretty stamping.

Here the stars are sanded and ready to paint!  Let's get going!

I am using a medium green paint.  However, you can paint your stars whatever color you like!

Next, I am going to dry-brush in some lighter green to give these stars some highlights.  Looking good!  When all the stars are painted and dry, I will stain them. 

Don't forget to paint your top star.  I've decided to paint mine in a barn red.  I have removed the toothpick and will replace it with a piece of wire later.

Here I am using a gel stain to give these stars some texture.  The stain will sink into the nooks and crannies of  the stamping and really show it off.  Wear gloves to do this.  Apply the stain and then rub it off with a scrap piece of towel.  When all the stars are stained, let this dry completely.  The gel stain will be a little sticky when it is dry, but we will fix that later. 

Next, let's make the base for this tree.  Here is a 2" block of wood that I will be using.  The paper under it is what I will use to decorate the block with.

Turn your paper over and outline the size of the block.  You will need to do this six times as the block has that many sides.  Then cut them out.

Use spray adhesive to attach your paper to your block.  Spray the backside of your paper and stick it to the block's surface.

Once the spray adhesive has dried, get out your stamp pad ink and darken the edges of your block.  I am using a cotton ball to dab into the ink and rub on the corners of the block.  This hides the paper edges and looks really cool.  I am using Distress Ink - the color is vintage photo.  When your ink has dried completely, use some modge podge in matte and give the entire block a good coat of it to seal the paper.  Let dry.

Now that the gel stain is dry on all the stars, it is time to seal the them with matte varnish and add a little glitz to them. In the picture above I am holding a tiny jar of pearl-ex powder in the color interference green.  These powders, when added to varnish, give your piece an iridescent look and shimmer.

But before we add the varnish, now it is time to kinda get a feel for how our tree will be stacked.  Before you varnish the stars, do a trial run on stacking.  I want to stack each star with a different stamp pattern.  For example, you have four large stars with two different patterns.  Vary the patterns when stacking.   I also do not want to glitter each star, so I want to vary that too.  I will varnish a star with plain matte varnish and then the next star to sit on top of it, varnish adding pearl-ex and glitter to it.

I am applying a mixture of matte varnish and pearl-ex powder to every other star as I am doing my trial run to stacking.  The stars with pearl-ex in them will be glittered.  When the varnish and pearl-ex is wet on the star, sprinkle with a little glitter and let dry.

We are almost done!  Let's start stacking.  I am using E6000 glue to adhere everything together.  Put some glue on the top of your block.

Start stacking and staggering your stars.  Just add a dab of glue in the center of each star and press down the next star into in.  You can see how pretty the color variations are some stars with pearl-ex & glitter and some without.  The patterns are beautiful!

Make sure when stacking that you are center over your block.  Your tree might start leaning.  Straighten it out and keep staggering the stars.  In the above picture, I am at the top where the two stars with the hole in them will go.  Put some glue into the hole and add a small piece of wire in the first star.  Put some glue around the wire and then string your second star through the wire and press firmly down to secure.

Lastly, place the sweet star on top.  Put some glue in the hole of the star and press the star down on the wire.  YAY!!  We're done!

So darling!  You could even add tiny beads to it to give it more bling or maybe add some snow texturing.  Hope you had fun!  

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the Best in 2014!  If you have some time, please stop by my blog at and say hello.  If you have any questions about this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.  Thanks again and have the happiest of holidays!  LeeAnn