Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tori's Tip for May - Work Boards and Drying Panels

Hi, it's Tori West with my monthly tip - If your studio is anything like mine, there are always lots of projects going on at once.   Since a lot of mine involve clay, I've come up with a few ways to make the projects portable so I can move one aside and start on others while the clay dries.


The first method is what I refer to as "work boards" - they are just pieces of cardboard covered with Glad Press n' Seal® wrap.  To make your own, cut a piece of cardboard to the desired size, cover one side with a piece of press n' seal, pressing and smoothing out the wrap to secure it to the cardboard, turn the board over and place a piece of wrap on the other side, smooth it down as well, then trim around the cardboard.  I have a lot of 4" x 4" square work boards (see that stack on the upper left side of the photo :) ) I use them to hand out to students when I give classes, and because that size is convenient for small projects.  The boards can be used over and over again, just wipe off the clay with a wet cloth.   I also have a variety of larger boards.

Aside from making the projects portable, another big advantage to these work boards is that you can stick the clay down on them;  wet the board, then press or rub the clay onto it to hold objects down.  For example, on the small board in the photo above, a 1:12th scale skeleton is in progress; the spine is stuck down to the board so I can work on the delicate ribs, and the feet are stuck to the board with the pattern attached to them, so I can carve out the tiny toes.  On the larger board, which will be a 1:48th scale mushroom house, the staircase is held in place with a lump of clay so that I can work on the railing.  The front board, holding another 1:48th scale project, has the floors stuck to it while I score in the floor boards and paint them.  They were stuck to the board as dry pieces of clay - to use the board in that way, wet it, then take the dry piece of clay and swirl it around on the wet board until it sticks.  You'll definitely know it when that happens -It's kind of awesome when it does.  To remove the items when I'm finished working on them, I'll use a credit card spatula to carefully get underneath them and lift them from the plastic.  (click on the image to see a larger version of the photo if you would like to see close-ups of the work boards).

The second method for portability and drying clay projects is to place them on drying panels.  Again I've made a number of them in the 4" x 4" size (the stack next to the cardboard ones), and also have a selection of larger ones.  The panels are cut from styrene "egg crate" fluorescent lighting fixture panels, which are sold in most major home improvement and hardware stores.  They come in 24" x 48" sizes, but can be easily cut to whatever size is needed by using flush-cut metal nippers, band saw, or scroll saw.  These are best for drying projects on when you want air to circulate around them as much as possible - place some spacers under each corner to let air get underneath, or to stack projects as needed.  I also use these styrene panels when making sheets of flat clay, and stack the larger ones for drying racks.

Thanks for joining me here again!

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1 comment:

Ann Strecko Koeman said...

Very cool tip that I will use, TFS.