Thursday, July 28, 2016

Easy Color Tip!

I like adding color to my paper clay in the beginning as it saves me time. I wanted to make a series of blue buddhas for a piece that I am working on and I wanted them to have a marbled blue stone look. Sometimes we forget the simple ways to do things so here is a quick reminder tip for you.


Blue paint
Creative Paperclay®
Silicone mold
Latex gloves

I apply a dollop of blue paint in the center of a piece of Creative Paperclay® and commence folding the clay over and over again until it is the blue color. Definitely wear latex gloves as it can be a little messy. Once it is well mixed, you can take the gloves off. Now cast your objects.


Dream in Color!

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Adhesives and Stencils with Creative Paperclay

Adhesives and Stencils with Creative Paperclay

I have so many types of adhesives in my art supply inventory especially liquid ones and sometimes it is difficult to select the right type for the right project. When using Creative Paperclay, I really don't have to worry about this issue. The only adhesive I use if necessary is matte medium. No particular brand, but I normally just use water or nothing at all.  I think that's what I love the most about CPC.

In this video, I talked about when I use adhesive, water or nothing at all. I also show how to use a stencil with your projects to add more dimension. I hope you learn something new from it.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Keep it Simple, Sculptor! (part 2)

If you missed the first part of this article, you can read it here:

Keep it Simple Sculptor (part 1)

I know I said to keep it simple, but once you decide to get into sculpting with paper clay, you might want to consider more options . 


These are great tools for shaping clay.  I use them for sculpting hair, fur or grass.  They come in a variety of sizes so you can buy the size that corresponds best to the scale you are using.  I mostly work in the 1:12 to 1:10 scale sizes and use shapers sized at "0".  If you are working in a larger scale, 1:9 to 1:6, you might want to go to the next larger size, which is "2".


While any PVA glue (white glue, like Elmers) will work with Creative Paperclay (CP), I find that Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky glue works well, because it holds parts together really fast so you can get on with your work.

Another great glue to use, if you want to combine your CP with plastic or metal objects is Liquid Fusion.  This is a urethane glue (like Gorilla Glue) but it doesn't foam up.  It dries clear so you can use it as a nontoxic resin substitute if you want to create a water surface.



I originally expressed myself as an artist by painting in watercolors, but I have to say I don't really enjoy painting my sculptures.  I know, some people really love this part, and I have to say I'm envious, but I just can't get into it.  I enjoy the sculpting part much more, so when a piece is to the point that it's ready for painting, I'm usually thinking about the next piece.  So here are my tips for speeding up, or even avoiding, the painting process.

If you like the metallic look, you can use Pearl Ex mica powders.  (This is another company that is good to artists by offering bulk sales at a discount.)  This stuff is versatile and you can use it in at least three different ways for various effects:

1.  You can use the powder like acrylic paint by mixing it in a clear medium.  Mod Podge seems to work fine for this.

2.  You can also rub it onto to your dry sculpture with your finger or a nylon shaper.  Once you have the colors you like, you can seal it with Spectrafix, which is a non-aerosol and nontoxic fixative.  

3.  Best of all, you can just mix the powder in with your clay while your sculpting.  This is nice, because your finished piece will already have the base colors mixed in.  If you use it this way, the colors are more muted and less metallic looking.  Also, it gets all over your hands, but will wash off with soap and water.

If you want to try mica powders, but don't want to shell out the big bucks, you can buy an eye shadow kit with tons of colors for a fraction of the cost.  I use this one by Shany.  You don't get a lot of color in each pan, but the colors are intense and go a long way.  If you decide to go the eye shadow route, keep in mind that most eye shadows also contain talc, so if you like to sand your finished sculptures, you should wear a particle mask since you do not want to breath in talc particles.

If you want to add color, but don't want the metallic look, you can use the same three techniques with soft pastels (the dry, chalky kind, not the oily kind).


If you work on multiple pieces at the same time, you can avoid getting a dehydrator because you almost always have a piece dry enough to work on.  If you're in a hurry or have little patience when it comes to waiting around for things to dry, you can invest about $40 in a basic food dehydrator.  This works great for drying out CP in record time.  Most dehydrators come with multiple trays. You can cut out the grid on some of the trays to add more depth.


To seal my works, I only use Mod Podge or Spectrafix, both of which are nontoxic.  Mod Podge comes in a variety of finishes and can be applied with your fingers. 

Spectrafix comes in a pump spray bottle.  Some people complain about the spray droplets being too large and messing up their finish.  You can avoid this for the most part by holding the bottle far enough away so the big drops don't hit your piece.  It always works better to do a couple of really light coats instead of one heavy coat.

Things I wish someone had told me when starting with clay.

  • If you are working on a piece, or part of a piece, and you get part of it perfect, but another part looks wonky--LET IT DRY!   You can always go back and rework the wonky part, but I can almost guarantee that if you keep working it to get the entire piece just right, you'll end up messing up the perfect part.

realistic fantasy figurine mixed media sculpture
  • Work on several projects at a time.  While one is drying, you can work on part of another.  Sometimes, working this way, what you accomplish on one piece will give you fresh ideas for one of the others.  Also, if you mess up part of one piece, it may fit perfectly into one of the others.  I once was working on a leg for a figure that did not turn out well, so I turned it into a tree branch for part of a tree on another piece where it fit in perfectly.

  • With paper clay, it is much easier to add to a sculpture than it is to take away.  A good approach is to build up the clay to approximate the shape you want and let it dry.  Then, go back to finalize the shape and finish you want.  It is okay to repeat this process multiple times until you get your desired effect.  For instance, if you are making a leg for a figure, you would first make an armature; then add clay to approximate the general shape (think of bones) and let it dry; then fill in the overall shape of the leg and let it dry; then add the muscles and smooth the surface and let it dry again!
In my next article, we will make a landscape sculpture and cover some techniques that work well with paper clay.

link to kevin whitham saatchi art online

You can connect with me on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tori's Tip - Cross-over Crafts

I've been creating art and crafting crafts for a long time, and have a wide variety of tools and materials in the studio.  Sometimes I'll see a tool that I haven't used for a while and think...."What new thing can I use this for?" or "I wonder if I can use this with clay?" 

So....want to know if you can use a wood burning tool on Creative Paperclay® modeling material?  The answer is "Yes!".  Here is an example using only one tip on a flat dry sheet of clay.  I am already imaging more possibilities for using this on curved surfaces, etc.  I love the way this turned out, all sort of muted, kind of sepia color with rich texture in the clay, nice to look at and nice to feel!  I'm also thinking it might make some lovely pieces with watercolor washes added over the design.

 My tip is (no surprise here) go ahead and try it!  Of course you will want to use every safety precaution - for example, even though this clay is non-toxic, I do not know if the fumes from burning it are.  And even though I think the risk is probably minimal since there is so little smoke or fumes created while wood burning, I created this in a well ventilated area with a fan blowing any smoke away from the piece.

What crafts did you do growing up?  Dig out those old tools and see what you can come up with for more fun with clay!

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

Find me on Facebook, or peruse & ponder pics with me on Pinterest

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lynda's Recycled Cardboard Insert

I am all for recycled projects, this month's project, made from a packaging insert I got from a scrapbooking find!!!  I wanted something I could hang on my fridge in my kitchen, to hold "to do lists" and recipe's on!!!  I am making my space around me look nice, so these little things - will all tie together in the bigger picture soon!!!  We are starting in the kitchen and moving on from there!!!    


Supplies used:
Creative Paperclay product flattened
Filler product
Piece of chipboard
Magnet stripes
Paint (Sage green)
Binder clip
Flowers (paper, die cut and molded flowers)
Ink pad (Stampin' Up - Pistachio Pudding)
Bakers twine (Stampin' Up - white)
Hot glue

Step oneFlatten out the brick of Creative Paperclay product - see video below if you need any help there!

Step two:  Cover the front part of the chipboard shape, wrapping a small bit around to the back side.  Add a smaller piece to the back - using your fingers to blend the two pieces together.  Using your finger and water, make the Creative Paperclay smooth, especially watching the edges.  

Step three: Allow the piece to dry - making sure to turn the piece over and over again to allow for both sides to dry flat and dry consistently.  You could also try to put this in the oven for quicker dry time if you need to.  Make sure to allow a few days for this step if you don't dry it in the oven.

Step four:  Once thoroughly dried, make sure to inspect for any imperfections.  Once this had started to dry - I found a crack in it that needed to be fixed, I used some filler product we received as a design team to fix it!  Since I can't read the language on the bottle, I have no idea what it is, just that it has an awesome yellow lid and it is really great to fill in holes and cracks!   

Step five:  After everything dries - sand it on the front, back and sides, to make sure it is ready to go.  Once it is - you want to get it ready to paint the piece.  

Step six:  Put 2 coats of paint (at least) to the front and back of the piece, allowing to dry completely between coats.  

Step seven:  Start to add white bakers twine around the bottom of the piece, and the various flowers you have selected at the top and 1 on the bottom.  With the middle flowers, I added a bit of the Pistachio Pudding ink pad to the front of the flowers to add a bit of color to it!  


Step eight:  Add the 2 binder clips - one larger one at the top to add notepaper to, and the small bottom one to keep a recipe when you are cooking!  

Step nine:  Finish by adding the magnet strip's to the back of the piece!  From this picture, I added a small piece to each corner - and one more larger piece to help hold it up on the fridge!  

I can't wait to get the rest of the kitchen done - though this is the first of a few things I am creating!  I will have to purchase more paint, so I can coordinate the whole look!  This one space, will help the next space, and the next one, and the next one!  
Thanks for stopping by,
Lynda Jeffs
Creative Paperclay Design Team 2016 
and Memories in Tyme    

Friday, July 15, 2016

Goddess Diary Necklace

Last month I showed you how to make goddess dolls using Creative Paperclay®. In this post I'll show you how I used one of my goddess dolls to make this goddess diary necklace.

Remember—I already had the goddess, so I'll walk you through making the diary. To make the diary cover, roll out a slab of Creative Paperclay® about 1/16" thick. I work on a teflon mat to make handling the clay a bit easier.

Next, measure strips of clay, and cut them with a craft knife. Remember to move the clay off the teflon mat before cutting or you'll have teflon strips. My clay strips are 1 3/8" wide.

Then, measure and the strips into 1 3/8" squares. Of course, you can make yours whatever size you desire.
Measuring the strips
Blank Covers
Now, let the cover blanks thoroughly dry. To keep them as flat as possible you can dry them on a screen and turn them frequently, or press them under a heavy book. Drying them under a weight takes a much longer drying time.

When the covers are dry, it's time to paint them. I started by sealing them with an acrylic medium. When that was dry, I dropped on small amounts of mica powders using the tips of tweezers, and recoated with the acrylic medium. Take care not to overwork the mica/medium.

Last step in my cover design was to stamp a rubber stamp image using Staz-On ink. 

I cut 1 1/4" pages for the diary. The number of your pages will be governed by the size of your jump rings. I stacked the pages with a cover on each side, and used a Crop-a-dile to pierce the holes for the jump rings. I also pierced a hole in the center bottom of the back cover to attach the goddess.

I added a jewelry bail to the back of the goddess with E-6000.
I used jump rings to attach the goddess to the back cover of the diary. Last step was adding the necklace chain.

Wear your goddess diary necklace in good health.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Framing Summer Fun with Creative Paperclay®

Summer adventures call for a beach frame so that you can remember the fun you had all year round. This could be a great summer project for the whole family.


Creative Paperclay®
Acyrlic paint

This frame has a depressed square in the center.

I started by applying Creative Paperclay® to the damp wood surface. I then laid wax paper over it then I brayered it flat.

Next came the stamping. I did an abstracted underwater scene. I love scuba diving so my summer story had to have fish in it.

Next I added a wash to the Creative Paperclay®. I finished with a little color on the fish and added sand to the depressed square shape.

Next it is the hunt for the perfect object for the square. It could be a shell, a photo of us at the beach or ???

Dream in Color.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Keep it Simple, Sculptor!

Ah, words to live by…

(part 1 of 2)


I'm going to start out with some basic information that is meant for folks who are just starting out with Creative Paperclay, or trying to decide if they should try it.  I tried every type of clay on the market trying to find one I liked.  Originally, I passed over Creative Paperclay (CP) because I thought it was too soft, but after looking at the competition I came back to it and I'm glad I did.

When you read articles about sculpting in clay, a lot of the information comes from artists who are working with oil-based clays with the intention of casting in bronze.  I think a lot of the misconceptions about air dry clay comes from individuals who are trying to apply classic approaches to a modern product.

Air dry clay often gets a bum rap for not being a professional material.   Things like:

"It cracks easily."

"It doesn't take details well."

"It's not durable enough."

"It's designed for weekend crafters not artists."

I think these statements stem more from a lack of understanding of how to use the clay rather than the material itself.

There are several reasons I came to love Creative Paperclay (CP).  First off, I am only willing to work with nontoxic materials for my own personal safety and for environmental reasons.  I never want to conduct an art class with children and have to say something like, "Ok, kids, everyone put on your respirator, rubber gloves, and hazmat suit.  We're going to make some art!"

Second, I prefer to work with an air dry clay as opposed to baking things or using a kiln or mixing epoxies.  The great thing about CP is that even when you're finished with a piece and it's dry and as hard as a piece of pine wood, you can still make changes to it:  either adding new clay, carving it or sanding it.  Because of its advantages over other kinds of clay, CP is really a revolutionary product  so think of yourself as a rebel and get some attitude.

When I was a little kid, I liked to mix my chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.  I liked to make designs with the swirls and kept mixing until it was a perfect consistency for shaping into things.  I worked it with my spoon, but only for a few minutes until it turned mushy.  Working with paper clay reminds me of the fun I had making shapes when it was the perfect consistency.  CP is soft right out of the package, which means you don't have to condition it by kneading it for several minutes.  I have worked with clays that were so hard they actually hurt my hands just trying to make them pliable enough to use.

The ultimate reason to buy CP is that when you decide it is right for you, you can buy it in bulk directly from Creative Paperclay at nearly half price.  Very few companies offer artists such a break on materials.  If for no other reason, this is reason enough to climb aboard the CP Train.


I use very few tools when working with clay, which allows me to concentrate on what I am creating instead of trying to decide which tool to grab.  You can buy a package of four plastic sculpting tools made by Staedtler/Fimo for about $5.  There are other plastic sculpting sets available, but they are shaped differently and not as versatile.  This is the set you want.

Of the four tools, I use the one on the left over 90% of the time for anything where my hands won't fit, which is really the only reason I reach for it in the first place.  Once in awhile, I may reach for one of the others if I want a special effect.

There is a prevailing attitude in the art world at large that you need a lot of sophisticated, expensive, heavy-duty, sharp equipment to produce serious sculptures, but you don't.  Creative Paperclay is soft and forgiving.  You can use simple, plastic tools that have a little bend to them. 

I received as a gift, a toolset that contained about 30 tools in a carrying case.  The tools were impressive, made of wood and steel and sharpened to a dangerous level, and I liked holding them, but I couldn't work with them.  Every time I needed a tool, I would look at my massive collection and lose my train of thought as I tried to decide which one to use.  No matter which one I ended up choosing, it was never quite the right shape for the task at hand and I would end up searching for another.  I went back to my plastic ones and have been happy ever since.

For smoothing things out, I use a small, flat, acrylic paintbrush dipped in water.  That's it.

Here is what I use 99% of the time for everything (the glass is just for holding water):



If you are new to working with air dry clay, the first thing you may not notice is the voice in the back of your head telling you to hurry up before things start drying out.  Let me assure you, you can put your mind at ease.  Not only can you work with this clay for hours at a time, if it does start to dry out, you can just mix a little water into it and it's as good as new.


To store your clay, once it's been opened, use a ziploc plastic bag or something similar and try to get all of the air out of it before you seal it.  I usually fold it over, partially zip it shut, then squeeze out the remaining air before sealing all the way.  It takes a little practice to get it right.  If you're having trouble getting all of the air out, you can add a few drops of clean water inside the bag to keep the clay moist.


An important consideration when planning your piece is what scale you will use.  Depending on the size of your work space, this may be a limiting factor.  I find it is easiest to work on figures between 1:12 scale and 1:6 scale.  A 1:6 scale figure is about 12 inches tall and a 1:12  figure is only 6 inches tall.  Anything smaller becomes difficult to add details (I have fat fingers) and anything larger takes up too much space on my workbench (and a lot more material).

If you are making an individual piece that stands alone, maybe scale doesn't matter much, but if you will be combining it with other figures, miniatures, doll clothes, etc., trust me, you will want to account for scale.

By making one part of your entire piece larger than the others, you can add drama and focus to it.


If you need ideas for pieces, just start sculpting things you like.  A rule of thumb I often use is to combine three objects/items/figures into an interesting arrangement.  I often have an idea in my head when I start, but not always.  By working on multiple pieces simultaneously, I sometimes find better combinations by switching parts between pieces.

creative paperclay tutorial realistic sculpture
A Minotaur, a Satyr playing a bouzouki and a broken Greek column
The great part of working in three dimensions is that as you view your work from different angles it can reveal new ideas.  For instance, an item may be hidden behind another from one angle, but turn it around and a secret is revealed.  Try doing that with a painting!

In future articles I will go into more detail about what we've covered so far and also give examples.

If you are new to sculpting with air dry clay, there are two things to keep in mind. 

1.  If someone is critical of your work, you can always say, "I meant to do it that way."


2.  A potato is the easiest thing to sculpt.  "It's a potato!"

You can read part 2 of this article here.

link to kevin whitham saatchi art online

You can connect with me on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Forgotten Act -- Altered Sketch Book Covers

 Altered Sketch Book Covers

First thing I decided to create this project is to make the embellishments for the front cover using a mold and I added CPC to the back of  sketch book to cut down to add an image using stamps. The picture shown below was used reference point to figure out the size of the hole I needed to cut out. 


After I applied the CPC, I smoothed the edges using water on my fingertips. And I stamped the images into the clay as shown. 

I painted the project with black acrylic.

I painted the covers with blue acrylic paint.

I applied Primary Elements (Hopeful Honeysuckle) on the project with a paint brush and I also added some to the pink acrylic paint.

I used Inka Gold, H20s, acrylic paint as shown above and the I added some more Primary Elements. I finished the project off by added more Inka Gold. 

This project was titled Forgotten Act because Kathlyn Jones, the woman in the photo, has no information on the Internet about her besides her photo and that she was an actress in the early 1900s.