Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Combining Plastic & Clay

I played with Plastic Modeling Pellets when I wrote my book on Mixed Media in Clay (which has a whole chapter on paper clay). Fun stuff. When Creative Paperclay® sent me some, I had to experiment with it.


Plastic Modeling Pellets 
Creative Paperclay® slurry
Acrylic paint
Rubber Stamp
Hot water
PAM cooking spray

Hot water makes the plastic pellets moldable. Although you can heat water in a pan or in skillet, I usually just microwave a cup of water until it bubbles. Note that the steam greyed out my photograph. The pellets go into the hot water white and hard then become transparent and clump together. At this time take it out of the water to mold. It may be very hot. If it is, let it cool down enough to touch.

I placed it on a rubber stamp that sprayed with PAM. I was using it as a cheap mold release. It is not necessary on rubber but makes the release of the plastic easier.

As it cools down it will become white again. At this point, you can remove it from the stamp. If you don't like the design, just reheat it and start again.

My first experiment was to do apply a wash of irridescent Bronze paint. This color will separate when used as a wash and leave green areas.

If we stamp with the original rubber stamp we would get a debossed look. We did that to the plastic so when stamped into paper clay we get the look of the original rubber stamp  Got that? One is embossed and the other is debossed.

Then I made a colored paper clay slurry and applied it to the painted cast plastic.

I wiped off the excess with a damp paper towel so that the pattern showed. When this is dry, I will cut it with my table saw into a shape to put into my art.

I love the process and playing.

Dream in Color!

Darlene Olivia McElroy

Monday, September 26, 2016

Up-cycle: Lighted Jar

This up-cycled pickle jar could light up a fall wedding table, or be a pretty night light anywhere.

Creative Paper Clay
Acrylic paint: gold and green
10" Amethyst Gross Grain Ribbon: May Arts
Flourish rubber stamp: Hero Arts 
Burlap Gerbera Daisy - Floral Garden and faux Ivy (Michaels Craft Store)
Small set (10) of clear lights (battery operated or your preference)
Scissors, hot glue gun, stipple brush, other paint brush, Parchment paper, Brayer tool, empty clear glass jar,
single paper hole punch

1. Remove the labels and adhesive from the old jar.
2. Stipple the jar lid with green acrylic paint to cover any lettering. Let dry.
3. Hot glue and Daisy and ivy to the lid. 
4. Roll out clay thinly on the parchment paper, to the size needed for the jar, approximately 5" x 12".
5. Stamp into the moist, rolled clay firmly.  Rotate the stamp, using multiple directions for complete coverage.The thinner the clay, the more light will come through.
6. Brush gold acrylic paint over the surface of the stamped clay.
7. Let the paint dry, but while the clay is still moist, roll the parchment paper around the jar and tape it secure; let the clay dry completely.
8.  Trim any rough edges.  The top and bottom should be flat, if possible. The ends of the clay that are tied together in the back are not straight.
9.  Punch a hole in the center of each end of the dried, formed clay.  Place the clay around the jar and tie the ends together with ribbon.
10. Place the lights inside the jar and VIOLA!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Creative Paperclay Still Life (part 1 of 2)

Part two is available here.

If you don't have access to a beach, then making a seascape becomes a little more challenging.  For this piece, we will create a piece of driftwood, cast a shell from a mold, and make a starfish using a cut paper armature.


Making your own original base for your sculptures can be a lot of fun.  (See Creative Paperclay Landscape). 

To make your own driftwood, you will need an old T shirt, pillowcase, or a piece of cotton fabric, a large lid, and paverpol, wood glue or white glue. 

Get the fabric wet, but wring out any excess water so it is moist, not dripping.

Coat the fabric with glue and work it into the material.  (This part is a bit messy, but the glue should wash off your hands with soap and water).  

Take the fabric and wrap it around the lid.  While wrapping
the lid, twist the fabric so that it forms ridges similar to what you might find in a piece of driftwood.

When you are happy with the results, set it aside to dry.  It will probably take two to three days to dry.

Once your faux driftwood is dry, you can use Creative Paperclay (CP) to fill any unsightly voids; to extend the edges of your driftwood; and to enhance the nooks and crannies to give it a wood-like appearance.


SHELLS (or other objects)

You can use this method to mold and cast any objects you want for your still life.  I chose a shell that I found on the beach.

There is a wide variety of molding materials on the market.  Nearly all of them work well with CP, but the one I prefer is called "oyumaru".  This is made in Japan and used by school kids to make stuff.  I like it for a several good reasons.  First of all, it is non-toxic.  Secondly, it is reusable.   Third, it stays somewhat flexible.  All of these reasons, make it a great product for molding and casting in paper clay.

Oyumaru comes in a variety of colors, so if you are making lots of molds, you can actually color code them to keep them organized.  It also comes in clear, so you can see what you are molding and if there are any air bubbles.

You can order this product from Amazon.

You can also find good deals on ebay.  This is not the same product as InstaMold or other brands of thermoplastic pellets.  When these products cool down, they make a rigid, plastic form which does not work well for molding/casting with paper clay.

To work with oyumaru, heat some water and put a couple of pieces in it.  The water needs to be hot, but not boiling.

I use a fork to fish out the pieces once they are hot.  (Use a towel to wipe off any excess hot water).

You can then use it to wrap around your object.  Try to keep the oyumaru about 1/4 inch thick.

Allow the oyumaru to cool down for about five minutes.  You can then peel it off and you will have a mold of your object.

Next, you can press CP into the mold.  I would try to keep the thickness of the CP between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick so that it will dry in a timely manner.

If you fill your mold with clay, it will take a long time to dry, because air cannot get to the bottom of the mold.

You can make multiple castings from one mold and when you are ready, you can reheat the oyumaru in hot water and create a new mold of something else.

In part two, we will look at creating objects using a paper armature and adding the finishing touches to our still life sculpture.

Part two is available here.

link to kevin whitham saatchi art online

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Simplified Skull Model - Part One

Last month I showed you how to get the look of bone & teeth with Creative Paperclay® modeling material, this month I'm going to show you how to make a skull model.  You can add as much or as little detail as you like - even if you don't do detailed sculpting, it will still make a fun Halloween decoration.  If you follow along with this post, you can create the top part of the skull this time, then have time for it to dry before making the lower portion of the skull and the jaw.

For this project you will need:

Creative Paperclay® modeling material
A small balloon
newsprint paper or similar
white glue
rolling pin
self adhesive plastic wrap such as Cling-Wrap
reference photos or drawings
masking tape

I'll be using lots of photos as opposed to descriptions, because I think for this project it is easier to following along with sculpting pictures -  scroll along and follow along :)

Sculpting pointers: work on both sides of the skull at once, check for symmetry by looking at the top and bottom of the piece, and looking at it in a mirror.  Step back from the work frequently to analyze what needs to be adjusted.

First make the form for the head  - start by blowing up the balloon and tying it off.  Tear off a strip of newsprint about an inch wide, then tear the strip into pieces an inch or two long.  Use a  mixture of white glue thinned with water to dip the strips in and apply them to the balloon.  Cover the entire balloon except the knot.  Allow the paper to dry, then add another layer and let that dry.

When the paper is dry, draw a curved line that would "finish" the rounded circle from the top of the balloon, then draw a line up the center of the balloon from knot to top, and a line dividing the circle in half horizontally, as shown.

Now start drawing dashes to extend the horizontal line to the sides, and extend the base of the circle.  Do a few dashes on each side of the balloon, then go back and forth while judging the distance from top and bottom of the balloon- this will give a more accurate line than trying to draw each line with a single stroke all the way around.

draw a vertical center line on the back of the balloon as well.

Wad up some newsprint to a bun shape and tape to the back of the skull as shown.

 Add some tape to the sides.
 Fill in the gaps with small wads of paper and tape to smooth.

This is what it should look like from the top of the balloon/head

sketch in the features - draw eye sockets slightly below the center of the circle, make an upside down heart shape for the nose at the bottom of the circle, then mark a line about half-way between the bottom of the nose and the bottom of the balloon.  Extend the line horizontally until each edge is approximately in line with the center of the eye socket above it, then draw upwards to connect the edges to the circle, making the upper teeth area.

Cover the balloon with plastic wrap.

Roll paperclay out to a circle large enough to cover the back of the head and about 1/16" thick

place it on the back of the head, sculpt two folds on the bottom into bumps about marble size, remove some clay from between these lumps as shown.
Pinch off extra clay and smooth it down.

 Roll out another circle for the front, cut one edge in a straight line, the apply it to the head form, aligning it to the tooth line on the front.

remove a little bit of clay from each side until you reached the guidelines on the form.

remove a little bit of clay from where you think the nose is, remove little pieces at a time until you've uncovered the guidelines.

Continue removing clay in this manner until you've uncovered the guidelines drawn on the form.

Pinch off the excess clay and smooth onto the form onto the back section of clay.

Add a flattened rope of clay over the eye area and smooth down to create the brow line.

Make a thick, curved "C" shape for each side and apply to the sides of eye sockets.

Smooth them onto the skull and around outer edges to create the outer area of the eye sockets and part of the cheekbones, as shown.

(don't try to use this for the entire cheek bone - we will be adding more to the cheeks and sides of the skull in the next part of this tutorial)

Add a small roll of clay at the top of each eye socket and smooth towards the back of the head.

Make a thin triangle of clay as shown

Attach the top of the triangle to the section between the eye sockets, fold it down along the sides and attach over the nose area.

Looking at your reference material, trim the front of the nose along the sides as shown.  Don't worry about getting it perfectly sculpted at this point, since it may get pushed around a bit in the next sculpting stages.

The last step in this part is to create the dental arch and teeth.

Make another triangle shape - this one should be thick on the long edge and thin towards the sides and point of the triangle.

Gently loosen and lift the edge of clay at the teeth line.  Insert the triangle wedge up underneath the clay top point first.

 Push the clay down underneath the nose and pinch together at the center.  Add more clay under the arch as needed to support the clay, then smooth the clay as shown to create the top/front of the palate.

Press your fingers along the edge of the clay to thin it and start defining the bone ridges for the teeth.  Trim and smooth the sides of clay so the sides are in line with the centers of your eye sockets, as you drew out on the head form.

 When you are done with the general shaping of the dental arch, cut a strip of paper, align on side with the side of the arch, wrap it to the other side and fold the edge to mark it and create an accurate measurement of the arch.  Trim the strip of paper to this measurement.

Fold paper in half and draw out the teeth - from the fold back, one front incisor, one secondary incisor, "canine tooth", two pre-molars, and three molars.

Cut out the teeth pattern and tap it onto the clay lightly to hold it in place while you mark the edges with a sculpting tool (hint - a round toothpick works well for marking and sculpting!)
 Remove the pattern and begin sculpting the teeth.  Lightly scrape a layer of clay from the front to make sure the teeth will look like they are going into the bone.

sculpt the individual teeth by removing some of the clay between each one, then rounding and shaping the sides and top.  Sculpt the "gum line" by sculpting the individual teeth - look at the reference material and in the mirror to see how the gum line varies and isn't a straight line all the way across.
If you haven't already done so, decide what kind of character your skull is representative of - did this guy have a tough life?  maybe you want to make him have crooked teeth, "buck teeth", vampire teeth?  Sculpt accordingly.

When you've finished, smooth out the model, brush some water over the teeth section to smooth them (be careful not to get the clay too wet and lose some sculpting)

Ta-da!  You've finished this lesson!  Let the clay dry completely.

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

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