Art Deco Books

2015/01/img_1968.jpgIt’s the start of the new year. This is when I take a look at my supplies and see if I need to do a little organizing. This year I’ve matched organizing with craft. I’ve put together these Art Deco felt and embroidered books that will contain smaller craft items in my craft box.

The designs are inspired by Art Deco patterns and whatever coloured felt or embroidery thread I had. Instructions will be posted next!

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Bunting Advent Calendar

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The advent calendar is up.  I put it on the tree for now, and will probably hang it up on the fireplace over Christmas.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  Quite a long project decorating all 24 pouches, however really worth it at the end.  Here is the post with the instructions.

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The BBC had a great recipe for an edible bunting gingerbread advent calendar.  Check how to make this here.

Clay Background

How to make a background in clay

A repeat from one of my posts last year, however I use it all the time so thought it was worth posting again.

So here are the instructions.

  1. Lollipop /Popsicle Sticks x 4
  2. Rolling Pin
  3. Cutter/Knife – I like the flat thin clay blade, but a stanley knife or craft knife is fine

Preparation

Take the lollipop sticks and cello tape two together at the top and bottom of the sticks, so you have two lollipop stacks.  We are using these as a guide to create the correct depth for the ornament.  You will only have to do this once, and then re-use the stacks.  If you want to make your pieces deeper, use three lollipop sticks.

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Get a spare magazine, or plastic covering to use as your workspace.  Place a sheet of parchment/wax/greaseproof paper folded into a square over the workspace.  The key here is that you can move the paper round, rather than touching the ornament, as the less you touch the piece the better.

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I’m using blue clay here for the demo.  Take a stick, and roll it into a ball, then flatten it out using the palm of your hands and your fingers until it’s about .5 inch thick.

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Place the two lollipop stacks either side of the clay.  They are used as a guide to keep consistent thickness.

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Roll out the clay, pick up the clay from the back and turn the clay 90 degrees, and roll again.  Using the cookie cutter, cut out the shape.

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Now you have a layer of clay that has consistent thickness.  This technique I use consistently across the Christmas decorations.

Christmas Whale – Instructions

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An unusual but fun character.

Materials:

  1. Dark Blue (Pearl), Light Blue, Red, White and a little black Sculpey III.
  2. Tools – Flat bendy blade, cutters (optional), tool with a flat blade.
  3. Rolling pin/lollipop sticks.

Instructions

Create a blue flat ‘background’ following the usual instructions.  Cut out a rectangle that’s 1.5 by 2 inches.  Draw the whale shape onto the clay with a pin tool.  (A cocktail stick will be fine too).  With the bendy knife and the little cutters, cut out the shape.  I use the little cutters around the tail.

The whale has a shape, but he has lots of angles.

Hold the whale upright, like shown.  I have the tail part cupped in my hand (you can’t see that bit).

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Gently roll the edge backwards and forwards, applying just enough pressure to round the edges.  Start by applying a little pressure, and then if your clay is hard and it isn’t working you can always apply a little more.

As you can image, you may squish the edges to be thicker than they were, so I do an extra roll at this point.

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Now focus on the Tail.  Squeeze each tail fin between your thumb and fore-finger.  Run your finger to smooth over any edges.

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Now it’s time for the belly of the Whale

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Roll a thin piece of light blue clay.  Cut the edge straight, this edge will form the top of the belly.  Wrap the rest of the light blue underneath the whale.  Cut off any excess.

We have the main body, now it’s time for the detail.

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The eyes are a ball of white clay with a flattened back, and a little black for the pupil.

The hat, is a cone of red clay, where the hat meets the back of the whales head I lay a sausage of white clay. Using the joining techniques, I stipple the white sausage which pushes some clay into the gaps securing hat to head.  I attach the white ball of the santa hat to the tail, to give the hat some stability.

Finally, Add the hole just above the eye and below the santa hat.  Add a little detail on the tail, (a few indented lines), and then a couple of small light blue dots, and there you are.  A Christmas Whale.

Bake as per the clay instructions.  And Glaze if required.

Christmas Panda Bear – Instructions

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How do you make a panda bear out of a polar bear? Here’s how.

Step through the polar bear instructions, however substitute black clay for his ears, leg, arm and add two small balls of clay for the patches around his eyes.  I’ve also added a flat black triangle to the body.  This is optional.

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Assemble the panda the same way we assembled the polar bear, this time, adding the black patches for eyes.  I chose to add little white balls of clay for eyes as you couldn’t really see the pin pricks clearly.  I also added a little green bamboo for the panda to chew on.  This is a snake of green clay, with a diamond shaped clay leaf.  The bamboo is optional.

Christmas Polar Bear – Instructions

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Materials

  1. Sculpey or an equivalent polymer clay. White, red, bit of black.  Colours for scarf, red/white, blue/green, whatever you have in your craft box.
  2. Tools – Rolling pin, lollipop sticks, pin tool (or toothpick), cutting blade, circular cookie cutter.  You can get away without most tools, they are handy, and good to collect over the years but don’t worry too much if you don’t have exact what’s on the list.
  3. Finishing off, glaze, brush and ribbon.

Let’s get started.

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To make the body, roll white clay between the lollipop sticks to ensure the depth is even.  Cut out an oval using a cookie cutter.

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To make the head make a ball about an inch in diameter.  Place it on your work surface and using the palm of your hand gently make a sausage shape.  Then place the sausage into the palm of your hand and cup your hand.  Gently use the thumb of the opposite hand to push the clay into your cupped hand.  This flattens the back and makes a nice curved shape on the front.

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Create a ball of black clay about the size of a pea.  Roll it gentle between your fingers to start to make a sausage shape, then flatten slightly.  Basically it’s the same technique as the head, but on a smaller scale.

To make the ears, create a ball of white clay about the size of a pea.  Gently squish the ball between your fingers to flatten it.  Cut it in half to make each ear.

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Make a ball of white clay approximately 3/4 inch diameter.  Place on your work surface and roll with the palm of your hand.  Apply more pressure to one end to make the cone shape.  Then using your index and middle finger, gently roll the leg section up and down on your work surface to thin it out.  Then put your thumb where the sole of the foot would be to create the indent.  You can see in the clay leg to the right, I have put a little mark, this leg is too long, so I’m going to cut it down.

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Exactly the same instructions as the leg, except the ball should be about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Instead of pushing your thumb to make the sole, push your thumb down onto the work surface at the fat end of the cone.  That will create the hand shape.  I find that I need to trim both the hand and the arm at this stage.  Round the edges at both ends with your fingers.

Now it’s time to put everything together.

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Start with the head.  Place it on the body towards the right hand side.  Place an ear on each side of the head, and use a flat tool (bottom right) to gently merge the clay from the ear into the clay of the head and body (back and front).  Then using a pin tool, make the circular holes for the ears.  Lastly place the nose at the bottom of the head, leaving a little room for his mouth.

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For the eyes I use a pin tool.  You can create other types of eyes here, however I like the eyes in the centre near the top.  For the mouth, use a cutting tool, to make a vertical slit from the nose to where you are going to place the mouth.  Then using an oval cookie cutter, gently push the cutter into the bottom of the head to make the mouth.  There’s a close up of the mouth below.

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Next up, adding the scarf.

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To make the scarf, get two balls of different coloured clay, make sure the balls are the same size.  Roll them out into sausages using the palm of your hand.  Place the two sausages next to one another.  Hold one end of the two sausages with your left hand, and with your right hand gently twist the two sausages.  When you’ve twisted about an inch, place on your work surface, and gently roll with the palm of your hand.  Repeat this process until the scarf is the desired length.  Be aware that the scarf gets quite long, so I always hold the scarf about an inch away from where I’m twisting.

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Add the scarf around the next of the polar bear.  Cut the desired length.

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Next, add the leg at the bottom, then add his arm.  You will notice I’ve added little indents to make paws.  Use the edge of your cutting tool.  Finally add a hole.  The easiest way to make holes is using a straw that has the desired width.  Alternatively use your pin tool.

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Finally add the hat.  Create a cone of red clay, flatten the bottom of the cone, then add to the bears head.  Then roll a thin white sausage of clay for the fur of the hat and cover the join of the hat to the head.  At this point I had some detail by indenting the fur of the hat.  Bend the hat slightly (you may want to cut off some of the excess of the hat).  Add the pompom for the hat, and indent.

Bake following the clay instructions, but check on the pieces until you get the timing right, as you don’t want to burn them.  Wait for the clay to cool, then glaze.

And there you go, one polar bear ornament.  You can experiment with different scarves, hats, or different shaped eyes/mouths.

Christmas Decorations 2014

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The Christmas season is upon us and for the last few weeks I’ve focused on the ornaments I send instead of cards. I wanted to try a new design this year, and include a few new characters. So here is the sneak preview for 2014, and my next couple of posts will step through how to make them.

For those of you who missed last year’s decorations, you can see them here for even more ideas.