Polymer Clay Key Chain

Get in early with this Chrissy Gift Idea!

It is that time of year again when we all start to think about gift ideas for friends and family for the festive season. I always like to give my close friends, colleagues and neighbours a little something to show how much I have enjoyed the year we have spent together and to show some appreciation for their assistance, friendship, and love. However buying lots of little gift surly adds up and at this time of year it can be hard to find the right items or stick to a budget. This year I have not had to spend a lot of time thinking about what to buy or what to make as I think I have come up with the perfect gift idea.

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I had just packed up my left over polymer clay beads and clay packs to make room for another project on the go but found myself getting this all back out to experiment with this little fun and super easy gift idea. I do enjoy the feeling of working with this clay and the idea of a fast and effective present, a quick afternoon is all it took.

Polymer Clay Key Chains. 

All you will need is:

-Polymer clay in your choice of colour. I have experimented with what I had left over but will be heading to the shops today to get some new colours. Experiment with as many different methods as possible, mix the colours, cut things out, stick it back together. After all it is like adults play dough. Use it like a child would.

-Polymer clay tools. I like to use some of my sewing tools like punchers as I call them. These make good holes, but a skewer or a sharp pencil works well. I also use a rolling pin (Nonstick), backing paper, wooded board for woking on as some colours will leave a mark.

-Paint or nail polish to decorate or add details. I love spray paint as it is fast, bright and easy to use and super quick to dry. The spray paint brands from art shops are best even though they are a bit more pricy, they dry faster and give a nicer coverage.

-Oven and tray.

-Keychains, rings and rope (String or leather cord)

Get started:

Getting started is super easy. warm up the clay with your hands until it is of the correct constancy, you will know as it is easy to work with and roll out. Depending on the shape of the bead or keychain you may either use your hands to roll a ball or a rolling pin to roll out a shape. As I’m sure i have mentioned before I am far from a perfectionist, I like my beads to look handmade and a little variation is charming.  You want your friends to know this item was handmade with that look of shop bought. Cookie cutters are super for getting a range of shape such as circles and hearts. And they save time.

When you have created the desired bead shape place it on non-stick paper on a baking tray and follow the directions on the pack. Usually a cool oven for about 30 minutes. Let dry and decorate or leave and thread. I tried a few different ways of looking and knotting. See which one works for you but make it tight so they don’t fall off.

I string my beads up with leather strap or a cord. Use something that is heavy duty and will with stand strain. You want your gift to last the distance.

Easter Bunny Masks

Working as an art teacher I am always pre planning fun activities that relate to special events that are celebrated during the year. Especially events that children enjoy. I love handmade gifts, decorations and items that engage children in these events that they love so much.

As we approach Easter I have been busily cutting (also hired some helpful parents) to cut out approximately 100 bunny masks. I choose felt as the medium as the texture related to the soft fur of a fluffy bunny. I love using felt and try to expose children to a range of mediums and textures. It is good for their sensory development. Felt also lasts longer when little fingers are taking on and pulling off their masks over and over again. My third reason for choosing felt is that it a great surface to glue on to using a regular glue stick.

Use the scraps that are left over from the cutting out of the mask as these are great for gluing on to the mask. You might also like to try cotton wool balls and any other craft items you may have. This will make the masks more personal and fun!

I used a hole punch to put two holes in the mask where I tied on some hat elastic. You might like to sew the elastic on.
 

 

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Poly Clay Bead Making

Poly Clay is an oven bake clay mineral clay. It is not actually made out of natural clay rather a mineral material. It is easy to use and quick to bake. It has a similar consistency to plasticine and is slow to dry out in air. To get the best of your clay it should be stored in an air tight container out of direct sunlight.

I have been playing with Poly Clay or Polymer Clay lately. I have tested out a variety of brands and experimented with the best ways to make different shape beads and jewellery. Different brands feel different and some seem better for children than others as they are softer and easier to work in to different shapes.

It is extremely easy and a fun way to create a lovely item to wear and show off. Also a great gift for a loved one.

The clay is easily moulded when it has been heated up and worked with your hands. It is then shaped to create the ideal item. To create a perfectly round ball roll your hands close together in small circles. These can then be flattered out or kept circular. I am not a perfectionist and like items to show their imperfections especially if they are original handmade one off items.

There are a range of tool on the market that can make make perfect beads easy. Bead rollers and trays can help to make perfectly circular beads. this may be something you look at if you wish to make a rather large necklace with all the same size and shape beads.I found a range of items around the house that I knew would work to get me started.  I used a non stick rolling pin, sharp knife, skewers, tray and tin foil to hold the beads up off the surface so they held their shape.

Since beginning to experiment with the clay I have found endless ways to create patterns, designs and to decorate the individual beads.

I have since bought some tools to make the job a little easier and to experiment with. I bought a cheap set of very cute dotting pens, a sharp art knife and sharp hole puncher.

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It is fun to experiment with mixing colours together in different ways to create patterns, designs and new colours or tones. To make the swirls roll out two long skinny sausages and then twist these colours together until you are happy with the design. Roll out as beads. The beads below where constructed in a similar way. Roll out a sausage to the size of the beads you want. Cut out shapes from a different colour and stick them on. Roll the beads out gently.

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The clay is then baked in the oven following the brand instructions for a short amount of time. usually 25-30 minutes. If the oven is too hot the clay will bubble and burn.

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