Friday, January 8, 2016

Second Generation Sun Catchers


Sometimes a special person asks for something and even though you had not planned on doing it, you say ‘Yes, of course, I will’!  That is how the second generation of polymer sun catchers came to be. 
It’s been a while since I made the first batch when I was experimenting with polymer clay and alcohol inks.  I should have made some notes but of course since it was an experiment that expanded into a dozen eye catching dangles I just did not think I’d need them.  Previous post - http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-sun-catchers.html

I started conditioning several packages of translucent polymer clay (Premo) and found that some were crumbly.  I softened those with Sculpey Clay Softener and continued to put them through the pasta machine.  (For those of you who do not work with polymer, conditioning the clay usually required putting the clay though the widest setting on the pasta machine many times).  Then I divided the white translucent clay in to sections and spread different colors of alcohol ink on the clay and let it dry.  It goes back into the pasta machine for color mixing and more conditioning.

Translucent Clay Colored with Alcohol Ink ready to go into pasta machine
I took before and after pictures of shapes with alcohol ink so you could see the big difference between unbaked and baked colors.  It is good to do some testing if you want any control over those colors!

Alcohol Ink on Uncured Clay

Alcohol Ink Cured on Clay - same pieces of before and after curing
I like to stack the different colors, make designs that cut through the clay, turn some of the pieces upside down and then chill the stack in the refrigerator.  Using this Mokume-gane technique allows me to make very thin slices and each of these slices will be very different.  I lay them on waxed paper to use later. 
Stacked and Design Cut into Clay


2 Layers of Thinly Sliced Designs (Mokume-gane Technique)

Next I make a thin sheet of white translucent clay and start arranging the colored pieces in patterns.  Cookie cutters, small shape cutters and molds are used to make the individual shapes to be used in the sun catchers.  Don’t you just love the giraffe and the elephant?  The shapes are cured (baked in a convection oven at the manufacturer’s specified setting – in this case 265 degree F. 


Now comes the sorting of the pieces.  I started to sand first and realized that I could be sanding pieces I would not even use!  Not wasting that much time! It was fun to select the pieces and find a few beads for enhancement. 

Then I used my Jool Tool (JoolTool.com) for sanding in 3 stages, polishing and buffing.  I figured this finishing process took about 10 minutes per sun catcher. 


Assembling - I decided to use 20 gauge copper wire instead of jump rings to connect the pieces.  This allow for more freedom to incorporate the beads. 



As you can see I have several sun catchers to assemble.  I’ll share photos as I finish.  And I’ll have some in my etsy shop www.etsy.co/shop/lindabrittdesign after my special friend gets the 6 she ordered! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Second Generation Sun Catchers


Sometimes a special person asks for something and even though you had not planned on doing it, you say ‘Yes, of course, I will’!  That is how the second generation of polymer sun catchers came to be. 
It’s been a while since I made the first batch when I was experimenting with polymer clay and alcohol inks.  I should have made some notes but of course since it was an experiment that expanded into a dozen eye catching dangles I just did not think I’d need them.  Previous post - http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-sun-catchers.html

I started conditioning several packages of translucent polymer clay (Premo) and found that some were crumbly.  I softened those with Sculpey Clay Softener and continued to put them through the pasta machine.  (For those of you who do not work with polymer, conditioning the clay usually required putting the clay though the widest setting on the pasta machine many times).  Then I divided the white translucent clay in to sections and spread different colors of alcohol ink on the clay and let it dry.  It goes back into the pasta machine for color mixing and more conditioning.

Translucent Clay Colored with Alcohol Ink ready to go into pasta machine
I took before and after pictures of shapes with alcohol ink so you could see the big difference between unbaked and baked colors.  It is good to do some testing if you want any control over those colors!

Alcohol Ink on Uncured Clay

Alcohol Ink Cured on Clay - same pieces of before and after curing
I like to stack the different colors, make designs that cut through the clay, turn some of the pieces upside down and then chill the stack in the refrigerator.  Using this Mokume-gane technique allows me to make very thin slices and each of these slices will be very different.  I lay them on waxed paper to use later. 
Stacked and Design Cut into Clay


2 Layers of Thinly Sliced Designs (Mokume-gane Technique)

Next I make a thin sheet of white translucent clay and start arranging the colored pieces in patterns.  Cookie cutters, small shape cutters and molds are used to make the individual shapes to be used in the sun catchers.  Don’t you just love the giraffe and the elephant?  The shapes are cured (baked in a convection oven at the manufacturer’s specified setting – in this case 265 degree F. 


Now comes the sorting of the pieces.  I started to sand first and realized that I could be sanding pieces I would not even use!  Not wasting that much time! It was fun to select the pieces and find a few beads for enhancement. 

Then I used my Jool Tool (JoolTool.com) for sanding in 3 stages, polishing and buffing.  I figured this finishing process took about 10 minutes per sun catcher. 


Assembling - I decided to use 20 gauge copper wire instead of jump rings to connect the pieces.  This allow for more freedom to incorporate the beads. 



As you can see I have several sun catchers to assemble.  I’ll share photos as I finish.  And I’ll have some in my etsy shop www.etsy.co/shop/lindabrittdesign after my special friend gets the 6 she ordered!