Cold Porcelain Clay (part 2)

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This is just a quick follow-up post on my experiment with the clay I made yesterday.

After I made the clay, I packed it into a nice ball and ‘greased’ it a bit with some baby lotion and tightly wrapped it in saran wrap. This afternoon, I put it to the test with a few bakery items for my daughter’s school project. I made some little cakes and bread, and what will be truffles, after I finish painting them.

First off, the clay should form perfect little peaks when you pull it apart. If it’s a bit grainy, that apparently means it was over cooked (that is, it lost too much water). If this happens to you, just work in a bit of warm water (a few drops at a time).

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What I found was, this is great stuff if your items are meant to have a rounded organic kind of shape. It shrinks up a bit when it dries, and it tends to take on a slightly ‘puffy’ appearance. This would make it an excellent choice for all those kawaii type charms that are round and cute (it would be fabulous for kawaii animals like sheep).

The sides of my cakes took on a puffy appearance, even though I tried to coax the sides flatter with a card. Same thing happened to the bread loaves (see the picture below). The bread loaves went totally puffy and would not take detail. I think a way to prevent this would be to allow the piece to dry inside a mold. I did, however, have a positive experience when the clay was rolled thin to make the flowers that decorated the pink cake. It held the details perfectly. I suppose a finished product could be sanded to the look one wants, or carefully carved to add detail or texture.

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Bottom line, some things take detail with this clay well, some do not.

If you colour your clay (which I suggest) you only need a bit of chalk pastel or dab of acrylic paint. Food colouring paste or oil would probably be fine too. The piece dries a lot darker than the original colour of the clay. If you look at the salmon pink cake, the clay was mixed to look like a very delicate pastel pink. I also thought I had not added enough brown to the clay that made my chocolate cake, but it dried to a very rich cocoa colour. It looks like real cocoa! It’s important to note that this clay does accept some surface colouring or blushing with chalk pastels, but it doesn’t take it very well. I had to use a LOT of chalk pastel dust to surface colour those breads. I will probably stick to my polymer clay for making breads.

It takes a day for the items to completely dry. I’m guessing 24 hours, as the bottoms are still not dry. Then they must be sealed when you have your finished product. Mod Podge or acrylic spray would be good choices. You don’t want to use something too wet. If you are making jewelry with this clay, seal it well so it never comes in contact with water.

This clay was a joy to work with, even if it had minor disappointments. I don’t have to worry about a mess, chemicals, or getting polymer gunk off my hands. I don’t have to worry about it staining clothes. It’s also an excellent and cheap way to let the kids bring out their inner Michelangelo  too.

My thoughts on ‘Cold Porcelain Clay’

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So, I kept seeing posts on cold porcelain clay on Pinterest and YouTube and I decided to give it a try. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, it’s a type of clay which can be made at home with very few ingredients. It’s mainly  cornstarch and glue, with a bit of baby oil and preservative like lemon juice or vinegar. The reason it has been dubbed porcelain is due to it’s fine texture and soft, translucent appearance.

I have to say, I am impressed and it’s much more than I expected! It does make a lovely clay texture. It’s cheap. It holds detail well (but it does shrink up just a bit). It colors easily with a bit of chalk pastels, acrylic paint or dye. Just beware of adding water colorpaint as it will goop up the dough since it messes with the balance of moisture in the clay. It makes beautiful flowers.

I have heard claims that it’s finished product is as durable as polymer clay miniatures and charms. I can’t back that up. Not yet anyway. But it does have a lot of glue, so I can see how it would be very stable when hardened.

I made it for a bakery display I am working on for my daughter. I’m helping her with a project on our family tree. Our ancestors were bakers and candy makers, so I am making a few miniature cakes for part of her display. I didn’t want to use my polymer clay if I didn’t have to. I remembered the cold porcelain recipe from online. I halved the amounts as I only wanted a small ball of clay. What I was left with was plenty to make several miniature cakes and left overs.

All it requires is: 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup white ‘school glue’, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp baby oil. You will also need a small non stick pot, plastic wrap, a resealable bag, and baby lotion for your hands.

An important piece of info: there will come a time in the kneading process where you will wonder if it is ever going to turn from a sticky mess into the velvety clay you see pictured. It does! Just keep kneading. It’s amazing how smooth and unsticky it will suddenly transition into. You just have to see it for yourself.

I quickly snapped a picture of my results but unfortunately did not think to blog about it until afterwards. Instead, I leave you with some excellent videos which may encourage you to give it a try. It’s an economical and fun way to pass an afternoon with your kids.

Here are 2 methods of making this clay. The first is an excellent tutorial for making it in a microwave. The last one is stovetop method, which I used. I hope you give it a whirl and have fun creating!

 

 

 

Tiny Abundance

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I’m looking forward to spring. Not just to say “good bye sucky winter!”, but to say “hello  farmers markets!” I really miss fresh Annapolis Valley fruits and veggies.

So much so that it inspired this latest creation. The other night I was finishing up season 2 of HBO’s The Leftovers (the weirdest show since Twin Peaks) and I made these little delectables while cozy on the couch.

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My only tools were my fingers, the point of an xacto knife, and a brush and pastels.Simple and satisfying.

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My favourite are the pretty turnips. I love the pop of purple.

This is more than anyone would care to purchase, so I think I will make a few tiny cloth bags and break them up into sets.

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She’s a doll

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This was the beginnings of my first polymer clay art doll. Not without faults, but I was happy with her face. It only took several tries to do her eyes and it only cost me a few fist fulls of hair (no, not really).

I have drawn portraits since I was a kid, and I always wanted to try my hand at sculpting one. Her eyes were the most challenging as I had to ‘build them’ layer by layer with gesso, first filling the eye sockets, and then to get a rounded cornea. In the end, they were a bit flat, but I was pleased overall.

Her hair was done with mohair. Black would have suited her complexion more.

I won’t show her body, because that was where it all went wrong. Some parts were troublesome..there was breakage in some areas… and so there are some areas where she is just a wire form. When my husband first seen the body he said, “hmmm. It’s like Ex-Machina” I also managed to scorch her bottom a bit during the bake.

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Last week, a parcel arrived full of several pairs of acrylic and glass eyes for doll making. I think this time I will try to make a a sweet Granny doll. I already chose a 6mm pair of violet eyes and started playing around with a face…

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After a hour or so it didn’t end well. Granny is now a lump of clay once more. I’ll have to reach in, retrieve the eyes, and start over! I’m looking forward to the challenge and sharing my progress.

 

Time to make the donuts…

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Valentine’s weekend left me with a full heart and chocolate withdrawal.

The only way to get my fix was to make some donuts. It didn’t matter that they weren’t edible, they were still satisfying.

The weekend allowed us to put together a small light box from a wooden frame and vellum panels. Until I get a micro lens to shoot my miniatures, this will do in a pinch.

While I was doing that, I lost my favorite baking tile. My fault. I didn’t put it away and it was nudged to it’s death by one of my girls (I won’t say WHO but anyone who knows my family will probably guess correctly). It’s no biggie…I will use what is left of it, until I find another magical tile…

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I made a lot of chocolate and mocha donuts and macarons, in various scales. And you can spot my favourite donut: the walnut crunch. Those nut pieces were from tiny walnut chunks that I formed from polymer clay.  I made them fairly realistic…then chopped them up like a crazy person.

I purchased some cute donut boxes from my favourite miniature food artist. Her name is Cindy Teh, from Singapore. She goes by Snowfern online. Her boxes are available for download (for personal use) in her Etsy shop.

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Why Minis?

critterslivingFor me, miniatures are a bit of an escape.

An escape from bills, a messy house, and all the bad news I see too often. It’s important to come back to reality once in a while, but between the hours of 9am to noon…and some times late in the evening…don’t disturb me. I am either viewing a miniaturist’s little piece of heaven, or trying to create one myself.

Miniatures always focus on the important things in life: family and home. While so many of us live chaotic lives, these tiny kin are always in harmony. The houses are always pretty and families are always enjoying each others company.

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These pictures I am sharing are of a cute house we built for our kids’ Calico Critters (my absolute favourite kids toys!). We made this for our little girls two Christmases ago. I blogged about it back then on my other wordpress blog.

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We found an awesome ”dream dollhouse” template from Ana White’s website and shrunk it down, with some modifications. Our girls critter collection was growing and we found the houses too expensive for our budget. The solution was to build it ourselves and we were just as thrilled as our girls with the results; a house big and open enough for our little ones to play with it together. No exterior walls meant everyone could access it without pushing or whining.

Sometimes I push and whine when playing with the cute wee forest creatures. I’m working on that.

Our Critter house was published on Ana’s website as well, if you want to take a look at the design that inspired ours.

Little Sweeties

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It’s funny. As a society we are getting more uptight about what we eat. We (ok, maybe not me) are healthier, more fit, and more thoughtful about what we put into our mouths…

But OH, how we love looking at delicious food. And wearing it.

Have you seen the explosion of foodie jewelry on the internet? It grabbed my attention enough that I started making it.

If I’m not perusing through Pinterest yummies, I’m sitting at my desk trying to translate what I see into wearable drool-worthy goodies. From clay.

And I don’t have to feel guilty. I get the satisfaction without the calories.