Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Too Early?

We made and ate these on Sunday......

Are we the only ones who get this excited over the Howlidays?

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Rain!

Todays weather...... moist with a chance of damp.

You can just see the poor neighbors as they scurry off their just being shingled roof.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Weekend Shenanigans

Poor Mr. Jimmy!

Maggie got him.

Simple pumpkins were added. Still need to put in detail.

Bread with bran and flax and Moroccan spice was made.

Maggs made up some Halloweenie goodness.

Mom's Angel Trumpet opened.
It's been a good weekend.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Busy as Bees

Just some of the goings at our house today.........

Maggs is making lunch......

Mr. Jimmy is protecting the neighborhood.....

Mom is making faces......

and I'm trying to figure out why I love the New FIMO colours so much........

What are you getting up to?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Distracted!

The lovely Deb stopped by this weekend with a giant bag of retro sewing patterns. I'm working on deadlines and am trying very hard not to be distracted. But I couldn't help a little bit of sorting.

 First I made some piles. Notice the footie pajama pattern in the bottom left corner! I can't wait to make these. So cute!

I even got around to storing these gems. I use a spice displayer from the grocery store. The perfect size for most pattern packets. And look....... there's so much more room for more patterns.
Thanks bunches for thinking of me Deb!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Where I Buy My Flat Candle Wax Sheets

To make the pin up Ghoul and her accompanying Jack-O-Lanterns you'll need some flat candle wax sheets and a copy of
PolymerCafe October 2011.

Here is a link to a wondrous little local shop I frequent.
They do mail order and they have great prices.

Village Craft and Candle

This is what the wax I used looks like.

Please feel free to add a supplier in your region to the comments section of this post. Folks are having a problem finding the flat wax sheets in their area.

If you can't find any in your area, don't fret.... just contact Sue and her helpful staff at the link above, and they'll fix you up licketty split.
P.S.: they sell a whole bunch more than just candle wax sheets.
Check out their online shop.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Speedy Quick Eye Sculpt

Here is a fast eye sculpt tutorial for you.
Just in case you were interested.

Make an indent in the face clay to accept the eye and push the eye in there. Try to eliminate any air pockets. Make a flattened worm of flesh colour clay for the top eyelid.

Place the top eyelid flattened worm and repeat for the lower lid.

Smooth everything out using a flat smooth tool or your fingertip. I use a soft clean paintbrush to remove any unwanted fingerprints.

Form a tear duct and eye corner with a stylus tool, knitting needle or dull needle tool. Shape a top eyelid crease. Define the eye shape.

I used a cutter to make the eye into a round cabochon or flat backed jewel.

Add more detail, some wrinkles to show age, or creases to show expression. Remove any unwanted fingerprints and bake the piece according to package directions.

Add a rim of pink to the inside edge of the top and bottom lids and the tear duct area. Add some lashes or shading maybe some eyeshadow?

These eyes seem to be working out pretty well. I can't wait to experiment with some different colours and metallic powders for the iris. Let me know how you make out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

How to Make FIMO Clay Eyes For The Pin Up Ghoul

*Please read the important edit at the end of this post*

Before I start I want to make it clear that for the Pin Up Ghoul doll that appears on PolymerCafe's October 2011 cover I used mass produced store bought 14mm flat backed doll eyes. Folks have been letting me know that doll eyes are a little bit hard to find, so I decided to show you how easy it is to make your own.

Here we go!

Supplies needed to complete this project:

FIMO soft in white #0
FIMO effect translucent #014
Half a block of scrap clay to make molds and stamps
FIMO liquid
Acrylic paint in various eye shades
Iridescent acrylic paint
sculpting tools, knife, stylus or needle tool
fine paint brush, Heinz Jordan gold sable mini script liner
Large soft paintbrush for dusting the mold
Cornstarch or baby powder
Glass marbles or ball bearings in the same size diameter that you want your eyes
Medium grit sandpaper or nail file
Super glue
Acrylic or latex gloves
Non food use baking sheet and parchment paper

Since we're working with white clay I'm taking extra precautions to keep the clay clean. I'm wearing gloves to keep the oil from my hands from staining the clay and I have protected the work surfaces with white parchment paper to cut down on anything getting in there and making the clay look dirty.
I mixed half a block of translucent FIMO soft with 1/6th of a block of FIMO soft white. Mix them thoroughly until there is no marbling and you have a consistent colour throughout. Roll the clay into a one cm thick worm, and set it aside.

Soften some scrap clay and roll a worm larger than the marble you have chosen for the eye diameter. Mine are standard marbles and will produce an eye that is close to 14mm. Push the marble into the clay so that half of the marble is still exposed as shown.
Bake the clay with the marble in it for 15 minutes at 230 degrees F. Allow the piece to cool.

Use the tip of a craft knife to gently pop the marble out of the newly made mold.

Use a large soft paintbrush to dust the inside of the new mold with cornstarch or baby powder. This will act as a release agent.

Cut your worm of mixed white clay into equal sections that are about one cm long. Roll each of these sections into a ball and push them one by one into the mold to shape them into half rounds.

Use the tip of a craft knife to pop these half rounds out of the mold. Set them flat side down onto a piece of parchment paper and set them aside.

Take a small amount of scrap clay and make a donut shape that is the size you wish your iris to be. Use a molded white half circle to help you determine the size. With a needle tool, stylus or a knitting needle (anything sharp and round) push a hole right through the middle of this iris shape to form a pupil. Make sure the hole is large enough. Bake for 15 minutes at 230 degrees F. Allow to cool.

Super glue this baked iris donut to the eraser end of a pencil.

Dip the iris donut into some cornstarch or baking powder and tap off the excess. Push the iris donut down onto the center of each unbaked eye half round. Coat and tap off extra cornstarch between stampings. Make sure that you are going an equal distance down into each eye. Bake the stamped half eye rounds for 10 minutes at 230 degrees F. allow to cool.

I chose to use Golden artist grade acrylics for this project because they have a wide range of interference colours. These colours will make the shimmer in the eye colour that will help make them more glass like. Thin out the lightest colour with some water or some blending agent and fill in the indent of the iris. Thin out some darker colour and paint the outside edge of the iris. Bring some radiating lines of dark colour into the iris.
Paint some interference colour onto the iris in radiating lines. Allow them to dry completely.

This is an idea of what we're going for. We want the outside edge of the eye to be a bit darker than the center and we want the lines to radiate from the outside edge to the center of each iris. Don't worry about any smudged paint at this point. We're going to clean it off after it dries.

To remove unwanted paint from the surface of the eye white and to clean up the edge of the iris, rub the eyes onto a piece of sandpaper or a nail file. Dust off the eyes when your done.

Dip your needle tool or stylus into black paint and coat the pupil of each eye with one drop of black paint. Let them dry well.

Here are the eyes completed waiting to be flooded with liquid FIMO. Try to make sure you have good even pairs at this time. Fix anything you want to be fixed now.

It's important to make sure you fill the eyes as close to the oven as possible. any bumps or jolts might make the liquid overflow the molded part of the eye and spill out over the white. Hold the liquid FIMO bottle upside down until the fluid slowly comes to the applicator tip. Don't shake the bottle to make this go faster, you'll just create bubbles. Fill each eye evenly with the same amount of liquid in each eye. Use a toothpick to remove any access liquid from an iris. Let them settle a bit before baking. Bake these filled eyes for ten minutes at 230 degrees F. Let them cool.

Here is the result of all the hard work. A pair of workable matching eyes.
You can make many different sizes of molds and stamps for these eyes and it will help you have more evenly sized eyes.

I can't wait to use these guys!
Let me know how yours came out.

September 26, 2011

Hey guys... just ran across this tutorial.....

It was posted about a year ago. It's dang near the exact same technique (without the molds and stamps) that I outline above. We have a few different tricks and tips between us, but she certainly uses the same familiar products. Aimee Jeffries has done a fabulous job explaining exactly how and why she used the products she did. She is an amazingly inventive artist and teacher with a super sense of humor. I bow to her excellent talents.

Friday, September 9, 2011

BJD Eye Tutorial Coming This Weekend!

It has been brought to my attention that not everyone has a doll supply company right around the corner. So to assist the folks who are going to be making my Pin up Ghoul "Gina", I will be posting a tutorial on how to make your own 14mm flat backed eyes.
I'm going to dedicate this tutorial to
Andrea and Gina.
Mostly because they're AWESOME!

If you haven't got your copy of PolymerCafe for Halloween yet, just click on the link to purchase one of your own.

This is the look we're going for. I'll do a few different colours and show you how to scale them for size. It's going to be fun! Can hardly wait to share.

You might want to pick up some FIMO soft clay in white and black. You'll also need to gather together some acrylic paints in different eye colours and grab a fine liner brush like a Heinz Jordan mini script brush. I'll post a complete list of supplies you'll need with the tutorial.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Every Dollmaker Has a Few Santas in Their Closet.

I found some snapshots of some of the very first dolls I ever made and thought I would share them with you. I started by making Santa dolls about twenty years ago. Most doll folk I know have a few of these guys in their past.

This is the only Santa I ever wanted to keep forever. We have many musicians in our clan and this guy felt like family with his fiddle ready to be bowed and his singing mouth. He is the only one I dust off and set up every winter.

This Santa found his way into a friends house as a gift. There weren't very many early Santas that I wasn't a little afraid of. Catching the right Santa expression is difficult to say the least. I'm sorry to say that I churned out my fair share of this next guy......

Maybe he was a Halloween Santa?


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Making Faces

Here are some of the face molds I've produced over the years. I think it's time to update the collection and make them available to everyone. In the past I've only given my students the opportunity to purchase them.

These are the products of five or six different face molds. Most of these pieces were included in classes and given to the students so they could practice painting detail.

This is the first mold I ever made of one of my dolls. I have a few of these ones left in a bin in the studio.

This is the original doll without her wig.

Here is another mold I pulled from an early doll. I like this one because you can see the teeth. These simple little molds hold a surprising amount of detail.

I'm thinking of putting these on ETSY. Any thoughts?