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Basic Polymer Clay Techniques
1. Stamping with Found Objects
2. PearlEx as a Resist

Basic Beginners Project

Simple Leaf Ornament

This is a great project for kids and adults! These leaves make great ornaments on the Christmas tree and a great gift for Grandma!
I'm showing it with one half of the leaf done with simple straight cuts and one side of the leaf done with more delicate cuts following the sides of the leaf. You'll see in the end, there isn't that much difference.
I believe it gives a child a great sense of accomplishment when we help them make something that everyone will be happy to show their friends and family, and these leaves seem to make everyone smile!!!
I do hope you like them, and I do hope you join in the Leaf Tree Project over at Poly's Clay Castle - it's going to be such a blast!!!!
Picture 1
1.To make this project you will need any color of clay, preferably Premo clay because it has more flexibility when baked in thin sheets, 2 colors of PearlEx (although you can use only 1), a leaf from a plant or tree, a small brush, applicator or your fingertip, some wax paper and something to cut with.
HINT: The PearlEx can cover almost any color of clay, so this is a chance to use up some of the scrap clay that you have been collecting. Mix it or leave it a little marbled for texture.
Picture 2
2.Roll out a sheet of conditioned clay. When using a pasta machine, use the middle thickness - without a pasta machine, you can use a rolling pin, brayer, a cylinder of some kind or even a straight sided glass. Put this on a piece of wax paper, printer paper or parchment... any paper with no design or lines on it.
Pick out a nicely shaped leaf that will fit on the piece of clay.
Picture 3
3.Apply a layer of Pearlex on the UNDERSIDE of the leaf!
You can apply this with a brush, a q-tip, an eye makeup applicator or your finger, just make sure you get the entire leaf covered with PearlEx. Again, you can use any color you like. I'm using a GOLD and a RED RUSSET. HINT:There are some leaves that might give you a deeper impression if you put the PearlEx on the Right side of the leaf.
Picture 4
4. Gently shake off the excess PearlEx and turn the leaf over, placing the PearlEx side down on the piece of clay. Press it down gently with your fingertips, but try not to move it around.
Picture 5
5.Take another piece of Wax Paper and put it over the top and press down the leaf a little more, again being careful not to move the leaf. HINT:Any kind of paper that has no ink on it will work, but wax paper or tracing paper will let you see what is happening under the paper.
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6. CarefulLEIGH holding the paper in place, brayer over the leaf, making sure that it doesn't move, but giving it enough pressure to transfer the design of the leaf onto the clay! When this is done right, the clay picks up an incredible amount of detail from the leaf.
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7. Don't have a brayer? How about a bottle? This is a fancy water bottle, but any straight sided bottle will work.
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8. No brayer? No bottle? How about a straight-sided drinking glass, which this candle holder was before I covered it with clay! Gotta be careful around my house, if it's glass and you put it down, it's going to get covered in clay!
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9. Gently peel off the top paper from your leaf sandwich. Don't worry if you see PearlEx where it shouldnt' be. One advantage of using PearlEx is that it will mix with the clay so your scrap clay can be mixed and used over again!HINT:PearlEx can be used to tint your clays - try putting a little PearlEx in some white or translucent clay!
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10. I usually cut away the leaf from the rest of the clay so that I have more room to move my leaf around while I'm trimming it! Just slice it off and put it aside!
If you want to make more than one, you can put as many leaves down on the piece of clay as you can fit. Last night I had about 12 on a sheet of clay, and I cut them all apart and trimmed them one at a time.
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11. I'm trimming this two different ways to show it really doesn't make much difference. This first method takes a single edged scraper blade and makes single cuts that follow the general shape of the leaf. This is very good for beginners.
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12. Keep the ends pointy just like the leaf, using all straight cuts!
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13.Over lap your cuts making sure you don't cut into the REAL leaf, but don't worry too much about how the cuts look as long as you are happy with them!
Picture 14 14. On this side I used an Xacto knife to follow the edges of the leaf around the border. You can choose to go close to the edge or leave a little border around it. Just keep the area even. Picture 15 15.The left side is done carefully and the right side was done quickly with only straight lines! We'll see on the finished project if you can tell which one is which!
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16.Grab the stem, or the edge of the leaf and gently pull back! This is so much fun, to see how great the clay has picked up all the little stems and veins from the leaf!
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17.If your leaf comes off in one piece, you can use it again. If you missed a spot with the pearlEx that spot might stick to the clay. The PearlEx is used to keep the leaf from sticking and to help outline the design. ( And because I love glitter and shiny things!)
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18. Now I take my second color of PearlEx and apply it to the border! Again, use your brush, finger tips, any kind of applicator, dabbing it into the clay, but not enough to dig into the clay, or change it's shape.
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19. Follow around the border of the leaf with the second color. Don't be too concerned about the colors mixing, the first color to touch the clay is the one that sticks to the clay. The leaf section has already been covered with color, so only a little bit of the second color will stick!
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20. When you have no sign of any of the clay color showing through you're ready to turn this baby over and coat the other side with PearlEx.
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21. CarefulLEIGH pick up the leaf and the wax paper. Start peeling back the paper while holding the leaf firmly. When you have the entire leaf separated from the paper, lay the PearlEx side down and take a good look at the stem.
The stems of some leaves are very hard and thicker than the entire leaf. In some cases, like in this next picture, when I rolled the leaf into the clay it made it much too thin where the stem meets the leaf. This leaves you with a weak spot in the stem.
You can take the stem off before you start making the leaf if you like, then you could make your own free form stem.
Picture 22
22.With the PearlEx side down, move the clay in the direction you want it to go and press gently. If it is very bad, take a small piece of clay and form a little stem press it into the existing leaf.
Picture 23
23. Now dab a bunch of PearlEx on the back of the leaf. I'm not coating the entire back because I'm going to fill in with my second color of PearlEx.


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