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Rubber Stamping on Polymer Clay
Now, let's get a bit more complex. Take a scrap bit of clay, any colour (or a mix of scraps), roll it out and make a basic no-ink impression in it. Don't bother to cut it out. Bake that. You've made a mould. Brush it with talc or cornflour (or pour some in and knock it out again), then take more clay and press it carefully into all the dips, flattening the back too. Cut the new piece out, and bake it. You have something which looks a bit like the original rubber stamp. You can now make a simulated cloisonné look by filling the spaces in with embossing powders and baking again. Very effective, and most folk won't be able to work out how you did it.
Fig. 6 Fig. 7 Fig. 8

Another lovely effect is to stamp with the gilding powders sold for use with these clays - they come in a range of metallic colours. Pour a little out onto a flat sheet of paper, and tap it out into a thin layer (a deep one would get onto too much of the stamp). Tap your stamp onto the layer, just as if you were using an inkpad, and stamp into the clay. This gives you an impressed image with the bright powder in the lines, which looks very impressive. After baking, these powders do usually require fixing with a suitable varnish (matt looks good). Try gold powder on a dark brown or black clay - I practically guarantee you'll be impressed.

If you want to make beads, make your bead and pierce it, keeping it on the needle or whatever you have pierced with. Then take TWO stamps, and push them in from opposite sides. The stamping would push in the hole if you removed the piercer before stamping, and stamping the sides separately would cause distortions and would spoil the first image when you did the second. The clay will squash somewhat in any case, so a sphere will become a bead with two flat round sides. Making your bead a cube to begin with, and stamping opposite sides together (so you stamp four of the sides in all, the hole going through the other two) works well.

One more thing - you can cut out flat pieces of clay (try using small cookie cutters) and bake them, and then stamp images on them using permanent inks or crafter's inks, and colouring as before. This doesn't give an impressed image, but it does look pretty and is good for stamps with too much detail to impress. You can also try stamping with embossing ink, adding powder and melting it in the oven or with a heat gun, but you do have to be very careful with the timing, because the powder will spread on the clay if it gets just a tiny bit too hot.

Fig. 3

If you are making a brooch, roughen the back of your clay with sandpaper before gluing on the brooch pin, to give the glue a better chance to hold. Use a hot glue from a gun, or an epoxy resin. If you've made a hole to hang the item as a pendant, either use a jump ring to put it onto a cord or chain, or fold a cord in half, put the loop through the hole, the two ends of the cord through the loop and pull firm - then tie or otherwise fix the ends of the cord. This will make the pendant lie flat in wear.

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