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Tips & Tidbits!

Tool Box Talk:
by Pat Smith

I already said on this forum that Blue Tack is one of my favorite tools - I use it to get bits of lint, dust, blush, glitter, etc., before or after it lands on my clay. I forgot to tell y'all the REST of the story.

Sometimes when cutting out tiny pieces with my Kemper cutters I really need the piece without a circular impression from the plunger in the cutter. I just touch it to the Blue Tack, it pulls out the clay from the cutter, and I can pick it up from there.

Also, sometimes I need to bake a piece in stages. Hopefully, after the first bake the piece is securely stuck on the little tiles I use to bake on. But sometimes when adding clothes or hair the figure pops loose. I use the Blue Tack to firmly adhere the baked piece to the tile so I can continue to work on it. I also bake it while it's still stuck to the Blue Tack and have never had any problems with it. The Blue Tack is still reuseable after baking. I love that stuff!!

— Pat

Leafing Tips:
by Judi Maddigan

While we are on the subject of leafing... I happened to catch a TV program that showed a woman applying gold leaf to a picture frame. She worked with a soft brush, similar to a blush make-up brush.

She rubbed the brush against her cheek to build up static electricity, then held the brush just above the stack of leaf, toward a corner. The top layer of leaf attached itself to the brush due to the static. Then she peeled that single layer off the stack and applied it to her surface, smoothing it with the brush. Her fingers never touched the leaf.

I've read that some people suspect fingerprints cause tarnishing on some types of foil, so this method would avoid that problem.

— Judi

Cleanup and Embossing Tip:
by Gwen

I use my daughter's baby wipes first to get the clay off my hands, then I wash my hands with liquid soap. I got this tip from Tory Hughes - wash your hands with cold water which will cool the clay and cause it to rub off your hands easier.

Another friend of mine showed me a great way to use clear embossing powder. The projects we made used pictures that we glued onto a piece of clay - we baked it, and then sprinkled a light layer of clear embossing powder over the surface and baked it again. It gave the piece a shiny layer that not only looked nice, but also protected the piece.

— Gwen

Stencils & Clay:
by Crafty Owl

My new tip probably isn't new at all, but at the stamp show I was demoing at this weekend were a lot of brass stencils, and there I was, stamping into clay with gliding powders and this new (new in England, anyhow) Pearlex powders (both of which work great but DO need sealing). Suddenly I think a light bulb must have gone on over my head and I borrowed a brass stencil, pushed it onto the clay, touched some powder and dabbed my finger over the stencil. Pulled it off, and there was a perfect stencilled image on the clay in gold! Fast and lovely.

— Crafty Owl

Sculpture Tips:
by Katherine Dewey

I've been using wet media acetate for twenty some years, usually as a thin armature for ears (coat with vinyl glue for adhesion). I also use it to make blades of grass, fairy wings, or leaves. For wings and leaves, patterns for wings and leaves are drawn with a Rapidograph and india ink. When dry, the veins are scribed with a stylus (go carefully to avoid cutting through the acetate), then paint using acrylics. I use an airbrush. Transparent wings can be dyed with fabric dye; I prefer a silk, no salt, alcohol based dye called Dumont. Shrinkage and warping in the oven can and does occur; the acetate will bend or droop toward the heat source. Position sculptures to avoid or to take advantage of this quality.

— Katherine

Organizing Clay & Findings
by Shirley (AKA Spumoni)

I saw a TV clip years ago that sparked a polymer clay idea. To organize your clay (or jewelry findings, etc)... purchase large zip lock bags, and punch 3 holes near the left edge (opposite non-zip side) of the bags. This is easy with a three hole punch tool. You may wish to reinforce the holes first by placing 6 pieces of tape on the bag, on both sides where holes are to be punched. Then separate clay/findings as desired, put bags in a three ring notebook, and you've got your goodies condensed into an organized notebook, that's easy to carry with you, in see-thru bags that you can flip thru like pages of a good book!

— Shirley

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