Saturday, April 19, 2008

Polymer Clay Lollipop in Resin

Clear resin jewelry with real candy embedded in it is popular right now. In The Art of Resin Jewelry by Sherri Haab, she embeds a candy conversation heart in a heart-shaped pendant. I've seen everything from cupcake sprinkles to candy fruit slices in jewelry on and other handmade sites.
I've always wanted to try my hand at resin, but wanted to do something different. Making tiny polymer clay sweets and other food out of polymer clay seemed to be a natural fit. Resin is complicated and there are a lot of tricks to getting it right, but I've finally got it down. (tutorial coming soon!) When I embedded the clay foods and got the backgrounds right, the pieces came out even better than I expected. Resin and polymer clay are happy together.
Here is one of my favorite pieces so far:

The lollipop is made from two colors of polymer clay and a broken piece of toothpick. For instructions, check out my article from FamilyFun magazine here. There are also instructions for several other clay sweets there.
Tip: When you are baking very small polymer clay items to embed in resin, you only need to bake them at 275 degrees for five minutes or so. They don't need to be strong; just set, and you don't want to risk overbaking which yellows the whites and dulls the other colors.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cutting Loose

I’ve been writing kid craft books for years, and am now indulging my urge to craft whatever I want just for the sake of crafting. Don’t get me wrong, I love crafting and writing for kids, but a girl can only handle so many years of googly eyes before she might want to make something a little more...sophisticated. Maybe that’s not the right word. My work tends to be on the sock-monkey side of the craft spectrum, but at least I can now use sharp scissors, a glue gun and toxic chemicals if I want.

I’m concentrating on writing more novels now for the job end of being a writer, and crafting to feel accomplished at the end of the day. I like to hold something in my hand and say, “I made this today.” I sleep better at night.

But I still prefer an audience. Not because I need attention (I didn’t speak a word in school until I was forced to in the second grade, which suited me just fine), but because I want to share ideas and projects. I get excited about making a tissue flower that looks like the real thing, or a felt frog that turned out with cute overload. Nothing makes me happier than when someone takes an idea I’ve shared and goes with it to create something wonderful and original. It’s like sharing a runner’s high.

(No monkeys were actually traumatized in taking
this picture. He knew the glue gun wasn't plugged in!)