Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Clay Tags

My new obsession!

What I Used:
White Air Drying Clay
Rubber Stamp Set
Cookie Cutters
Wooden Board
Cling Film
Rolling Pin
Fine grain Sandpaper

I've already posted about my experiments with air drying clay and they have led to my new
 obsession and now family and friends can expect everything I make in the near future to involve clay.  I've found it really easy to work with and I have only just started on making the ideas I have in 
my head.  I thought I'd post today about creating little clay tags that can be used for so many different things....expect more posts of a similar theme!
Here is what I did:
To start, I lined a bread board with foil, to protect the board, but also for helping with details made later on in the process and for easy transfer to dry.  Taking a small handful of the clay, I rolled it in to a ball and placed on to the centre of the foil.  Covering in a sheet of cling film on top [to protect the rolling pin, although the clay is non-toxic], I rolled the clay flat, to around 0.5cm thickness.
Using small [around 4cm size] cookie cutters, I cut my shapes, trying to keep at least a 0.5cm distance between the shapes [I'll explain why further below...]:
Removing the clay between the shapes and from the foil lined board was tricky - a larger gap that you can actually fit your fingers in to between the shapes would have made this so much easier, so if you run in to the same problem as me, I found the skewer my best friend in scooping up the excess clay and damaging the shapes to a minimum.

Using rubber stamps [purchased here], I made my number and letter impressions directly on to the
clay [if this doesn't go quite how you expect, I've posted at the end how I corrected my mistakes]:
 To give the tags a hanging, I used a skewer to pierce through the clay and then through the foil, to ensure the hole would be clean through the clay:
 Once finished, I set the clay tags aside to dry for 48 hours:
 ...until they looked like this :
 The clay does dry flat, however; if you leave it to dry somewhere warm, [such as the windowsill above radiator], and your clay is fairly thin, the ends may lift from the foil.  If this will bother you, check on the clay after around 12 hours to flatten any lift.  The clay is still flexible at this stage, so although you should be careful, it is not yet brittle and wont snap.  Once dry, the clay lifts easily from the foil and will have dried a clean white colour:
 ...any excess clay will brush off easily and you can sand the clay if you want a clean finish.  I used fine grain sandpaper to round the edges, remove some of the stamp impressions [I like the handmade look in keeping some of them] and neaten them up:
I also have left my tags unfinished, without varnish, paint or any sealant.  However; I'm going to experiment with a few options the more I try things out and see what works.  If you have any tips - please let me know!

I have used my tags for so many different things; as decorations, embellishments, gift tags and tokens:
The tags all took around 20 minutes to make, 48 hours to dry and a further 15 minutes to sand.  If you can make a batch, they will see you through every present and decoration of 2013!

How to correct mistakes:
As I am a bit new to all of this stamping business, I have been having a few problems lining up my stamps and have become brilliant at misjudging where a letter or number will appear.  Exhibit A:
It's out of focus, but I am sure you will agree - I am not going to fit another 3 numbers on that star neatly!  Luckily, covering mistakes is fairly easy, so by taking a small [crumb] of clay, I placed over the mistake/area and carefully spread it over the top of the impression with my finger - blending with the side of the skewer made it smoother...
You would NEVER know!

I've been looking at some clay inspiration and can only weep as I look at the gorgeous creations of Paloma's Nest - beautiful!  Any other clay inspiration guru's you can point me in the direction of, I would be very grateful!

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