Monday 21 March 2016

DIY Easter | Decorated Egg Biscuits

Hello and welcome to one of my favourite types of week - the four day week.
As I am taking part in no chocolate March, I have an Easter biscuit DIY for you.
[but there are plenty of chocolate-related Easter DIYs here]

I was sent some cookie stencils to try out from Designer Stencils and with it, the perfect excuse to try out something that has taken me far too long to try out - edible gold glitter spray.  I mean, what will I not now cover this in?

There are some beautifully decorated biscuit designs that Pinterest will give me major icing skill envy for - but stencils give you a fab alternative.  They are easy to use and will allow you to create little masterpieces in minutes.  
 The stencils can be used a number of ways, but I tried using them with a spray and added embellishment.  I also used ready to roll regal icing which is another time saving alternative to royal icing [as used in previous Easter DIYs like this].
 Roll out the icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of around 1-2mm.  Use an egg- shaped cookie cutter to create your toppings.    Once cut, pop in the fridge to harden the icing after being rolled and cut - this will make it easier to work with and place on top of the biscuits later.
As they cool, do the same to a biscuit dough - I used my favourite shortbread biscuit recipe as it tends to hold it's structure well after baking - but you can use any recipe you prefer.
 Once cooled, the excess should come away easily and we can move on to the best part:
[and some sugar balls]
Simply place your stencil over the icing and cover with the spray:
 ...remove to reveal a beautiful pattern.
After covering all my icing tops with their patterns, I then also added a little embellishment with sugar balls. Use a toothpick to mark where they are to be placed and then use the toothpick to add a little water to the area before placing your sugar ball on top.  Leave to dry fully to help secure it:

 Once your biscuits have been baked, trim the edges with your cookie cutter to ensure when the icing is placed on top, the edges will meet neatly:
 Add the icing tops and if like me, you just don't know when to stop, 
you can add further embellishment with icing pens: 

  These were genuinely so simple to make - but the results look like something that should have taken much longer.  I'll be experimenting with colours next - give them a go!

see you next time x

Friday 11 March 2016

DIY Jewellery | Silver Letter Necklace

Today, I have the final DIY from my Metal Clay series - a little more freestyle and the necklace I made after feeling a little more comfortable using the clay: An initial pendant.

As with the triangle necklace, I created my own template to use as a guide:

I tried to draw the template as I would ideally like the clay to follow, but with the understanding it would be thicker and maybe a little less 'fine' than my writing! Bear this in mind when creating your template, allowing the design to cater for thicker lines [or even draw with a thick pen to make sure].

To start, create a thin sausage of the clay that will allow you to easily trace the lines of the template:
Unsure of how easily I could mould and shape the clay, I made this a little thicker than I would if I could make it again - though you can see, some cracks did appear where curves were made and the thickness doubled where the clay crossed over: 
Once I had created my shape, I started to attach the clay where it crossed over and flatten the overall appearance.  I found the side of a toothpick did this job easily, with a little water to smooth the clay:
This, out of all the pendants, felt much more substantial.
When dried, it had a real weight to it, though in my confidence with using the clay I don't think I 'finished' the clay in the same way as the earlier DIYs.  The clay wasn't as smooth as others and I think, a little too dry when shaping.
I've got my excuses in early, as this is what happened after drying fully with the hairdryer and starting to sand the clay:
Using the same technique as the triangle necklace, I made a clay paste that I could use as glue to fix the two halves together.  As this pendant was much more substantial, it did take a little longer to fix and I applied several coats to the clay just to make sure:
Once happy I had firmly fixed the initial back together, I dried further with the hairdryer and then fired and sanded the finished initial:
Buffing and polishing the clay to reveal the silver underneath, the pendant was complete!
I left the finish slightly more matt than the previous designed, finishing my polish with a light sanding, which also created a lighter silver colour to the pendant:
Looped through a chain, I was really happy with the finished look:
Which of the four designs do you prefer?

*update: giveaway now closed*
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  You can win a beginners kit and 7g of silver clay magic.
Enter at the end of last weeks post using this link.
Ends tonight!

See the other Metal Clay DIYs I've posted:

see you next time x

Wednesday 9 March 2016

DIY Jewellery // Morse Code Bar Necklace // Metal Clay

Today, we are continuing the Metal Clay magic DIY tour.  Next up, a Morse Code Bar Necklace.
A little more substantial than the triangle pendant, but still understated and simple.

In comparison, much easier than the triangle necklace and of a similar level to the hammered disc necklace.  This is something that would be suitable for any beginner.  If you are new to these posts, start here for a full photographic tutorial of how Metal Clay works and the process in detail.

T create the bar, start with a small sausage roll of clay:
...and create a rectangle using something that can mould the straight lines of each side:
A craft knife can also help, but if you aren't completely happy, the sanding stage will also
straighten and smooth any edges.
Next, marking the morse code.
I used google translate to find the initials that I would mark on my bar and a metal pen
 to create the dots and lines:
You can easily lightly mark these on to the clay -  and if you are unhappy,
smooth over and start again.
Once happy wit your design, define further - but the dots and lines won't shrink with drying or firing, so don't feel you have to overcompensate for any decorations or textures with this clay:
[a toothpick works just as well if you don't have the metal pen]
Finally, I created a channel to make the bar a bead, with a route to fix the bar to a chain by
running a length of wire through the center:
Dry the clay completely with a hairdryer and then smooth any rough edges with sandpaper:
Once completed, fire on the gas hob and then buff the clay to reveal a gorgeous metal bar:
I then threaded the bar with a gold bar wire, twisted and trimmed at the end to create a chain attachment at either end:
...adding a gold chain to contrast with the silver bar:
           Another fun and much-easier-to-create-than-expected jewellery item.
These make great gifts and can hold a secret message, the initials of a loved one or adapted to scribe important dates, locations or words.
What do you think of this design?  Three completely different pieces created from the same clay.  Come back on Friday to see the fourth and final DIY.

But before then......
*update: giveaway now closed*
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  You can win a beginners kit and 7g of silver clay magic.
Enter at the end of last weeks post using this link.
Only 2 days left!

See the other Metal Clay DIYs I've posted:
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