My medium of choice is polymer clay. It mixes well with many, MANY other materials to create unique pieces. Just before Christmas I was asked to create a memorial piece for a friend whose friend had lost 2 children in one year (something that as a mother broke my heart in so many ways). I wanted to create something that would honor their memory and (hopefully) in time bring a bit of comfort. I immediately thought of a rubber stamped saying I found at CHA just after I lost my brother and his family to a car accident. The saying brings me comfort all these years later as others in my life have been added to the group in Heaven.
Materials to create this piece: rubber stamp #SB56-3 (www.stampingsensations.com), Premo!Sculpey polymer clay (colors of choice), Ancient Page Ink (coal black), straight blade, needle tool/beading pin, Kemper star cutter, heat set crystals (www.creativecrystal.com), pasta machine or acrylic roller, wire, wire cutters, needle nose pliers
1) Condition chosen color of clay (I used pearl) and roll into a flat sheet (note: if using pasta machine use 3rd-4th thickness…if using acrylic roller a uniform thickness can be achieved using 2 parallel popsicle sticks with clay placed in between). Condition and roll out a second coordinating color of clay in the same way. Make sure the second color is larger in size (this one will be used as backing for all of the components).
2) Ink the rubber stamp. Press firmly onto clay sheet. Remove rubber stamp. Use straight blade to cut stamped clay to desired size. Center saying on the backing clay.
3) Choose or create a patterned clay (cane) for the outer edges. Canes can be found on multiple sites around the internet OR you can contact me for custom colors. An alternate way to create a pattern is to use a textured rubber stamp pressed into the clay (no ink). Rub the raised image with iridescent powder (Pearl Ex powders or eye shadows dedicated to clay will work…see photo below)
Cut a straight edge and butt patterned strip along the edge of saying. Press gently into place (note: I tend to use the straight edge blade to push each piece into place). Once both sides have been attached (as shown above), cut rough edges away.
4) If desired, a small heart can be formed and attached to the bottom of your ornament. Create a heart by conditioning a small amount of red/fuchsia/pink/etc. polymer clay. Roll clay into a pea sized ball. Flatten slightly. Pinch bottom to form a teardrop. While holding the pinched bottom, dent the top (I use a turkey lacer, but a credit card works well too). And Viola…a heart! Press into place at the bottom.
5) Cut a small piece of wire (about 1″). Hold the center with needle nosed pliers. Form a loop by wrapping one side around the pliers and around the other end of the wire. Make sure to form a tight twist. press twist into place behind the heart (as shown). Be sure to hide the bulk of the wire behind the heart, but keep twist loose from heart (I hope that makes sense). This loop will hold the dangle of stars after baking.
6) Add crystals if desired. Be sure to press them firmly into the clay. Use a needle tool to press a hole in each upper corner (wire will be added after baking). Place on baking surface (I use a ceramic tile)
7) Star beads can be formed from clay OR you can cheat and find premade star beads 😉 To create your own from clay condition and roll a sheet of clay (star colored of course).Cut 4-6 stars from the sheet using the kemper cutter. Place one on your work surface, then the needle tool/beading pin on top. Add a second star on top to form a sandwich. Press together and smooth edges. Repeat for additional star beads. If desired add a small crystal to the center. Place stars on baking surface. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool before removing from oven.
8) Final touches: To wire stars together, cut a piece of wire about 3″ long. Use needle nosed pliers to create a spiral on one end. String the stars on (note: small seed beads can be placed between the star beads). Make a loop at the end and attach to loop behind heart, twisting slightly and cutting off excess wire. Add a wire to the top for hanging.
Final thought: Ornaments can be personalized by adding names or “In Memory Of” to the back. This detail can be added with a gold leaf pen, additional rubber stamping with alphabet stamps, or permanent marker.