I have wanted to experiment with Crystal Clay since I saw this use of it by Erin Prais-Hintz. I’m generally a chicken to try new stuff because, as my dad was commenting recently, when you start learning something new, you have to start here and I want to start HERE!! But, I’m getting better at learning to slow down, practice and know that if I keep trying I’ll get better. So, I’m willing to show my experiments here. My mom did this with me. Here is a getting ready picture.
I didn’t end up using any of the beads on the left that I had a big plan for; you know how that is! But I did make that heart bezel into a steampunk piece. That was my mom’s idea. The end product was one of our favorite experiments. I wanted to try a variety of techniques. We pressed items into the clay in patterns (random or not), rolled clay in beads, used chain in a Nunn Design itsy charm and put clay on the top of an itsy bottle from Becky Nunn tutorials and stamped and colored the clay from a Becky Nunn example and a Sherri Stokey blog post. We’re pretty in love with those Sherri Stokey examples. She’s the macrame genius behind Knot Just Macrame.
We chose silver and copper Crystal Clay for our first experiments. We are big fans of metallic, but we were disappointed in both of these colors. They are very flat and not metallicy at all. Next time we are going to experiment with mica powders in them. You don’t need much clay, so although we made a total of 12 (small) pieces, we have more than half of each color left. We are also going to buy brighter colors for our next experiments.
So here is our big make. My mom said her favorite is the steampunk heart. I like that one, but it would be more fun with a different color clay. I really like our itsy charms with the crystal and ball chain. That’s from a tutorial, so that makes me think I’ll like the finished product more if the design is well thought out. Since this was our very first time, we were mostly just seeing how the clay worked. Neither of us is a big fan of the really random stuff – my orange button where I just pressed the clay filled bezel into a pile of beads or my mom’s green itsy bottle top where she rolled it. I was impatient when I tried to place beads really carefully, so I trashed it and started over. I have a plan to do a very big bezel placing beads really carefully in a pattern, so I know I’ll have to focus on that one project and take it very slowly to have any hope of making it work.
We agreed that our favorite technique was stamping and coloring the clay. I used to have a huge collection of rubber stamps. I got rid of those in an art swap but had saved a few. We used one of those, and I didn’t think much of it. I couldn’t find the few patinas I had, so we just used acrylic paint and creme paint. I don’t really know what difference there is for epoxy clay purposes. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments if you know. So first we painted on our base color and let it dry.
Here are the pieces painted their base color. When I saw this, I was so disappointed. My mom’s green really showed the pattern well. My brown drowned it out. We let them dry and sanded the high parts so that we could highlight them with gold creme paint. (I figure this is what Gilder’s Paste is like).
Wow, what a difference the highlighting made! The contrast is great with my brown. My mom’s doesn’t show up as well if it’s not in the right light. Lesson learned: think about how colors work together.
We watched lots of videos about clay and stamping and patinas and what have you. We are excited to try again with more knowledge and more supplies. We found some bezels we really love in this shop. Mica powder is on our list, and we bought a four sided stamp at Michael’s the other day.
So, here is a finished piece with my itsy bottle top using Crystal Clay. The little tag charm says “create” because despite having lots to learn, I’m willing to create using new techniques, tools and products. My lid has slightly too much clay on it, but it turned out pretty well. I’m excited to try more experiments!