Thursday, September 30, 2010
Just Hanging Around…A simple tutorial - Part 1
To get started, condition a block of white clay. My preferred brand of polymer clay is Premo, however I find their new bright white hard to work with so I mix it half and half with Sculpey III to get the consistency that I like. Condition to the point where you can fold your clay in half and it does not crack along the fold. Don't cut the conditioning part of the process short. Not only does this conditioning increase the flexibility, it strengthens the clay.
You'll probably have more than you need for the inner plug but we'll just add it to the mix when we make "stucco".
Condition enough scrap clay to make a sheet at the thickest setting of your pasta machine large enough to cover one end of the pipe.
I started with a 3 and ½ inch length of 3 inch pvc (plumbing) pipe. To close up one end, I make a two-layer plug. First condition enough white clay at the thickest setting for the inner plug and enough scrap clay at the thickest setting for the outer plug. I use white clay for the inner plug since you can see it but the outer plug can be scrap since it is completely covered.
Remove the pipe and cut out a plug just very slightly larger than the marked line for a snug fit. Flip the white inner plug over and lay it on scrap clay run at the thickest setting. Lightly press together to bond the two layers of clay. I like to add a little bit of texture here just for interest. (Picture 3)
Then sit the pipe back over it. You may have to put slight pressure on it if you cut your inner plug too big but you want it to be snug. Use your craft knife to trim around the pipe, then use your thumbs to round the clay at the edge of the pipe. (Picture 4) If you have gaps between the inner plug and the pipe, use a ball stylus to push the clay over to fill the gap. Bake for a minimum of 30 minutes. You don't have to cure it completely but you do want it strong enough that it won't break when you cover the bottom.
Use your thumbs to spread and smooth the edges. (Picture 7)
Now for the stucco:
Once you have your stucco clay conditioned, run it through the pasta machine on a mid-thick setting [I use #4 on mine]. Tear several strips with rough edges and pat it on above, below and on each end of each brick patch. (Picture 8)