Friday, October 22, 2010

FINALLY!!!! Just Hanging Around - A Simple Tutorial - Part 3

Sorry to be so long in getting back to this but that's the way things happen sometimes.  Everybody is well and getting back to normal.  So let's get back to our gecko!

Just Hanging Around – A Simple Tutorial - PART 3

OK - Let's recap.  We've cut a piece of pvc pipe, made a inner and outer plug from polymer clay and baked.  Then we added brick patches and layered on torn edged stucco.  Finally we smoothed the stucco with our fingers.  We used stamps or other tools to add brick-like texture to the darker adobe brick areas, then used the corner of our texture sheet around the brick patches. Moving out from there, we added texture to the entire stucco surface including top and bottom.  Then we cured in the over for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Now our stucco covered adobe brick covered pencil cup is ready for us to add the whimsical gecko.

Let's start with some tile work.

There are plenty of tutorials on the internet about how to make a kaleidoscope cane so I'm not going to go into that. Make one using your southwestern colors and reduce it to about ¾ inch square. Cut enough slices at about 1/16 inch thick to go around your pencil cup. I put mine on the diagonal and had to slightly stretch a couple of them to make it all meet. (Figure 16)

To make it easier to get the tiles lined up fairly accurately without having to depend on a ruler, I wrap an elastic pony tail holder that fits snuggly around my pencil cup and measure at a few points around to make sure that it is level.  A rubber band would work for this also.

Before I put the "tile" on the stucco wall, I brush on a light coating of Genesis medium or liquid polymer clay. Don't press too hard or you will distort your "tile". Cure for about 10 minutes – just long enough to firm the clay, not to cure it.

Now for our friendly gecko!

I will readily admit that I am NOT a sculptor so I cheat. I looked on the internet and found a clipart picture of a gecko that I thought would look nice on my stucco wall. If you can't find one that you like, email me using the Contact Me information and I'll send this one to you.

Next you'll need to mix a nice southwestern rusty red/orange color – or whatever color you want for your gecko. I mixed some reds, yellows and some scrappy gold metallic in until I was happy with the color. Once it is well conditioned, pinch off a good sized chunk and make a log(Figure 17).

Now for the cheating part…  I use the clipart to determine the shape of my gecko. It looks in this picture like the gecko is actually a good bit larger than the picture but that is just the angle of the camera and the thickness of the body. I have the clay about 3/8 inch thick at this point. I started with the head -- pinched a neck then pulled the head into a point. Next I began pulling, rolling and shaping the "body" until I got it about the right size – pulling any excess clay on down into the tail. Last I pulled the tail out nice a long and checked the curl on the end! (Figure 18).

TIP: One thing I learned the hard way is that the clay likes to pick up the toner from your clipart and redeposit it in places that you won't be happy with – so I would recommend taking a couple of strips of wide packing tape and covering the printed area.

Once you get your gecko's body the way you want it, set it to the side to rest.

Now let's add some feet.                        Roll a snake almost as big as the picture of the leg you are adding. Lay it over the picture and press down until it is no more than about ¼ inch thick. Try to keep the edges rounded. Then use whatever tool works best for you to cut away small areas until you can see the outline of the leg from the clipart. I have a small dental tool that I use for this but you could use a craft knife. I use whatever tools are handy to shape the ins and outs of the legs (Figure 19).

Get the shape as close as you can but just leave a rounded end. We'll refine and add the toes later. Smooth any rough edges and taper the end that adjoins to the body.

Continue until you have all four legs shaped on the plastic covered clipart (20).

Now let's put the body in place. 

First you'll need to decide where you want to place your gecko. I test him in a few places because I don't want his feet running over into one of the brick patches. (This is where I found out about the carbon from the clipart transferring to my baked clay! I was NOT happy!)

Once you are happy with the placement of your gecko, brush on a thin layer of Genesis or liquid polymer clay on the bottom and gently press him into place – just enough to make sure that he stays put while we add the legs (Figure 21).

And add the legs.

Brush a then layer of Genesis or liquid polymer clay on the bottom of each leg and press it into place following the clipart. I usually have to tweak both the body and the legs at this point (Figure 22).

My favorite texture tools:

I have a rubber stamp collection that I've been working on for years! So whenever I start a project, one of the first things I do is check my rubber stamps to see what I have that will work. Here I'm using two to add texture to our gecko and make him more interesting (Figure 23).

Let's add some texture:

I use the big stamp right across the middle of his back, then use the smaller stamp everywhere else. I use the stamp to round the edges where needed and to flatten. I tweak again after this is done if needed – particularly on the legs (Figure 24).

Time for toes!

Use a small piece of pipe or a straw to cut small equal amounts of clay – four for each leg. Roll into a ball. Lightly brush the area around the end of each leg with Genesis or liquid polymer clay. Add four balls spaced around the end of the leg, then use a ball stylus to impress a hole in each one. This will both add texture and adhere the "toe" to the leg (Figure 25).

Add some eyes:

I use black teardrop beads for the eyes. The little bit of twisted wire through the hole in the bead helps to secure it into the clay. I use my ball stylus to punch a shallow hole for the eye placement and press with my finger until just the end of the bead is showing (Figure 26).

Now take a look over your gecko. Does he need tweaking anywhere? Is the texture on his back good and clear? When everything is the way you want it, put it in the oven a bake for 1 hour at the recommended temperature for your clay.

All we have left to do is antique and highlight. We'll do that last step once he's thoroughly cured and cool.  I've got a weekend workshop with Klew (Karen Lewis) this weekend, so it will be next week before I can post the final steps that give Just Hanging Around that "finished" look.  Ya'll have a great weekend!

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