Friday, September 21, 2018

Step by Step finishing of Scissor Tailed Fly Catcher Bird in Color

Scissor Tailed Fly Catcatcher, State bird of Oklahoma
Materials Needed:
•Flexible Art Mold PJ055 Scissor Tail Flycatcher
•Polymer clay:White & tiny bit of black. (Optional: if a subtle sparkle is desired, mix a marble size piece of Glitter White clay into the 1 inch ball of white clay before molding)
•Water mister for polymer clay release.
•Mica Powder: Magenta, Red, gold & Silver or Argent
•Heavy Body Acrylic Paint: Black
•Brushes for mica powder application •Small Brushes for painting black feathers and details. Tiny brushes for eye, beak and the head stripe.
•Findings for jewelry: Wire cutter, pin back, jump ring
•Bake N Bond or Poly Paste: for pin back. •(Optional Glue ifor pin back)
•Wire: 24 gauge Icy Silver Fun Wire-8 inches
•Favorite clay tools. You never know......
•Varnish  recommended by the manufacturer of the clay: Varnish Beak and eye if desired.
•Optional Color application if painting after baking: Metallic Red, gold & black Acrylic paint
•Optional: •Pasta machine for conditioning clay.
Brushes used for this project.
PJ055 Scissor Tail Flycatcher mold
  1. Condition white clay and the tiny bit of black clay until smooth and flexible. Mix the white and tiny bit of black thoroughly to create a soft gray color. (Optional Color: Use four parts white and one part sparkle white clay for a bright, light bird.)

  2. The bird is narrow in the center and if you would like to create inner support to strengthen the finished bird you will need 24 gauge Fun Wire or other wire to support the center and long tail feathers. Cut the wire 3.5” and 4.25” long. 

  3. Make a very small loop in the shorter wire, it will go in the left wing in the mold. The tiny loop will help to hold the wire in place after de-molding. Make a larger loop in the longer wire as shown. Using your pliers, halfway through the loop, bend it upwards in a 90° angle. This will allow the loop to protrude after molding to use as a hanging loop for a pendant.
  4. Trial Fit the wire into the mold to check the length of wire needed. Do the same for the shorter wire with the tiny loop. Notice where the wires cross. 

  5. Twist the wires a time or two at the center as shown. If the lower wires are too long, cut them off to fit inside the mold. Set the finished wirework aside for now. 

  6. Using the one inch ball of either light gray or sparkly white clay, roll a plump, short rope. Pinch it into a cross like shape and cut the lower part of the clay to separate the lower part into two thin parts. 

  7. Mold the Part: Mist the mold lightly with water, tip out excess. Starting in the middle of the bird, hold the clay down and begin to push the clay into the lower feathers. Push firmly to get all of the detail. 

  8. When the lower feathers are full, start again at the center and begin pushing the clay up and out into the head and wings. To prevent accidentally picking up the part be sure to keep one finger on the clay at all times. 
  9. After completely filling the wings and head use a scraper or blade to remove any excess clay. Always work from the center out when removing excess clay to avoid distortion. 
  10. Go over the entire part being sure all areas are filled and that any excess clay is removed. 

  11. Pick up the wirework frame you created earlier and press it into the clay taking care not to lift the clay from the mold. Press the wires into the clay first with your fingers.

  12. Next, slightly press the wires down further into the clay using a tool like a blunt Popsicle stick or other similar tool. 

  13. As you press the wire into the clay you will notice the clay will begin to bulge up around it. Use a round tool like a Peej Shaper, or paintbrush handle to close the clay over the wirework. Be sure that the upper right loop is not buried completely. Clean up the edges, pulling any clay on the mold back into the mold until a line of separation shows all around the bird. 
  14. Optional: Texturing the back. If desired, press a texture into the back of your bird before de-molding. If desired, use mica powders to bring out the design. 

  15. When you are finished with the molding and texturing if desired, flex to de-mold. If you wish to use mica powder to color the bird now, go to step 16. (Optional: If you wish to paint the details, bake the bird now on a Fiber-fil® surface to prevent distortion during baking.)

  16. Coloring the bird with mica powder: Begin with the deepest reds on the inner wings and sides of the body. See color image on packaging. Apply in a soft triangle as shown. Add lighter red or a mix of red and gold to extend the reds as shown. 

  17. Create the lightest red by adding gold to the outermost colors. Review your colors and add more color as needed. The colors on the bird are brilliant. 
  18. Shading: for this design the silver powder is used to give some shading and depth. Lightly brush silver to the wing feather edges. 

  19. When the mica powder colors are completed bake on a soft surface like Fiber-Fil®. Allow to cool.
  20. Paint the black details: Using a paint brush paint all of the inner tail feathers as shown and the tips of the long tail feathers. Let dry for a while. Next, using a damp cloth, wipe off some of the black to bring out the feather texture.

  21. Using a small flat brush, very, very lightly drybrush the edges of the wing tips. The color should only be on the very edges of the wings.
  22. Using a very small brush, paint the toes, beak and eye. For the black streak on the face, dry brush a thin line as shown. When dry, varnish eye and beak. Allow to dry.
  23. Optional: Add a Pin Back if desired. Position the pin back and lightly sand the area where it will go. 
  24. Put either Bake n Bond or Poly Paste onto the pin and put it in place on the back of the bird.

  25. Cover it with a small piece of clay spreading the clay outwards from the pin back. Smooth the edges. If desired, press the texture mat into the newly fresh clay. Color if desired. 
  26. Bake face down in Fiber-fil® so that the uneven back can lay flat. Allow to cool. 

    The Best Flexible mold  PJ055 ScissorTail Flycatcher Bird comes with a step by step instruction sheet. This blog is the exact same sheet with color photos instead of black and white pictures. 


Autumn Reflections Votive Project

 Today I would like to share with you an autumn project that was created for a class in 2006.

These were shared for your use or, if you wish to teach the class, feel free to do so.

Each image is a full sized 8.5 by 11 inch page.

Have fun!

Penni Jo Couch

Friday, September 8, 2017

PJ057 Holloween! mold tutorial

After many requests through the years we have completed our 57th design, Halloween! which is available now on our Website.

The insert that comes with the mold is black and white but you can enjoy the insert with colored images in this color tutorial.

Above Left: Parts from the mold formed using colored polymer clay.

Below Left, scan of our newest mold PJ057 Halloween! 

Size 4" by 3.25" by 1/2" thick

Sizes of all parts at the bottom of this blog.

Instructions to make the Jack-O-Lantern
1. Thoroughly condition all of the desired colors of polymer clay for your project. Mix equal amounts of Metallic Gold and Orange. (Or, if desired, to prevent mica shift lines mix two parts of yellow to one part orange to soften the orange color to a more natural pumpkin color.)

For larger, close up views click on the pictures.

2. Lightly mist the Jack-O-Lantern mold and tap out any excess moisture from the mold. Dry the solid top of the mold leaving moisture only in the details.

3. Mold the stem first. Roll some of the green (or brown, gray, etc color) clay into a 3/16th inch ball. Press the ball firmly into the stem area only using the Peej shaper or knitting needle to fill the tiny scalloped edges of the stem.  

4. Roll the mixed orange clay into a ball and flatten until it is a round shaped disk, similar to the shape of the pumpkin. Press the clay very firmly into the center part of the mold. While holding the clay firmly begin to press the clay into the mold from several directions from the center out.

5. To pick up all the facial details you will need to press the clay in several places and in more than one direction. Begin by pressing first the clay firmly into the center of the mold. Next, while holding the clay in position with one hand use the fingers of your other hand to press the clay toward the center and then outwards. Move your free hand to the outside edge and begin pressing down and toward the center all the way around while turning the mold around. 

 6. When you have pressed the clay firmly in all directions, drag any excess clay from the solid part of the mold back into the design until a line of separation begins to show. 

7. If there is too much clay and it 'humps' up remove the excess clay by laying a blade parallel to the mold surface near the center of the mold and, using gentle see-sawing movements, remove any excess. Be careful to push the blade gently as it can slip and perhaps cut your fingers. Always cut away from yourself. Continue to turn the mold around remove from the excess from center out until the back is flat and flush with the mold. 

8. If desired you may texture the back of the molded part before de-molding at this time using any texture sheet or tools.
9. Pick up the mold, flex first one way and then the other and de-mold. Place the de-molded part onto your baking surface.

De-molded Jack-0-Lantern with green stem
10. If vine tendrils are to be added, either mold them or use a thin rope of green, brown etc. to make the tendrils at this time. Press them gently into place.  If they are not sticking well, add a tiny bit of Bake N Bond or similar material to create a strong bond.
11. Bake following the manufacturer's instructions.  Allow cooling.

12.  If differently colored features are desired you may do it here. When the clay is cool: use an old, small brush to brush a light bit of Bonding Clay Helpers such as Bake N Bond or Poly Paste or a tiny bit of liquid clay into the feature openings. Press additional clays into the openings from the center out.  Bonding Clay Helpers form a bond that bonds unbaked clay to  baked clay. When completed, bake as described on the clay package.
  • 1. Glow in the dark features: an approximately 1/16” thick layer of glow in the dark clay to fill the features. Bake following the instructions on the Glow in the Dark clay package. Left, finished design; right shown in the dark.

  • 2. Black features in orange pumpkin: roll a thin layer of black clay add bonding clay and cover the textured areas with black. Optional, use black acrylic paint to paint the features.
  • 3. Flaming, red & bright, light yellow eyes in an orange or black pumpkin. Put a layer of yellow clay into the features. Lay a thread of red clay along the bottom edge. Press it in place. Use a pointy tool to drag some of the red up into the yellow in wavy lines to mimic flames. 
  • 4. Black night pumpkin with Yellow, Flames, or Glow in the Dark features: see above instructions. Optional: use yellow acrylic paint and a thin tool to 'paint' the inside of the openings. 
13. Bake again if you have added unbaked clay modifications. Allow cooling.

14.  Add pin back or a bail and cord if making pendant. Decorate a frame with your little one in costume, etc. Otherwise, finish as desired!

15. Have some spooky fun!!!!!!!!

This new mold is available on our website now! 
Thanks for visiting!
Penni Jo Couch
Designer & Sculptor of Best Flexible Molds

Sizes of parts

Jack-O-Lantern 1 11/16 x 1 5/8” (41 x 42 m m)

Hissing Kitty 2 1/8 x 1 9/16” (55 x 41 mm)

Witche's Hat 15/16 x 1“ (24 x 25 mm)

Ghost 15/16” x 1 1/4“ (24 x 34 mm)

Boo! Tag 1 1/6 x 5/8” (27 x 15.5 mm)

Bat 1 9/16 x 7/8” (41 x 22 mm)

Larger Candy Corn 13/16 x 1/2” (20 x 12.5 mm)

Smaller Candy Corn 9/16 x 3/16” (14 x 9 mm)
Vine Tendrils ¼” by various lengths (6 mm by a variety of lengths)