Sunday, May 27, 2012

Penni Jo's Clay Tools Pre-Sale Discount only $19.95

We have been notified that our new kits, Penni Jo's Clay Tools should arrive here by mid June. The regular price of the set of 8 tools will be $24.95.  They come in a vinyl zipper case that is approx. 6 inches high and 4.5 inches across. All eight tools are inside. Each has an elastic band to hold them in place.

We are having a pre-sale on them now at the pre-sale price of $19.95 USD and shipping in the US is free. To pre-order your own tools you can go to this link. 

If you buy by PayPal they will add $5.15 to your order for shipping but at the bottom when you check out is a discount for you of $5.15.

You may also send a check or money order for $19.95 for each kit ordered. Be sure you include your mailing address. 
The tool set will be mailed to you as soon as it arrives. If you would like to order molds to be shipped  with  the tools when they arrive, the molds will also be shipped free.
Stainless steel Peej Shapers.
 Left: Peej Picks. Long tapered, slender tools for lifting, poking, shaping and other wise very handy tools. The longest tool is 4 inches.

Stainless steel Peej Shapers
 Right: Peej Shapers. Smooth shapers with one rounded end and one pointed end. The nice weight of them makes them excellent for rolling out small sheets of clay. Largest tool is 4.5 by 3/8 inches.
Half Circle Wire tools for cutting clay.
 Left: Half circle stainless steel wire tools with wood handles. The half circles are 1/8 inch , 3/16 inch and 1/4 inch. These wire tools are for cutting and imprinting clay etc. Wire tools are just under 4 inches including the wire loops. 
Peej Scraper

Right: Peej Scraper: A small scraper with one end smaller than the other for use in tight or small spots. Perfect for scraping colors from a sheet of clay that was picked on the way through a pasta machine. Scraper is 3 1/4 by 1 3/8  inches.  

 Below are two samples of the half circle clay tools in use. The left is a slice of a leaf cane that was scalloped to make a 'fantasy' leaf. The flowers and buds were cut using the same tool.  

The notches in the petals of the largest flower were made quickly by using the Peej pick wedge end. The pin is 1.75 by 1 inches.

Below are  two examples of how the half circle cutters can make a 'picot' edge on a light switch cover. The tiny holes in the scallops were made using the tip of a Peej Pick. Believe it or not, these borders are still in great shape, no breakage. BUT, I use a very strong clay to cover a light switch plate. 

Have fun!

To see all of our molds click HERE to visit our site. Thanks for looking! 
Penni Jo

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How we make our Best Flexible Molds

We store our molds face down to keep out dust & debris.
 We are often asked "How do you make your molds?"

Here is a step by step of the process.

Remember we are a mom and pop team so no assembly lines or automation just hard work!!
I mix enough 2 part Urethane rubber for about 12 molds.

Clean Molds are sprayed with release.

Now I fill to the ledge.

The "Beast" will hold 24 molds.

 Our vacuum chamber (the "Beast") was hand built about 1990 and is still going strong. However, we have had to replace the Vacuum Pump once.
The molds are vacuumed to remove all of the little air bubbles so that they don't stick to the surface of the detail.

"Don't want it to look like a face has a wart on it's nose :)"
Left: The gauge shows that the chamber has reached maximum vacuum. At this point air is being pulled out of the rubber and looks like it is boiling!

Molds are  set out to cure

Branding time!!!

Best Flexible Molds, Best Flexible Molds, Best Flexible Molds

Pulling molds

Ready to trim, notice the edges

I used to trim with scissors, this is much better.

Branding is done with an indelible ink that will stick to the rubber.

Even if the packaging is gone, you can tell who made the mold. 

Molds have a little excess after pouring.

Clean edges and ready to package and ship.

A standard paper cutter removes all of the edges left on the mold.

That's it!   

You can see them all on our website Best Flexible Molds. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Playing in clay with Jane

My Clay Buddy Jane and I were reviewing the book Enlightened Polymer Clay on Friday when the earrings caught our eyes. We both liked them and decided to try the project.

It went OK at first but much was missing from the instructions. However, this just slowed us down a bit and we continued to muddle through.

Earrings shown under Ott work light.
I used Pardo Translucent. Jane used Polyform's Frost. The two were slightly differently colored after baking and both allowed light to shine through.  See below.

We guessed at the diameter of the opening used in the extruder and seemed to get close to the image in the book.  We cut the resulting rope into 14 pieces from long to short. The book lengths were too long for me so my earrings are not nearly so dramatic but they are delightful anyway.

We made the ripples in the tendrils ourselves to look more like the photo in the book. The extruded tendrils were straight so we made the ripples in the tendrils after making the holes in the ends. We bent them like you would bend card stock to make a bead baker only no sharp corners, just gentle bends.

To prevent the tendrils from sticking together when baked we dusted the lower 3/4ths of them with corn starch.  It worked, when needed, the tops of the tendrils stuck together for shaping while the rest are independent of each other.

We made tiny holes in one end of each of the 14 extruded ropes to receive the decorative head pins after baking. The book says to put cut the pins very short and put them into the tendrils before baking. We chose to make the holes first and add the decorative head pins after baking as, if baked in place, they will fall out and need to be glued in anyway. Unless, of course, you have some of Lisa Pavelka's Poly Bonder, a cyanoacrylate glue that can be used at the high temps needed to bake the clay. Sadly, we did not. So it was bake and glue.

Shown, wire wrapped top.
The only problem I had with them was the gauge of the wire to wrap the tops of the earrings. See Left.

The book does not give a wire gauge so I chose to use 20 gauge. It turned out to be heavier than needed but, after a number of adjustments, decent tapered coils were formed for gluing to the tops of the baked tendrils.

I had a great time and now it is back to mold making. Lots of ideas and plans coming down the pike.  To see what we already have in the way of original molds check out our website.

Penni Jo (wearer of wonderful earrings)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faux Techniques Submitted for 2013 Fandango Class

For polymer clayers, Fandango can only mean one thing. The Orlando Clay Fandango Polymer Clay Retreat held in Florida annually at beautiful Lake Yale. I've had the privilege of  teaching twice and am hoping that my project will be chosen for next year's retreat.

Faux Silver bracelet with faux turquoise and eagle feathers
This bracelet is my submission for next year. 

It contains three of my own techniques.
  1. Faux turquoise in a copper matrix
  2. Faux eagle feathers with down
  3. Faux silver.
Well actually the Faux Silver won't be so very unique but the layout and use of the Viva Decor Inka-Gold Silver 902 is an improvement over past silvers in my opinion. After drying the metallic finished is lightly buffed to a nice shine.

The eagle feather cane is my own design, not derivative. The four color shading of the feather, the shaded center vein and the splits that 'disappear' as they near the vein are the results of  a number of attempts. The downy ends are a cane and are added after slicing. Below are attempts 2 and 4.  The earrings shown below left are of Attempt 2 cane.
Faux Turquoise in Copper matrix
Attempt 2

Attempt 4
 Another faux technique that is from research in a variety of turquoises and jewelry making is faux,  turquoise in copper matrix.  The easier of the two challenges with this one was the veining, the lines between the bits of turquoise. The tougher part of this project was to create a gleaming copper that, after baking and sanding would still be gleaming. The attempts with metallic copper polymer clays was not satisfying to me.

Having recently discovered the excellent qualities of Pardo Translucent clay, it became the carrier for a mix of materials that, after baking and sanding, remained shiny and gleaming. 
Another view of the turquoise/feather Bracelet.

 Joe and I both hope that our project will be chosen as one of the three classes that will be taught at Fandango next year.

Penni Jo
The cabochon in the bracelet was molded using PJ046 Deep Cabochons and is available on our website. Best Flexible Molds