Sunday, November 15, 2015

Tiny Polymer Clay Bowl with Gold Fish

Tiny Coiled Bowl with Gold Fish

List of Materials Used:
•Small, oven safe bowl.  The bowl used in this tutorial is a glass bowl from Dollar Tree. They were 4 for a dollar. Size of Bowl: diameter 3 1/2" (88mm) - height 1 9/16" (40mm)
•Strong Polymer clay in your choice of colors - about 3 to 4 ounces depending on size of bowl. •• For this bowl I used polymer clay scraps from white and translucent to a blue-gray to turquoise and a tiny bit of Peacock. All the scrap colors were in the turquoise family and were conditioned separately before beginning the project. 
•Polymer clay safe work surface. NOTE: be very careful with polymer clay as it can damage fine furniture and painted surfaces. A good choice is a ceramic tile, wax paper, aluminum foil, metal cooking sheet etc.  
•Pasta Machine dedicated to polymer clay, Brayer or Acrylic Rolling rod
•Knitting needle or Penni Jo’s Clay Tools•Blade
•Tiny fish mold - I used PJ030 Fun with Dolphins mold but any tiny fish mold would work.
•Mica Powder to color gold fish. I used Copper.
•Your favorite clay tools
•Optional: •Extruder to make ropes of clay, •Chalks •Rubber gloves,  •Paper towels    •Glitter  •Mold 

Basic Polymer Clay Bowl Instructions:
This design was created on the of the bowl.
1.  Collect about 3 to 4 ounces of scrap clay colors that will go together well. Condition each color well before the next step. (see color page)

2.  Chop up all of the colors using a rigid blade. Mix the colors and chop again until the pieces are about 1/3 to ¼ inch bits.

3.  Roll the chopped clay bits into a ball and compress it with your hand.

4.  Using a roller press the ball flat, turning it several times. When the ball is flat enough to go through a pasta machine, put it through, only one time, on the second thickest setting to make a multi-color slab of clay. (Five to Six playing cards thick)

5.  Cut a number of slices from the slab, about 1/8 to ¼ inch deep as shown

6. Roll several pieces of rope, some longer and some shorter. The longer ones will make  larger coils, the shorter ones will be used to make smaller coils to fit around the larger ones.

7.  To make the coils: Roll a slice from the slab into a rope about 1/8 inch thick.

  A.  Begin the coil by curling one end to begin the coil with a tiny curled end. 

  B.  Lay the tiny curl on a surface and, while keeping the coil flay, very gently pull the loose end of the coil around the coil until reaching the end of the rope. 

  C.  By keeping your finger very gently on the coil while wrapping it you will prevent the coil from forming a cone.

D.  Tuck the end up against the coil to finish it.

E. Make a bunch of coils of various sizes.

8.  To pick up a coil, do not use your fingers as the coil can distort upon lifting. Instead, use a scraper or other blade to lift it from the work surface.

9. Beginning with the larger coils press them into (or outside) the bowl.

10.  Cover the inside (or outside) of the bowl with ropes beginning with the largest ones to smaller ones.

11.  Do not overlap the coils but put them next to each other so that they just touch. Don't worry about the little spaces between the coils at this time.

12.  As you place the coils and they begin to touch each other, you can strengthen the contact by adding tiny bits of Bake 'n Bond® or Poly Paste® on a pointy stick or Peej Pick.

13.  Using smaller and smaller coils, fill between the larger coils taking care not to overlap the larger coils. Press gently to your baking form.

14. Fill tiny areas using small slices of rope or tiny balls of clay. Secure with Bake ‘n Bond as needed. Images: top- bowl with coils being added, bottom- bowl ready to bake.

15.  Optional finishing: I molded 5 tiny fish using translucent clay and the PJ030 Fun with Dolphins mold. The fish were molded then dusted with Perfect Pearls® bronze powder. The excess powder was dusted from the fish and then the fish were lifted into place in the bowl of coils. Several dots of Bake 'n Bond® or Poly Paste® were added to hold the tiny fish in place.

16.  Bake following the manufacturer's instructions. The polymer clay bowl can be removed when cool.  Shown below is the bowl in sunlight. It is 3 1/4" (81mm) in diameter.

Finishing. If you have secured the coils where they come together, nothing more should be needed.

Enjoy this tiny treasure. It can hold your favorite earrings, your rings while you lotion your hands, etc. At the office or at work you could hold paper clips, a staple puller, finger covers, a glue stick, thumb tacks, an eraser, etc.

If you want to reinforce some areas or add to the bowl, put the bowl back into the glass bowl in which it was created to support it during successive bakings.

The tiny fish were molded in translucent clay using the PJ030 Fun With Dolphins Mold, available on our website Best Flexible Molds.   I've discovered that, when using most mica powders, they go onto translucent clay beautifully and keep a rich color.

Thanks for stopping by!
Penni Jo Couch 
Designer & sculptor of

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Using Resin in our Best Flexible Molds

"Can I use resin in your molds?" This is a question we are so often asked. The answer is "Yes, But".

After a lot of research, below is the info about using resin in our molds. 

Because Best Flexible Molds are made of Urethane Rubber a highly  flexible, tough, long lasting rubber, they are often confused with Silicone rubber. Urethane molds have a long library life, are tough, and flexible.

Our molds are designed to be push molds for polymer clay. Other materials that can be used easily in our molds are: Plaster of Paris, Melt and Pour soap, Paper Clay, UTEE, Eraser Clay and Metal Clays.

Mold Cleaning: If clay builds up in the openings of our molds, they can be washed by hand in warm, soapy dish water or even in the dishwasher if the dry cycle is set “Heat Off”.
When dry, the molds can be refreshed with a light mist of Armor-All.

 After speaking with a tech at the company where our rubber is manufactured, he told me that -- 

Yes, our molds can be used with resin with the following requirements. They MUST be properly released.

The openings in the mold must be released with paste wax (flat

yellow can in photo, bottom left) and it needs to be the kind of paste wax that is used for floors, NOT the kind that is used for cars. The reason for this is that car wax has water in it.

The brand of release agent recommended by the manufacturer of our rubber is Johnson's Paste Floor wax. There is no water in this wax.

Always remember --- When it comes to resin and urethane molds, water is not your friend!!

The reason? If there is water in the wax, the water will cause the resin to bond to the rubber mold and destroy the opening in the mold.

Here is a link to the product that they recommend.

More info: Using Johnson’s paste wax as a release we tested a two part 50/50 resin epoxy and polyester resin (a liquid resin where a larger amount is sold with a small bottle of activator.) See first photo, upper left of 50/50 resin epoxy.

At this time three kinds of resin have been tested. The molds were released using the paste wax listed above.

Magic Gloss, made by Lisa Pavelka.

This material comes in one bottle and is hardened by exposure to a UV lamp, black light or sunlight and does not require a release in our molds. Judi W. tested the Magic Gloss on a mold earlier this year. The resulting hummingbird looked like a jewel. No release was needed but continued use might cause problems if un-released.

Regular Polyester Resin: 

Available at many hobby stores like Hobby Lobby. This type resin is activated with a few drops of liquid catalyst. It normally comes in a large container with a small bottle attached. The small bottle is the activator. This type resin must have a release agent. The rubber manufacturer only recommends SC Johnson’s paste floor wax as a release agent.

Epoxy resins.
Salad oil release worked OK, but was messy

This kind of resin is a 50/50 mix of two materials and usually comes in a package of two equal sized bottles.

Urethanes and Resins MUST have a release agent. Always read the label and never use a wax with water in it as water will cause the resin and bond to and destroy the mold.

I hope this helps to clarify the use of resin in Urethane Molds like ours.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Penni Jo Couch
Designer/ Sculptor 
White Pearl Resin Roses.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tiny Marigolds by Allyson

Step 2
Allyson H. and I became clay friends several years ago when Joe and I used to go south "snow birding" to Mission Texas for the cold winter months.  The closest guild was in Corpus Christi, a three hour drive. Since Allyson lived just 15 minutes from our campground and was a clayer, she and I would take turns driving to the meetings and to classes I taught in Corpus Christi. As a happy result, we became friends as we shared our enthusiasm for our families and for polymer clay.

Allyson is incredibly talented and, when she learns a new technique, she creates a necklace, earrings and barrette for her lovely thick, long hair.

Step 4.
A few weeks ago she contacted me for a tutorial of a technique I demo at retreats, using some of my tools.  A short time later she sent me a single page of images, she'd created these darling marigolds and shared with me how she'd accomplished it.

Wow! I love these tiny flowers! and, with her permission, I'm sharing her technique with you all. Here we go!

Step 5.
Allyson's tiny Marigolds

Step 1. I made a Skinner blend with white and Yellow and a little orange. Then I made a Jellyroll.

Step 2.  Then I cut slices off of the jellyroll and laid them out in rows.

Step 6
Step 3. I cut centers out of one of the slices an made the other two slices smaller by increments.

Step 4. Then I put a dent in the sides of each section all around.

Step 5. I also "ruffled" the edges.

Step 6. I dented and ruffled all of the slices.

Step 7

Step 7. Here are all the dented and ruffled slices.

Step 8.

Step 8. Next I stacked the second slice on to of the first slice.

Step 9.

Step 9. Then I pushed the center into the hole in the first slice.

Step 10.

Step 10.  I repeated the process for the third slice.

Step 11.

Step 11. I added a little roll of white clay to the center and baked.

(I wish I'd gotten one of these inchies with tiny marigolds. Aren't they are just darling?)

Step 12

Step 12.  All done~!!

(Shown with a penny for scale.)

Step 13.

Step 13. I made a base for this barrette from clay. Then I put the flowers and leaves in the base and filled it with resin.

(Note that some of the marigolds are more orange than yellow. I made a number of differently colored marigolds.)
Zumba Belt

I purchased this Zumba belt and used the parts to make a bracelet, earrings and a necklace. 

Left, the Bracelet. Baked, tiny marigolds in dished metal disks then the disks were filled with resin.

Below: The necklace and earrings. I placed the flowers in the base and filled them with resin. 
Finished necklace & Earrings

I hope you all enjoy trying Allyson's tiny marigolds.

Thanks for stopping by.
Penni Jo Couch
Designer / Sculptor 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A New Mold! Small Faces

We have been asked over and over for more faces and I am glad to say, we have a new face mold.

  The faces in this mold are a variety of miniature sizes from our most popular molds. The tiny faces can be used in a multitude of ways.

The hands are scaled to use with the medium sized faces.

This image shows all 12 faces and the two hands molded using beige clay. 

Blush was very lightly brushed on cheeks before baking. This is very important as it will darken slightly on each re-baking if using Genesis® oil paints for the features.

Daughter Viktoria and I had fun painting the tiny faces a this pic shows.

The face in the lower left corner is the start of an art doll. I put very thin, tiny slices of leaf canes and a very thin translucent and white rose cane slice into the mold before molding the face.

Faces do not have to have painted features in  order to make an impact. The project instructions included in the mold do not require painted features.

The project for this mold was created using Premo®'s Gray Granite clay.

By antiquing the gray granite clay after baking the artwork can be made to look old, worn and,

if burnished with a mica based finish, can look like an old treasure perhaps.

The great thing about projects is that each individual person adds their own touch and unique vision to them.

Note the tiny face in my palm. This is the next to smallest face.

If you wish to try your hand at painting the faces and hands, here are some of the tools I found to work the best for my daughter and I.

We used Genesis® oil paints. They do not set up until baked so errors are easily removed. The Colour Shaper was great at removing any paint that strayed from where it should be.

To prevent the clay from over darkening during baking, I added white to the beige clay. One part white to ten parts beige.

The mold is available now on our website. Best Flexible Molds 

To celebrate this new mold, from Sunday June 28, 2015 to Monday July 6, 2015 we are featuring free shipping to all our USA customers.

Thanks for stopping by
Penni Jo Couch
designer/sculptor - Best Flexible Molds

Friday, March 20, 2015

Newest Design! PJ051 Caboshapes IV - Paisley

 Years ago when we made our first flexible, urethane mold of cabochons the names were easy, Almond cabochons, Cabochons and More, Egg Cabochons, etc but when we designed our first non-traditional smooth shapes to be used like a cabochon, we needed a name. 

Caboshape was the first name we came up with and it's stuck since then. 
The first Caboshape mold, PJ038 was extremely successful and we now have four unique Caboshape molds.

The newest caboshape design is available on our website now:

When the Paisleys were first designed, there was a curled 'tail' in many of the sculptures. After it became apparent this was not working, some of the openings were re-sculpted and were better but it became apparent that coiled tails did not translate well to patterned clay. The design shown is the third and final design and it works well.

Left is the mold with the parts identified. The measurements for each part is:

P1 -- 3” by 2” (75 x 51mm)
P2 -- 1 3/8” by 13/16” (35 x 28 mm)
P3 -- 1 5/8” by 3/4” (41 x 18 mm)
P4 -- L & R – 1” by 1 1/2” (24 x 12 mm)
P6 -- 5/8” by 5/16” (15 x 8 mm)
P7 -- 7/16” by 1/4” (11 x 6 mm) 
Border -- 1" by 1/4" (6 x 24 mm) 

The approximate, overall size of the mold is 4" wide by 3.25" tall by .675" thick.

Notice that the P3 opening has a straight tail. Because of this, you can coil the tail either right or left, loosely or tightly allowing you to make mirror image designs if desired.   This gives you, the artist, a bit more freedom. 

The instructions included with the mold are two-fold.

Making a very simple jelly roll cane, and creating these cute fun bugs from the cane and simple balls of clay. 

More intricate and fancy designs can be created using this mold. 
Below is a paisley with embedded clay designs and contrasting scalloped border added by molding four Border pieces, wrapping the paisley and tapering the ends. The bright dots are made by dipping the tip of a rounded tool, like a knitting needle or stylus into Dark Brown PearlEx powder and pressing a dot into each scallop.The tiny bit of mica powder is pressed into the dot giving a bit of gleam to the design.

Original design and sculptures by 
Penni Jo Couch

If you have this new design, we would love to see your creations!

Thanks for visiting!