Sunday, March 30, 2014

Buffing Tips Using a Dremel

To create a high shine on our polymer clay pieces, we use our Dremel rotary tool for buffing.  We have been making our own buffing pads to fit onto the Dremel for quite a few years now and also have them for sale in our our online store.  The polyester type fibre we use creates a really high shine and is gentle on the clay.  This is important as some buffing pads or other fibres can actually chew up your clay by the heat created from the friction due to the high speed of the Dremel.

Instructions on how to attach the buffing pads are included in the package but we felt we would give a few tips on buffing your clay using the Dremel or similar type rotary tool.

* Before attempting to buff, your piece needs to be sanded very smooth.  If you do not sand your piece thoroughly it will not come to a high shine no matter how much you buff.  You will find tips on sanding your work on our "Polymer Tips" page at the top of this blog.

* Use a stand or vice to hold your Dremel in place so you have both hands free for buffing.  You will notice that the Dremel is tilted downward a bit and not level.  We find this gives greater control for buffing items such as round beads.

* While buffing, your pieces tend to fling at times so we drape a towel or cloth behind to absorb the flying object.

*  If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back and try not to wear any loose clothing that might get caught in the Dremel.

* The buffing also creates a lot of fine dust which you do not want to breathe so be sure to wear a protective dust mask.

* Use some sort of support for your small items so you have a better grasp while buffing.  For beads, for instance, we put them on a bead skewer or metal rod.

We can then hold onto the wire with both hands and then rotate the bead and move it back and forth on the buffing wheel.

Other items like these pen blanks, we put on a larger rod or knitting needle for support.

It is much easier this way to hold onto the knitting needle with both hands and then you can easily rotate the piece while buffing.

* To buff your piece, hold it firmly in both hands and lightly touch the moving buffing wheel.  You do not need to press it in far as this will not create a faster or better shine but will only wear the buffing pad out quicker.

* One more tip to add more shine to your work, is to use more metallic and pearl in your clay mixes.  Adding some transluscent clay also increases the shine, especially if working with black.

Our buffing pads are very popular and we now offer a bulk double pack of 6 pieces for a better price.  We also want to be more involved with the Samunnat Project so we are making a donation to them from every buffing pad pack that we sell.  We are   donating one dollar ($1) from every single and two dollars ($2) from every double pack that is sold.

This is a great program that aides women in Nepal who have survived domestic violence and develops ways to generate an income for them and their families.  This work involves creating beads and jewelry from polymer clay.  Their work is for sale through an Etsy shop as well as Kazuri West.  They are in the process of constructing their own building and could use more help. You can read more about it on their website here and by following Wendy's blog here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Slouchy Cable Hat Tutorial

Carla at Grace and Favour has now finished the tutorial for her gorgeous "Slouchy Cable Hat".   (see my previous blog post here.)  You will find all the instructions to knit one for yourself over at Imagine Gnats.

The button Carla used on the hat is one of our Color Wheel designs.

They are sold in several local yarn and quilt shops.  If you do not live in our area, we now have these available in our Etsy shop

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Faux Turquoise Scarf Necklace

We mixed up a batch of our faux turquoise this week.  It is still one of our favorite techniques and is so versatile.  You can do so much with it and as a veneer, it can be applied to a variety of things for a real turquoise stone effect.  Here it is used as one of our scarf necklaces.

This turquoise looks so real, the only thing that gives it away is how light it is compared to real stone, but is also a great advantage as you can create large chunky jewelry pieces without all that heavy weight.

If you want to mix up a batch for yourself, my tutorial is available in our Etsy shop as an instant download or you can purchase through our online store and we will e-mail it to you direct.  My lesson is easy to follow and the clay color recipes for the turquoise color shown here is included using either Kato or Premo clay.  Of course there is so much more to learn besides making the faux stone.  I show you how to use it as a veneer to make beads, cabachons and to use it in other ways like in a pendant frame.  The supplies required are easy to find in any hobby or craft store that sells jewelry supplies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Color Wheel Button and a Gorgeous Hat

We have been busy working on several projects this past week.  Time seems to keep slipping by  and I suddenly realized I hadn't blogged in a few days.  I was trying to decide what to share with you until I read the blog post at Grace and Favour.  Carla is a talented knitter as well as quilter.

This is a hat that she knit in a beautiful teal blue and that is one of our Color Wheel buttons on it.

Carla is writing a tutorial for the hat which she should have done soon.  I will keep you posted when it is available.  If quilting or knitting interest you, you will want to follow her blog for some real eye candy.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Color Wheel Buttons

I have been experimenting with various forms of the mica shift technique which is also referred to as "ghost imaging".  When you impress or stamp polymer clay that contains a large amount of metallic (or pearl) particles, it leaves that image behind.  After baking, the piece is then sanded smooth to bring out the image even more.

Here are the new "Color Wheel" buttons we have created using a mica shift based on a stacked clay technique by Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes called "Holes and Lines".  Their special peeler works beautifully and is fun to use. Now with their new wider  peeler, we are able to make even larger (2 inch) buttons which are a popular item at the quilt and yarn shops that sell our work.

We make the buttons in several sizes (1-3/8", 1-5/8" and 2") in a round concave shape as well as a smaller "football" shape.

Kato clay has several metallic colors that can be used for this technique which are the pearl, gold, silver and copper.  I have been experimenting with some new recipes to create a range of brighter mica shift colors. As some of these brighter colors are difficult to mix up with using only Kato clay, I've had to combine it with other products (other clay / inks, etc.) in order to get the shades I wanted as in the buttons shown here:

And zipper charms in some of the matching colors as well:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Knitting for Children at Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft

We made a quick trip to the central Okanagan last week to visit the stores that sell our buttons and accessories.  We like to visit at least twice a year so we can meet directly with the store owners and staff and show them our latest designs.  It is also our opportunity to see how things are going and find out any ideas for what special item or buttons they might be in need of or looking for.

One of the shops that sell our handcrafted buttons and shawl pins is Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft.  The owners, Anne and Stephen, are so friendly and always there to help you out with making your yarn and pattern choices.

Anne is quite busy with her knitters group and teaching classes.  Don't you love the sweater she is wearing?

They specialize in children's items and this sweater was one of their latest class projects.  Those are our buttons that Anne used on it.

They have a nice selection of our smaller type buttons suitable for children's sweaters and such, along with some of our more popular larger size buttons.

I wanted to show you an adorable felted/knit project they did.  This is Pumpkin Peter and Daisy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Canadian Men's Curling Championship - Tim Horton's Brier Kamloops 2014 is Now On

Just a reminder about the Tim Horton's Brier Kamloops 2014 (Canadian Men's Curling Championship) is going on now in Kamloops.  This is an exciting event for Kamloops.

Also a big reminder that Essentials & Beyond is having a great sale for this event.

We are pleased to have our work for sale at this cool boutique and a selection of our scarf necklaces, bracelets and earrings are featured front and center.  (See our previous blog post here)

Blossom Scarf Necklace in Vintage Blue

Spiral Bracelets

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Color Matching For Buttons

Donna's Yarn & Craft in North shore Kamloops, had some new yarn arrive in their store that is so soft and luxurious.  She asked us to color match some of them and create an assortment of buttons to coordinate.  I love the color of this yarn which is a sort of peacock blue.

We made some textured buttons in the solid color as well as antiqued in white. 

This is the same brand of yarn in the Pantone Spring 2014 Fashion Color of Cayenne.

And here are some buttons in the basket weave pattern antiqued in white.

This yarn is super soft and variegated in the Pantone Spring 2014 Fashion Colors of Sand and Celosia Orange.

These are some textured buttons we made in the Celosia Orange.

These yarns and our handcrafted buttons are now available at Donna's.