Faux Dichro…well, an attempt at it anyway;D

A few years ago before I got a bead kiln I wanted to capture the look of dichroic glass with polymer clay…I did not quite get it but I liked the result. It is a quick and easy technique that you can play with this weekend!

You will need polymer clay and metal leaf. Metal leaf comes in books of 25 (or more) and can be made from aluminum, silver, copper, gold, nickel and other metals. It is usually used for illuminating books (fancy old Bibles) or gilding frames. You can get books of copper, aluminum and fake gold for about $5/25 5″x5″ sheets. Gold and copper tones look nice with warm rich colors an silvers look nice with cool colors. For instance I used a cool red with silver (er, aluminum) leaf. Every color can have a warm or a cool undertone, yellow is a warm color but lemon yellow has cool (green) undertones while marigold yellow had warm (orange) undertones.

Here’s how to make your foiled beads:

  1. Condition your clay and roll it out into a 1/4″ slab.
  2. Lay a sheet of metal leaf on top then roll over it again until the leaf starts to crackle.
  3. Cut into squares, rectangles or long tapered triangles that you can roll up int “croissant” shaped beads. You can also put the small squares of foiled clay in a bead roller for cool round, oval and bicone beads!
  4. Poke bead holes with a needle.
  5. Bake according to clay package directions.
  6. Glaze! I pressed my beads on an embossing ink pad, dipped them in UTEE and heated hem with my heat gun for a thick glazed look. You can also paint them with nail polish *Edit: see Silverleaf’s comment on the use of nail polish on polymer clay in the comments section. Thanks Silverleaf for the heads up! or use the tried and true FFW (Future Floor Wax, it is in the cleaning supply aisle and it is under the brand name Pledge, this stuff is like acrylic varnish and very durable!)

One more thing I want to mention. I also tried coating the beads with Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS-a product that completely mystified me as I have never found it useful except to help condition old clay and it is constantly leaking and making a mess of my clay drawer…anyway…) thinking I could get a thick semi transparent coating and it did not work for me. I think if I had baked the beads once then added the TLS and rebaked it might have. I’m no clay expert, obviously 😀

Go ahead and play with clay this weekend, you might just discover a new technique when you are trying to do something else. Enjoy the process and til next time happy crafting!

Tray Chic Part 3!

Well, the table is finally ready to ship off the the Maine Discovery Museum to be displayed in various storefronts in downtown Bangor Maine before being auctioned off in November. Absentee bidding will be offered for anyone not attending the auction in person, details soon on the Maine Discovery Museum’s website.

If you missed the previous instalments (and step by step how to) on this project you can see part 1 here and part 2 here, but wait, before your eyes glaze over and you start smiling and nodding I have something that may be of interest to all crafters. I will be using a product called Envirotex Lite on this table and will tell you all about it further down in this post 😉 Now here is a pretty picture:

Here is the finished table, sorry about the crooked picture ;)

Here is the finished table, sorry about the crooked picture 😉

That is the finished table with and without the tray in place. I “Distressed it by using a  small amount of cream colored paint I made my mixing Titanium White with a touch of Burnt sienna (all paint for this project was generously donated by M. Graham & Co., thanks!) and dry brushing it across the surface with a fan brush.

Here is the finished table top

Here is the finished table top

To add a bit of flair to the table top I used 1/8″ Scor-Tape to make a border around the chess board area then pressed copper leaf over it, I used a 6″x6″ sheet to do all of this but an experienced leafer could probably get away with less 🙂 Then I used DaVince style alphabet stamps (Hampton Art Stamps) and letter stamps (PSX) to label the board and add a funky design aspect. I “inked” the stamps with  a foam brush and the same cream paint. Be sure to clean your stamps as soon as you are done because dried paint on a rubber stamp is a BAD thing! I defined the dark squares (and covered up any mistakes) by side loading (adding paint to one corner of a damp brush and painting to make a blended shadow) inside the brown squares. If you paint make friends with this technique!

pt3closeuptabletop

here is the inside view of the tray

here is the inside view of the tray

At this point all of the painting is done. I coated the table and the bottom and sides of the try with a thin coat of spray varnish. To protect the inside of the tray I used a product called EnviroTex Lite so that it will have a thick, clear heavy duty coating protecting the paint from spills and moisture. There are some things you need to know about this product before you begin:

Place what you want to varnish on a level surface, this product will level itself so you want your project some ware flat.

Have all your supplies ready, once you begin you need to be able to finish it. You will need a stirring stick, a cup with flat sides and bottom, a timer (I used my oven timer) and if you have long hair pull it back in a ponytail.

Make sure you have all your supplies ready and enough time to compleate this project!

Make sure you have all your supplies ready and enough time to compleate this project!

This is a two-part resin that need to be mixed in equal parts, mix both parts together and whip quickly for 2 minutes (use the timer). Pour the mixture on the table. For the tray I tipped it back and forth until the surface had an even coating. Set the timer for 5 minutes, you will notice little bubbles in the Envirotex, breath on the bubbles and they disappear, the carbon dioxide makes them go away.

breathing on the resin removes the bubbles...really!

breathing on the resin removes the bubbles...really!

At this point if you see anything undesirable floating in the varnish such as a piece of cat hair or a speck of glitter 😉 you can remove it with a toothpick. Leave it on the level surface to harden overnight after that you can relocate it but give it a couple of days before you use it to make ure it is fully cured.

Mmmmm Shiny! see the light fixture reflected in the resin, man, that's glossy!

Mmmmm Shiny! see the light fixture reflected in the resin, man, that's glossy!

I think the creative possibilities with this are endless, I think I will use the leftover portion to make some cast resin beads! I’ll let you know how they turn out! Also, another thing to remember, only mix what you need for a project because once it is mixed it will harden and don’t mix more than you will use in a year or it may go bad.

Thanks for staying with my through this long post! Big thanks to the M. Graham Paint Co. for donating the paint for this project and to the Maine Discovery Museum for letting me be part of this auction again this year, thanks for stopping by and till next time happy crafting!

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