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polymer clay ideas with children summer vacation

Every year at about this time, parents deal with THE challenge – Summer vacation :)

This is the time to “re-invent ourselves” thinking how can be keep our children happy (and busy!) while they are away from school.

Traveling locally or out of the country, outdoor activities, going to the beach, BUT! How about staying in the cool air condition and play with clay for a full week?

A Polymer Kids Camp! This past week was dedicated to the younger generation in my city – A “poly-summer camp” with enthusiastic ladies and one 12 yrs boy (yes! rare but happened! ;)

Projects ranged from decorating photo frames with miniature food, playing with textures, stamps, stencils, creating a mobile hanger, making a decorated utensil set, covering a pen with millefiori canes and even building a “brocade collection” zippered purse! Pure fun!

So I prepared my home accordingly, covered the table with a VERY thick table cloth, placed 2 pasta machines to the service and off we go!

Wait… Several tips about working with children – 1. It’s always a good idea to have ready made samples for a visual proof of the project you are about to teach. Children doesn’t always visualise what would be the end result of a 2 hours session and can’t see what you are seeing in your mind. Always make one of two samples of the offered project, play with colours, techniques and show the variations of each idea you are offering to sparkle their imagination (which brings me to the 2nd tip).

2. Creativity is a wonderful thing but consider the amount of time and children around your craft table. It’s easier to give the same instructions to 10 children and almost impossible to give 10 different instructions to 10 different children doing 10 separate projects and stay in time frame. If you want to encourage creativity and “do what you wish” approach that is fine as long as you realise that may take longer than expected (or with “quick” artists – some will stay “out of work” if they complete their project ahead of time). I tend to give one or two options. They can always get some clay and experiment more at home.

3. Floor. Your floor with be filled with clay bits after each workshop. You can either place some kind of protecting surface (vinyl, plastic cover taped all around) or simply acknowledge the fact that you’ll need to slowly clean all the dots and leftovers sticking to the surface once everyone is home. It’s not such a big deal but it’s work :) You can leave 10 minutes at the end of the class and ask the children help – it’s only reasonable that each person clean after him when he is finished.

Ready to see fun polymer clay ideas to do with children this summer?

1. Photo frames – These simple wooden frames were purchased in a craft store. I chose wood because I wanted to paint it in colourful acrylic paints and bake them in the oven along with the clay. If you prefer to use a plastic frame and bake your clay separately – that’s a good option too. I think IKEA has nice non-expensive plastic photo frames. The heart shaped photo frames were decorated with basic miniature food (cakes, bagels, cupcakes, egg, candy) and a 2nd frame was decorated with stamped squares baked along with the frames. After cooling down all items were glued to secure them in place.

2. Covering utensils – I chose metal items to be able to bake them in the oven but wooden utensils would work as well. Make sure the children know they can’t place these beauties in the dish washer or… Only manually washing. Pinterest is an amazing source of inspiration looking for ideas to cover forks, spoons and tea spoons with polymer clay. Once of my students made a minion out of it!

3. Mobile hangers – This project is a fun opportunity to hang little clay objects using threads and tree branches. It can be a carefully planned project or leftover beads from all other projects you made with the children. I chose to use cookie cutters and stamps and then thread all items on a coloured tree branch taken from my garden. The branch was painted with acrylic paint as well. The millefiori butterflies can either be taught during class or demonstrated by yourself and divided between the participants (what I did). Don’t forget to pierce the items before baking or you’ll have a million items to drill manually! :)

4. Covering pens – This project was my opportunity to teach the children a bit about millefiori and canning. We made a mosaic cane and then covered our pen and holder. I use the sushi analogy to explain the slices and identical pattern – it turns out kids love sushi! ;) Make sure you use oven proof pens, secured to place in the oven. I use BIC pens and take out the ink before inserting into the oven. I don’t know if BIC can hold in high temp (such as Kato clay requires but make sure you try ahead of time). After the pen is cool I insert the ink back.

5. Creating round purses – This project was always something I wanted to try with children and see if it was too complicated or not (it’s not :). Since the process involve multiple baking I chose a simple version of my “Brocade Collection” and used powders. If you want to learn about advanced options for this design you are welcome to check out my class and kit – “Brocade Collection” tutorial.

 

6. Sculpturing – Polymer clay is the perfect medium to sculpt figurines. In this project we chose to create a small princess (or “Arrow Guy”) figurine and place it as a cover for a small glass candle holder. A sweet souvenir to save small jewellery, candy, change or even sweetener tablets!

There are many additional projects you can created with kids – keychains, bookmarks, buttons, brooches, hair accessories, there is really no limits to the number of ideas, as long as we keep it simple and clear to the future young generation of artists!

Good luck and have a great (cool) summer!

Iris Mishly :)

 

 

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polymer clay tutorial stencils12 NEW self-adhesive stencils – Perfect for polymer clay!

Transform your polymer clay sheets into colourful, beautiful printed sheets with 48 different patterns – Tribal designs, elephants, 3 different mandalas, lotus flowers, dream catchers, hamsa, geometric patterns, star of david, dove, small butterflies, arrows, frames, hearts, butterflies, geometric, feathers, dots, stars and circles, leaves, doily, borders and many many more!

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The stencils are long and narrow (4.5 on 8 inch / 11.5 on 20.5 cm) offering several patterns in a single stencil!

They are self-adhesive and will work perfectly on your polymer clay and other projects. The stencils are compatible with acrylic paints, chalk inks, chalk pastels, powders etc.

Here is a video demonstrating how to “neutralize” the adhesive back –

Samples made with these stencils (taken from the “INKredible 2” class)  

Don’t miss the special offer –

15% OFF ALL stencils Until June 10th 2016!

–> Click on link below to choose your stencils! SPECIAL SALE! 4 DAYS – 15% OFF ALL stencils! –> Click on link below to choose your stencils! http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/tools/stencils/ FREE Worldwide SHIPPING! NO extra costs! NOTE – No need to type a coupon – Price will be reduced after added to cart.

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polymer clay tutorial ink cuff

When becky from “Nunn Design” offered me to play with her findings and add polymer clay and micro macrame I couldn’t say no :)

Becky is the fairy of findings. She has a unique collection of beautiful products called “Elements of Inspiration®” creating wearable art and elegant jewelry. Bezels, shanks, pendants, glass, earrings, rings, bracelets, pewter, gold plated, silver plated and so much more – Anything for your art, style and colour.

So I headed to her catalog and chose findings to create with. Hard choices! So many great stuff there! but I was having polymer clay in my mind and how to use it along with her findings: clay sheets covering metal channels or combined together inside loops, tubes, circles and earrings. I couldn’t stop at polymer alone so I’ve tried it with macrame knotting as well. Haaaa! what a joy! The final result is so stylish and elegant! A complete upgrade of your regular findings!

Polymer clay & alcohol inks sheets – Free Polymer Clay Tutorial

My first on the list were the cuffs and earrings, I made a polymer clay sheet decorated with inks and goodies. The technique used here was a part of my “INKredible Polymer 2” class using various materials on clay and adding alcohol inks

First step was to prepare the sheets with colours and patterns. The sheets were rolled medium-thin in the pasta machine to fit the cuff channel blank (see on top of the photo). I used a piece of paper as a template to measure the exact size I’ll need for the metal blank. I have used my beloved stencils for both sheets – the “Doily” stencil pattern and the “Infinite Stars” pattern. (as for all the other secrets ingredients you’ll have to own the class to know ;) Second step was to decide where to place the template (hard decision!! LOL), I think I changed my mind a hundred times :) Placing and cutting. Liquid polymer clay was used to adhere the raw polymer clay sheet onto the metal blank, this will assure a good bondage of both layers together after baking is complete. Make sure you work on the rounded edges to fit your design. You want the cuff to slide onto your wrist without scratching your skin. Remember to fix the cuff size BEFORE baking. Polymer clay is not flexible after baking and if you change the size of the blank after the clay is baked you may crack or break your pattern. Ready to bake!  I’ve added a pair of earrings to go with it by simply cutting a circle smaller than my metal loops. If you want to embed the clay inside the circle, either use an x-acto knife and cut around the inside of the blank or look for a circle cutter fit the diameter of the loop. I didn’t have such a cutter so I made them smaller. They dangled nicely on my ear. Clear resin was placed on top of all my beads to protect the pattern from rubbing off in time. Using clear resin on curved shapes is tricky so I used very little amount of it, making a thin thin layer. If you prefer to use a spray (PYM spray or other varnish), choose your preferred sealer. #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

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Want to see what I made with Becky’s Tube beads & a simple micro macrame pattern?

Micro macrame can be knotted into many shapes, sizes, widths and lengths. I chose to use channeled beads and fill them with knots. I could fill them with polymer clay but for these findings I wanted a different look. The knots used here are called “Cavandoli” knotting. This kind of knotting creates a tapestry design, a geometric pattern and is very common to create special visuals such as letters, pixel drawings etc. I’m sure some of you did it when you were children making friendship bracelets. :)

The cavandoli knotting is based on the Vertical Double Half Hitch knot (VDHH) and can be created freely or with a planned pattern. (If are not familiar with macrame knots, you are welcome to check out my “INKredible Macrame” 29 classes set divided into B.A, M.A & Ph.D levels which include basics and comprehensive video patterns.)

In the tube beads I used leftovers of cords from other projects and created lines of knots. Leftovers are perfect for this type of knotting. I’m using Brazilian “Linhasita” 0.8 mm wax coated cord and created a main holding cord with cords hanging on it (using the larks head knot). The number of cords depends on your cord thickness and the size of the bead channel. I placed 11 cords (folded in half = 22 cord) and knotted for 8 rows (counting the first top mounting row as the first one).

After completing the design (whether planned or spontaneous) I made sure I have 2 sets of cords to secure the sheet onto the metal tube bead (like a small carpet wrapped and knotted around a log).

This means I left 2 sets of cords longer from the sides to be able to tie them after completing the row knotting. If you want to have more knots – leave longer cords on the edges, (next time I would leave 3 sets – one from the top, one on the bottom and one in the middle to get a tighter closure)

Here is a very short knotting video showing the movements of the cords and hands (no sound) –

That’s it!

A gallery of the final pieces – Aren’t they beautiful? 

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~~~~ DON’T MISS!!  ~~~~~ A special offer available for “Nunn Design” subscribers – Use coupon code “nunn” on checkout and you will get an EXTRA 15% discount on all tutorials including the “INKredible Polymer” series and the “INKredible Macrame” series!

You can order them separately (each project individually) or as a set with kit, CD and goodies!

Thank you! :) Iris Mishly

micro macrame knotting pattern

Have you ever thought of combining polymer clay, a hand watch and micro macrame cords?

In the early days we used to wear a watch to know the time. Now we have our phones…

In my recent designs I was looking for original ways to play with knotted designs and one of the ideas popped in my head was a “watch-necklace”; Something large, bold and pretty. I started a quest looking (and “borrowing”…) friends and family vintage “drawers-stored” old hand watches and use them as a part of a long necklace design. The final result is an impressive, unusual knotted jewel especially when upgrading the look with polymer clay beads!

Make them long, short, make them large or small, add an earring set – Everything goes!

Micro macrame knots and waxed cords are used to connect both pieces together while using the watch side bars (metal tubes connecting the straps) as connecting points to the different elements and cording.

Some of them had slightly different connection on the back side so I had to play with the cords until I found the trick. It’s not perfect yet but I’ve learned a lot by trial & error! I’m sure the next one would be better!

Here is another batch of my recent polymer-macrame-pendants right out of the oven;

—————- In these designs I am using beads with the “INKredible Polymer 2” technique using various materials over polymer clay sheets combined with alcohol inks.

The “INKredible Polymer 2” class is now offered for a special 20%OFF sale until May 16th 2016;, No need to type a coupon, price will be reduced after added to cart! Don’t miss it! http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product/complete-inkredible-2-alcohol-inks-polymer-clay-tutorials-ebookvideoscd/

Ready to add cords to your beads? All micro macrame patterns are also on sale here – http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/micro-macrame-pattern/

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Now go search your drawers! You may find a treasure hidden there! ?

polymer clay tutorial stencil

Have you ever wanted to create quick patterns using stencils? Lupe Meter, one of my students, took my stencils freebie and made a whole new parade of beads! Aren’t they fabulous?

Stencils are the “low cost” version of silk screens. You can use them with paints, chalks, sprays, inks; You can use brushes, sponges or even your fingers! Their holes/patterns are large enough so they will not get clogged or blocked with paint, they can easily be cleaned with baby wipe or water and some of them have an adhesive back so you can also use them on other surfaces such as paper, metal, glass, ceramic, wood and polymer of course!

When I use stencils, I personally prefer to neutralise their adhesive back using cornstarch. This way I can handle their positioning easily and lift and re-arrange them on my clay sheet if necessary.

To neutralise the adhesive back I use a small fabric bag filled with cornstarch and punch the stickiness away. you can use an old sock with no 2nd partner or a disposable fabric wrapped in a rubber band as the cornstarch holder. The cornstarch prevents the stencil from sticking to the clay. This usually works for 4-5 uses and after that I repeat the “corn starching”.

I use my stencils in many of my classes including the INKredible 2 & the Cosmic Ceramic “Time for Tea” & “Xiang Incense sticks” class.

Here is a free video to learn how to use stencils on polymer clay as faux silk screen sheets creating beautiful fabric patterns – In this express tutorial we will create funky cool and colorful earrings using stencils as patterns, chalks or soft pastels and embossing powder to mix in our clay.

For the projects we will need — * Embossing powders in all kind of colors, textures or patterns; * Stencils; * Cutters (earring shapes); * Soft pastels / chalks;

► How to create quick and easy silk screen patterns using stencils – polymer clay earring project

=========> Don’t miss! STENCILS Special!

ALL STENCILS are now offered in a 15% off discount! & FREE shipping!

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NOTE – No need to type a coupon – Price will be reduced after added to cart,

Offer expires April 24th midnight!

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* – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * – * Have fun and enjoy!

polymer clay purse tutorial

~ INSPIRATION ~

It’s amazing to see how artists work in different crafts.

Victoria Ellis is working with earthen clay. She uses a technique called bas relief which means carving or sculpture in which the figures are raised a few inches from a flat background to give a three-dimensional effect. Soon after her design is drawn onto a paper, she starts to transfer it into the clay with a pen – tracing the image. She uses a fountain pen and then the design is transfered directly to the clay as a print.

She uses cutting tools to slowly remove & carve out the lowest areas, but always careful not to break the surface as it is not very thick. It’s fascinating to see how well Victoria masters the process and technique. She uses a variety of tools, dentists tools, wooden tools – so similar to our polymer clay world.

Bas relief is a technique definitely will work with polymer clay, a beautiful inspiration.

Enjoy!

~ STUDENTS SPOTLIGHT! ~

Sonia Pinho from Portugal sent me a photo of her recent creation following my purses tutorial.

She says it all started as a game, creating a purse both from polymer clay and a braided string instead of a purse made completely with clay. The base form was made with clay, then covered with strings (using quite a lot of glue according to her) but the result is fresh and so original! The rest of the process was made following my “Brocade” collection purse tutorial – adding zipper and inner padding.

 

 

What is your idea to cover a polymer clay base purse? fabric? beads? dry pasta? clay flowers? That’s the fun about mix media! You can use so many materials!

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Enjoy a special Easter discount – ALL “Brocade Collection” tutorials are on sale – 25% OFF! PDF only, or a complete kit! NOTE – No need to type a coupon – price will be reduced after adding to cart.

Offer expires March 29th 2016 midnight. CLICK ON LINKS BELOW to order your own purse kit – Special goodies are included when ordering the complete set! http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product/the-complete-polymer-clay-brocade-collection-zippered-purses-tutorial-ebookvideoscdkit/ ———–

Happy Easter!

micro macrame pattern

My polymer clay made it into the “Examiner” magazine! I’m happy to share my story & interview written for the Examiner magazine.

The Examiner magazine is a dynamic, news and lifestyle network that serves more than 20 million monthly readers across the U.S. and around the world. The magazine itself was new to me but I was so happy to find all sorts of polymer clay related articles in it!

In the interview, Ms. Meagan Meehan, a NY Art Examiner, challenged me with a variety of questions on how I started my polymer work, what are my beliefs, inspiration, business advice to other artists and plans for the future. We even discussed my future-to-be grandchildren! LOL ;)

It’s quite a long interview (I didn’t know I had so much to say!) but if you’re wonder how, why and where – all the answers are there!

http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-polymer-clay-artist-iris-mishly

Thank you for taking the time to read, I’d be happy to hear your feedback in the comments below :)

polymer clay micro macrame necklace

Each year I am kindly asked to send donations to polymer clay guilds organizing events.

These jewelry donations are being auctioned and the earnings goes to a worthy cause.

This year have sent 2 polymer-macrame jewellery sets: One set was sent to the Orlando polymer clay guild “Orlando Fandango 2016” event, and the other set was sent to the Central Oklahoma guild – “OK Poly-Clay 2016 Twisters Retreat”.

Both sets were created with beads from my INKredible technique, using alcohol inks, paints, stamps & stencils and micro macrame knotting taken from the “INKredible Macrame” master class.

The knotting technique is using the shape of the bead to create the design itself, nothing is planned ahead :) Your base bead can be round, teardrop shape, oval etc.

First, the bead is wrapped using a knotted setting (like in this bracelet), then, the cords are gathered into 2 groups/sets – one to create the top part of the design (sometimes divided again into several groups) and the second group is decorating the bottom part of the bead. The cords do not have to be long as we are simply creating our pendant. The long necklace is attached to the finished pendant, later. I love to use the cords and add single beads to make a sort of a tassel!

I am using the Linhasita cords which are cotton cords treated with a wax finish (made in brazil). These cords have the tendency to give a neat and accurate look.

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Embellish your beads with macrame knotting!

Enjoy a special 25% discount for the upcoming Easter holiday on ALL “INKredible Macrame” & “INKredible Polymer” tutorials! NOTE – No need to type a coupon – price will be reduced after adding to cart. Offer expires March 29th midnight.

CLICK ON LINKS BELOW to start Inking, Knotting or both! Special goodies kit is included when ordering the “complete sets” –

http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/micro-macrame-pattern/ http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/alcohol-inks-techniques/

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I’m sure folks at the Orlando & Oklahoma retreat will enjoy their time claying with friends and I’m happy and honored to be giving back to the community who supports me!

Take care :) Iris

 

CLICK ON LINKS BELOW to start Inking, Knotting or both! Special goodies kit is included when ordering the “complete sets” –

http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/micro-macrame-pattern/ http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/alcohol-inks-techniques/

tile-50-staedtler-irismishly-polymer-clay-macrame

In the past year I made a big change in my life.

A youtube video documenting the ecological state of our one-and-only planet Earth, made me realize something is going very wrong. I started digging inside and what I found made me look at our world in a completely different angle.

Polymer clay, inks, paints, transfers & micro macrame

But knowing is not enough. My personal way of dealing with this insight was becoming an environmentalist and I chose a vegan life style.

If you wonder what does it means to be a “vegan” – Vegans do not use any kind of merchandise made of or by animals for food or others, both from ecological and ethical reasons. Sadly, the animal industry (with the “amazing human touch”) is the one responsible for most of environmental destruction (you can learn more about this subject in the documentary film “CowSpiracy”).

I chose to help the planet, the animals and my own health as well – and surprisingly – no more headaches, migraines, allergies – my medication drawer is getting smaller with every day going by.

Some vegans are considered radical but I can assure you I’m not, in fact, I was glad to discover my inner compassion & empathy to any living soul after changing my lifestyle. Every entity seeks security, warmth and happiness – People, dogs, cows and even ants. That being said, I was sad to discover that the beliefs I was brought up to were wrong and well manipulated by tycoons and their fortune. Things are not exactly as them seem. My polymer clay 50 years Staedtler’s FIMO tile is representing my personal call – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. A quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

Cross stitch planner is used to write the letters, then transferred into the macrame knotting

I’ve used both polymer clay and micro macramé. The polymer clay included 2 base sheets made with inks, paints, image transfers and stencils, stacked one on the other and decorated with wording. Stars and blue for our planet, red heart for the wounded & hurt. The macrame pattern was drawn using a cross stitch online planner and then transferred into the cords using knots and different cord colours. This technique is called “Cavandoli knotting”, resembling Tapestry designs. With this technique you can basically transfer any wording into cords (remember we did it in friendship bracelets back when we were in school?)

Yes, I know polymer clay is not a very “green” material but we can definitely use our art to send out a message to the world. We can not fix everything, but we can try doing our own small steps.

“Be the change” is representing being an ambassador of compassion, empathy, kindness & peace. No more blood, war or misery. This is my single pray before I close my eyes at night.

Like always, I am here for any questions. Please feel free to contact me, I’d be happy to assist in any way I can. :)

polymer clay micro macrame tutorial

A while back when I started my micro macrame adventure, I got an email from Sage Bray, the editor of “The Polymer Arts” magazine looking for article writers for the upcoming issues offering polymer clay related content on different subjects. One of the subjects was “Focals” which I thought would perfectly fit the polymer-macrame technique, after all, My polymer clay beads are used as some kind of “focals” when combining them with cords – right? Although micro macrame and polymer clay are not a popular match, it is a perfect match in my opinion! So I sent Sage my article suggestion and was very happy to be accepted, she was very excited about it! She even said she did macrame a while back!

In time, the name of the issue was changed to “Convergence” which definetly describes the beauty in mixing a variety of materials with polymer clay work. It never cease to amaze me what MORE we can do with polymer – such a magical medium!

“Knotted Together” – Iris Mishly’s Polymer Clay – Micro Macrame article

I’m very happy and proud to be a part of the new issue of The Polymer Arts Magazine – Spring 2016 “Convergence”, featuring a 5 pages comprehensive article on using cords, macrame & polymer together. The article is dealing with our benefits, as polymer clay artists, creating our very own custom-made polymer clay beads while discussing all aspects of knotted patterns combined with clay beads – bead sizes, holes (drilling after/prior to baking?), thickness, shapes, surface techniques and many more. A gallery of photos are also included to demonstrate the many possibilities hidden within cords and knotting.

As a bonus you will get a photographed earring set tutorial AND…Since learning micro macrame knotting from pictures is challenging, I am offering FREE videos for you to practice and experiment – ALL included!

If you’re considering joining the macrame “wagon” – feel free to use my 10% off coupon code: type “10%OFF” on checkout The full separate projects (or pampering kit!) are linked here – http://www.polypediaonlineexpress.com/product-category/technique/micro-macrame-pattern/

Please feel free to share this post to someone who you may think be interested in learning more about knotting with polymer!

Happy claying!

Iris <3