Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

We're barely seeing any buds outside, but Mom's dollhouse is in full bloom! We're spending the day with family, so I'm taking a break from posting today.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Beaded Handbag Ready for Spring!

This is the latest beaded handbag I've made. I was itching to try out the new colors of the Martha Stewart micro beads I bought at Michaels. The only old color I used was the green for the "leaves", since the greens in the new set of beads were all a little on the minty side. I was surprised to see two containers of gold beads in the set. Looking a little closer, one of the gold bead containers was labeled "copper" and was a slightly warmer tone than the other. I used the "copper" beads on this bag but they look more like a rose gold to me.

As I was working on this bag, I noticed that I now have a large enough range of microbeads in shades of blue to try an ombre effect on my next bag. I'll probobly work on that next!

Tutorial instructions for making your own beaded bag can be found here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tutorial: How to Make a Flocked Teddy Bear

When I posted this doll last week, I promised a tutorial for the teddy bear. These cute little guys are really easy to make, and look great sitting in a toy box or on a bed. You don't need much experience with sculpting: the bear in the photo above was made on my second try!
You will need:
polymer clay in tan
2 extra large black no-hole beads for eyes
light brown flocking
brown acrylic paint
fine-tipped paintbrush
junky paintbrush for applying glue ( I used a foam brush)
liquid sculpy

pink pastel chalk
silk ribbon
1.Start by sculpting the torso. Just roll an oval for the body, and pinch the top into a pointed cone for the shoulders and neck. I also like to pinch the bottom a little, to reduce the width of the bear's hips.
2.Next, roll out a snake of clay. Cut in half to form bear's legs.

3. Attatch legs to the torso. A dot of liquid sculpy at the join helps the clay adhere.

4.After I attatched the legs, I decided I wanted my bear to be sitting instead, so I fussed around with his legs a bit. It would have been better to attatch his legs this way in the first place. I also gently bent the bottoms of the legs upwards to form feet.
5. Roll a second snake, slightly thinner than the legs. This will become the arms.

6. Cut arms from the thinner clay log. Use dots of liquid sculpy to join to the bear's body where the torso begins to narrow into the neck.

7. Bake your headless bear according to package instructions.

8. Roll a ball of clay to form head.

9. Use a little liquid sculpy to attatch the unbaked clay head to the hardened clay body.

10. Gently pinch a slight snout in the front of the head. From the side, your head should look rather like an egg.

11. Press the two black beads into the clay as eyes.

12. form two tiny balls for the ears.
13.Use the back of a paintbrush to cup ears.
14. Attatch ears to the head using more liquid sculpy.

13. Bake acording to package instructions.

14. When bear is baked and cool, brush a light coat of glue over bottom half of bear (feet and legs). I like to use a landscaping glue that dries with a mat finish, so that the glue doesn't shine between the flocking. Don't let the glue pool in the cracks.Place the bear in container of flocking and shake until coated.

15. Allow to dry. Try not to touch the wet flocking. When glue has dried, shake or blow on bear to remove excess flocking. The last two photos show the difference between the bear just out of the flocking, and then with the excess flocking removed.

16. Repeat glue and flocking on the upper half of the bear. Don't worry if the eyes are covered with flocking, that can easily be scraped off with your fingernail when dry. Allow to dry again.

17. Repeat flocking as many times as necessary to cover bald or thin patches. I had to flock my bear three or four times to get a nice dense fur look. You can see in the photo below that I missed a spot on the shoulder. There's flocking on that lighter patch, but it isn't as dense as the rest of the bear.

18.When all flocking is dry, and the eyes have been scraped clean of flocking, use your fine paint brush and acrylic paint to add a triangular nose and mouth on your bear.Be especially careful when painting the mouth! It is very easy to make the mouth too wide! If you do make a big mistake in painting, you can sometimes cover it up with a little flocking.

Finishing touches: I like to brush a little pink pastel dust inside the ears. You can also give your bear a bow made of silk ribbon , or a scarf made from a scrap of jersey.

You can see how slight changes will give each bear you make a unique character. While my bears have long, skinny bodies, the bear below has a round face and small, flat ears compared to the one above. You don't have to stop at just bears! With different coloring, slightly larger ears, and a wire tail, the bear above could have easily become a mouse instead.
Edit: I've had several people ask where to buy flocking. I've found it for sale at dollhouse shows and craft stores. Ladybug has it listed in her online shop, and I've also seen it listed on Amazon. I don't know any specific sources for purchasing flocking if you live outside the U.S. but hopefully you should be able to get it from one of these places!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Finished Jewelry Display

... or at least mostly finished. The counter, jewelry and perfumes are  pretty much done, but there are still two shelves behind the counter that I need to fill.
The counter started off as a rather oddly shaped bookcase. I added some interest to the back of the shelf with strip wood and brass jewelry findings.

You can see that one of the flowers didn't quite glue flush against the counter. I used a little putty to fill in the gap. It was all looking a bit plain, so I brushed over the details with some gold rub'n'buff.

I hadn't glued the jewelry down yet, which is why some of the velvet displays are crooked in the photos. The two big perfume bottles photographed a little more red than they are in real life. The real color is a bit closer to purple.
 I only had one gold chain small enough to make bracelets. I got a bit creative with the no-hole beads in order to make each bracelet look different.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Egyptian Collar

I know I said today would be the finished jewelry display, but the photos are stuck on my camera at the moment. So instead, here's another experiment with micro beads. 
I mixed a little brown paint in with the protective mod-podge coating, to tone down the colors and make the necklace look older. It was a little nerve wracking to see all that work vanish under gloppy brown, but it cleared up as it dried.
This in-progress photo shows how bright the colors were originally!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Sneek Peak of Some Jewelry

This is a sneak peak of a larger project I've been working on.  I was in a bit of a girly mood last weekend, and decided to play around with some jewelry findings and no-hole beads. My favorite is the little peacock brooch (far right)
I covered the  displays with white velvet. Of course, I couldn't stop with just three little boards! Come back on Saturday for a look at the whole display!
Yesterday I went to a craft store to pick up a tube of gold rub'n'buff, which I needed for the jewelry display. What was supposed to be a quick stop turned into a much longer trip, since I kept wandering around the store finding more things to add to my basket. I don't have any pressing need for the paperclay, but bought it because it's never in stock when I do want to buy it!

 Continuing clockwise from the clay, I picked up a set of Martha Stewart no-hole beads for making beaded handbags. Most of the beads are pastel, which was exactly what I needed. I also found some little metal charms which I'm planning to use as stamps. Some of the smaller ones may be good for making tooling leather books. I grabbed another paint brush (can never have too many!) My last purchase were a couple sheets of embossed metal. I'm not sure what I'll use them for yet, but they were interesting and in the clearance section, so I grabbed them just in case.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sweet Dreams

This little boy has been half-dressed on Mom's worktable for weeks. Every time she'd try to work on him, something would happen which would pull her away. But she finally finished him over the weekend.

We debated what he should be holding a lot. After raiding our extra miniatures looking for stuffed animals, nothing seemed quite right. A great rabbit toy was too tiny, and a sweet teddy bear that was otherwise perfect just wouldn't hang realistically.
After trying a few more animals, it was pretty clear that we didn't have anything that would work. So I thought I'd try making one out of flocked clay. A few months ago, I found little containers of flocking in the craft store dollar bin. They were being sold in packs of four, so each container only cost $0.25. I bought a bunch, including a tan which worked perfectly for the bear!
However, if you don't happen to have the perfect shade of flocking on hand, you can mix the color yourself. You may already know this, but I had no idea for the longest time. Ladybug clued me in. Just dump a few colors in a plastic container, seal the lid tightly, and shake until it's mixed!
 I'm planning to post step by step photos for sculpting and flocking a similar bear, but it will definitely take me a few days.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kitchen doll

One of the benefits to having a mother who dresses dolls is that I get to "kidnap" the occasional doll before they go on the show table. Mom has promised to make me a maid of all work, but until we get the details ironed out, this little girl is helping out in the kitchen.
P.S. I've added a new tutorial page to my blog, making them easier to find.  Just click the link at the top of the page, under the Wasting Gold Paper heading!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Easy Parasol/Umbrella Tutorial

In one of my recent posts, I shared the little parasol I'd made, and someone asked if I was planning a tutorial. Well, here it is!

air-erasable fabric pen
3" circle template (I traced a drinking glass)
large pin or needle

thin cotton fabric
tacky glue
three tiny seed beads*
gold spray paint
acrylic paint for parasol handle

* the beads should be as small as you can find, while still fitting on to your wire. I used vintage beads, but you may have more luck with crimping beads (which tend to be tiny, with larger holes than regular seed beads)

Preparing the fabric:

1.Start by drawing a 3" circle on your fabric, using the fabric pen and glass.

2. Cut out the circle.

3. Use the fray check to stop the edges from unraveling. I was out of fray-check, so I just dabbed a little glue on the cut edges instead.

4. Fold the circle in half, and use your iron to press a sharp crease in the circle.

5. Open the circle, and fold/ press a second time, perpendicular to the first. Repeat two more times, so that your fabric is divided into 8 equal pieces.

6. Use a large pin or needle  to poke a hole in the center of the fabric.

Making the Handle

7. Cut a piece of thick wire 4-5 inches long. I used a piece of green garden wire. Glue two tiny beads to one end of the wire, spaced about 3/8" apart.

8. Paint your wire and beads with gold spray paint (to make sure the paint stuck,  I primed mine first.) Make sure to paint your third bead as well! You can see that my wire isn't perfectly straight. So long as the part close to the beads is straight, a few wobbles on the other end don't matter too much!

Assembling the Parasol

9. Slide the fabric circle on to the wire.  Add a dot of glue to the wire on the underside of the fabric to keep it in place.

10. Glue the tiny gold bead on top of the fabric circle.

11. Use a toothpick to run glue along one of the creases you pressed into the fabric (steps 4 & 5),and press the wire to the glue-covered crease.

12. Glue each of remaining pressed  creases to the wire. I like to glue every other crease, and then go back and glue the creases in between.

13. Gently pinch and twist the fabric of the parasol around the center rod.

14. When the fabric is arranged to your liking, glue one end of a silk ribbon 1/4" from the edge of the fabric. Continue to hold while the glue sets for a few seconds.
15. Dot a second spot of glue over the glued-down end of the ribbon, and pull the dangling piece of ribbon around the parasol. Cover cut end of the ribbon with a tiny bow.
16. Paint the handle of your parasol with the white craft paint.

17. Clip off extra wire from the tip of your parasol, leaving about a piece about 1/8".