Transparent Sailing Ships

<0%s little box depicts a caravel sailing ship o: the kind that was used by Christopher Columbus, the box is made of white clay, but you could use narbled browns instead to give the impression of urned wood. If you choose to do this, use white instead of transparent clay for the sky mixture; Hotherwise the brown would show through.


^(Clav - white, transparent, dark i brown, black, yellow, blue and 1 luiquoise

•Small jar or egg cup, about 3cm tliiin) in diameter, to use as a innncr for the box I'Aluminium (oil (Talcum powder (Tricing paper and pencil ■ (Gloss varnish ilKTURES (Sky blue - transparent + trace

Ii,Huc -\ Follow the instructions for

110, making the box and (Gold = yellow + trace of brown ... ... , . , .

' ltd with white clay and apply ing a white disc to the top of the baked lid. Trace the outline and transfer the design to the soft clay in the same way. Roll out black clay to 1mm (&in) thick and make squares for the masts and spars (see page 112, step 6). Outline the hull in brown and fill in, adding a line of gold.

Outline for sailing ship mosaic

Apply turquoise squares to outline the waves and then a line of blue, filling in between with sea blue. The sails are mainly cream, with some white to highlight them and brown to define the sides. Finally, fill in the background with larger squares of sky blue. Bake the lid for 10 minutes and varnish the whole box. The inside of the box can be painted in a contrasting colour with acrylic paint.

Outline for sailing ship mosaic

Polymer clay is absolutely ideal for making your own buttons. After baking, the clay is washable up to 40°C (104°F) and can even be washed in a washing machine. Hand knitters can make buttons that are exactly the right size and colour to match their work, while home dress-makers need never be at a loss for just the right buttons. You can invigorate a garment with novelty buttons or make a colour mixture to blend perfectly - the possibilities are endless.

Many of the techniques described in previous chapters can be used to decorate buttons.

Stamping, metallic powders, marbling, millefiori and painting can all be applied very successfully.

Keep button designs as smooth as possible. A wonderful-looking design that will not pass easily through the buttonhole is extremely irritating. Small threads can catch on sharp edges or protuberances, so try to keep these to a minimum.

♦ As long as a button is smooth, it does not have to be round. Asymmetrical buttons are perfectly functional and offer new design possibilities.

♦ Always make the holes big enough for sewing the button to a garment. It is best to make a small dip between the holes in which the thread can lie to prevent it from becoming worn.

♦ Polymer clay buttons are best made with holes right through them. It is possible to glue a shank to the back of the button, but this will not be as strong.

♦ All polymer clay buttons can be washed by hand and most can be machine washed to 40"C (104°F). If you paint or varnish your buttons, it is safest to hand-wash.

♦ Bake buttons for 20-30 minutes to harden them as much as possible.

quaking a basic round button a

Forming the button

Roll a 6mm (Kin) log of clay and cut equal lengths. As a guide, 6mm (Kin) lengths will give 13mm (Kin) buttons, and 13mm (Kin) lengths will give 15mm ('Kin) buttons. Form each length into a ball and press it down on the board with a flat fingertip, keeping the button as circular as possible. The best thickness for most buttons is approximately 3mm (Kin).

q | ovf.lty buttons

Novelty buttons are always popular with children, and polymer clay can be used to make a wonderful variety of lively novelty buttons that will give home-made clothes a sparkling individually. Two designs are given at the end of this chapter, but do try experimenting with your own ideas. Some of the designs in the earlier chapters on animal jewellery and novelty brooches can be adapted to make buttons, especially the pig earrings, the penguins and the clowns. Make the buttons flatter and smoother than the jewellery and avoid any legs or ears that stick out, because they may catch or be broken off in use.

Piercing the button

Indent the centre of the button using a marble, the edge of a coin, a pen cap or the end of a paperclip, depending on the effect you want. Pierce holes in the button with a wool needle, enlarging them slightly by rotating the needle in the hole.

Oak Leaf Stamped Buttons rble iperclip îoles in hem

To make the oak leaf stamp form a 3mm (Kin) ball of scrap clay into an oval and ;s it on the board to make a shape. Use a blunt wool le to make indentations all uid, pushing the tip of the riiedle into the side of the leaf.

veins. Form a short log for handle and cut off one end. Site the oak leaf and handle for Émit 10 minutes. When they [irecool, glue the oak leaf to the ,-j:end of the handle.

ce you have mastered the technique of making simple round buttons, you can decorate them in a variety of ways. Stamping is an effective form of decoration becausc, once you have made a stamp, impressing a pattern is quick and easy.


♦ Clay - golden-yellow, white and scrap clay for the stamp

♦ Talcum powder

♦ Brown powder paint or artists' pastel

♦ Small plastic button

♦ Matt acrylic vamish



2 Roll the biscuit day into a 6mm (Kin) log and cut 13mm (Kin) lengths. Make these into plain round buttons (see page 116). Dust the buttons with talc and press the oak leaf stamp into the top and bottom of each button. Mark a small stalk.

Make a channel for the thread by impressing the edge of a small plastic button into the centre of each button, then make two holes with a wool needle. With a soft paintbrush, dust the edges of the oak leaf impressions and the edges of the buttons with brown powder. Bake for approximately 30 minutes and, when cool, varnish with matt varnish.


The floral buttons opposite have been made using the stamps described on page 94. They were then either left plain, or the design was picked out in acrylic paint, or it was brushed with metallic powder.

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