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Polymer Clay Keepsake Memory Book

Martha Aleo shares her process for making her polymer clay keepsake memory book.

Materials and Tools:

slicing blade
pasta machine
oven
4" x 4" ceramic tiles
6" x 6" ceramic tiles
baking sheet covered with aluminum foil
heat gun
silk screens*
shallow dish filled with warm water
natural sponge for cleaning silk screens
scissors, cellophane tape, foam brush
straight pin or toothpick
colored and translucent polymer clay
liquid clay
6 photographs
computer, color printer, scanner
computer photo paper that will accept liquid clay transfers
acrylic paint
embossing powder in desired colors (metallic powders look nice)
white craft glue
wide ribbon or fabric
colored pencils, gel pens
4" x 4" cardboard template
brayer
texturizing sheet
*Doilies, lace or stencils may be substituted for silk screens.

Steps:

1. Scan six photographs into the computer. Resize the scanned images so they will fit a 4" x 4" square of clay.

2. Print the pictures on computer photo paper.

Note: Consult the liquid polymer clay manufacturer's specifications on the type of photo paper and computer printer to use for best photo transfer results.

3. Color the pictures with colored pencils and gel pens as desired. This looks nice with black-and-white and sepia photographs. Be careful not to scratch the pictures.

4. Cut out the pictures using a craft knife or scissors leaving a 1/4-inch border around each photo.

5. Place a picture on each of six 4" x 4" ceramic tiles. Tape the edges of the pictures around the border with cellophane tape.

6. Coat the pictures with a thin layer of liquid clay applied with a foam brush.

7. Let the tiles sit on an even surface for five minutes to make sure the clay is evenly applied. If there are any air bubbles, pop them with a pin or toothpick.

8. Place the ceramic tiles on an aluminum covered baking sheet and bake the tiles for 15 minutes at the manufacturer's suggested temperature until the liquid clay is clear. Allow the tiles to cool completely. Add another layer of liquid clay and bake again. Let the photos cool.

9. Remove the photos from the tiles. Place them face up in a container of water to soak.

10. Remove the pictures from the water and peel the polymer clay off the paper backing.

11. Use your fingers dipped in water to carefully rub away any lingering paper using a circular motion. Be careful not to scrub off the ink that has transferred from the picture to the clay.

12. Condition translucent clay in a pasta machine. Roll a clay sheet to a #4 thickness.

13. Using a cardboard template and a slicing blade, cut six 4" x 4" sheets of translucent polymer clay and place one sheet on each of six ceramic tiles. Trim the pictures and press one picture, clay side up and ink side down, on top of each sheet of transparent clay. Use a brayer to adhere the pictures to the clay sheets and to squeeze out air bubbles.

14. Place the tiles on an aluminum-covered baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at the manufacturer's suggested temperature. Let cool completely on the tiles.

15. To make the covers, cut two sheets of polymer clay (can be any color) rolled on the thickest setting of the pasta machine to 5" x 5". Trim and place the sheets on 6-inch square ceramic tiles on a baking surface.

16. Paint the clay sheets with acrylic paints and silkscreen patterns. After using a screen, place it in a vat of warm water immediately to keep the paint from clogging the holes. Note: Clean it completely with a natural sponge.

Note: Doilies, lace or stencils may be substituted for silk screens.

17. Sprinkle a square with embossing powder and melt it with a heat gun.

18. Keep layering the paint and the embossing powder until you have an ancient textured appearance. Repeat for each square.

19. Coat the squares evenly with a thin layer of liquid clay. Bake the clay squares in the oven for 30 minutes at the manufacturer's suggested temperature. Let cool completely.

20. To make the inside memory book covers run desired color of conditioned clay through the pasta machine on a #4 setting with a texture sheet. Cut the clay into two 5" x 5" squares and two 4" x 4" squares.

21. Bake the clay squares on a baking sheet in the oven for 30 minutes at the temperature suggested by the manufacturer. Remove from the oven and let cool.

22. To assemble the keepsake book, glue one 5" x 5" outside cover squares together with one 5" x 5" texturized square, back to back. Repeat with the other two 5" x 5" squares for the back cover.

23.Cut a 3-3/4" x 22" piece of fabric.

  • Measure in 4-1/2 inches from one end and glue one of the 4-inch photo squares to the fabric using white glue.
  • Glue another 4-inch photo square onto the fabric strip1/2 inch from the first photo square.
  • Glue the third 4-inch photo square onto the fabric strip spaced 1/2 inch from the previous one. Let dry.

24. Flip the fabric strip over and glue the three remaining 4-inch photo squares back-to-back with the first three photo squares with the fabric sandwiched in between.

25. There will be 4-1/2 inch piece of fabric extending beyond the photo squares on both ends. Let dry. Fold the squares up like an accordion.

26. Glue the end of the fabric to the textured side of the 5" x 5" front cover and repeat with the other end of the fabric, gluing it to the inside of the back cover.

27. Glue one 4" x 4" textured clay square on top of the fabric on the inside of the front cover and the second 4" x 4" textured clay square on the inside of the back cover.

28. Gently fold up the book like an accordion, place it on a flat surface, and weight the polymer clay keepsake memory book down with a flat object. Let dry for several hours.

As an attorney working in the Philadelphia, Pa., court system, Martha Aleo's days aren't very crafty. But at night and on the weekends, her creative talents kick in! She enjoys working with glass and metal and she even has a kiln in her basement for ceramics and glasswork. She also enjoys beading and crocheting.

Website: marthaaleo.angelfire.com

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