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Polymer Clay Mirror Frame Necklace Rack

Project by Karen Mitchell.

Materials and Tools:

1/2 blocks gold, green Premo
2 oz. bottle Translucent Liquid Sculpey
unfinished wood frame (7-7/8" x 8" with 3" x 3" opening)
3-1/8" x 3-1/8" mirror
five 5/8" brass cup hooks
picture-hanging hook and nails
Pearl Ex mica pigment powders: red russet, reflex violet, spring green, pearl white, Aztec gold
gold iridescent (heat resistant) glitter
Lumiere metallic acrylic copper paint
1" x 1-1/4" three-pointed leaf cutter
small glass or metal dish or wax lined cup
metal palette
wooden skewer
small spoon or flat craft stick
paper towels
craft knife
brayer or clay-dedicated pasta machine (Atlas recommended)
granite, ceramic tile, or acrylic sheet work surface
clay-dedicated toaster or convection oven
flat baking tray
oven thermometer
oven mitts
polymer clay gloss varnish
1/4" flat brush for varnish
1/2" flat brush for liquid clay
1/2" flat brush for acrylic paint
brush cleaner

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 265 F degrees. Place the wooden frame (without the glass) on the flat baking tray and bake it for 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Lay the frame on a flat surface, place some heavy books on top, and allow it to cool. Optional: Sand the surface of the frame after baking and wipe off the dust. Note: Supervise all baking steps carefully so as not to burn the wood frame.

3. Mix half of a block conditioned green clay with an equal amount of the gold clay. Blend the two colors completely. Roll the clay out into a 1/8-inch-thick sheet (#1 setting on the pasta machine).

4. Cut out 12 leaves. Roll green scraps into a ball and start rolling thin snakes 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick.

5. Spread a thin coat of translucent liquid polymer clay all over the flat front surface of the frame (use your finger or a brush). Place all 12 of the leaves around the edge of the frame in a random pattern.

6. With the remaining green clay, roll snakes 3/32 inch thick and 4 to 8 inches long. Start making scrolls and vines. Place vines on the frame to connect the leaves and form a decorative design. Trim ends of vines with craft knife. Once vines are on the frame, press them gently in place to adhere them to the frame.

7. Bake the frame on the flat tray for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place the frame face down on a padded surface (towels will work), and place some heavy books on top. Allow the frame to cool completely.

8. In a small glass dish, pour 2 tablespoons of translucent liquid clay. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Aztec gold Pearl Ex mica powder and mix it in thoroughly. Stipple the gold-tinted liquid clay onto the surface of the frame between the leaves and vines (use the brush). Cover all of the wood background, including the inside and outside edges of the frame, with the gold clay. Wipe excess clay from the surface of the leaves and vines with your finger and a paper towel.

9. Bake the frame for 10 minutes and allow it to cool (place it face down on a flat surface and weight with books to allow the frame to cool flat).

10. Dot a small amount of translucent liquid clay onto the surface of each leaf. Use your fingertip to spread the clay over the entire surface of each leaf.

11. Place 1/2 teaspoon of translucent into each of two sections in a metal palette. To the first section, add 1/16 teaspoon of each red russet and reflex violet mica powders. Stir the powders into the liquid clay completely to make deep plum tinted clay. In the second section, add 1/8 teaspoon of spring green mica powder, and stir it into the clay.

12. With a skewer, place a few drops of the plum liquid clay on one half of each leaf. Use the tip of the skewer to drag the clay to the edge of the leaves.

13. On the second half of each leaf, place a few drops of the green tinted clay. Drag the color to the edge of each leaf. The two colors can meet in the middle.

14. In a third section of the metal palette, place 1/2 teaspoon of the translucent liquid clay. Add 1/8 teaspoon of the pearl white mica powder and 1/16 teaspoon of gold iridescent glitter. Stir the powders into the clay. Pick up a small drop of pearl white clay on the pointed tip of a skewer. Place the tip of the skewer with the liquid clay at the center of the base of the first leaf. As the clay slides off the skewer, slowly bring the skewer up the center of the leaf, creating a pearl white line dividing the green and plum clay. When you reach the tip of the leaf, lift the skewer, and wipe the tip of the skewer with a paper towel. Pick up a second drop of the pearl white clay and place the skewer tip at the base of the leaf. This time, form a line down the center of the green half of the leaf. Repeat this step for the plum half of the leaf. Add pearl white to the other eight leaves.

15. To feather the veins on the leaves; start at the base of the center pearl white stripe on the first leaf. Using the pointed tip of the skewer, drag the point from the white into the burgundy clay, forming a fine diagonal stripe from the center to the edge of the leaf. Continue to drag the white clay from the center to the edge of the leaf at 1/16-inch intervals until you reach the tip of the leaf. Repeat the feathering on the other side of the center vein, dragging the white clay into the green. Once the center of the leaf is feathered, repeat the dragging steps for the side stripes of pearl white. Wipe the skewer with a paper towel between each leaf. Continue until all 12 leaves are complete.

16. Bake frame at 275 F degrees for 10 minutes and allow it to cool. Note: As the clay is in a liquid form, make sure to work on a level surface.

17. Use a gloss varnish to finish only the surface of the leaves. When the varnish is dry, paint the back side of the frame with a coat of super copper acrylic paint. Allow the paint to dry.

18. With a ruler, make a dot in the middle of the frame edge 1/2 inch from each side. Mark three more dots evenly spaced between the first two. Screw in cup hooks and turn the hooks in facing forward.

19. Add the mirror into the frame (this frame had metal prongs to hook it in, but you can use an industrial craft glue), and attach picture hook to the back of the frame.

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