Hope you are all well and enjoying the sunshine we've been experiencing in the UK during the last week. I had a great day at Flutterby Crafts teaching a lovely bunch of ladies how to make a Fimo bullseye cane and decorate beads as well as another session on the fabulous Efcolor enamelling. If you're interested in Fimo jewellery then I've recently uploaded a few projects and technique guides to get you started... and there'll be more to come soon!
One very good question that I've received via the 'contact us' page came from Debbie who asked if it was possible to use a stone polisher for polishing Fimo beads. As there may be more of you out there who are wondering the same thing I thought it worth mentioning here in the blog. And the answer is yes, you can use a stone polishing tumbler to polish and buff up your Fimo beads! Instead of using grit as you would to polish stones you need to use either wet and dry sandpaper or small, rounded, smooth but not polished, river rocks. If purchasing from a garden centre or builder's merchant here in the UK you need to be looking for pebbles or gravel from which you can pick out smooth pebbles that are no larger than 10mm and that are not jagged or cracked. If using wet and dry sandpaper either line your tumbler with it or cut it up into small pieces and don't forget to put some water in. If you want to buff your beads further then cut up small pieces of white denim or acrylic fleece and tumble that with your beads - this time without any water. If using a rubber barrel (not plastic) you may need to line it with a double thickness of denim to prevent discolouration of your beads.
I have always hand sanded my Fimo with wet and dry sandpaper as I don't own a stone tumbler and it is accepted as the best way to achieve the finest finish. (Always use it wet as that way the fine polymer clay dust is trapped in the water and you don't breath it in.) However, it does take quite a lot of time to achieve a superb shine - I tend to do it whilst watching tv as not only is it is time consuming but also thoroughly boring! I generally tend to start with a 360 micron and end with an 800 micron. For extra gloss you can then coat it with a layer of Staedtler's Gloss Lacquer - if sanded smooth before application I find you can't tell that it is coated in lacquer, all you see is an extra sheen. Also if you are happy using the lacquer you don't need to be quite so fussy with the sanding.
However, if you don't want to waste any time on sanding and polishing then a stone tumbler is the way to go - just leave it working for a few hours and let it do the work for you. Do bear in mind that it can be anything up to 6 hours for the first stage after which you will need to remove the rougher stones leaving only the really smooth ones for another 4-5 hours to achieve a truly polished look.
Happy Crafting everyone!
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
March's Product of the Month projects sheets are now available, and if you've never used Colourcraft's Brush® Sprays and Crystal Colours before, I strongly advise you to download them to give you inspiration on where to start. They are such highly pigmented colours you can create some truly lovely effects with them. Whether you're a card maker or scrapbooker I'm sure you'll find a use for them.
I've been having such fun with Colourcraft's Brusho® range I thought you might like to see extra pics of what you can do with them.
These scrapbook pages have had sprays & powders applied and then left to dry.
Some of them were then cut up and used as decorative backgrounds for some quick and easy photo cards.
I use kitchen roll to blot pages or mop up excess colour. I leave it on one side to dry and then lay it on a piece of old cloth with parchment paper over the top to iron it flat. This I also use as backgrounds on cards because you can get some really amazing effects!
I also love working with Colourcraft's Brusho® on Tyvek - you can create some wonderful pieces whether you heat them or just leave them as they are.
You can also cut out shapes before you heat it, as I've done below. Alternatively you can leave it as a basic shape such as a square for a card background.
If you do decide to have a go, don't forget you need to protect you work surface and hands etc with plastic and gloves as they are such intense colours they can even dye wood! (Which is handy if you are interested in making children's wooden toys!) If you are concerned about any colour coming off your work when finished don't forget you can spray with fixative (as you would when using chalks) or alternatively use varnish. For scrapbooking projects make sure you use an acid-free varnish.
I hope, whatever you do, you have fun being creative!