Friday, February 20, 2009

February's Tart Kit: Air Dry Clay

This month the kit includes air dry clay, a mold, and wire. You can embellish your art quilts with a face or figure from the mold, a bead or button or imprint from a molding mat all made from air dry clay. However, you do it, the result is lightweight and easy to attach. Air dry clay does not need to be baked. It will not stick to your skin or clothing and it does not crumble. You will find that it is very easy to use.

To use the mold, roll the clay into a ball the size of the impression you are going to use. Press it into the mold completely, building from the bottom out to the edges.

Place the mold with the clay in it inside a freezer for at least 90 seconds. Pop your design out of the mold by pushing gently from the back side, like you would pop out an ice cube. At this point you can add more details, or alter the molded piece. Let dry for at least a day, then it can be colored.
To use a stamp, roll out the clay to the thickness desired. If you are going to use a rubber stamp, it's a good idea to sprinkle a little cornstarch or baby powder on the stamp so it will pull away from the clay more easily. Stamp the piece of clay and remove the stamp gently. Leave the piece on a flat surface to dry overnight before coloring.

To make free form embellishments, roll clay into a ball, or sculpt into a circle, oval, spiral, or any other shape you desire. Poke holes in the clay to make beads, buttons, or charms for stitching. Let dry and color.

The drying time of the clay depends on the thickness of the piece and the humidity. Color the clay once it has dried with any type of paint. Age the clay with ink pads, shoe polish, coffee or tea. Highlight recessed areas with colored pencils or chalks. Highlight raised areas with "Rub n' Buff". Attach your embellishment with thread, yarn, beads, or even glue. You will find that it will not affect the weight of your piece.