Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crafty Sunday

It seemed like a good idea at the time. You know, when you see something someone else has made and you think, "Oh, I can make that!" Then you start researching and buying materials and getting ready to make THE BEST of whatever it is, and then reality smacks you up side the head and you wake up.

This is the story of me and buttons. I've seen buttons. How difficult can this be, right?

Let's look at what I made today and you tell me if I should stick to stamping. First up, we have what I've dubbed the "sushi" buttons:

Yeah, and I don't even like sushi. I had this idea to make canes. That's where you roll out the clay really thin, layer different colors, and roll it up. I used a red/orange and white, wrapped in black. Like I said: sushi. You can see there are all different sizes and none of them are actually round. Some of them were too small to even call "buttons" so I'm calling them "I think you'll be parts of flowers".

Here's a close-up of the sushi:

Too bad that's not what I wanted to make.

Next I tried molded buttons. That's where you take a piece of clay and create an impression of an existing button. Then you can use the cured mold to make more of the original button. You just push a piece of clay into it and out it pops, the perfect size and shape. Not in my world. Here's my molded buttons:

Not one of them is round, even though the mold is. Sigh.

Here's all the buttons staged next to a dime for scale so you can see the sizes of everything:

Those little things at the top are even smaller than the non-button sushi things. I had small pieces of clay left over, so I tried a black center wrapped in white and the red/orange. More flower parts.

So what does it take to accomplish this? Here is what I call The Aftermath:

Wait - let's try that again. Here's The Aftermath:

Better. I didn't want you to think you needed a coffee pot to make clay buttons. I've scratched out everything you can ignore in this photo. All that is button-related is in the front, and includes: glass cutting board, tongs (used for oven thermometer), plastic wrap, clay (behind the plastic wrap), Polymer Clay 101 book, cutting blades, and a pasta/clay machine.

On top of the glass cutting board is my black clay button mold and a tiny spritzer filled with water that I used to help me get the clay out of the mold.

But there's more! In order to cure the clay, you need to bake it. But you can't use your own oven unless you want to clean the toxins out of it if you ever want to use it to cook food again. My solution was a toaster oven, courtesy of BR #2. (thanks!)

When you bake this stuff, you need to have good ventilation, so I'd planned to put it on the island in front of my Kitchen window, but the power cord was too short, so I had to move the island and set the toaster up on a chair:

The other chair holds my farmers market fan that I used to blow any toxic fumes out the window. The front door was also open. I don't want to die making buttons.

So, based on the initial results, and the devastation left behind in my kitchen, I'd say this was a fine experiment, but maybe not destined to be my crafty focus any time soon.

While I was considering this whole fiasco, I did some catching up in my Google Reader, and coincidence or not, I stumbled upon this post about making buttons out of ... card stock and glue. No mention of toaster ovens and toxic fumes. So I tried it.

Ack, what a mess. I am covered in glue. I need to figure out how she made this without pooling all the Crystal Effects in the middle. It looks pretty, though, and it's really easy to make!

So let's take a moment to ponder what I've just showed you. Lots of specialized, single-purpose equipment (AB would never approve), toxic fumes, more supplies to store, gooey mess. I think I might buy my buttons instead of trying to make them. But I know how to make them, and that's the important thing. I've had a learning experience.

Maybe if I wasn't so into instant gratification, I'd have more patience with these things.

Speaking of patience ... A while ago I took a Techniques class from Claudine Hellmuth and was thereby enabled to buy all of her products. Since I have so much room in this place, if I have something, I'd better use it at least once. On my list of things to try this weekend was painting on some of her sticky-back canvas and using one or more of her transfer techniques.

In order to do this, I needed to clear off enough space on my work surface to hold the non-stick mat, and I did:

That's two pieces (4 x 5.25) of sticky-back canvas. That's paper with canvas on the front and a peel-off backing. You can treat it just like paper, but oh, the texture! So I took out my paints, mixed a few custom colors, and applied it to one of the canvas pieces. Then I took a piece of this DSP:

... and glued it face-down to the painted canvas using some multi-medium. Once it had dried a little, I spritzed it with water and started to peel off the top layers of paper. Here is what it looked like in-progress:

You can see the top layer and the white core of the paper peeling off, and the pattern from the other side stays behind on the painted canvas. In other words, you're transferring your DSP to the canvas. VERY cool! Here's what it looks like as of now:

You can see the green I painted at the bottom of the canvas and the blue at the top. They show through the DSP.

What am I going to do with it? I don't know yet. But it was fun!

So you see, I've been quite busy today, yet I have made nothing but several messes that still need to be cleaned up. But I HAVE been very crafty, non? :)

Coming up this week, I plan to finish the 30 City Cards I started last week (I sold my singles this week - people are chomping at the bit!), and I also have a few requests for simple note cards that I want to make. Lots of stuff planned.

Right now I think I should go address The Aftermath and try to straighten up the Kitchen a bit. Anyone have ideas for using sushi buttons?

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. you never know unless you try, right? i think i'll try cardstock buttons some time soon, actually

  2. I remember seeing someone's blog where they made polymer clay buttons and they were beautiful. I tried it, too, and although mine were round - because I used a tiny jar to cut them out - they weren't nearly as beautiful as the ones I saw. I didn't like that they were so squared off on the sides instead of being more rounded, like real buttons. It is a P.I.T.A. to get all of the supplies out needed to make them. And it's messy, which I don't like either. I applaud your efforts and agree with Mary Dawn - you never know until you try.

  3. Bless your heart, God loves a trier. :-D
    Your ability to stay focused when all looks lost amazes me and I am forever in your debt for making me chuckle on a Monday morning.
    Think I may give these two a miss as I have no room on my 6" x 4" workspace to make a mess. Still reading every day. xxx

  4. I think you might find use for the suisi buttons during the winter holiday season? I'm sure you could tell people they're candy canes ;) or perhaps they'd look good in a goth like Halloween project? just use lots of black and red in it and they'll fit right in *heh* I think the card stock and glue button looks really good actually ;)


I'd love to hear what you really think! :-)

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