Well, sometimes I still do make new items. Here are two goodies which are on Etsy, but I’ll add them to my own store soon.
Raspberries are really difficult to make, and it doesn’t make sense to make each one individually. I now have a solution for all of you budding food miniaturists! I have come up with a relatively easy way to make flexible raspberry moulds out of silicone rubber, and I am now able to provide the moulds to everyone. I am also going to explain how I use them, because they aren’t as straight forward as other silicone moulds because of the small size of the cavities.
First off, these moulds are US $3.50 for four raspberry cavities. If you prefer a mould with eight cavities, the mould will be US $6.20, currently by request (sample mould is shown in a photo below). Eight is considerably harder for me to make into one mould, and uses more silicone, but it’s easier to mould with especially if you have large hands and fingers. Plus, you can make more raspberries at one go. These moulds are currently available on Artfire and Etsy.
Each raspberry is only 2-3mm in size, which is actually really tiny. This is why you sometimes see part of the raspberry that bubbled. It’s not always easy to get a perfect one, but at this size, you won’t be able to see the faults once you use them in your miniatures.
I use coloured Fimo liquid clay and a toothpick to fill the mould. When filling the mould, try to do it slowly and put in the liquid in small amounts at a time, as this will reduce the likeliness of air bubbles blocking parts of the cavity. It helps to poke it gently to release air bubbles. Please don’t poke with force, or you will ruin your silicone mould! If you have a fine piping nozzle, that may help get the clay in, but I only use a simple toothpick, and it works for me. Also, try to fill your mould just slightly above the hole, so it makes a little curved dome. Not too large a dome, but just enough to make it easy for removal once baked.
Once you have filled all the cavities, place the entire mould into the oven. The mould can definitely withstand the 110 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to bake it no less than 30 minutes, because it will be a lot stronger and less likely to break off, if baked at the right temperature for more than 30 minutes. When removing the raspberries, I bend the mould slightly, like as if I were trying to pop the raspberries out. You will find that it won’t work, but keep it slightly bent and use a toothpick to gently pry the raspberries out, once you have loosened them from bending the mould.
Voila! Tiny raspberries!
It’s normal to have some parts break off and remain in the mould (as shown in the image above), as each beady texture is about 0.5mm, and therefore… really tiny! You can just refill the mould as usual the next time, and the remainder may come off the next time you bake a fresh batch of raspberries. I recommend using only the same colour clay for each mould. If you would like to use different colours, use separate moulds for them, since small bits are bound to be left in the moulds.
I have also tried just pushing in regular polymer clay, non-liquid, and the results are promising! You can also use this normal method if you prefer. I would still bake them together in the oven, simply because the raspberries may distort when you pull them out unbaked.
What can you do with these raspberries? Make red velvet cake with raspberries and blueberries, of course! They look great once given a nice coat of glossy varnish.
*Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for what you do with your mould, should you choose to buy from me. My methods are guidelines only, and you should adjust them to suit your own circumstances.
Sorry old fruit canes, you didn’t satisfy me, so I made new ones. I’ve finally gotten around to it! Everyone knows my old bananas, they were stylised and the 6 seeds were not in the location I wanted them to be. It was the second cane that I had ever done in my life. Now take a look at my new bananas!
The left image is the one with my new canes. The right one compares my new to my old ones. They look a little better and less stylised. It’s an improvement, but I still need to make the darker bits surrounding the seeds a little brighter next time, and perhaps the seeds could be slightly darker. Not perfect, still… but I definitely prefer them to my old crappy ones!
Mmm… Banana slices!
And my oranges… poor things, I didn’t like them at all… too yellow, too small. I kept telling myself that they were mandarin oranges, but still, in my mind, they were horrible. So, I sold the whole lot! I made them really cheap and sold them, just so I could wipe my mind clear and start a new orange cane.
As you can see, it starts off as a stump with ugly ends, but the pattern inside should look fine. I slowly reduce the cane and elongate it…
Once at 1-1.2cm in diameter, I cut it in half to investigate! Looked good, so I elongated it till 6-7mm, which should be about right. My last batch was way too tiny, and I should learn from my mistakes. And finally, I cut off the ugly ends until a nice fresh pattern started on all the canes. I was left with lots of leftover unbaked clay, which I normally re-use when I need that colour, or when I make another cane. No wastage!
Let’s compare the old with the new:
I certainly like the colour change! The size is right too, but I added an extra layer before the skin, and the entire skin part might now be a tad bit thick. Nothing’s perfect, I suppose. Hope you enjoyed the photos!
Sorry posts have been far between. For once, I’ve been busy making miniature food and taking photos! I’ve also been thinking about new products and what might better suit my audience, thanks to Andrew from Plug Market. He had a good point that got me thinking about what products to target at different audience types. A good friend, Juanita from JuanitaTortilla on Etsy, also suggested that I start selling my fruit canes. It could work, but could also backfire because I lack the seasoned experience that I need to make consistent-looking canes. My luck is almost 50-50 right now. I made an orange fruit cane while Juanita was visiting, and I think I rushed it a bit. I made the canes too small and I also forgot to add a light orange layer before adding the ‘skin’ layer. You’d think a miniature fruit cane could not be too small, but it is… I made it 3mm, but I have found that I prefer slices at 5-6mm. So, while it still looks alright, it’s not really up to my standards as I had hoped.
Here, you can see how they look in varied sizes.
Now, on to photos of my products!
These were just listed on Etsy and ArtFire, along with a listing combining the two to make a set.
These are earring charms that are part of my new line of interchangeable earrings. The ear wires come in 3 sizes, and each size comes in the whole set of colours, for even more options when coordinating with outfits. I hope these sound like a good idea… I’ll also be adding more options to allow buyers to ‘stack’ charms together.
I’m slowly getting used to making fruit canes… It’s not as hard as I used to imagine it, although, I did mess this one up when lining up the green wedges and had to redo it. Once I figured out a way to reduce the cane that worked for me, everything went a lot smoother.
I started the kiwi by making a triangle wedge and cutting it in half to put a strip of black, which becomes the seed. I join them back up, and add a layer of white on one side. I then elongated it a little and cut in half. I used one half to lay on the first one, becoming two seeded sections as one piece. I then elongated that again and cut it into 8 pieces. *phew* a long explanation for just two photos. These steps are actually the most difficult. If you get the wedges in the wrong shape, the outcome is likely to be poor as well. Sorry, I usually only like to photograph as the results start to show! I recommend books by Angie Scarr, I followed her instructions almost to the letter.
I assembled the wedges around a centre piece and reduced it slowly. The photo on the right shows the chunk is compressed slightly in the centre, and I removed the air holes.
The first picture shows the canes at 8-9mm in diameter, and still unbaked. At this point, I always get excited and I cut the cane in half quickly to see how the pattern turns out! Then I take the two halves and reduce them further to their final size, roughly 4-5mm. I cut them up into manageable sizes and bake them at 100 degrees C, and longer than 30 minutes to be sure. Don’t want to repeat the mistakes from previous canes.
Finally, the sliced canes produce kiwis! Hope you enjoyed the tour… I will try to include more work in progress photos next time, instead of just giving you the end results. I really need to remake my banana… oh, so lazy.
This is only my third time making a polymer clay fruit cane, so I can’t really call myself an expert, and this is technically not a tutorial. I have only made lemons and bananas up to this point, but I thought I would take the plunge and do a moderate level cane. I am a little disappointed with my bananas, so I will redo them at some point. Okay! On to the photo tour.
How Baby Strawberries Come from a Big Strawberry
I didn’t take a photo before this, because I was questioning my ability. So, first, I made a skinner blend cube out of red and white clay. I had trouble making it — I was too impatient when rolling it over and over in the pasta machine. I’m sure I missed 10 rounds. I had to fix it by cutting out some white chunks left in there, kneading it until it turned light pink, and then stuffed it back into the cube. It looked disastrous. Nevertheless, I decided to continue and see if my strawberry would end up as a pile of scrap clay. Next, I put in white strips by cutting up the elongated skinner blend clump into 8 pieces, and laying white clay in between them. I lengthened the one side and cut it in half to make the mirror image. At this point, the big strawberry is ready for reducing.
These are photos of the strawberry canes, about 1/8 the size of the big one. You can still see my bad skinner blend lines, but that will disappear once I reduce this further. I like how the pattern is turning out!
Would you look at that! I cut up the canes and reduced them again, until they were about 4-5mm large. Each square in the grid is 4mm. Look at how many baby strawberries I have! Almost all of them were good, and I didn’t throw away too much from the ends of the canes. Oh, and I left the ends of a couple of canes larger because I didn’t want to spoil them from stretching, and I also like how they look when they’re not teeny weeny.
After baking for 30 minutes at 100 degrees C, here are some of the baby strawberries, sliced up and ready for decorating. I like this third attempt the best… I thought I would mess it up, but I like how they turned out.
So, let me explain to you what I spent my time on yesterday, and I’ll also give you a small tour of my workspace.
After using coloured glues for simulating ‘sauces’ and creams, I realised that the glue still remains sticky. Even when I try baking it, dust and even contact with plastic makes the glue turn ugly and distorted. So I had to come up with a new idea. I started using up a lot of my liquid clay to make coloured clay sauces. The sauces bake to harden, and are slightly translucent and shiny. The best part: they are solid stiff. No stickiness. The look still isn’t quite the same, but I believe it’s a lot better than ending up with a squashed piece of jewellery or one covered with particles. I made four bottles:
I bought 3 at first, and the cashier at the Migros Do-It thought I was crazy because I came back the next day for more bottles. I completely emptied the store of squeeze bottles. At 2 Fr. a pop, they are horribly expensive!! They need to restock quickly.
Next, I made banana canes, enough to last me…. almost forever. I didn’t manage to buy these, and since they looked easy to make, I tried it. Okay, so I did make a few mistakes, but they were my first banana canes… cut me some slack! So, my mistakes were, (1) not adding enough of the yellow clay, so the dots ended up too close to the edges. (2) I tried to fix this by adding a layer of yellow clay over it, but I missed some bubbles which are likely to show up in some places when I slice the cane. (3) I didn’t bake them long enough because I was worried. My oven had been burning clay lately. When I sliced them up, the pieces crumbled. I think I wasted a good 20-30 slices by trying to figure this out before baking them again for much longer. Yes, I am an amateur and I learn from experience.
Still, the banana canes are very photogenic!
Now for the brief tour! I only took photos of my workspace, next time I’ll photograph the oven and other small areas. So this is where I sit to work. I didn’t clean up after last night’s session, so this is how it normally looks when I work. Haha… I didn’t even bother to make it look presentable. Okay, my little pasta machine on the far right, followed by brushes and pliers and tools, storage boxes for jewellery findings and scrap clay, varnish, etc. Then there’s the area where I line with baking paper, and above it is a jewellery tray, which is littered with finished/semi-finished pieces of food. On the far left is my paper ice cream box full of opened packets of clay, but you can’t see the whole picture. I’m quite embarrassed about it, because it’s such a crappy box!
Next time, I’ll be sure to add photos of the oven and the entire corner of the living room that I have taken over.