I’ve been wanting to make bracelets for a while now, but buying chains are always a daunting and expensive task. I started making my own jump rings, using only 19-20 gauge wire and different sized knitting needles. It really hurts my thumb and index finger when I do the coiling. Still, this allows me to make chainmaille! I’ve been playing around with a couple of simple designs using different wire colours:

I think these would be the best if I want to hang charms from them. I even made my own hook clasps! After making three, my fingers ached like crazy, but only from the jump ring making. I need a proper tool to coil them if I want to save my fingers…

I particularly like my solid copper bracelet, using antiqued and bare copper wires in 19 and 20 gauge. I got the antiqued copper wire from Malaysia, but I can imagine antiquing some myself using a sulphur solution. Sounds fun.

I attached the baby pink tart to it, since it already had a copper loop. I think I like it with just one charm!

What do you think? Should I list the bracelets empty and let people choose a charm to go with it, or list it already with one charm? New moulds arrived in the mail today, and I can’t wait to make new foods next week (after my Germany trip this weekend). I guess I will decide then, unless you guys can give me some input.

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
Large 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.

Strawberry, Half-reduced Strawberry Canes, 1/8 scale
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!

Lots of Baby Strawberries Baby Strawberries
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.

Baked and Sliced Strawberries
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.

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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:

Coloured liquid clay
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.

Banana canes

Still, the banana canes are very photogenic!

Workshop 1 Workshop 2

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.