Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Emoticon Polymer Clay Charms

The Boy had to create a product for his Social Studies business lesson. He chose to make Minecraft charms made from Sculpey polymer clay. When we sat down to actually make the charms, he announced we weren't JUST doing Minecraft charms. He also wanted to make Emoticon charms.


The following are the instructions for the emoticon charms. The Minecraft charms are also pictured in some of the images below but the instructions for making those are in another post.

Materials:
  • Sculpey Polymer Clay
  • Eye Pins
  • Jump Rings (I believe they were 6mm)
  • Acrylic Craft Paint - Assorted Colors
  • Super Glue (or other bonding agent) - this was used to secure the eye pin to the charm "just to be sure it doesn't come loose"
  • Clear coat spray paint - We used Valspar Clear High-Gloss Spray

Tools:

  • Wax Paper (to work with the clay)
  • Newspapers (to protect your painting surface)
  • Paint brushes (both large and small)
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters (for any eye pins that may be too long)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Ruler
  • Knife/Metal Spatula (or other straight edge tool to cut the clay into squares)
  • Baking Dish (We used an 8x8 Pyrex Dish)
  • Cooling Rack
Directions:

To make the Emoticon charms easier for "mass production" and a bit more "alike", we decided to make "stamps" from the clay.

Homemade stamps for clay made from baked clay

To make the stamps, simply form "blocks" from the clay. Then make all the symbols you need. Bake the pieces as directed then clue the symbols in place on each block. The baked clay stamps are perfect for making impressions in the soft clay.

We made a "regular eyes" stamp - :
a "winky eyes" stamp - ;
and a "squinty eyes" stamp - X

Then we made a "smiley" mouth - )
a "straight line" mouth - | 
which can also be used at an angle - /
a "big D smiley" mouth - D
a suprised "O" mouth - O
and a "tongue sticking out" mouth - P

Finally, we made an angle bracket stamp - <
and a "3" stamp - 3
to be used to make a "heart". < 3

Making the pieces separate allows them to be used interchangeably.

We used a large amount of clay to make the "stamps" for the Emoticon charms. If you aren't making the stamps, a pound of clay will yield a whole lotta charms. Seriously. Even after making the stamps, we were able to make almost 90 charms from our pound of clay.

It takes a little practice with the stamps to get a feel for how much pressure to use to make your imprints. Roll out a piece of clay and make a few practice runs before using the stamps on your charms.

Practicing with the stamps before making the charms

Once the stamps are completed, soften the rest of your clay by kneading it in your hands.

Roll a section of clay out thin (about 1/8" thickness) on a sheet of wax paper (the wax paper is simply to protect your surface). Cut the clay into 1-inch squares using a ruler and a knife or metal spatula.


Push an eye pin into the top center edge of each square until the "eye" is flush with the clay (see image below).

Press the stamps into each charm to create your desired Emoticon "face".


Place the charms in your baking dish and bake as directed (we baked for 20 minutes at 275 degrees).

Once baked, allow the charms to cool completely. I usually move clay to a cooling rack once they have cooled enough to handle.

Carefully place a small dab of super glue on each charm where the eye pin meets the clay. This is to endure the eye pin is secured to the clay.

I used both of these super glue brands successfully but if you use the Gorilla Glue gel, you MUST shake it to get the gel to mix evenly. You can squeeze out a small dollop on a paper plate and hen use a toothpick to apply it to the charms.  It also has a strong smell and the fume will burn your eyes so keep your face away from it and use in a WELL ventilated area.

 When the glue has dried, it is time to start painting. The Boy chose to use bright solid colors for his emoticon charms...red, orange, yellow, purple, teal, and lime green.


The main colors were allowed to dry completely before the faces were painted.

You can see here we had an assortment of flat and glossy paints. Since everything was getting a top coat of high-gloss cleat coat, it didn't matter whether the base coat was glossy or not.

Using black paint and small brushes, we "filled in" the imprinted emoticon faces. After the black paint dried, all the charms were given several coats front and back of high-gloss clear coat spray and allowed to dry for a couple days. This gave the charms a thick glossy finish.

To spray paint the clear coat, we placed the charms in newspaper lined boxes boxes across wooden skewers.

Attach jump rings to each of the eye pins to complete the charms.






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1 comment:

Alex AF. said...

That is such a nice idea. The charms turned out so cute! Good job. :)