Arte Es Vida


Dragonfly Poly Pendent by arteesvida
December 10, 2006, 6:10 pm
Filed under: Beading, Clay Jewelry, Mixed Media, Rubber Stamping, Wire Work

 

 

The most difficult part of creating dragonfly jewelry is capturing the iridescent quality of dragonfly wings when they catch the light.  Art chalks are wonderful to use when working with polymer clay because there are so many colors to choose from and they blend so easily without getting smudgy and dull.  The only problem is the finished product comes out looking softer and more pastel than iridescent. However, with the right finish over them, art chalks can re-create the light-capturing quality of real dragonfly wings.  This is achieved by “double sealing” the clay, first with a coat of Liquid Polymer Clay (LPC), which is cured and cooled, and then with a coat of shiny acrylic finish.  I use Future Floor Finish because it heat sets in a way that makes it even more glossy and more durable then if you air dry it. 

Pearl Ex powders and luminescent style paints work well but they are much harder to blend (especially for beginners), as well as being more expensive and difficult to find.   One of the best things about this project is all the supplies you need to make it (with the exception of the LPC) can be found at your local discount super center, as well as any arts and crafts supplier! 

Supplies:

White polymer clay

Translucent liquid polymer clay

Future Floor Finish

Art Chalks (I used greens, blues, and purples)

Glass beads

18 gauge art wire in purple and green

Dragonfly rubber stamp OR Wings Template

Pin backing with a safety clasp

 Tools:

Clay working tools for cut and smoothing

Large needle or small wooden skewer

Foam applicator brush (I use a make-up sponge) for applying and blending art chalks

Small paintbrush for applying LPC and Future Floor Finish

Clay dedicated oven or toaster oven

Wire cutters

Needle nose or round nose pliers

Metal file

Jewelry grade adhesive such as E-6000 or Jewel Glue

 Directions:

Make The Wings:

Designing the wings doesn’t have to be difficult at all!  You have a couple of different options.  You can mold the wings from a rubber stamp of a dragonfly (I used StampCraft Stamp Number #440D78), or in order to have better control over the size of your dragonfly wings, you can use the pattern below.  Either copy or scan the wings pattern and adjust the size to meet your needs.  Impress your stamp or pattern into a ball of conditioned white polymer clay.  Trim around the wings and smooth any rough edges or fingerprints.  If you used the pattern, you will have to add the detail to the wings free hand using a needle or carving tool.  Skewer the wings through the middle so you can thread them on to the wire body after baking.

Most artistic chalk sets come with foam applicators similar to eye shadow applicators.  Either these, or a foam make-up sponge are excellent applicators for this project since they very subtly blend the colors of the chalk.  Apply shades of green, blue and purple randomly over the wings.  The sponge will do most of the blending work for you, so the edges shouldn’t smudge and become murky.

With a small-headed paintbrush, apply a thin coat of liquid polymer clay over the wings.  Bake according to manufacturer’s directions for the clay.  If you put the clay in a cold oven, instead of preheating, the LPC is less likely to plaque or bubble.

After the clay is baked and cooled, add a coat of Future Floor Finish, and put it back in the oven to heat-set for a few minutes at the same temperature you baked the clay at.  You will get a glossier finish (and a sturdier one!) than if you let it air-dry. 

Make The Head:

Roll a small ball of clay, but instead of leaving it perfectly round; leave it slightly oblong on the ends.  This will be the head of the dragonfly

Roll two smaller balls for the eyes and press them in to the head.  I gave the eyes texture by pressing them in to a window screen after I attached them to the head.  (And yes, for the record, my neighbors did think I was nuts.)

Puncture two holes in the top of the clay head for the antennae, and one in the bottom to attach the head to the wire body.  Do no push any of the holes all the way through!

Use the same technique to apply the art chalks, and then add a coat of LPC over it before baking.  Heat set a layer of Future Floor Finish over the head as well.

Make The Body:

Cut 2 ½ to 3 inches of the green art wire; curl one end up in the spiral, leaving approximately 2 inches of straight wire.  The spiral will be the “tail” of the dragonfly and they remaining two inches will be the body.

Assemble The Dragonfly:

Choose several glass beads in complementary colors with holes big enough in diameter to string over 18-gauge wire.  String two to four of them on to the wire body.

 

 

Cut a piece of purple art wire about 1 to 1 ½ inches long.  Loosely wrap it around the green wire body of the dragonfly above the beads you just strung.  Cut off any excess wire with your wire cutter and file and rough edges.

Add one more bead, then the finished dragonfly wings.  Add at least one more bead to the top and then glue on the finished head with a strong jewelry grade adhesive.

 

Cut two pieces of green wire approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches long.  Curl one end on each piece in on itself to create the antennae.  Attach them to the top of the head using the same jewelry grade adhesive.

After the head and antennae have dried completely, glue on a pin backing across the back of the wings (which are the center of gravity on the piece, even though they are not in the middle, because of their weight).  Once the glue is completely dry on the pin backing your pin is ready to wear!


1 Comment so far
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I would like to buy polymer clay for my dolls. Please quote me the price of flesh colour polymer clay (FOB and CNF Price)

Comment by Shameem Sarwar




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