Stitch Marker Case | Art Elements Challenge

The team at Art Elements hosts themed monthly challenges, which involve a reveal and blog hop at the end of the month. The theme for June is Sunflowers, picked by Sue.

I read the theme announcement, and recalled this small, cubic container that I’ve appropriated for storing my stitch markers. I’ve always wanted to decorate it using polymer clay – nothing elaborate, just a background layer and a button each in the middle of its visible faces. I imagined sunflowers as the buttons, and decided to go ahead. For a project that I wanted to make for so long, I ran into quite a lot of unexpected turns, and the results were not what I expected. I’m still wondering if I can make some modifications, so this project is still a WIP.

Polymer Clay Stitch Marker Case

Possible next step: mute the background a bit so it doesn’t overwhelm the sunflower buttons

I started out with the background, deciding to play with alcohol inks again. I drizzled some inks on a long strip of white Premo! clay (this goes around the body of the case), and spritzed it with alcohol, both when wet, and after a while when it dried up a bit. The pattern didn’t quite turn out like I expected it would, but I decided to use the strip. I followed the same process with a square sheet of clay for the lid.

For the sunflowers, I wanted to use different yellow clays from my stash. I used a mold to make flowers with each of the yellows, vertically sliced each flower into 5 roughly equally-wide pieces, then swapped pieces between different flowers. Now each flower has stripes of slightly varying yellows, and I like this look. (The flowers look a bit wan now on the bright background. In hindsight, I should’ve lightened the background – maybe by covering it with a layer of white-tinted-translucent clay? But well…)

Meanwhile, I realized too late that the case is not all metal like I’d somehow always thought it was. (Weird how we sometimes don’t notice things right in front of us.) Only the lid is metal, and the rest of the body is plastic – unbakeable, sigh. Should I try a different material? I didn’t really want to. I remembered reading about some polymer clay artists getting around this problem, making their plastic container bases withstand the baking by filling them up with water to the brim. (I should’ve tested this out before I covered it with clay, but well… :))

* I finally found the water tip, demonstrated (with pictures) by Garie Sim.

I put things together, covering the case with the background sheets, and adhering the flowers using a bit of liquid clay. The flowers still fell down or slid down a bit though, so I used a heat gun to bake them slightly and keep them in place. I burned one of the flowers in the process, but then thought “why not?” and burned the rest in a controlled manner. I’d originally thought of antiquing to highlight the texture of the flowers, but this works too!

Then came the baking, with the case filled to the brim with water. I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious and uncertain since my first ever polyclay bake. I’m happy to report that the water-filling tip was a great one! The case is completely undamaged, and the clay still fits the case well.

All things considered, I’m amazed that this project was at least this successful – there were way too many go-with-the-flow moments with this one – and as always, I definitely learned something new. Thank you, Sue, for the inspiration that finally got me working on this long overdue item from my list! I hope I finish it to my satisfaction soon.


Since this is a blog hop, I hope you check out what the AE team and the other guests have made for this challenge!
Guests: AlysenAnita (you are here) • CatDivyaJillKathyLindaLindaMischelleNormaRavenSarajoTammy
AE Team: CarolineCathyClaireJennyLaneyLesleySue

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40 thoughts on “Stitch Marker Case | Art Elements Challenge

  1. It sounds like a serious (and fun) experiment. I am frankly a little scared of any type of clay so it is interesting for me to see and hear of other’s experiments

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    • Thank you Divya, it’s fun to share the things I try out, and interesting to hear what people think about them! If you ever end up playing with clay, I’m pretty sure you’ll wonder why you never did before. 😉

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  2. Anita I love the vibrancy of your case and such as interesting process…it’s great that you experimented and turned some problems into positive….that’s what these challenges are all about after all! 🙂

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    • Thank you Lesley! This project was definitely wonderful as far as experiments go. I’m hoping its conclusion will fit in well with the fun ride. 🙂

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    • Thank you Cat, I’m glad I tried out the water tip, and I guess I was lucky to have recalled it in the first place. Things/tips not used frequently tend to be forgotten, don’t they? 🙂

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  3. Anita, like Alysen, I’m so glad you were inspired to try something new! I think your sunflowers look great, I love that what was a mistake turned into a design element! Thank you so much for playing along with us this month!

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    • Isn’t it wonderful when mistakes become features? 😉 Thank you for the inspiration this month, Sue! I’m loving what everyone’s done.

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  4. I enjoy reading about your process and it made me laugh how you turned the accident of overheating the polymer clay to a way to add colour! It could also have been me overlooking that a part of the box is plastic 😉 The box turned out really cute and wonderful bright! 🙂

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  5. I love your little case for your stitch markers. What a clever way to dress it up! I would have been afraid of attempting the baking of that container even if it was filled with water. But it turned out just perfect. Well done!

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  6. I enjoyed reading about your experiment in baking the container. I had never read about the water trick. The ink background is wonderfully vibrant and the overall effect is really cheerful and lovely.

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    • Thank you Tammy! The water trick was a total life saver for this project. I’m so glad this post wasn’t about a melted heap of plastic. 🙂

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    • Thank you Niky! Go with the flow projects definitely take us off the beaten path. Even if I don’t like the results at the moment, I find that in time, I like and appreciate them better than my ‘safe’ projects.

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    • Thank you! The colors will end up less vibrant when I eventually finish the project, but it definitely turned out cooler than I’d imagined. 😉

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  7. Love making our everyday functional items into little works of art, so that they bring us joy every time we use them. You’ve certainly accomplished that with this sweet little box.

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    • Thank you Linda! Yes now I do not want this case ‘cooped up’ inside my yarn cupboard – I want it outside where I can see it all the time. 😀

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  8. Divya, I read the blog without connecting it to a writer and when I was finished I thought to myself what a lucky ending for this brave soul. Then when I realized it was you and I thought –it figures Divya would do this. She is always up for trying something new and doing a great job with it.

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    • Thank you, Ginny! Oh yes, you definitely need to find some cute accessories – they add that touch of adorable fun to the knitting! 🙂

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