Jewelry box

Since I barely managed to finish my quota of last month’s PCA courses, I decided to start early this time. πŸ˜€

Jewelry box - after

Jewelry box

Jewelry box - before

Jewelry box (before)
Image used from the online store’s website since I forgot to click a picture before I started. πŸ˜€

Teresa’s course is about beautifying a wooden jewelry box using painting, silkscreening, decoupage and resin. Amongst all PCA projects I’ve worked on so far, the lack of materials where I live is most evident in this one.

For the painting — the acrylics that are available here are kinda tacky, and they dry quickly to a rubbery texture; I find they’re unsuitable for a large variety of ‘advanced’ projects that interest my sis or me. Silkscreens are not available locally at all, and as for the resin, I was going to buy it only if I could come up with a layer that’s worth the gloss. So I set to work on the project with whatever I could use. (I was actually surprised I could find a jewelry box to work on. πŸ™‚ )

I had to first flip the lid of the box inside out, since it originally had a flat outside and an inset on the inside. However, the reverse is what works for this project.

I managed to paint the box fine — a red-brown base layer, and then some white and brown lightly distressed texture over it. I toyed around with the idea of an image transfer onto the surfaces. (Looks like my latest project is still on my mind! πŸ™‚ ) But I’m still not sure that the transfer will turn out 100% alright. If it turns out patchy, that’ll be the end of this box, since I won’t be able to cleanly wipe the ink away. Instead, I tried using a texture stamp to imprint some nice patterns on the box, but it turned out pretty bad. In the end, I just used the texture stamp on a sheet of clay, and lightly ‘antiqued’ it with white paint post-bake. I also added a clay border to the inset since the textured sheet didn’t really warrant using resin. I finished with a thin layer of Mod podge instead.

My project is nowhere like Teresa’s, but I still like it since it turned out perfect to store our antique jewelry. πŸ™‚ My sis wants to decorate it even more, and I can’t wait to see how she’ll enhance it!

Miniature Fairy Garden

Before I saw Lisa’s Fairy Garden Ring video on PCA, I’d not really given much thought to these whimsical creations. Lisa’s course resulted in a whirlwind Pinterest tour of fairy gardens, and it’s quite delightful to look at all those miniatures. πŸ™‚

Miniature Fairy Garden - PCA 2017

Miniature Fairy Garden

For my version of the project, I omitted the ‘ring’ and made only a fairy garden. After all, I don’t fancy wearing a ring that has protruding sections that are in danger of getting chipped or broken. πŸ™‚ This garden is about 2cm across and 2.5cm tall.

I have worked on a sugar skull keychain before, and that involved working with tiny parts, which turned out to be a lot of fun. It turned out that working on a fairy garden is also a lot of fun, and for the same reason. Sculpting tiny landscapes with tinier details is involving and relaxing.

I made the base in a plastic cap so it won’t get squished while I’m working on the surface details. But then, I wouldn’t want the cap to melt in the oven during the bake. (Duh!) So I had to remove the cap later and give some texture to the sides. Thinking back on it, I should just bake a textured base first, and then start work on the surface. That would involve some liquid clay for gluing, of course. Or maybe the plastic cap way isn’t too bad, since it wasn’t much effort to remove the piece and texture it.

I added some mod podge layers for the final gloss, and now the piece is on my desk, and I love looking at it! ❀

Foray into clay

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my jewelry making supplies, or lack thereof. I’ve mostly been interested in trying out wire jewelry so far, but I’ve not been able to find thicker-gauge soft wire — essential for cool jewelry πŸ˜‰ — where I live. The only other option is ordering from stores outside my country, and I’m not ready to undergo the hassle of international shipping every N months, and all that waiting for the package to clear Indian customs, with no way of tracking its whereabouts. πŸ™‚

So I decided to look for other types of jewelry-making that I could try out, and this time my choice would be based not only on my interest, but also on easy availability of essential supplies.

Enter Polymer Clay.

My sis already has a sample pack of 20 mostly-earthy-and-pastel colors with her that she’d bought from a domestic company, and she’d made an awesome bowl and some cool coasters with it a long time ago. I, being in my wire-jewelry world, hadn’t given much thought to polymer clay then. But when we talked about my supply issue, and she mentioned polymer clay, I was like “Why haven’t I looked at this yet?” Because I’d definitely seen some cool polymer clay stuff on Pinterest.

So I went through some basic polymer clay videos on YouTube, appropriated my sister’s polymer clay supply (muahaha!) and made these dangle earrings.

First polymer clay dangles

I rolled some gray clay into a sheet, and cut out two rectangles. I stamped some circles on the lower half of the rectangles. I then hand-rolled some white clay into a rope, and gently set the rope on the rectangles, above the stamped area. I poked a hole at the top of each rectangle to let a jump ring through later. I baked the pieces at the recommended temperature.

After the pieces came out of the oven, I applied some prussian blue acrylic paint on the stamped halves of the rectangles, and quickly wiped it off lightly so the paint still stays in the etched areas. Some paint remained on the unetched surface as well, but I do like that it turned out that way. I let the paint dry.

I then applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the pieces, inserted jump rings and added earring findings. Done!

Needless to say, I’m happy and excited about my foray into polymer clay, and I’m buying some tools when my basics get better. (Yes, tools do seem to be available in India. Hurrah for that!) I’m hoping it’ll be a rewarding hobby.

Valet tray

I’d been thinking of making a small tray that would hold not only my car keys, but also arbitrary jewelry items like the hair clips that I regularly use, or small accessories (like said clips, earrings, bracelets…) that I’d pick out for wearing the next day. So I recently made one using papier mΓ’chΓ©. Technically, this one’s a bowl and not a tray, but who cares, right? πŸ˜›

Valet tray / bowl I didn’t click pictures while I was making it 😦 so I’ll just verbally recount the important steps. I first selected a plastic bowl as the base to use in shaping the tray. I then prepared a flour-based glue. For the paper, I tore up newspapers randomly. Hand-torn is preferred (instead of clean-cut) because it helps the pieces form a more seamless surface.

Then came the construction of the tray — this took a while because the paper pieces need to be stuck in multiple layers, and every layer has to dry out before the next layer can be worked on. For the first layer, I spread some paper glue on the base surface and stuck a paper piece on it, brushing some glue on it. Then another piece followed by a coating of glue, then another piece and so on. When the layer was done, I set it outside for air-drying. Another layer followed, then another, until the structure was strong enough to independently hold its shape — that is, without the plastic bowl base — while I work on the next layer over it.

At this point, I removed the plastic bowl; it came off pretty easily after the first few nudges at its rim. More layers followed, both on the inner surface and the outer, until the tray was thick enough. I finally made the rim neater (but still kinda uneven — I liked how the uneven rim looked) by adding folded strips over it. That was the paper base done.

I then borrowed my sister’s gesso to prime the bowl for painting. After letting the gesso-coated tray dry, I painted it a rough, uneven gradient of yellow, orange and red acrylic colors. Finally went a couple of coatings of Mod Podge to give it a nice finish.

Valet tray / bowl I totally love this tray ❀ and it’s been in regular use for a while. I’m now looking for an excuse to make another that we can use! πŸ˜‰