Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog, hope you are all doing great.
If you watched my tutorial, then you know that I was going to post another "monster finger" tutorial, but then this pumpkin witch house popped into my head and I couldn't let it go.
(Side Note: I ruined my voice doing my "mummy" impression and coughed for the rest of the day, so don't do it. ^_^)
So, there are a few things that didn't make it into my video and that I wanted to mention about the making of this piece.
1. The Glass Bowl/Vase
I found this bowl/vase in the floristry section at Hobbycraft and I know a lot of people will ask, is it safe to put it in the oven? Yes. I've never had any problems baking jars. The temperature at which polymer clay bakes is quite low (110℃-130℃) and apart from that, I ALWAYS (and I mean always) put the jar in the oven first and then turn the oven on. That way the jar, the clay and the oven warm up together and the glass doesn't suffer a "temperature shock" that may cause it to crack.
If you are still worried that your jar will crack, maybe you are not that experienced or you can't tell the temperature of your oven, then air dry clay or cold porcelain work perfectly well.
I also recommend getting an oven thermometer because the dial on your oven might be telling you one thing and the actual temperature inside the oven might be slightly different.
I had to get one because all the numbers on my dials have vanished due to cleaning, and even though I know the exact position of my oven dial, I want to make sure I am not burning my pieces.
I always bake my polymer clay between 110-120℃, although it can be baked up to a temperature of 130℃. I personally never have it that high because I think it's too hot, and some pieces (like cakes) have cracked on me before.
Another reason I never have it that high is because FIMO (recommended temperature of 110℃) and Sculpey (Max 130℃) polymer clays have slightly different curing temperatures. I use both and I mix my colours so much that sometimes I don't know if they were just FIMO or just Sculpey, or a blend of both, so I have to go for the lowest curing temperature and that's 110℃, or keep it in between. This could be the reason why some of my cakes cracked on me years ago.
Another thing that has to do with curing your polymer clay, is letting it cool down before adding any more clay on top.
I know it can be a hard thing to do, waiting. But if you put liquid or solid polymer clay on top of hot polymer clay straight out of the oven, first, you might get burned, second, the polymer clay you are adding might first soften and then cook.
Moreover, while the polymer clay is still warm, it's still very weak and brittle. So I'd say either let it cool down in the oven; if your piece is stable on a tray remove the tray very carefully and let it cool down on the side like you'd do with cookies, but do not try to remove a piece from your tray while it's still hot, or it will most certainly break.
2. The Glass Paint
I used Pebeo Vitrail, but be aware that there are two kinds of Pebeo "Glass" paint. There is Pebeo Vitrail and Pebeo Vitrail 160, and they are very different.
Pebeo Vitrail is and air dry paint, whereas Pebeo Vitrail 160 has to be baked at 140℃ to be set. So of course, even if you baked the jar before adding your polymer clay, that temperature would still be too high and I would personally not risk breaking the jar in the oven. If you can get hold of jars that can withstand that temperature, then you can paint your jar before sculpting on it.
I found this out in a painful way.
I bought my first bottle of yellow glass paint for my toadstool jar months, if not more than a year ago, from the clearance section at Hobbycraft. I loved the paint, it was so easy to use and I loved the effect.
So during the summer, I made three mermaid scales jars. For my third jar, which has loose mermaid scales and barnacles, I was going to use turquoise glass paint. This is not in the tutorial, because at the time I was undecided, whether to add the paint or not, so I left it as it was in case "I ruined it" and filmed it without the paint. So, after posting the tutorial, now that it didn't matter if I ruined the jar, I went to Hobbycraft and bought the same Pebeo Vitrail paint in turquoise.
I went home, opened the bottle and poured a little paint inside my jar to paint the inside and started to turn it very gently.
"This is taking a while..." I thought naively after 10 minutes of turning the jar in my hands. The paint was not clinging to the glass AT ALL. It was like coloured water in there. Nothing was happening. So at this point, it occurs to me to read the bottle and find out how long it takes to set. And I know you figured it out by now, but low and behold, it was Pebeo Vitrail 160!
In my defense, the bottles look the same apart from the 160, so at a first glance I thought I was picking up the same kind of paint. I went back to the shop, but they only had 160, which made me realize that's maybe why Pebeo Vitrail was in the clearance section? It's discontinued?! I panicked of course. But now I know you can find Pebeo Vitrail on Amazon. God bless you.
I tried something else on my mermaid jar (which of course didn't work) but I might put that into a video and make you all laugh. You're welcome.
3. Painting Then Baking The House?
Painting baked polymer clay with acrylic paints and then baking it is safe and it will not cause it to crack or make the paint fall off or run away.
Of course this is totally optional, but I wanted to be able to paint the pumpkin evenly and then add more "green" on top. If I had painted the pumpkin after adding the green, it would have been more difficult and awkward, because I would've been trying to avoid the green areas, resulting in a sloppy and uneven looking piece.
4. Using Tin Foil For The Roof
I did say this in the video, but in case you missed it, using tin foil to make the skeleton or structure of the roof, not only saves you clay but it also allows the clay to cure properly and evenly. Big fat layers of clay do not bake properly because it takes the heat longer to work it's way through, it may be cured on the outside but not on the inside, causing it to be weak and brittle; so keeping the clay thinner allows it to bake properly.
5. The Pentacle
I enjoy reading about witches and symbolism and I really like the meaning of the pentacle which to me means the union of all elements: fire, earth, air and water with my own spirit, hence the 5 tips of the star. To me it represents the perfect harmony of my spirit and nature. The "All in one" if you will.
Of course, when it comes to making your own fantasy houses or pieces, you may want to illustrate your own beliefs.
I wanted to put this out there, because there's a chance my choice of having a pentacle may be viewed in a negative way, due to other possible meanings of this symbol which I won't mention, because I am not interested in that and I don't want that negativity to enter my space. There are only good witches in my family.
6. Lighting Up The House! Use an LED tealight to light up your house at night. It's safer, it lasts longer and it won't ruin your polymer clay. Even if you make a piece that has a real "chimney" where a real candle could get oxygen supply from, still use an LED tealight. At the most you can use a cone shaped incense if your house has an opening.
My Pumpkin House Lantern is available for purchase in my shop.
You can watch the tutorial here:
🍓 MATERIALS: Glass Bowl/Vase http://weav.me/~k5Tp (Alternatively you can use a jar) FIMO Champagne http://weav.me/~k5Ty FIMO Black http://weav.me/~k5T4 FIMO Liquid http://weav.me/~k5T- FIMO Blades http://weav.me/~k5TM Premo Wisteria http://weav.me/~k5Td Premo Spanish Olive http://weav.me/~k5TV Premo Raw Sienna http://weav.me/~k5Tn Nail Art Dotting Tools http://weav.me/~k5TH Nail Art Brushes http://weav.me/~k5TF Nail Art Sculpting Pens http://weav.me/~k5TK Silicone Sculpting Tools http://weav.me/~k5T6 24 Reeves Acrylic Paints http://weav.me/~k5TR Needle Tool http://weav.me/~k5TP Makins Round Cutters http://weav.me/~k5Ts Masking Tape http://weav.me/~k5Tx Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine http://weav.me/~k5T_ Glass Paint http://weav.me/~k5Tc FIMO Gloss http://weav.me/~k5Tw Tin Foil Toothbrush Toothpick
DISCLAIMER: I can’t guarantee that my techniques and the materials I use will suit everyone. Materials are examples and suggestions and may or may not be the same ones I used, do read the item's description before buying.