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Mermaid Scales & Barnacles


Maybe you follow me on Instagram and you remember seeing a story where I showed lots of mermaid scales? It's OK if you don't; but what I needed the mermaid scales for was this...

The whole "mermaid scales & barnacles" theme/idea started in June 2017 after sculpting different styles of mermaid scales on jars and by the third one, the idea had already evolved into something much deeper. I talked about this much more in depth in my "Going with the waves" blog post.


Despite the theme being the same with a few new additions like a net and anemones, there's something different about this jar.

Ever since I'd sculpted my third mermaid jar, I wanted to add a turquoise/emerald tint to the jar so that it resembled water. I tried tinting my first jar with resin and a colouring agent (maybe fabric or glass paint, can't remember) so that it was a just a hint of colour; but having never used resin before, the mixture became really hot (maybe combined with the wrong paint) and as soon as I poured it in the jar and tried to turn it, it solidified. So I ended up with a lump of what looks like emerald rock or crystal at the bottom of the jar.

So this time, I used air-dry glass paint (there's another type that needs to be baked at 160°C to set, so no good for polymer clay. It might be okay tinting the glass first and then baking the clay on top, but I didn't know if baking the paint several times would make it soft again; as I've had noticed that in previous jars I've decorated). It was a bit tricky to do, maybe because I chose to sculpt on it first and then add the paint, so it did end up in some unwanted places. But for a first attempt, I'm quite happy with the result.

The only thing I'm not very happy with is the smell. Even though you can only smell it when your nose is right above the opening of the bottle, I find it very strong and I feel it's harmful to use it as a vase. Despite flowers being already dead when one puts them in a vase, I feel they wouldn't last a day absorbing the nasty chemicals from the paint, and that's not what I'm about. I'm also not a 100% comfortable with having these chemicals in the air.

So on the good side, it looks gorgeous and with practice it can look amazing; on the other hand, I don't like the strong odour of the paint. It could be that it's safe, but the smell alone doesn't inspire me confidence. So I guess I'll have to find more information about this paint or look for other alternatives.

If you want to see me at work and have an idea of how I sculpted the mermaid scales and barnacles, you can watch the video below.

Thank you so much for reading and I'll catch you next time.

Love, Mai.


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My Polymer Clay Book

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