Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prepping Friendly Plastic for jewellery making

Some weeks just don't go the way you plan. I know I promised you a follow up post to the Friendly Plastic demos I did at the Scrapbook and Papercraft Expo but I got completely waylaid trying to eradicate the gremlins that got into my website instead. Three days and 18 hours later it's almost restored to how it was and it's all functional again with just a few minor things still to be fixed. Needless to say, I learnt a whole lot more about basic web design - but it's boring stuff.... I'd much rather be creative in the studio than fix websites!

And now that that's behind me, it's back to the "how to" I promised you.

So far, you've cut your strips of Friendly Plastic, re-fused them together in a great combination of colours, marbled them and cut them out into shapes. Now what?

Well, it's quite simple really. To prepare your marbled Friendly Plastic cutouts ready for assembly into pieces of jewellery you'll need to coat them with resin. For a really thick, glass-like coat you can use Envirotex Lite but I usually use Easy Cast because it's versatile and can also be used for casting. Other papercrafting products like Dimensional Magic, Diamond Glaze and similar products will give you a nice gloss finish but won't stand up to the rigours that jewellery needs to withstand. They are better suited for coating pieces you intend using in papercrafting projects.

Firstly, trim any pieces that have ragged edges using scissors.

I lay strips of double sided tape across a non-stick pan and line up all the pieces I want to coat with resin. The tape keeps them still so you don't have to chase them all over the tray when you apply the resin.I always measure and mix the resin as per the manufacturer's instructions. Measuring the two parts properly will ensure that your resin will cure.... so does mixing it properly. I mixed 7.5mls of part A and 7.5mls of part B which was enough for two trays of cutouts.
Then comes the tedious bit - applying the resin. You'll need a tool to spread the resin evenly across the surface of each piece. I use a disposable plastic pipette but you could use an old paintbrush or even a paddle pop stick. Just make sure you spread the resin right out to the edges and if you can, coat the sides also. It will make for much more durable pieces of jewellery.
If there are any bubbles on the surface, you can gently blow through a straw to pop them.

And that's it. Not so hard at all!

Set the pieces aside to cure for 24 hours and then they'll be ready for you to turn into your own unique pieces of jewellery. Cover the trays with a plastic container so you can see through it and you'll be less likely to bump them accidentally. The cover will keep the dust off the resin until the pieces are cured.

And then comes the fun part - the design possibilities! But I'll save that for another day!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can't get enough Friendly Plastic?

A big hello to all the lovely crafters who stopped by the Stamp Antics stand at the Scrapbook and Papercrafts Expo to say hello and check out what Friendly Plastic is all about. I hope you picked up lots of valuable pointers and are inspired to create your own wonderful Friendly Plastic projects.

But what's that, I hear? You didn't get enough Friendly Plastic info on the weekend! Well, don't despair.... you can get more. Why not get some hands on experience in a class situation where you'll learn how to work with Friendly Plastic first hand. The Lumpy, Bumpy, Spotty and Dotty class has sold out, but I'm doing a repeat class on the 22nd June so you don't have to miss out on learning how to make this fun and sparkly bracelet. Give Stamp Antics a call (3393 3022) and the girls will be happy to book you in.

Can't make it to the classes? Well, for members of the Bribie Island Community Arts Centre, you'll be able to come along for a session on Friendly Plastic on Thursday 8th July. I'll be your host for the morning and will take you through all the basics of working with Friendly Plastic. Time permitting, I'll also show some more advanced techniques. And to get you really excited about the possibilities of working with Friendly Plastic I'll have a large display of pieces so that you can begin to see the possibilities of working with this wonderfully versatile medium.

I have more demos and classes scheduled for later in the year both locally and interstate so keep checking my class schedule and also the sidebar of my blog (Where you'll find me) for details.

In my next post I'll be working with all those lovely demo pieces and I'll show a little bit of a "how to".

'Til then.... keep crafting!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friendly Plastic demos

This weekend the annual Scrapbook and Papercraft Expo is on at the Brisbane Convention Centre and you'll be able to catch me demonstrating how to work with Friendly Plastic each day at the Stamp Antics stand (Saturday and Sunday from 12pm - 2pm and all day Monday). Not sure how to use Friendly Plastic? Then stop by to see all the basic techniques being demonstrated and pick up some tips that will have you working with Friendly Plastic like a pro in no time. One of the things I enjoy doing most with Friendly Plastic is making jewellery, but Friendly Plastic is also a great product to incorporate into your scrapbooking and cardmaking projects. Check out the album of samples at the stand for some fun ideas.And of course, it's your chance to ask questions, so please do... I'll be happy to answer them.

I hope you'll stop by and say hello and maybe start your new adventure with an old crafting favourite.

See you there!

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dotty, Lumpy, Spotty and Knobby

Or maybe you just call them polka dot! Got any idea what I'm talking about? No? Then read on........

I had a brilliant idea last night. Actually it came to me many months ago but it wasn't until last night that I could see how my idea might work. I've wanted to do this for such a long time but wasn't sure the idea would translate very well into Friendly Plastic and last night was the night I decided to test it out.

By now you must be thinking that I've come up with the most clever Friendly Plastic idea ever, but that couldn't be further from the truth. You see, I'm talking about Bumpy Beads, just like those colourful glass beads that glass artists make. But, as with many of the Friendly Plastic beads I make, they are not meant to mimic the real thing, I've just borrowed a style and translated it into Friendly Plastic.What a bunch of fun beads! And I've really enjoyed making them up into a these cool bracelets.
Vibrant pink and BlackDelicate PinksDramatic Black
Soft Green and Blue

I'm thinking that this could go in a lot of different directions and I'll try to combine some other ideas with the spots in future bead making sessions so look out for those in the coming weeks. I'm also thinking this might mean making bigger beads so that I can incorporate different design elements on the one bead.

Hope you've enjoyed today's eye candy.

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The BEST Craft Organiser ever!

Bringing order to my studio space is a constant tussle between having a space that is tidy and easy to work in, as opposed to a creatively chaotic space that is truly inspiring. Sometimes I like it chaotic but at the moment I'm striving for the "easy to work in" environment.

Studio organisation is a process of evolution. What worked well when I first set it up in October last year needs some tweaking and re-organising now, and some of my storage systems need re-purposing. At the time I didn't bring all my supplies into the new studio, only what I was actually using. That was such a good move as I haven't touched any of that stuff and it's not taking up valuable studio storage space. But on the other hand, I've realised that if it's out of sight, it's also out of mind so in an effort to make what I already have in the studio more accessible I'm tackling the organising monster again!

And just as my studio is a constantly evolving space, so are my storage needs. My bead drawers are a great example of this. You've seen them before in this post and this one. They worked quite well when my collection consisted of only a few strands of beads, a dozen or so packs of loose beads, some bottles and tubs of glass bead mixes and a selection of findings in different coloured metals. But now that my collection has expanded, I need a new way to store them so that I can see what I have. My husband to the rescue!

Last weekend he spoiled me with a new storage cabinet in kit form which will house all my loose beads and plain coloured 12 x 12 papers. Lucky girl to have such a thoughtful husband! So Sunday's task was to assemble and fill it. It's a Mini Stackable from the BEST™ Craft Organizer range.
Having assembled a number of pieces of Ikea furniture over the years I'm now quite a deft hand at assembling flat-pack furniture and this piece was a breeze to put together because of its simple construction: back, sides, top and bottom all fit easily into place using simple cam bolts. Next, pop the runners in place............. slide in the drawers and paper racks, place the bead trays inside......and fill it up - so much fun! In no time I was sorting my beads. Oh, how much prettier they look and now that I can actually see what I have, I am more likely to use them! I've now also freed up some space inside other cabinets that can be better utilised to store more bulky items.

No doubt I'll need additional units to accommodate my ever-expanding collection of beads and findings down the track. But that's the great thing about modular units: you can always add to them or rearrange them as your needs change.

And that, I think, is the key ingredient to a studio that functions well: versatility. Being able to re-purpose and re-use storage is essential to staying organised so that time is spent crafting instead of organising.

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs