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Monday, August 9, 2010

Halloween in August: Wrapping up working in clay

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

We have been very busy around here and are working around the clock to wrap up the new Halloween collection in clay. We thought we would go over a few more items before we get into sharing the painting process with you.

Last week we completed the clay sculpting and all the ornaments have been swirled and baked and each one needs a light sanding and then we wipe off all the dust. Sanding is a very tedious but important step. It allows the paint to adhere to the ornaments better.

We feel we have created a nice collection of ornaments to celebrate the Halloween & Autumn season. We can't wait to show you all. Above is one of our fall designs which shows a tree in the field dropping its colored leaves.

Here is another shot of the swirls being added

Here is the original thumbnail sketch for this designs that we changed a bit after sculpting it in clay. We removed the bird from the tree and added a house in the background. Even though we have pretty tight sketches and ideas in the beginning, we never know where the design will take us once we start sculpting.

We use 12 x 12 cermic tiles (which you can get at a hardware store) to work on because these tiles can go right into the oven to bake and it saves us from handling the ornaments to much so we don't distort the designs.

We picked the shelving unit at Michaels to help us with the many tiles we have around the studio waiting to be swirls and baked. We'll have as many as 12 or so tiles around the studio during a collection and trying to find a safe spot is tricky and this unit seems to be helping out some, by giving a place to store them.

Always trying to stay organized and keep things together we got these boxes (above) to keep all our paper templates and eraser stamps (below) in one place. So if we need to create more of a design we will know where to find them.

Happy sculpting!

Stay tuned for our next post where we will begin working in paint.


  1. That sounds like a lot of work. How do you sand around all of those details?

    I absolutely LOVE the piece you showed here. Can't wait till it's painted!

  2. Hi Laura,
    Very carefully. We use a 150 fine sandpaper. It makes a huge difference even thou it takes FOREVER. But if we don't the paint just beads up on the ornaments making it very hard to paint.

  3. Hi Lianne and Paul! I think the reason the paint beads up after baking is because of a residue that either comes to the surface when baking or comes from the oven itself. Sanding obviously works to get rid of it, but have you tried rubbing alcohol or Acetone? They may work to cut that surface residue and would be a lot less work for that type of production.

    I love to meticulously sand polymer clay to get a rich shine, but if you're painting it anyways, you may not even need to sand if the liquids will work instead.

  4. Cindy,
    Thanks for the tip. We will definitely try it and see. It would be awesome if we can get rid of that step.

  5. I LOVE watching your work process. It is sooo inspiring!!!


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