Thursday, December 25, 2008

And we have utensils!

So this is Sculpey Utensils 2.0.

After I realized that the problem with S.U. 1.0 was that I was trying to make them as whole pieces—a whole spoon, a whole fork, etc—while keeping them looking like real utensils in miniature, I decided to make the utensils in 2 sections.

I made and baked the working ends of the utensils in silver preemo (a kind of sculpey but supposedly works better if you're not working with round objects). I made them about 1/8" thick and I did not try to curve them like real utensils (which I tried to do with S.U. 1.0). They came out ok, but with a few problems:

1. The silver colors were uneven, there were streaks of different shades of silver running through it. I had kneaded the clay for a while and the streaks never disappeared. I hoped the color would be even after baking, but nope.

2. The side that was lying on the baking surface (some foil) had some texture from being in contact with with it.

To fix these problems, I sanded the pieces and painted them with a silver acrylic paint. That worked out fine.

Then I made the handles/stands. After I formed the basic conical shape, I stuck the utensil end into the top, and just for fun, poked holes all around. The handles are made in plain sculpey, since they're simple cylinders. Here's a shot. The silver parts have been baked, sanded, and painted; the blue parts have not been baked:

Then I took the utensil parts out and baked the handles for an hour.

Right after they came out of the oven and while they were still warm and pliable, I stuck the utensil parts back in there again to be sure they'd fit. After the handles cooled, I glued the 2 parts together.

The sculpey comes out of the oven darker than the unbaked form, and I was ok with that. I was just going to paint the dots silver. However, as I painted, the tiniest glittery part of silver that got on my hand would immediately be picked up by the dark blue handle which was, of course, very visible.

No matter, I thought, I'd just sand that down when I'm finished.

So I sanded. And oops, sanding leaves these light gray streaks on the surface! Of course I didn't notice this before when I sanded the SILVER parts!

So now I had to paint the handles all over to hide the gray streaks. And even though I only streaked it in one spot on one handle, I had to paint them all. But actually, I liked the result better, so that was fine. Here are the finished utensils (in sculpey and preemo) and some blueberries made from sculpey:


Anonymous said...

I think you could use finer and finer sanding paper until you get really polished look on polymer clay. I know so. Remember all those books I borrowed? That's one of the reasons that I haven't got around to play with them yet. I want the polished look, but can't stand the polishing process.


Anonymous said...

Forgot to say that I like your utensils as they are now. Really cute! But the blueberries are so realistic and the utensils are sort of cartoonish.


fingerstothebone said...

Unfortunately, I used up the super fine sandpaper when I was sanding the silver parts, but what I used was still pretty fine. Anyhow, painting it worked out well enough, and I actually like that it gave it a richer look (I painted a very thin layer of a slightly lighter color, so the dark color underneath still showed through).

Good point about the berries looking so real and the utensils more cartoonish. I had in mind something that looked like chess pieces. I think I'm ok with them looking more cartoonish.

One thing, actually two things, I'm a little concerned about -- 1. the preemo parts remains pretty flexible, probably because they're only about 1/8" thick; and 2. there are some cracks on the handle parts, probably because they're so thick (about 1"). Did your books say anything about things like that? Should I be worried about them breaking or cracking open? The cracks look to be just on the surface.

Sundry said...

As an art appreciator, let me say that I like both the utensils and the blueberries. I find the blueberries all the more astonishing and even a bit alarming because of the cartoonishness of the utensils. It shows off the flexibility of the materials and the artist.

Michael5000 said...

Cutest utensils ever.

Julie Stenning said...

Great utensils.

fingerstothebone said...

Hey, those utensils and blueberries seem to have gotten everyone's attention.

Thanks for all your comments. I'm really liking them too. And now I'm wondering about making a chess set...

Dr. Russ said...

In the future, you might want to think about silicone putty molds. You can shape the molds using real objects and the press the polymer clay into the molds. This would be extremely helpful when making multiples (i.e., chess pieces).