Clay and Stencils and Glitter, Oh My!

This tutorial was originally found over on Artistcellar's blog. Just in case you missed it I wanted to post it here again because I am pressuring myself to finish this project in order to do a follow up post!

I have been in a bookmaking mood lately so when I saw the Sacred Geometry 2 Stencils I knew I must use them in some way. To add a bit of a challenge I told myself I could not use them with paper. Like most people, I think, I tend to use my stencils mostly with paper and ink so I wanted to shake things up a bit. I decided to use polymer clay as my cover material for my book.

(Now, I am not a clay expert. I took a little class a few years ago and have read alot of websites on the subject just to get a general idea for my simple structure. It was enough to get me started.)

After conditioning the clay in my pasta roller on thickness 7 I used a template made from a cereal box to cut out four rectangles from the clay. I sandwiched a piece of hardware mesh in between two pieces of clay to help reinforce the covers. To add the first layer of texture I grabbed an old bumpy piece of concrete rock and pressed onto the clay all over the surface, front, back and edges. It created a lovely organic, weathered texture. Yay! Now I am left with two covers ready for for stencil action!

I placed the stencil gently on the clay where I wanted it and using my trusty ol' awl I started tracing the stencil, etching into the clay. Ooooo, fun! When finished I removed the stencil and with the awl I added dots to all the corners. Oooo, more texture! Now it is time to bake!

After being baked and cooled I gave the edges a light sanding and started thinking about paint color.

Wanting to add more depth I started with a raw umber acrylic paint and rubbed it into all the lines, nooks and crannies. I wiped the surface with a baby wipe leaving the dark color in all the lines. Yep! Just the direction I was envisioning!

I gathered acrylic paints in green gold, Indian yellow hue and Pthalo turquiose and using a combination of washes and dry brushing I started building layers of color. The trick to layering color is making sure you let a layer dry before you add another one. 

When I had the layers just right I wanted one more element of surprise. I needed something to make the front cover different from the back. I looked on my art table and there the answer sparkled at me. A small bottle of magic, silver Stickles. Yesssssss. I went all crazy, ignored that precision tip and just applied those magic sparkles with my finger. Whoa! I just applied them on the part of the cover with the stencil. Weeeeee! Unexpected and awesome.

Ta-da! I have a beautiful cover ready to become a beautiful book. 

I hope to finish this in between teaching elementary students the wonders of Kandinsky and wrangling my own crazy daughters. The finished book will be found on my blog in the near future. Have a creative day!

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