Sunday, 31 August 2014

Handmade Clay Buttons Tutorial

                             Making Handmade buttons
                                           (Easy tutorial for everyone!)

This is the ripple cushion cover I worked on to match my quilt

I like to make projects that have many of my handmade goodies in them and making crochet cushions and cardigans that require buttons is a great way to  do this!  I love the feel of clay in my hands and although Fimo is a polymer, plastic clay, it still reminds me of the many years I was a clay artist in New South Wales, Australia.

- A rolling pin* ( it’s best to keep this for clay and not to use it with food)
            *you can use a tin of soup instead of the rolling pin J
- Knife without serration 
- Skewer (metal is preferred but wooden if you don’t have one)
*** A tiny straw is excellent for making holes in the clay.  Push it through and the clay goes into the straw making a very neat hole. 
- Baking paper ( *Gladbake or similar)
- A metal tray
- playing cards  - these give you uniform thickness when you're rolling the clay
- Leaves, linocuts, crochet motifs, wood with texture, buttons with raised designs like flowers, tiles with raised designs ,anything you can get a relief print from
- if you don’t have playing cards, you can use two magazines either side for the thickness of the rolled clay
- old magazine pages (Please do not use newsprint) 

-***  metal cutters with sharp edges like scone or cookie cutters ( I have a series of metal cutters from kitchen shops which are oval, round and square.  You can freehand cut out the shapes if you don’t have cutters.  This makes them even more rustic and handmade!  
- acrylic paints if you wish to make your own colours

 OVEN – turn your oven to 150degrees C.

- Fimo clay/ polymer clay SOFT is preferable as it’s easier to knead
( you can choose white or cream and paint it with acrylic paint) 

knead the clay
1. Clean your surface and put old magazine pages down to work on.
2.  Prepare your polymer clay by kneading it.

           - Colours can be mixed to create a marbled effect.
           - Purchase white or cream as you can paint the buttons with acrylic paint to get the coordinating colour as I did with the cushion cover below.

3. Place two stacks of playing cards a distance apart on the magazine paper. 
4.  Roll out your clay between two small stacks of playing cards.  ( I use between 5 and 8)   The thickness depends on your choice for the buttons.
5. Press the textured objects in before you cut out the shape of the button.
6. Have your metal tray ready beside your working area with baking paper on the base.

Sections of the linocuts of my owls were perfect,. Here are just some of the textures that can be pressed in

Bottom left hand corner shows the metal cutter I use to make the oval shape.
Use tweezers to remove the leaf from the clay
This small perle cotton motif is perfect for texture

7. Press the shaped metal cutter into the clay to get your button.

Buttons all cut out and ready to bake

8.  Pick up your button carefully and place it on the palm of your hand.  Carefully use a skewer to poke two holes in the clay.  Smooth the back side of the button where the skewer went through with your finger.
9.  Handle as little as possible.  Put the ‘buttons’ into the metal tray on the baking paper.  The button will shrink only a tiny bit.
10.  Bake at 150deg C for 15 mins only.  Overcooking can cause the buttons to brown.
11.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Sew them onto your project and show me! J 

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