Thursday, June 25, 2015

Unicorn Horn Charms

Up until unicorns invaded my life I was a polymer clay virgin. To quote Janet, "Now all I want know is how to go. I've tasted blood and I want more." I see this becoming addictive, the polymer clay, not the unicorns. Maybe the unicorns a little bit, they do fart glitter, and oh how I do love glitter.

As with every new journey I embark on, I gobbled up a lot of information before getting started.   One of the tastier bits was this brain tutorial from Sugar Charm Shop.  She's extremely talented, and has been kind enough to share her process for making all manner of things from cute to creepy.  She makes it look so deceptively easy, watching her work is every bit as entertaining as seeing the finished product. 

But enough about her, let us bask in the glory of two logs of clay I twisted together! Making unicorn horns out of polymer clay is not an original idea, but I thought I'd share what happens when you combine this video on marbling clay with this video on making unicorn horns.  I do the eye pin differently, that's my only real contribution here, but I've included some crappy step by step photos of my entire process for anyone that's interested.  They are crappy, trying to photograph white on white in poor lighting didn't work out so well. 

I made a page of a few things that I found especially helpful in getting started with polymer clay, if you are a newbie like me, it might be worth a gander. 

I decided to make "realistic" unicorn horns.  Yep I just decided that this is what unicorn horns really look like in the wild. Unicorns in your dimension may vary, so please adjust your colors accordingly.  I used Premo Sculpey; equal amounts of Accents Translucent and Accents Frost White Glitter and two teeny tiny slivers of Accents Silver. The white and translucent are about 1/8 inch slices off the block.  For the record, the end product was a lot less glittery than I thought it would be.  I'd still use the glitter clay again, but just a plain white would work as well. 

I stacked the clay: white, silver over to the left, translucent, white, silver to the right, translucent. Then roll the stack flat.

Roll it into a log.
Then start the marbling process.  One thing I did different than the video is I brought the ends together in the center and then twisted. Roll it back out and repeat the process a couple more times. 

Roll it back out into a log and cut it in half.  Set the one aside for now and fold, twist and roll the other one.

Cut it in half and roll both halves, tapering the ends.  Then loosely twist them together and get the eye pin ready.

This where I differ from the video.  Gently untwist the horn about halfway down, place the 'eye' of the eye pin in the center and re-twist the horn around it.  The reason for this is the 'eye' is a lot wider than the width of the wire.  Once it's baked this bad boy isn't coming out.

Trim the end flat with a sharp blade. I don't have any clay tools yet so I used the round end of this Lego piece to softly pressed in the center of the end and smooth it flat. It helps to hold the horn as gently as possibly so you don't misshapen it. 

Then I rolled just the edge of the cut end a bit and then rolled the entire horn just a touch.  Really just the teeny tiniest bit, it's so easy to roll out all those wonderful twists you just put in.  If that happens, just cut the horn in half lengthwise, roll into two tapered logs and try again. Repeat with the other log to make a second horn. 

To bake, I used the set up described at The Blue Bottle Tree, with the tile and aluminum pans clipped together.  The horns were placed in the folds of an accordion folded piece of paper so they wouldn't flatten out on the bottom   I baked them at 275 for 1.5 hours. The horns are about 1/2 inch at the widest point.  The Sculpey instructions say a half hour for every 1/4 inch, but I decided to go with the school of thought to bake a little longer just to be on the safe side. 

After they cool, wire wrap the end.  If you are unfamiliar with wire wrapping this is a nice illustration or if you like more detail here's a comprehensive video.  We decorated them with 3mm rhinestones and/or glitter glue. With kids I use Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky glue, upside is it's not toxic, downside is it's not waterproof.  So far E6000 is the only thing I've used that is waterproof, but that stuff is pretty nasty. For both it helps to apply the glue with a toothpick when using those tiny rhinestones.  The glitter glue also wont stay on forever, but its fun while it lasts. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Unicorn Poop Lip Gloss

This has been a busy year with sadly very little time for creepy crafts. The crafting I have done has not been my usual fare, but I guess it's good to step out of my comfort zone once in a while. For what it's worth I'll share what I've learned in the land of unicorns and rainbows.

There are commercially available unicorn poop lip products, but I couldn't find any that contained rainbows. Everyone knows unicorns poop rainbows and fart glitter. If your lip gloss is monotone, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you, but that is not real unicorn poop. 

I read through a lot of lip gloss recipes. I also read a lot of comments about Kool-Aid not dissolving and being bitter and honey separating, but I didn't come across any recipes that used Kool-Aid with honey. Here I've combined the two, and together they seem to play nice. Now I haven't fixed global warming, cured cancer or solved world hunger, but if you follow the steps in my Poop Gloss recipe, your Kool-Aid will dissolve, your honey won't separate and your poop won't taste bitter.

I left purple out of the rainbow on purpose, it seemed more trouble than it’s worth. It didn’t sound like plain grape or even Purplesaurus Rex would yield a very satisfying purple and although there are some pretty impressive Kool-Aid color charts out there for dyeing everything from yarn to hair, I didn’t feel like mixing packets for the tiny amount I would need. I went with Strawberry (red), Orange (orange), Lemon (yellow), Lemon-Lime (green) and Berry Blue (blue). Despite Kool-Aids propensity for dyeing, once it's incorporated into the lip gloss it won't stain your skin, the gloss goes on clear. 

The containers I used are sold for bead storage. The same containers I use for all my beads and absolutely love them, so it felt a bit sacrilegious to use them for lip gloss, but I got over it. A set of 24, with a craft store coupon ended up being way cheaper than actual lip gloss containers online. Also I already knew from experience that I was getting nice sturdy containers with reliable screw on lids, which leads to my next point.

This recipe is almost two thirds coconut oil. Coconut oil melts at 76 degrees. I would say it starts to get mushy around 60 degrees. If it's cooler than that this lip gloss will look more like a lip balm, but don't let that fool you. On the heat of your skin its definitely acts like a gloss. I have not had any leakage problems with these containers in warm weather. I'm sure other containers work as well, but these I can personally vouch for.

I list using a double boiler, which I don't have, but all the recipes I found said to use one. I guess everyone else in the world but me has a double boiler? I get annoyed with infrequently used kitchen stuff. Not that my kitchen is completely free of such things. They're there, insidiously lurking in cabinets, just taking up space. It's just that a double boiler is not one of them. I used a glass Pyrex bowl set on a pan of boiling water. I also had a towel next to it to dry condensation from the bottom of the bowl.

Unicorn Rainbow Poop Lip Gloss

1/4 cup grated beeswax*, slightly packed
1/2  cup coconut oil
8 vitamin E 200 I.U. capsules (optional)
1/4 tsp edible pearl dust (optional)

2 1/2 tsp honey, divided (1/2 tsp for each of the five colors of Kool-Aid)
1/16 tsp** each of strawberry, orange, lemon, lemon-lime and berry blue Kool-Aid

12 small containers (able to hold 1 tablespoon or 0.5 fl oz)

*I got my beeswax, and honey from a local farmers market

**That's just an educated guess, the smallest measure I have is 1/8 tsp and I used about half that.

You will need five small dishes. I don't know if it matters but I used glass. Place a ½ tsp of honey in each dish. Add approximately 1/16 tsp of Kool-Aid powder, one color per dish. Stir each one with a separate toothpick so you don't mix colors. Stir just enough so that the powder is completely coated. Don’t expect a lot of color yet, just let it stand, the magic will happen all on its own.

While that’s doing its thing place the beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler.

After the wax and oil have completely melted together remove from the heat and add the vitamin E oil. I poked them with a large clean hat pin and squeezed the oil out.

Then stir in the pearl dust for a little shimmer. You could stop right here and just have a nice shimmery unsweetened lip gloss.

By now the Kool-Aid colors should have bloomed nicely. Give them each another good stir so the honey is completely infused with color. One dish at a time, add one teaspoon of the beeswax mixture to the honey and stir until completely combined. Do this for each color. Use a rubber spatula to really get the honey and Kool-Aid from the bottom and make sure everything is well mixed.

Repeat, but this time you can add a tablespoon of the beeswax mixture. Repeat once last time, evenly dividing the remaining beeswax mixture, approximately two more teaspoons.

Anytime the beeswax mixture starts to harden just set it over the hot water for a few moments, scrape down the sides and utensils and stir until melted again. Remember to set the bowl on a towel to remove any water or condensation.

To the fill the containers I used a small thin blade paring knife. Scoop a small amount of lip gloss onto the tip. Then push it down against the side of the container scraping the blade against the top edge to get it off. Do this for each color, in all 12 containers. Don't worry about filling the containers, or getting into every nook and cranny. Just try to get the colors fairly evenly space.

After all the colors have been placed, make another pass scooping on a little more of each color.  Keep going until all the lip gloss is in the containers. 
Depending on the room temperature, if the lip gloss is still fairly soft you can just gently tap the bottom of the container on the counter to level the gloss and fill in any spaces.  If it's cooler and the gloss is too firm to do that, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and gently press down to level.    
And this is what they look like from the bottom, after cooling in the fridge.
If you want fancy poop you can swirl a toothpick around while it's still soft. 
I sprayed the labels with an acrylic clear coat to set the colors because I have an inkjet printer. I used matte Modge Podge to adhere the labels and then coated them with glitter Modge Podge.  Here you can see the difference the top coat makes.  
Here are the labels I created.  They should be 1 1/4 inch in diameter for the containers I used. A paper punch that size makes life really easy. Font used is ActionIs by Brain Eaters.