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. 

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