Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Unicorn Poop Charm

The whole reason I started on my adventures with polymer clay is because I saw some rainbow poop cookies and thought they looked awesome but would probably taste like crap with all the artificial coloring.  (The whole reason I started down this dark path of unicorns and rainbows is something we do not speak of.)

If you are a polymer clay virgin like I was, you might want to read this, I listed a few things that helped me to get started. 

Much like the unicorn horns the only thing I did differently than most of the rainbow poops out there is the way I add the eye pin and mix the colors. 

I used the marbling technique in this video to mix the colors.  I love the way this looks, but I think a little bit goes a long way and too much will muddy the colors. It might be my imagination, or that I need to improve my technique, but I found I got better results when starting with larger quantities of clay. The amount I used below is enough to make 8-10 poops approximately 3/4 inch diameter at the base. This video shows how to make rainbow poop with a nice basic twist of colors which is just as pretty, just a different look and less steps. 

I think this video has nicely shaped poop.  This video also has a nice poop shape and was the inspiration for how I do my eye pin. If you just want to make a stand alone poop like this golden poop my daughter made, just skip the eye pin altogether. All hail the Golden Turd!

I couldn't help but notice that other people had poop swirls far superior to mine.  What I've decided many poops later is that:

While I totally recommend making cute
little poop earrings, these aren't the
greatest shape for the reasons mentioned.

a) I was tapering the ends too much.  Leaving most of the log a uniform length and just tapering off the tippy top of the ends results in a much more pleasing poop shape.

This poop is in serious danger of
being mistaken for soft serve ice cream.

b) I was making my logs too thin and coiling them too much.  I believe three is the magic number of poop swirls, four can be acceptable, but it starts to look more like a soft serve ice cream cone. than poop. 

c) The last video I mentioned coils the poop around a small piece of clay.  For me it is easier to coil the poop and then feed the center piece through the bottom. Skip down to the bottom to see pictures.  In fact just skip down to the bottom anyway, it's only the last few steps that are really important anyway. 

I started with approximately 1/8 inch slices of each color.  I used Premo Sculpey Accents Pink Florescent, Orange, Zinc Yellow, Accents Bright Green Pearl and Accents Peacock Blue Pearl. I love the sparkle that the Accent colors give to these poops. I stacked them and then rolled them flat and then rolled them into a tube. You could roll each color into a snake and then press them together. 

Gently press evenly on all sides until there is no space in the center. 

Roll it out into a log and give it a nice twist.
Then fold the ends to the middle and twist.

Roll it out until it's smooth. Cut it in half, set one half aside and roll the other out. I do this a lot, working it a little and then setting half aside for later. Working down to a smaller chunk of clay makes it more manageable.   Also if I don't like the end result, I've only messed up that one little piece, not the whole batch. 
Because it's always the last twist that was the one time too many. 

Cut that in half, set one aside and roll the other out.
Twist the ends to spiral the colors.

Fold the ends to the center and give it a twist.

Roll it out, cut it half and set one piece aside. It can be helpful to loosely coil the final log of clay to see if it's about the right length and thickness. 
The piece below is pretty close, you want it a tad shorter and thicker because after the next step it'll be just right. 

Roll the piece out a little more and cut a bit off the end.
Taper the ends and roll the bit around the eye part of the eye pin. 
For size reference that is a two inch long eye pin.

Coil the log into a poop shape and insert the eye pin through the center.

At this point I put on a pair of latex gloves, to keep from leaving anymore fingerprints.  Gently cradling your poop so you don't misshapen it, use a ball stylus tool or similar to smooth out the center piece. That center piece doesn't have to fill the entire cavity, remember it's only purpose is to hold that eye pin secure. Turn the poop back over and smooth away any fingerprints with a gloved finger or smooth tool.  And there you have your poop. 

To bake, I used the set up described at The Blue Bottle Tree, with the tile and aluminum pans clipped together.  I baked it at 275 for 2 hours. This poop was about 3/4 inch at the base.  The Sculpey instructions say a half hour for every 1/4 inch.  I've read a lot of people saying to bake for longer, so I've been tacking on a little extra time to be on the safe side.  

Ever hear the expression, "You can't polish a turd."? Not only has that been debunked by MythBusters, but you can see from the results below that you absolutely can polish a turd.

After baking and cooling, I did a little wet sanding, quickly going around in little circles, maybe spending 10-15 seconds with each grit of paper. I used 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and 2000.  I didn't worry about getting into every nook and cranny. I also didn't worry about sanding the eye pins and accidentally sanded the finish off in some places, oops. After sanding, I buffed with a piece of denim. The more you buff, the shinier it gets.  The poop on the far right below was buffed for about a minute. The poop in the middle was buffed an additional minute and look how it gleams.  The poop on the left was not sanded or buffed, it just has a coat of glossy acrylic on it.  It's more work to sand and buff, but I like the finish better. 

Then wire wrap the end and if you so chose, decorate with glitter glue, rhinestones or googly eyes.  If you are unfamiliar with wire wrapping this is a nice illustration or if you like more detail here's a comprehensive video.

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