Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Polymer Clay Mushroom Bookmarks!

Create a fun little bookmark out of polymer clay!

What you need:

  • Polymer Clay – I used white, however, any lighter color will work with the coloring techniques we will utilize. You’ll need approx. half an ounce of clay to make one mushroom (depending on how small or large you make it!), most blocks of polymer come in one ounce blocks.
  • Chalk Pastels – in the colors you would like to add to your mushroom
  • Jumbo paper clip
  • Paintbrush
  • Scrap paper
  • Tin foil
  • Wire – 18 gauge or similar
  • Pliers for cutting & twisting the wire
  • Toothpick

Step one: Gather all your supplies and knead your polymer clay so it’s soft! Cut a piece of wire approx. 2-3″ long.

Step two: Wrap your piece of wire around the end of your paper clip – make sure it’s the end of the paper clip shown in the photo (as the other end will become the part of your bookmark)! Twist your wire tightly around the paper clip, like in a twist tie fashion, this is easiest with a pair of pliers.

Step three: Divide your one ounce piece of clay into 4 pieces (or if you have 1/2 an ounce divide it into 2 pieces). Use one of your 4 pieces to form the stalk of your mushroom, pushing the wire and top part of the paper clip into your clay (if needed, you can trim your wire down so it’s not taller than the stalk!). Secure your stalk to the paper clip by making sure the clay is tight around the paperclip where it was pushed in – I used my toothpick to help with this!

Step four: Use another one of your 3 remaining pieces of clay to form the cap of your mushroom (or if starting with 1/2 an ounce, your remaining piece). Roll it into a ball and slightly flatten it – we don’t want it too thin, it should still hold it’s shape and not be floppy when picked up, not much thinner than a 1/4″.

Step five: Use the back of your paint brush, or eraser end of a pencil, to make an indent in the center of your flatten ball – this will become the underside of your mushroom cap.

Step six: With the toothpick, score the clay from the center indent made in the last step, to the outside edge, in a radial fashion.

Step seven: Now you have your cap and stalk!

Step eight: Attach the cap to your stalk with the toothpick – placing your stalk in the indent created by your pencil end or paintbrush. Blend in the stalk clay and cap clay to help secure the two pieces together. You may need to touch up your cap texture after this step! Flip your mushroom right side up and make any needed adjustments to the cap shape!

Step nine: Scribble your pastels on a scrap piece of paper to create pastel dust!

Step ten: Use your paint brush to pick up some of the pastel dust and gently brush it on to the top of your mushroom cap!

Step eleven: I brushed a layer of my lighter color pastel over the entire cap and a layer of my darker color around the edges of my cap! Once your have your cap colored to your liking, bake your mushroom at 275*F for approx. 10-15 min. (check the package directions on the clay you have compared to your mushroom thickness). I use a piece of tin foil crunched up to make a cradle for my mushroom cap as it bakes so the cam doesn’t get flattened. Let your mushroom cool and enjoy your one of a kind bookmark! Use your leftover clay to create another!

Variations: Instead of making this a bookmark, use the same steps above only use a jumbo toothpick instead of a paper clip, making your mushroom great for fairy gardens, table top gardens, or decorations for flower pots! If your paper clip is large enough to support the weight of your mushroom, you could definitely use it in a fairy garden, etc. too! Try making more than one mushroom on the same paperclip – just add more than one piece of wire to your paper clip! Use extra clay to give your mushroom dimensional spots on it’s cap before baking!

Let me know if you’ve given this project a try and check out other projects here!

Art, food, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!

Put a fork in it!

While I really enjoy drawing and painting, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and get into other mediums. Put a Fork in it, is a little series of bookmarks I like to create out of polymer clay. Based on some favorite or classic foods I add these little sculptures to a fork, spoon, or knife, that have been flattened out – making the handle of the utensil a perfect bookmarker!

I’m not 100% sure how I got started with these but they’re a lot of fun to create and tie in my love of food 😉 I use Sculpey products – usually Sculpy III & Premo clays, liquid Sculpy & sculpy glaze. If you haven’t used or heard of Sculpy before definitely check out their site – there’s products for kids, adults, amateurs, professionals and endless ideas of projects!

Here’s a look into how I make my bookmarks…….

I first mix up my colors and prepare my liquid sculpy (which acts as my milk) and start to sculpt!

Ever wonder why I keep all those old paint brushes? Texture. They make the perfect cereal texture 🙂

I use some chalk pastel dust on a soft brush to add a little depth to the Sculpy pieces.

For the cereal I bake the marshmallows and plain pieces slightly and then place them in the liquid sculpy “milk” and bake the whole piece. I have a little craft oven I use (like a toaster oven) but Sculpy can be baked in a regular oven as well.

Pickles & Pancakes in progress!

The snack that smiles back 🙂

I have some polymer clay tools that I use but really a toothpick is one of my favorite tools. Texture & color are really important when making clay food look realistic – they can both take a lot of practice so sometimes it’s fun to get started on something like a piece of cake – which can come in various colors, shapes & textures! Once I’ve baked my pieces I use the glossy Sculpy glaze to cover areas that should be shiny – like the milk, pickles and syrup!

It’s a bit of a mess, but I like to keep my Sculpy clay colors separated in this box from Harbor Freight . It’s perfect size to hold the blocks of clay, and the bins within the box are removable, so I can re-arrange the colors, or pass a color bin, rather than the whole box if I’m teaching a class.

The process of making the food sculptures with polymer clay is not too complicated and if you’re interested in learning more, my favorite book on the subject is The Polymer Clay Cookbook by Jessica & Susan Partain. Even though their directions are for mini pieces of food you can use their methods to apply to larger food sculptures – or any polymer clay sculpture!

Check out the shop section of the site to purchase your own Put a Fork in it bookmark!