I'm sure you all know about Jenny's Themed Challenge for March: the Hare. Of course I signed up right away with a mind full of new hare bead ideas… and then I ran out of time and for the reveal only had a work-in-progress to share… but now I'm finally making new beads! Thank you Jenny for a challenge that pushed me to create something new!
These first beads are one of a kind focals made with my brand new hare stamps that I made specially for the challenge. For today's post, I thought you'd enjoy a little peek into my stamp making process. And maybe you'll be inspired to make some for yourself with your own designs!
Every one of my stamp designs starts out as a simple drawing in pencil. Pencil transfers beautifully to polymer! For these little hares, I did a google search for a bit of help on hare poses (I can sculpt stylized animal shapes, but drawing isn't really my thing!) and then drew my own shapes freehand.
And here's how I turned them into stamps…
1. After drawing my designs, I shaped the stamp bases in polymer, making sure they would fit my hare designs and then I popped them into the oven to cure for 15 minutes.
2. Next I rolled a thin sheet of polymer (#4 setting on my Atlas pasta machine) and transfered my design by burnishing the back of the paper over the polymer sheet.
3. The transfered design!
4. Then I cut the design to fit my stamp base.
5. I used a small amount of liquid polymer clay to stick the design to the stamp base. Not too much or it slips around when trimming!
6. Using an X-acto knife I trimmed away the bulk of the polymer. And then with a needle, I carefully traced around the design for a closer trim.
7. Next I applied liquid polymer to edges of the design—this helps hold the design in place and softens it just enough to let me smooth the edges.
8. All smoothed and ready for baking!
With these stamps you don't need any release agent—just dip in water and stamp away! You may find that after a lot of use they start to stick to polymer—this is because raw polymer will soften baked polymer over time. I just pop the stamps in the oven with a new batch of beads every so often and they're good to go again and again.
The thing I love most about making silhouette stamps is that a simple design like this can be used to make so many different style beads and pendants!
I don't know why really, but I just adore jackalopes! These are still raw—once baked, I'll add some washes to give them a more rustic feel.
And of course, I had to make lunar hares! I used another stamp for the moon motif and a wild grass impression. These too will get some paint washes.
Lots of painting will be happening this weekend and hopefully the new focals will hop into my shop later next week! :-)
Wishing you all a very creative weekend!
Tree Wings Studio