Monday, 7 April 2014

A Bit of Modelling

I’ve been feeling a bit weird today. I’m not sure what’s caused it, but I’ve just had one of those days where you feel all restless, but can’t figure out what will satisfy that restlessness…

I thought of going out for a run this morning, but I was first put off by the rain (very lame, I know!) and then I was hindered as I had to go and collect something my husband had won in an Ebay auction… He does love Ebay, but somehow whenever he wins something that is ‘collection only’, it always seems to be when he is not available to actually go and collect, so I have to do it…

The drive took me out past Aylesbury, and through the small village of Waddesdon. This was really pretty, and particularly interested me as Waddesdon Manor is on my National Trust hit list since I became a member the other week. In the village there was also a sign to another National Trust property, Claydon, so heading out there again sounds like a good plan for the next nice day!

On the way back through Aylesbury I passed a Hobbycraft shop. I don’t normally go to Hobbycraft as a first point of call, as I find them a bit expensive; but on this occasion I’d had an idea floating around in my head, and like I said I was feeling restless, so I decided to indulge myself a bit.

I had a good look around, the store was full of people with their children buying things for Easter crafts, and some of the things available looked so fun that I wished I had some children in the family I could do messy crafts with! But there was still plenty of stuff that caught my eye. Besides replacing my 4.5mm crochet hook (mine has a scratch in it which is just bad enough to snag yarn fibres while I’m using it) I was also looking for Fimo polymer clay.

I had first used this as a child. My mum had come across it aaaaages ago while we were visiting my Nan in Weston-super-Mare, and thought it would be fun so she brought some home with her. I clearly remember me and my brother having a great time creating little models at my Nan’s kitchen table, then waiting impatiently to see the finished results. I can’t remember everything we made, but I do remember that one of mine was a caterpillar with a top hat!

Today I bought black, white, brown and a bright red/pink packet of Fimo - I wanted to keep things simple so that I wouldn’t waste money. I also bought a reel of magnetic tape, which also happened to be adhesive on one side. The shop assistant assured me that this could be cut easily, and it therefore seemed much better value than buying the individual magnetic pieces.

Back at home I got to work trying to think of how to make my idea. In the end I simplified it a lot – I figured it was better to start simpler and build up, plus I have no modelling tools so I thought that was another reason to keep things simple.

My first go at playing with the white Fimo was slightly disastrous! I had washed my hands, and the fibres from the towel when I dried them were highly visible in the white clay! Oops!!

I started over, this time rubbing my hands together after drying them. This reduced the fibres getting into the Fimo, but a better solution is still needed. Maybe I need to develop the patience to let them air dry?

I modelled away, using the white first then the darker colours. The white still showed up in the black, so I had to wash my hands between each colour change. I haven’t done any kind of modelling in years and years, and like I said I have no modelling tools or anything, so I kept the design really simple.

I only made 3 little things to start with as I wasn’t totally happy with the way they were turning out, and also it occurred to me that I would also need to check the setting I would need to use on the oven – the Fimo instructions give the temperature in degrees, but my oven is gas so uses gas mark.I didn't want to put loads of effort in making lots of models, only to burn them all!

I didn’t take any pictures while modelling, but here they are in the oven… 

I put them in on the slow cook setting, for roughly 30 minutes, then took them out and did some rippling while I left them to cool… This oven setting seemed to do the trick, and they came out hardened but not overdone.

Then I cut the magnetic tape into short strips, peeled off the backing and firmly pressed the Fimo models onto the adhesive side. This seems to work fine for now, but I will keep an eye on it to check if the adhesive lasts, or if it needs to be superglued instead.

So I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I was making fridge-magnets… would you like to see them? I have other ideas for further designs, but for now this is what I have:

I was keeping with the woolly theme by making sheep. Do you see the little curly horns and the black splodges? I’ve made Jacob’s Sheep like my mother-in-law’s flock!

I tried to make little flowers to brighten them up, but when I pressed the flowers onto the sheep they all squished out of shape, so I need to figure out how to do that better. I also didn't do very well at giving the legs black patches, so I'll work on this too.

I used a biro to make the eyes, and you can see that it marked the horns as well, so that's another thing I need to do better with. I used the end of a screwdriver to make the nose, it was cumbersome but I think it worked ok?

Still a long way to go with these, and plenty more options for different designs, but it was pretty good fun to play around with this stuff!

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