Chalkboard sign with wood frame; White craft glue; Optional - Coordinating acrylic paint and paintbrush for finishing the frame
Do not use unbaked clay on unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Start with clean hands and work surface area. Good work surfaces include wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Knead clay until soft and smooth. For best results, clean your hands in between colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces together firmly. Bake on oven-proof glass or metal surface at 275 degrees F (130 degrees C) for 15 minutes per ¼” (6mm) thickness. For best baking results, use and oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME. Wash hands after use. Baking should be done by an adult.
Begin by preheating oven to 275 degrees F (130 degrees C). Test temperature with oven thermometer for perfectly cured clay. For best results, condition all clay by running it through the clay dedicated pasta machine several passes on the widest setting. Fold the clay in half after each pass and insert the fold side into the rollers first.
Designer’s Note: When working with a wood background, it is helpful to know what color you want the frame to be (if you don’t want the wood exposed) before you begin. You can paint all the exposed edges of the wood before you apply glue or clay and then when you bake the finished project, it will already be painted and finished.
Sheet 1/2 block of each color through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. Make narrow sheets of each color so that overlapping each other by 1/2” they are as wide as the pasta machine rollers.
Press the overlapping sheet through the pasta machine (stripes perpendicular to the rollers) on the thickest setting so that the colors will be pressed together and not come apart.
Fold the sheet matching color to like color.
Keep folding (with the crease perpendicular to the colors) and pressing the sheet through the pasta machine on the thickest setting until you have a blend that you like. As you can see, I like to stop the blending when there are still gently streaks of colors going through the shades. This is a variation on the Skinner Blend.
Using the Super Slicer, cut off two pieces across the blend that are as wide as your frame. Lay the two pieces across the top and the bottom portions of the frame to see how close they are in length to the wood.
Turn each of the pieces 90 degrees and press each one through the pasta machine on the second thickest setting with the short end going in first. This will make the pieces longer. Lay them back on the top and bottom parts of the frame. If they are long enough to reach the corners, trim them to a 45 degree angle matching the frame.
If they are not long enough, you can stretch them gently with your fingers or you can press them through the pasta machine on the third thickest setting
Cut two more slices from the blended sheet. Thin these two pieces through the pasta machine to whatever thickness your long pieces ended up at in the previous step. But this time, thin them by placing the long side through the pasta machine first so they don’t get too long.
Lay them on the frame on the left and right sides and trim the corners at a 45 degree angle to match the previous pieces.
I arranged my pieces so that the corners are in matching colors.
Carefully remove the clay pieces from the frame and set them aside for now.
Cover the wood frame edges with a layer of white craft glue. Smooth the glue with your fingertips so it is as smooth as possible. Allow the glue to dry completely. Dried white craft glue makes a really good background for applying clay to wood.
Sheet White through the clay conditioning machine on the thickest setting. Back the remaining blended sheet with the White sheet.
Press the White/Blended sheet through the pasta machine on the thickest setting and again on the second thickest setting (without folding it) to thin it.
Cut curved pieces from the White/Blend sheet using the flexible blade.
Starting with one of the pointed ends, roll up the curved piece to make a little flower shape.
Use your fingertips to pinch and bend the sides of the flower outward so it looks more organic. Make several of these flowers to decorate the corners of your frame. If you want to make smaller flowers, cut one of the curved strips in half and roll it up starting with the cut edge in the middle.
To make twisted squiggles, cut thin straight lines from the White/Blend sheet. Pinch each end to a point. Grasp one end and twist it. Keep twisting all the way down the length of the strip until it is all twisted.
Once the glue is completely dry on the wood frame, carefully place the blended strips from Step 8 onto the frame. Smooth out air bubbles with your fingertips. Bend the clay pieces over the edges of the frame or trim them as you like.
Add the flowers and twists to the corners of the frame. Press them on gently so they connect with the base sheet but don’t smash them.
Keep adding as many flowers and twists as you like to complete your frame. I decorated mainly the two opposite corners of my frame.
I added a bead of White Liquid Sculpey to the inner edge of my frame to finish it off. You can also use paint to finish the wood frame before or after it is baked.
Bake the wood frame with the clay parts in place following the baking instructions
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