Strange name for a vase? Well, there is one leaf clinging to the bare branches of these trees. An Optimist might say that it is the first leaf of Spring while a Pessimist might say that it is the last leaf of Autumn. I guess that makes me an Optimist since that is what I choose to call the vase! Actually, I live in the land of palm trees where the trees never lose their leaves, but when I travel I relish looking at all the beautiful trees in the rest of the world. Sculpey Souffle clay was used for this vase, since its light texture and great elasticity really helps in creating the flowing branches of the trees.
Getting StartedPolymer clay may stain. CLAY MAY DAMAGE UNPROTECTED FURNITURE OR FINISHED SURFACES. DO NOT USE polymer clay on unprotected surfaces. We recommend working on the Sculpey clay mat, wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Start with clean hands and work surface area. 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°F (130 °C) for 30 minutes per ¼" (6 mm) thickness. For best baking results, use an oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME. Wash hands after use. Baking should be completed by an adult.Begin by preheating oven to 275 °F (130 °C). Test temperature with oven thermometer for perfectly cured clay. For best results, condition all clay by running it through the Clay Conditioning Machine for several passes on the widest setting. Fold the clay in half after each pass and insert the fold side into the rollers first.
Roll 1/2 package of Igloo through the Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine set on #1 setting. Cut a “jester triangle” about 1 inch in length at the base and 4 inches on the two other sides out of the Igloo clay. Place this triangle on top of the remaining sheet of clay and cut around the clay to create a second triangle. Set aside.
Roll 1/2 package of the Sandcastle color out on the Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine set on #1 and place one of the Igloo triangles on the sheet of clay to trace around it to create one triangle of Sandcastle clay. Set aside.
Roll 1/2 package of the Cowboy color out on the Clay Conditioning Machine on the #1 setting and place one of the Igloo triangles on the sheet of clay to trace around it to create a Cowboy triangle. Repeat to create two triangles of the Cowboy color clay.
Place one triangle of each color inverting each triangle in the order of Igloo, Sandcastle and Cowboy. Notice that the 3 triangles don’t make a nice rectangle? We can fix that by adding the SECOND triangle of both the Cowboy and the Igloo next to their respective color triangles. Use the Super Slicer blade to cut each of the second triangles in half lengthwise – NOW we have a nice rectangle! Press the triangles together slightly.
Fold this rectangle in half, folding top to bottom. Place the folded edge in the Clay Conditioning Machine (#1 setting) with the edge of the clay tight against the edge of the machine. Roll the clay through the machine.
Fold the top to bottom edge again and roll through again. Repeat this folding and rolling process until you see the colors start to smoothly blend together when they touch each other. (about 5-6 times through the machine). This completes the Skinner Blend! (NOTE: I like to keep my finger on the edge of the clay in the machine to help prevent it from spreading the length of the machine.) You can repeat steps 1-6 to make a second sheet of Skinner Blended clay.
Trim a slice off the blend (the thicker the slice the larger the branch) and roll into a coil. Apply to the vase with the Cowboy color at the bottom of the vase. Use your fingers to blend out the Cowboy color to form the base of the tree. NOTE: You can add a thin piece of the Cowboy color to the rolled coil of clay to make this color portion of the coil thicker. This first coil should be fairly long and travel the length of the vase with small curves and bends. Press into place on the glass.
Continue adding larger branches to the tree (3-4) in the same fashion.
Roll a small sheet of both the Igloo and the Sandcastle clays on the #1 setting and overlap the two sheets slightly. Fold this overlapped clay in half and roll through the Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine (still set on #1). Fold and roll just like you did for the Skinner blend to create a semi-blended sheet of just these two colors (this is kind of a quick Skinner Blend technique). This blend can use used to add smaller branches to the larger branches, taking care to match colors as closely as you can.
Once you have several branches in place, use the small piece of rough sandpaper to texture the branches, and press them into place on the glass. This also helps to blend the seams of the branches.
When the first tree is completed, add a second smaller tree next to it, followed by a larger tree and then another smaller version. Be careful holding the vase so that you don’t damage the clay placed on the opposite side of the vase! If it becomes a problem for you, the vase can actually be baked and then you can proceed with the remaining design after the vase has cooled.
Roll a sheet of Pesto clay through the clay conditioning machine (#1 setting). Using a leaf cutter from the Nature mini cutter pack cut out one leaf shape. Use a toothpick to add the vein detail. Attach by pressing firmly to the vase.
Bake the vase according to the directions above. Allow the vase to cool completely before removing from oven- glass will hold the hot temps longer than you think!)
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