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Sculpey Soufflé Bargello Covered Frame

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A quick twist of clay and a drag of a comb tool create a wonderful bargello effect in your clay! Watch the video below and see how easy it is to create your own stunning frame.
Blank wood picture frame – look for the variety that is made of pressed wood (like plywood), not the raw pine, heavy Cardstock or Manila Folder, Pencil, Ruler, Sheet of Plain Copy Paper, Craft Knife (X-Acto), White Acrylic Paint, Small Paintbrush|Blank wood picture frame – look for the variety that is made of pressed wood (like plywood), not the raw pine, heavy Cardstock or Manila Folder, Pencil, Ruler, Sheet of Plain Copy Paper, Craft Knife (X-Acto), White Acrylic Paint, Small Paintbrush

Project Instructions

Polymer 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.
Lay the wood frame face down on top of the piece of manila folder or heavy cardstock. Use the pencil to trace around the outside of the frame and also around the inside of the window opening of the frame. Lift the frame and mark the top left corner of the traced frame with the number “1” and also mark the upper left corner of the frame with the number “1”.
Cut the traced shape out. Use the ruler and pencil to mark off sections, these sections will become the templates for the “tiles” you will be cutting. Note: Try not to make the sections too small. A good number of sections to end up with is between 16 and 18. Once you have the sections marked off, number them going in a clockwise direction. Keep the cut out facing the same way and make sure you write your numbers all facing the same direction. Having the sections numbered will help you keep them in the correct order when you start cutting out pieces of the sheet of clay. Having the numbers all facing in the same direction will help you get the pieces oriented correctly.
Once you have your template sections marked and numbered cut them apart. Pick up the template piece labeled number ”1” and place it onto the upper left corner of the frame, where you marked the number “1” in Step 1 . Position it so that the edges of the template match up with the edges of the frame. Use the pencil to trace the outside edge of the template onto the surface of the frame. Set the frame and template pieces to the side.
First you are going to lighten the Canary with some Igloo using a 2:1 ratio of Igloo to Canary. Cut ¼ of a block of Canary and ½ block of Igloo. Use the Clay Conditioning Machine to condition the Canary and Igloo together. Keep folding and rolling until you have a consistent color. Once you have your Canary/Igloo blend cut off about 1/3 of the amount and set it to the side. Condition ½ block each of the Turnip, Igloo, and Mai Tai. Roll each of the four colors into a log that is about ½” around and 6” long.
Place all of the logs of clay together so they form a loose square. Gently squeeze up and down the length of the gathered logs of clay to press the air out from between the logs. Once you have squeezed the full length of the logs gently roll on your work surface so you have a solid round log. Begin twisting the log to create stripes that wind around the length of the log. Note: How many times and how tightly you twist the log will determine the width of the stripes of color. Less and looser twists will result in wider bands of color and more and tighter twists will yield narrower bands of color. This project works better with wider bands of color.
Once you have your log twisted the way you want it use the acrylic roller to flatten it enough to be able to fit through the rollers of the Clay Conditioning Machine on the thickest setting. Place the flattened log of clay lengthwise against the rollers so the stripes are perpendicular to the rollers. Roll through once and place the sheet of clay on your work surface so the stripes are running side to side. Pick up the dragging tool and position it at the top of the sheet of clay. Hold it at about a 30 degree angle to the sheet of clay, apply a moderate amount of pressure, and drag the tool down the sheet towards you. Note: Too much pressure may cause you to push through the sheet of clay and too little pressure won’t result in a defined pattern. You want to end up with visible grooves in the clay. Use the Super Slicer Blade to cut a small piece off the top edge of the sheet; doing this will help you remember which edge has to be placed against the rollers in the next step.
Make sure the Clay Conditioning Machine is set to the widest setting. Place the cut edge of the sheet of clay against the rollers and roll though once. Adjust the setting to one level thinner. Place the cut edge against the rollers and roll through once. Repeat this process until the sheet of clay is smooth, meaning you cannot see the grooves you made in the previous step. You should only have to reduce the thickness of the sheet by about 3-4 settings total. Once you have the sheet of clay thinned out set it off to one side of your work surface.
Pick up the frame and rub a small amount of Bake N’ Bond on the surface right over where you have the number “1” area that you traced in Step 3. Pick up the template piece labeled number “1”, place it on the surface of your sheet of clay, and trim around the edges. Lift the cut piece of clay and place it on the frame so it fits into the area you outlined in Step 3. Note: Getting the first piece in the correct position will make getting all of the other pieces in place much easier.
Rub a small amount of Bake N’ Bond onto the surface of the frame to the right of the piece of clay you just added. Place the template section marked number “2” onto the surface of the sheet of clay but arrange it in a way that when the cut piece is laid onto the frame the “drag-lines” point in a different direction. Continue doing this, keeping the direction of the lines changing, until you have gotten to the last piece. Read Step 10 before cutting out last piece of clay.
Before cutting the last piece of clay use the template to do a quick check of the fit of the last piece. •If the template drops into place with a tiny bit of extra room around it you will be able to smooth the small gaps over with your fingers.•If the template drops in with a significant amount of space around it you can cut the piece of clay out a little larger by spacing the Super Slicer just a little bit away from the edges of the template.•If the template piece is too large to drop into the opening you can carefully trim back the clay on either side of the open space on the frame until the template drops in.Once you have made any adjustments you may need cut the last piece of clay out and lay it in place.
Cover the surface of the clay with a sheet of plain copy paper and gently rub your fingers over the enter surface. The purposes of this are to help make sure the clay is making complete contact with the frame, smooth out the surface of the clay, and also help press any joints together. Once you have smoothed over the entire surface leave the paper in place and flip the entire assembly over onto your work surface. The frame should now be lying face down on the piece of paper. Use the craft knife to trim the excess clay away from the outside edge and inside of the window opening of the frame. Bake the frame, with clay attached, for 20 minutes and let cool completely
Once the frame has cooled completely paint all of the edges and back with white acrylic paint. Note: It is a good idea to keep a damp paper towel at hand in case any paint gets onto the clay on the surface of the frame. You may also have to paint on a couple of coats of the paint. Once the paint is dry you’re finished.