Solar system mobile

I’ve been making a small representation of my son’s bedroom on the side during August.  I will post some quick crafts I did for this room this week.

<Solar System Mobile>

This is a miniature version of a solar system mobile we have hanging in my son’s room.

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We bought the original a couple of years ago at Pottery Barn Kids as seen in the picture below.

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I know it’s nothing like the actual solar system, but then, it’s pretty much impossible to scale solar system correctly into a visible miniature anyways…lol

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First I got two equal length of wire out.

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Then I crossed the two wires, in the middle and soldered them together.

For soldering, I used following tools.

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The helping hands (the mechanical looking tool with a magnifying glass) is quite useful for crafts like this, since I definitely need another set of hands.  The best part is these things are pretty cheap. Mine only cost $5 on Amazon.

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On top of the crossing part, I have soldered on a metallic bead so I can put a string through it later to hang the mobile from  the ceiling.

Photo Aug 17, 3 28 54 PMThis part is not necessary if you don’t like the look, but I curled the ends of the wires for the strings to go through.

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With some polymer clay, I made tiny planets and the Sun.

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Before you bake the planets, don’t forget to poke a hole with a needle for the string to go into later.

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Super glue fishing wires onto the mobile frame.

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Trim the fishing wires to desired lengths.

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Pour a little bit of super glue into the hole of your baked planet, and stick the end of the mobile string into it.  The string should instantly stick pretty well to the planet.

 

 

Possibly the easiest way to shape miniature clay plates

Hooray! My new blog seems to be functioning OK so far!

If you have been reading my recent posts, you might already be sick of plates and cups, etc., but this is the last one this season; I promise!

OK, so on the title it says the easiest way, but technically, there are two ways that I consider the easiest. They are both good, they just make different styles of dishes.

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So yeah, with these two techniques, you should be able to make all the plates in the picture above, like in no time.  Serious!

 

<white plates>

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First, as usual, roll out your clay about 1mm thick, and cut them out into circles. It is hard to find a good cookie cutters for just the right size, so I recommend looking through the cake decorating supply isle at your store for piping tips of different sizes.

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As you can see in the picture below,  the secret weapon for these plates are washers from the hardware store. They come in various sizes, so find the right size.  The size you need to worry about especially is the size of the hole.  You will see why that is if you read on…

 

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Now before I move forward, if it seems difficult to find washers that are just the right size for your needs, you can just make your own with clay, plastic sheets, or wooden board etc. I just made mine with some scrap clay.

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Once you have your washer, lay one of your clay pieces you just cut out right on the top of it. You want to make sure the clay is as close to the center as you can!

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Gently push down in the middle shaping it along the washer’s hole.

…..um…that’s it. lol

Your plate is done.

 

Now if you want to make fancier looking plates, like with some frills on the edge, do so before you place your circle clay onto the washer.

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Notice that the shape of the circle is a bit deformed due to the extra pressing you’ve done on the edge. Let’s get rid of it before baking the clay so you don’t have to sand it down like crazy.

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Simply place your cutter right on top of the plate still sitting on the washer, and cut off the excess clay along the rim – just make sure you use the same sized cutter as you used earlier.

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Voila! Looking good, and ready to be baked. ( I baked them face down, but it shouldn’t matter.)

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<shallow bowl shaped plates>

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These ones are just as easy as the white plates.  Are you ready?

Go grab a table spoon from your kitchen and place it face down.  It’s probably a good idea to dust the surface a little with some flour or corn starch.

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Place your circle clay on top.  Gently press down on the rim to form fit onto the back of the table spoon.

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Attach a small circle clay on top, which will serve as the base of the plate.  Take your plate off the spoon and flip it.  Press down the middle of the plate to make sure your base is leveled.

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OK, you are done with the tutorials. You can go now….oh wait, who were those critters chatting at the beginning?

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The fisher cat mom is my avatar in my town, and the corntop rabbit mom is my good SF friend in Japan.  XD

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Oh, and this little guy is supposed to be my son.  He LOVES ocean things (my Japanese friend made this cute seashell box for me.)

You might see our avatars popping up here and there from now on. 😉

Chao!

Water slide decals

This past week, I spent a lot of time making miniature decorative clay plates and decals to display in my little town. It took a lot of trial and error before I finally got it to look the way I wanted it to. In today’s tutorial, I’m writing down the important things I discovered along the way in order to make my water slide decals turn out well. Hopefully by following this, you won’t have to waste a lot of materials if you make them too.

What are water slide decals, you ask? They are kind of like a thin plastic sheet that have designs on, much like a sticker. The difference is that decals can make your items look like the pictures on them are printed on, instead of looking like items with stickers on.  There are premade water slide decals on sale sometimes, but you can just go ahead and make your own, too. (I think it’s much funner anyway.)

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OK. So here are what you need to make your own water slide decals:

  • water slide decal paper for inkjet  (if you use inkjet printers)
  • inkjet printer
  • PC (and probably an internet connection)
  • decal bonder spray

First of all, go online and find some designs that you would like to use as decals. Edit the size and color as necessary. It is best to test print on cheap paper to make sure everything is the right size.

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Once your designs are ready to be printed, print them on a piece of water slide decal paper.

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With decal bonder spray, coat the printed surface to make sure that the colors will stick. If you don’t you use the bonder, your printed pictures will melt off when you put them in the water during a later step.

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Once the coating is dry, your home made decals are ready to be put into use!

<Application>

To apply water slide decals and make them look good on your items, you need some things as well. Here are the materials needed:

  • clear glossy acrylic paint spray (if applicable)
  • water slide decals
  • scissors
  • warm water (not hot)
  • paint brush
  • setting solutions for decals (I use both “micro set” and “micro sol”)

First off, coat the surface of the item you want to put the decals on with some clear acrylic paint, if necessary.  You basically want a very smooth, glossy surface to make your decals stick.

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While the paint if drying, cut out your decals with scissors.

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Dip the decals in warm water, take it out and set it aside.

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With a paint brush, coat the area you want your decal to go on with setting solution (MICRO SET). Micro set will let you wiggle the decals to the right spot after application for a short amount of time.

With your fingers, gently slide your decal off from the paper onto the surface you want it to be on.  BE GENTLE AND SLOW, because the decals are pretty fragile at this stage forward. It might be easier to imagine that your decal is sort of like a super thin soft contact lens. At least that’s what it felt like to me on my fingers.

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Once you gently position the decal in the right spot, make sure there aren’t any air bubbles underneath. Pat down with a tissue and get rid of excess solution on the surface.

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Now this time, gently brush on thin layer of MICRO SOL over your decal. It will melt off the plastic looking layer of the decal so your pictures look like they were directly printed on the surface.

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Shortly after you apply MICRO SOL, your decals might get wrinkly. But DON”T DO ANYTHING! As time goes by, the wrinkles will disappear, and your decals will look fine and smooth. If you do another coat of MICRO SOL at this point, most likely, your decal pictures will break apart.

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Wait for a good half a day or so, and your decals are done. At this point, you can coat it again with clear glossy paint if you want.

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