Friendly Plastic and Cloud Clay With Children in Mind

Here are some images of the jewellery I made for the last Jewellery Maker Show on May 28th 2014, much of which was made with children in mind.  Things you could do with or for children of different ages.  I used Friendly Plastic  to make the items below, along with Sari Silk (Craftynotions) and some rather good braided leather cord from JM.10397027_806339222710063_70999745676033329_o

This is a close up of the more sophisticated bracelet made of Sari Silk caught together with wire overlaid with Friendly Plastic.  The little flowers in the middle were made using the friller tool from JM on a strip of foil edged Friendly Plastic to makeit curl and curve.  The centres are headpins covered with Friendly Plastic, but could just as easily be beads or Jewel Enamels. I suggest that this is something that much older children or adults should try rather than young ones.DSC_8344 10cm

JM photographed this for me, but sadly it is not shown the way I would have preferred.  Having said that, you can see the lightly stitched Sari Silk draping through the wire bound (with Friendly Plastic overlays) ring, finishing off with Friendly Plastic beads on the end of each ribbon of silk.


The combination of textiles and Friendly Plastic is one I love to explore, and this Sari Silk necklace has Friendly Plastic wrapping around it not only to be decorative, but also to give structure.

I could not throw away the little off cuts of Sari silk, so I gathered them up and made them into earrings with some more Friendly Plastic.10286948_806339259376726_1031294356093068629_o

This bracelet is a type of Friendship bracelet that kids are quite able to make.  3 pieces of Friendly Plastic are joined together by touching them in hot water.  Soften the plastic in hot water and then stamp into it using a texture mat.  Add Gleams, then trim and roll around some cord.10344417_806339269376725_1072643194487227564_oApply transfer foil to the back of some Friendly Plastic and cut into 1cm pieces.  heat each one in hot water and roughly twist around some cord.  Chill in cold water to harden before doing the next one.  Add cylinder beads of Friendly Plastic by rolling neat strips of warm FP around the cord.
10348781_806339382710047_6814028368459732048_oThis is a really easy articulated bracelet.  Foil the reverse of your Friendly Plastic. Heat and texture it, adding Gleams to highlight the texture, cut into strips and foil the edges using Transfer Foil.  Roll the ends around a knitting needle or something big enough to allow the cord to pass through the resultant hole.  Varnish and thread onto the cord.  I said it was simple, and you could have lots of fun with the textures and the foil colours.
10371304_806339369376715_8865729207743105665_oThe same idea was used to make this necklace, and it has a vaguely Egyptian feel to it.10329843_806339316043387_5685173774452283958_o

Cloud Clay is marketed for use with Children, so it was great fun to take this easy modelling medium and make things that were much more sophisticated than the packaging suggested!  Just by mixing a 3 colours all the tones below were possible, and many more besides.  This means that it is a great way of teaching children about colour theory in a very hands on and practical way.10264215_806338316043487_4912925337015587061_o
Pencil toppers made from Cloud Clay

10353466_806338719376780_814494501510132651_o1497885_806338602710125_2830697653039932420_o10298451_806338726043446_1827519521654315040_o10010779_806338589376793_4139498025858058972_oEven very small children can make the beads for this bracelet. These nuggets are little pieces of Cloud Clay squished in the palm of the hand at the base of the fingers.  They make lovely irregular beads, and work well threaded onto elastic cord for a childs bracelet.


For children who can roll a round bead, this little necklace is very straight forward to do.  The round beads are adorned with little punched out shapes of Cloud Clay.  To make the punched out shapes, roll a piece of Cloud Clay very thinly, leave to dry then use paper cutters to punch out the shapes.  A tiny amount of water on the back of each shape will help them stick to the soft clay.

10259270_806338416043477_218939866148449167_oFor a more sophisticated version, this necklace and earring set is made of beading wire with coloured balls of Cloud Clay attached.  I blended yellow and Blue with a a hint of Black to create the different shades of green.1618384_806338419376810_4899166840350297189_o 10373108_806338499376802_333972767178150068_o

Practising colour blending with children can yield great results.  These beads are various shades of Blue to Red with a hint of Black.

Cloud Clay is really stretchy, and this makes it possible to dribble stretch and scribble it over a base of coloured clay.  The cylinder bead in the necklace below and the earrings have all been decorated with this method.   Whenever I demonstrate with Jenny Cleary on Jewellery Maker TV and we are using Cloud Clay, she LOVES to pull and stretch it, emphasising the stretchyness of it.  Her enthusiasm for pulling it out into strings gave me the idea for this technique, I just need to come up with a suitable name for it now!
10353253_806338406043478_2673991989159724262_o 10379980_806338482710137_5091143389400044423_o This could be a bracelet or a hair tie.10380432_806338556043463_6315451907108618_o

Despite the first necklace actually being two (not sure how Tom managed to get them entangled), here is the Cloud Clay Collection.10380698_806338312710154_1664975385889175553_o

Whether you are 5 years old, or 90, Cloud Clay is really good fun to play with, and because it is so soft, it is easy on small fingers and arthritic ones too.  You can make it as sophisticated as you like, and it is really really light weight.  No firing is required and it is not in the least bit messy.  

If you only have white Cloud Clay you can colour it with Mica Powders, or you can paint it afterwards with acrylic paint or Mica Powders blended with water.

Remember to varnish your jewellery whether you use Friendly Plastic or Cloud Clay to protect the surface and prolong the life of your pieces.  I use Duraclear varnish which comes in Matte, Satin and Gloss.

See you on Thursday 12th June for another Designer Inspiration show on Jewellery Maker tv