I made a YouTube video today on how to paint polymer clay mosaic tiles. A few days ago I posted a picture tutorial on how to put the tiles onto a frame so that is another post you can check out for more information on the polymer clay mosaics.
They are a lot of fun to make and they look rich and colorful with three layers of paint. The last layer is embossing powder.
Where there are gaps between tiles I use seed beads or black polymer clay “rods” covered with gold leaf as fillers. That makes the art work extra shiny and rich. You can’t add too much bling to this type of art work.
You can use any color combination, but I’m partial to blues, teals, purple, and reds. As you experiment you’ll come up with your favorites.
I was making some polymer clay mosaic picture frames today and was struck by the thought that I feel the same when I’m doing crafts as I feel when painting.
In the past I have labeled painting as “art” and anything else that I enjoy to do with my hands as “craft.” Craft ought to be more lowly than art, but there is NO difference since I’m the same creator.
Doesn’t it all come from the same inner source? Yes, of course it does. Craft may be more mechanical in that you make more of the same items, but not one is exactly the same. With my mosaics it’s hard to even make two that look alike, but if you put them all side by side, there is a definite similarity of style and a preferred choice of colors.
When I paint I also prefer certain colors to others. I don’t prefer a particular motif, but if I did, I might find painting easier than facing a blank canvas to start something completely new. I can’t seem to focus on a particular subject. My color choices do carry “my” signature. The mosaics all look similar because I have only so many tools in my toolbox for imprints and only so many rubber stamps. No matter. It won’t stop me from creating.
The me sitting in my studio is the one who creates, not necessarily the ego me who likes to think I’m The Great Artist. It doesn’t change what appears on the canvas or on my mosaic frames. If I’m having a good time, that’s good enough for me.
Feeling alive is what I enjoy, no matter what I do. In other words, doing what I love.
It is a choice and sometimes a compulsion to create, but no matter how things transpire in the studio, I spent the day in a good way.
This one will end up with an altered Christmas ornament in the shape of a heart in the middle. I adhere some text to the surface and glue inspirational words on it. Then I attach it to the background that I alter with awesome paper.
A 5×5″ picture frame. Fun and fast to make since it’s so small.
What are you working on today? I wish you all kinds of creativity.
This concludes day 10 of the blogging challenge …
P.S. Check out some of my stuff for sale in my etsy shop HERE.
For years I used to make polymer clay mosaics. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Laurie Mika and her fabulous book, Mixed Media Mosaics? I was smitten while reading that and used some of her techniques for making my own boxes and frames. I have made many, but I got burned out on making them. They make great gifts! I took photos of the process, but I struggled to get good pictures. I will post them anyway since the mirror I worked on is done.
I didn’t get pictures from the tile making process, but you knead a block of polymer clay and roll it flat like cookie dough with a rolling pin. The slab should be about 1/8″ thick. I then use rubber stamps, old buttons, charms, and found objects that make good indentations. I cut out the tile with a polymer clay blade. I put the tiles in a baking pan and put a same-size pan on top, bottom up, like a lid. I secure the pans together with binder clips and bake in the oven per manufacturer’s instructions. Carry the pans outside, release one of the clips and slide top pan open to release fumes. I like to use Sculpey III, but I’m sure Fimo and other brands are good too. I tried self-drying clay for a batch and it was very difficult to work with. You can use any color clay since you’re going to paint over the tiles, but black will make the tiles darker.
Here is a close up of the jewelry charms I baked into the clay. They add bling! These are the tiles after one coat of paint where I usually fill in all the indentations and wipe off the rest. Looks messy at this stage….
This is a mirror frame. I took out the glass part and painted the frame front and back with black craft paint. It seals the wood and also adds “tooth” to the surface, which makes it easy to adhere the tiles. Attach a sawtooth hanger on the back before adding the tiles. There are sometimes holes for hanging, but it’s difficult to use those and get the mirror straight on the wall. (At least I find it so..lol.)
Same two pictures in different light. This is the second coat of paint. I usually smear it on with my fingers. I try to vary the colors to get more tiles to choose from for my project.
Third coat of paint, which is embossing powder in different colors that I also smear on with my fingers. I use Perfect Pearls. See how it all came together? Now the tiles don’t look messy at all, but handmade for sure. Embossing powder smooths everything out and adds a nice highlight to any ridges. Where there is white shining through from the tile, I usually go over it with a paint pen or a fine brush, or fill in larger areas, like the purple star and sun with more of the same paint.
A basket of yummy tiles! Now my mirror frame is dry too and I sand the edges. Then it’s time to match up the tiles for the design. This is the fun part… It can be painstaking, but I have never done a project that didn’t come together just perfectly. 🙂
When the design is done, I put the tiles in order on the table and spread LOTS of glue on one area at a time. I use Aleene’s craft glue, which works great, but Weldbond is also a good brand of glue for mosaic tiles. For the wings and heart on the center piece, I used E6000 jewelry glue, which is heavy duty. I really like my pieces to be solid. Where there are small gaps between the tiles, I pour in a string of seed beads. It adds bling and gives the piece a finished look.
Finished! I painted the edges with good black acrylic paint. I also like to paint the back one more time to make it really look good. I sign it on the back.
Are you willing to try one of these? It’s not hard, but it looks hard. 🙂 What are you working on now?
P.S. I don’t have any mirrors for sale in my etsy shop, but I have paintings and mixed media HERE.