Nina Nixon


I'm Nina, a photographer, film maker and forever wanderer.  Passionate about nature, the great outdoors and all of life's adventures.  This is the place where I keep all my 'field notes'

Hearts :: tutorial

I have a funny feeling that trying to find the time this week to get anything done is going to be a real challenge and juggling three 'I'm bored already!' children is going to test my wits to the limit.

But with a little help of modern technology, three bored children turned into three happy and quiet (for a while) children which meant I did manage to sit down this afternoon and start to put together the first tutorial I promised last week.

Hand made heart tags

It may of taken me a good couple of hours, but I think I'm there...........phew!

I also may of underestimated (a tad) how much time is consumed in the undertaking of 'other stuff' during half term week.

But with a hey ho and a cheeky little grin - here I am with said promised offerings.

OK, so polymer or oven baked clay hearts.

I won't try and fluff this up for you in a way that says 'there's nothing to it' because there are a few things you will need or to go and purchase first. If you don't already have them to hand that is.

++ most of the following items needed were either bought from a craft shop like Hobbycraft or found on Ebay and Amazon.

The miscellaneous stuff like a palette knife, knitting needle, cookie cutters and odd tile I already had here lying around at home.

:: so this is what you will need ::

Polymer clay 'or' oven bake clay like FIMO or PREMO
Acrylic paint.
A tile.
Flat knife or palette knife.
Shaped cutters or cookie cutters.
Paint brush.
Knitting needle.
Rolling pin.
Letter stamps (optional)
Gloss varnish (optional)
Bakers twine (optional)

:: MAKING ::

Take your clay and break a bit off then roll it out to (roughly) a couple of mm's thick.

I find rolling my clay on the tile helps give it a nice flat bottom.

I use a little white rolling pin that I picked up in the baking department which is probably used for working royal icing rather then polymer clay, but it's the best thing I've found that works.

++ I tend to find it's a good idea after each stage to use your palette knife, sliding it gently under the clay as it tends to stick to the surface you are working on quite easily.

This helps make the working easier and there is less chance of it is breaking apart - after all your hard work - once you have finished.

Once you're happy with the rolled out clay use the shaped cutter/s to create your desired shape/s. It's just like making cookies!

I opted for a heart and a flower.

And then when you are happy with your shapes it's on to the design.

I bought a letters and numbers stamp set off Ebay for mine - a bit like old fashioned typewriter keys - to create first name initials.

Please note - they are quite heavy so go easy with the stamping.

Next - if you want to thread your shape on to something - in the long run - then don't forget to make a hole. I forgot to do this the first time round and had to make a second batch.

This is where I found a knitting needle is perfect for creating that 'just the right size' hole.

Once all stamped and holed your clay shape/s are ready for baking.

You will need to heat the oven to ½ a degree (if gas) or 130ºC for conventional.

Arrange your shape/s on to the tile - make sure each shape is not touching another - and place in the oven (middle shelf) for 30 minutes 'or' follow the guidelines on the back of the packet of the oven bake clay you have.

Once baked take out of the oven and leave to rest and cool for roughly ten minutes.

Then when they are cooled you can either thread them up with your twine or ribbon and use as is or apply the teeniest dab of acrylic paint to your stamped letter (if applied).

Go easy with the paint as it can spread - like mine has on the 'S' heart (see below) - use a damp piece of kitchen towel and press ever so gently on to the stamped letter to remove any excess paint from around the area.

And hey presto........all done!

I experimented with mine this time round and sprinkled a little glitter on the tile (before baking) and then rolled the clay out on top of that.

I think it looks rather effective in a shimmery kind of way.

The perfect tags for some jolly up and coming birthdays.

I hope that is all clear and my instructions are easy to follow.

It always sounds so straight forward in my head, but when I come to write it all down it doesn't always feel that smooth.

Though please do let me know if you have any questions or queries - I am always happy to help.

And that's it.

Hand made heart tags

▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀ ▀

Happy half term to you all and happy crafting.

nb. the instructions for 'making' are a mix of my own trial and error with a little common sense thrown in for good measure as I couldn't find a concise 'all in one' idiots guide (for me) to follow and make these hearts along with watching, learning and utilising tips from others.

:: edited :: the size of letter stamps I use are 5mm figures.
Nina xxx