Welcome to my studio, lol well I wish I had a studio. This is a wooden TV tray that is perfect workspace for playing with polymer clay. You can see my pasta machine, cutters, liquid sculpey, blades, and other various tools.
This palm tree was a request from my daughter, she needed matching earrings for her palm tree summer outfit. SHE drew me a pic (just like this) and I thought "I CAN DO THAT!!!"
-Pasta Machine (not necessary, but easier. Hand roller could also work.)
-Clay blade (sharp tissue blade)
-1 1/2" square cutter (or use a square paper template)
-Very small amount of liquid sculpey (liquid clay)
-Figure 8 shaped wire (I bend with 20 gauge craft wire and round needle nose plyers.)
-Green, Yellow and Brown polymer clay (very little)
Condition your clay until it is smooth and does not crack or flake when a snake of it is folded over....Knead, roll and twist with hands, or use a pasta machine (opening thickness does not matter, but do not trap air by putting folded sheets in with the fold at the top) My machine is an Amaco, 7 being the thickest setting, 1 being the thinest.
I am starting with the palm fronds of tree with a skinner blend.
I rolled clay on the thickest setting. I use square cutter.
I cut clay diagonally and stack the cut pieces to make double thickness.
I placed the pieces side by side off set a bit, then cut the tips to square it. This also insures that all green and all yellow will show on ends.
Now through the pasta machine we go, with both colors touching the rollers, on the thickest setting, roll through.
Fold in half, and roll through again starting with the folded side (this prevents air bubbles).
5 times through
I go with the flow, lost count of how many times, not important. Just know that I have kept my thickness at the thickest every time I fold and roll. As you can see, with this pasta machine my blend is getting shorter and shorter, I quit rolling when it is no longer large enough to fold without messing up the blend.
To thin and elongate my blend, I then move my thickness down to 6, rotate blend this time and DO NOT FOLD. Roll through, does not matter what color first, but must be a sold color side.
I set setting thinner again and roll, then set lower again and roll, and when you get to a 4 thickness this is what you have.
I cut the ends to clean them up before rolling.
I roll that yellow piece that I cut off end into a log that is the width of blend.
Put that snake you rolled right on top of yellow edge. I do this before I roll, for it helps reduce any air bubbles.
Now cut off the ends.
Now it is time to do the trunk of palm tree. I used remainder of yellow clay and mixed pea size brown to make a "dirty yellow". (mix very well, I use pasta machine to blend colors a little faster)
Form your dirty yellow into a log. Roll the brown clay through pasta machine till #4 thickness (or 1/16"). Cut one short end so you will have a straight edge. Put the yellow log on the sheet of brown, and trim the brown sheet to same length of log on both sides before rolling.
Roll the log to wrap it with the brown sheet...overwrap the sheet a little, then roll it back and observe a line that formed right where you will need to cut so the edges will butt (but not over lap). Press the butted edges together well (they will stretch a little if necessary).
Ok we are getting there. This cane is starting at 1 1/4 inches long. Now we need to reduce this to 8 inches long.
To reduce, you roll and roll and pull slightly. Over and over. With both hands starting in middle of cane, roll from center moving your hands farther apart as you roll to ends. Over and over. When reaching a little over 8 inches long slice your ends off. With ruler lying vertically against cane, you mark small cuts every inch, then following marks, cut your cane to 8 pieces.
Slightly smash your logs, then stack them like shown.
Now I roll my acrylic roller over each side of the stack, rotating the new cane with each pass so it will be an even thickness. I pick up cane and stretch slightly.
Continue to make the cane longer by rolling and rotating till the pattern is as small as you need to match the frond cane. Cut off ends of cane to square them neatly.
Before slicing the canes, especially if your clay is really soft, stiffen them a little by letting them sit awhile or by placing in refrigerator a few minutes. Cut 1/8"thick slice from trunk cane and four 1/8 inch slices from palm frond cane.
Pinch one end of each palm slice to curl it.
Place palm canes on top first, notice how they are opposite from each other.
Place the bottom palms touching trunk and upper palms. Lightly press together, this Kato clay cane slices stick pretty well on their own. Especially after you add the coconuts.
Roll some tiny brown coconuts. Press lightly onto palms and trunk.
The coconuts give added security to holding the cane pieces together. Wow he is ready for the sun or maybe a hammock? NO, time to add eye loop.
Using straight edged craft knife, center in middle of canes and push straight down slightly, for not a large slit is needed to slip loop in. A drop of liquid sculpey in one eye.
Using needle nose plyers to help slide the wire liquid sculpey end into slit. I smooth slit closed with side of needle by rolling up and down palms. I baked him 275 degrees for 15 minutes. Voila!!