Hey everyone, long time no see! How has everyone been? I just wanted to say thank you for all the encouraging messages, i’m so sorry I didn’t get the time to reply to all of them before I started my course. I replied to all my comments yesterday and I am largely back on the blogging track now! Unfortunately due to my tendency to turn into a big, lazy sloth after uni courses I haven’t been doing anything remotely crafty, instead what little motivation I have to do anything have all been spent on the gym so I can become an even better super tennis player. So, for a while this blog may be taken up more by posts of life, fashion and beauty than craft if no one minds.
Riechan had requested ages ago that I do a post about all my tools, so finally here it is! These are all the tools that i’ve accumulated over my crafty journey, some very useful some not so useful. If you’re just starting out please don’t look at this list and go out and buy everything! You absolutely do not need all this stuff to start making clay sweets. I’ll put an asterisk next to tools that I think are essential.
1. Left to right: Padico matte sealer, Plaid folkart outdoor matte sealant, gloss sealant, Studio by Sculpey gloss glaze
Sealers are absolutely essential if you work with air dry clay because air dry clay is not waterproof. A sealer will make the item more water resistant, more durable and it also makes the item look more finished and professional. These four sealers are the ones i’ve used and had good results with. When shopping for varnishes, try to go for ‘outdoor’ ones that have words like ‘durable’ in them, and the word ‘sealer’ is pretty good too. Unfortunately some glazes dry tacky and will attract dust which is a big issue, it’s kind of luck which ones will and won’t so always buy a small bottle instead of a big one in case it doesn’t work out. Liquitex acrylic varnish will dry tacky, so steer clear.
2. From left to right:
- Clay press with ruler – this was not as useful as I had anticipated. I only really use it to press stuff, but any clear stiff piece of plastic would do. The ruler doesn’t make a difference.
- Mini cutting mat with 0.5 cm grid – really useful! Good for measuring cakes and stuff.
- White tile – a good work surface, non-stick most of the time. You could use pretty much anything though with some baby oil for non stick.
- Clay roller* – you can’t really see it in the photo, it’s white and blends in with the tile, but this is definitely an essential item. It’s just a plastic cylindrical tube for rolling clay.
- Water pen – nifty little convenient tool, you fill it up with water and it has a brush tip that water goes into. I use it to paint for easy clean up, can use it for fixing little mistakes, not essential but fun to have.
- Blades – i’ve got about three different types of knives in this picture, and I say if you’ve got a standard Stanley knife then you don’t need this type of blade. Each is good for different things.
- The three green tools – generic clay tools that you can get from any craft store, pretty useful but not essential. The most useful one is probably the third knife one, but you can use an old credit card as a substitute.
- X-acto knife – good for chopping little things, but could do with a Stanley knife.
- Stanley knife* – essential, you need it to cut things. Make sure to keep it super sharp and have lots of replacement blades handy, cutting with a blunt blade will smear your items and ruin them.
- Paintbrush – for painting strawberries and browning. I just buy a small cheap one.
- Thing with things sticking out the end – don’t bother getting one, a toothbrush is much more useful.
- Tweezers* – essential for precise placement of little topping items, and for moving the item when it has ‘sauce’ or ‘cream’ on it.
- Toothbrush* – essential for making cake and bread texture.
I use acrylic paints for colouring my items. You can just buy small cheap sets of tubes because you wouldn’t be using many of the colours much. The only ones that I do use a lot of are burnt sienna, yellow ochre and brilliant red (left to right paint tubes). Yellow ochre is most important because it’s the one that gives the yellow brown colour of pastry.
Sponges are useful for dabbing white paint on items to look like icing sugar, and also for browning items. If you don’t wish to use pastels to brown, you can dab diluted brown paint to create a baked brown finish.
From left to right:
- 2-part epoxy (first 3 items)* – aside from being really damn good at sticking stuff to stuff (like items to earring backs), when mixed with a bit of acrylic paint it makes really realistic looking ‘sauces’. 2-part epoxy comes in two parts, and you mix them together to harden the glue. Really inconvenient to use though and stinks.
- Super glue – kind of useful for when you don’t want to break out the epoxy.
- Super X – this is a Japanese glue that is advertised as ‘one part epoxy’, so in other words it’s like 2-part epoxy without the mixing part. Sweet! Japanese deco books use this for sauces, but unfortunately mine is way too thick to do that (I think it’s because I am using Super XG, I think there is a difference) and it’s also hard to find.
- Modena paste – not strictly a glue, this is resin clay in paste form. It’s really useful for sauces and sticking clays together before the clay has dried. Makes very realistic frosting.
Moulds are essential for saving time. I use Oyumaru for my moulds, but you can use silicon or whatever other types of moulding material may be available to you.
Cookie cutters are useful and nifty and i’d mark it in the essential column for people who plan on doing a lot of sweets deco as opposed to making individual miniature jewellery pieces, it’ll really cut down on time for cookie parts.
Misc stuff that are useful:
- Plastic zip lock bags for storing clay and other items.
- Toothpicks* – for mixing paints and glue, poking holes, generally useful to have around!
- Oil* – any type will do, put a thin layer on your work surface to stop clay sticking to it.
For piping cream you might have your own preferences over what you use, for example a icing syringe, an actual piping bag, etc. For me I use disposable bags with a coupler (the big thing on the right in the picture). The coupler lets me change tips without changing the bag, so I can just take the tip off and store the ‘cream’ away in a bag for future use, it rarely dries up if you seal the bag tight.
I have a ton of piping tips but the only two I ever really use are my open star tips with 8 ‘spikes’. Six ‘spikes’ would be sufficient if you can’t find an 8-spiked open star tip. The small one is for little items and the big one is for sweets deco. Also modelling paste should be in the picture but I forgot when I took the photo, look here for more details
Lastly, storage boxes! Stay organised, you don’t want everything all over the place :).