|'Staffie and Westie polymer clay 'cake toppers'!|
Last Friday night, I went out for a Chinese meal with the staff and other volunteers from the animal shelter for my friend, Christine's birthday. Another friend, Audrey, happened to mention a couple of weeks earlier that her teenage daughter, a very talented cake maker, was baking Christine a birthday cake.
Christine has just adopted the most adorable staffie and somehow Audrey suggested I could make a staffie cake topper to go on the birthday cake and somehow, I found myself agreeing to give it a go even though I know absolutely nothing about making cake toppers!
In the end up I decided against trying to make it out of fondant icing and instead ordered a little square of polymer clay and some clay sculpting tools from Amazon, thinking I'd try my hand at that. How hard could it be? Very hard, as it turns out! So much harder than just painting a one dimensional picture of a dog, as it happens.
I watched several You Tube clips and read several more 'how to' guides and then realised that it seemed you needed to fashion an armature (dog shaped skeleton thingie) out of wire to put the clay round. I didn't have any wire and this was now Thursday, the day before the cake topper was needed for our night out.
I made the executive decision that this dog didn't need an armature and just started rubbing the clay between my hands to soften it and did my best to fashion the shape of a staffie sitting down. Bearing in mind that I didn't have any photographs of Kye, the staffie, to work from I had to just look at generic white staffie photos online and I texted Audrey and asked her to go and look at Kye (who spends the day at work with Christine) and tell me what markings he had!
I have no idea how polymer clay artists get their creations to look so smooth so I searched the all knowing Google to find out and came across a forum where someone else had asked the same question likening their sculpture to 'spat out chewing gum' which seemed like the perfect description of mine too. Apparently you need rubbing alcohol to smooth it out. Not something I tend to have lying around the house so I decided that my clay dog was going to look a little rugged and bumpy and proper handmade (I didn't really decide this, I had absolutely no choice as that is just how it ended up looking!)
Anyway, I finally got it to resemble a staffie and popped it into the oven for 30 minutes, letting it stay there until the oven cooled down again. I even had a tiny bit of clay left over so I made a little westie for myself!
On Friday I started painting the dogs. Because polymer clay is essentially acrylic you can paint it using acrylic paints. Handy because those I have no shortage of. I referred to Audrey's text telling me Kye had a black ear with a white tip, a brown tail with a white tip and a brown spot on his side and finally my first ever polymer clay dog was finished.
I don't think I'll be giving any polymer clay artists a run for their money but I had fun making him and Christine was absolutely delighted with him and a couple of the others at the meal said they'd be interested in commissioning little models of their own dogs - who knows maybe I'll start a little sideline in three dimensional dog art!