Thursday, January 3, 2013

Clay Quilt Tutorial for the Glitter Happy!

In October, Martha Stewart Crafts kicked off their very own Pinterest board for craft tools & tips, and to celebrate I've created a tutorial for you to showcase some of my favorite Martha products -- be warned, there's a lot of glitter ahead!

The product I was most excited to use for my tutorial is Martha's crafter's clay, an adult version of the foamy air-dry clay you often find in the children's craft aisles. I've never really used clay much in my crafty endeavors, so I seized the opportunity as a challenge.

Get the full tutorial after the jump!

I wanted to pay an homage to my method of choice, sewing, while trying out some new supplies and showcasing their wide range of usability. I decided on probably the strangest combination: a glitter-tastic clay display quilt with even some embroidery floss thrown in there. My favorite thing about this project is you can alter it to create a quilt per season or occasion, as you could with a fabric quilt.

So clear the day and get ready to dig in (after hitting up your local Michael's to load up on some Martha Stewart Craft products) because this project is a bit lengthy but so much fun to create.

Clay Glitter Quilt Tutorial

What you'll need:
Martha Stewart Crafter's Clay in White, Red, Blue, Yellow, and Brown
Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-surface Glitter Paint (choose your favorite colors!) & paint brush
Embroidery Floss

Optional tools (I used all of these):
Martha Stewart Crafts Mini Scoring Board & Bone Folder
Martha Stewart Crafts Retractable Knife 
Martha Stewart Crafts Spring-loaded Scissors


1. Prepare your clay: This clay comes with a really great guide for mixing clay, with clay lumps shown to scale making measuring easy. The color palette is stunning, and included all of my favorites. I had a hard time choosing just a few off the bat so I used my embroidery floss as inspiration for my color palette. Choose 6 or more colors to mix & match for your quilt.
2. Mix your clay! Per instructions in the clay kit, prep your color proportions & knead gently to mix. Don't over knead, clay can dry out if you over-mix.

Note: My quilt was 9 blocks big, with blocks approximately 3in x 3.5 ins. You can go as big or small as you'd like! Consider the frame you'll be placing it in to help you decide on a size. For my size, I chose 8 colors so I would have options for backgrounds & embellishments to mix up. These balls are about 1.25 inches in diameter and made just over 1 block each.

3. Smooth your clay out into desired block sizes. You can cut your blocks with sharp scissors or a bone folder.

Note: I used a non-traditional method of spreading out my clay, utilizing my Mini Scoring Board to help smooth & cut. The back side of the board provided a smoother surface than my cutting mat, which was perfect for flattening my clay. The cutting mat has a bit of a grip to it which tended to make the clay stick. The scoring board side was perfect for measuring out my blocks and I used the bone folder to slice away uneven edges. Not what it's intended for, but works just the same!

4. Using scraps, cut out embellishments to place on your blocks. I kept mine all rectangles and included small strips for "sashing", but you can get as creative as you'd like here!

5. Score & sew together your blocks, working in horizontal strips, then sewing together those strips to piece the whole "quilt top" together as you would with fabric.

Note: I kept my needle up the whole time, linking between two holes at a time to avoid having to pick up my clay (which can be tender at this point -- don't rip it!). Refer to the image above to see my method for stitching up to the next cross stitch and down across to complete it.

6. Once you're all stitched up, use a liquid adhesive to glue on your embellishments. I recommend spreading your adhesive with a foam brush (or using liquid adhesive with a foam applicator) to spread it across the entire embellishment piece.

Note: The clay will be firm but still quite flexible at this point so you can press it over humps, like your stitching, and it will glue down at a curve. You can place embellishments over any mistakes you may have made when sewing (fingernail imprints, for example). I made a few extra boo-boos during stitching that I then covered with glitter paint -- glitter makes everything better!

7. Allow your quilt to dry overnight before painting. Your clay will be firmer but still flexible, range of flexibility depending on how thick your spread your clay. Mine was about 2mm thick so it had a pretty foamy feeling the next day.

8. Paint! Using your Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-surface paint (glitter highly recommended, because why not?), spread across quilt blocks for a pop! Allow to dry completely before adding new layers. My completed quilt had 3 layers of glitter paint.

Note: You can also use actual glitter, using a glitter adhesive to apply your glitter. I was nervous about this since there are so many nooks & crannies in the foam and piecing, I thought it might be a bit of a mess to clean up and keep tidy on my quilt. Glitter paint did the trick perfectly!

9. Frame your new quilt for guaranteed oohs & ahhs! I added to the glitter madness by attaching it to glittered paper I had from Paper Source.

Note: I recommend you use brads for attaching it to a backing, making sure you don't get too close to the corner (your clay could rip if you don't leave enough space. I used a shadowbox frame to allow for proper display of the quilt's dimension & texture. Depending on how heavy your quilt is, you can adhere it to the back with liquid adhesive for extra support.

Voila! Wow your friends with your fancy new mixed-media piece, and they'll be double impressed when they find out you made it. It's Halloween-time around here and our walls are covered in spiders, so don't mind the arachnid photo embellishment!

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