HomeShopGalleryForthcoming eventsProjectsTop TipsContact

Projects

Welcome to our projects page, these projects are for your personal use only and are not to be reproduced for sale. You can view any of the projects by selecting from the list below.

Making a novelty hedgehog cake
Making a simple Victoria sponge cake
Making a Yule log cake
Carrots
To make whole onions
Making potatoes
Spring onions (scallions)
Christmas wreath and candle decorations
Christmas Cake
Baskets from polymer clay
Egg Shells
Apples and pears
Leeks
 

Making a novelty hedgehog cake

Form a 5/8th inch (16mm) diameter ball of dark brown clay to an oval and press it down onto a tile, flattening the base. Form a ¼ inch (6mm) diameter ball of light brown clay into a small cone, ¼ inch long with a ¼ inch diameter (6 x 6 mm). Cut off and discard one end of the oval, and press the cone against it. Use a pair of fine pointed tweezers, and pinch the tips all over the surface the dark brown clay. The act of pinching will roughen the surface, imitating piped, butter cream, spines. Make two, 1/32nd inch (1mm) diameter balls of black clay and position one on each side of the face for the eyes. Make a 1/16th inch (2mm) diameter ball of black clay and position it on the end of the cone for the nose. Bake the cake for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.


Making a simple Victoria sponge cake.

This project would be suitable for children, with supervision, although they made need some assistance to cut the cylinder in half.

Mix together a 5/8th inch (16 mm) diameter ball of white clay with a 1/10th inch (2 mm) ball of yellow clay and add one quarter of a teaspoon of semolina powder, as this will give texture to the cake. Form the mix into a ball, and then flatten the top and bottom and then the sides to create a three-quarter inch (19 mm) diameter cylinder. Cut the cylinder in half, half way along its length. Flatten a 3/8th inch (9 mm) ball of white clay to a circle big enough to cover the cake, and place the “cream” on top of one cut surface. Repeat the process with a 3/8th inch (9 mm) ball of dark red for the jam. Assemble the cake and use the side of a pin to mark the lines of the cooling tray’s gridlines on the top. Rub a piece of orangey brown artist pastel on a piece of paper and use a paint brush to apply the dust to the top and sides of the cake. Once baked the pigment will be colour fast and permanent. Place the cake in the refrigerator for an hour, the clay firms as it chills, this will mean you can cut a slice from the cake with minimal distortion. Bake the cake and slice for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.


Making a Yule log cake

Roll a ¾ inch (19 mm) diameter ball of dark brown polymer clay to the depth of 1/8th inch. Roll a ½ inch (13mm) diameter ball of light brown to depth of 1/32nd inch. Place the dark brown clay on top of the light brown, prick out any air bubbles between the layers of clay, and cut a 1¼ inch (32mm) square. Discard the excess clay.

Cut a triangle of clay away from one side of the square, leaving an angle along one edge of the dark brown clay - see diagram



Turn the clay over so the light brown clay is now on top. Roll the clay up on itself starting from the angled section and finish with the opposite straight edge resting on the tile. Reduce the diameter of the cylinder to 5/16th inch, by stretching the cylinder not by rolling it; you want to retain the straight edge. Cut away and discard both distorted ends. Cut a 5/16th inch (8mm) segment from the cylinder. Make a diagonal cut across the segment so one side is now 3/16th inch long and the other 5/16th inch long and place the angled piece against the side of the cake near one end.

Cut a 3/16th inch (5mm) slice from the other end of the cylinder and place it flat on the tile. Use the end of a cocktail stick (toothpick) to very gently depress the light brown clay in the slice and at one end of the cylinder. Use a pin to texture the two flat surfaces of the dark brown clay (the end of the cake and the top of the slice). Hold the pin at a shallow angle to the clay and use the tip to texture the surface, do not gouge holes into the clay; just gently roughen the surface so it looks like the cut surface of a cake. Avoid distorting the light brown clay.

Make the chocolate cream filling by mixing a 1/8th inch (3mm) diameter ball of light brown clay with a small amount of liquid polymer clay to the consistency of double (thick) cream. Place a line of the “chocolate cream” in the spiral depression in the light brown clay on both the cut end of the cake and on the slice.

Bake the cake and slice for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Allow the baked cake to cool before proceeding to the next stage.

Bake a 5/8th inch (16mm) diameter ball of dark brown clay and once cool grate it though a fine kitchen grater, the one used for nutmeg is ideal (do not then use the grater for food use). Mix the resulting powder with some liquid polymer clay, which has been coloured with a tiny amount of dark brown oil paint, to the consistency of “butter icing”. Coat all the surfaces of the cake, bar the two textured ones, with the “butter icing”.
Texture the “butter icing” to resemble bark.

Roll out a very thin layer of dark green clay and cut three holly leaf shapes (cutters are available from Diane Harfield – see links). Use a pin to mark the lines of veins in the clay, and gently curve the leaves to a more natural shape. Position the holly leaves on the cake and add some tiny red balls of clay for the berries.

Bake the cake for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

If you wish to have a dusting of icing sugar on your cake, carefully sponge a thin coating of white acrylic paint on the top.


Carrots

Tint a 3/8th inch (9mm) diameter ball of translucent clay with a tiny amount of orange taken from a ½ inch (13mm) ball of orange clay. Divide off 1/3 of the coloured translucent clay and mix in another tiny amount of orange clay. Roll the remaining 2/3rd translucent mix to a 1/8th inch (3mm) diameter cylinder. Wrap this cylinder with the remaining 1/3rd translucent mix, butting the edges at the join; do not overlap the clay. Wrap the cylinder with all the remaining orange clay again butting the edges at the join; do not overlap the clay.

Reduce the diameter of the cane to 3/16th inch (5mm) and cut it in half and put one half aside. Taper the end of the remaining cylinder to a point and cut off a ½ inch (13mm) length. Repeat the procedure cutting more carrots of slightly varying lengths.

Rub a piece of brown pastel stick onto a piece of paper and dip a blade into the powder. Run the blade across the sides of the carrot. This will cut short lines into the sides of the carrot, and the pastel will colour these lines brown. If you inadvertently cut the carrot in two just put it back together again, pushing the cut sides against themselves. Pick up the carrot and gently squidge it up on itself; this not only consolidates all the cut edges together, but gives it an irregular indented appearance. Curve the edges of the top surface of the carrot, and indent a hole in the centre of the top with a ball tool. Tint a ¼ inch (6mm) diameter ball of translucent with leaf green and roll to a 1/16th inch (2mm) cylinder. Cut off a ¼ inch (6mm) length and taper one end. Place a tiny drop of liquid polymer clay into the hole and insert the green top. Pinch the translucent/green clay with tweezers to divide it into stalks.

Bake the carrots, on crumpled foil, for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

Bake the remaining cylinder of clay and whilst it is still warm (be careful not to burn your fingers) cut it into slices. These can be used as vegetables on a plated meal or they add interest to a vegetable preparation scene.

Use the same technique to make parsnips, but use white clay tinted with a small amount of beige clay instead of orange clay.


To make whole onions

Tint a ¾ inch (19 mm) diameter ball of translucent clay with some caramel, the amount you use depends on how dark you wish your onions to be. Onions that have lost their outer layers of leave are a lighter colour than those that have retained their outer skins. Form the mix to a ¾ inch (19mm) diameter cylinder. Roll some light brown clay to a very thin cylinder (1/64th inch, 0.5mm diameter) and lay about 16 lengths evenly around the outside of the cylinder. Reduce the diameter of the cylinder to about ¼ inch (6mm) diameter. Form the base of the onion by gently pressing the cut edges to the centre of the cylinder. Cut the onion away from the cylinder and form the top to a point. Tint a small ball of translucent clay with light brown and place a tiny ball on the base of the onion. Use fine, pointed, tweezers to pinch the ball so it resembles roots. Bake the onions, on crumpled foil, for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

To make sliced onions

Roll a 1/16th inch (1.5mm) diameter, 1inch (25mm) long cylinder of translucent clay. Roll out a very thin layer of white clay - paper thin. Wrap the cylinder with the white clay, cutting away the excess so that the clay butts together at the join, the clay must not overlap. Roll some translucent clay to 1/16th inch (1.5mm) deep, and wrap the cylinder with the translucent clay, again butting the join and cutting away the excess. Repeat the procedures alternating with a very thin layer of white and a thicker layer of translucent. Complete until there are six to eight layers of white, finishing with a white layer.

Cut the cane in half and put one half aside and reduce the diameter of the remaining cylinder to ¼ inch (6mm) by squeezing from the middle of the cane. Bake the cylinder of clay for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay and whilst it is still warm (be careful not to burn your fingers) cut it into slices. These can be used to add interest to a vegetable preparation scene or as a garnish.

Mix together translucent and ochre clay to onion colour. Roll at thin layer of the clay, paper thin, and wrap the remaining cylinder with the clay, butting the edges at the join. Tear off tiny segments of the remaining skin coloured clay and curve the edges with a ball tool, bake these flakes of onion skin for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

Roll some light brown clay to a very thin cylinder (1/64th inch, 0.5mm diameter) and lay about 16 lengths evenly around the outside of the cylinder. Reduce the diameter of the cylinder; by squeezing from the middle of the cane, to a ¼ inch (6mm) diameter cylinder. Finish the onions by using the same technique employed to make whole onions. Whilst warm from the oven the onions can be sliced in half, showing off the intricate rings.


Making potatoes

Mix together equal amounts of translucent and white clay. Roll the to mix to a 3/16th inch (5mm) diameter cylinder and cut into ¼ inch (6mm) segments. Roll each segment to an oval. If you wish to make new potatoes make the ovals slightly smaller. Rub a pastel stick on a piece of paper; the colour used will determine the type of potato, red/brown = Desiree, dark brown = King Edwards, sandy colour = New potatoes. Roll the ovals in the pastel powder, when they are coloured press the tip of a cocktail stick (toothpick) into the potato to mark the “eyes”. Bake the potatoes, on crumpled foil, for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

If you wish to have a peeling potatoes scene leave a couple of ovals uncoloured and cut them into quarters. Once baked and cool place the potato segments in a saucepan and cover with a water substitute. I personally use Solid Water, a two part resign mix, available from Deluxe Materials, (see links)
Use a blade to carefully peel a potato whilst is still warm from baking. If you want a large pile of peelings colour a cylinder of clay and once baked, and whilst still warm, cut away segments of peel from that.
 


Spring onions (scallions)

Spring onions are made up of three definite sections, the pure white bulb at the base, a longer section of white with fine, pale green lines evenly around it, then the leaves at the top.

Mix together equal quantities of white and translucent, divide off a small amount and put aside. Form the remainder to a ¾ inch (19mm) diameter cylinder and add seven pale green 1/32nd inch (1mm) diameter cylinders evenly around the outside. Reduce the diameter of the cylinder to about 1/10th inch (2.5 mm), and cut into 3/8th inch (10 mm) lengths.

Add a small ball of the remaining white/translucent mix to one end of each segment, smooth the join and taper the other end to a point. Roll two, ½ inch (13mm) long, 1/32nd inch (1mm) wide cylinders of green for the leaves, point one end and place two leaves side by side, then use a blade to flatten the lower end. Place the white section on the leaves. Prepare another leaf and having flattened the end as before place it on the top of the white segment. Gently roll the base of the leaves around the spring onion. Tint some translucent with a small amount of the leaf mix and add a tiny ball onto the base of the spring onion. Pinch the ball with fine pointed tweezers to make the roots.

Bake the spring onions (scallions) for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

.

Christmas wreath and candle decorations

The base for Christmas wreaths can be made from polymer clay, twisted cane or plaited plant material. For a polymer clay base roughly marble two shades of green together. A mix of two colours will look more realistic than if you use just one colour. Roll the mix to a cylinder, bend it round to a circle and press it down onto a tile. Use a pair of fine tipped tweezers to pinch all over the surface of the ring of clay. This will roughen the surface, making it look like foliage.

  

Texturing the clay base.

Roll some dark green clay out thinly and cut a collection of holly leaves. Tiny holly leaf cutters are often available from cake icing supply shops or some dolls house shops alternatively you can cut the shape using a sharp blade. Use a pin to mark the lines of the veins into the polymer clay. Add small groups of holly leaves evenly around the ring of textured clay. Roll some tiny balls of red clay and add these to the centres of the leaf groups. Bake the polymer clay for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. When cool, paint the leaves with a polymer clay compatible varnish to give them a glossy sheen. Glue a ribbon bow to the base of the wreath.

Glue decorations onto prepared rings.

I have decorated the twisted cane wreath with Christmas roses and poinsettia bracts. The cake icing online supply shop CelCrafts (www.celcrafts.co.uk) produce a range of micro flower cutters, which are suitable for 1/12th scale. The poinsettia bract is made using the fuchsia petal cutter. Roll some bright red clay out thinly and for each completed bract cut three petals. Place the three petals in a staggered pile and indent the centre with a ball tool. Add a tiny ball of yellow clay to the indentation and texture the surface with a pin. Position the poinsettia bracts around the wreath. If the ring is made from natural plant material it will tolerate being baked and the decorations can be added directly to the base; use a dab of liquid polymer clay to hold them in place. Alternatively secure them in place after baking, using super glue. Cut some flower shapes from white polymer clay (the tiny Kemper cutter is ideal) and cup the centre of the petal over a ball tool or the end of a paint brush. Colour the centre of the flower with yellow pastel powder. Position the flowers around the wreath and secure as before. Bake the wreath for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

 

The same techniques are used to make table top decorations. The base is made from an oval of marbled green clay, textured as before. Make a hole down the centre, for the candle. Make poinsettia and Christmas roses as before and position them around the base. Make small balls of dark brown clay and holding them on the tip of a pin tool; texture the surface with tweezers. Add the “cones” to the base. Bake the base for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.
Roll two even cylinders of red clay and twist them around each other. Cut to the desired length and bake the “candle”. Once cool, glue the candle in place and glue a thread wick to the top.

Christmas Cake

Mix together equal quantities of white and translucent clay. Roll to the depth of 3/8th inch (9 mm) and cut a 7/8th inch (22 mm) circle. Roll two, six inch (15 cm) narrow cylinders from the remaining white/translucent mix. Using a clay extrusion gun will ensure that the cylinders are even. Lay the two strands side by side and twist the cylinders around themselves. Continue until you have a neat rope effect. Add a very thin line of liquid polymer clay around the top edge and base of the cake and place the “rope” of polymer clay onto this line, cutting away the excess clay so the ends butt together. Once baked, the liquid polymer clay will hold the decoration permanently in place.

 

Place three holly leaves onto the top of the cake and position the bracts in between

 

Add some holly leaf and poinsettia bract decorations to the top of the cake (see Christmas wreath instructions) and bake the cake for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.  Glue some decorative ribbon around the side of the cake.

Baskets from polymer clay

The technique of twisting strands of polymer clay to a rope can be used to make very effective baskets. The clay needs to be supported whilst the shape is formed and during backing. The rectangular picnic basket and oval fruit basket were formed around a piece of balsa wood that had been cut to size and covered with foil to prevent the clay sticking to the wood. The round basket was made using an egg cup as a “former”. Ensure the former is at least ½ inch (13 mm) taller than the desired depth of the basket, so it can be removed after baking. The best way to ensure you have evenly sized cylinders of clay is to extrude the clay through a clay extrusion gun, I recommend the Makins Professional Clay Gun as it is much more user friendly than the older syringe styles of clay extrusion guns. The softer the clay the easier it is to extrude. I personally use well conditioned Premo.

Extrude as much clay as possible and cut into even lengths between 9 to 12 inches (22 – 30 cm) long. Place two stands of clay side by side and twist the clay around itself. Continue twisting until the clay looks like rope, then cut away and discard the distorted ends. If the clay breaks whilst you are twisting it you need to make the clay softer. I generally mix in a little translucent clay or “Quick Mix”.

Start in the centre of the base with a short straight line of the twisted clay, and then wrap the clay around this start point. Butt the clay ends together when joining a new section. Pressing the clay strands together will ensure they bake permanently together. Once the base is the size of the former, add one further strand of “rope” all around the base then position the former on top. Now start to bring the clay up the sides of the former. Continue until you reach the desired height. If you wish to have a lid use a blade to cut two small slits for the hinges 1/8th inch (3 mm) down from the top. Make the lid in the same way you did the base, cutting matching slits for the hinges. If desired, add handles made from short lengths of twisted clay. Using different colours of clay, for example at the top to define the rim, will add interest to the basket. Bake the basket for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Whilst the clay is still warm remove the former. Make hinges from short lengths of ribbon.
When making a round basket spiral the clay from a centre point and continue until you reach the desired diameter.
If wished paint the cool basket with a wash of brown acrylic paint. Pet baskets can be made using the same technique, just leave a gap at the front by adding only partial layers. Add a final complete layer and then bake for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay.

Egg Shells

Add a bit of interest to your baking scenes by having a few broken egg shells on the table. Mix egg shell coloured clay from white, translucent and beige (champagne in the Fimo Classic range). Use sandpaper to round off the tip of a bamboo skewer or use the rounded end of a paintbrush as a former. Use corn flour or talcum powder to stop the clay sticking to the former, just dip the rounded end in the powder and tap off any excess. Roll the clay out thinly and place it over the end of the former. Press it down to smooth away the excess folds. Use a blade to cut a zigzag line around the clay about 1/8th inch (3 mm) from the top and then discard the excess clay.

Bake the egg shells for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. If you wish to have to have yolk in one of the egg shells add a tiny amount of yellow oil paint to some liquid polymer clay yellow. Mix thoroughly and place a drip in the shell and then re-bake. Paint the “yolk” with gloss varnish when cool.

Make the yolk of a raw egg from a small ball of yellow clay and add some drops of Liquid Fimo around it. Bake the egg on a tile and, when cool paint the egg with gloss varnish. The egg can then be peeled from the tile and placed next to your broken shells.

Apples and pears

Apart from the obvious differences in shape the technique to make both apple and pears are fundamentally the same. It is always best to model from life; if you do not have the fruit to hand try and find a photograph.

Rocha pears

Mix together golden yellow, champagne, translucent, in proportions of 6:3:6. (I have used Fimo Classic). Then roughly marble in an equal quantity of champagne. You do not want to work the clay so much that the colours merge completely. Form the mix into ¼ inch (6 mm) diameter balls and model into a pear shape, making each pear about 3/8th inch (10 mm) high and 3/16th inch (5 mm) in diameter at the fattest part of the base. Indent a small hole down into the top (stalk end) of the pear using the tip of a cocktail stick (toothpick). Indent a ring of ridges around the bottom of the pear using the side of the tip of a cocktail stick. Use a blade to smear a small amount of brown clay onto a tile and then use the tip of the blade to add a small amount of the brown clay into the centre of the indented base. The fine narrow stems cut from tiny dried flowers make excellent stalks and if cut to one inch (25mm) lengths the stalk can then be used as a handle when colouring the pear. Dip the tip of the stalk into some liquid polymer clay and insert it into the top of the pear, pushing it into the body of the pear. Colour the pear with light brown pastel powder and add some sand/green/red and red/brown pastel powder highlights. Bake the pears for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Cut off the excess stalk when the pear is cool.

Warden pears

Mix together translucent, green and leaf green in proportions of 2:3:1 and roll to 3/16th inch (5 mm) diameter cylinder and cut into 5/16th inch (8 mm) segments. Form the segments into long thin pear shapes and add a stalk as before. Add a small piece of brown clay into a shallow depression in the base of the pear. Dust the pear with red sandy/brown pastel powder then highlight with dark sandy brown pastel powder. Bake the pears for the time, and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Cut off the excess stalk when the pear is cool.
 

Bramley apples

Mix together green, golden yellow, champagne and translucent in proportions of 4:7:9:5 (make extra as the same colour mix is used to make the Granny Smith apples). Form the clay into ¼ to 3/8th inch (6 to 10 mm) balls and indent the top (stalk end) using the tip of a cocktail stick (toothpick). Indent a ring of ridges around the bottom of the apple using the side of the tip of a cocktail stick. Add a tiny ball of brown into the centre of the ridged indentations and a stalk into the other end, using the same technique described in making pears. Colour the indentation around the stalk with brown pastel powder and highlight the sides with red and yellow/sand coloured pastel powder. Bake the apples for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Cut off the excess stalk when the apple is cool.
Granny Smith’s apples
Use the same techniques and coloured clay described to make the Bramley apples, but make the apples smaller. Add sand coloured pastel powder highlights. Then finish as before.

Gala apples
Mix together yellow, champagne and translucent in equal proportions, and roll the mix into ¼ inch (6 mm) diameter balls. Finish using the same technique as for the Bramley apples, but dust the apples with red pastel powder and finish as before.
 

Leeks

Leeks will look more realistic if there is a graduated colour change between the white base and the green leaves. This can be achieved by using Judith Skinner’s technique. The process is quicker if you have a polymer clay dedicated pasta machine but it can easily be achieved using a rolling pin.

The Skinner Blend


Mix together equal amounts of translucent and white clay. Roll the translucent/white mix and some leaf green clay into two strips 1 inch (25 mm) wide, and about 1/16th inch (1.5 mm) deep and place them side-by-side. Overlap the long edges by 3/16th inch (5 mm) and following the directions in the diagram cut along the dashed line, then discard both the triangles and butt the two cut edges together.
 

Roll the clay to fuse the join then fold the clay from top to bottom. Roll the clay again restoring it to the original dimensions, and then fold the clay from top to bottom again. Repeat this process about twenty times and you will find that the two colours will have blended evenly. The procedure is actually quite quick, but it is critical that you always fold from top to bottom, loosing track and folding from the side will ruin the process.

Once the colours have been blended, roll the clay as thin as you can manage, about 1/64th inch (0.5 mm) deep. You want a long thin strip. Trim the white and green to about ¾ - three-quarter - inch (20 mm) wide from the centre blend. Cut the clay into 5/8th inch (16 mm) segments. Use a sharp blade to cut 1/16th inch (1.5 mm) wide strips for the leaves.
 

For thick fat leeks roll out a ¾ inch (20 mm) long, 1/16th inch (1.5 mm) diameter cylinder of the remaining white/translucent mix and place it on the edge of the white side of the skinner blend.

Roll the cylinder up in the blended mix, completely wrapping it. For thinner leeks omit the cylinder and just roll the clay. Round the base of leek and use a pin to position the leaves naturally. Mix together some root coloured clay from translucent, green and light brown. Add a small ball to the bottom of the leek and texture it with fine pointed tweezers. Bake the leeks for the time and at the temperature recommended for your chosen brand of clay. Once cool they can be highlighted with a wash of brown acrylic paint if you want them to look like they have just come in from the garden.

 

Todd Toys and Miniatures is part of Symphony Consulting Limited.

Registered at Cardiff No. 5048807 VAT No. 826 965779

Member of IGMA and The British Toymakers Guild