Concepts in Clay

Carol Zentgraf

We featured several projects combining embroidery with polymer clay in the March/April 2008 issue of Creative Machine Embroidery (See "Concepts in Clay" on page 50). Here we explain how to create the projects step-by-step.

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  • Polymer clay in colors of your choice
  • 5" square of lightweight fabric for frame art
  • Water-soluble and mesh cut-away stabilizer
  • Embroidery and bobbin
  • 1/2 yard of narrow twisted cord for mirror
  • Permanent fabric adhesive and permanent adhesive (for clay pieces)
  • Clear glaze spray
  • Non-stick baking sheet
  • 6"-long flexible polymer clay cutting blade
  • Formica cutting board or rotary cutting mat
  • Roller or brayer
  • 4"-diameter round mirror
  • Key chain
  • Shanks for buttons
  • 3 1/2" x 5" frame stamp with design of your choice
  • Using the templates, mark the design placement over the stenciling.
  • Embroidery designs of your choice: flower no larger 4 1/4"-diameter and ladybug design no larger than 3/4" for mirror; daisy approximately 3 1/4"-diameter; design of your choice to fit 3" x 4" diameter

For the mirror and key-chain:

  • Hoop the water-soluble stabilizer and embroider the designs needed for the size of the surface (combine in software, if available, for one hooping).
  • Cut away the excess stabilizer; remove the remaining stabilizer from the edges by rinsing in warm water. Place on a flat surface to dry
For the frame:
  • Hoop the cut-away stabilizer with the fabric.
  • Embroider the design. Do not cut away the excess stabilizer. Instead cut the it down to fit the back of the frame.

Note: Follow the "General instructions" to condition the clay colors. Lighten colors as desired by using white or another lighter clay color.

Mirror Construction & Assembly
  • Roll the marbleized clay into a ball. Flatten the ball into a circle and use a roller or brayer to roll it into a 3/8"-thick, 5"-diameter circle.
  • Press the embroidery into one side of the clay circle.
  • Center the mirror on the opposite side and use the awl to trace around the mirror edge. Remove the mirror and use the cutting blade to scoop out a 1/8" layer of clay inside the mirror outline. Replace the mirror to check the fit, adjusting the edges if needed. Remove the mirror.
  • Roll the clay to 3/4" thick and cut into 1/4"-thick slices. Place the slices side-by-side to create a 2"-diameter circle. Roll long thin tubes of contrasting colors and wrap around the spirals. Hand press to compact; use the roller to roll into 1/8"-thick, 4 1/2"-diameter circle.
  • Press the embroidery into one side of the clay circle, (refer to "General instructions").
  • Use the cutting blade to trim the clay 1/8" from the outside of the petals. Use the awl to make a hole large enough for the key chain.
  • For the ladybug, roll a 1/4"-long oval of red clay. Add a small black head and dots.
  • Follow the clay manufacturer's directions to cure the daisy and ladybug by baking in the craft oven. Let the clay cool.
  • Use permanent fabric adhesive to glue any petal tips in place that popped up during baking and to glue the ladybug to the embroidery side.


Frame Construction & Assembly

  • Emboss a sheet of mixed blue clay with the stamp (refer to "General instructions"). Remove from the stamp and use the cutting blade to trim the edges and cut out the center opening. Place the frame shape on a 1/8"-thick sheet of matching clay and trim the backing sheet edges to match the frame. Set the backing sheet aside
  • Rub pigment powder onto the details of the frame as desired following the "General instructions."
  • Follow the clay manufacturer's directions to cure the frame by baking in the craft oven. Let cool.
  • Spray with clear glaze; let dry.
  • Cut the embroidered fabric 1" larger all around than the frame opening. Glue to the back of the frame using permanent fabric adhesive.
  • Glue the backing piece in place, sandwiching the embroidery in between.



Mirror: Stitchitize, #FL373
Frame, key chain & embroidered buttons: Anita Goodesign, designs Daisy 3 #hd-ds7, Daisy Bouquet #hd-ds17, Ladybug #hd-ds8

Oklahoma Embroidery Supply & Design, Pack 12090, designs Fp943, Fp955, Fp956

Plaid Simply Stencils (#17464ABULK, #17464BBULK)
Delta Stencil Magic Paint Crème (Cottage Blue)


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