Monday, March 10, 2014

Artsy Monday - Fairy Doors

For this week’s Artsy Monday project I wanted to show you the process I use to make Fairy doors. These little doors are so cute when added to a baseboard or along the wall. I have one in my office of my day job and several in my studio.  They can be whimsical and full of color or made to look like a natural part of the environment.


Polymer clay
Texture Rubber Stamps
Rolling Pin or Pasta Machine (for use with clay only)
Exacto/Razor knife

Rub n Buff
Pearl-Ex Powders

 My Wood Toned Mix 

I make mine from polymer clay and mix several colors together to give the piece more depth.

For this tutorial I am using Premo clay in the following colors: 5093 – 1/8 block Ecru, ¼ block 5392 - Raw Sienna, 1/8 block 5303 – Gold, and ¼ block 5053 – Burnt Umber. I like adding a bit of gold to my mix because of the warmth it adds to the door.

The first thing I do is mix all the colors into a single log. I condition this by hand, twisting, tearing and re-combining until I like the way the mix looks. Then I run it though a pasta machine so that I have a nice even thickness to work with when I make the door.

After being run through Pasta Machine

Gently Adding Texture

Once I have a good piece I texture it by laying it on a rubber stamp and rolling a small rolling pin over it to press it into the stamp. Don’t mash it! You will have a hard time removing it from the stamp if you are not careful.

Textured vs. Smooth Clay

In this example I am using cheesecloth and crackle background stamps rather than a wood grain. I have used wood grain, script and many more to achieve different effects. Experiment with what you have on hand. You never know what an image will look like in clay until you try it.

Once I am satisfied with the base clay I cut a door shape out of it. I usually free-hand mine but you can always find an image of a door that you like and use it as a pattern.

To add further dimension to the door I add strips across the grain and then “screws”, a door knob and finally I add the contrasting piece that wraps around the door giving the illusion of a door jamb.

Ready to Trim

To make the strips I combine some of the "door mix" with a chunk of darker clay. Once combined I roll it out flat and cut it into strips using a metal ruler and an razor knife. The rest of this contrasting clay I roll into a "snake" to wrap around the door.

Before you bake it you can dust the screws with a metallic pigment powder such as pearl ex or you can wait until after the piece has been baked and then use Rub and Buff to add a metallic shimmer to the screws.

Ready to Bake

To make the screws I take small balls of clay and gently press them on the strips. Using my knife I gently make the line for the screwdriver.

You can add vines, flowers, faces, hinges, wreaths, etc. With polymer clay you can add almost anything you can think up! Don’t be afraid to play with the clay. 

Bake the clay according to the manufacturers directions in a well ventilated area. I have a dedicated counter top convection oven that I use for my sculptures and other polymer clay pieces but you can use your oven. DO NOT use a toaster oven. The temperature is not stable and could burn your clay. 

Fairy Door with Rub and Buff on Screws

Fairy Door Pendant

Once you get your base door completed you can still add decorations to it. I generally make my door and then bake it so that I don't ruin the texture when I work on any decorations I want to add. Once I fit the decorations to the door and check for size I take a picture for placement and then gently remove the decorations and bake them separately. Once they are baked I use the Ultimate glue to adhere the pieces together. 

1 comment:

  1. I love them! I have made small wooden fairy doors for my trees in the ayrd but now I may have to add more indoors.