Monday Make: Fimo Oceans…

So I’ve seen lots of craft pieces and tutorials using resin and Fimo and think they looked fantastic, I really wanted to try it for myself so bought a box of resin and some clay. This was yonks ago though, I lost my bottle and couldn’t work up the courage until last week. I had one of those ‘let’s do one of those unstarted projects’ notions, and the resin fimo combo was what I chose. I went with the octopus and coral in a scallop shell, as I a) had been collecting scallop shells, b) didn’t have any other molds/vessels to hold the set resin in and c) had watched a few tutorials for it.

Making all the little corals was super fun and almost a little addictive. I wasn’t going for anything too realistic but did google corals to get a rough idea of shapes and textures. The octopus however was a little more tricky – his tentacles (careful) were very thin and floppy and upon reflection a little out of proportion for his body. I baked the whole thing as was, but when it came out of the oven all the pieces had returned to singular elements! This meant I had to silicone them back in to place.

I made a second smaller octopus in a shell, whos legs are super funky but ended up with a squashed head – handling things that small delicately is a must! I also tried to ensure that the corals were going to stay stuck together by adding some algae (green fimo) in-between the corals to plug any gaps. Fortunately this worked, and once out of the oven all of them were still in place.

After baking I painted some details and the eyes on to the octopus with some acrylic paints. Can you spot the little extra addition? A little seasnail shell!

Next was the part I was dreading, the resin mixing and pouring. I think I’d maybe read too much about it – like burning skin on contact, bad mixes that don’t set, highly flammable but use a match to pop bubbles, etc, and it all sounded way too dangerous for the super safe person I am. But I had to bite the bullet. So I snapped on some latex gloves, had a glass of water for extinguishing burning matches on stand-by and took a big breath.

And actually it was all okay. Nothing or no one got burned (bar the matches) and my mix eventually set hard! I used a pebeo mixing kit, which handily has marked measuring cups to ensure you get the correct 2:1 ratio. They also have lovely little handles making the pouring easy to control. The large ocean took the most resin as it’s a deep shell and I wanted the octopus to be submerged. The little shell was quite shallow and therefore I sort of did a resin puddle with what was left. After pouring I did notice I had some bubbles in the biggie, so as the tutorials suggested I lit some matches and very quickly popped them by hovering the match over them. Then I hid the two oceans in my glass cabinet to help keep the dust of them for 24 hours – and ta da! Two little octopus oceans.

One of the things I’ve learned for next time is to definitely take the time with stirring the resin mix and popping the bubbles. I think I may have stirred too vigorously and whipped air in to it which resulted in lots of fine bubbles in the deeper, larger ocean.

Anyone else tried resin before? Or maybe you too have a box sitting unloved – well start using it, it’s not so scary after all!


Monday Make: Fairy Garden…

So as the weather is getting better, my mother and I have been touring the local garden centers. One of the trends predicted to be big this year seems to be ‘Fairy Gardens’ or ‘Miniature Worlds’, and oh my goodness I can understand why because the stuff for them is super cute. I could also see it being very addictive as there’s various themes you could base them on and so many accessories you can buy.

FairyGarden (1)
After seeing plenty of inspiration, I decided I was going to set my own up. The first step was to buy a suitable pot and some plants. I went with a plain terracotta pot as I liked it’s shape: it was shallow but had a large enough circumference to include enough in my Fairy Garden to make it interesting. For the plants I bought some hebes, alpines, thyme, lavender and a mini conifer tree. Before 100% committing to the arrangement I had play about with plants to get the placement right. After a few trials I decided the thyme and lavender were out of place so stuck to the tree, hebes and alpines. I am fully aware that not all of my chosen plants will stay compact on their own accord and this means either regular pruning or eventual removal but I’m okay with that.

PlantArrangement (1)
PlantArrangement (2)
The main feature of the garden was going to be the house, it was an obvious choice for it’s appearance as I love mushrooms/toadstools. I needed something for scale and structure so I used a small plant pot for the base. I first of all rolled out some fimo clay, (like a whole block of the stuff) thin enough and large enough to wrap round the whole pot. Then I used some masking tape and duct tape to create the mushroom top, again covering it in rolled out fimo. Toadstools are renowned for their spots, these were pretty easy to make; just chop a few thick slices off the block, roll in to a ball and then squash, ta da spots.

Next was to add some housey details, you know like windows and doors. I really like the way the front steps turned out, they took zero effort as I just rolled a thick slice of coldish clay (the warmer fimo gets the more malleable it gets I’ve found) until it reached the desired thickness and it just sort of naturally formed those cracked edges. I added some shimmer powder to the windows for a glint and to the door for depth. I also remember things like adding wood-grain and hinges to the door for additional detail and ‘realism’.

And that was the house finished. Truth be told, I really didn’t know how it would turn out after baking. I mean I’ve never baked a plant pot or some duct/masking tape before so the whole thing could have melted, set on fire or even poisoned us all but it didn’t and it turned out just as it went in. Hooray! (except the clay was now hard of course.)

Next was to create some little garden features, I really fancied a pond for the garden. I made one by stacking squashed blobs of clay on top of each other round the base of a plant pot (so it didn’t collapse in on itself while I was trying to make it), then added a base and detail. Once baked, I siliconed the inside in hope that it would hold water but as you can see in the picture it did have a leak somewhere, never mind.

At one of the garden centres I picked up some really cool marbles that shouted crystal balls to me. I made them little plinths out of clay, added some texture and some shimmer and, once baked, super glued the marbles in place. I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think they look so cool!

Crystalballtrial (2)
Crystalballtrial (1)
One of the accessories I actually bought was an adorable little mouse wearing a saddle! (I can’t believe I never took a solo shot of him, he’s so cute). He obviously couldn’t run around loose so would need a little paddock to live in, therefore I had to create some little fence posts. I made them using the fimo cane technique. Once baked, I turned my pile of sticks in to a fence by wrapping copper coloured jewellery wire around them.

Now with all my accessories made, it was time to assemble the fairy garden! I already had some black decorative gravel (from a shut-down fish tank) but bought a contrasting colour to create pathways. The grass is actually artificial, it’s a sample which I picked up for free and cut to shape/size. I figured out I could bury the mouse in a little by trimming it short where he was to sit- I felt his brown base stood out too much and looked ‘fake’. (You can see it in some of the pictures before I realised this.) The little owl in the tree was another of my purchases and I attached him there with some black jewellery wire. I totally understand that all my fimo things could crack outside, and will eventually fade as they’re exposed to sunlight but I had such fun making them that it would be no hardship to do so again.

Thanks for sticking with the post, it was a long one!

So has anyone else got a fairy garden? Is this a totally sad ‘hobby’ that I shouldn’t have shared? Has anyone else put fimo stuff outside before and what were the results?

FairyGarden (6)
FairyGarden (4)
FairyGarden (3)
FairyGarden (5)
FairyGarden (1)