(Disclaimer: none of these stores or brands have bribed me or paid for any sort of sponsorship. They just happen to be the ones I frequent and or like to use.)
Allow me first to say that I am a horrible, horrible, and did I mention horrible?, DIY blogger. I started this lovely project and took absolutely no pictures while I was rolling out the tentacles. See, absolutely horrible DIY blogger. Please forgive me. I promise that I will do better. Oh gods, I hope I will do better. Anyways, moving on to this lovely project and how it came into creation.
Our bathroom is this lovely bright shade of blue, compared to the horrible pastel lavender it was when we bought the house, and so when I began my search on what Steampunk theme/genre our bathroom was going to be, it only made sense to make it nautical. The wall decals, and items I was finding period, would just simply pop in the bathroom (no the bathroom hasn’t had its real transformation…yet). I knew that I wanted to carry one item from the previous room into the other rooms in our home so that there would be a coherent flow. So when I was looking up octopus things, I found this amazing tentacles in a teapot thing on Google. I knew that I just NEEDED to do it, it would look amazing in my kitchen that already had a vintage vibe to it and there is a major teapot theme going on already, and why should I have to buy something when I am crafty enough to do it?
So off on a hunt I went for a lovely silver teapot. I went to out local thrift store and I struck gold. I found a wonderful, slightly tarnished, silver teapot and knew that I was going to be using that for my project. Then it was off to Youtube to find out how the bloody hell I was going to do this. I will be honest, I am primarily a metal crafter or a mixed media crafter. I have never worked with polymer clay before this project and I wanted to see how to do it. I discovered that it was a pretty easy project, although I later found out that it was time consuming…sooooooo time consuming. Once I was sure I was comfortable with what I wanted to do, shhhh, don’t tell anyone but I practiced on Play-dough before I committed myself to this project, I went to Michaels to buy my first packs of polymer clay. I will tell you that the reason that I practiced on the Play-dough was because I was foolishly under the impression that polymer clay was expansive, man was I wrong.
Now I bought Sculpey polymer clay for one reason and one reason only, they had the colors I wanted. I know that there is tons of different brands of polymer clay out there to work with and if you personally like a particular brand, I say work with it. I went with a navy blue, royal purple and metallic teal, that ended up making my hands and table glittery after I finished working with it. I bought a small block of each and a small block of glow-in-the-dark for the suckers. If you are making eight tentacles and using three colors, because every good octopus has eight, (I stress the three because the volume will change depending on how many colors you are mixing) you will need an entire small block of the polymer clay, as each of the three mixed segments will give you two tentacles.
While I was on Youtube, I found this amazing video on how to get an ombre effect with your clay by bending it and rolling it repeatedly, I did not manage to achieve this effect but still liked how they turned out. I do recommend looking up the method, as from what I have seen, it makes some spectacular clay to use for projects. Once I had gotten my clay to a softness I was looking for and the color mixture that made me happy, it was time to split the clay in half and roll out the tentacle. Remember to make your tentacles taper and start out thicker. Now don’t do what I did, and I will remember this for the future as I had so much fun making this item I want to make it again, and DON’T roll them into your fun bendy shape until you have put your suckers on or do, it may work for all I know. Remember to experiment and have fun with it.
Now on to the glow-in-the-dark suckers. Oh gods the suckers. Those suckers took FOREVER to do, mainly as you have to roll out super thin segments and then cut those segments into even tinier segments to roll into teeny, tiny balls. I will admit it, I am a cheap crafter and I don’t often feel the need to run out and buy the latest, shiniest crafting toys. I try to find things around the house to use, such as my good old fashioned rolling pin and a click pen. A click pen? Yep a click pen. I used a click pen to fasten the suckers on to the tentacles and in my honest opinion, it turned out bloody fantastic with some interesting effects that I was not expecting. You will want your suckers to be no wider than the opening on the bottom on your pen. You will pick the tiny, slight annoying, balls up with your un-clicked pen, place in on your tentacle, click the pen (but make sure you don’t push it too deep because then you will just mess up/split those tiny balls of hell that you have just created) or make a too deep of a hole and pull away slowly. Volia! Interesting effects and speedy, well unless you split a couple of them like I did in the beginning because I was pushing too deep.
Once you have all eight of your tentacles, or however many you decided to make, twisted into your fun shapes and perhaps holding something that can be handled being baked, like a marble, it is time to bake your polymer clay. Well unless you have some special glaze that needs to go on before baking. The glaze that I bought was for after baking so into the oven my creations went at 275 for an hour. Now, these following instructions are important. Please read them carefully if you have never used polymer clay. You WILL want to have a window open while you bake your creations . Oh gods, the smell is something fierce. I believe I even singed some nose hairs and my oven still smelled funny the following day. Also, you WILL want something between your creation and the pan that is a little thicker than wax paper. I ended up singeing the glow in the dark suckers that were touching the bottom of the pan, thankfully I was able to position them towards the back. When I asked my baby sister about it, she is a polymer clay queen, she suggested something thick like an index card or card stock. The low heat of the oven shouldn’t catch something of that thickness on fire but like with anything else you place in the oven, please keep an eye on it just in case.
TaDa! After an hour, or less, depending on the thickness of your clay, you will be rewarded with something like this but not this because you will probably do better than I did.
I will admit that I was slightly disappointed in the browning that has occurred on the bottom of the tentacles, although not all were as bad as the one shown above, but it is my first. I will do better in the future and most importantly, I managed to arrange the slightly brown ones towards the back so that you can’t even see them. Hoozah! After a minor pity party, I decided to move on and I painted them with Scupley Satin Glaze. I was also hoping that the glaze would hide my mistakes. Not quite but they did turn out nice and shiny.
Now it was time to arrange them into my tarnished silver but how way I going to get them to stay how I wanted to? I began to rack my brain on how I was going to achieve my finished look. I had rocks and sand sand in the bottom of it to give it weight, because nothing deters a potential thief like being wacked upside the head with a tentacled teapot.
I originally thought about resin but realized that it would be too thin and would just seep through the layers. I don’t know about you but I am not willing to pay an arm and a leg to fill an entire teapot with resin. Then I thought about hot glue. It would be thick enough but I wouldn’t be able to dye it like I wanted to so it would look like water. I then went with my trusty industrial glue of E6000. I did a test sample on a book page and waited for it to dry. Yep, clear enough for my liking and still thick. It was time for me to place the tentacles and pour the glue. It took an entire 3.7 oz bottle of glue to fill the just about three inches of the teapot. I added a couple drops of light blue and teal food dye and gently stirred to give me the color that I was looking for. Now, make sure you have your tentacle where you want them because even though this glue will take at least 3 days to dry completely, you do not want to move around your tentacles as this glue is SUPER thick.
Once everything is completely, you should have something similar to this but remember not this because you are supposed to learn from my boo boos.
Now I noticed, as I peaked down today into the teapot, that some of the glue did seep through the sand. It isn’t a lot but I noticed as the glue was not as high as when I originally poured it in. Personally I like the look as it does look like water has been dispersed as the tentacles have risen out. I may add more later but at this point of time I am very happy with how this project turned out for my first jaunt.
It took me an entire day to make the tentacles, like I said time consuming, a hour to bake the things, another day to properly glaze and let them dry, and then a hour to place and glue. Remember though that it will take the E6000 a couple days to dry completely but you can still display your creation while this occurs. Even though this project was slightly time consuming, I believe it is a very easy project for beginners to try out.
Now let’s go out and PUNK IT ALL!
Next week’s DIY Project: Time is Slipping or A Thing that Goes Boom or Time for Tea. I haven’t decided yet but look at it this way, it will really be a surprise for you.
Bonus time: Remember I said I used glow-in-the-dark sculpey for the suckers. Here is a picture of it slightly glowey, just for you.