Friday, July 17, 2009

Polymer Clay Fun With Kids, Using a Light Box to Photograph

I am the recipient of a new light box. It seems as though I am always finishing my projects at night time. This is THE worst time to photograph them. My photography has come a long way since we started this blog. However, no camera alone can compensate for nighttime photography of small objects (well, at least not a camera operated by me). Enter, the photographer's light box! Not to be confused with a crafter's light box (you know, for embossing, tracing, etc).
The above picture is my light box. It is a cube with thin white material on the 2 sides and top. This way you can shine lights through them to create a soft light for photography. The back has a line of velcro across the top for you to attach colored strips of material to go with the object you are photographing. The strip of material would hang down the back and drape to the front, which also creates the bottom of your box. This drape can eliminate corners in your picture. I am, by no means, an expert on this light box. My light box is a portable and basic version, which is perfect for me. It came with 2 lights and the camera stand. I love it being portable because my family likes to craft at various people's homes and so having my light box handy wherever I am making projects is handy. Also, sometimes my crafting takes over all available counter space and so being able to put the light box away is nice for those times. I am still learning how to use this light box correctly (read: I'm still playing around with it). However, this set up has already solved many problems for me. The first problem is trying to photograph things one-handed (because I'm holding the object with my other hand). The camera stand is also helpful because I shake. So, when I hold the camera I can only take pictures with a very fast shutter speed, which of course is not always the best way to come up with the best shot! ;) That is my lesson for you on a photographer's lightbox 101.

I was lucky enough to have a creative daughter who was working on a project perfect for playing around with my new light box in! In my house we LOVE polymer clay! This farm play set is something that she came up with herself. We live in Arizona where it's...a little hot to be outside... at any time of the day. ;) So, we have lots of time for great indoor things. This project took my daughter most of one day to finish. The detail in the pieces is amazing. Working with polymer clay is great because everyone can do it. Obviously the results will vary, but the fun factor doesn't!

The only thing that I did for my daughter, on this project, was to put her creations into the oven and bake them.
She said she wanted these to be very basic. I think she meant rustic, because she added some details that are above basic! I love the one black sheep...there's one in every family isn't there?
Not just pigs, but pigs in the mud, with the mud splashing as they sat in it! Even spiral tails!
This was too cute to pass up. She numbered her chicks. Is that like keeping your ducks in a row? Or is it more about not counting your chicks until they've hatched? Love these.
These are her favorite. Momma cow (Bessie) and her baby (Mooey). Notice Momma's udder even? And cow bells for both. She sure doesn't want these 2 to wander off!
Just a few more ideas of fun things to make with the kids, using polymer clay. We made Fairy Gardens about a year ago. Each of my kids has a large pot in which their personal Fairy Garden is. We have twig swings and teepee houses, as well as waterfalls and GI Joe Fairies (GI Joe with wings hot glued on, we can't leave him out can we?). We decided it was time for a Fairy Garden update.
My daughter got so into her farm set that we have now been working on these new additions for the Fairy Gardens. The large brown house in the back is supposed to be a tree stump house, with moss and flowers on top. It is made out of a tin can. The stairs are cut up popsicle sticks. I used my Crop-A-Dile to cut out the knot hole door. There is a back door, too. The mushrooms are supporting a leaf hammock. That upside down pot house was one of the pots from when we grew Clovers for St. Patrick's Day. The purple and pink house is our Rose House. These are all going to live outdoors, and it gets really windy here. So, I made holes in the bottoms on everything. Then, I baked them. Next, I am going to superglue stakes into the holes on the bottoms. Then, the stakes will go deep into the dirt in their large pots. So, everything will stay securely in place.

We have a list a mile long of more things to create with polymer clay. My daughter and her best friend have already started on their African Safari set (hyennas, zebras, and more), we want a Zoo...can you tell we are really into animals here? We are also thinking of 2 inch foods, with magnets on the back, to go on the Grandparents' refrigerators for Grandparent's Day. Foods are so much fun to make. We also want a tea set that includes fun pastries. Everything in miniature is so much fun! Now it is your turn to create!



Get Real Girl said...

This is a great idea. I need to pick up some polymer clay. This would be a great project for our camper when it is raining outside.

Dreamgirl said...

Love those cute animals!

Just visiting you from SITS - hope you have a great weekend. Feel free to come visit me at SweeterLiving, I love visitors!

Greetings from Spain

Megan Gilmore said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog! I was just checking out yours. What a great way to use polymer clay! I'm always trying to come up with new things for my little guy, and while he's a little young for this. I can definitely start working on a set of things for him.

Regina said...

These are AWESOME!!! And your light box is wonderful - we are working on a homemade one - but it is still in the planning stages.

Amy said...

Rebecca, Your daughter has inherited your crafty gene! These animals are so cute! Thank you for sharing!

Jerri said...

What a cute idea! My daughter can't wait to make polymer clay animals now!

Alisha said...

These animals look great. I've never tried working with polymer clay, but I'm hoping to give it a try soon.

A little tip on the light box -- when you drape the fabric down the back and make the base, don't make it boxy at the back. Instead, there should be curved. This will give the background the illusion of infinity and will get rid of shadows. Of course, this is all theoretical for me since I don't have a light box yet. :)

Miss Muffin said...

Oh, I love these animals! They are so cute! Your daughter did such a great job!!!!!