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Fantasy Fairies
By Sue Heaser- With instructions and illustrations by Sue

"Tiny fairies with gossamer wings and petal dresses show that polymer clays such as Fimo and Cernit can produce extremely delicate results. These fairies are about an inch tall, and are made to sit neatly on a right-angle edge, a leaf, or even a silk flower. Alternatively, they can be made standing up. I have found that they make irresistible gifts for anyone with a weakness for tiny things, and positioned in a secret corner of a dollhouse, they add a little sparkle of magic!"

Materials:

  • Polymer Clay: Flesh, transparent, white, black, turquoise and violet.
  • Fine wire.
  • A tiny length of mohair for the hair.
  • Glue - PVA or clear glue and superglue.
INSTRUCTIONS

The Petal Dress

Figure 1
Add a tiny pinch of violet clay to a pea size ball of transparent and mix to make a translucent lilac colour. Repeat with the turquoise clay to make a pastel turquoise. Roll these into 1/8 in (3 mm) thick logs and make similar logs of white and transparent clays. Press the four colours together and roll into one, fold in half, roll again and repeat until you have a 3/16 in (5 mm) thick log with streaks of colour. Cut a 3/8 in (10 mm) length and form one end into a point. Poke a hole in the wide end about 1/4 in (6 mm) deep with the wool needle and twirl the needle in the hole to open it out a little.

Figure 2
Lie the little trumpet on the board and make six cuts all round with the tip of the knife, rotating the trumpet so you can make each cut downwards. Hold the base of the flower in one hand and pull out each of the sections in turn, pinching them into points. Dust your fingers with talc and press each petal against your finger with a paintbrush handle or similar blunt shape to cup it. Cut a 2 in (5 cm) length of wire and turn a small loop in one end. Thread the wire through the centre of the flower dress, pulling the loop just into the clay to secure. Now you can use the wire to hold the fairy while you apply the limbs and head.

The Fairy's Arms and Legs

Figure 3
Roll a 1/16 in (1.5 mm) log of flesh clay and cut two 1/2 in (13 mm) lengths. Round one end of each slightly and press the two together at the other ends for the legs. Press onto the bottom of the flower dress. "Sit" the fairy on a matchbox or square edge and push the legs into a natural shape. Roll a slightly thinner log for the arms and cut two 3/8 in (10 mm) lengths. Round one end of each and flatten slightly for hands. Press onto the top of the dress.


The Head and Face

Figure 4
Form a 3/16 in (5 mm) ball of flesh and thread onto the wire, pushing it down onto the shoulders for the head. Indent the face slightly with the side of a wool needle to shape the face, poke two eye sockets and fill with tiny balls of black clay. Apply a tiny ball of flesh for the nose and make a little hole for the mouth. Alternatively, you can mark on the features with a black pen after baking. Make a square shape from foil for the fairy to sit on while baking.


The Wings

Figure 5
This uses a millefiori cane in translucent colours. Thin slices are then cut from the cane to make the wing parts. Form a 1/8 in (3 mm) thick log of transparent clay, about 2 in (5 cm) long. Roll out a thin sheet of white clay with your pencil "rolling pin" until it is about 1/32 in (1 mm) thick, using talcum powder to prevent sticking. Wrap the transparent log in the white. Roll the cane until it is about 4 in (10 cm) long and cut into eight 1/2 in (13 mm) lengths. Press these together and roll into a cane about 5/16 in (8 mm) thick.


Figure 6
Now press the cane into a leaf-shaped cross section, keeping the inner shapes aligned as shown. Cut the end off as it will be misshapen. Cut thin slices for the wing parts and arrange as shown, overlapping the joins in the centre for strength. Drape the wings over a roll of foil or baking parchment wrapped round a pencil so that they will harden into a V-shape when baked. Bake the fairy and wings for a scant ten minutes - be careful not to over-bake as the transparent clay discolours easily when it gets too hot.

The Hair and Attaching the Wings

Figure 7
Take a thin length of mohair, about 3 in (7 cm) long and wind it round a piece of wire, damping it slightly with water to keep it in place. Bend the ends of the wire over to stop it unwinding. Place in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Allow to cool, squeeze dry in a towel and leave overnight to dry. This will make the mohair into a long thin ringlet. Cut 1/8 in (3 mm) lengths from the ringlet. Hold the fairy by her wire and cover her head with PVA or clear glue. Tease out each curl a little and apply curls all over the fairy's head. Glue the wings to the fairy's back, using superglue for strength. The wire can now be clipped off close to the fairy's head.

The Finished Fairy

Figure 8
Try using different colours for the fairy's dress; yellow and pink or blue and pale green. The tips of the wings can be pinched into a point for a butterfly look. To make a standing fairy, apply the legs hanging straight down, pushing them into the base of the dress. Bake the standing fairy by turning a loop in the top of the wire and hanging her inside a jam jar so she does not squash her dress!

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