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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Illuminated Christmas Tree

Illuminated Christmas Tree by Iris Rodriguez 
It’s beginning to look like Christmas. Yes, indeed it is. What’s more festive around this time of the year than the classic Christmas tree. Ok, so maybe there’s Santa, elves, wreaths…who can choose, it’s all festive and gets you into the spirit of the holidays. While were at it, add some to the festivities with a small clay tree too add to your center piece, use as a home decor, give as a gift. It even looks cute at your desk/cube at work, where it won’t take up much room. The tree is made using Makin’s Clay®, Makin's Professional® Ultimate Clay Extruder® and Cutters.



Tear a sheet of of 12 x 12 of aluminum foil.

Fist make a cone shape. The clay will be around the cone, where it will take the shape of the cone.
Fold the sheet in half and then in half again. This will give you about 4 inches in high tree. The width can be customize with the addition of layers of aluminum foil and masking tape. The tree made here is measure 4 in. in height and 2 inches at the widest point.

Fold into a cone shape, by folding the corners inward

Add several layers aluminum foil, ensuring to keep an even cone shape.

Once you have reached the desired width, add two layers of masking tape, ensuring to cover the entire cone. The tape is so the clay shapes smooth around it and because of the tape’s mild porous surface, the clay will not stick. If it does, which it will in some of the areas; it’s easy to unstick, without wrecking your project.

Place white clay into the extruder and extrude one strip at a time.  Keep clay you are not using in an airtight container with a damp paper towel or a moist towelette.  Do not extrude several strips at a time because the clay begins to dry as soon as it’s out of the bag.

Wrap a strip of clay around the cone in a spiral motion. Do not wrap too tight around the tree, the clay will shrink, and tighten around the cone, and tends to want to stick to the cone.

Add a second layer of clay, in a spiral motion, making it some areas a bit wonky, adds whimsicalness to the tree.
Leave a strip sticking up. The star will be added to the end.

Run the clay through the Ultimate Clay Machine®, the 2nd thickest setting.
Cut a Sun shape. The cutter set contains several size cutters. Hold a cutter on top of the tree to determine desired size.

Add a little stem like piece. This will be used to attach to the top of the tree.

Glue the top end of one of the strips around the stem of star.

Run the clay through the Makin’s Clay Machine, starting at #1 and ending on setting #3.

Select the star shape cutter from the Mini Geo Cutter Set and cut about 20 stars. 

Let everything cure for 24 hours.

Take out the cone out of the tree. You’re pretty much unmolding the piece.

It helps squeeze in the aluminum inward, making it smaller and then slightly rock the cone back and forth, this helps to pry the tree off.

You will find that during the unmolding step, the strips will come undone. It’s okay, it’s because there is not enough surface area for the clay to stick to each other. Simply glue those areas down.

To strengthen the clay strips and tree and overall, water down PVA glue or Elmers School glue and brush onto the entire tree. Because these types of glue tend to be runny, it will go in into the crevices smoothly. This helps the strips stay in place, without adding depth and texture. 

Glue the stars.

Paint a layer of the darker shade green all over and inside. Then paint another layer of the lighter shade green on the high rise areas, staying away from crevices.

Once both layers are complete dry, add a layer of black paint and wipe off the paint, leaving the paint in the crevices only.  This will give the tree and antique look. I like it because it adds dimension and interest. Retouch the layers with both shades the green, if the tree got to dark. 

Paint all the stars black, with a ¼ inch thin, flat brush. Ensure to get the edges. You can also choose to paint the stars before gluing.

Brush on Inca Gold Gilders Paste Wax on the stars with a ¼ inch, flat brush. If you smear wax on the tree, simply wipe off with a baby wipe, water tends not work. The wax needs to be creamy in order to stick to the brush. If the wax is dry, use artist grade paint thinner to condition the wax; makes it soft and creamy. Don’t forget to seal your work. I like to use Satin Polyurethane.

Add a battery operated tea light inside; the light glows through the crevices, giving an awesome look.

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