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Updated October 2004

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Polymer Clay Polyzine

Copyright 2000-2004
Raleigh, NC
ISSN 1534-1038
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Winging It
A Tutorial

By Wendy Rotchstein
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TLS Fairy WingsMaterials:

20-gauge wire cut to size

Assorted beads size 11

2 larger beads for the Bead tips

Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS)

Glass pane

Pearl Ex Powders

Super glue (gel)

Take a length of wire the size of the wing you want to make plus about 1/8th of an inch. Bend the wire in a lazy S shape, elongating the curves so the beads will still string on the wire. It should look like this:

  Wings Drawing

String on the large bead and place it at the end of the wire. This will act as your bead stopper. If the wire does not hold the bead in place, take the bead back off and put a little  Super Glue gel on the wire (don’t use too much; you do not want the glue to damage the bead or show when the wing is finished). Put the large bead back on the tip, hold in place until the glue sets (watch your fingers!). String the beads onto the wire and reshape as necessary. Place the beaded wire on the pane of glass, pressing down so that the beaded wire sits right next to the pane of glass. The number of wires you will cut and use depends upon the style of wing that you want. On my bigger fairies I usually use three for the larger wing and two for the lower wing. 

The next wire will be slightly shorter or longer, again depending upon how you want your wing to look. Bend gently following the curve of your first beaded wire and follow the instructions for the first wire. Lay this wire next to the first wire on the pane of glass, spacing it about a ½ inch from the first one. It should look like this: 

Wings Drawing
The third wire will be shorter than the second wire and either bent the opposite way or in the same direction depending again on the look you want.

It should look like either of these:
Wings Drawing
Or this second version:  

Wings Drawing
After the third wire is in place next to the pane of glass, you can add more, depending upon what you want the wing to look like. 

Now that you have the wires beaded and the shape you want, outline the beaded wires with the TLS. Apply the TLS right next to the beaded wire so the TLS will flow under the beads. Try not to get much or any at all on the top part of the beads. This requires a steady hand!

After the wires are outlined, put a few large dots of TLS in the middle of the wires and brush to spread it inside the whole wing. I usually drag and shape the TLS to form the edges of the wings with the brush. You want the TLS to be opaque but not so much that it fills up to the top of the beaded wires. Take the TLS right up to where the wires join but leave 1/8th of an inch to place in the holes you have made on the fairy body.

Bake in a 300-degree oven for 20 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to see if they look clear. If not, wait a few more minutes. When the wings are clear, carefully take the pane of glass out of the oven. You can lift the edges of the wires straight up and should be able to release the wings from the glass immediately. If the wings stick, wait until the wings cool. The wires will be heavy and want to separate from the TLS, so lift up the three wires where the TLS ends, if this happens. I like to lift them immediately only to shape the inside part of the wing, but sometimes the beaded wires do not want to lift off immediately. So do this part slowly. If you can lift them gently, squeeze the beaded wires together to form a fold in the TLS. It will cool with a fold.

After the wings have cooled, it's time for color. I use Pearl Ex powders because of the shimmer this product gives the wings. Using a brush, apply a tiny amount of Pearl Ex powder to the surface of the TLS. Try not to get any on the beaded wires. When you have it spread on the wing, gently tap the wing on the Pearl Ex powder bottle to release any excess and return that to the bottle. Take your finger and rub the powder lightly so that it adheres to the clay. I usually do this on the backside of the wing, too. You can use more than one color of Pearl Ex, depending upon the look you want.

The lower wings are created in the same way the upper wings are, just a smaller version.

This is the same way I make the wings without the beaded wires except I use the cloth-covered wire (florist wire) and I buy the thinnest gauge. 

 Finished Wings:


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