Round Mirror Frames Made with Polymer Clay Tiles [Spotlight]

Polymer Clay Mirror Frame Tiles by Marsha Gustafson“The tip on creating
a beveled edge using
plastic wrap has made my
mirror tiles look so much
more finished.”
~Marsha-G

These “Spot” features are for you guys to display your accomplishments, share stories of inspiration and even ask for assistance with challenges that you may be experiencing. The projects are based on techniques learned from articles here at the blog, as well as from tutorials at the Polymer Clay Video Library. My hope is for these “Show and Tell” features to help everyone get to know each other a bit better, thanks to this wonderfully artistic medium of polymer clay. And… by participating, you can win some beads too!



Polymer Clay Mirror Frame Tiles by Marsha Gustafson

Cindy,

Here are some pictures of the mirror tiles I’ve been working on. The close up photos show gold foil applied onto black clay. I then used acrylic paint and painted different colors onto the foil in random patterns. Then I rolled the clay to create a crackling of the foil. The tile shapes are created with cutters I made myself, using metal stripping. I finished with Varathane gloss.

I used Weldbond to glue to the glass, which I scored a little first with rough sand paper to aid in adhering. I used 3 metal mirror brackets which are hidden when the mirror is hung. Two around the bottom and one on the top of the mirror. I carved out a little space for them in the tiles so they could slide in when hung.

Your “Polymer Clay Bead Making for Beginners” video course has helped a lot. I absolutely love it and have picked up so many tips. I had made about half a dozen different types of necklaces and earrings mostly learning from books and drawing on past pottery, jewelry making and sculpture experience. Your videos have been such a help in conditioning the clay properly, mixing colors, sanding and finishing, using scrap clay, etc. Each one has taught me something that I may not have learned on my own for some time. The tip on creating a beveled edge using plastic wrap has made my mirror tiles look so much more finished. Who knows if I’d have ever discovered that technique on my own. I like the length of each video. The short segments are easy to go through and at my convenience.

Thanks for your warm, relaxed style of communicating and detailed instruction.  I also appreciate your encouragement to experiment endlessly and find your own techniques. This is so important and is where the real adventure is found in any creative experience.

The course has very much enhanced my enjoyment in working with polymer clay. As far as improving it? There are endless techniques you could include, but I think this has great content and is just right for someone at the beginning stage of working in this medium. It covers the basics very well.

I’m so glad I found your site. I have begun a collection of books that are very helpful and instructive, but it’s great to have a site to go to for more in-depth instruction. Thanks Cindy.

~Marsha-G

 



If you are interested in sharing pictures of your polymer clay projects with the community, please follow these 2 simple steps:

1) Email several of your photos to me as attachments. My email address is shown in the “From” line of the weekly Polymer Clay Newsletter that gets sent out each and every Friday morning.

2) Include a description and/or story about your pieces, being sure to reference the tutorial(s) or blog article(s) that provided at least some level of inspiration for your work.

Don’t be shy. Everyone is VERY friendly here.

In the comment section below, please do compliment each other; Offer encouragement; Ask questions about the techniques used; And in general… be social. This is your community! It’s up to you to make it a fun and supportive place to hang out. All of you are amazing and it’s wonderful to have everyone here!

Most of my inspiration comes from everything / anything around me. I adore the fact that polymer is the medium that it is. My family groans when I get that look, and when I break out the purse note pad to start sketching and jotting away. ^.^ Poor babies. ~Denise-D

**************************************************************************************************
** Did You Know… Members with current subscriptions to the weekly tutorial videos are always entitled to a 10% discount when purchasing 6 or more back issue packages in a single transaction. If you are interested, let me know which back issues you would like and I will send further instructions on how to complete your order.
**************************************************************************************************

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


Comments

  1. Hi Marsha
    What a great idea your mirror tiles are, and so colourful too.
    The beveled edge plastic wrap idea is such a good one as it does give a smooth finish to the item, and like you said, who knows when we would have known that other than following Cindy’s Videos.
    Your ideas of how you made the metal brackets is ingenious and well worth informing us on.
    Lots of info is out there, but with Cindy we get it all in one place in such an understandable and pleasant manner. Just sit back and watch these amazing videos. Better than going to the Video Rental Store,or even a Retreat, it comes to you in such a warm and personal way.
    I”m hooked!
    Love to see more of your nice work
    Love
    XXX E. K.

  2. Good Monday Morning, Marsha,

    What a wonderful way to start the week. Your mirror is just superb. The techniques you used turned out beautiful and I love that you made your own cutter. What did you use to bond the ends together, if I may ask? You and your accomplishment are inspirations to say the least. I hope you will share more of your pieces in the future. We certainly have a gem in Cindy and her artistic abilities and her sidekick, Doug. Continued success in your endeavors.

    Joyce

  3. i love hearing these stories and tips that have helped. I had forgotten about the plastic wrap-that is a great tip and thanks for the reminder
    cara L

  4. Wow, Marsha, this is a beautifully planned out and executed project! I just love the finished tiles and how they frame the mirrors. I’ve been thinking about doing some mirrors myself, so this gives me something to think about.

    I’d love to know more about the cutter you made. I’ve been wanting to make some cutters in paisley shapes. Can you go into a hardware store and ask for “metal stripping?” Can you cut it with the same tools that Cindy used on the flashing? Did you use jewelry pliers to shape the cutter? How did you join the seams?

    This leads me to something that’s been on my mind for a while. I bought a bunch of fondant cutters in the cake decorating section at Michaels. Some of them are fine, but a few leave a mark on my clay where the seams are. Using the plastic wrap helps a little, but it doesn’t completely eliminate the mark in my clay. When I try to smooth out the bump, I often end up messing up the symmetry of the shape. Does anyone have any solutions for this? I was thinking of trying to file the seams smoother, but I don’t want to ruin the cutters.

  5. Marsha….those are fantastic. Love the colors. Thanks for sharing. I’m getting inspired here.
    Andrea

  6. Great work Marcha You have lots of talent it shows in your work, I to would love to no how you made your cutter. Ritzs

  7. Marsha, what a well thought of design. The colors are beautiful specially the tiles in the first photo. Love the shape of them too and how you used them around the mirror. They remind me of the shape of some Japanese hand painted fans. Thanks for sharing instructions for the project. I too would love to know with what you cut the metal stripping, where is it available and how do you join the seams. it would be great to be able to make our own cutters.

  8. Beautiful! I wanted to do this! You beat me to it! Well, I wanted to so this about two years ago!! (lol!) I have a mirror in a bathroom in the basement I wanted to make a “frame” of clay. I haven’t decided what design to do, yet. Yours came out very nice. Awesome colors and design! I’m inspired! Now, to come up with something in the black and white theme. Or maybe black and silver? See? You got me thinking :)

  9. wonderful work Marsha,the tiles are so stylish and any leftovers could be used for a lovely necklace .

  10. Gorgeous!! These could be done to match any decor. And how clever to make your own cutters..!! Please tell us how you made them…

    Clay On,
    ~Lisa :)

  11. Marsha, what a great idea and beautiful handiwork. The colors are great too and the best is that you can custom make it to match any color scheme. I would love to try this idea on a picture frame…

  12. Thank you all so much for your nice comments!

    I noticed that a number of you were interested in how to make the cutters and where to buy the materials. If you Google “how to make cookie cutters” you can pull up a number of videos that will show you how. You can order the cookie cutter metal strips at this site: cookiecutter.com You will see at the bottom left side that they sell cookie cutter kits. When you click on the link you will see a refill kit at the bottom of the page. I just ordered that.

    The refill kit will include 3M double backed tape which is used to join the ends. I used a Husky clamp to hold the ends in place to make a strong bond. The bottom end joint will create a little nick in the clay when pressed into it. I minimized that by covering the joint with electrical tape. I also used the tape to cover the top of the cutter. I used a thin layer of clay to create the decorative top and then cut them out and layed them onto a thicker slab of clay. Then cover the top with plastic wrap stretched tightly and carefully cut again. I used a deck of cards on top of the cutter to press down on the cutter into the clay.The decorative top will adhere to the thicker clay and form a little beveled edge. One of my mirrors is made of different thicknesses of clay and adds interest to the mirror frame. It is difficult to see in the picture, but shows much more clearly when looking at the mirror itself.

    Please let me know if I can answer any other questions.
    Thanks and good luck!
    Marsha

    • @Marsha G: Thank you! I had no idea that you could make cookie cutters or that there was information about it on the web. Your idea for the electrical tape at the join to minimize the nick is excellent. I’ll definitely try that on my store-bought cutters right away.

      Thanks so much for your detailed description of how you make the tiles. I imagine that you had to do some serious calculations to figure out the dimensions of your cutters so that the tiles would fit evenly around the circular mirror–I think I’ll stick to squares and rectangles!

    • @Marsha G: WOW – Shear beauty, what artistic talent you have. You should be so proud of yourself. You are not giving yourself enough credit. I went to the web site to see about the metal. What weight did you get, or did it come in just one. I will have to return and read closer. I would love to give this a try myself soon. You have a very bright and reflective future ahead of you. Thanks for sharing and telling us so much on how it was done. So grateful for all the wonderful talent in this blog. Everyone goes the extra mile to help others out.
      Thanks again Marsha.
      Love and Uuuuuugggggs, Peggy

      • @Peggy Barnes:
        The metal stripping comes in just one weight. It holds up very well going through up to 1/2″ of clay multiple times.
        Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!
        Marsha

  13. I just googled the “how to make cookie cutters” as Marsha suggested and found that you can cut up an aluminum soda can for your metal strips. I just might try that out.

  14. Linda K,
    Aluminum cans could work if you are cutting through very thin clay. Not sure they’d hold up for 3/4″ thickness that I use, but you could try it. Actually for the calculatins, you’ve given me too much credit. ;) I laid the mirror on paper and traced the circumference and cut it out. Mirror size I use is 14″. Then I folded the paper in half, then in half again and again till I had the size of the tile. I drew another circle 2″ inside and had the tile size. Since then, I have had my son do the exact calculations using CAD (computer aided design) software. So now I have a precise pattern for my cutter.
    One more tip…Since the tiles do shrink somewhat during curing, I paint black acrylic paint strokes on either side of each tile after gluing it to the mirror. That way, if there are any gaps between the tiles, the mirror does not show through.

    • @Marsha G: I’d probably use the aluminum can to make some paisley shapes for pendants, so they wouldn’t be as thick as your tiles. I do see what you mean about the weakness of the aluminum cans for thicker slabs of clay.

      What a great way to figure out the size and shape of the tiles! You deserve all the credit I gave you for making it so simple. Thanks, again, for teaching me something new.

    • @Marsha G: Good point, Marsha. I’ll probably try out the soda can to make small paisley shapes for pendants on thin slabs of clay.

      For figuring out how to measure so simply, you deserve all that credit and more! Thanks, again, for teaching me something new.

  15. Thanks Marsha for sharing and teaching us something new and the info on how to make the cutters.

  16. Sorry for posting the same information twice. The first time I posted it, it didn’t show up for quite some time, so I did it again. Hmm…now I see the both posts are here.

  17. Very Nice! It Just goes to show, You can use polymer on anything, and it will turn out beautiful. I love the crackling . I haven’t tried this method yet but plan on it. I think Cindy had done this tut before I got here.

  18. What gorgeous mirrors! Ingenious cutters — wow! Marsha, your work is lovely. I’d love to have one of these, I guess I’ll add this to the very long list of things I want to make. Such a smart way to make the cutter shape. I thought the same thing Linda did when you mentioned using your own cutters: serious calculations. I was thinking, how did she get the arc so perfect & meet up? Of course, you had a perfectly simple yet smart way of doing it. The crackled foil looks so pretty with the mirror, yet they’re probably are even more beautiful “in person.”

    I’ll bet you really got everybody’s wheels turning with this one! Lots of inspiration with this project. And really great tips, like making your own cutters, using electrical tape to minimize the seams, and finding the right shape for a circular frame; very creative & super helpful. Plus, details on how to prep the mirror, and paint between tiles, etc. All-in-all, a fantastic spotlight! I give you an A+ ! LOL Thanks so much for sharing with us! ~Kat

  19. Marsha these are gorgeous!! They caught my eye a few days ago on the blog, now I have a bit of time to add a few words. Looks like you’ve inspired a lot of us! Thanks so much for the details about cutters and such too.

  20. Oh Marsha:

    These tiles are beautiful! You could really use them for so many things. Thank you for the great ideas and wonderful inspiration.

    • @Laurel:
      Again, thank you everyone so much for your very kind and encouraging comments. I am so pleasantly surprised. Thank Cindy too for putting this all together and allowing us to share. Her tutorial was a wonderful teaching tool to get started in this medium!

  21. This is an amazing piece, they must sell like hotcakes for you. Adjusting the size and the shape of the mirror and the tiles gives you infinite possibilites. What an elegant wedding gift for a young couple. Do you sell them? I have a couple to purchase for, and they would love this as a gift.

    • @Jocelyn:
      Jocelyn,
      I have not made any of these to sell yet. I may do that eventually, however my time is limited and it takes about 30 hours to complete one. May be able to do them a little faster as I perfect the techniques.
      Thank you

  22. Marsha, you should set up an assembly line and let those lovely mirrors fly off it! They are just so noteworthy. Will search for something else for the wedding gift. At least I’m in a great site to find one, LOL!

Leave a Reply