Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Miniature Pancake Tutorial


You will need:

For the pancakes:
Beige polymer clay
Chalk pastels in ochre tones

For the syrup:

Liquid polymer clay
Ochre and brown oil paint

Various toppings

Other tools:
Rolling pin
Sharp blade
Soft bristled brush
Ceramic tile to work on
Gloss varnish
Ceramic dollhouse plate

1. Before you begin, you need to ensure your work area and hands are clean, because unbaked polymer clay is a fluff magnet. I like to work on a large, blank ceramic tile, as this can go straight in the oven when it is time to bake the clay, without having to move your work and risk unwanted fingerprints. It helps to use a white tile, as fluff shows up better on it.
2. You need to condition the beige clay really well so it doesn't crack later on. Roll it in the palms of your hands to get it nice and warm and malleable. Roll roughly into little balls approximately 4mm in diameter.

3. Using you middle or index finger, flatten each little ball out into a disc that's thicker in the middle, with an overall diameter of no more than about 10mm. Use you fingertip to gently rub away any finger tips. If the discs crack on edge, just condition the clay some more to try again.

4. Now it's time to add some colour and depth to your pancakes. Using an old scrap blade, scrap a little ochre pastel dust and give each pancake a light dusting. Be sure to get all the edges, but don't worry too much about the centre.  

5. Stack up 3 pancakes at a time, saving the best looking one for the top. Don't try to pick the unbaked pancake off your work surface with your fingers. Slide your blade underneath it and it will come up just fine without losing its form. Then add a little darker red/brown pastel dust just to the centre of your top pancake. Be light-handed with this darker dust as you can't take it off or cover it up once it's on there!

6. Once you're happy with the colour, bake according to the polymer clay maker's instructions. Allow to cool before handling again.
7. Now to make the syrup which also acts as the glue to hold everything together. Mix some liquid polymer clay with a teeny tiny amount of ochre and brown oil paint. I mean a teeny tiny amount! Add the paint one pinprick at a time, you really won't need much.

8. Use a blob of syrup to glue the pancake stack to the miniature ceramic plate. If you pancakes have become un-stacked, you can use a dab of syrup to glue them back together too. Now comes the fun part. Dribble a little syrup on top and down the edges of your pancake stack, and add plenty around the base (it always disappears into nooks and crannies while baking so you can be generous). Pop any air bubbles that may appear with your pin, it sometimes helps to let the whole thing stand for 5 minutes so they become apparent.

9. Add whatever toppings you want. I have added swirls of whipped cream and lots of fruit. The easiest fruits to make are things like blueberries and cherries. Strawberries are a little more fiddly but the main skill you need is patience. I also used a couple of orange and kiwi slices which came from canes I made earlier. I made the cream swirls from silicon caulking and a very small cake frosting nozzle believe it or not, but that is a tutorial unto itself.

10. Once you're happy with the arrangement, bake according to the polymer clay maker's instructions. Allow to cool before handling again. Once it's completely cool, use some gloss varnish to highlight the syrup and fruit. It'll really make them pop!

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