Such a simple, yet wonderful idea.
It’s not mine. I read it on a blog somewhere in the mist of the interwebs and I’ve been using it ever since.
When you work in the small scales, many of the available tools just aren’t small enough to cut, poke, or shape your work. In those cases you can make your own tools.
It used to be that I owned several “pin vises” and I would trade out the objects in the vises (such as different sizes of sewing needles).
Now, I just bake the needles into clay and never have to worry about finding the pin vises or whether they can hold the tiny bit of whatever I need them to hold.
Making such a tool is super simple. And if you don’t care how the tools look (I don’t!), they require next to zero polymer clay skills — if you can roll out a “snake” of clay, you can make these.
- Scrap Polymer Clay
- Needle (wire, or whatever you can imagine)
- Thread (if you’re inserting a needle)
- Craft Knife
When inserting a needle or wire, it’s a good idea to have something (other than the shaft of the item) to grip the clay. When I’m inserting wire, I cut the wire longer than I need and make several sloppy loops in the end of the wire.
When inserting a needle, I thread it and make a big sloppy knotted mess. (I told you this project required minimal skill.)
I then wrap that mess in a bit of clay…
… and then smooth that out.
Set that bit aside and roll out a snake of clay. Make it whatever length is a comfortable fit for your hand. I prefer a bumpy snake, about 4-5 inches long.
Use the craft knife to split one end of the snake. Be careful to split it down the middle.
Insert your clay covered needle into the slit.
Smooth the clay around the needle and the clay of the snake together.
If you want to limit the number of times your new tool rolls off of your work bench, use the craft knife to square off the back end of the clay.
Bake per the instructions of the clay you’re using.
And there you have it — a brand new miniaturist tool… that cost pennies.
While you can make these as lovely as they are functional, I tend to go with quick and dirty. 🙂