Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentine's Day Sleepy Fairy Baby Part 2

This post continues from V-day Fairy Part 1

Completing the fairy sculpture was half the battle, then came wing accessorizing and experimentation
I had a basic ‘plan’ with the intentions of ‘winging’ the rest

The Wings

I assembled the basic wing tools including red craft wire, Angelina film (also called fusible film) glitter, tiny beads, and pink feathers.
Angelina film is a magical discovery that I found at the Morezmore Estate. What starts out as a rather plain sheet of ‘plastic’ can be turned into magical wings that reflects a rainbow of colors

I started with the wing base. Since this is a Valentine’s Day fairy, I chose a heart shape for the wings. Using red craft wire I shaped two large hearts with a long enough tail to insert into the baby’s back.

I glued the heart wires to the Angelina film in the ‘Aurora Borealis’ color. Note the colors reflected in the untreated film. Angelina film is a special type of plastic that melts in the heat. The process of melting also causes the film to undergo many color transformations before melting into ‘nothingness’
The trick is to apply just enough heat for the colors to show without causing the entire wing to melt
This is accomplished by holding the wings a few inches above a candle, ready to pull away at a moments notice. Alas I wasn’t fast enough on the first set and melted right through the wings
Trial #2 worked out nicely though with a small rainbow of color surrounding a magical hole in the wings (where the film was intentionally over-melted and burned away)

I covered the film with a thin layer of pink crystal lacquer to ‘set’ the wings and add to the Valentine’s Day color scheme. I then doused the wings with a combination of fine glitter and micro-beads in shades of pink and white

I kept the sculpture unbaked till the completion of the wings to ensure a proper fit. Using a tapestry needle I placed 2 holes between the baby’s shoulder blades. I trimmed the wing stem to half an inch, inserted into the fairy, and made adjustments as necessary

Baking The Sculpture

Satisfied with the wings, my baby was ready for the oven. This is always the most torturous part for me.
When clay is in the oven, it gets soft, and soft clay is unpredictable. I planned for the bake by supporting the arms with strong wire, but I didn’t want to take any risks. My ‘amazing’ oven support discovery = PAPER!! That’s right, a rolled up piece of paper has A LOT of strength as long as it cannot unroll. (Provided there is internal support in the armature too)
I placed a roll under the baby’s arms to discourage them from sagging. I used my oven thermometer to support the baby from the side placing a piece of paper between metal and baby to prevent a metallic sheen (and increased heat/burning)

I set the timer, set my panic button, and began the scary wait. Luckily all went well. I checked the temperature every few minutes, and breathed a deep sigh of relief when the baking was over (after escaping the baking fumes from the kitchen)
I kept the fairy in the oven overnight to ensure a slow and even cooling process. This increases the long term durability of clay sculptures, and also prevents accidental breakages of the soft/warm clay

Blushing the Fairy

I blushed the fairy with my new discovery – Genesis Heat-Set oil paints. This is a special type of oil paint that doesn’t dry unless heated to a temp of 250F (oven temp). Unlike water-based acrylics, once baked the genesis paints will never wash off. I ‘blushed’ the entire fairy giving the baby a ‘healthy’ glow especially around chubby portions like the thighs and belly, and areas like the cheek, fingers, and toes
Once again the fairy was allowed to cool before handling.

The Finishing Touches

I chose to use fine feathers in place of ‘hair’ for this special creature. I placed a healthy plume of pink feathers at the base of each heart shape wing, a few wisps onto the fairy’s head, and a tiny feather on each of the eyebrows.

Additional Photos will be featured on My Website

Do you want to receive updates on future sculpt-n-blogs? Then join my mailing list HERE


  1. That film is really something! I had no idea such a thing existed! Amazing to see your process!

  2. Wow your work is amazing! what a process!

  3. I really enjoyed learning about your process.

  4. You are so creative! I can't imagine the amount of work it takes to create one of your items....

  5. this is great Leah, so much work and talent! you know how i feel about this little 'outie' x

  6. thanks for telling us about your process

  7. I love seeing works in progress. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  8. Really interesting how you made the fairy. Great job.

  9. Wow! You are so talented! I never realized how much work went into this. Thanks for sharing <3

  10. Lovely angel fairy! Wonderful sculpting work, as usual. You're awesome Leah!