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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Craft it Tuesday- Hamsa Hanging Mobile Part 1

We are going to make a Hamsa Hanging Mobile. Hamsas are house blessings. They are found in a multitude of cultures. The word comes from Hamesh (or similar in Arabic) and means 5- as in the number of fingers on your hand- which is why they frequently look like a hand. I love Hamsas and their meanings. I have them hanging all around the house but found that they might not match my decor- plus I couldn't find more hanging ones like the one on the left in the picture below. So I made my own, and then made a bunch for Holiday gifts. They are perfect for my first tutorial- plus, just so you know- you can do this project with kids- instead of the air dry clay- try it with Crayola Model Magic. I did that for my son's Hanukkah party for his friends. They loved it! But this tutorial is for you, my fellow crafters!
You need to start this project with your supplies:
DAS Air Dry Clay (white)
Hamsa Cookie Cutters (you can buy them online, or sometimes in your local bake shop)
Other Cookie cutter shapes- I used circle and square.
Parchment Paper

wire cutters
needle nose pliers
20 gauge beading wire
bowl of water (not pictured, oops)
rolling pin, or some kind of flat round object (I sometimes use wine bottles if they are handy)
eye pins, the smallest you can find

Lets get started!

DAS clay is my favorite Air Dry clay- it is pretty easy to use. I bought some in Israel- but then I found it in Michaels so I was very happy! This is what the package will look like:
I buy the white, it also comes is Terra Cotta.
Tear off a chunk of it, and put it on a sheet of parchment paper.
and put the remainder of the clay in a gallon sized Ziploc and seal it so it doesn't lose moisture. Knead the clay until it is soft and malleable. Kneading warms it up and allows you to roll it out.
Once soft, roll it out flat to about 3/8- 1/2 inch thinkness- try to keep it as smooth and even as possible, but don't stress over it. This is the fun, and messy part :)

Once flat and rolled out, use your cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, much like cookie dough, you can gather the clay back up, knead it, and roll it flat to cut more shapes.
You will notice, that it will tear a little bit on the bottom of your shape, kind of look like mulberry paper tears.
Okay, nobody notice that I didn't keep it flat and even, or maybe I should claim the camera distorted it, yeah, that sounds good. So take your bowl of water, dip your finger in it and run it around the edge, smoothing out the "tears" and smoothing the clay. Lay on another sheet of parchment/wax paper to dry.
Cut your remaining shapes and also lay them to dry. Now, take your wire and wire cutters and cut 3/4" to 1" pieces and use your needle nose pliers to curve them into a u shape. Dip the U into water and then insert into the top of your shape and then bottom of your pieces. If you know it is going to be the bottom shape, only insert the U into the top of the piece. (if you miss these steps they can be done later with a drill, eye screw, and E6000 glue). Press slightly on your shape, or use a brayer, to smooth over your hanging piece and make sure the clay wraps around it.

If you have left over clay, you can either tuck them back in the bag or cut more shapes, why not?
Some ideas for shapes to cut- alphabets? Kids favorite shapes (airplanes, teddy bears, flowers, etc), have fun!
Now, here are some tips about drying: you will notice this clay takes a while to dry. As it is drying, it will get white around the edges and still be grey in the middle. I usually turn them over when they have about 1/2 inch of white around the edges. I keep flipping them until they are completely dry. If you have young munchkins like mine- you might want to put these on a cookie sheet and put them out of their reach. Curious hands, or curious if they are cookies, means not so much fun for you.
We will continue this tutorial next week (it takes about 24 hrs for the clay to dry). I will leave you with the words of the house blessing:
Creations by Kara

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very fun! I've never tried that kind of clay before, I'll have to check it out. Thanks for linking up. :)