It’s that time of the month. Time for me to show you how I was inspired by ArtBeadScene’s August Challenge image (and this before it’s too late). I can’t say that I resonated particularly with this months’ inspiration… And the more I thought about how to interpret the image, the brown background color made me think about Steampunk. I wanted to make a dysfunctional ballerina with hanging arms and legs (I had an image of strings bouncing in my head), but I haven’t anticipated the size very well, so I had to renounce of the idea of making legs as well (and the result is a statement brooch – yet wearable [ with a Steampunk outfit]).

This is the  ArtBeadScene’s August Challenge inspiration:

Summer Thunder By Hosteen Klah Weaving, Wool

Summer Thunder
By Hosteen Klah
Weaving, Wool

I think that this is also to balance a little bit the too romantic look of my previous post (the wedding figurines). By the way, my friend kind of liked the design, yet she had in mind a more playful, less serious wedding figurines. It’s good that I had a feedback from her because now I know better what she had in mind and I will try to make something more playful (I hope to be able to do it). And now I feel that my Steampunk ballerina looks even sadder…. But there’s no time to even try to make something else, so here’s the saddest Steampunk ballerina you’ll probably ever see (not so happy with the face of the design, yet I like the back of it, but being a brooch, you don’t get to see the back….).

Materials and tools used: copper metallic polymer clay, scrap clay (that I rolled through the pasta machine until it ended up to be gray), an Oyumaru mold, black acrylic paint, varnish, wire, a craft knife, tull fabric, clock gears, stamps, the ball tool, a screw, an old brooch, an old pendant, a shell, round nose pliers and cutting pliers, a beading needle, a toothbrush, a pasta machine. 

The first thing I did was to create a texture plate. I had this idea in my mind to use the soles of my son’s worn out shoes to create texture plates. And I wanted to put it into practice before I would forget about it. So I took some interesting shoe soles and I imprinted them into a conditioned sheet of polymer clay.




I started to contour some more the pattern.


I carved it a little.


I made dots with the ball tool. 


I continued to texture the plate using a screw.


I went looking for more interesting textured soles. I did not clean it up much before using it, luckily this did not affect my gray polymer clay plate.


I impressed it into the plate. Then I deepen the lines a little bit more.





And some finishing touches:




Then I baked it according to the manufacturer’s specifications. When finished, it looked that this. 

Now we can turn to the Steampunk ballerina. For the face I have used the same mold that I used for the wedding figurines (https://michellemaya2005.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/never-say-never), but this time I did not work much on the face, I kept its original look – thinking that it went well with my imagined ballerina.


I kept only the face. I added a little log for the neck and a trapezoid piece for the upper part of the bust. 



I added a new log for the waist, then blended the pieces together.


I am preparing the wire to attach the hat.


I made the had using a clock wheel and polymer clay. I pressed a ball of polymer clay onto it and then flattened the upper part). 




I rolled a thin rope of polymer clay and flattened it using the body of my ball end tool. This would be the ribbon for the hat. 



I put a long beading needle through the head and the bust, then I passed the wire through this hole and inside the hat as well. 



I used the cutting pliers to cu the extra wire and the round nose one to make a loop.


I rolled some thin polymer clay ropes and attached them to the head to make the hair.



I prepared the larger clock wheel for the “crinoline”. I passed it through the wire.

I passed the beading needle from right to left to make a hole to attach the arms with the wire. I made two logs for the armed and passed the wire through each one. 





I modeled the wrist a little bit and finished the wire with a wire loop. 


I attached two beads to the hat. I put the bead on the pin, cut the extra wire and used the round nose pliers to make a loop. 

I rolled 3 little flowers to use them to embellish the hat.





I prepared a tull skirt using tull fabric and wire (in the same way I would use a needle and thread to make a little tull skirt). 


I used wire to attach the tull skirt to the clock gear.


I used a shell to texture a thin sheet of polymer clay.


I cut pieces of it to attached them over the “crinoline”.


I am preparing the upper “armour” in a kind of Artemis Goddess outfit. This is where the texture plate comes into play (in case you were wondering what happened to the texture plate).


I used the texture plate to get an interesting pattern into polymer clay.


I cut a triangle shape and I further adapted the length. 



After attaching the polymer clay slices, it looked like this. I decided to shorten the length of the skirt.

I coated the back with slices of polymer clay. 



I pressed the brooch finding into clay (I haven’t used any Liquid Fimo, but it’s not a bad idea to use some).


I secured the brooch finding adding a rectangular piece of polymer clay. I textured it with a toothbrush. 


I made the back of the skirt using the same technique (texturing with the shell).


I added a little bow.

I baked it in the oven according to the polymer clay manufacturer’s specifications. 

After cooling, I painted it with black acrylic paint and then removed the paint with baby wipes.



Well, that’s it! Thank you for reading my post and for appreciating my work!

My best to you, 

Mihaela A Steampunk Ballerina



      1. We share the same passion for beautiful things (fashion, architecture, photography) and, of course, Paris! Thank you for your wonderful words, Vivienne! My best to you! Mihaela

    1. I am very happy to read your impressions, Irene! I must tell you that when the piece was finished, I had doubts about it! I thought it looked too sad. But I received such a wonderful feedback that made me very happy and also made me consider that maybe I was too critical about my work! Have a wonderful and creative day! Mihaela

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me! When making the texture plate, remember to press well the polymer clay into the shoe texture and after baking it, use it with a release agent (like baby powder) to be sure the polymer clay will not stick to the texture plate. You can add interesting textures from children toys (I always keep an eye on the texture of the plastic toys with which my son does not play anymore). I wanted to tell you that I loved your earrings made for the ArtBeadScene monthly challenge: http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.fr/2015/08/august-art-bead-scene-challenge.html Best regards! Mihaela

  1. Wow! Completely fascinating tutorial on how you made this really cool sculptural piece! I love the idea of making a texture plate that is yours alone, and that shoe idea is brilliant. I think I will have to try making a texture plate of my own! Thank you for sharing your talents with the world and joining in the Art Bead Scene! Enjoy the day. Erin

    1. Dear Erin, I was very happy to read your wonderful comment! Thank you! I recognized immediately the name of your company “Tesori Trovati” because I admire a lot your work and I am in love with your art beads (Frida’s Triumph http://www.tesoritrovati.com/product/fridas-triumph-symbol-bead-series and Poppy Dreams http://www.tesoritrovati.com/product/floriography-august-poppy-dreams are among my all-time favorite art beads). It’s pure bliss when someone you admire appreciates your work! Mihaela

    1. I’m very happy that you liked the cuff too. That’s the first piece inspired by Steampunk that I managed to get “out” of my head, but it took time to find the courage to express these ideas. I loved your latest project (I also love irregular spike/dagger beads) and the color combination is amazing (I also consider copper and turquoise as a wonderful color combo). https://beadlove.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/struggling-with-irregular-beads/ Best wishes! Mihaela

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