Seems like we all have our little autumn traditions. Lisa Clarke makes her First Day of Fall Pumpkin Bread. I've mentioned my candy corn tradition here before. But another sure sign it's fall is when I start searching the trees for leaves that are still in good enough condition to make leaf impressions in polymer clay.
See, leaf impressions were one of the first projects that got me hooked on polymer clay. I love the tiny detail lines you can get by pressing a real leaf into polymer clay. But the urge to make these leaves doesn't come until fall for me... just about the time good leaves are getting difficult to find. And there's only a certain number of times you can pick leaves off the neighbor's tree before they start looking at you funny.
So I was really excited when I won the Studio by Sculpey Shape Makers Leaf Set IV at the IPCA Retreat. I wondered if this would give me an easy way to make polymer clay leaves even after leaf season was over.
The set comes with 5 (not 4, as the package says) metal leaf-shaped cookie cutters: Small Oak, Large Oak, Small Ginkgo, Large Ginkgo, and Heart. There are also 5 matching texture sheets, which the package claims will help you "create realistic leaf veins quickly and easily."
I beg to differ. There's nothing realistic about the leaf veins these texture sheets create, at least for the oak and heart-shaped leaves. I was really disappointed to find that the texture sheets are very bare-bones. The impressions are deep, with no finer detail lines to make it look more realistic. This level of texturing could be done quickly and easily with a needle tool and look just as realistic.
The only saving grace of this set is the ginkgo leaves. The ginkgo texture plates have finer detail, and the resulting leaf can be curled to create something that's not only realistic-looking, but also very pretty and graceful. However, ginkgo trees aren't exactly native around here... so creating fall ginkgo leaves just doesn't satisfy.
One of the nice things about the design for the oak and ginkgo leaves is that it's not symmetrical. I think this gives the leaves a more realistic look. However, this means the design for the cookie cutter and the design for the texture sheet need to line up. And they don't seem to. The shape of the texture plate and the shape of the leaf only lined up for me if I cut with the sharp edge of the cookie cutter UP. (I hope someone will correct me if I'm missing something obvious here.)
Another gripe? The texture plates are hard plastic, not the nice flexible sheets they used to create the much-nicer Studio by Sculpey Texture Makers. It could just be that I need more practice, but I kept pressing these hard texture plates in too far and cutting through the clay.
Overall, I was disappointed in this product. It wasn't enjoyable to use, and the results weren't realistic. I felt like this product didn't match up to the high quality of the other Studio by Sculpey products I've used.
If you like ginkgo leaves, you may want to grab this set. It's also a nice product if you want to quickly make a LOT of leaves — say for a wreath — or if you're interested in the cookie cutters to carve your own leaf veins into. Otherwise, I'd recommend finding a nice rubber stamp to use for texture. Or make friends with your neighbors. Once you explain why you're picking leaves off their trees, they may just become polymer clay converts too!
- Product: Studio by Sculpey Shape Makers Leaf Set IV
- Price: $7.59 plus shipping
- Ginkgo leaves are very nice.
- Texture sheets are too hard and tend to cut through the clay.
- Oak and heart leaf texture sheets are very bare-bones and lack the detail necessary to look realistic.
- Oak and ginkgo texture sheets and cookie cutters appear to have been made backwards, as the indentations don't line up correctly.
- Who It's Good For:
- Anyone who really likes ginkgo leaves.
- Someone who just wants a nice set of the leaf cutters and doesn't care about achieving a realistic texture.