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How to keep your china paints clean after you have mixed it with a medium: Use a paint pallet box. You can purchase this item from many different sources. It consists of a box and cover with a piece of glass that fits inside. Mine is the same size as a sheet of paper, 8 1/2"x11"x1/2". I mark the paper into 2 inch squares and write a color in as many squares as I need. Put the paper under the glass. I use Rosey Blush, brown, black, yellow brown, white, First Kiss with flux, First Kiss, and any other color I use often. Put this paper under the glass. The next step is to mix the paints with the medium and put on the glass over the proper color. You may want to have bigger squares. You can mix all the colors at once or as you need them.
A handy and easy tool to make is a groove cleaner. Using a dowel (will become the handle) between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide and about 5 inches long, screw a screw into one end of the dowel, leaving about 2 to 3 inches sticking up. Using cutters, cut off the head of the screw. Holding it by the "handle," rub the thread part against the greenware groove and move it back and forth, deepening the groove. It doesn't take much so don't over do it.
The very first tool you will need for dollmaking is a scalpel. I prefer a feather knife. It has a blade and plastic handle. It is disposable. At times I have also used an Exacto hobby knife. If you have some ceramic tools, you could also use the wooden tool that has a blade on one end and a curved blade on the other end.
Saving $90 or more is easy. At the hardware store, buy a paint mixer that fits on your drill. The cost is less that $20. Some are less than $10. The shaft fits where your drill bit goes. After mixing the slip, allow to set anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to let the air bubbles come to the surface.
When painting the fine lines needed for lashes, load your brush with a lot of paint. A few practice strokes will help you decide if you need more. You should be able to draw the line without the line fading. Usually the brush should have many bristles, with one longer one. It is this one bristle that will actually be painting. The other bristles are to hold the paint.
When cutting up a stocking to use as a cleaning tool, do not use any part of the stocking that has a seam; this can chip or break your greenware. If you have the type of stocking that has a seam down the back of the leg, make sure the seam is always up away from the greenware.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|