Melody
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Complete Army for both gold & black

The Ladybugs are clay, wire & little red hole-less beads for the spots.


Ants & Beetles

Dragonflies & new Beetles

Mosquito & Grasshopper


A while back I decided to make a hive set & have finally started to make it. I decided to sculpt some polymer clay bugs & accentuate them with wire, beads & whatever stuff I had around. I originally planned to just use the hive hexes to make my mold but I think I might have to make the hexes deeper. I've got awhile to go before I decide on this as I want to finish all the insects first. I've so far made the Queens, Ladybugs, & Spiders. I have made a test of the ants, not too sure if I'll keep the design as is.

I'm going for black, silver & clear for one set & gold, copper & warm for the other. The black will be embedded in clear resin while the gold will be in a very washed out amber. I haven't decided if I'll add inclusions or not.

The Queens have an expanded coil abdomen stuffed with clay, bead eyes, glass leaf wings, wire legs & antenna. I was originally going to make them more cartoony. That's why the Queens have the loop at the end of their legs, I was going to make them wear gloves but changed my mind. If I did that then I'd be looking at say little crowns or tophats which seems like a little too much work.

The Spiders legs are 2 pronged bell caps (like in the picture below) flattened out with the eyes cut off, then I stacked them on top of each other to make the 4 legs. The eyes are again beads. The mandibles are wire as is the coil on the back of black ones, the gold ones have bead caps.


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Tom
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Re: Homemade Hive set made with resin, fimo, & other stuff :)
Those look amazing.
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Melody
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Re: Homemade Hive set made with resin, fimo, & other stuff :)
Thanks, they're fun to make. Except for the grasshopper. For some reason I can't seem to get that one right, I've made two different test pieces & I didn't like either one. I'm going to leave them till last I think. The problem is I really want to incorporate some lovely green wire in the design but so far it's looked rather sad.
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David Thornton
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They are all awesome, but I am really digging that black spider!
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Eli Alampay
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Cool project! Not quite sure though how it actually plays. That ladybug looks like a beetle. I'd also use longer legs for the spider.
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Mathue Faulkner
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Are they going to be attached to the hex pieces? If so, how will the beetles work since you can't really place pieces on top of each other?

Very cool though.
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Melody
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I'm going to make resin hexes, hopefully using the original hive hexes to make the mold. I will put the insects in the mold & pour the resin over & thus encasing them in the resin. They'll then work just like the regular hive pieces being able to stack & all. I plan to make the beetle a stag beetle I think thus they'll have quite large heads & mandibles to differentiate them from the ladybugs.

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Adam Sena
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Fantastic. I'm diggin' the black bee and spider. It looks like hexes do need to be deeper. I can't wait to see the finished product.
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WOW!
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Melody
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Today I made ants & beetles. I like the ants but not too sure of the beetles. I'll come back to them in a couple of days to think about it.

The ants are just fimo, beads & wire. The beetles were a pain in the ass. I decided to make the wing casings with wire & they were uber fiddly. yuk The mandibles are just steel or copper wire crimped with my round nose pliers then hammered on the anvil. Below is an image of some of the tools I use & some ant skeletons in various states of completion.

I also started work on the wings for the dragonfly, I mean if I'm going to make my own set why not some fan made bugs. While I do like these wings they are too short for a dragonfly so I'll just use them on a fly as I'm also making bugs for some jewelry pieces at the same time. I also made a lovely black & silver set with wire star but lost it as I was taking it out to the porch for pictures.
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J. M.
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wow, great idea! Was also thinking of making resin hexes, but didn't know how to incorporate the bugs yet. Don't wanna steal your idea though (I wouldn't be able to make such awesome fimo-bugs anyhow, so no need to try! )


Keep us posted! It really looks amazing.
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Melody
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It would be wonderful if you did, I'd love to see different interpretations. There's also the idea of buying toy bugs which I was thinking of doing earlier before deciding to sculpt them.
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Eli Alampay
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Have you considered placing the insects on top (or partially embedded) and have hex tiles with hollow bottoms?
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Melody
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No I hadn't but that is something to think about as I kinda like that idea. I originally envisioned it to be like insects stuck in amber that's why I was thinking about adding inclusions. When I'm ready for the casting I'll do some experiments. As I've now decided that I don't like the beetles I'll use them for the tests. If I did your idea I'd have to remake the bees as I didn't make them very solid as I was intending on the resin to keep them safe & together.
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John Yianni
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Wow! A real labor of love
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Melody
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I needed to take a few days off but I'm back to work again. I didn't like the beetles & I realized why, it was the 2 toned body. I remade them using only 1 color of clay for the bodies, like these more. This is the old beetles next to the new ones.

I also made dragonflies. I used beads for the tail bits but again I'm not entirely sure about them. I like the gold one but I think the black one is too fat. I'm also not too crazy on the length of the tail as I'll have to curl it to fit in the mold.

This is an image of some of the tools I use as well as various wings. I made the wings by wrapping wire around my jumpring tool & twisting the to ends together. Then I used pliers to pinch the loop to elongate it.
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Stefan D
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I cant wait to see these when you have done the resin work!
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Melody
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Thanks. It's taking longer than I want as my carpal tunnel is acting up something fierce & I keep having to take time off which sucks.
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Buddha Meeple
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Amazing work. Kudos!
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Life has been rather horrible this last week or so. Finding the time or will to work on this has been problematic. I finally started working on the final 2 insects, the grasshopper & the mosquito. Today I managed to get the wire work done but couldn't put them all together. Tomorrow I hope to finish these then will have to either try & squish the bugs a bit or make deeper hexes. I keep looking at the fan made stick insect as I'm quite intrigued from a design standpoint but I don't think I'll make it at least not now.

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Melody
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So I finished up the mosquito & grasshoppers. I love how the mosquito turned out but not that thrilled with the grasshoppers but they will have to do for now. The bodies really need to be longer & thinner & I'm not too sure if the wing casings should be there or not. Once I've made the molds & started testing I might change them but probably not, I think I'll just have to learn to live with them. I've cleaned up my work space & am ready to move onto the making of the molds next. I managed to squish or shorten the legs of the oversized insects so that I can use the Hive hexes unmodified for crafting the molds. I have this reusable stuff that you just heat very slowly in a double boiler for making the molds. I need to test it to make sure it's not hot enough to damage the bakelite. If it is I'll have to think of a different molding material probably silicone.

Grasshopper & Mosquito

Complete Armies
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Melody
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I started on the molding process which turned out to be a total failure. I got this thermo plastic to make the molds which took forever to melt as you have to heat at a really low heat & you have to stir it all the time very gently so as to not burn it & not form bubbles. I did in fact burn it but managed to have no bubbles, NOT. I did this twice bit neither worked. Once I took out the hexes there was tiny bubbles. Turns out it's moisture from the air & I live on the wet coast & it's Junuary. I guess I'll have to go the silicone route. yuk
Melting stuff that doesn't work for me

Hexes in a pyrex container with tinfoiled walls

End result very uneven
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