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Golden Polymer Clay Beads
In this Polymer clay tutorial you will use different techniques, like Mokume Gane, texture impression, making logs with a clay gun and embellishment. You will create these gorgeous golden beads by baking them on a paint palette and then fill them. Sound complicated? It really isn't. Just take a look:
You will need the following:
- Polymer clay: Lavender, Sunflower, Raspberry, Cognac, Brilliant Blue, Peppermint, White and Black.
- Scrap clay.
- Pasta Machine
- Tissue blade, soft
- Shape cutters: round, in two sizes
- Clay gun.
- Acrylic gold paint
- Jump rings 4 mm
- Paint palette
- Crafts knife
- Liquid Polymer clay
- Heat gun
Are you ready? OK! Let's start:
Prepare the clay sheets:
First you need to mix the colors. I have used Fimo Soft polymer clay in this tutorial:
Yellow: ½ part Lavender + 2 parts sunflower
Rust: 1 part Raspberry + 3 part Cognac
Dark green: 1 part Brilliant Blue + 1 part Sunflower
Light green: ½ part Dark green + 2 part white
Turquoise: 3 parts Peppermint + ¼ part Black
Condition each color well and run them through a medium setting on your pasta machine. Cut each sheet in three parts, two of equal size and one smaller. Put the smallest aside.
Apply acrylic gold paint to one of the large sheets of all colors but the blue, and put them aside to dry.
Make the Mokume Gane sheet:
Run the remaining large sheets of rust, yellow, dark green and blue, through the pasta machines thinnest setting. Put them on top of each other in random order. Run the stack through the pasta machine again. Cut it in two, stack and repeat one more time.
Dust the polymer clay with cornstarch and stamp an impression onto the clay with the texture sheet.
Use a soft tissue blade and start shaving off thin layers of the print. Your goal is to cut away until there are no impressions left and the sheet is smooth. You will not use the shavings, but the sheet in this project. When done, put a sheet of paper on top, and roll over it with your acrylic roller. Put it aside.
Make logs with the clay gun:
Use a small round shape cutter and cut out 6-7 pieces of each color (The diameter must be close to the opening on the clay gun) of the remaining sheets. Stack the pieces in random order and feed it into your Clay gun/Extruder. Use different discs to extrude 3 or 4 different shaped logs.
Make the patterned sheet:
Condition a large piece of scrap clay and roll it through on one of the thinnest settings. You are now ready to begin making the patterned sheet.
Cut out strips of all the sheets and put them together in a pattern on the scrap clay. When it is covered, cut slices of the logs you made, and apply them where you want them. When done, smooth the surface either with the acrylic roller, or by using the back of a spoon.
Make the beads:
Use a round shape cutter and cut out shapes from the patterned sheet. Put them onto the paint palettes for baking.
Stamp the remaining piece of the light green sheet with rough sand paper. Use the shape cutter to cut out the beads, and apply them to the paint palette as well. Cut slices of the logs and embellish 2 or 3 of the light green beads.
Smooth the edges around each bead, so that you cannot see the scrap clay.
Make the “sky scraper” bead:
Cut slices of the logs in different lengths. Apply them onto one of the light green beads, so that you cover the surface.
Bake the beads for 30 minutes, and leave them to cool off.
Glaze the beads:
You will not glaze all the beads, only the ones made from the patterned sheet, and the embellishments on the green ones.
Put the beads on a ceramic tile. Use soft brush and apply liquid polymer clay in a thin layer on one of them. Hold it with a pair of tweezers and heat it with the heat gun, until the clay has set and turned frosty. Move it with the tweezers the whole time so that the liquid polymer clay won't run off. Put it down on the tile and continue heating it until it has a silky sheen. If you continue holding it with the tweezers, it will be damaged by it, since the clay becomes soft when heated.
Repeat with all the beads. Put on 2-3 layers. Let them cool completely and then reheat them until they are shiny.
If you want to know more about glazing beads with liquid clay, click here
Glaze the embellished beads:
Just follow the procedure explained above, but apply liquid polymer clay only on the embellished sheets and ends of the “sky scrapers”.
Fill the beads:
You can now choose whether you want the beads to be hollow or fill them. I prefer to fill them, since I find it very hard to string hollow beads. I just never seem to find the hole on the other side. So, here we go!
Mix some more light green clay, if you don't have any left. Condition it well, and roll it through on the thickest setting. Do the same with some scrap clay. You will use this clay to fill the beads, so don't worry about the color.
Use the large shape cutter and cut out shapes of both clays. Mix two pieces of the scrap clay into a small ball, and put it into one of the beads. To have it stick, it may be wise to apply some liquid clay onto the inside of the beads, so that it will bond when re-baked. Make sure you expel all the air. Flatten it with your fingers and then use the tissue blade to slice of the clay that protrudes above the edges of the bead.
Add jump rings, one on each side. You must put them higher than the middle to prevent the beads to turning around when you wear them.
Then put a light green piece on top, if it is to large, use a craft knife to cut it to the right size. This will be the back-side of the bead. Repeat with all the beads.
Put them on a piece of paper and bake them for 45 minutes.
When cooled off, sand the edges and the bottom, and your are done. All you have to do now, is to put the beads together into a necklace. You do this by adding jump rings to attach the beads to each other and then add a clasp.
If you like the wire clasp in the photo of the finnished jewelry, you can see how it is made here.
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