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Beautiful Pastel Mokume Gane Beads

These pastel beads are made by applying ink to white clay. They were an experiment, and came out as a very nice surprise, I think. Experimenting with ink is actually very rewarding, it takes a lot to make something that doesn't look good.

The ink makes the clay come somewhat alive, radiant with lovely colors, whether you apply it before or after the curing. The application after curing seems to make the colors more vibrant, adding depth to the beads. So ink is fun. Are you ready to try? OK!

What you need:
- White clay, sunflower clay (Fimo soft)
- Adirondac ink: Meadow, Citrus, Pool, Wild plum Pitch black and Eggplant
- Mica powder gold
- Liquid Polymer clay
- Tissue blade
- Bamboo rods
- Rough sand paper
- Texture plate
- Soft paint brush
- Ruler or Marxit

Step 1:
Condition the white clay and run it through on the thinnest setting. Cut it into 6 equally sized sheets. Apply the ink to the sheets with a soft brush, one color on each sheet. Use all colors but Eggplant.
Put them aside to dry.

Step 2:
Mix two parts white with one part sunflower clay. When the colors are blended into a pastel yellow, roll it into a log, about the thickness of your middle finger. Use a ruler and mark every 1 ½ cm. These will decide the sizes of your beads, so if you want them smaller or bigger, adjust the size of the slices.

Step 3:
Stack the inked sheets randomly, but put the black one on top. Use an acrylic roller to remove air pockets. Use the texture plate and make an impression in the stack. Put a piece of tissue paper next to you and start shaving off thin slices of the stack. Put them on the tissue paper, next to each other.

Step 4:
Shape your beads into ovals. You can do this easily by rolling the clay between your palms. Use big circles and the beads automatically become oval. If the ends get to pointy, just shape them with your fingers into smooth round ends. Start applying the pastel shavings onto the beads. Run the beads smooth in your hands and pierce them with a bamboo rod for curing. If they are contaminated or have lots of finger prints, clean them with a baby wipe.

Step 5:
To make the purple beads, shape the beads between your palms as in step 4. Roll some of the beads over a rough sand paper and some over the texture plate. Apply Eggplant ink with a soft brush. Pierce them with a bamboo rod for curing.

Step 6:
Cure your beads for 30 minutes. When cold, glaze the beads with liquid polymer clay. When you glaze the purple beads, add some gold mica powder to some liquid clay and insert in the lower parts of the pattern with a thin brush or the tip of a bamboo rod. Heat with a heat gun, and then glaze as usual.

And, that was it! All you have to do now, is to use them in one of your projects.

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