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Use a paper puncher to create lovely inked flower beads

To make these flower beads, I used a paper puncher; you know the kind you use for scrapbooking. You can actually use lots of scrapbooking supplies with polymer clay, like rubber stamps, embossing powder, heat gun, glitter, eyelets, inks and chalk, only to mention some, and you can use polymer clay to make scrapbooking embellishments. So these two crafts often go hand in hand.

Not all paper punches are suitable for polymer clay. The smallest ones are not strong enough to cut through the clay, so the one you use must be of some size. The clay must be very thin, but not so thin that it breaks, and of course it must be cured before you punch it.

Using a paper puncher may seem a bit daft, since you can use a shape cutter when the clay is raw, but it actually has some advantages. Punching the shapes from cured clay prevents the ends to bend upwards during the curing, as it often does with small, flat clay pieces. The sides of the shapes are completely smooth, so they need no sanding, and you cannot distort the shapes by handling them, as is easy to do when cutting shapes from raw clay. And, the best – it is fun to do.

The clay sheet in this tutorial is inked and stamped on both sides. Hanging beads onto a necklace like charms causes many of the beads turn around when you wear it, and if they have only one side patterned and the other not, it looks a bit odd.

What you need:

  • White polymer clay
  • Pigment powder, light blue (optional)
  • Pearl ex – Micro pearl (optional>
  • Alcohol inks. I used Adirondack Cool pearl, Denim and Pool
  • Ink pads – black and silver
  • Two rubber stamps of your liking
  • Paper puncher
  • Sharp tool to make holes in the beads after curing
  • Buna cord or leather cord
  • 2 cord ends, silver colored
  • Jump rings 4-5 mm, silver colored, proximately 30 stk.
  • Clasp, silver colored
  • Three large hole beads, proximately 10 mm
  • 14 spacer beads, tube shaped, silver colored
  • 14 small silver colored charms

Step 1:
Condition the clay well. Run it through on the thickest setting on your pasta machine. Add some pigment powder and Pearl ex powder and wrap the clay sheet around it. Run it through the pasta machine until the powders are blended into it. This may seem difficult in the beginning, as the clay will flake and the powder will puff a bit around, but keep on folding and conditioning, and it will blend eventually. If you don’t have the powders, you can skip them. Since you use white opaque clay, it will not give much color, only a hint.

When well mixed, run the sheet through on the next to thinnest setting.

Step 2:
Pour some ink onto the sheet and use a baby wipe to dab it around. Add one color at the time, until you are satisfied with how it looks. Let it dry a little bit.
Step 3:
Use the black inkpad and add ink to one of the rubber stamps. Stamp the clay, and then wash the stamp well. Do the same with the other stamp and the silver inkpad. Let the sheet dry completely. When dry, turn it over and do the same on the other side. Let it dry again, place the sheet on a piece of paper and bake it for 30 minutes.
Step 4:
When the sheet is cold, use the paper puncher to punch the flower beads. Start along the edge. When you have punched along the whole side, use a pair of scissors to cut the shaped holes away so that you have a new edge to punch along.
Step 5:
Make a hole in each bead, a few millimeters from the edge. Add a jump ring and a small charm and then another jump ring through that one.
Step 6:
Cut a length of Buna cord, proximately 43 cm, or your desired length. Add a cord end on one end.
Step 7:
String one large holed bead, one spacer bead, one flower bead and another spacer bead. Continue until you have strung on 7 flower beads and 7 spacer beads. Add the second large holed bead, and then the rest of the flower beads and spacer beads. Finish with the last large holed bead. Then add the second cord end, the clasp, and the necklace is done.

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