I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too! Welcome!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Polymer Clay Beads

My first attempt at making polymer beads came during our bathroom makeover. I know...that's weird but it was a good idea!

See: https://hotandcoldrunningmom.blogspot.com/2018/02/shower-curtain-hooks-that-dont-stay-on.html 

But this time I wanted to make something wearable. 
So here's a step-by-step on how I made these necklaces. (Actually the turquoise one doesn't show every step, but I did better with pics for the marbled one!)

I started the first one using just one colour clay, turquoise. You can find these clays at craft stores like Michael's. I had a smooth tile to work on and a few things from around the house that had texture.

So the first thing to do is unwrap the clay and cut off a workable piece, then massage it in your hands to warm it up and knead it a few minutes to make it pliable. Roll it out using an acrylic roller if you have one, or just use a wine bottle like I did  : )

Cut the shape you want using a cookie cutter. I started off with the cookie cutter shape then free-handed it a bit.
Use a straw or other tool to make holes. Make sure that whatever you want to hang the bead by fits in the hole.

I then pressed some images onto the beads...I had a suncatcher, textured glass tray and some cutlery. 

With a small brush I applied mica powder in black to the surface of the beads leaving the impressions without mica. 

I placed the pieces on parchment paper in a foil-lined pan and baked them as per the instructions on the clay package, 275F for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch. Check your brand of clay for instructions, they aren't all the same.

Leave them to cool and I'll come back to them a little later.

Next I tried a marbling effect which was a lot of fun! 

So again work and knead the clay, then take 5 or 6 balls and roll them into snakes. Stack them up.

Then gently but firmly roll them together from the middle to the outside. You don't want any air pockets. 

Once it's about double in length fold it over on itself

and give it a twist. Now the colours are starting to look interesting!

Squish the twisted rope to make it more squat.

And start rolling it out. (There's my wine bottle!)

Once you have the thickness you desire place plastic wrap on top and use a cutter to make the shape of your bead. I used a small measuring cup for mine.

Remove the plastic and carefully lift the bead, clean up the edges with a knife then cut out a hole for hanging. This was the top of a perfume bottle. I wanted a large hole because I intended on using leather necklace cord and wanted to make sure it would fit.

I took the little bit of clay cut from the hole, rolled it out and make a tube out of it. Wasn't sure what I was going to do with it at this point. Baked the beads as before then left them to cool.

I had started off buffing the beads with a piece of denim which worked alright and left a shadow of the mica on the textured beads which I liked, but I found it way too labour-intensive!

So I used a dremel and that really brought out the shine. I had also bought this Fimo gloss varnish made specifically for polymer clay. The finishes were quite similar and I liked the look for this natural looking turquoise.

When it came to these marbled beads I buffed the edges with the dremel....oh don't be afraid to use the dremel. These beads are really hard!  Then I went straight for the varnish.

Once dry I looped the leather cording through the hole then found a use for the tube bead! These casual necklaces will look great with jeans!

A couple of things I learned ... don't make the beads too thin. The turquoise beads are almost 1/4" thick and hang well. The marbled beads are considerably thinner and I found a little light weighted. 

Also, don't forget to finish the backs by sanding or buffing and varnishing. (Maybe your initials on the back of your piece of art as well!)

If you try making beads let me know. I'd love to see what you make and if you have any hints and how-to's I really want to hear them!

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