Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back to Poly Clay

I enjoyed my diversion with resin and overall I am pleased with the results. I have a few resin pieces curing now and will post those when they are ready.

In the meantime, back to my primary medium - polymer clay. My "create it" list includes making bracelet and earring sets using faux techniques. First up - faux jade. So, I did some research on the colors of jade and wanted to stay focused on the more commonly seen green jade.

Overall, I still have work to do to get the color right, but adding a patina cures almost all less than perfect colors. Here's a look at the custom color mixing process.

My recipe included translucent, I used a mix of leftover translucent so I have FIMO, PREMO and KATO, and a custom green clay along with the addition of cilantro as an inclusion. You could use some grated black clay or other green color spices such as thyme, sage, etc., in flake form. I just happened to have cilantro I was willing to part with (could not tell how long it had been in the cupboard) :)

Mixed in the cilantro until it was uniformly distributed throughout the clay and added two strips of green clay to the clay/cilantro mix until it was evenly colored. 

The final mixed color seemed light to me but I thought it would darken when cured, so I didn't add any more green. So, on to creating the beads.

To create the beads, I rolled the clay on the thickest
setting of my pasta machine and used a circle cutter so I would get evenly sized beads. This tip to get similar sized beads is from one of my guild members - ah, the joys of guilds. Here's the bead-making process from start to finish. I started with the number of circles for the size of bead I was making - in this case 3 cuts from a 1" circle cutter. Next rolled in a ball, flattened (used the furniture caster in the picture as a flattening guide as it has a recess on one side) and then impressed my design. That plastic snowflake in the picture is my stamp. I find that I look everywhere for texturing tools, in this case this snowflake is from a bunch of Christmas decorations from the Dollar Store. In some of my future posts I plan to shop all types of places for unique textures - stay reading for that.

Here's a close-up of the final beads.  Once cured, the clay stayed the same light color as in the pictures which was way too light.  I had planned to add a patina but was thinking white - no way.  I needed something darker so I used burnt umber acrylic paint.  Use a heavier body, quality paint as some acrylics peel off.   Experiment with the acrylic to find the one you like. In this post I used Liquitex but often use Golden.  Once the paint dried I lightly sanded the bead with 400 grit to get as much of the patina off as I liked.  Then I heat set the paint in the oven for 5 min and finished by buffing with my Dremel to bring out some shine. This picture might be a bit dark but the burnt umber paint did the trick for me. I like the organic look.

To put the bracelet together, I used gold-plated findings from Desert Gems in Lakewood, CO. This shop has a great selection of semi-precious beads, findings, rocks and tools. The loops that join the beads for the bracelet are small eye hooks that screw in. I like these screw eye hooks when I need a bit chunkier look. The earrings I pierced prior to baking with fine bead pins which I left in during the baking time. When you use these bead pins, let the bead cool slightly, not all the way, so you can easily remove the pins.  

Finishing the bracelet and earrings had me making many wrapped loop dangles with glass beads and stones and attaching to the loops between beads. The wrapped dangles added interest, movement, texture and an additional pink color which I think compliments the green. I'm pleased with the overall organic look and feel. This set is off to be a gift. Hope you enjoyed this post - leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. WOW! What a thrill to sneak a peak at the process, that was really fun! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I like it! That snowflakes made a great impression!

  3. These are a very good faux jade. I really enjoyed reading the process of how you made them. The snowflake was genius! Perfect stamp, and the way you put it all together is just beautiful.

  4. Thank you all for the kind words - they will keep me going.

  5. WOW!! I LOVED the creative way you added a spice to your clay to make your perfect jade color!! I read backwards, your whole blog. I enjoyed every word. Loved the way your studio is set up. Good luck to you and your blog...
    Stephanie, Auburn Washington

  6. There are used all kinds of Wholesale Gemstone Beads such as ruby, crystal, sapphire, tourmaline, garnet, etc ....Jewelry has regularly been a preferred thing for women...