Thursday, 30 September 2010

Found ... Polymer Clay Part 4 of 4 (Post 18)

Final part of my 1st polymer clay experiences.  This project was made with Cernit Polymer Clay and was so easy to condition - I would definitely recommend it.  I bought my polymer clay and clay extruder from Emma Ralph who is a beadmaker specialising in lampwork, ceramic and polymer clay beads.  A very talented lady who also has her own online store; and, tutorials - well worth a visit to her site.  Mind you, if you want to buy her beads, you'll have to be quick as her lampwork glass beads sell as quickly as they are produced - because they are so beautiful.

Cernit polymer clay has a elasticated feel to it and is really smooth to work with. 

Opal Fruits
I decided to experiment with lentil beads this time.  I used my acrylic block, which was so easy.

After conditioning your clay, roll it into a tube and cut off equal sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and then cut the ball in half.  Then ... take each half and gently roll it with one of the other coloured balls; until it becomes one.

Don't roll any further yet.  You now need to put the clear acrylic block on top of the newly formed mixed ball and roll the block.  For some reason, it will want to roll into a bicone shape.  That's ok, because its twirling the colours together - giving each one its uniqueness.  

If you like the bicone shape, ok - stop there, job done.  If not, still rolling with the acrylic block, apply more pressure.  This starts to flatten the bead, making it into the disk shape, otherwise known as lentil bead.

You now need to make a hole through the bead.  I find it best to make the hole at this stage.  Sometimes I use a cocktail stick, but I came across a lovely little tool in my toolbox - an awl.  This is a small pointy tool with a blade and a wooden handle.  I used the awl as I found I had a firmer anchor to push with.

Make a hole in one end half way through or until you see the point appearing at the other end.  Then turn the bead around and do the same on the other side.  This just avoids having 'dragged' out edges.  

One tip I read somewhere, (goodness knows where?), is if you intend using the bead for a necklace, rather than making the hole in the middle of the bead make it slightly higher.  This prevents the bead from 'flopping' forward and it will lie flatter.  As I knew my beads would be made for a bracelet, I did make the bead central.

Beads were put in the oven at the usual temperature of 130, (use a proper oven thermometer - again available from Emma).  I left them in about an hour with other polymer clay pieces.  Then after being cooled, they need to be sanded down to make them smooth, apply wax or varnish - as you like.  I used just the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest bit of beeswax (renaissance wax would be better, but that's on my shopping list).

I then used silver-plated wire threaded a green silver-lined seed bead and made a basic loop each end of the wire.  I layed out the beads the way that I wanted them to be and linked them together.  I added an s-clasp to finish off.

I called this 'opal fruits' as it reminded me of sweets I used to buy when I was little.  Anyone remember them?  'Opal fruits - made to make your mouth water'.

My research shows that due to EU regulations the name changed to 'starburst' but in 2008, Asda brought the originals back, (without the additives!) for a period of 12 weeks.

Enough reminiscing ... I'm not a 'sweetie' eater these days anyway.

So, the last 4 projects was my taster introduction to polymer clay.  I hope that this has inspired you to 'have a go'.

Now its back to my bead stash, fresh ideas and new designs.

'Keep Watching and I'll Keep Blogging'



  1. How you been, what you up to?
    this bracelet is so pretty. xx

  2. Thanks Sherryn,
    A little while since I caught up with you - I'll email you.


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