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Welcome Back 

In today’s post a few pictures of my first ever attempt at Polymer clay beads! 

My First Polymer Clay beads

My First Polymer Clay Beads

My MIL was getting rid of her toaster oven, so I adopted it, to save it from land fill and save the house getting stinky when I cook clay! I’ve only ever had one previous go, with polymer clay and that was making clay angels and they stank the house and oven out for DAYS!!!! If you have not had the joy of polymer clay it smells like you are cooking trainers! Having read a little about clay on various sites, I discovered that lots of people use toaster ovens, so I thought I’d try that instead. 

Well, my first go burnt the clay BAD MOVE! Luckily I was working in the studio with the door open, so I was able to put the oven outside till the fumes subsided! The second attempt, I set the oven to cook from underneath, and opened the door from time to time to prevent the clay over heating. This worked much better, the clay cooked quite fast as I only put about 3-6 beads in at one time and they were only small. 

Close up of purple polymer clay beads 

A couple of years ago, Wendy over on the Stamping Mad Forum got us all excited about bargain prices of pasta machines for using with clay. I missed the offer ones but still got a nice pasta machine by Eberhard Fimo. This was also my first experience with that. It went ok, although I think I over did it a bit and got a bit crumbly. I bought the pasta machine, as even with the Fimo Soft, my hands are not strong enough to get the clay to a workable consistency. I figured that running the clay through the machine a few times would help, it did :) massively. So if you too have poor dexterity but would like to use polymer clay, I’d definitely suggest trying a pasta machine :) 

As yet I do not have a bead roller, (it’s on my wish list). All I did was cut some clay from the block, using a craft knife and then ran the clay through the pasta machine. I worked on a dedicated mat and cut the flat clay to equal sized pieces and just rolled them into a ball. Poked a hole through, then re shaped them if they got a little…wonky! The square section bead was just one that I squeezed to a square section, not perfect but that’s fine. I want to use these kind of beads to embellish distressed style books, so perfection was not required. I did work the clay with plastic gloves on though to prevent getting finger prints all over the beads, this gave them a nice smooth finish. 

First beads - oblong

Close up of the oblong bead

Now because this was my first try…I didn’t want to use the nicest colour, just to learn the basics. So I used the flesh tone pink clay pack that I had left over from the Christmas angels. Not the prettiest colour (sorry I’m a bit anti pink, tomboy and all that ;) ) So after the clay had been baked, I decided to improve the colour by painting them :) I used the Golden Fluid Acrylic paint in Dioxanine Purple (think Cadbury’s chocolate wrappers) and then applied Inerference Gold over the top. This is a nice soft gold, but the mica flip really shows up well on the dark base colour. The second set of beads I tried to colour using Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (fave, non purple colour) but the pink clay made them look quite wierd, so I went over them with purple…odd colour combo but it looks like caramalized sugar in real life so its ok, again I used the Interference Gold over the top. I applied the gold using packing foam, which gave a really nice texture. (Shame I’d just ditched a load of it only days previously). The foam was one of those ‘What if I put the paint on with this’ Experiments and it turned out great. 

Polymer Beads, textured finish

Polymer Beads, textured finish

The purple beads remind me a little of Lapis Lazuli, the depth of colour is hard to show in the photo. 

Polymer Clay Beads Close up of textures

Polymer Clay Beads Close up of textures

The beads at the top of this photo are the ones I think look a bit like caramalized sugar in colour, what do you think?I was really pleased with these beads, for a first attempt and I love the colours they turned out BUT after 2 weeks the paint is still tacky on the surface. :( 

Does anyone out there who is more experienced with clay have any suggestions for how I can get the paint to dry? I was going to go over the beads with Polymer Medium Gloss, to seal in the colours, but was waiting for these layers of paint to truly dry. It’s such a shame as they look nice and the paint effects turned out lovely. They have even been put in the airing cupboard for a while but still no luck on drying the paint :( Looks like I need to search out a book on Polymer clay and see what that says. 

These beads are my first piece for this month’s Virtual Crafting Challenge. The Theme was ‘F’, this was for ‘Fimo’ :) There are more finished projects on the way. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

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