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Made my beads - Advice pretty please.

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  • Made my beads - Advice pretty please.

    Had my first go of making a cane and a couple of beads today. Didn't exactly go to plan but I had great fun!

    Started out trying to do a skinner blend except the clay kept sticking to the roller and the acrylic surface I was using, even using cornflower wasn't much help and I was wary of using too much, so as a consequence the skinner blend turned into a big lump of clay. Think a pasta machine would be much easier!

    Next I tried the cane, think I made it too small as it was sooo fiddly and I forgot to put it in the fridge before slicing, basically it was a verrrry poor impersonation of a flower, however I did find the slicing and hole piercing relatively painless so that was a bonus.

    In the end I tried to make the best of a first go and I just used the lump of clay to make a few beads and I sliced the wonky flower cane and attached you'll see the results. I actually like them even though they're a bit all over the shop but not bad for my first go eh

    Few questions if I may.

    1. How do I get a non sticky surface...can you use too much cornflower?

    2. I wet sanded the beads but wasn't sure how long I should be sanding so I only did it for a few minutes, I'm betting it needs a lot longer but is there any particular method that gives the best results?

    3. After sanding I used the renaissance wax polish (smells divine!) and gave them a bit of a buff. What sort of finish should I be expecting, is there any right or wrong type?

    Any tips would be most appreciated
    Attached Files
    Handmade Ceramic Beads & Jewellery
    Grubbi On Etsy
    ~ Facebook ~ Artisan Whimsy

  • #2
    They're really sweet - I don't know anything about beads, but they look great for first attempt.
    paperpiedesign.blogspot.com
    www.folksy.com/shops/paperpiedesign

    *Kim*

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    • #3
      Hi Jonesi, well done with your first set of beads.

      With regards to the cornflour I must admit I used to have the very same problem and every thing I tried to prevent the clay sticking didn't help much. I bought a pasta maker and have to say it's the best buy I've made in regards to my polymer jewellery. In my opinion a pasta maker is a must if you are going to make a lot of canes. There are lot more knowledgeable people here than me when it comes to polymer clay and I'm sure one of them will be along soon to answer all your questions.

      Caroline
      silver jewellery at The Silver Jewellery Workshop
      bespoke handmade jewellery
      Silver Jewellery blog
      Handmade Jewellery Blog

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      • #4
        Wish I could help, but hand made beads is not something I've tried yet! Give me time!

        For a first attempt they look great! Well done you!

        tRaCeY

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        • #5
          Yeah I've got my eye on a pasta machine, does the clay not stick to the pasta machine or do you have to use cornflower with that too?
          Handmade Ceramic Beads & Jewellery
          Grubbi On Etsy
          ~ Facebook ~ Artisan Whimsy

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          • #6
            Hi Jonesi,

            I love the colours! : ))) And well done, they look really well for the first time. : )

            I had problem with sticking clay too, and last time I was so upset that I brought in the talc, and it seemed to help a lot! They were even smoother (I made something flat not beads this time).
            I use more sanding paper, starting with 400, then 600, 800, 1000, 1200, maybe it's even too much... I use the first one until I feel its smoother, it takes a few minutes, but the rest is really quick with each paper... I love to feel the endresult. You will know when it's ok. I dry it with a cloth during the process more times to feel where I am.

            I think the end is right if it looks the way you wanted it to look ; ) It's your design, so you make the rules. Isn't it?
            Good luck with the next attempt!
            Beata

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jonesi View Post
              Yeah I've got my eye on a pasta machine, does the clay not stick to the pasta machine or do you have to use cornflower with that too?
              Nowhere near as much. You need to clean the rollers regularly, I use a baby wipe and roll it backwards and forwards a couple of times and then roll through a piece of kitchen towel. The advantage of the machine is that you can get the clay much thinner with a more even thickness. I put my clay in the fridge if it is too soft and this helps it stick less.

              Caroline
              silver jewellery at The Silver Jewellery Workshop
              bespoke handmade jewellery
              Silver Jewellery blog
              Handmade Jewellery Blog

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              • #8
                I really like the beads! I make beads and use a glass surface to roll them which seems to work but I only use small amounts of clay... I reeaaalllly want a pasta machine too! x
                Amanda xx

                Once Designer Jewellery


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                • #9
                  Great beads! I think for a first attempt you should be really proud.

                  I have to admit, I haven't every really had much of a problem with the clay sticking to either pasta machine or hand rollers. I mainly use cernit and fimo, although I can't really sticking being much of a problem with any clay I have used. Sometimes the translucent colours can be sticky though in very thin sheets. What clay are you using?

                  Sometimes the clay just behaves differently for different people though - hand heat, humidity where you live etc can all affect the clay's behaviour.

                  In regards to getting the results you want with blends, caning etc. I feel that the biggest mistake we all make at first is not using enough clay. You feel cautious and don't want to duff stuff up so take it easy, build it small.

                  but small amounts of clay are often harder to handle. The very least amount of clay I would ever use to do a skinner blend is a full small blocks worth. So half a block of the two different colours I am using.

                  Any less clay than that I find it won't blend easily. If I want to do a smaller blend, I will do an overlap blend instead.

                  The same with canes - work too small and you end up with all end and no middle. Any cane you make will always have a degree of distortion to the ends and be crisp and useable in the middle.

                  For this reason I advise people to start out using more clay, but use colours that will naturally blend together again into a fresh, usable colour. Say light blue, white and navy for instance. Enough variation and contrast in colour to do pretty blends and canes, but if you don't like what you do - just smoosh it up again into a nice blue colour.

                  As for sanding - really you just keep going until it is smooth enough for you! The smoother you can get the bead before baking the better.

                  Glad to hear you had fun with it though - that is the main thing. Everything else will just get better over time and with practise. The fun part is the one thing we can't buy. You either love claying or you don't!

                  As for the wax - you need to use it rather like shoe polish. Rub a tiny dab all over and then buff it off by hand quickly to a nice sheen. And it is a sheen you get with the wax, not a high gloss. For a glossier finish, you need to use the waterbased gloss varnish.

                  Emma
                  Emma
                  www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                  www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                  www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the tips, will try the talc and when I get my pasta machine I will make sure to get some baby wipes too!

                    I think I was maybe playing with it too much, it was very warm and soft after I'd been messing about with it so the fridge thing will help I think.

                    Amanda, they've alot of pasta machines on Ebay going quite cheap. I found a "poly-roller" on Ebay.com which is basically a pasta machine branded as a polymer clay roller but the shipping was too expensive overseas.

                    I'm using Fimo Soft clay and I bought about 25 small blocks of different colours and a few "effects" blocks too. I was surprised by how much clay is used just for doing something rather simple. I figure it might be more cost effective to buy some big blocks of primary and secondry colours and do some colour mixing rather than buying every colour of the range.

                    I think my problem with using so much clay is that if I make larger canes then I'll have alot of "waste", firstly because I'm a complete newb and so I don't want to make a mess of large amounts of clay and secondly because I wouldn't really be wanting to use the same design over and over again unless I absolutely loved it and so a huge cane wouldn't really be used to capacity.

                    The usable colours thing is good advice though, I used orange and pink which didn't really blend too well when squished together so will try some better suited colours on my next attempt (tomorrow!).

                    I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow evening with a brand new set of questions, haha!
                    Handmade Ceramic Beads & Jewellery
                    Grubbi On Etsy
                    ~ Facebook ~ Artisan Whimsy

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                    • #11
                      I personally find Fimo Soft to be very sticky, and prefer, like Emma, to use Fimo Classic (not tried Cernit). Some poeple put their sticky clay between sheets of paper to draw out excess plactics, but I've never managed to make that work

                      As Emma says, you'll have more success with canes if you use larger amount of clay - if you get fed up of a cane, you can always slice it up, cover beads with the slices and make 'swirly' beads by rolling and rotating the bead quickly under a piece of perspex or glass. You'll get some pretty results!

                      Re: the skinner blend - it's apparently very hard to do a skinner blend without a pasta machine. There is another method that supposedly doesn't need one here: the teardrop method at http://www.beadsandbeading.com/blog/...er-blend/2613/
                      but I've never tried it.

                      Anyway, the beads look grreat, especially as it's your first attempt - I didn't even try a cane until I'd made beads for a few weeks!
                      ContinuumDesigns- artisan polymer clay beads for one-of-a-kind designs.

                      The FHFTeam - featuring glass, jewellery and art handmade in the UK.

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                      • #12
                        Skinner blends can be rolled by hand quite easily actually - but the key is you need to stop them widening.

                        In a pasta machine, the edges of the machine itself do this.

                        To roll a blend by hand- just tape the rolling guildes to the work surface at a set distance apart first. I like to use long bamboo kebab skewers. They work really well.

                        Once they are taped in place, you can roll the clay between them and control the blend. Just always remember that when you fold the sheet in half, roll from the fold and try to roll in the same direction each time.

                        It is more labour intensive than using a pasta machine, but it certainly isn't impossible. If I want to do smaller blends for any reason I will often prefer to use this method as I don't need to use enough clay to "fill" the width of the machine.
                        Emma
                        www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                        www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                        www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ejralph View Post
                          Skinner blends can be rolled by hand quite easily actually - but the key is you need to stop them widening.

                          In a pasta machine, the edges of the machine itself do this.

                          To roll a blend by hand- just tape the rolling guildes to the work surface at a set distance apart first. I like to use long bamboo kebab skewers. They work really well.

                          Once they are taped in place, you can roll the clay between them and control the blend. Just always remember that when you fold the sheet in half, roll from the fold and try to roll in the same direction each time.

                          It is more labour intensive than using a pasta machine, but it certainly isn't impossible. If I want to do smaller blends for any reason I will often prefer to use this method as I don't need to use enough clay to "fill" the width of the machine.
                          Ooops, didn't know this, sorry! Glad to learn it's possible.
                          ContinuumDesigns- artisan polymer clay beads for one-of-a-kind designs.

                          The FHFTeam - featuring glass, jewellery and art handmade in the UK.

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                          • #14
                            I know nothing about polymer clay and fimo etc and admire anyone who can produce something like you have.

                            I love the colours and I think what you regard as being imperfect (or wonky) flowers, I think makes them realistic.

                            I recently bought some buttons made the way you describe. The lady I bought them from is someone regarded as an expert in this area and, personally, I like your beads better!!!
                            Diane
                            Reach for the moon-if you miss-you'll still be amongst stars




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                            • #15
                              Oo well I'm very flattered and smiling now! Thank you for the compliment!!

                              Thanks for the advice with the skinner blends too!

                              With regards to Pasta machines, is it worth the cash getting a good brand or will the cheaper ones be ok too? For example the Debenhams one is about £30 and there's an Aldo Zilli one on Ebay for £24, would that be any good or would you be looking at the more expensive brands such as Atlas and Imperia?
                              Handmade Ceramic Beads & Jewellery
                              Grubbi On Etsy
                              ~ Facebook ~ Artisan Whimsy

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