Polymer Clay Carved Bead Pendant
Rubber stamps make this a great introduction to the art of carving polymer clay.
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Project designed and demonstrated by Donna Kato.
Materials and Tools:
3 oz. blocks Kato Polyclay: black, red, gold
clay-dedicated pasta machine
cyanoacrylate glue (like Super Glue)
Dockyard microfine "V" gauge carving tool
Hero Arts LL668 decorative leaves stamp set or other small stamp
wet/dry 400- and 600-grit sandpaper, backed steel wool (optional)
1. To make the base bead: Condition scrap clay, folding and rolling through pasta machine until it is free of streaks. Trim one side and, from that side, roll clay up tightly to form a cylinder. Roll against work surface to smooth. From this cylinder, you'll cut pieces used to hand-form the shapes to make these pendants, beads and other solid clay items. A good size is approximately 1 inch in diameter, and you'll cut pieces about 1-1/2-inch long.
2. To create the covering for the bead: Make a skinner blend using half a package of red and half a package of gold.
3. Roll the blended sheet sideways, so that one end of the rolled cylinder is red and the other gold.
4. Compress the cylinder by pushing the ends in toward the center of the roll as you roll back and forth. Compress to 1-1/2 inch.
5. Flatten to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
6. Roll a thin sheet of black (setting 5 on an Atlas machine). Place the flattened piece from above onto the black sheet. Do not trim the black sheet.
7. Reset the pasta machine to the thickest setting and roll through so that a blended edge (not solid red or solid gold) is touching the rollers. Remove excess black clay.
8. Reset the machine to the next thickest setting and roll through as before. This is the sheet you will cover the scrap bead with.
10. Trim clay away so that the sheet does not overlap but meets exactly. Trim and remove excess clay from the top and the bottom of the pendant.
11. Smooth all seams by gently rubbing fingers back and forth. The goal is to create what appears to be a black pendant, with none of the color beneath showing (figure G).
12. Position the stamp on the black pendant and press into the raw clay. Remove the stamp and inspect. If you are dissatisfied with the impression, simply lightly rub the impression away and re-stamp. To make straight lines, simply roll a needle tool across the surface.
13. Using the bamboo skewer, drill the holes in which the cord will be glued. Nest the pendant in polyester batting and bake for an hour at 275 F degrees. If you find a crack in the bead, when warm, press the crack closed until it is cool. Cracks form when there is air in the clay.
14. You're ready to carve the bead. Always carve away from yourself--the carving tool is very sharp! When carving long, straight lines, try to maintain a constant depth into the clay.
15. Once the bead is carved, you may wish to lightly sand it. Use only 400- and then 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper or backed steel wool. Once the piece is sanded, lightly rub on soft cotton cloth for a matte sheen or heat the surface with a heat gun for a matte finish.
Tip from Donna: When I carve, I place my pinkie on the bead for support.
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