Friday, July 10, 2015

What’s on My Work Table This Week? or The Learning Curve of Translucent Polymer Clay


Translucent polymer clay with no color added
Translucent polymer clay has intrigued me for quite a while.  Every time I went to Hobby Lobby I would buy 3 packets of Pardo Translucent Clay.  When I asked if there were more, the response was, “Each store only gets 3 packets a month!”  I would have felt bad about taking all three but it was usually the end of the month!  The funny thing is that I did not use them often and now have a nice stash.  Of course, when you keep polymer clay a while, it can get crumbly and be difficult to condition.  Yes, that did happen to several packets!  It just takes more time and a little of clay softener to get the clay to the correct consistency.  Pardo seems to be the most translucent and you can actually see print through the cured clay.

There are two beautiful polymer clay necklaces hanging on my studio wall that I made a good year ago.  I did not add color to that clay, edged the circles in wire and found it fun to work with.  

The alcohol inks are in the small bottles at the top of the photo.  They were mixed with the translucent, set to dry and then conditioned.
 This year I wanted color!  Craftcast (an online site that has wonderful classes) had a class https://www.craftcast.com/videos/secrets-creating-jewellery-using-translucent-polymer-clay-debbie-carlton   where I learned to add color with alcohol inks to the translucent polymer.  It is a really good class teaching many techniques and sharing tips.  One was to wear gloves because the ink can go many places you don’t want it.  Letting the ink dry on the clay before conditioning it is also wise.  This keeps the ink from squirting between the layers of clay and going everywhere. (That reminded me of making pomegranate jelly!) I also found a big difference in color before baking the clay and after.  Since I was just learning and playing I did not care.  But if the color is important I’d do a test sample.

Different techniques of using translucent clay - lower beads are handmade canes.  Middle beads edged in black were extruded.  The top beads were made in mokume gane technique.  Haven't decided how to assemble them yet!  Stay tuned!

Clay before shaping and curing.  See the yellow color before baking?  It's the same color used on the disc below.

Cured translucent clay with no light shining through
The same translucent clay with light behind.  See how the color changes?
After watching the class and trying some of the techniques, I thought you might like to see some of the parts I made.  Hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you some that are finished.

Cured pieces ready to be sanded and polished.  


One finished piece with 3 layers - black background, green middle and red top.  Holes have been drilled allowing colors to be seen.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

What’s on My Work Table This Week? or The Learning Curve of Translucent Polymer Clay


Translucent polymer clay with no color added
Translucent polymer clay has intrigued me for quite a while.  Every time I went to Hobby Lobby I would buy 3 packets of Pardo Translucent Clay.  When I asked if there were more, the response was, “Each store only gets 3 packets a month!”  I would have felt bad about taking all three but it was usually the end of the month!  The funny thing is that I did not use them often and now have a nice stash.  Of course, when you keep polymer clay a while, it can get crumbly and be difficult to condition.  Yes, that did happen to several packets!  It just takes more time and a little of clay softener to get the clay to the correct consistency.  Pardo seems to be the most translucent and you can actually see print through the cured clay.

There are two beautiful polymer clay necklaces hanging on my studio wall that I made a good year ago.  I did not add color to that clay, edged the circles in wire and found it fun to work with.  

The alcohol inks are in the small bottles at the top of the photo.  They were mixed with the translucent, set to dry and then conditioned.
 This year I wanted color!  Craftcast (an online site that has wonderful classes) had a class https://www.craftcast.com/videos/secrets-creating-jewellery-using-translucent-polymer-clay-debbie-carlton   where I learned to add color with alcohol inks to the translucent polymer.  It is a really good class teaching many techniques and sharing tips.  One was to wear gloves because the ink can go many places you don’t want it.  Letting the ink dry on the clay before conditioning it is also wise.  This keeps the ink from squirting between the layers of clay and going everywhere. (That reminded me of making pomegranate jelly!) I also found a big difference in color before baking the clay and after.  Since I was just learning and playing I did not care.  But if the color is important I’d do a test sample.

Different techniques of using translucent clay - lower beads are handmade canes.  Middle beads edged in black were extruded.  The top beads were made in mokume gane technique.  Haven't decided how to assemble them yet!  Stay tuned!

Clay before shaping and curing.  See the yellow color before baking?  It's the same color used on the disc below.

Cured translucent clay with no light shining through
The same translucent clay with light behind.  See how the color changes?
After watching the class and trying some of the techniques, I thought you might like to see some of the parts I made.  Hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you some that are finished.

Cured pieces ready to be sanded and polished.  


One finished piece with 3 layers - black background, green middle and red top.  Holes have been drilled allowing colors to be seen.

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