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Polymer Clay Technique Lesson Barbara Fajardo, Desert Design Inc. © 2009 This tutorial is protected by copyright. It is for your personal use only. Do not distribute, or use as a teaching tool. www.rubarbdesertdesigns.com email@example.com Who doesn’t love flowers? They are a symbol of beauty and peace around the world. During the Introduction to Flora Beads lesson, I want to share with you how I began experimenting with texture and color on flower petals. Be brave, use your imagination and try all of your ideas…that is what will make your work exciting and different from everyone else. Let’s begin!
Kato Black Polymer Clay (preferred, but other brand or color will work) Sculpey Translucent Liquid Clay (preferred) Teardrop shape cutters (optional) Assorted Perfect Pearls Powders (PP, not Pearlex) Texture Tools (stylus tools, texture sheets, etc) Scrap Clay (for homemade textures and flora bead base) Makeup sponge applicators (optional) Wooden Skewer or needle tool 2mm drilling tool (drill bit embedded in scrap clay, cured and glued) Small smoothing tool (acrylic roller or knitting needle) Tissue Blade Water for PP cleanup (clean your fingers and applicators between colors)
1. Make some of your own homemade textures
from scrap clay by impressing different sizes of stylus tools and bake the clay. You can
impress all kinds of things into scrap to make your own textures, so look around the house and on your clay table. I’ve used wire, seashells, crushed rock salt, roofing material and even my cutters. Don’t use anything you use to eat with like forks unless you are keeping them for clay use only. 2. Make a log of scrap clay about ½” in diameter, the length doesn’t matter. Roll out a piece of
black clay (or other color) to a 4 or 5 thickness and wrap your scrap clay. Make sure all of the air bubbles are pressed out. Slice your wrapped log into ½” pieces. Close the ends and roll them into balls. Then press into a texture to about ½” thick (use a release for the texture). The textured part is the back of your base bead that will be against your skin.
3. Make a cross design with your skewer or needle tool on the other side, making the vertical line of the cross about 1/3 from the top. Make an indentation with your needle tool or skewer on each side of the bead at the ends of the vertical line for bead holes. We will drill through after baking so as not to distort the bead. Add a very thin layer of Liquid Sculpey. If you have too much, the surface will be too slippery for the petals to stay in place. Also, I’ve found that Kato Liquid tends to be a bit slippery as well. You can also let it air dry a bit before adding any petals, this seems to help. 4. If you are using cutters for your petals, roll out well conditioned black clay to thickest setting (#1 on my Imperia) on pasta machine. If you are using slices from logs of clay to make petals, make different sizes of logs and shape them into ovals or teardrops. Whatever size petal that looks nice to you is the size to make them, but I wouldn’t go over 1” unless you make your base beads larger than ½”.
5. Finally, we are ready to make some petals! Cut some shapes from your sheet of clay or cut some slices (about 1/8” thick) from your pre-shaped logs. Try to make them even slices, don’t go too thin. Apply any combination of Perfect Pearl powders to the surface and edges of each petal shape, and press it down into your texture. You may want to add some PP to the back of each petal as the powder seems to get everywhere…it’s hard to keep the backs of the petals plain black. We will be rolling the petal flat with a smoothing tool later, so don’t worry about fingerprints on the backs. 6. Now add more color by making paint out of PP and water. The paint shouldn’t be too watery or too thick. I usually begin by dipping my finger in water and then in PP. I just go back and forth between the water and powder to get the right consistency, so I get everything pretty messy. I’ve used a makeup applicator to mix and apply, but like using my fingers better. You can also add more dry PP on top of the paint. Watch how much paint and powder that you apply to as it tends to crack the clay where it dries. I’ve also noticed that the longer that conditioned Kato clay sits; it tends to not like to be shaped and bent. 7. Try to use all of your sheets of conditioned clay and petals at one sitting. At least have the petals applied to the base and you can always cure the next day.
8. Let the painted petals dry for a few minutes (you could be making more petals!) before you smooth out each one on your work surface. I like to use a small acrylic roller, but you can use a knitting needle or something of that sort. Notice how the paint crackles and reveals the different colors and patterns of the texture!
9. Use your skewer to press a vein down the center of each petal. Then gently pinch one end on each petal. I like to use 5 petals on my flora beads, usually 2 at the top and 3 at the bottom, although I think I did just the reverse for this bead. 10. Don’t worry about getting the petals perfectly placed. I pick up my bead with my blade and actually do a lot of the final placement of the petals while I’m holding the bead. I gently turn it over and back as I slide the petals into their final spot noting where the pilot holes are. Just be patient and don’t hurry with this part. Try to avoid pressing too hard or with the very point of your needle tool, so as not to crack the clay. This part takes some practice to get. After making these for a couple of years now, I still have to work at it!
11. When you’ve gotten your petals all pushed down to the center, put a small dab of liquid clay in the center and add a tiny black ball of clay. You can gently push it down with your finger or you can press a stylus tool dipped in PP for a colored center. 12. I like to set my flora beads on fiber fill or batting so that the petals don’t lift up from the center and sag. If you don’t have any just set them on an index card and make sure the petals are in place when they go into the oven. I cure mine for 45 minutes in a preheated 300 degree oven. I generally let them cool in the oven as well. 13. After the beads have cooled, use your drilling tool to make the hole. Do a little from each side until the hole meets.
Barbara Fajardo, Desert Design Inc. © 2009 This tutorial is protected by copyright. Do Not Distribute.