Oct 31, 2009

Polymer Clay Beach Pebble Bracelets

I could think of a longer name for my West Coast inspired Pebbles, but Polymer Clay in the title is a long word in itself.
I've spent the last few days making more pebbles, mostly in grays and blacks that I will be listing soon, both as sets of beads, but also as bracelets. I prefer the ones with a range of colour such as that I find on the beaches here. For the first time I'm offering a bracelet online. This particular bracelet includes beads that I've made for my tutorials.  This bracelet is for sale in my ArtFire shop.
(Edited: This bracelet has just sold...but I'll go and list another one...and if that one is gone...leave a comment :)

Oct 24, 2009

Need a handle?

I sure could use a hand.  Beads and supplies are still sitting on the porch. I'm constantly having to search for this and that trying to get some orders done. Impossible and I feel bad having to push some order back more than I intended. Hubby is working on the counters as fast as he can, but until we get those back into use organization is out the window.
In the meantime managed to make myself a necessary tool - a handle for my Makin's extruder. I found the current 'stick' is hard on the wrist and I even managed to injure myself with a nasty gash while the screw was off. I should warn you...do not operate the Makin's extruder without the screw cap in place, one slip is all it takes.

Quickie Tutorial for Makin's Extruder Handle:

 While I did get inspiration from a couple of sources...we polymer clay addicts look for them everywhere don't we...the pasta machine handle (since it has a spinning handle), a tampax tampon (ahem, the cardboard!), the toilet paper dispenser plastic thingy, the biggest inspiration came from Ritzs who posted on Polymer Clay Tutor (in the comment section). Her idea of a handle is just ingenious! a broom stick dowel and a plastic cotton spool reel. Thanks Ritzs wherever you are!

So, to make a handle adapter, you need polymer clay (scrap will do), waxpaper or teflon baking paper, bit of tape, two washers, a screw, drill and your regular polymer clay tools of blade and pasta machine. Sorry the pics are a bit dark as I did this at night-time.

First roll out some clay into a log or snake, about 4 inches long and 5/8" - 3/4" thick. Bake, let cool. Wrap one half of it with a layer of wax or teflon paper. You'll want to wrap it at least 1/16th of an inch thick as you'll be making a tube that fits over it. That tube needs to spin freely, so don't want to fit it too tightly. Tape the paper.
(Ignore the tube standing on the tile for now, that is actually the next step) Anyway, next you need to roll out a rectangle of clay on your PM at largest setting, measuring 2 inches wide. Wrap this around the wax paper on the hardened clay log. Trim ends and smooth. Cut a circle shape and attach to the wrap end as a cap. Smooth and remove from hardened log. Bake standing on cap. Let cool.

 Test fit over your log. The log needs to be drilled with a drill bit about the same size as the Makin's green handle. You'll notice that the Makin's handle pins have had their ends crimped flat so they won't fall out of the crank hole. Don't drill your clay that big, only as big as the round part of the pin and don't drill all the way through the clay log either, about 1/8" short of drilling through. I could go into details here, but just take a guess. If you do go through...you might need glue. You will also need to pre-drill your log end to fit a 1" long screw. Drill the hole slightly smaller than the width of the screw for a tight fit. Drill the handle cap end the same size as for the Makin's pin (you can see that cap in the previous photo).

To assemble,  place a washer over the pre-drilled screw hole on the log end, put handle cap on, add another washer and insert screw. Screw should be very loose in the washer, but not as loose as for the screw head to fall through. Fasten, not too tightly, you want the handle cap to spin freely.  Finally, attach onto the Makin's pin. May require a bit of pushing, should be a nice tight fit, otherwise, did I mention  glue? I like to avoid gluing as it's messy and takes time to dry.

Here it is assembled...

test drive...wroom wroom

Also stores like this...

Have fun!!...(edited) and if you want to buy the one I posted on my ArtFire...I just listed one and includes shipping.

Oct 22, 2009

Making Polymer Clay Bezels and maybe a Ring

There are many ways to make bezels, with or without and extruder. Going to show you how I make some of my bezels with a quickie tutorial.

I love my Makin's Extruder as it has so many possibilities, but one of my fave ways to use it is for making bezels. I like to use the small rectangular extruder disc, but also the one with the 1/8" of a hole (more on that later).

Simple bezel:

Condition some clay, roll into snake and insert into extruder (as per extruder instructions)
Use a small round cutter and wrap the extruded clay around it. Trim where ends meet.
Smooth joins with a needle tool or finger.

Carefully remove bezel from cutter.
Using a cabochon with same diameter (or a baked disc that you previously made with same cutter), insert into the bezel.

 This is ready for any which way you want to use it....

A more decorative bezel and maybe a Ring to wear:

Roll out some clay on #3 setting (I decorate and texture the back of this if for a pendant or when the back is going to be visible - part of another tutorial). Cut out with a slightly larger cutter.

I'm showing cabochon on center of this cut out, just to show you how much of an outer edge the larger cut out has compared to the cab.

Using a round disc for the Makin's extruder, squeeze out about 10" of clay. Some people call these 'snakes', some call it 'log', but this looks more like 'string'.

Trim off about a 6" piece and fold in half.

 Hold left pieces between thumb and forefinger and with right thumb and forefinger start to twist these two strands together.

Keep twisting until you have a nice looking rope.

Take cabochon (without the backing I showed earlier) and place twisted clay rope around it. Trim diagonally so that ends will meet.

 Like so...

 Place back on larger cut out.

Apply left-over string against the rope clay but still on surface of the bottom cut out. Trim where ends meet.
 I like to decorate strings with a cartridge-less pen. It hides the join really well.

If you want to further enhance your cab, you can use some of the extruded strip and cut it into small triangles to apply like prongs...

Then apply mica powder all over your design (Note: as you all know...use a mask if using the metal pulvers). For lighter clays I use a brush...

Finally, bake your design, then varnish and let dry. Maybe glue on a ring shank so you can wear it...

Hope you enjoyed this mini tutorial 

Oct 21, 2009

Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Want to make some Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments with a Vintage feel to them? This is my latest tutorial. Fall and Winter is going to be a busy one as I want to write a few of them. I"m hoping to blog something interesting tomorrow as well.
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