Experimenting with more polymer clay beads

This past week I have been experimenting a bit more with polymer clay. I even went out and bought a bead roller, thinking it might help me get some different shapes, but if I have to be really honest, it was a waste of money and I would much rather use my hands.

But, if there is one tool I would suggest everyone should buy, it is an extruder. I love mine so much. So far I have only used a few of the disc shapes, but this week I discovered the effect you can achieve by using more than one disc.

Let me explain. I saw on Pinterest a tutorial for a mottled striped effect bead, using the Makins P1110945extruder with more than one disc. You make your circular stack of clay with your chosen colours (as I’ve shown in a previous post) and insert it in the extruder, but instead of just using one disc shape you place the hexagon disc in the end first, then the rubber spacer and lastly the 7 small holes disc and screw it on the end. Then you start extruding the clay by turning the handle, but you must place your thumb over the end to stop the clay coming out to soon.

When the clay starts to come out in one piece you can remove your thumb and carry on extruding.  What was really scary was how it started to split and the centre started to coil out, but this is what it’s supposed to do. When you finish you have a rather scruffy looking length of clay, but if you split it and flatten it out you can see how it has created the pattern. Apparently the more crumbly the clay the better the effect!

Mine didn’t turn out that well as I think I tried using too many colours, but I definitely want to try this again. Also, if you manage to extrude the clay without it splitting too much, it makes a nice flower pattern if you just slice it.

Here are the beads I made and the necklace in its design stage.

It has made me realise though that I need to experiment more with the extruder as I am sure there are many more techniques I don’t know about. Do any of you have any experience with using the extruder in different ways, you could share?

The other type of bead I tried to create, was a flower bead. Firstly, I wanted to use a pastel coloured clay, so I used Lavender and white and worked it together until it had blended to produce a lighter colour. This is a great way of producing a colour you might not have. So after a couple of aborted attempts (the bead too small, the wrong size of circle) and much by guesswork, I managed to creat one bead. This is a bead you can’t make if the clay is too warm or sticky, as you can very easily squish it when adding more flowers. I will work out how to do this better and write about it again.

I decided to use up the rest of the lavender clay by wrapping slices of the white and lavender together and rolling it to create the effect below on the beads, after slicing it of course.

The flower bead is in the middle.

The flower bead is in the middle.

The finished necklace I made with the beads.

The other type of bead I made this week, was with Accent beads (tiny, tiny glass beads, without holes, used mainly for embellishing on cards etc). It was totally experimental to see if they would stick to the clay and stay stuck once baked, so I only made a few. They do look gorgeous, but I’m not convinced on how durable they are. Varnishing them helped though and didn’t affect the sparkle.

P1110970

Next I returned to an old favourite of mine, daisies. These are the first ones I’ve made this year and I was a bit out of practice, I only made 6!  With the leftover clay, I made some small yellow and lavender beads too. Don’t they look pretty all together?

Accent beads and daisies

Lastly,  this week I also bought some gold coloured clay, not really knowing what I would do with it, gold is not normally a colour I work with, but I thought it might be OK as an accent colour.  Instead I decided to use the whole block and make some beads with it and with a little bit of help from my Facebook page friends, when I asked what colours I should include with the gold, they suggested teal/turquoise blue and mocha.  So that is what I did. I do love how they turned out.

P1110937

Oh and I made some earrings to match.

P1110969

Let me know what you think and if you are an expert with polymer clay I would love to hear from you, although I have been making things with it for a couple of years now, I still feel like I’ve a lot to learn.

Have a great week.

Linda x

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3 thoughts on “Experimenting with more polymer clay beads

  1. Wow! I have to admit, I’ve only recently gotten into using polymer clay, and these beads remind me so much of my initial experience with it. I love the technique you shared, but I have one question: what brand/type of polymer clay did you use?

    • Hi thanks for your comments. For the extruded beads I showed I used Fimo, but I have heard that Kato clay is best for this method. I’ve been ‘playing’ with polymer clay for a couple of years now, but I am finding there is still a lot to learn. How long have you been working with it and what do you make? Lx

      • I’ve only been able to work with polymer clay for a few months, though the first time I had ever used it was at least two years ago… Lately, I’ve been trying my hand at sculpting with it; I used to sculpt things with earth-clay but, lacking a steady supply of it, have looked to polymer clay.

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