Friday, October 4, 2013

Polymer Clay--Take 1!

A couple of months ago, I was following a conversation on Facebook, and saw people showing photos of polymer clay beads they had learned to make following a tutorial, 
"Rustic Beads and Components from Polymer Clay Project Fimo- Boho Distressed" written by Ginger Davis Allman of TheBlueBottleTree

Tutorial Rustic Beads and Components from Polymer Clay Project Fimo- Boho Distressed
Photo from The Blue Bottle Tree store on Etsy.

I never thought I wanted to make polymer clay beads, but these really appealed to me!   I bought the tutorial from Ginger's store, purchased the items I needed, but got off to a very slow start.  First, "real life" kept getting in my way.  Then,  I started reading more about polymer clay, much of it conflicting, and was unsure how to begin.  Until last night, I finally just waded in and gave it a try!

So here are my first 8 beads.  
And yes, they are a bit wonky!   

I just experimented with techniques and tried to get the hang of it.   The top two I made holes in the top, the bottom ones have holes running through the beads.  While the hole in the upper left looked huge, and I was just having some fun with those, they actually turned out the right size!  (What I learned:     Use larger holes!)

My trimming around the beads could have used some improvement, but I filed them as smooth as I could after baking.   Still, they didn't turn out very well shaped.  I'm not completely sure how to improve that.  (Suggestions?   Maybe laying them flat rather than on the skewers? Would their design go flat if I did that?)

After I made the beads, I baked them according to the directions, then I painted them.   Had I not looked back at the directions at the point to read up on sealing options, I would have missed the step that instructed me to bake again after painting!   (What I learned:  Must bake after painting!)

After they cooled, I experimented with different types of sealants.  Some of my sealants had color, some were clear.  The color of my clay was a light gray.  I had purchased more colorful clays too but thought I would start with this one.  I don't think I applied enough layers of color--paint or color sealant.  They look more transparent than opaque.  (What I learned:     Need more color!)

Well, as I said before, they look a bit "wonky" but I wasn't aiming for perfection.  I was "pleased enough" with my first 8 beads!    I did wonder if I had anything "usable" here.   What do you think?   

I thought about it a bit, and finally decided to use a few of them, just for fun.    This first piece, I think would have to be for me only, wearing at home with a pair of jeans!     It's not a "show piece"  (or a "show off" piece), but it will be a fun remembrance.

I'm a little happier with the pair of earrings that follow. Those long beads are "mood beads," and I think these are just a whimsical mix of colors and textures, so I can get away with my first-try wonky blue beads!  

For anyone interested in learning more about polymer clay, I encourage you to:

1) tune into Kashmira Patel's blog, Sadafulee...Always in Bloom! where there has been an ongoing sharing recently about how to get started with polymer clay.   There are beginners there, but also experts sharing, and it's very helpful and inspiring!   

2) purchase one or more of Ginger's tutorials on polymer clay.  I bought the one on rustic-looking beads, but there are many others!  

3) go to YouTube and watch videos, read blogs, follow discussions on Creative Bead Chat, Artisian Whimsy, and other web opportunities for learning.  (And remember, your local library is another good source for information!)

Thanks for joining me for the first look at my polymer clay beads!   Hopefully I'll have more to show you as time goes on, and my skills will greatly improve!   Please, share your experience working with this medium!  




Carole M. said...

Hi Sharyl, gosh this takes me back some! Umpteen years ago and I used to make 'beads' from Fimo; blending two colours together, pushing the knitting needle through and baking them. I love what you did with the earrings!

Tammie T Everly said...

Sharyl , that's a good first effort. At least you're brave enough to show them to the world. My first PC beads were so bad...but like any medium, the more you work with it the more you improve and learn helpful little tricks. I'll be interested to see your next foray into PC
Have a great weekend, Tammie

Unknown said...

I think you did a great job! When I played with polymer, I didn't paint any of them just used different colored clay...these turned out great!

Alicia said...

Lovely first try - for big beads like this (and in a lentil / disc) shape I would lay them flat to bake. However - I really like their wonky-ness :)
Excellent post - thank you for sharing!

Pine Ridge Treasures said...

Sharyl - I like the way these turned out! I don't think that you necessarily need more color (in my opinion). I like the "washed out" look with the blue because it looks like faded denim.

Moois van mie said...

actually they look great ! And thanks for the links !

Sharyl said...

Thank you all for your supportive comments! I appreciate you sharing your expertise and memories from making your own first beads!

I hadn't considered using a knitting needle for the holes, Carole. That sounds like a perfect tool!

JuLee said...

Actually, wonky-ness is part of the overall concept of the "rustic beads". They are not supposed to be perfect. That is what I really like about Ginger's tut. It is all about the freedom to play with color and texture. I have been having FUN making beads using her tuts and really looking forward to the new one she is working on now.

Mary Anne said...

Hi Sharyl, definitely lay them flat. The design will not "soften" when you lay them flat, but will stay as crisp as it was when you put them in the oven. I need to get the clay back out again - especially since I've been coveting Ginger's Faux Glass tutorial!