How to Blend Polymer Clay for Gradation

Hi Clay Friends, my name is Amy Tanner I teach Middle School Art in Farmington NM.  I use Sculpey in and out of my classroom. My students and I really enjoy blending colors together to create gradations to use on their own and to use in cane. Over the winter months we love to create bright, bold cane to remind ourselves that it won’t always be cold and dark outside forever. We created this beautiful gradation by blending Premo Mustard Yellow and Premo Fuchsia, it reminded us of a summer sun set.

fuchsia and mustard yellow sculpey premo polymer clay blended to look like a summer sunset

The students used the gradation in many ways, some used it as is and created book marks, and some created a flower pattern cane. The students who choose to make cane, first rolled the gradation into a cane.

Then they cut it long ways to create petal shapes. They then used the Sculpey opal to fill in the space around the petal shapes and then around the whole cane. Their flowers did not turn out like they had  planned so it was a great learning moment for them. You can’t start over so how are you going to make it work? The students ended up cutting a piece off the cane and running it through the clay roller again.  They ended up with a beautiful final piece that they turned into earrings and bookmarks.

Some tips I use when working with my students, First, give them some old clay or scrap clay to play with and experiment with. This gives them a feeling for the clay. Second, when making a gradation, drill into their heads

 about matching color to color when folding. This way they don’t just blend the colors together. And third, if they make a mistake, teach them to find the beauty in it.

Happy Creating


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