Getting Started - Polymer clay may stain. CLAY MAY DAMAGE UNPROTECTED FURNITURE OR FINISHED SURFACES. DO NOT USE polymer clay on unprotected surfaces. We recommend working on the Sculpey ® clay mat, wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Start with clean hands and work surface area. Knead clay until soft and smooth. For best results, clean your hands in between colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces together firmly. Bake on oven-proof glass or metal surface at 275°F (130°C) for 30 minutes per ¼" (6 mm) thickness. For best baking results, use an oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME. Wash hands after use. Baking should be completed by an adult. Begin by preheating oven to 275°F (130 °C). Test temperature with oven thermometer for perfectly cured clay. For best results, condition all clay by running it through the Clay Conditioning Machine for several passes on the widest setting. Fold the clay in half after each pass and insert the fold side into the rollers first.
With the Clay Conditioning Machine on the #1 setting (the widest) create a sheet of Black premo. Cut two 1" circles for each bead. I made 12 beads to start. Roll into round bead shapes. You should have clay left to form end caps later in the process
Pierce the round bead with a metal knitting needle. Shape, by pinching and rolling, into a tube. Make sure that the tool continues to move freely and does not stick. You will be widening the center hole while doing this. Make sure the bead is smooth and of even thickness and no longer than about 2 1/4. Transfer onto a wooden skewer.
Using a piece of composition gold leaf, cover the bead. The leaf will adhere to the raw clay. Smooth and slightly crackle. Transfer to bead rack pin and repeat with the remaining beads.
Cure in a preheated 275 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Condition 2 oz. of Premo! Translucent and divide into thirds. Take each third and roll through the C lay Conditioning Machine on the widest setting and progress to the thinnest setting. Place each paper thin sheet onto a piece of deli wrap. They should be thin enough to clearly read through them. If they appear too thick, carefully cover each with another piece of deli wrap and roll thinner using an acrylic roller. At this point I usually cut the sheets lengthwise to about 2 1/4 " wide or about the length of your beads.
With the Translucent clay still on the deli wrap, position the silk screen shiny side down (in this case SERENITY from the K34007 kit) onto the clay and gently press to make contact with the clay. Prepare a water container with warm water. As soon as you finish printing the screen, place it and your squeegee into the water. You want to prevent the acrylic paint from drying in the screen and plugging its design.
Notice how the silk screen straddles the two pieces of polymer, not to worry, this will not matter. See the position of the "bead' of acrylic paint. This is more than enough to print all of the Translucent. Draw the ink down the screen with the edge of the squeegee held at a 45 degree angle. Make as many gentle draws as you need to cover the screen with paint. Gently lift up an edge to check coverage. Carefully lift the screen and place over the next bit of Translucent and repeat the screening process. Screen print all the Translucent and then place the screen and squeegee into the warm water bath and use your finger to rub any areas that retain paint. Dry flat on paper towels. Allow paint to dry on the polymer for 15-30 minutes or until dry to the touch.
Using a Q-tip or the tip of your finger, apply the chalks to different areas of your screened Translucent clay. You need not be overly precise, as the color will be viewed "behind" the black silk screened images. Be sure to leave some areas uncolored so that the leafing will show through those "open" Translucent areas. If chalk dust should build up on the clay surface, as you work, gently blow it off.
With a small, flat ended brush apply the Genesis Thick Medium Extender to the cured, leafed tube beads and set them aside. Trim a piece of the silk screened and chalked polymer to the length of the beads with a tissue blade. Lift the entire sheet onto a glass work surface and make sure that the screened and chalked surface side faces up. Thread a bead on the wooden skewer. Starting at one end of the screened polymer, place the treated bead on the polymer sheet making sure the veneer makes good contact and that no air is trapped . Make a butt join (do not overlap ends) .Roll gently to seal the join. Remove the bead from the skewer and place on a bead rack pin. Continue until all the beads are covered. Set the bead rack in a preheated 275 degree oven and cure for 25 minutes. After removing beads from the oven place them in ice water for 30 minutes to quench them and enhance their translucency.
Use drywall sandpaper to even, flatten and smooth bead ends as necessary.
Roll a #1 sheet of the remaining conditioned Black clay. Using a circle cutter as close in size to the bead end, cut two caps per bead. Use the Genesis medium to coat the bead ends, cap with the clay pieces and smooth the edges. Pierce a hole in each end with a needle tool. Thread beads onto bead rack pins for the final cure at 275 for 25 minutes. Allow beads to cool.
I like a balanced but asymmetrical stringing of these beads, but you may string them as you like. Add different shaped spacer beads or smaller smooth beads in the back, as I did for a more comfortable wearing. If desired add a tassel for a flourish. Enjoy the compliments you will receive on your creation.
NOTE - I prefer my beads to look recently "unearthed" but, because the paint and chalk are trapped by the translucent polymer, the exterior of the beads may be lightly sanded with ultra fine sandpaper and then buffed to a glass-like finish if you prefer.