Getting Started Do not use unbaked clay on unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Start with clean hands and work surface area. Good work surfaces include wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. 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 275Â°F (130Â°C) for 30 minutes per Â¼" (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 275Â°F (130 Â°C). Test temperature with oven thermometer for perfectly cured clay. For best results, condition all clay by running it through the clay dedicated pasta machine several passes on the widest setting. Fold the clay in half after each pass and insert the fold side into the rollers first.
Preparing your template.You will be using the middle size donut mold and the middle size bezel to make your button. [NOTE: The bezel molds are larger than the corresponding donut molds to accommodate the rim around the donut.]
When you are making the bezel, you will need to find its center. To make finding the center of the bezel easier, you can make a template out of scrap clay. You only have to do this step once; simply save your template and use it whenever you make donut buttons.
To make a template for the middle size bezel/donut, start by rolling some scrap clay into a ball until it is seamless and smooth. [NOTE: A template made from the largest donut mold will match the size of the middle bezel.]
Carefully press the ball into the largest donut mold, making sure that the mold is completely full; continue pressing so you know that the clay has made contact with the walls of the mold and has filled it. Flatten the clay against the mold so it is fairly even along the top of the piece. With the Super Slicer, carefully slice the raised portion of the clay so it is even with the flat surface of the mold. The blade should be held almost horizontal and very gently curved. [NOTE: You can rest the sides of your hands on the mold to hold it in place while you are slicing. Be careful not to slice into the mold to avoid removing chunks of mold material.]
If the stem of the donut mold (center) is not visible after you have sliced off the top, gently slice a little bit more until you have removed the clay from the stem. Carefully push any clay sticking over the outer edges of the mold onto the molded clay so the top is even and smooth. Do the same for any clay that may have strayed onto the stem (Figure 1). Place the cabochon mold into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the mold from the oven and let the clay cool in the mold. When the clay has cooled, flip the mold over and push the bottom of the mold until the clay piece pops out (Figure 2). [NOTE: Since this piece will be your template, there is no need to sand it. In fact, it should be pretty smooth if it was packed well into the mold before baking.]
Preparing your clay.Condition each of the clay colors. [NOTE: You do not have to use the clay straight out of the package; you can mix two or even three colors together. It is best to have about five contrasting colors for this project, so if you are blending colors, allow for that by starting out with more colors.]
Roll all but the black clay into balls. (The black clay will be used for the bezel.) The balls of clay do not have to be seamlessâ€”you will be grating them. Carefully rub a ball of clay against the rough side of your small hand grater and let the pieces pile onto your work surface. [NOTE: To avoid injury to your fingertips, take care not to inadvertently rub them against the grater.]
Repeat for each of your colors, letting all the colors fall onto the same pile. Do not try to keep the colors separate; you will be mixing them together soon (Figure 3).
Once you have grated all the colors, loosely mix them together with your hands, trying not to let too much of one color be concentrated in one area. You want the colors to be dispersed well throughout your pile of clay . [NOTE: If you want smaller pieces, you can use your Super Slicer to chop up the pile into even smaller pieces. If you do that, be sure to again loosely mix the pieces with your hands to make sure the colors are still well mixed throughout the pile.]
Form the pile of clay into a short log. Cut the log in half and put one half aside for another project. Lengthen one of the logs a bit by gently pulling along the length from the center to both ends. [NOTE: Just lengthen it a bitâ€”you donâ€™t want it to be too long and thin.]
Twist the log by turning the ends in opposite directions to form spiral lines down the length. You can make tight spirals by twisting a lot or loose spirals by stopping after only a few turns. Lay the log down on the work surface and gently roll it in one direction several times to smooth any ridges that formed while twisting.
Push the ends of the log toward one another to turn it back into a shorter, squatter log.
Flatten the log a bit with your acrylic roller, just enough to be able to place the flattened log into the clay conditioning machine without stressing the rollers. Run the flattened log through the machine on the widest setting, with the stripes perpendicular to the rollers. Turn the sheet of clay one-quarter turn and run the sheet through the machine at the next narrower setting [NOTE: Do not fold the sheet of clay before running it through the clay conditioning machine.] Turn the sheet one more quarter turn and run it one more time at the next narrower setting. You should have a pretty, striped pattern on both sides of the sheet of clay, so you can now decide which side you want to show as the top of your button.
Making the donut.Choose an area of the design that is especially pleasing, and cut it out with the 1Â½-inch round metal circle cutter. Carefully flip it over so you know you are using the correct side in your mold. Take a slightly flattened ball of scrap clay a bit larger than the size of the middle size donut and lay it against the back of your cutout piece, making sure that it has adhered to the piece and pressing lightly to make sure there are no air bubbles. With the design side down, firmly press the clay into the donut mold. Keep pressing until you are sure that the mold is filled completely. [NOTE: Try not to inadvertently pull out the clay from the mold when you move your fingers. If that happens, carefully replace the clay into the mold, making sure that the center of the clay you are molding fits over the stem in the mold.] Once you are certain that the clay has completely filled the mold, slice the excess clay from the top of the mold as explained in step 2. Put the cabochon mold aside for a while.
Making the bezel.There are three circular bezel molds that correspond with the three donut and three rounded cab sizes. Each bezel mold is larger than its donut/cabochon counterpart, so be sure to choose the correct bezel for the middle size donut. Roll a seamless and smooth ball of black clay that is a bit larger than the middle size bezel mold. Press the ball into the mold and push it in with your fingers). [NOTE: It is important that you really press in the clay to make sure that clay fills the deeper parts of the mold or you will end up with an uneven bezel. When you think that you have filled in the mold completely, press in a little more, just to make sure.] Slice off the excess from the top of the clay so the clay is even with the flat part of the mold . Be careful not to cut into the mold material to prevent gouges. Press any excess clay from the edges into the clay in the mold for a neater edge.
Place the template that you made earlier onto the filled bezel mold. [NOTE: The bottom of the template will completely cover the clay. Press it down a bit, just enough to make sure that it will not move, but not enough to distort the clay inside the bezel mold.]
Position your small round cutter or straw into the hole in the donut template. Press the cutter all the way down through the hole so you are cutting into the back of the bezel. [NOTE: The goal is to cut out a small circle in the back of the bezel so that the hole in the bezel and the hole in your donut line up.]
Once you have cut all the way through, gently lift the template and remove the small circle cut out from the back of the bezel (Figures 12 and 13. Be careful not to start lifting the clay out of the mold when removing the cut out.
Baking and sanding the clay.Bake the cabochon and bezel molds for about 40 minutes. Leave the clay in the molds until completely cool, then turn the molds over and pop out the clay as explained in step 2.Using the Sculpey Wet-Dry Sandpaper pack, sand the pieces, starting with 400 grit, followed by 600, 800, and 1000 grits. [NOTE: Be sure to use wet (soaked) sandpaper. Using wet sandpaper prevents any dust from the clay from flying through the air as you sand. You can put some warm water in a plastic shoebox container, and float all your grits of sandpaper in the water to keep them wet. Add a drop of dishwashing soap to the water to help keep the particles from clogging up your sandpaper, and continually dunk your sandpaper and clay button and bezel in the water to keep them clean. Before moving on to a new grit, thoroughly rinse your clay button and the sandpaper. Rinse the button and bezel again when you have finished sanding.]
Lightly sand all surfaces except for the bottom of the donut and the inside of the bezel. All surfaces should be smooth to the touch before you move on to the next grit.
When the pieces are sanded and completely dry, spread a small amount of Bake and Bond on the back of the donut (Figure 14)â€”just enough to lightly cover the back of the pieceâ€”and carefully place the donut into the bezel, pressing to make sure that the Bake and Bond makes contact with the inside of the bezel (Figure 15). The hole of the donut and the one you made in the bezel should line up. Some of the Bake and Bond may ooze into the opening; donâ€™t wipe it off because you will need it to bind the raw clay you are about to add to the baked clay. [NOTE: If none of the Bake and Bond oozed out, add a small amount to the walls of the donut hole with a toothpick or your needle tool.]
Take a very small ball of the black clay and press it into the opening in the donut, making sure there is enough there to fill the hole completely. Turn the piece over and on the back side of the bezel, use your fingertip to gently blend any clay that pushed through the hole into the baked clay, making a smooth finish. On the top of the donut, flatten the raw clay with your finger, rubbing out any fingerprints. The center part should be even with the top part of the donut. [NOTE: You can always add a bit more raw clay or cut a little out if you need to.]
Position the tip of the needle tool in the center of the raw clay. Gently push all the way through the clay and out the back of the bezel. While pushing, slowly twist the needle tool to help you get a hole with nice smooth walls. Once you are all the way through, turn the piece over and twist the needle tool through from the back. [NOTE: The needle tool is slightly tapered so pushing the needle tool through from both sides helps ensure an evenly sized hole.] Once you have finished making the hole, bake the piece for 40 minutes and let it cool completely.
Finishing your piece.To finish your piece, you can either apply Sculpey glaze or machine buff your piece with a handheld or tabletop buffer. [NOTE: If you use a buffer, use a light hand against the buffing pad to achieve a glassy finish without distorting your piece.]
Attach your button.You can now attach your button to a piece of jewelry or clothing. [NOTE: Because the button has a single hole in the center, you will need to run thread up from the back, add a seed bead, and double back through the center hole.]