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.
Mixing the Color Palette
Peach = 3 parts Pistachio, 1 part So 80’s
Teal = 5 parts Concrete, 1 part Pistachio, 3 parts Lagoon
Pale Green = 5 parts Concrete, 1 part Pistachio
Purple = 1 part Lagoon, 1 part So 80’s
Building the Color StackRoll clay out on the #1 setting of the clay conditioning machine and cut strips of each color approximately 1 ½”-2” wide and 3” long. Set the strips side-by-side on deli paper alternating light with dark colors, ensuring optimal contrast between colors when they are stacked together.
Place the first two strips together and run through the clay conditioning machine lengthwise on the thickest setting. Do the same with the third & fourth strips to end up with two long strips of two colors each. Don't worry if the strips are not sized identically, as they can be trimmed later in the process. Stack the two strips together and run one last time through the clay conditioning machine on the #1 setting. This will create one very long strip containing all four of the colors that should be cut into two equal pieces. Cut this long strip in half and align one of the cut pieces on top of the other. Cut and align the pieces on top of each other one last time, so that each color is represented four times in the full stack.
Imprint a Pattern Hand roll the color stack to the tile work surface using the acrylic roller and ensure it has adhered firmly. Before imprinting, cut 1-2 thin slices from the short end of the stack and set aside; these will be used later. Spritz the stack with water prior to imprinting. Push imprint tools firmly into the clay but not so hard that the pattern is distorted, and keep in mind that designs can always be re-imprinted during slicing if the pattern is shallow.
Slice the Stack Horizontally Hold the super slicer in both hands parallel to the work surface, and position the cutting edge just below the top of the stack. Begin slicing from back to front of the stack, maintaining the parallel orientation of the blade to the clay. As each slice is removed, place it gently on a piece of deli paper. Strive to keep each slice consistent in height - neither paper thin nor super thick. Also remember that you can "re-imprint" your pattern at any time as you are slicing. NOTE: If you encounter too much drag as you begin to slice, add scrap clay to both ends of the stack. This will help to minimize distortion in the patterned clay.
Build the Beads To combine a patterned slice with the striped slices you set aside earlier, you must first ensure they are of equal thickness. Back them with additional thin layers of clay as needed until they are level with each other. Trim each piece so they align cleanly and rub the seam lightly with your finger to temporarily tack them together before setting on a thicker piece of backing clay. The final thickness should be between 1/8”-1/4”. Slightly curve a the flexible super slicer blade to trim the focal bead into an abstract shape, placing a piece of deli paper on top and using it to help smooth down edges and remove marks/prints.
Before placing in the oven, use a cup burr as shown or any other tool to create surface texture. Dip a paintbrush into metallic powder and paint over the textured area, completely filling in. Bake according to the direction above. When cooled, use wet/dry sandpaper in 400/600/800 grits and soft cotton to smooth and polish. You will notice as you sand that the metallic powder on the surface of the bead will be ground away, leaving only the remnant that was protected inside the indented texture.
Drill for Accents If you look at your finished bead and find yourself wishing it were a bit livelier, you might consider using a small hand-held pin vise to create additional accent holes. In this case, drilling very shallow holes uncovered the peach color used when building the patterned and striped slices up to the same level. Using varying drill bit sizes allows for a mix of accent holes.
Add a Bail The final step is to add a clay bail to the back of the focal bead. The thickness of the bail can be surprisingly thin – a medium #3 or #4 on the clay conditioning machine will provide enough strength, and the bail can be any shape desired. When attaching raw clay to cured clay, it is always a good idea to use a very small amount of TLS liquid clay as a bond. Once again, bake according to the directions above. When cooled, use wet/dry sandpaper in 400/600/800 grits on the newly added bail, and polish the entire bead again with soft cotton or a bench lathe.
Add your necklace cord with metal accent beads tied to both ends.