April 17, 2011
Polymer Clay Beads Filled with Flowers and Butterflies!
My all time favourite beads to create are pillow beads. I don't know what it is about them, but I can't resist creating them. I like the way they feel, I love the size of them - most 20mm - although I do have some 15mm sized beads as well.
To me, it is hard to resist what I consider a blank canvas.
I start with a blank sheet of clay; either in a tinted colour - I rarely use a colour out of the package, or a neutral.
If I am using a neutral, I will take one of my kaleidoscope canes and cover the sheet of clay before I cut them to the size of bead that I am creating. The base on the kaleidoscope cane beads will not be a part of the design so it isn't that important to me what colour it is. I will tuck it under when I assemble my bead.
When I am creating a garden of beads, I use my tinted clay as the background and generously slice thin pieces of my leaves, flowers and butterfly canes onto the background. It doesn't matter where they go, I will be cutting them all up anyway.
Before I cut my beads up for assembly, I make sure that they are smoothed out. This helps me not to have to do as much sanding as I would if there were hills and gouges. I have carpal tunnel and hand sanding is a bit hard on my hand, so I do the best to keep it at a minimum.
Once I have cut my beads and assembled them with their pillow stuffing, I smooth my edges, doing the best that I can to make them seem seamless. I usually add a 1mm hole to them before baking, but lately, I have been uping the hole to 3mm. I have been reading beaders that are requesting a slightly larger hole, so I have been doing that for them.
Polymer clay is soft enough after it is finished to allow for hole enlargement if needed.
Once my beads are baked, I drop the flower ones into a bath of ice water immediately, it clears the translucent clay right up and makes it clear.
I handsand the beads through three grits and then add a nice little shine of varathene on them before putting them up to dry.
Once they are dry, I do my photos and the next thing you know, they are here as a new item in my store.
I hope you enjoy the beads and the work that goes into them.
Must go bead,
Julie and Blu