Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Polymer Clay Pillow Beads with Floral Canes, Butterflies and Translucent Canes
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