Instagram screen capture of Goddess Pendant resn faux opal shown in different lighting. Karen A. Scofield.
Why Trial Runs Using Magic-Glos Resin?
Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos UV Resin allows me to work fast (layers cure in 15 minutes), build a focal bead in layers, and experiment. I’m using this resin to try out some new products, techniques, combinations, and sequences as I learn my preferences in resin faux opal making.
Sure, it’s more expensive per ounce, but ruining a whole batch or three of a dozen or more beads at a time is even more disheartening. If I didn’t allow for a leaning curve like this first, I probably would have given up on resin. It can take months or years to really master the medium. (Things seem ridiculously easy in the mind’s eye if our imagination isn’t informed by experience and tried and trusted knowledge base, I’ve found.)
So, here are some of my best results so far, note the slight amber tone at this depth with this resin, and I’m about to Faux Opals in Ice Resin and ArtResin. (See How to Ice Resin, How to ArtResin.) At this thickness, I expect almost no amber tone with Ice Resin and no detectable amber tone with ArtResin.
Magic-Glos Resin Tips
1. Don’t seal paper or cardstock inclusions with Mod Podge or PVC (white craft) glues if you’re using them with Magic-Glos — reactions between water-activated mediums, inks, and Magic-Glos can occur over time.
2. Bubbles can be prevented almost all the time. Read resouces given here. Bubbles can be removed by letting cured item sit one hour, drilling a hole into the bubble, cleaning up drilling debris, adding just enough Magic-Glos, and curing again.
Air–dry glues — air-dry glues get trapped under things, don’t cure 100%, then release air bubbles into your curing resin. Use two-part epoxy glue instead!
Ice Resin, whether or not each resin is cured or wet (insured) — chemical reaction between the two resins causes cloudiness
Water-based sealants – any sealants that are not waterproof after drying (water resistant is not waterproof)
Unsealed inkjet prints
Anything that may run or bleed if wet
If in doubt, test first, often weeks ahead to make doubly sure.
Don’t. Don’t bake Magic-Glos. Avoid temperatures over 100 degrees F. See MSDS.
Warning: Baking Magic-Glos with polymer clay will cause the resin to amber (brown). See MSDS sheet (link given above) for further info.
Doming, Pulling Away, and Self-Leveling Properties and What They Mean to the User — The same properties that allow Magic-Glos to dome causes the resin to pull away from edges/periphery in first layer or two, hence a good dome is built up in layers, each of which are cured before the next is added. The last layers are minimal amounts and it may help to spread the resin nearly to the edge (with a toothpick or small ballpoint stylus) and then let Magic-Glos self-leveling finish the job, finally fully covering evenly and doming. Let it sit 10 minutes to 1/2 hour out of UV light to let it finish self-leveling and to let air bubbles make themselves evident. The self-leveling properties mean that you might think you only added enough, the self-doming is a bit of a delayed reaction, and then suddenly you have Magic-Glos running over the sides. If still uncured, it can be cleaned up with cotton swabs and wet wipes but prevention is better than damage control. Prevention involves adding thinner, multiple layers that are each cured before the next is added and curing your item while on a pedestal — a bit of polymer clay or poster-tx on a craft mirror a bit larger than your piece but small enough to fit in the UV lamp oven.
If the overfill cured, it can be pried off with your hands and/or chipped off with a craft knife.
Minimum Number Of Layers — usually 2 layers, less is more, meaning it’s better to add thin/incomplete layers than to overfill. Thinner layers allows the air bubble popping method of passing a butane mini torch or windproof lighter over the surface of the Magic-Glos for one and only one second.
My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.
As you can see, it picks up on my autism-related deficiencies/differences/advantages. My relational quadrant is empty (not in real life), but then the underlying social constructs de rigueur these days overwhelmingly favor charming extroverts, the more gregarious a la neurotypical fashion they are the better. I see it offers are some pointers about things “relational” but ultimately for someone like me, this test may not pick up on social and communication alternatives. Here’s a TED talk that challenges Introverts with a capital “I” being placed at the top of whatever constructs we can devise without more penetrating examination.
I tend to do my best thinking alone. That is core the body of any Venn diagram about myself).
I don’t do well with snap decisions, often go through a vigorous fact checking process, may research a topic north south east and west, and need time to think through pros and cons.
I prefer advanced notice about events or needed decisions.
I need a good amount of alone time to do my best thinking, stay true to myself, and stay on track.
As much as possible, I need to let people know I will get back to them on the topic or decision rather than keep them hanging.
What do I need to work on: I need to devise purposely nurture relationships with “big thinkers.” Spending time with them will nourish and inspire my thinking processes.
Since my relational skills are peculiar or lacking, I do best with other like people, meaning they are rather direct communicators who are or do well with those on the autism range.
It seems I should partner with someone who excels in people, feeling skills and bringing things to action. That sounds like a neurotypical rather than someone who is on the autism range too. Neurotypicals usually shun people like me with a vengeance. What to do? I don’t want a relationship of unequals, so rather than some sort of setup that involves being mentored, I probably would do best in a co-mentoring relationship in which each recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and each other, without the ego trips or superiority complexes and other such baggage. Ideally. If I can’t get that, I can at least use a certified accountant and other specialists to help me get an art career off the ground.
Keeping the above in mind, the below from my about me page may make more sense!
I design and make figurative bead or art dolls, whip together spirit dolls, art journal, do fine art paintings, create mixed media mosaics, and get into some fabric arts!
My blog pages reflect my intense, playful nature that leads me to intermittently research art mediums/techniques N, S, E, W, and outside the box for years on end so that I can readily dip my hands into multiple art mediums and play, sometimes exactingly and sometimes experimentally. To the core, it’s my nature to take things art further and I have no qualms about expanding and correcting my pages as new products or information comes along. Making art stirs up a deep-seated sense of awe, a child’s sense of wonder, a well-seasoned intellectual curiosity, and the sense that creation is a spiritual experience. Ideas for art constantly fly into my head and I keep notes. Days are never long enough.
A little background... Some of my polymer clay beads appear in the book Polymer Artists Showcase, by tejae floyde. My 1st two art dolls were in Kenosha Wisconsin’s Lemon Street Art Gallery, where I was a member from 2005 to 2007. Lovely place. (I had no idea I could sculpt until I was in my mid to late 40s. It turns out that my dominant dominant intelligence is spatial, helpful in more 3D arts.)
Sculpting figurative beads of polymer or earthenware ceramic clay, resin, making my own prototypes and molds, art dolls, spirit dolls, mixed media mosaics, art journaling, water-based painting, and bouts of fabric arts (cotton, Kraft-tex, paper cloth AKA fabric paper).
I’m socially awkward (autistic) and do best with kind but exquisitely forward people who don’t infer or beat around the bush so if you talk with me, just say what you mean/feel yet remain respectful. (Hint: I love pluralism, eclecticism, constructive criticism and civil rights. I’m incredibly tolerant up to the point of intolerance, brainwashing, purposefully burdensome learned helplessness/ignorance, and other stupid toxic people tricks.)
Watermedia Warning: I’m an unabashed Cretacolor, Liquitex, Golden, and Da vinci fluid acrylics fan.
Ceramic — Earthenware, Raku
Polymer Clay — Cernit, Fimo Doll/Professional, Kato, Pardo, Premo, Sculpey UltraLight for under structures/armature
Air Dry Clay — La doll Premier, Creative PaperClay, Professional Cold Porcelain
Favorite Artist Paints:
Winsor & Newton Watercolors
Golden Acrylics — Fluid Acrylics, Heavy Body
Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics
Liquitex — Soft Body, Heavy Body, Spray can), Basics
Favorite Acrylic Craft Paints (Art Journaling):
Favorite Watermedia Pencils and Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, in Order of Preference:
Cretacolor (artist grade) — AquaMonoliths, AquaStics, AquaBricks
Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons (not as lightfast as Cretacolor, across the board)
Inktense Pencils (the more lightfast shades)
Note: In any fine art, I only use water-soluble oil products on top of acrylics or watercolors, for final finishing touches, if I use them at all.
Favorite Opaque Markers and Pens for Art Journaling:
Uni Posca Paint Pens (remain water-soluble — judiciously seal with 3 layers spray sealant)
Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (no sealant
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (permanent, can watercolor and paint over them!)
Favorite Sketching Pencils and Powders:
Cretacolor — Artist sketching pastel pencils, carre hard pastels, sketching leads and holders, sketching powders.
Pitt Pastel pencils
Prismscolor sketching pencils
Unison Soft Pastel Red Earth 10
It’s sister is in ArtWorks Kenosha for the next open show. They both have leaves and flowers because I’m thinking green, renewable energy, we get all of our energy from the sun. It’s an awesome creative force. Let’s respect that.
This one’s for family and it’s 18″ by 18″ on canvas. Oh yeah, and I love glow-in-the-dark paints. They went over the top surface of the already finished painting as they were transparent enough. In a week, I’ll add an isolation coat and a week or two after that, I’ll add a varnish layer on top.
Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. Noir Iphone Filter. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18″x18″.
Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18″x18″.
Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,” 24″x24″, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.
Black and white of Karen A. Scofield’s anthropomorphized sun. Tonal.
Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,” 24″x24″, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. If you stare at the sun’s face, optical illusions come into play.
It’s going to be in the next open show at Artworks Kenosha (WI). It has a bit of an optical illusion to it.
I had done a study for the painting previously but the quality of work in this painting is far more professional and I painted while through a magnifying glass for a lot of this, not that doing so defines professional or fine art.
Before there were pussy hats, there were Goddess pendants. After pussy hats, there will still be Goddess pendants.
Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.
Why Goddess Pendants? To better answer that, we have to understand the many reasons we make any human figurative art or study female/Goddess figures throughout human history. See http://suppressedhistories.net/
Micaceous Rock and “Yellow Gold Glitter” Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.
Through my beads, I’m telling my story — I’m a woman, domestic abuse survivor, an artist, I’m on the autism spectrum, and my Goddess pendants help tell my story in the contexts of an interest in equality, as opposed to abuse and sexism. My beads are about equality and power — it’s abuse vs. equality. Women’s rights and Goddess stuff are considered too minority interest, too fringe despite the fact that half the world is female, and that’s a problem. Goddess/female figures may even be banned or get demonized.
Handmade Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield
Example 1: I had drawn renditions of the Venus of Willendorf, a world famous archaeological find, on shrink plastic and made pendants of them. fThese shrink plastic beads were banned on Myspace as obscene. Here’s what they looked like.
Example 2: I wore a Goddess necklace to Walmart. The cashier suggested I could make money selling them as rather, tee-hee, lewd little party favors at bachelor or bachelorette parties. She had absolutely no inkling that she shouldn’t simply sexualize and peg them in such a narrow, restrictive manner, as opposed to all that the Goddess concept can potentially encompass on a daily basis. Equality touches all all aspects of life, and this shouldn’t be marginalized, pegged as a lewd/lesbian thing, or treated as a fringe topic. Anyway, my Goddess pendant was profane image to her, but to those that wear them, Goddess art and pendants are more of a spiritual and intellectual thing and, more specifically,symbolize spiritual and social equality. They embody, invoke, and evoke this.
As an artist, I cultivate messages and images that are needed, rather than what people are conditioned to lap up from the pundits, pulpits, and consumerism. It concerns me that the world is full of “sanitized,” corporate-made, mainstream images and messages about women and their bodies, messages that are loaded with sexism both overt and/or insidious.
The pussy hat phenomenon shows us that feminine symbols of equality ARE needed. There is the desire tocreate our world pluralistically without the reality filters of sexism, cultural triumphalism, racism, or creedism (religious prejudice). I desire more autonomous and honest dialog and equality, and I hope you do too.
We still live in a world in which women often don’t get paid the same amount for doing the same job no matter how well they do it, or even if they do it better. As a US citizen, I live in a country in which a considerable majority of art gallery artists are male. It’s a country in which women’s art generally sells for only a small fraction of the profit that art made by men can fetch. We live in a world in which the majority of religion is really male-centric and male-dominated. We live in a world in which men’s voices are given more weight and are heard more. It’s not Goddess, it’s God with no room for any female divine. Instead, we still have the Madonna-Whore Complex. The feminine divine either is falsely demonized, socially/theologically outlawed (or banned), or turned into a whore.
Anti-intellectual, male dominated paradigms hold feminine equality at odds with more formative power structures, be they economic, religious, artistic, or what have you. How is sexism considered to be the fabric of society? And what does that have to do with domestic violence anyway?
The Power and Control (Abuse) and Equality (Nonviolence) wheels, what they mean, what they look like in current events or everyday situations are sadly only usually discussed, shown, or used during domestic abuse prevention/recovery. They are, in fact, paradigmatic and are applicable on a personal, local, national, and global scale. Here’s what goes on with the Power and Control (Abuse) paradigm.
Methods of abusive power and control have been and continue to be used as social, legal, religious, and financial weapons and they often result in violence, be it domestic or wartime violence. The Power and Control wheel/paradigm is diametrically opposed to Equality because it relies on abusive imbalances of power. This is true whether they pretend to protect us and have our best interests in mind or whether they lay bare their prejudices, sexism, and ambitions. It takes power and rights away from others in order to feel powerful and it’s a massive failure of imagination.
Here’s a page from my art journal on the Equality (nonviolence) power wheel. Notice the notes on imagination.
Art Journal. Equality. Power. Tools of Change.
Art is the Antidote
How is it that society today hasn’t quit its addiction to prejudice, bigotry, sexism and the like? I don’t pretend to understand all that and I hope I never do. I can imagine many other paths to power. I can imagine sharing it. And as a woman and an artist, I shape a more inclusive world in clay, canvas, paper, fiber, cloth, and words. Art is an antidote. Symbols matter. Symbols are powerful and my art beads are ones I can bring into all sorts of every day settings.
It’s kind of like that for a few seconds but then days (and into some mornings) were spent examining many different art doll mediums, sculpting techniques, youtube videos, and pinterest pins. But you know, that initial glee does infuse a peaceful and intense joy into hours of research.
Related Pinterest Boards
I’ve built up little libraries on my Pinterest boards. It’s not all the usual, so you may want to check these boards out.
Official sites refer to La Doll Premix as a stone clay, a paper clay, and a polymer clay — a hybrid clay! It has paper pulp in it as well as two types of finely ground stone – talc and pumice. It also has other stuff in it that allows it to dry to artist grade strength and you can make hollow dolls with it just as you can with La Doll Premier clay. Premix is a proprietary mix of La Doll Stone (often just referred to as “La Doll) and La Doll Premier, their most advanced clay. It is stronger than if a customer mixed the two, I’m not sure how.
Unfortunately, I can’t find Premix locally and shipping costs are financially prohibitive so I turned to an experimental mix.
Considering Air-Dry Clays … Paperclay and Premier
I have some delightful polymer doll clays (Cernit, Puppen Fimo), but have become quite fascinated with the air-dry clays suitable for art dolls, mainly Padico La Doll Premier, one of if not the strongest air-dry clay on the market. (Clays that seem to dry in the air but that really cure by chemical reaction not included.)
Many of the renowned figurative art doll artists on my pinterest boards use these two air-dry clays. Others most commonly use artist grade polymer doll clays, often Cernit and Fimo.
Air-dry Clay Slip … What For?
Padico makes Premier, Premix, and La Doll (meaning their original Stone clay) and La Doll Cloth Clay, a clay slurry/slip version of Premier air-dry clay, essentially.
Slurry, n. — a semiliquid mixture, typically of fine particles of manure, cement, or coal suspended in water.
In the ceramics world, clay slurry is referred to as “slip.” It’s used to coat or join pieces. It’s also a handy way of recycling dried up bits of clay, as they can be rewetted (providing they weren’t fired, I presume).
The Cloth Clay page states: It is a liquid air-dry clay sure to inspire some new styles of doll crafting. It can be used in a manner similar to the clay-over-cloth technique currently used by many cloth doll crafters or used for draping fabric on a sculpted clay figure. It can also be used like a clay slip, to fill small holes or cracks on finished surface of a sculpted figure.
If you go to the video on youtube, “Japan ‘Ichimatsu’ doll Making (without subtitle),” you’ll notice they’re working with a surface clay made of pulverized shells (must not breath in while dry!) and do wonders with clay slip. They don’t just use it to join things like the ears. They also use it to create the eyes — to embed the eyes. They later carve them out in a highly stylized way. Captivating.
Ecorche (sculpting of the muscles, often over a wire armature), such as what sculptor Julian Kohr accomplishes, involves sculpting the fatty padding and skin for a more realistic appearance.
Can an art doll artist do that with Premier and other artist grade air-dry doll clays, maybe like this at times? It’s a WIP (work in progress) by russian art doll artist extraordinaire, Михаил Зайков (Michael Zajkov). Such an approach would better portray all sorts of people — young, old, female, male, active, inactive and an artist could better portray the body as a living, breathing, body, a person with a story.
The Questions, They Burn!
Why not do an adapted version of ecorche and then dip the sculpture in a clay slurry to add fat/skin?
Why not dip armature in a clay slurry to start coating the armature with clay?
Why not, at various stages, dip WIPs in clay slurry to smooth things out and bulk things up at the same time?
Will slurry be smoother and easier, more magical, than traditional additive and/or subtractive methods, litterally and figuratively, pardon the pun? If it is, can a slurry open doors when working with air-dry clays? Is it part of how to work air-dry clays masterfully? Is it part of that toolbox?
I got two larger jars, put in a block each of Creative PaperClay in one jar and Padico La Doll Premier clay in the other, in chunks. I then added water and tried to break the clay down and create that magical slurry. Apparently, that was going to take forever so I transferred the clay and water to a blender and added enough water to make smooth slurry of each kind of clay. I added cling wrap over each open jar then closed the lids.
I started testing. I wanted slurries to provide a smooth and an even enough coat and then sanding can take care of the rest.
PaperClay slurry was too gritty in a coarse way.
Premier clay slurry was so smooth and gelatinous-like that it bunched up when I tried to smoothly apply it over a sheet of paper with a brush. Nope. Neither were quite what I wanted.
A mix of the two?! In mad scientist mode, I got a trusted dual ended measuring spoon out — a teaspoon on one end and a tablespoon on the other end, and made a 3:1 Creative PaperClay Premier clay mix, meaning one part Premier (1 t) and three parts PaperClay (1 T). “T” is for tablespoon and “t” is for teaspoon. I mixed it up well, applied with a brush to paper, applied it to a papier-mache egg, filled a mold with it, and dipped a wooden skewer in it.
The 3:1 molded clay slurry has dried.
Dried, the molded clay slurry is close to a thin wafer like medallion and it broke easily. Curious, it’s strong if it’s coating something, even a thin wooden skewer normally used in BBQing, and is whacked against something hard but if strong shearing force is applied, if on its own, the dried 3:1 clay slurry breaks. So it has some kinds of strength but not others. Unless someone tried to snap doll in two, dried slurry remains incredibly strong. This is a vote for using this slury as part of the sculpting process, but only in thin layers over something else — the first coating of armature, coating musculature to soften appearance, adding sculpted eyebrows/moles/elbow skin. I will not use it for joining limbs, other body parts, or digits. It’s a vote for either decreasing amount of Creative Paperclay slurry in the mix or switching to a premade slurry of eithre La Doll Stone (regular) or La Doll Premier. The slurry for La Doll Premier is called Padico Cloth Clay. I just now ordered some Padico Cloth Clay for $11.20 US dollars. I must compare, of course.
The clay slurry dried on the wood, paper, and papier-mache very nicely, stayed put, dried overnight, and sands ever so easily.
Strength and other qualities will be continually checked as I use this mix.
The clay slurry I haven’t mixed will be kept separate by brand and used with the clay it’s made from…unless I mix it for certain purposes. I don’t know if I will?
Two coats of 3:1 slurry on a wooden skewer, letting the first dip dry overnight before dipping again, made the stick at least twice as thick as its original width. It does not easily chip off even though I whacked the coated skewer against many surfaces many times.
One coat of 3:1 slurry dried on paper does crack and separate one dry when you fold the paper.
Testing of brand-pure, 3:1, and other ratio mixes of slurry will be dried over armature and tested.
Putting clay slurry in a thin line squeeze bottle to write, create brows, create moles and other details is still a monstrously good idea. I was incredibly pleased with the results.
I am more interested in Premier, Cloth Clay, and Premix than ever. Premix is not available locally or from many o the major art supplies online stores.
The book Yoshida Style Ball Jointed Doll Making Guide, by Ryo Yoshida just arrived. I got it for 20-something US dollars, a good price. It came weeks early, a rather pleasant surprise. Now I must find help with translation or find ready-made translations of chapters online. No one’s Japanese here is that strong.
oHi, I’m the artist, Karen A. Scofield, and I live in Kenosha, WI. I made this tutorial after finding thousands of Pinterest pins that showed my goddess pendants, the ones shown against a blue background, linked to a page (not mine) that used my photo and inferred these can be made from homemade cornstarch and baking soda clay. That’s misleading on several counts. Also, my photos are copyrighted, they didn’t have permission to use them, and they did not respond to my request for them to take my photo off their page.
Note: This tutorial assumes that you have some basic knowledge of polymer clay but includes information and links to assist, inform, or inspire if you don’t. More experienced polymer clayers may follow along by reading only the bolded fontdescription in each step.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Not Suitable for Children
This is an intermediate to advanced project and is not suitable for children. It involves raw plasticizers, an X-Acto Knife, sharp or pointy clay tools, mica powders you don’t want to breathe in, wearing a mask, a higher level of attentiveness, baking, sealing, and clean-up. The constant mindfulness present while successfully creating something like this while avoiding rips and distortions is probably a good example of why artists and other creatives tend to have more gray matter. I’d say this is a tutorial for adults and perhaps some more mature but still supervised teens that have very good hand-eye coordination.
Note:Readthe directions first. Work on a clay mat or other protective surface. After your project or before any breaks, clean off everything you touched with baby wipes that have some rubbing alcohol in them. Raw plasticizers in uncured polymer clay can melt or mar furniture finish, the markings on some oven dials, etc. I once “melted” off all the temperature markings on a toaster oven dial because I didn’t wipe things down.
Time: 1. Hands-on time for unsealed pendants is probably one to several hours if you include baking time. 2. Actual time from start to finish will be an hour or two or even a week for sealed pendants, depending on how you seal your beads. To clarify, polymer clay does not need to be sealed but mica powders like Pearl Ex do if they are going to experience any wear, otherwise they rub off. Resource “Do You Have to Seal Polymer Clay?” covers your basic options.
1. Make a paper template the size you wish your finished pendant(s) to be. Mine were around 2”. You may draw your own goddess or print a copyfree you found online. You can use Irfanview to shrink shapes to size. https://download.cnet.com/IrfanView/
If drawing freehand, fold paper in half, draw one half of the goddess, cut it out, lay the template flat and you have a symmetrical goddess template! 1 to 3 inches long is a common size range. Personally, I like them about 2 or so inches long. I use small, curved craft scissors or cuticle scissors to cut the paper.
Put templates safely aside for a moment.
3. Choose your clay. Premo is my favorite but suitable polymer clays include Premo, Pardo Jewellry Clay, and Fimo Professional Clay. In the US, you can probably find Premo or Fimo Clasic in craft stores like Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. You’d probably have to order Pardo Jewellry Clay or Fimo Professional from an online source. If you have darker scrap clay, really dark, made from artist grade polymer clays like these, you might be able to use that if dressing it up with mica powder.
A Few Notes on Temperature and Polymer Clay — Polymer clays can partially cure if they get over 90 degrees. Store polymer clay in a cool, dark, dry place or buy them just before use. Never leave raw polymer clay in a hot vehicle or sunny windowsill. On a sunny day that’s 80 to 100°F, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can reach 100 to 172°F. Try to avoid ordering your polymer clays during the summer heat since heat can partially cure your clay or make it much harder to condition.
Acrylic or marble rolling pin or roll clay out with a smooth, even glass bottle or food can
Rubber stamps and/or homemade stamps that you can make with scrap clay or pencil erasers
Mica powder (Pearl Ex is a popular brand for use on polymer clay) — Optional
Small cosmetic brush for applying the mica powder – Optional
Small cutting surface (the one I use is only used for polymer clay work). You could also work on a glossy ceramic tile.
An oven-safe container with lid. Terra cotta saucers, oven pans, or disposable aluminum baking pans of the same size that can safely clamshell, one covering the other. Or any suitable enclosed oven pan. Or even a plain metal tin with lid. Save this baking container for polymer clay baking only. Hint: 2 binder clips of suitable size can help hold clam-shelled pans together.
Water based Varathane — Water Based Varathane Diamond Polyurethane Interior is what older cans said. Newer cans are labeled Varathane Polyurethane Heavy Use Formula Interior Water Based Crystal Clear (Gloss Formula). The gloss formula manufacturer’s number is 20041H and UPC code is is 026748200045. I found mine at Menards. Home Depot and Blain’s Farm & Fleet also sell it. Or you can use Pearl Ex Varnish but you’ll have to order that online.
If you don’t already have a magnifying lamp, you might consider getting one but it’s not mandatory. – Optional
6. Wash your hands and mind what you wear. Wash your hands thoroughly, dry them,and make sure you’re not wearing clothes that shed fibers (a fluffy bathrobe or sweater, for example). Make sure you’re not working near the dryer (too much lint that will end up in your clay) or other things that may create dust or shed fibers/hair. Polymer clay is tacky by nature and can easily collect dirt and lint. It’s like a lint, dust, and fiber magnet.
Then rub your hands and work surface with clay to pick up any last fibers or hair you’d swear weren’t there. This should always be your final step before working the clay. You set aside this clay and dedicate it for this use.
7. Condition your polymer clay. Take out enough polymer clay to roll out and cut a few beads. A 2 oz. block or two might be more than enough, depending on how much you want to make. You’ll probably roll it out to about 5 mm or 1/4 inch thick or so. You condition it by smushing it and rolling it in your hands until it’s pliable.
8. Roll out your polymer clay. You can roll it out to about 5 mm to about 1/4″ thick. If you make it too thick, it may be more difficult to cut without distortion. I sometimes use a heavy marble rolling pin for my polymer clay because it makes the job easier but also use acrylic ones. You just have to take into account the weight as you try to roll it to a uniform width. As you roll, turn and flip the clay to create that uniformity. Don’t press down too hard and create too much distortion in any one area. Easy does it and have patience.
9. Lay out the template(s) and cut. You will not cut through at once. That creates too much distortion. Go around once with a more superficial, straight up and down, tentative cutting line, while making sure not to push in or cut the template. Go around several more times, again cutting straight up and down, as opposed to cutting sideways at a slant. Cut the outer lines first, starting from the top of the figure to the bottom. Once the outer cutting is done, use the same careful cutting technique to make any inside cuts, like around the head and inside of the arms, for example. You may have to help the inside cuts along with curved cuticle scissors or fine, curved craft scissors. Just keep in mind not to rip, slice through, or distort the bead. This is not a job for the heavy-handed. Tip: Instead of lifting the goddess shape from the rest of the clay after cutting, lift the rest of the clay away from the goddess. Your pendant will distort less that way, providing you cut through all the way.
10. Smooth the edges while keeping the goddess stuck to the cutting board. Personally, I find it useful to work under a magnifying lamp at this point, much of the time. You will use your fingers and tools to round, bevel (round off a bit) the cut edges. Maintain a light-handed touch and hold the clay in such a way that you avoid too much distortion.
Even with care, the connected “arms” in a design like this will lengthen slightly as you smooth, creating just a little more space around the head. This is why you don’t want a design that starts with much longer arms, unless that’s the look you really want.
You may bend your figure a bit as you work on it, so periodically take out the template and line your clay up with it.
Smooth your inner edges too. Again, check your template against your work again and adjust your clay figure if necessary. It may help to look at your clay goddess in a mirror check to check for asymmetry, a tilt to one side.
11. Stamp. You can create your own polymer clay stamps or use commercial ones. A popular stamp for Goddess bead designs is the simple spiral. You can use molds that indent designs or that create raised ones. Expect to smooth out any unwanted ridges the edge of the stamp might create and touch things up.
If using commercial stamps, check to see if you can make derivative works if you plan to sell the resulting beads.
Optional: Bead Holes. Chill your beads in the freezer for 15 minutes and gently use a sewing needle, pin, or bead hole wires made for polymer clay to create your bead holes. Run your bead hole tool into the hole from both directions while avoiding bead distortions. Or create a larger bead hole with a skinny enough juice box/bag straw.
12. Add breasts if you want. Create two equal sized balls and lightly press onto the body of the bead without distorting them but press hard enough that the breasts stay attached and smooth clay toward the top of each breast. Breasts are sometimes best added after stamping but can often be added before you stamp on a design. Just be careful not to smush them when stamping on the design if you add a bosom first.
13. Mica powder (optional).Wear a face mask to avoid breathing in the mica powders. Personally, I find it best to work under a standing magnifying lamp at this point. You can apply mica powders to small, itty bitty stamped designs with the head and side of a simple flat head sewing pin. Dip the pin lightly in the mica powder, perhaps lightly tap off the excess, and apply (rub it onto the clay) while avoiding dropping clumps of mica powder onto the clay. For coating the rest of the bead’s surface with Pearl Ex mica powder, use a small, dedicated cosmetic brush, one small enough and soft enough for the task. I often will get the mica powder off the inside of the mic powder lid and then apply it to the bead, perhaps occasionally adding a tiny bit to the lid in order to reload the brush. Lightly but thoroughly brush it on your bead. You will not want the brush so loaded with mica powder that it’s coming off all over the place as you apply it to the bead. You want to load it with just enough in order to gently apply it to the surface. Easy does it. A little goes a long way.
14. Now that your bead is coated with the mica powders, place it on it’s final baking surface, wipe your hands with a wet wipe containing a bit of rubbing alcohol, and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Check your bead alignment and arm placement against the template last time before baking.
15. Follow the clay manufacturer’s directions for baking the clay. You’ll have to know how thick the thickest part of the bead is and what temperature the package says to bake the clay at — these will tell you have long and how hot to bake your bead . You will use an independent oven thermometer or two; Sculpey sells them for clayers. Oven temps, either regular ovens or toaster ovens, spike from time to time during the baking cycle. Baking in enlcosed baking containers helps avoid burning that can occur during the temperature spikes.
16. Let the bead cool down in your baking panbefore handling the bead. This so you don’t burn yourself or mar the clay with a fingernail. Clays are often softer when hot out of the oven than they are after they’ve cooled. It’s normal for polymer clay to be a little bendy when warm out of the oven, by the way.
17. Seal — Brush on thin layers, or dip (sealing bare clay is optional if you didn’t use mica powders). Why seal? If you don’t seal a bead coated with mica powders, it will dull and the mica powders may wear of on your skin and clothes. Varathane is low odor, cleans up with soap and water, is sold at some hardware stores or online, and is pretty durable. To prepare, you will stir the Varathane slowly, let it settle for an hour or so with the lid on, then put some in a smaller container that has a good lid. Leave enough space because you’re going to thin it a bit with water. Stir slowly and carefully to avoid air bubbles. Apply the Varathane, let it dry a couple of days, apply again, let dry, apply again, let dry. It’s better to do several thin coats than one or two thick ones. Read the label for drying times. Avoid build up of the Varathane at the bottom of the bead but don’t scrape the bead while getting excess off. Some people scrape off the varathane without actually touching the bead and some spin the bead (without dropping it) to get the excess off. Refer to the dipping tutorial and other Varathane pages, below, if you have any questions. You may find it easier to brush it on rather an dip, just be careful to work on a mixed media sheet that wipes clean easily or a glossy, light colored or white, ceramic tile (you can wipe and/or scrape it clean with a razor blade).
Varathane is sometimes chosen because it bonds best with the polymer clay and works very well with the mica powders. It’ll be water-resistant but not waterproof. If your bead design doesn’t have bead holes, you can hang the bead by a thread and dip. The thread can be carefully cut away once the bead is completely dry — cut the thread flush with the bead’s surface without knicking the finish. You can hang your bead(s) to dry with the same thread. If you have bead hole, you can put a beading wire, thread or perhaps even a toothpick through and dip. I used a tie rack to hang my beads to dry because that’s what I had.
Finished! — It’s not the best picture as it was taken at night. I usually photograph my beads in natiral daylight on sunny days when it’s not too early or too late (yet almost never between mid morning and early afternoon). I was going to keep the bead all blue, but I decided to color the raised stamped areas with Viva Decor Precious Metal Color after the bead was baked . That’s another alternative.
Optional — Making Your Own Molds: If you have the materials and know-how, or can youtube how-tos, making your original pendant molds saves you a lot of work if you wish to make multiples. I usually use two-part silicone Amazing Mold Putty. Amazing Mold putty makes it easy to get even more dimensional pendants out of your molds. In the US, Amazing Mold Putty is found in many craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and I always use a coupon.
If you intend to use your molds for both polymer clays and resin pendants, check this link on Amazing Mold vs. Easy Mold. I let my mold sit for a day before using resin in it, wash it with warm soap and water, and let it air dry before use. Tip: The smoother your pendant that you mold, the glossier the resin is if you cast one in resin using your mold, and it’ll release from the mold more easily. My favorite casting resin is ICE Resin, if it’s not old. Older Ice Resin yellows in the bottle. Art Resin is an option for thinner beads like this and yellows the least. I think ICE resin is harder though?
(With commercial molds, check if you can use them to make derivative works if you’re selling the pendants.)
Jewelry Design Considerations
Today, I created a bead that I will attach to a necklace using a jewelry bail. That’s why this one didn’t need bead holes. If your bead and jewelry design called for bead holes, then you have to decide which direction the bead hole(s) will run. Bead holes can be added before or after baking. You can use a small juice box straw or a needle to create a bead hole, just make sure the hole is wide enough for any cords or findings used.
Jan. 15, 2015 Update…Possibilities
This time I used molds I made based on prototypes I made using the above method. They were coated with Aztec Gold Pearl Ex mica powder, except for one blue bead. I will yet add colored resin with glitter/mica inclusion and other touches, including finally sealing them in water based Varathane Interior, gloss. In the stars, such as in the bead on the right, below, I could use different chakra colors — or whatever else strikes my fancy.
Video Showing the Beads
Video About Solving a Problem With Baking the Pardo Jewellry Clay Used in These Beads