My Faux Resin Opal Shown Against Light Then Dark Backgrounds

 

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My Resin Opal I filmed in April of 2017, shown against both light and (wait for it!) dark backgrounds. (I've discovered the iMovie app!) I used Magic-Gloss resin, a Lisa Pavelka product, and five very different glitters and powder products to create a light show within my handmade resin gem. So, both my choice and placement of product is what made the light play back and forth between the various resin inclusions. I did not simply dump it in the inclusions, mix, and poor. They were strategically placed, mapped out. You may not find another artisan-made faux opal made of resin with fire like this on the internet? Not bragging, I've just not seen it. Yet. Not all the inclusions were designed for or are commonly used in resin. I make my own pendant gem molds based on my own polymer clay sculpts, as was the case for this Goddess pendant. Sadly, it perished along with all of my belongings in a house fire on Sept. 4, 2017, but I look forward to creating more like this. Here's to hoping I remember just how I made it. #resingem #resingemstone #goddesspendant #fauxopal #opal #gemstones #gemstone #goddess #diy #symbolsofequality #femininedivine #womensrights #ourbodiesourrights #goddessart #fauxopal #resinopalfire #resinopal #resingems #opalfire #crystalopal #fauxcrystalopal #faux #Magic-Glos #lisapavelkasmagicglos #uvresin #uvresinjewelry #playoflight #lightshow #karenascofield #wisconsinartist #resinjewelry

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I used Magic-Gloss resin, a Lisa Pavelka product, and five very different glitter and powder products to create a light show within my handmade resin gem. Choice of and strategic placement of inclusions made the light play back and forth. 

Not all the inclusions were designed for or are commonly used in resin.

I make my own pendant gem molds based on my own polymer clay sculpts. Sadly, it perished along with all of my belongings in a house fire on Sept. 4, 2017, but I look forward to creating more like this. Here’s to hoping I remember just how I made it.

Resin Faux Opal by Karen A. Scofield

Trial Runs: Transparent Resin Faux Opal Goddess Pendant Using Magic-Glos UV Resin

Better results with a newfound inclusion.

Instagram screen capture of Goddess Pendant resn faux opal shown in different lighting. Karen A. Scofield.

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.

Things Magic-Glos Doesn’t Work Well With

  • PVC glues – your white craft, nearly all decoupage mediums/glues, and school glues are PVC glues — https://thebluebottletree.com/what-is-the-difference-between-mod-podge-and-acrylic-medium
  • 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)
  • Alcohol inks
  • Unsealed inkjet prints
  • Anything that may run or bleed if wet
  • Sharpie markers

If in doubt, test first, often weeks ahead to make doubly sure.

Baking Magic-Glos

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.

Magic-Glos Layers

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.

Karen A. Scofield On “What Makes Me Tick”

Levo App

My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.

image

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.

Rethinking Introverts

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3794733

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/top-10-advantages-of-introvert.htmlimage

  • 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.

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

One Conclusion

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.)

Eclectic Focus

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).

Communication Style

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.

FAVORITES

Favorite Clays:

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
Apoxie Sculpt

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):

Delta Ceramcoat
Jo Sonja
SoHo

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

Favorite Papers:

Canson, Strathmore 400 or 500 series, Canva-Paper, Stonehenge, Fabriano Soft Watercolor Paper, Yupo

Favorite Art Board:

Ampersand (especially their Aquabord)
Fredix Archival Watercolor panels

Favorite Illustration Boards:

Stathmore
Crescent

Favorite Canvas:

Fredrix — Watercolor Canvas and their canvas for acrylics

Favorite Canvas Pads:

Fredrix — Regular and Watercolor
Canva-Paper
Strathmore Acrylic

Favorite Mixed Media Pads:

Canson XL Mix Media (for art journaling)
Stathmore 400 or 500

Favorite Gesso:

Liquitex (not Basics!)
Golden
Winsor & Newton
Martin F. Weber Prima (art journaling and DIY art boards, has a lovely matte eggshell smooth texture)

Favorite Fixatives:

Krylon — Matte Finish, Workable Fixatif, or UV Resistant Clear Matte
Lascaux UV Protect 2 or 3
Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte (for crafts only)

Favorite Colored Pencils:

I can’t afford those! Nevermind. Sigh.

I did unwittingly get Prismacolor pencils from after their factories moved to Mexico and too many leads fall out of the pencils or break. Grrr.

I’m not so much in love with colored pencils, presently.

Favorite Fabrics:

Quilting cottons
Kraft-tex

Favorite Thread:

Carpet thread
Strong quality cotton threads
Silky threads

Favorite Languages:

English, Estonian, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Spanish, and Italian.

Favorite Cuisines in Order of General Preference:

Punjabi, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Estonian, French, American.

Note that all my work is copyrighted and you may not use it without explicit written permission.

Viva Decor Precious Metal Colour Paint in Gold Was Heat-set on Cured Premo Polymer Clay, by Karen A. Scofield

Viva Decor Precious Metal Colour Heat-Set on Premo Polymer Clay

The Clay

I added crushed, shiny micaceous (meaning it’s loaded with mica) rock, fine gold glitter, and Blank Slate Gold and Silver Flake Mix, in order of volume, to some Premo! polymer clay (a Sculpey product). That’s why it’s sparkly and can appear darker or very light depending on how the light shines on it and it moves, you see sparkles as well as flashes and glints.

Aside: The Backstory on the Micaceous Rockhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/sari0009/19354330223/in/dateposted-..

The Paint (and A Closed US Office)

Spelling

Viva Decor’s US office closed in 2015 and my bottle is labeled “Precious Metal Colour” because that is how the UK spells it. Many sites and blogs still use the US spelling (Precious Metal Color), you may notice.

Viva Decor Closed Their USA Office in 2015. European Offices remain open. 2016.

Viva Decor Closed Their USA Office in 2015. European Offices remain open. 2016.

Inclusions Added to the Paint

Precious Metal Colour gold colored paint, specifically, has larger glitter-like particles while the mica powder has super fine (!) particles.

  • Alone, Pearl-Ex mica powder has a very slight orangish undertone by comparison.
  • Alone, Previous Metal Color is a bit bright and silvery.
  • Combined, the color is amazing and the larger particles of the paint aren’t glaringly evident.

So, I added a decent amount of Pearl Ex mica powder to Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour.”

Rule: With mica powder, less is more, meaning you start by adding very small amounts and adjust according to your liking. I found my mix pleasing as a 14 karat gold color.

This doctored up Viva Decor “Precious Metal Colour” acrylic/enamel paint was painted in 3 or 4 layers on an already baked Premo polymer clay mix.

The bezels were entirely painted with the paint while the figurative beads only had detail work painted.

Heat-setting

All but one were heat-set at 275°F  for 30 minutes. There was no visual or tactile difference between the baked and unbaked paint.

I couldn’t scratch the paint off with a fingernail once the paint was heat-set. The paint looks the most like real gold. I finally, after years of looking for a rather durable solution, now have a tremendous amount of confidence regarding gold detail work on my beads and pendants.

Although Varathane Gloss sealant is one of the top choices for sealing polymer clay, it’s water-resistant, not waterproof. I’d prefer not to have to seal my beads at all.

Acrylic Paints — Drying Time vs. Cured

Note: There is A difference between drying time in curing time. Drying time might occur within minutes or a few hours for acrylic paints while curing time might take a few days. This difference might help explain some problems with heat-setting acrylic paints a polymer clay.

I say it might help explain some of the problems because, according to Blue Bottle Tree, there was a correlation between painting the paint on raw polymer clay before heat-setting and the paint bubbling. This was dependent upon brand of acrylic paint and/or polymer clay, whether the clay was raw or cured, and other factors. For more information, see that Blue Bottle Tree blog post.

One Minor Problem to Solve

When removing these painted bezels from the glossy tile they were baked on, some of the gold paint stuck to the tile. There was enough paint remaining on the bezels so this wasn’t a problem but I’d would still prefer this not  happen.

Perhaps baking on a silicone mat would improve things.

Micaceous Rock and "Yellow Gold Glitter" Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Polymer Clay Micaceous Rock Composite Goddess Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Rock and

Micaceous Rock and “Yellow Gold Glitter” Premo Polymer Clay Mix, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Polymer Clay Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Micaceous Polymer Clay Goddess Pendants, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Appears more glittery and sparkly in person.

Micaceous rock from family land in South Dakota was crushed and added to “Yelllow Gold Glitter” Premo polymer clay — the stronger polymer clay by Sculpey that’s suitable for making thinner beads like this. (Always wear a mask if working with micaceous rock in this manner to avoid permanent lung disease.)

About 2″ long and 1/4 inch thick. Mica powder patterns, a sun or spirals, were stamped into the raw clay before curing. The sun and spiral symbolism can have significance. E.g. http://www.whats-your-sign.com/spiral-meaning.html. Small bead holes are added after curing (now shown), usually after jewelry design is complete. Design may determine hole placement and number.

The finished beads look very much like some of the micaceous earth in South Dakota. The particular rocks used in making this came from family land right by Medicine Mountain, which is sacred land. So these beads have personal significant meaning for me in at least four ways. They are my creative expression, the rock comes from family land, the rock comes from the vicinity of sacred land upon which I attended a ritual, the rock represents time spent with family, and the symbolism is well chosen, of course.

Medicine Mountain Background:www.flickr.com/photos/sari0009/19354330223/in/dateposted-... There are two Medicine Mountains and only one is in South Dakota. The history and backstory for this particular Medicine Mountain is hard to find, hence my link is offered here.

Interesting Factoid: In some areas of South Dakota, the ground glitters like gold due to the earth and rocks’ micaceous (mica-filled) nature and looks magical.

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer," 24"x24", by Karen A. Scofield. 2016

My Fourth Painting: “Shimmer,” 24″x24″

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,” 24″x24″, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

 

karensfourthsunblackandwhitetonal

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.

I used an isolation layer using Golden Polymer Medium before varnishing it.

Here are some stages of the work before completion.

 

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Clay Dare: I Sculpt a Goddess Pendant on Camera

I sculpted with polymer clay before and, in ceramic clay, I sculpted the backside of a bead without a mold. Now I have dared myself to sculpt an entire bead without the use of any of my molds ( I molded my own beads)in earthenware clay, a medium still very new to me. So I did this on camera.

I’ll get better at filming. And sculpting. But for now, at least I know I can do this and I feel a lot better about doing 20, 50, or more figurative pendants like this, in different sizes and styles of course.

The Finished Pendant (Standing)

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

July 21, 2017 Note: I’ve ordered ceramic clay sculpting tools!

Tutorial on How to Make Polymer Clay Goddess Beads

Karen A. Scofield’s Examples of Polymer Clay Goddess Pendants, Plus a Moon. Photocollage photo by Karen A. Scofield, copyright 2020.

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Made with Sculpey Premo polymer clay, by Karen A. Scofield. 2020.

First, Why I Made This Tutorial

Hi, 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 above against a blue background. These pins 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. Urgh!

My Youtube Video After the Pinterest Discovery: http://youtu.be/Md9Y_o0jM2g

My above beads with the blue background shown above are on my sari0009 flickr (December 11, 2008) account and appear in the blurb book Polymer Artists Showcase, by Tejae Floyde. (Tejae Floyde has a wonderful site and blog and has her work published in numerous magazines and books.) My goddess pendants are 2″ tall and for finished jewelry, I use artist grade polymer (more on that in a moment).  Their surfaces were colored with mica powders, then sealed.

Karen A. Scofield’s Polymer Clay Goddess Tutorial

Note: This tutorial assumes that you have some basic knowledge of polymer clay but for those that don’t, includes necessary information and links to assist, inform, or inspire. More experienced polymer clayers may follow along by reading only the bolded font description in each step.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Not Suitable for Children. However, beginners can usually manage if focused and determined.

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: Read the 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.

Steps

1. Make a paper template the size you wish your finished pendant(s) to be. Mine were around 2”. You may have your own preferences. You may draw your own goddess or print a copyfree version found online. You can use Irfanview or other photo manipulation to shrink goddess shapes to size. https://download.cnet.com/IrfanView/ 

choices
I created my molds after making beads cut along my templates.

If drawing freehand, fold paper in half, draw one half of the goddess, cut it out, and  lay the template flat for a symmetrical goddess template, if that’s your preference. Or you can use asymmetry to suggest motion. 1 to 3 inches long is a common size range. I use small, curved craft scissors or cuticle scissors to cut the paper. 

Put templates safely aside for a moment.

Design Options

  • Even with care, the connected “arms” in a design like this will lengthen slightly as you cut and then smooth the clay arms, 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.
  • Instead of an inside cutout shape to define arms, another option is to indent the clay between head and arms. A ball stylus can work nicely for that.
  • Another option is to use a toothpick, back of an X-Acto blade, or other tool to draw rays around the head, between head and arms.
  • You think of your own design options and/or get ideas from looking at clay goddess pendant pinterest boards like https://pin.it/3cgzc2gg3f6b2d Enjoy! There are some tutorials there too.

2. 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.

3. Create a dedicated, clean work area. Why work over clay friendly mat, ceramic/marble tile, a clean sheet of glass, or waxed paper? You don’t want to get the raw clay residue on your furniture or rug, etc. The raw residue within uncured polymer clay has plasticizers in it, so it can chemically alter the finish on some furniture and other surfaces.

4. Set up. You will need:

  • Baby wipes (add just a bit of the rubbing alcohol to them if they don’t contain alcohol)
  • 91% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Face mask
  • Claying tools and/or appropriately sized metal knitting needles
    • Note: You could do the smoothing and assist design with a toothpick, a knitting needle, or an embossing stylus tool (ball stylus) but a few other tools can come in handy. 
  • X-acto knife or other thin-bladed sharp knife. Or the tip of a sharp paring knife may suffice.
  • Acrylic or marble rolling pin to roll clay out with a smooth, even surface. The side of a food container or bottle might suffice if flat sided enough.
  • Rubber stamps and/or homemade stamps that you can make with scrap clay or pencil erasers – Optional
  • Mica powder (Pearl Ex is a popular brand for use on polymer clay) or shimmery powder eyeshadow — Optional
  • Small dedicated cosmetic brush for applying the mica powder – Optional because you can also apply it with a finger and because you may choose not use any powders for surface treatment. If do choose to use a brush, you should keep it for polymer clay work only. That’s what dedicated means in this context.
  • Small dedicated cutting surface (the one I use is only used for polymer clay work). You could also work on a glossy ceramic tile or a flat side of a milk jug or something,as long as it’s thick enough. There are also cutting mats you can often find at dollar stores.
  • An oven-safe container with lid. Terra cotta saucers, oven pans, or disposable aluminum baking pans (a favorite to many) 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. Optional: You only have to seal polymer clay if you use certain surface treatments like mica powders or powdered eyeshadow.
  • If you don’t already have a magnifying lamp, you might consider getting one but it’s not mandatory. – Optional.

5. 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). Avoid working near the dryer (lint will end up in your clay) or other things that create dust or shed fibers/hair. Polymer clay is tacky by nature is like a lint, dust, and fiber magnet.

Tip: Rub your hands and work surface with dedicated scrap 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 can use this dedicated scrap clay over and over again for this purpose.

6. 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.

Conditioning Resources:

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Marble rolling pin for rolling out polymer clay

7. 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 I also use acrylic ones. As you roll, turn and flip the clay to create a smooth, uniform thickness. 

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Cutting stage for polymer clay Goddess beads.

8. Lay out the template(s) and cut. You will not cut through at once. That creates too much distortion. Go around at first with a straight up and down, tentative cutting line, while making sure not cut, shift, or push the template into the clay. Go around several more times, again cutting straight up and down, as opposed to cutting sideways at a slant. Cut the outer outline first, starting from the top of the figure to the bottom. Once the outer cutting is done, use the same cutting technique to make any inside cuts, like around the head and inside of the arms. 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.

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Smoothing stage for polymer clay Goddess beads

9. Smooth the cut 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 your cut edges. Maintain a light-handed touch and hold the clay in such a way that you avoid too much distortion.

You may bend your figure a touch as you work on it, so periodically take out the template and line your clay up with it.

Smooth your inner edges too, if applicable to your design. As you work, repeatedly check your template against your work and adjust your clay figure as needed.  It may help to look at your clay goddess in a mirror check to check for asymmetry or errors.

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Stamping stage for polymer clay Goddess beads

10. 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.

Stamp and Texture Sheet Resources:

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.

11. 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.

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Mica powder (Pearl Ex) surface treatment stage for polymer clay Goddess beads

12. 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.

Tutorial on https://karenascofield.wordpress.com
Mica powders were applied over paper towel and now the bead is ready to cure
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Two terra cotta saucers from the garden section are used to create a chamber for baking polymer clay beads.

13. 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.

Many people bake on a glossy ceramic tile placed inside clamshelled disposable aluminum cooking pans held shut with metal bull dog clips. (Personally, I used two terra cotta saucers of the same size and invert one over the other to create an enclosed baking container.)

14. 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.

15. Let the bead cool down in your baking pan before 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.

16. 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.

Varathane (Sealant) Resources:

Resource FYI: About Spray Sealants on Polymer Clay

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.

Polymer Clay Goddess Bead Tutorial by Karen A. Scofield
Created for Goddess Bead Tutorial by Karen A. Scofield

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.

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2″ Tall Polymer Clay Goddess Beads, by Karen A. Scofield.
Karen A. Scofield's Polymer Clay Goddess Beads
Polymer clay Goddess beads made by Karen A. Scofield. Prototype beads were made by the artist who then created silicone molds…

Video Showing the Beads

Video About Solving a Problem With Baking the Pardo Jewellry Clay Used in These Beads

Censored. WIP. Study of skin tones based on my daughter's sketch, by Karen A. Scofield. 2013.

First Figure Painting WIP (Work in Progress)

Acrylics on canvas paper (that I glued to a Soho student painting board. thus giving me two working surfaces, front and back). Limited palette. Work in progress. I’m teaching myself and trying things out. It’s my first figure painting (I … Continue reading

Terra cotta Faces, altered molded face, by Karen A. Scofield. Commercial Maureen Carlson push molds were used.

Altering Polymer Clay Art Faces Made with Commercial Molds

I made these with terracotta colored polymer clay. Some were further decorated after this with paint, rhinestones, feathers, etc.   The above two pictures show the original Maureen Carlson‘s Amaco push mold and how I physically altered it, then stamped … Continue reading

My first full body sculpt, by Karen A. Scofield, in UltraLight Sculpey Polymer Clay.

Sculpey UltraLight Polymer Clay: My first attempt at a full body sculpt

I sculpted this WIP in 2007. Before that, I had tried to sculpt a few things (face cabs, hands, feet, runes) in clay first (my first dolls were more assemblage style) in 2005 to 2007. Only after that did I … Continue reading