Magic-Glos 5-Inclusion UV 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.

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Karen A. Scofield On “What Makes Me Tick”

Levo App

My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.

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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

2 inch tall polymer clay Goddess beads by Karen A. Scofield

2″ tall Goddess beads by Karen A. Scofield. Artist grade polymer clay. Tutorial.

Why I Made the Tutorial

Hi, I’m the artist, Karen A. Scofield and I live in Kenosha, WI. I made this tutorial after finding hundreds, if not thousands, of Pinterest pins showing my work. They linked to a blog that used my pictures and strongly inferred that one can made these with the kids out of a homemade cornstarch and baking soda clay. That’s an unauthorized use of my work and I find it misleading on several counts.

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

My beads shown above are on my sari0009 flickr 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.) They’re about 2″ tall and I used artist grade polymer clay to make them (more on that in a moment).  They’re 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 also includes information and links that can assist and inspire you. I do that for the people who may not know a lot about polymer clay but apply themselves to the task well enough anyway. Cheers to you! If you have enough of a background in polymer clay, you can probably follow along by mostly just reading the bolded font description of each step.

Throughout the following tutorial, you can refer to the Glass Attic Online Polymer Clay Encyclopedia, if you have any further questions. It’s a most excellent and exhaustive resource.

This is an intermediate to advanced project and is not suitable for children. I know I wouldn’t attempt it with children and maybe not even most older teens. It involves clay residue, an X-Acto Knife, knitting needles and/or clay tools, mica powders you don’t want to breathe in, wearing a mask, a higher level of attentiveness, and a lot of set up and clean up…not to mention baking your beads and sealing them.

Level: Intermediate to Advanced, Not Suitable for Children

Note: Read the directions before proceeding! Clean off everything that you touch while handling the raw clay with baby wipes that have some rubbing alcohol in them.

Time: Hands-on time is one to several hours. Actual time from start to finish will be several days to a week, depending on your dipping (into the finish) process. I’d say give it 2 to 6 days, minimum.

Steps

1. Decide on using molds or templates. Although making your own molds from the right materials has its many benefitsI chose to make and use templates out of printer paper because that’s what I did for the original picture, above.

Optional — Making Your Own Molds: If you have the materials and know-how, making your own pendant molds saves you a lot of work once the molds are done, and your work will still be of all your own design. With commercial molds, check if you can use them to make derivative works if you’re selling the pendants. I usually use two-part silicone Amazing Mold Putty or clay-like Polyform Sculpey Mold Maker to make my molds. Between these two commonly found choices, Amazing Mold putty makes it easy to get more shapely figurative pendants out of your molds. (If you’re using your molds for both polymer clays and resin, check this link on Amazing Mold vs. Easy Mold.)

choices

Choices to start with — use molds or cut out your own using templates.

2. Make your templates. Sketch out the shapes you want, perfect them, then cut them out of paper or template material. Or perhaps you size and print free templates from online somewhere. There are many historical Goddess figure types for your inspiration pleasure too. Make sure your final copies aren’t dirty with charcoal, graphite, and the like. I used a fine Sharpie marker to outline mine before cutting. Either way, the bead designs here were around 2″ long. I use small, curved craft scissors or cuticle scissors to cut out the templates. After you’ve made your templates, put them aside in a safe place for the moment. I put mine in a used, clean, dry, transparent prescription bottle.

If you think you might like to reuse your templates for beads or other crafts, you could use a more durable template sheet – Dura Lar is an ideal material for making templates.

3. Choose your clay. If you choose to coat your beads with mica powder, which is quite beautiful, the powders show up best on black or dark clay, the darker the better! As for brands, artist grade clays suitable for these might be Premo, Pardo Jewellry Clay, Fimo Professional, or Fimo Classic. Today, I’m working with 8-ish-year-old Fimo Classic (from before its reformulation and associated temperature change). I keep my polymer clay’s in a controlled environment so the clay was relatively easy to condition despite its age. If you’re 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, in most areas. If you find it locally at this time, consider yourself lucky. If you have darker scrap clay, really dark, made from artist grade polymer clays like these, you might be able to use that.

If you don’t want to work with mica powders, then you probably won’t have to seal your beads with Varathane later. You will not get the mica powder surface effects but you will have many polymer clay colors from which to choose.

A Few Notes on Temperature and Polymer Clay — Polymer clays can partially cure if they get over 90 degrees F, so keep them in a cool, dark, dry place or buy them just before use. Never leave raw polymer clay in a hot vehicle or windowsill. 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. Consider where your polymer clay is shipping from and what their weather is like.

4. Create a dedicated, clean work area. Now that you’ve chosen a clay, you’re going to make a clean and clear work area. I use a clay-friendly mat but you can also work on waxed paper. I’d suggest taping either down to a suitable surface that won’t get ruined by masking tape, etc. Why work over a polymer 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.

5. Set up to cut, smooth, stamp, and do a surface treatment. You will need:

  • Baby wipes (you will add just a bit of 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 knitting needle and an embossing stylus tool but a few other favorite tools can come in handy.
  • X-acto knife
  • Rolling pin (I use a heavy marble one but you can buy rollers specifically for use with polymer clay)
  • 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
  • Small cutting mat (the one I use is only used for polymer clay work).
  • Terra cotta saucers of the same size or suitable enclosed cooking dish
  • 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
  • If you don’t already have a magnifying lamp, you might consider getting one.

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.

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 a quarter 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

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 use a heavy marble rolling pin for my polymer clay because it makes the job easier. 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.

image

Cutting stage for polymer clay Goddess beads.

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.

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Smoothing stage for polymer clay Goddess beads

10. Smooth. 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 the cookie cutter type of edges you created. This part will take more hands-on time than your other steps, most likely. A lot more. Maintain a light-handed touch and hold the clay in such a way that you avoid too much distortion. (Even so, 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 will bend your figure a bit as you work on it, so periodically take out the template and line it up again. Smooth the outer edges, kind of beveling (rounding) them. Smooth your inner surfaces and edges likewise. Keep checking your template against your work and adjust your figure accordingly.  This is definitely not for the heavy-handed, those who have problems with mindfulness, or the impatient.

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Stamping stage for polymer clay Goddess beads

11. Stamp. You can create your own stamps using polymer clay and/or molding materials or use commercial ones. Commercial stamps have the same consideration — check to see if you can make derivative works if you plan to sell the beads you make with them. A popular pattern for Goddess bead design 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.

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 distortions that cannot be fixed. Create your bead holes before you apply mica powders and don’t clump the mica powder into the bead holes.

12. Add breasts if you want. Create two equal sized balls and lightly press onto the body of the bead without distorting them. You want to press hard enough that they stay attached though. These 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

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 designs with the head and side of the pointy top of a simple flat head sewing pin. Dip the pin lightly in the mica powder, perhaps lightly tap off the excess, and apply 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 cosmetic brush, one small enough and soft enough for the task. Use the brush only for this type of task and keep it with your mica powders in a dust free container. I often will get the mica powder off the inside of the 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. You don’t want excess mica powder that’s loose on the surface of your bead. 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.

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. Many people use a glossy ceramic tile inside disposable aluminum cooking pans with good results. (For this particular purpose, I used two terra cotta saucers of the same size and invert one over the other to create an enclosed baking container. It’s just one enclosed baking container possible). Check your bead alignment and arm placement against the template once again.

Why make a point of cleaning your hands before leaving my work area and doing anything else? I make a point to mention cleaning one’s hands at this point out of personal experience — I hadn’t washed my hands, set the oven temperature, and later found that raw plasticizers left on my hands from handling uncured polymer clay had melted off the toaster oven dial numbers. Therefore, I clean my hands in this manner before leaving the studio or touching anything else. I’d hate to imagine what other dials and number and letter pads I could damage, or furniture finishes, etc.

Add rubbing alcohol to your wipes — My baby wipes that I keep in the studio initially didn’t contain alcohol, most brands don’t these days, so I added some by simply dousing them lightly, the whole batch in their container, with rubbing alcohol. These wipes are then not used outside of the studio, but in the studio, they are great for cleaning my tools, my hands, and my work station.

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, usually spike from time to time. Baking in enlcosed baking containers helps avoid burning that can occur during the temperature spikes.)

16. Cool the bead before handling. This so you don’t burn yourself or mar the clay. Clays are often softer when hot out of the oven than they are after they’ve cooled.

17. Seal — Brush on thin layers, or dip, but don’t spray (probably 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 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 chosen because it bonds best with the polymer clay and works best 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 direct 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

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.

Labor-Intensive and Not for KIds

From designing and then conditioning clay to the last dip in the sealant, each bead can take from about 1 to 2 or more hours of hands-on time to create. You’ll be working with sharp instruments, powders you don’t want to breathe in, the oven, and Varathane. 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. For all the above reasons, I’d say this is a tutorial for adults and perhaps some more mature teens that have very good hand-eye coordination.

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