Many people have asked “How does one make beads that look like watercolors and or torn paper?”
It has been asked so many times that I decided to look at bead samples, read peoples “hints” at how they did it and so on and experiment and come up with my technique to make them. I haven’t taken a class on this technique so any likeness is serendipity
Supplies: 1 package of black clay, one package of white clay, 1/2 package of two to three colors for your skinner blend. (Either the Premo 2 ounce package or the Kato/Fimo 3 ounce packages), sharp blade, pre baked beads to cover, brayer (I love my puffin wand from Puffinalia for this technique), Pasta Machine.
Step One: Condition your clay and lay out the triangles for your skinner blend. Also….after you have conditioned your black and white clay, run them through the pasta machine from a 1(Thickest) to a 5 (on atlas) so you have two strips approximately the same width.
Step Two: Make your skinner blend and trim it to the size of your black and white strips.
Step Three: Take your skinner blend and run it through the pasta machine to lengthen it and thin it out. I placed the orange end in first and ran it through from the 1 to the 5.
Step Four: Once I had the blend at a #5 I then sandwiched it between two sheets of deli paper and ran it through the pasta machine on a #5 one more time making it even thinner.
Step Five: Once I had the blend thin enough I trimmed it to the width of the black and white strips. I then took the white strip and laid it on top of the black strip, making sure to work out any air bubbles you might see. I then ran it through the pasta machine on a #4 to make sure the two pieces are well stuck together.
Step Six: I then laid the skinner blend on the white and black stack.
Step Seven: I decided to add a thin layer of translucent clay on top of my stack. I conditioned the translucent clay then took it down to a #6 on the pasta machine and then sandwiched between the two layers of deli paper.
Step Eight I then ran the whole stack through the pasta machine on a #4 then a #5.
Step Nine: Once I had the sheet like I wanted it I then tore it into little pieces in preparation to layer them on a pre baked bead. I am using some extra swirl beads I had laying around. Admit it……we all have gone swirlie crazy and you have some laying around too
Step Ten: Cover your base bead with the torn strips of the clay stack, gently brayering the pieces to smooth the edges. remember, the smoother you get them before baking….the less sanding you need to do when they are done.
Step Eleven: Once you have you beads covered, bake them at the manufacturers recommended temperature and length of time. When they are done I like to drop them in ice water aka and ice bath. It seems to make the translucent more so. Then sand them, I go from 600 to 1500 or sometimes even 2000. I then wash them, dry them and buff them up on my buffer.
You can seal them with Future or varathane (water based only) or leave them natural. I haven’t had time to sand and buff mine yet, but I will post them when they are prettied up.
I hope you all enjoy this tutorial and I would dearly love to see anything you make. Please share if you do. Thank you
© Kathi Briefer-Gose 7-2006