Blend and Switch Video – Now Playing – Polymer Clay Library

Polymer Clay Blend and Switch Technique “OHMYGOSH!!
How cool is that? It
looks like stained glass!”
~Tanya-L

On August 3, I posted an introductory preview clip for the Blend and Switch tutorial. Today, the full version of this video lesson (Vol-027-1) is available for viewing at the Polymer Clay Members Library. Here is the link: Blend & Switch Technique – How to Create Complex Looking Mosaic Designs, Easily!

For anyone who is not yet a paid member, if you did not know, the cost works out to only $3.32 per month. This gives you 24/7 access to the full versions of my Friday video tutes. Plus you also receive four A-series color recipe cards. This week’s color is: Snapdragon (1A) from the Snapdragon Polymer Clay Color Palette.

Cindy – Just wanted to let you know that after I joined your club that I stopped all the others that I belonged to. Thank you for sooooo much information and for saving me mucho dollars. Your new dedicated student. ~Norma-B

GOD BLESS YOU, CINDY LIETZ!!! I have been waiting for this video but knew you would only share it when the technique was perfected. Cuz, that’s how you are. You make the mistakes so we don’t have to. For anyone who has not joined as a member, this is something you definitely should do. The monthly fee is minimal and you will save that amount in aggravation. ~Anna-S

I was self taught and scanned the internet ALOT for new ideas and new techniques. I still do, but I LOVE Cindy’s site because it’s so much more than instruction (which is excellent) but a community which I was sorely lacking. My coffee and I are here every morning to see the next dose of polyclay fabulousness! ~Melinda-H

If you want to become a paid member, here is the link:
Polymer Clay Video Library

Or if you are brand new to polymer clay, the best place to first learn all of the fundamentals is here: Polymer Clay Beginners Course

To browse other video tutorials that are available for purchase without becoming a subscribing member (in other words… just a one time fee), you can go here: Polymer Clay Video Back Issues


Open Mic… Please use the comment sections of these Friday posts to discuss polymer clay challenges that you need some help with… success stories about your bead and jewelry projects… requests for upcoming video tutorials. In other words, it’s an open mic :-) .

Listed below are the topics that were discussed in the last 2 Open Mic Friday comments:

  • New Polymer Clay Facebook photo gallery.
  • Argggggggggggggggh. So many threads inside one thread.
  • Community Corner concept.
  • Removing Future Floor Polish from beads.
  • Lisa Pavelka magic gloss.
  • Curing UV resin in the Tucson sun.
  • Mica powders bubbling up.
  • Packing up the RV with polymer clay tools, supplies, WiFi.
  • Sourcing Ginkgo leaf molds.
  • A source for Micromesh Pads with low shipping cost.
  • PYMII – Preserve You Memories II.
  • Micromesh swabs finally solves rose bead fingerprint issue.
  • Skinner Blend / Teardrop Blend discussion.
  • Polymer clay tools new products testing.
  • Using clay softener to remove finger prings.
  • Beauty technician sanding and buffing products.
  • More resources for buying micromesh pads.
  • Helpful tips for navigating this web site.
  • Micromesh helpful for arthritic hands.
  • White sanding residue.
  • Vibratory tumbler for polymer clay beads.
  • Visiting the Micro-Mesh Factory in Iowa.
  • Toothbrush sanders.
  • Straight line sanding with Micromesh vs circular motion.
  • Using a Dremel for agressive shaping of oval cabs.
  • And much, much more…

If you need to catch up, here is the link to the article where last week’s topics were discussed in detail: Polymer Clay 5th Friday

And for the Friday before that, go here: Micromesh Abrasives

Otherwise, you can use the comment section below to start talking about some new topics and ideas. Happy Friday!!!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. YEAH! Friday my favorite day! Just watched the tutorial, it’s amazing how you made something that looked complicated so easy. Never would have thought of this myself. As always you come up with the best creative ideas. And for once I have everything I need for clay and tools………Claying on!

  2. Hi Cindy, Poked around and couldn’t find the answer to my question on the blog anywhere. Where can I purchase the metallic leaf that you have to rub off? I can only find the loose leaf. Thanks in advance, Sandy.

  3. How can I share some items I’ve made? I’d like to upload them to the gallery, but don’t see where I can do this.

  4. Where do I buy those adorable little cutters you featured in today’s Blend & Switch video? Is there a website? BTW Cindy, I am spending way too much time with you.

    • another great place to find interesting cutters and such is at your local cake shop. When we went in to taste test cake for my daghters wedding, there were a ton of different cutters there. They are used for cutting rolled fondant icing. I will be going back quite often@Helen W:

      • @Tiffany: Great tip, Tiffany! I like your ideas on keeping a list of tutes in your word program, too (mentioned in today’s–Friday the 13th–thread.) I do something similar with certain special articles/posts, along with the url to them. I use Excel, but same thing, and very convenient! (Unfortunately, I don’t have access to it right now—driving me crazy!) I hope you’re doing better; I’ve been thinking about you & wondering if you’ve taken that “1st step” yet. (?) I know we’re supposed to keep the focus on PC now, but can you tell us if you’re walking yet, at least? ;D

        • @Phaedrakat: Thank you so much!! I had no idea anyone even remembered what I was going through. I have been walking for a fwe days now, not much, just baby steps, but more every day. My goal is to be able to walk un=aided at my daughters wedding on Sept. 4th. I really appreciate you asking, you brought tears to my eyes! Happy tears, the best kind!!

          • @Tiffany: Oh, you sweetie! Congrat’s on those baby steps! I’m SO happy you’re okay, and of course I remembered! I’m sure others did, too. I’m just really paranoid if I mention anything personal to anyone, due to the latest discussions about PC focus. I’ve been waiting for you to mention something clay-related so I could ask you about it! :D

            In fact, the new PC focus may be why others haven’t said anything to you yet. I didn’t see your name on Facebook at first, so I just had to say something here. But I do see it now, as one of Cindy’s friends. Hopefully others will friend you too, and help me cheer you on. We need to be rooting for you — to walk at the wedding! :D

  5. Cindy,

    Love the Blend and Switch technique, but where can I find the metallic rainbow teardrop blend clay? It looks as though you used a packaged PREMO, but I could not find it during a web search.

    Thanks,
    Joansie

  6. @Helen W: The cutters can be purchased at Michael’s or on-line. I have already tried this technique. I’m loving it. Used bright colors and it looks like the circus came to town.

    • @Carolyn K: Thanks, Carolyn…I’m at Michael’s in my community all the time. I’m pretty sure they don’t carry the set of cutters. So I’ll have to force them to get them for me. I hope I don’t have to get violent.LOL

      • @Helen W: Helen – I was at Hobby Lobby yesterday and saw them so you might try there.
        You can also google Premo “Mini Metal Cutters” and see if they are in a store in your area. Hope you can find them close.

        Linda B.

      • @Helen W: I quickly checked Amazon and noticed that one of their 3rd party sellers had them for $6.00 and $2.41 shipping. Just do a search for “Premo Tools Fashion Art Mini Cutter Set 12pc” I’m pretty sure this is the same set.

  7. Fantastic video, I would never have thought of how to do this on my own. Man, I wish I could have just 1 percent of your creative mind, I sit in front of a piece of rolled out clay with every intention to experiment and nothing new ever happens.

  8. Absolutely no way would this have ever occurred to me! And yet you make it so simple. I’ll say it again: where else can you get 4 video lessons at less than $4 a month??? I have some of those cutters and a few of the colors. Hopefully the weather will turn cool again so the clay doesn’t get too sticky.

  9. @Joan W:
    Joan – I started blending the clay and used Premo – Green Pearl-5299, Blue Pearl-5289 and Red Pearl-5259. I got these colors at Hobby Lobby and I have also seen them at Michael’s and Joann’s. I already had the gold open so don’t know the number. It’s really pretty!!!

    Linda B.

    • @Ken H.: Ken the white in the pearl will lighten your color…make it more pastel-like. The silver will give the color you mix it with a slightly muted or misty tone (or more? depending on how much silver is used). Both have that pretty sheen frost…I tried a rough experiment with turquoise, I like them both. Thanks for the idea, I wouldn’t have thought of trying silver!

  10. Help!!!! The first one I did I know I did too much shape shifting and it kept ifalling apart when I got to the pasta machine. Yes, I pushed and shoved and the whole bit. So….I tried another one and it still falls apart. Think I could put a thin sheet of something under it to keep it together?
    Andrea

    • Wow! I’m thrilled to see you guys are lovin’ the technique. I knew you would like how simple it is!

      @pollyanna: Without giving away all the secrets on how this technique works, it sounds like your clay may be too hard or that you’re not doing the pre-roll before going through the pasta machine. Watch the video again. That should help with any problems you may be having.

    • @pollyanna: Did you roll it with a roller before trying to put it in the machine? When I’m trying to get more out of cane slices, i layer them over a solid sheet and then run them through so I would think it would work for this too.

    • First thing I have to say is that Cindy makes it looks sooo easy! Next I have to add that it helps to watch the video several times before starting the project and third…boy did I make a mish mash! Back to the drawing board..or should I say the computer. I even tried the backing sheet but it still fell apart a little. I have a pair of earrings in the oven but you would be hard pressed to recognize it as Cindy’s blend and switch technique. Good thing I am a member and can go back again and again.
      Bev

  11. This technique is amazingl!! It’s so straight forward, but I can see many, many possibilities coming from this. Can hardly wait to take a look at all the variations in the gallery. Love all the eye candy there, it’s so inspiring to see all the beautiful pieces created by everyone!

  12. I guess I wasn’t rolling hard enough before putting in the machine. I get very upset with myself at times……lol. Thanks for the input both to you both.
    Andrea

  13. Though I don’t use jewel colors, this technique gives beautiful results. I’ll have to try it w/ pastel metallic mixes. I think the metallics are important for the shifting and the “grout” lines that you mention in the video. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. I had one of those “Aha!” moments as soon as you showed the cutters Cindy! Glad that my brain is still working in some capacity ;)

    I’m definitely going to try this out tomorrow, but probably with a different combination of colours – I like the idea of pearl instead of gold, because I generally don’t use much gold clay. Hmm, experiment time…

    I have a similar set of cutters that I got from my local cookware shop. They are tiny cutters designed for those mini cheese biscuits or candy and they are great for subtle earring since they’re only 1cm or so.

  15. Weeeell, first attempt didn’t turn out so good, I have a lovely ball of burgundy/purple pearl clay that I think will be quite nice when mixed with regular pearl. guess I’ll be practicing mica shift real soon. :)

  16. Me too!! Have a lovely mix of clay and have made a bangle instead! Will have to try again and watch the video while I am doing it. Mine also fell apart, in fact, the cut-out pieces almost refused to stick to the clay after I have shifted them. I am going to try with a smaller piece and see if that helps.

  17. Not sure how many this would help, but, I like to load the video, then move the little button around to different parts of it, paying close attention to Cindy’s hands to see how much pressure she’s using.

    Leaving the sound off and just glancing over to concentrate on small bits helps me digest it better.

    For those whose work didn’t make the air journey to the pasta machine, I salute you. Spent time there too. LOL. Lots of metallic shift work in my future too…but, got some great colors.

    Need to use the rod to meld it together carefully each time you chop, and you may want to do it on paper, so you can flip the piece to the back and roll once or twice there too. Also, you can use paper or card stock (index cards) to bring the work to the machine and slide it in, if it needs a bit more support.

  18. Thanks Cindy for another great video. I love this technique and the possibilities it offers. It does take practice to keep it together but works great on some new buttons I am working on. It should also work for the integrated bottom of a pine needle basket I hope to weave at a Monday workshop. I will let ya know.
    Hugz to all and have a great weekend.

  19. Jocelyn makes a great point. You have to look at the videos carefully before just plunging in, if you want to get things right the first time. No worries though, making mistakes is a big part of learning.

    I made it look easy, because it really IS easy… but you must follow ALL the steps. I talked about and showed very clearly, every part of the technique so it would be dead simple. Don’t rush through things and jump straight to the end or you might run into problems. If something is not working for you, stop and watch the video again, to see where you went wrong. It is usually some simple thing, like you didn’t press hard enough to get the clay to stick together.

    As far as putting a background sheet there to hold things together, that isn’t the best idea. The nice thing about this technique is that the pattern looks the same on the back as it does on the front. Perfect for charms, pendants, earrings, etc.

    Whenever trying a new polymer clay technique, just do it in a small amount, (like I did in the video) until you get the hang of it. There is no reason why so many of you should have a large amount of pretty pearly scrap clay, because you messed it up the first time. You should only have a tiny ball. You also should have had lots of the original blend to try again with.

    Like Jocelyn said, watch the video a couple times… maybe once with the sound off. Then give it a shot. You’ll see, most of this stuff really is as easy as it looks!

  20. OT/ Lawrence, can you make a sea urchin or a hedgehog out of a pine needle basket? Love basketry. Like making plaid, lol.

    • @Jocelyn:OT/ I have made the polymer clay bottom of the “blend&switch” method and drilled the holes so far in prep for the workshop/demo by a guild member.,. I’ll be lucky if I can weave the sides Monday. I have heard our native Indians did use porcupine quills for weaving…..not sure about sea urchin quills. LOL

      • @Lawrence: Sea urchin quills are much too brittle to use for weaving. The whole sea urchin is actually quite fragile. The shell (minus the quills) looks like lace. I’m going to try to incorporate a few pieces into clay … if I can get them into the clay without breaking them further.

        • @carolyn: Try to make a mold of the sea urchin shell first. That way you will always have it for future projects. Tina,a member on here, (beadcomber.blogspot.com) sells the molds and has a tut.

  21. I had an idea when I saw the quote at the top, “…It looks like stained glass! ~Tanya-L.” After mastering this technique with mica clays, it might be fun to try it with tinted translucents. Then it would resemble stained glass even more. —Just a “clay-related” thought…  ;D

  22. I realized what I did wrong, I made too many cutouts at one time and too close together, my background sheet fell apart so there was no place to put the pieces back into.

      • @Silverleaf: I didn’t have the option to piece anything back together, I even tried pulling the cutouts out with the tip of my exacto blade and the background still fell apart. I’ll try it again, maybe tomorrow(Sun) or maybe sometime during the week.

  23. I tried it friday night. I used pearl clay colored with alcohol inks. Turns out very cool! I did add a background sheet of clay just before cutting the pendants shapes, because it was a bit too thin for me…

    • @Cindy Graveline: Sounds really pretty, Cindy. Hope you’re going to post pics!

      @Elizabeth Kerr: Thanks for all those tips Elizabeth. I was so determined to do this Friday and wound up running errends all day, then was away all day yesterday, so I’m hoping, please, please, please, that I get to do it today! And I REALLY hope it comes out right! :)

  24. Hi yes this is a great tut.Just morerish.
    As Cindy say, watch the video again and again, as even tho it looks simple it needsto be very exact when you come to do it.
    I just loved the cuttings and went really far, but managed to keep it all together even tho I had it a bit thin. The next ones will be a bit thicker.
    as that is one secret I think. and rolling before it goes to the pm is what is needed, and I used cornstach on my fingers to keep the finger prints down even tho it made it a bit dry , and I put it in the fridge before cutting after the rolling.
    Have made some nice things and will go to the gallery soon.
    Bye Keep cutting.
    XXX

  25. I had fun with this! I did make them too thin but I like that they are very light weight. I think mine will be fine for earrings. I actually had started to cover an unfinished wooden box with clay and wanted the top to be stain glass like. This will be better than the technique I started out with. I won’t have to worry about getting the piece too thin either. I bet using it to cover core beads would be nice, too. And my favorite – covering pens!

  26. Gotta question on the clay used: Premo. Does this work better with Premo than with other clays? Premo seems to behave better for me for some reason.

    • @Koolbraider: Premo does tend to stick together better than the other brands … well, Sculpey III probably would also … Fimo and Kato don’t seem as ‘sticky’ and for this project I imagine that you’d want ‘sticky’. It’s not really sticky … it is ‘sticky’. It sticks to itself better.

    • @Koolbraider: Not in my opinion — I made one with Premo and I thought it was a relative pain compared to Kato — but I’d say go with the clay whose handling characteristics you like best.

      Without giving too much away, the cutting and assembling is much fiddlier with a softer/stickier clay like Premo (e.g. the issue that Ken H had; softer clays can stick to your work surface more and are more likely to distort when lifted, both of which contribute to the problem), and the rest isn’t any easier with a softer clay than a firm one: you still need to do all the steps in the video.

      However, the advantage that Premo has it that it has many rich pearlescent colours ready to use. With Kato, for example, you’d need to tint Pearl with normal clay (fortunately Kato has a lot of mica so this is quite practical), colour concentrates (for deep pearlescent colours), alcohol inks, or whatever.

      • @Sue F: And I used the blade to loosen up the clay from the surface, and it still fell apart. Did no claying today, so I’ll try again sometime this week. Used the blade to smoosh the edges, the only thing I can think of is the cutouts were too close together, and there were too many.

        • @Ken H.: I had to to do the same thing by being very careful with the knife to lift the clay from the table. Elizabeth had a good idea to put it in the fridge to cool before lifting. But, if you are like me, I can get impatient. But your results will be better.

        • @Ken H.: With a firm clay the sheet you’ve cut out from still holds together and keeps the shape of the holes well enough that even if most of the cutouts are actually touching each other and the sheet is mostly cutouts you can still reassemble it easily.

          With a softer clay it would be relatively easy to have the cutouts too close together or to have too many holes in the sheet for easy handling, so I think you’re on the right track there. My Premo version was definitely much fiddlier than I expected even though I didn’t think I’d used many cutouts by comparison, and did use a blade to loosen the sheet from the work surface too. (It had lovely colours, though!)

          I hope you have more luck when you get to try it again… it’s a great technique. :)

          • @Sue F: One trick that I’ve found to firm up Premo and give it more “body” is to mix a chunk of translucent into it. For some reason (maybe because there are no pigments to soften it?) the frost or translucent are firmer to begin with and will give your mix more body. If you stick with less than 1 part tx to 4 parts color, your color will not be noticeably affected.

            Here in NC it is SO hot and humid that I pretty much have to move from claying to painting for the summer- I can’t afford to cool the studio(window AC) down past 78 or so, and the heat of my hands just makes the Premo into pudding. And I can’t stand the smell of kato… sigh.

          • @edie: wow! That is the first I’d heard of that Kato smells bad! Now I wonder if I want to try it. Does it smell when baking, too?

          • @Catalina: baking the liquid kato is something I have to do outside, it smells so strongly. I took a class with Tony Aquino (he is the chemist for Kato) and we had to take the ovens out of doors. Of course, we were baking half a dozen pieces at a time. The regular kato has a stronger “plasticky” smell to me than Premo!, which is my preferred clay. But I am extraordinarily sensitive to odors, so it may not bother you. YMMV.

            edie

          • @Catalina: Quite a few people dislike the smell of Kato.

            Interestingly enough, I don’t mind how Kato smells although it is distinct. To me, it’s Premo that has the horrible smell! LOL

            (They both have strong smells to me. Fimo smells less strongly although it is still noticeable, but I don’t really like it’s handling characteristics.)

            And the smell is probably strongest when baking, for both clays.

          • @carolyn: Yes, I’ve tried Blend & Switch with Kato (as well as with Premo)… and it was much easier to handle with Kato! LOL

            The finished Kato pieces also didn’t end up bendy at all (I don’t have UltraDome; all my pieces were just plain polymer clay) although the Premo pieces were somewhat flexible. That’s just the nature of those brands of polymer clay… I’ve never been able to cure Premo so that it doesn’t bend/flex when it’s in thin/flat pieces, no matter how long I bake it for or what (reasonable) temperature I use. But Kato can be cured so that it’s extremely stiff (150C/300F or a bit hotter, and cure for about 25-30 minutes for flat pieces up to the thickest setting on a pasta machine, or even longer). The difference in stiffness isn’t really noticeable with “normal”/fat beads or thick flag pieces, but it really shows up on anything thin.

            (Another reason why I prefer Kato… you can cure it so that it stays flexible, or cure it so that it’s completely stiff.)

          • @Sue F: Thanks for getting back to Carolyn with this information. I am going to try curing my Cernit at 150° for 30 more minutes to see if this helps to stiffen it up. I have no problem with small pieces rolled at the thickest setting on my pasta machine but the slightly larger pendants are much too bendy. Will report back later.

          • @edie: Interesting idea, thanks, edie! :)

            I haven’t tried to firm Premo up in the past because I mostly use Kato, and [old] Kato is pretty well perfect for me: the extra bit of conditioning time doesn’t bother me at all (and neither does the smell! ;D), and even “soft” [new] Kato is firmer than all but the firmest Premo I’ve ever encountered. But your tip will still be handy, e.g. I want a soft clay like Premo for extruding, but not so soft as the silly-putty-consistency stuff they had out for a while (I have a few packs like that…).

  27. Managed to get a pendant and pair of earrings done with the blend and switch technique. I made mine a bit on the thin side and had a bit of difficulty with one or two cutouts because i did many but I managed to keep it together.Looks really cool I’m waiting for my micromesh pads to arrive. I’ve been practicing the piano which I have to keep up and my arms are sore with physio etc so I’m not planning on sanding till the pads arrive.

    • @Catalina: Sounds like you did have fun, and came up with lots of ideas for using this technique. Can’t wait to see your earrings, as well as the other beauties you’ll create.

      @pollyanna: Hurray for you, Andrea! BTW, are you on FB? I’d love to see your work… ;D

      @Cheryl Hodges: Hurray for you, too! That’s great you made it work on first try, and completed earrings & a pendant. Really good idea about waiting for the MicroMesh to arrive—it’ll make it much easier on your poor, sore arms!

      Congrat’s to all who made great projects (so fast!) with this amazing tutorial. This is looking like one of Cindy’s super-popular techniques, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of these beautiful items in our Tutor’s Facebook gallery…
      ~ Kat

      • @Phaedrakat: Hi Kat. I don;t have any pictures in FB. I use it to keep up with friends and family. I’ve been thinking about it though. I’m not very photogenic myself but looking for one that isn’t too bad to put on here. Plus, being a semi new clayer i don’t have too many put together. Planning on doing that soon, also. I’m starting to gain a little confidence. Thanks for asking.
        Andrea

        • @pollyanna: You’re welcome! I’m glad you’re starting to build confidence—it will keep increasing as you practice more and more. When we had the first Bead Giveaway Contest, it was the “first time posting” for lots of members. The comments in that thread (under their photos) show just how big a confidence booster it is when you show your stuff! This group is really nice, so you don’t have to worry about anyone diss’in your work! ;D

          I think you’ll find a great reception if you take a deep breath and just post those beads! It will make you feel much more confident, and you’ll be conquering whatever fear that’s holding you back. As for your own photo, you can always post an icon, bead, pet, child, etc. instead. (You can always add your own face when you’re ready—or not!) I’ll just stay on the lookout… ;D ~Kat

          @Freda K: I bet you’ll get it next time, Freda. Try one or more of the suggestions posted here—Elizabeth K.’s “refrigerator” idea, Jocelyn’s “follow the video tute exactly” idea, and several members’ “stiffer clay might work better” idea. Perhaps leaching (just slightly) the finished blend would make it less sticky and allow more cuts to be made without turning it into such a mess. Best of luck to you; persistence does pay off! ~Kat

  28. @Sue F: Thanks, Sue! It is good to get all views. I had a feeling we’d be hearing from you on this one. I agree that we should go with the clay that we each like best. And, Sue, when do we get to see more of your color recipes?

    • @carolyn: From my perspective it’s basically that you have to choose where you want your aggravation: during conditioning (Kato) or during use (Premo). There are some techniques where there is little argument about whether a softer or a firmer clay is generally better (e.g. softer clay for extruder techniques, firmer clay for precision caning), but this isn’t one of them. In my opinion, of course! ;D

      And I hadn’t been viewing the blog much for the past little while, but I can put together a few more palettes if they are of interest. I do have a couple in reserve, although one of those is Christmassy so I’ll send it in later, and the other is effectively a continuation of the Bouquet of Violets palette (5 other colours that I use with the 5 already posted). Something different might be better in the meantime… maybe a set of Kato pearlescent colours for use with the Blend and Switch technique!

      • @Sue F: Kato pearlescent for this technique would be super great … then we can try both types and see which works best. I’ll definitely be watching for them. And don’t wait too long for the Christmassy ones … some of us like to get a jump start on gift making. How are you doing with the new Kato? Are you finding much difference?

        • @carolyn: I got a bit of the new Kato to try, but I’m mostly using old Kato because I have a lot of it and I prefer it anyway. As someone who likes really firm clay, the new Kato isn’t as bad (i.e. as soft) as I’d feared, although it is noticeably softer. Not fingerprinty like Premo though, so I think most people will prefer the new Kato to the old.

  29. Well, I did get the technique to work…. luckily I had many of your comments to work off of first! I made some little flowers out of some cut outs and they are tumbling now (I tumble almost everything)… and of course I made a lentil bead out of some of the scraps!

  30. My first attempt was a great success! Made a large sheet of it and got, 4 pairs of earrings, 5 pendants, 2 bracelets, and about 20 tube beads. Can’t wait to get them all put together and onto Facebook! I also want to try to do it with pastel colors. May have to play around with the above mentioned idea of translucent clay and mica powders.

    @Cindy G.- I also used a backing sheet. Mine got pretty thin and I just put a medium thick sheet of black under it.
    @Cindy L.- Loved this video. It may just be my favorite one yet!

  31. What a mess I had with my first (only) try. The premo kept sticking to the tile. I finally put down some powder and powdered the blade too because it wouldn’t come out from underneath the piece with the cutouts sticking to it and coming away from the main piece. If it works, it’s such a beautiful ending.
    Well, back to the drawing board (or tile as the case may be).

  32. I used Premo and yes, it did get a bit soft with all the rolling thru the pasta machine and I did some cutouts close together. A couple of times one or two thin areas flopped and broke. If your clay has gone too soft, putting in the refrigerator a bit would help. I got 2 pairs of earrings and two pendants. One of my pendants was a bit too thin so I just folded it over. Maybe I should have put it on a backing sheet as its supposed to have the same pattern both sides but I thought well you can have a reversible pendant!

  33. Today I tackled this new technique and have to say I was surprised I didn’t have any problems! I watched the tuturial twice to make sure I understood everything. I made several pendants and they came out fantastic!! I work on a large marble tile which was a suggestion from taking a class with Julie Picarello, (I love her work). Marble seems to stay cooler, and since I have in the past had problems with my clay getting real soft this has helped. I also stick the clay in the refrigerator if I find it’s starting to get a little tacky and that really helps.

    The only thing I didn’t care for was how thin the pendants were so tomorrow I’m going to double the layer and the effect should be the same.

    Thanks Cindy for a wonderful Tutorial.

  34. This was a really fun project. My clay also got soft and was thin, so I put it in the refrigerator, and then I added another layer on the bottom. I was pleased with the results. You can see some of them on my blog (my name links to my post). This is a favorite of mine already, so you will probably see lots more with this design. I’ll have to try it with the resin finish next time.

  35. Just a thought if you find your sheet becoming thin… you can actually thicken it up again. When I do this, I first use a blade to lift my clay sheet from the work surface, then put just the edge closest to me back down. Then I gradually lower the rest of the sheet a bit at a time, pressing it back against itself as I go (it’s a bit like how you can squish the ends of a long cylinder in to fatten it up again, only applied to a sheet instead). Once I’ve got the entire sheet down I slide a blade underneath to lift it again, rotate it 90 degrees, then repeat the process. It’s quite easy to maintain your sheet thickness this way, or to even end up with a thicker sheet at the end of the whole technique than you started with.

    • @Sue F: Sue, I’d be very happy for a few more Kato colors if you have the time, as I am still using an old supply up.

      Also, want to say a special thanks for sharing all your expertise and testing. Love reading your posts, and I always learn something.

    • There are so many great comments here I would love to respond to them all, but am just so busy today getting ready for the next video.

      But I did want to take a quick second to say thank you to Sue F, for sharing your way of making the sheet thicker again if you went too far with the rolling. That will be very helpful for anyone who is having any trouble. As well I wanted to ask you if you had tried the Premo in the New Packaging yet? I love the consistency. Soft enough to condition, hard enough to cane and is way less fingerprinty than it used to be. I know they say they haven’t changed the formula, but maybe they’ve got a new guy mixing it! LOL

      • @Cindy Lietz: I do hope the sheet thickening trick is generally helpful. I was doing it as a matter of course after each rolling stage without even thinking about it, when it occurred to me that it might be worth sharing.

        And yes, I’ve tried the Premo in the new packaging; about one third of my Premo stocks are that version.

        It’s still much too soft for my liking, although it’s clearly better than the silly-putty-like version they had out for a while. I find it’s still very fingerprinty compared to Kato (even new Kato), is slightly more prone to air bubbles and much more prone distortion during handling, and leaves more of a residue on work surfaces and hands. I can understand somewhat the appeal of the easy conditioning, and also how a softer texture could be necessary for people who have problems with their hands and arms, but for me it’s so much more bothersome to use that it’s not worth it: I might save a few minutes in conditioning, but I spend way more time than that when working with it avoiding problems that just don’t occur with Kato.

        The Premo stocks that I have that are closest to what I like are actually a few truly ancient packages. They’re so old that they’ve become quite hard by Premo standards, which is about the consistency of new Kato (although these ancient Premo packs crumble while new Kato doesn’t). I still prefer the even-harder old Kato, however.

        Each to their own, I guess! ;D

        That said, I do have a fair amount of Premo on hand.

        There’s my supply of Premo Frost, for starters. I really wish Kato Translucent was even half as clear, but it isn’t, so I use Premo Frost where I want to see through or into a piece. I use Kato Translucent when I want to reduce the intensity of a colour without lightening it.

        I also tend to use Premo more than Kato with extruder techniques — I’ve broken a Makin’s Ultimate Extruder by forcing Kato though it! — and in situations where I want to apply a texture but can’t use the greater force required to transfer the texture fully to the firmer Kato.

        And if I’m making large solid beads with a surface technique that is particularly prone to cracking, I use Premo for the core and Kato for the surface technique. That way I can bake them as normal in one go on polyester batting without them cracking, where I’d have to take a bit more care if I had Kato all the way through (NB: don’t immerse Kato in cornstarch for baking as it ends up really weak).

        One last comment on Premo in the new packaging… I do like the fact that the White is now whiter. The older stocks of Premo White that I have are definitely slightly yellow-brown compared to the Premo White I have in the new packaging. (I’ve previously mentioned how I’ve needed to add yellow or brown when converting a Premo palette with a lot of white to Kato, as Kato’s White is very white but Premo’s wasn’t.)

  36. I made a second batch and it turned out great. Haven’t baked it yet. I think I know what was wrong with the first batch, why it broke up so much and stuck to the tile and blade. Usually when I’m going to work with clay, I put a package in my bra so it can warm up and condition easily. Well, I got distracted and didn’t start working with the clay for about 45 minutes and the packages were nice and warm, hence they were difficult to handle when I got them conditioned.
    Would like to know how Cindy gets her stripes in the teardrop blend to go the opposite way of when it started.

  37. Thanks for the comments on my bangles. I’m so happy, I sold them today. The blend and switch is really fun, and I want to make some more. I will post some mosaic heart earrings on my blog soon.

  38. @Jocelyn: You’re welcome, and thanks! :)

    @carolyn, Jocelyn: Do either of you have Kato Concentrates? The richest and most pearlescent Kato colours I have use them, but I probably shouldn’t send in a palette where all the recipes require Concentrates if nobody else has them!

  39. Oh, and I have to say a BIG thankyou to EVERYBODY for keeping the recent discussions pretty much on-topic. The blog is much more interesting and enjoyable again. :)

  40. Just a quick FYI: Since I’m back in my home territory temporarily I stopped at Michael’s in Carson City, NV, and YES! They had the mini-cutters. This Michael’s is rather small so I was extra thrilled to find them. I also noticed that they have much less Premo and much more Kato. Wonder if Sue F has been talking to them!

  41. That’s the first I’ve heard of Michael’s carrying Kato; maybe they’re testing at this Carson City store? That would be so nice, being able to buy locally. Yay! I’ve seen dozens of new supplies in the beefed-up clay aisles in 2 of my local Michael’s, but no Kato. One store carries extra jewelry supplies, too. Like metal/wire-working tools & supplies like hammers, anvils, ring mandrels, dapping blocks, copper sheet, rivets… Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout for Kato in my own Michael’s. Wonder if Catalina has the scoop on this…?

    @Loretta Carstensen: Love your bangles, Loretta—congrat’s on the sales! Looking forward to your hearts, too…

    @Sue F: Smart thinkin’–this is a handy tip! You may have saved many a clayer trouble with this one… I’m glad to hear the newer Premo is whiter than before. Although I’ve purchased lots of the new stuff, I didn’t notice yet. I’ve got it stored towards the back of my clay stash, so I’ll use the older stuff first. Having never seen Kato clay “in person,” I was intrigued when mentioned how much “whiter” it is. Now I don’t have to worry about getting my hands on it as quickly (although it looks like there’s a chance I’ll see it at Michaels soon!)

    @Freda K: Love the ol’ bra trick; it definitely works! Although in this weather, I don’t need it around here! I’m wondering about your question—are you talking about the how a teardrop blend gets wider sometimes? Or something else in the video?

    I’m afraid to say too much—as I tend to do. I don’t want to give anything away about Cindy’s Blend & Switch Technique or her Teardrop Blend method. But if your question is about how to keep the blend from getting too wide, Cindy has an article about it. It’s called, Are Your Skinner Blends Getting Too Wide For Your Pasta Machine?

    I tried to explain this very thing the other day in a comment (rather awkwardly!) I didn’t know about this post…! Good luck, and have fun!
    ~Kat

    • @Phaedrakat: No, I didn’t know that Michaels is selling Kato! At least in the Michigan and Ohio area. My son works at the Michaels in Allen Park (I work at the one in Southgate) and his store is the “Store of the Future”. Neither store carries Kato clay. (just between us, Hobby Lobby does carry the Kato brand.) it must be a test area in NV and I hope it comes my way.
      They just open a Hobby Lobby this year by my store and I went to check them out. They had signs all over saying: ALL POLYMER CLAY IS 50% OFF! WRONG! In very tiny print, about the size of one point text, it stated, Except Kato! Well, need I say more? I left without buying any. My eyes don’t like reading print that requires a magnifying glass. And I’m NEAR sighted!
      But from what Donna Kato can do with her cane work I bet it is a firm clay that would be better for this technique. But, I still think letting the clay sit awhile or placed in the refrigerator for ten minutes might help the sticking problem.
      Hey, maybe I can show this blog to my husband and tell him how I NEED a under the counter refrigerator to help me with my clay!! Then, all I need would be a kitchen sink! I could then clay 24/7!! Well, maybe not, I would still need to use the restroom …..hey, maybe…..ok, I’m going a little too far now, uh? LOL!!!

      • @Catalina: Hmmm! Maybe I am wrong about Kato at Michael’s. Wouldn’t be the first time. And I kind of doubt that NV would be a test site for anything except bombs. Maybe it was Fimo they increased. I’m afraid I won’t be back there for quite a while so I can’t double check. Sorry if I got it mixed up.

        • @carolyn: I think it is Fimo Carolyn, Michaels has Premo, Fimo, S3, and the generic clay made for Michaels. The place I got Kato from was Fire Mountain, I broke a PM (on my third now, destroyed one by taking it apart to clean and assembly wasn’t like Cindy’s Tutorial so gears got out of alignment) before I knew of the “difficulties” of conditioning Kato (BC – Before Cindy), I don’t drive so I can’t run it over unless I leave it in the street and let the public transit bus run over it, BUT then there’s the difficulty of extricating it from the street afterwards. Would like to try it again though.

          • @Ken H: Ken, hang on.. did everyone miss that? Or am I reading it wrong? You are saying you had trouble getting your clay off the street after one of the Philly buses ran it over, right? Maybe if you put parchment underneath it won’t stick.. ROFL!

          • @Tanya L: Absolutely Tanya, I agree! Parchment would work, but sometimes I prefer to just double bag my “street clay”. You should always use a proper release when using the city streets to soften up your Kato clay. It’s also a good bet to choose areas with lower speed limits, so your safety’s ensured while retrieving your newly softened clay… (LOL!)

          • @Tanya L: That’w what I was originally thinking but later on I remembered to old video game frogger and I got a chuckle out of that image more that trying to scrape up “bus conditioned” clay from the asphalt. I don’t bake either so no rolling pin either.

        • @carolyn: I could see Michaels doing that since Donna Kato has a lot of polymer classes and conventions in Las Vegas area. Maybe they have a greater need for Kato and they are trying to cater to them? But, then Michaels does a lot of things I think are not great when talking about marketing. But, they will listen to their customers. They are trying to push customer service to new heights. If a lot of people ask for Kato clay I’ m sure they will add it. How is everything with you? FB me when you got a chance.

    • @Phaedrakat: I wonder if this is a regional thing? I’ve not seen Kato in any of the Washington State craft stores I’ve been in. Of course, since I generally stick to the Everett/Lynnwood stores, I could be missing something.

      @Cindy. BTW… I grew up in Bellingham. You were pretty much my neighbor! :)

      • @Trish S: Could be, but Catalina knows her stuff re: Michaels! She works or worked (?) for them… (I’m sorry Catalina, I guess I don’t really know your “Michaels” status!) :D

        I, too, stick to the stores in my area, but we’re probably not “missing anything.” No one else has mentioned seeing it (at the blog,) and Kato clay at Michael’s is pretty big news for N. American clayers!

        Maybe we should follow Cat’s advice and request it. It would be wonderful to have Kato available in all stores! I’ve been wanting to try this clay for a very long time, but my enormous ‘existing stash’ always keeps me from ordering it online…

        Pasta Machine: it really does sound like a scraper problem. I read an article (think it was Cindy’s PM Cleaning tute post,) and they discussed how bad or no scrapers will cause the clay to go ’round & ’round. Maybe when you clean your PM you can try to straighten them out better. (I know I was able to “unstraighten” mine by accident, and then go back & fix afterwards—boy, that was fun!) Hopefully straightening them will fix the issue for you. Of course, be careful–they do bend easily!

        As far as creating thin sheets, Cindy mentions using file folders or card stock for this (the same way as wax paper trick.) Best of luck, & I hope you can fix your PM! Luckily, there’s that 40% coupon just in case… ;D

  42. I’m wondering if anyone has come across this problem. When I set my pasta machine to thinner settings (anything past a 4 on a 1-7 thick to thin scale), the clay will wrap around the roller and come back up through the machine, circling the roller. I’m not sure what caused this. Any ideas on how to fix it? I couldn’t seem to find this problem mentioned in the archives. If it is there, can someone point me in the right direction?

    Thanks so much!
    Trish

    • @Trish S: Did you try cleaning the rollers with alcohol? A build up of clay could make the clay stick.You could try to put the piece of clay on some wax paper before putting through the machine. Or the machine may need to be taken apart and cleaned. Other than that I’m not sure. Try it and let us know and maybe someone else can suggest another option.

    • @Trish S: Thanks for checking the search feature. You are right that this does not appear to be addressed. It sounds to me like your clay is too sticky. You might try leaving it on a piece of typing paper for a while before you try putting it through the thinnner setting. I think Catalina has some good thoughts on this also.

      • @carolyn: Thanks @Carolyn and @Catalina! I’ve tried the cleaning with alcohol and the waxed sheets. I think I might have bent something when I was trying to clean some really soft clay off of it a while back, but I’m not sure. It could be “take apart and clean” time. If all else fails, I do have a 40% coupon at Michaels!

        • @Trish S: Well, Trish, at least in my area my store and my son’s store have clearances out the pasta machine last year. BUT, our competitors, Joanns and Hobby Lobby, do sell one and they both take Michaels coupons!

          @Kat, yes, I’m still at Michaels, but of course I’m on a leave of absent due to the surgeries. I finaly went back to my store to shop today and they want me back. When I told them three more weeks my boss just sighed! Nice to know they miss me. But, I like not having to get up early. Not unless it is to play with clay!!!! Or like if it was FRIDAY and I want to be the first or one of the first, to see the new video!! BTW, tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

  43. I’ve had a houseguest for 2 weeks…1 week to go…haven’t been near my studio and just now got to watch this video. Cindy, you are brilliant!! This is a wonderful technique. I just hope I have time to try it out soon.

  44. Trish, I hate to say this, but, I think once the machine does this, it’s very hard to fix. Had it happen twice and still have the Atlas pieces in a bag, lol. The new pasta machines are inexpensive and work well from what I’ve seen, especially Makins. Bite the bullet and treat yourself to a new one. A good machine makes clay work soooo much easier.

    • @Jocelyn: I haven’t used an Atlas, but I’m guessing it has much sturdier scrapers, that are harder to fix once bent. I have a “cheapo” Amaco machine I bought 5-6 years ago at Michaels. You’re probably right about Trish’s machine, but I was able to fix my scrapers just fine. I’m guessing it’s because they’re made of a flimsier material. (They sure felt flimsy—that’s why they got bent! LOL)

      I also have the Sculpey “Clay Conditioning Machine”, which I thought I bought at Michael’s, too. But maybe it was JoAnn’s (or maybe I got one of the last ones before Michael’s put ‘em on clearance.) Anyway, they really are inexpensive, especially if you have a coupon. Mine was $12.50!

      Trish: It would be so nice if you could get a new one and fix your existing PM, too. Then you could use one for white/translucent clay, and the other for the rest! Less cleaning involved, and less rubbing those problematic scrapers!

      Sister Cat, I’ll bet they DO miss you at work. I’m happy you’re enjoying your time off and sleeping in, but sorry about the reason. :(

      I’ll message you on FB tonight if I can, since I’ve been thinking of you & your next “appt.” I’m curious about the exact date. Tomorrow is Friday, but be careful—it’s the 13th! Scary! ;D

  45. I’m planning on trying to fix the machine before I purchase another machine. At least this way I’ll KNOW if I’ll need one or not.

    It would be nice to have a machine for translucent and one for darker colors. I use Premo! Frost for much of my work and I’ve found it really difficult to condition without using the food processor or PM or other softener.

    • @Trish S: Have you tried to cut very thin slices and stagger them and then use the roller to flatten them? Then you place it in the pasta machine to finish conditioning? I do this a lot and found it to be much eaiser to condition. I hardly spend but a few minutes conditioning the clay. One little section at a time works best.

  46. Help at last, LOL. Donna Kato has a free video on how to condition her clay at her new educational site. Takes 5.5 minutes. Like the technique, and I’ll try to adapt it to all my clay. I’ll get the link and post it later.

    • @Jocelyn: Donna has made that conditioning info available before, although not in that kind of video format, I guess! It works extremely well and is much more effective than the other approaches I’ve tried.

      I first saw the technique described at Over the Rainbow, an Australian polymer clay (and other stuff) supplier:

      polymerclay.com.au/polymer-clay-kato-polyclay-c-21_446_493.html

      I use a variation of the technique because I’m not patient enough to do the acrylic roller stage; I described my variation here: Conditioning Kato

      I don’t add Kato Clear Medium because I don’t want my Kato any softer for normal use, but on the extremely rare occasions when I do want to soften it (e.g. for extruding), I smear a small amount evenly over the surface of the rolled-out polyclay, wait for a few minutes, then fold and roll it in. If you just put a blob of Clear Medium on the clay, even if it’s just a little, it can get squeezed out the sides of the folded clay and make a mess.

  47. Thanks Sue! Good ideas!

    I can see that I have been making life hard on myself conditioning the way I have….I fold to quickly, and it slows down the whole process.

  48. Apologies to Doug! Sorry, forgot to edit out the link!

    Can we edit our remarks? If so, how?

    ADDED NOTE:
    Once comments are posted, you are not able to edit them Jocelyn. And with links, the spam software for this blog is programed to automatically “strip out” external links because it assumes they are spam related. ~Doug

  49. I have successfully made two pendants with this Blend and Switch technique but find that once they have been sanded and buffed they are quite bendy which gives a plastic feel to them which isn’t nice. I like the natural sheen and don’t want to use the UV resin (which I don’t have anyway!) and wonder if the flexibility is normal because the clay is quite thin or if it is due to the type of clay I use — Cernit. Any suggestions and comments would be most welcome.

  50. Just to say that the extra curing (150° for 30 mins) worked perfectly with the Cernit clay! My pendants are really stiff and look and feel SO much better.

    • @Susan B: Thanks for testing this and getting back to us so quickly. I’ll take Sue F’s word for it that Premo never will get stiff if rolled real thin. So good to know that both Cernit (which I don’t have) and Kato (which I do have) will stiffen with longer baking.

      I have not found Cernit at Michael’s or JoAnn’s in Carson City, NV. Any other places to look when I’m on the road?

      And Susan B – Why do you use Cernit as compared to Premo?

      • @carolyn: It comes down to a choice between Fimo and Cernit because that is all I can find in my local shops! (I live in Florence, Italy). Every now and then I order some Premo on-line to do a particular Cindy technique but for my regular use I prefer to go out and buy it so I can clay straight away! I am sorry but I have no names of stores to give you for Cernit in the US but luckily you do have some Kato.

        @Sue F: I find Cernit pretty good on the whole although the amount of conditioning needed sometimes varies considerably from colour to colour so I have to be careful when making a blend that all the clays are of the same consistency. Anyway thanks again for your input I am so happy that even my thin pendants can be stiff!

        • @Susan B: A few of our Vancouver,BC guild members are doll makers and use Cernit or Prosculpt almost exclusively for their doll making. They really appreciate that translucent porcelain-like finish. I tried Cernit once for a sculpting demo at one of our meetings but found it too soft.

          • @Lawrence: How strange…I find that Cernit is quite firm, especially compared to Premo. Which type of clay do you use? It appears that the Cernit which is made in Belgium is softer than the stuff made in Germany and the fact that some of the colours seems softer than other could be either to do with the colour or perhaps the age of the clay. I too had heard that doll makers use Cernit and that there is whole range of flesh-coloured Cernit available for this use.

  51. I/m off to NY tomorrow early morning , won’t be back till Friday night; so just wanted to let you know so you won’t worry if there’s no post. have a good week guys and keep smiling.

    • Hobby Lobby has Cernit on their website, so perhaps they have it in their stores, as well…

      @Cheryl Hodges: Have a safe trip, Cheryl! Hope you have a good time, and see some beautiful things… :D

      @Susan B.: Hi Susan! I’m so happy everything worked out with your ‘now-stiff’ pendants! I wonder, did you increase the temp to 150C when you baked the extra 30 min, or is that your usual baking temperature?

      The reason I’m curious is the convo you had with Nevena back in April. Nevena was having cracking issues when baking her (thin) roses — using Cernit, at 130C. She discovered that increasing the temp to 150C fixed the problem. Here’s the link to that discussion with Nevena about Cernit & different manufacturers, just in case you wanted another look.

      Please forgive me if you already have this marked (or do not need it!) Sometimes I’m a bit too eager trying to help… ;D LOL! ~Kat

      • @Phaedrakat: I usually cure everything at 110° for 60 minutes which works just fine, however, having reread the comments you linked to (thanks for the link!) am wondering if the Cernit would turn out even better by curing it from the start at the higher temperature. More testing…

  52. Well I have to tell ya about my blend and switch experience….I couldn’t wait to try it so I got all my stuff together or all I could remember. I had so much fun! I made a couple of mistakes. I started out with my clay being too thin so I struggled with it for a little bit but it still turned out good. I used plain regular clay so my pieces had more of a camo look which was fine. But I am going to try the pearl soon. I love the way Cindy’s pieces look. After my pieces cooled I put the UV sealant on and found a few bubbles. I couldn’t remember exactly how Cindy said to remove them and I knew it had to do with heat and I was too lazy to turn the computer back on sooooooo I got the blow dryer out, set the first piece down, turned on the dryer and proceeded to blow my pendant across the room. And of course it landed face down. What made it worse is my husband saw the whole thing. THEN I remembered what Cindy said…..use a torch or cigarette lighter. Which I did on the other piece and it worked perfectly. Thank you Cindy!!!

    • @Jayne Shankle: Hi Jayne! You and me are sooo alike! I do the same thing. I mean, I didn’t do that,[ :) ] – but I think I know enough to start playing and forget a step and I try to make do and then I end up going back to the video!! I have no excuse either. My computer is on my Clay Station and in plain view! But, I get excited and just jump right in! Glad you’re having fun!

  53. Hi Cindy, I’ve just today tried, the gingham cane, and the blend and switch.
    I see a few things you point out that are valuable. I do need to use more clay. The blend and switch is too thin, but I finally tried it.I have to work on making the cut edges come together.I will learn!! I have to put everything away now but I really am glad you’re there.

  54. @stephanie: Hi Stephanie, so happy you’re enjoying your videos & projects! Cindy’s Blend & Switch tutorial is a member favorite…so much fun, & turns out beautiful! Not sure if you read all the comments in this thread…when the video originally came out, several people worried their sheets were too thin. So lots of ideas and work-arounds were tossed around here in this thread — like keeping the clay cool or using firmer clay (for the cut outs.) For thin sheets, try a backing sheet, or this method that Sue F described in her comment…

    I think there’s more here, too, and probably at the other Blend & Switch thread (the one w/video preview on it — link in the first paragraph of this post.) Good luck with your creations; hope you have lots of fun! ~Kat

    • @Phaedrakat:
      Thank you Phaedrakat, I will check into them.Yes I beleive after I let the clay rest I will put a blask or beige back on. I wanted to make some clay toggles to go with my seed beading.

  55. HELP! I am having so much trouble getting bead holes centered. I have tried using a template…I have tried going straight through…I have tried going part way through on one end and then doing the same on the other end…and they just never look centered. Does anyone have a fail-proof way of making perfectly centered holes in round, square, or rocker beads????? :o(

    • @stephanie: That is so great that you are giving these techniques a shot. Always remember, some things take a little practice. If it isn’t perfect the first time, it will be better the next and so on. Phaedrakat did a great job in pointing you towards the info on this blog that will help. Anytime you have a question, using the search box at the top of the page will help you to find answers quickly.

      @Phaedrakat: Thanks for helping Stephanie like that!

      @Jayne Shankle: Hi Jayne! Getting the holes straight on a polymer clay bead does take some practice. You are on the right track, you probably just need to do more of them. I do have some tips on putting holes in beads, in my Basics Course if you are interested. I have provided a link by my name just above, to the video preview clip for the course video that may be helpful for you.

    • @Jayne Shankle: Like Cindy says, practice. I think I’m pretty good at it now, and I’m happy to explain how I do it, but I do think that it’s something that won’t truly make sense until you get the “feel” of it.

      * First of all, let your beads cool down before you pierce them, warm beads will distort easily.
      * Cornstarch on your piercing pin/needle.
      * I hold the bead in my non-dominant hand (my left, because I’m right-handed) and the tool in the dominant.
      * Work really slowly, a little at a time.
      * Pierce a little way in, rotating the needle as you go.
      * Then let go of the bead and continue to rotate the needle, so you can see the bead from all angles. You’ll be able to see if the hole’s already going wonky and you can correct if necessary, by pushing the needle in at a different angle.
      * Take the needle out, and dip in cornstarch again.
      * Repeat the piercing/checking/correcting/re-cornstarching cycle until the needle is just about to erupt from the other side (so you can see the little lump where it’s coming up), then remove the tool and finish the hole from the “exit” side.

      For rocker beads or square beads, where it’s important for the exit hole to be exactly in the middle of a side, I find it easier to initially pierce 3/4 of the way through, checking all the time that the hole is heading in the right direction, then do the rest from the exit side so your exit hole is perfectly positioned. If you’ve made a decent job of the entrance hole the two should meet up fine.

      Round beads are actually a little easier because there are no sides or corners to make it obvious if your holes are very slightly off.

      Hope this helps! It’s really hard to explain but much easier to do once you get the hang of it. You could also try rotating the bead and not the needle if that works better for you. Let us know how you get on!

  56. AWESOME input Silverleaf!!!

    We totally need to come up with a way to
    implement a “Community Service Awards” program.

    Posting helpful comments like this is so valuable to so many of the members (and non-members), who follow this blog.

    I personally think that providing recognition for community service helpfulness, would be VERY fun and rewarding.

    What do you guys think?

  57. Now, for a little off topic….Several of us clayers would like to meet up in Chicago on June 23 to June 26, 2011! I have a former manager of the North Chicago Michaels willing to lend us his classroom for our “ClayStock!” FREE of charge!! (He is doing this as a favor to me! Michaels don’t “lend” or “rent” their classrooms, but this guy is really cool!)
    You can post your interest on More Than Clay FB page. You can contact Linda Kropp to join if not already a member. If you can’t make it we will try to Skype so you can “meet” everyone! Lisa Whitman has been doing a lot of leg work on this get together but has been a little under the weather. You can contact her, too, for more info, as well.
    I hope to meet many of you! This could be so much fun!!! Hope to see you in Chicago!!!!

  58. People here are so very helpful and I don’t think any of them want or need a reward system. I know that they will continue to help when they know the answer to a problem without looking for their name on a “list”.

  59. That would be nice if Cindy could make it. A new laptop is not in the budget right now, :( but IS on the wish list.

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