The Rolling Technique In My Teardrop Method Will Help You to Solve This Problem:
A couple of weeks ago I published a video tutorial in the members library on how to make quick and easy polymer clay color blends. Due to popular demand, this video has been made available for public viewing… but only for a limited time. As of today, you can still access the full tutorial without being a member at the library. Instructions are provided here: Lietz Teardrop Method
I’m so pleased to see how excited everyone is about this new technique. To date there have been over 125 very enthusiastic comments posted by polymer clayers ranging from complete newbies right up to advanced professionals. Thank you so much to all of you who shared your kind words. I really appreciate it!
In reading through the feedback, one topic that came up several times was about a common problem that many clayers experience with making color blends…
“One problem, as I also have with the older Skinner Blend… How do you keep the piece from becoming so broad that it doesn’t have room to go through the pasta machine? For most projects, I would like to have a SQUARE piece, not a narrow, broad piece.” ~Van
“Thanks for sharing the video with all of us, Cindy. I like the fact that you can use so many more colours in the blend. Does it still spread out as much as doing the regular blend? I find that I lose the outside colours as it spreads out wider than the pasta machine opening when doing the standard version.” ~Rosemary
As with all Skinner type color blends, your clay sheet will get a bit wider each time you feed it through your pasta machine. To address this issue, many polymer clay artists try and smush in the sides of the sheet after each pass.
Or they use little tricks like making wedge shaped gadgets to place in the pasta machine to reduce the opening. Lynn Watts shared some information about some of these tricks in one of her comments…
“I want to pass along a little hint to Van. Use a piece of dowel cut to the size within the inside of your pasta machine to the width that you want your blend to remain. You can really use whatever you have to keep your clay from spreading out too widely. I have seen some use a strong rectangle magnetic covered in clay of course to sit on the top half above the rollers to keep the clay at a certain width. Things the clay would not readily stick too.” ~Lynn
With my Teardrop Method, you can easily adjust the width of the blend right after you have rolled it up into a log, and before you flatten it out to pass it through the pasta machine.
While it is in this log stage, you can gently massage the ends inwards to shorten up the overall length of the log. Try to ‘work’ the middle section of the log too. You don’t want to just jam in the ends without also compressing the middle, or a lot of the original colors at each end of your blend may disappear.
If you are still losing most of the end colors, start with larger balls of clay at each end to compensate for this problem. With the old way of doing the skinner blend this was a little trickier to plan out. Now it’s as easy as grabbing more clay.
Thank you to Sue, Caroline and Terri for your comments about this log shortening trick…
“…one other advantage over rolling the blend-in-progress into a cylinder compared to the standard fold technique is that you can easily shorten it at the cylinder stage before flattening it for the next pass through the pasta machine. That’s an easy way to control the width… e.g. to stop small blends from becoming impractically wide, or to keep it off the edges of the machine if they discolour the clay more, or just if you want a narrow blend. Looking forward to seeing more of your ideas!” ~Sue
“That was great, Cindy – thanks! The flattened roll of clay tends to get wider and wider – I shall try pushing the roll in from the ends before rolling it flatter. Keep up the good work!” ~Caroline
“Wow, this is a great technique. No more weird edges with my Skinner blends!” ~Terri
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Limited Access So Please Watch The Video As Soon As Possible. Thanks.
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