Tear Drop Method | The Quickest Skinner Blend You’ll Ever Make

Quick Skinner Blend TechniqueVid #95: Get Smooth Polymer Clay Color Gradients 10 Times Faster:

If the normal Skinner Blend method of rolling, cutting and placing flat triangles of clay seems tedious to you (or difficult to understand)… then you are going to love my tear drop approach to making beautiful and smooth polymer clay color gradients.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Judith Skinner is a true Polymer Clay Hero. She came up with a clay color blending technique (The Skinner Blend) that vastly improved upon the original Stepped Method for mixing and blending polymer clay colors.

Before Judith came along, polymer clay artists used this Stepped Method to laboriously measure and mix clay colors more like a cooking recipe. For example, to make a blended color sheet that went from white to blue, you would mix separate color batches starting with 1 part blue + 5 parts white; Then 2 parts blue + 4 parts white; Then 3 parts blue + 3 parts white; And so on until you had six shades of blue from light to dark.

Then these shades were stacked to get a gradated blend. The more shades you made, the smoother the blend appeared. But it was always ‘stepped’ and never perfect. And as you can imagine, it was a ton of work!

Then Judith showed up and used her scientific brain to devise a much easier and faster method.

  • She cut out 2 matching flat triangle pieces using 2 different colors…
  • Flipped one of the triangles so that its diagonal could be butted up against the other one to form a rectangle…
  • Did an end to end fold over of the rectangle and passed it through a pasta machine.

After more folding and multiple passes through the pasta machine, she ended up with a seamless color blended sheet…without all the hassle of individually measuring and mixing each shade variation. Much better!

A process of steps like that seems like it should have taken some time for Judith Skinner to think up. But I read something about her once where she said it actually just came to her quickly. The background she had with math and science gave her a logical approach to the problem, and she went with it.

Well that is kind of what happened to me… though in a far less scientific manner and in more of a winging it kind of way.

I hate to measure. Oh I’ll do it if I have to. But if I can get away with eyeballing something I will. So the process of… rolling sheets of clay… cutting them into triangles… flipping and repositioning to make multi-colored rectangles… folding… blending… well it all seems a bit fussy to me.

And then it dawned on me one
day when I was making some teardrop shapes of clay. You
know the ball of clay that you
can shape into a point at one
end by rolling it in your palms
to form a V-shape? Yeah…
that teardrop.
Single Polymer Clay Tear Drop
Row Of Tear Drops Anyway, two colors of clay teardrops were laying side by side in opposite directions and it struck me that they were triangles! If I just squashed them together they would basically end up achieving the same effect as what happens with a Skinner Blend. Cool!
Then with some more fooling around, I figured out how to roll the blend instead of folding it so that it would blend almost ten times faster!

 

This meant instead of taking ten minutes to make a blend from start to finish, I could do one in under a minute! Very Cool!

Flattened Tear Drops

Now I could even do tiny little test blends to see if I liked it before committing to a large batch, since this technique is very quick and easy to do, even with very tiny amounts of clay.

And… doing multi-colored blends with a whole rainbow of colors is a snap with this technique! No more figuring out exactly how to cut the right shapes so that they will fit together. No more measuring, cutting or fussing around. Easy and fast. Now that’s my kind of Skinner Blend!

For lack of a better name, I’ve coined this modified Skinner Blend technique as the Tear Drop Method. I made a full tutorial video that will be posted in Volume-009 at the Members Library later this week. But the sneak preview clip is available to watch right now… a bit further down on this page.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor



 



Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Teardrop Blend” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-009 Back Issue Package.

In the “Quick Skinner Blend” video I demonstrate an alternative method for creating color gradients very quickly and easily. The process is much faster than the traditional Skinner Blend technique. Specific topics covered in the video include:

  • How to combine a whole rainbow of colors in your blends.
  • Using teardrop shaped clay pieces instead of flat triangles.
  • Making this technique work even if you don’t have a pasta machine.
  • Doing quick test color blends without using up a bunch of clay.
  • Perfect for anyone who doesn’t like to do a lot of measuring.

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Comments

  1. Glad to hear this idea was helpful. I added a couple more pictures to this post than usual, so that everyone is real clear on how the basic concept works for this Tear Drop method.

    But the members video that will get posted later in the week, goes into more detail about how to really speed up the process. It also shows a super easy way to adjust the amount of each color in your blended gradients.

    When I first starting playing with this color gradient technique, I thought it was going to be something that I only used for doing quickie tests with tiny bits of clay to see if certain colors would look good together.

    But now I’m finding this tear drop method is producing such nice results, that I’m no longer doing Skinner Blends the traditional way. It really is a huge time saver not having to prep and cut out flat triangles that have to be passed through the Pasta machine 30 times before you get to a smooth blend.

  2. Cindy!!! You are brilliant!!! I personally think that this should be, and I will call this from here on, “THE LIETZ METHOD”!!! Cindy, you deserve the credit!!! You may just be recognized on a large scale in the PC world for this one, just as Judith Skinner has been for her method!!!

    I am looking forward to trying this very soon!!! As I always have said to my kids, “good jobbie”!!!

    :) Cindy E.

  3. I’m one of the people in South Africa trying out polymer clay and WOH what a wonderful way to form with your hands some bead or heart! I’m now after a year experimenting ready to sell a piece or more.
    Very impressed with lots of info on the Internet for us.

  4. @Cindy E: Thank you! You are a sweetheart! You’ll going to love doing the skinner blends this way! Especially when you see the rolling trick in the video!

    @Marthie: Welcome from South Africa! Love having you here! Glad you are enjoying all the information. Thank you so much for your comment!

  5. You definitely need to include your name in the blend technique. I also encourage you to write and submit an article for Polymer Clay Cafe magazine. You deserve the recognition and it would be a great way to continue to market your tutorials and business.

  6. That is a wonderful way of doing the Skinner Blend! I can hardly wait to try it out!! I have gotten so much help from your tutorials and look forward each week to what you are going to share next.

  7. Now you’re talkin’ Cindy! This is just what I mean about you being such an asset to the polymer clay online community. And you are so generous to share this brilliant idea with all of us. I know this will save myself and many others a load of time. Gotta love that! Thank you so much.(thankin’ lucky stars again for finding your website!) Have a great day.

    XOXO Jamie

  8. Sheer genius, and thanks to be that you are a sharer. Just cut my workload down by such an amount that now I will have time to experiment with more new techniques.

    This one tip just about paid back a lot of money invested in subscription as a time and clay saver.

    Congrats, and keep up the great work!

  9. This is awesome, sometimes the old skinner method is boring and somewhat tedious at times. I will definitely try this one. Thanks to your husband! It never amazes me the things that we learn on your website…thanks. I love the color blends.

  10. @Diana: Thank you so much! I am glad you look forward to the videos each week. That really makes my day!

    @Jamie: I am thanking my lucky stars to have found you too! Your comments and support have been a huge asset here! Thank you so much!

    @Marie: That is cool Marie! Looks like great minds do think alike! I’m glad you like the rolling part. It really does speed things up!

    @Jocelyn: Thanks! Time and clay saved is just what I’m trying to do with the members library. I am so glad you said that! You made my day too!

    @Lupe: I find doing all the measuring for the multicolored blends quite tedious too! Isn’t it fun to have such an easy way to do it? Thanks as always for your wonderful comments!

  11. I HAVE DONE THE SKINNER BLEND ALOT OF TIMES. YES IT IS TIME CONSUMING BUT WORTH IT. I CAN’T WAIT TO LEARN YOUR TEARDROP METHOD. THE BLENDS GIVE YOU SO MUCH COLOR IN A SINGLE SHEET WHEN THE BLEND IS COMPLETE. WHEN I ALSO GET EVEN BETTER AT COLOR MIXING(WHICH I WILL BE LEARNING FROM YOU AS WELL)I WILL WELL BE ON MY WAY TO PRODUCE BEAUTIFUL ITEMS AS YOU HAVE. THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING YOUR TRIED AND TRUE METHODS FOR ALL OF US NEWBIES,AND OLDIES. YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. LYNN WATTS

  12. I tried it Cindy, Whoozer so simple and quick. I have dubbed your blend the Lietz Speedy Blend. Thanks for all your work and willingness to share with all of us out here.

  13. @Lynne: Thank you so much for your support! I hope you enjoy making blends this way. The teardrop method is so quick and easy, you’ll be surprised!

    @Illaya: The Lietz Speedy Blend sounds so cute! Kinda like how I talk, Eh? Thanks for your comment!

    @Jenny: Hey back and thanks for the kind words! Let us know how you like it!

    @Paul: You’re welcome! Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate it!

    @Susan: That’s great! Thanks for commenting!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this great information. I am new to polymer clay, and I certainly appreciate your web site and all the wonderful teaching you do.
    B.J.

  15. Oh wow… what a brilliant technique! I would never have even thought to do something like this. I have wanted to do some miniature skinner blends for sunset pendants for a while now but couldn’t figure out how to make them small enough. Thank you, thank you thank you! Gotta go roll some teardrops now!!!

  16. Thanks Cindy for the tutorial. I had a go at this last night and instead of rolling it up I used the pasta machine and it came out fabulous!! I just kinda guessed at how you would do it and it worked for me.

    I’m new to making beads with Fimo. The finished pieces are beautiful and knowing I’ve made the actual beads gives my a thrill.
    Thank you very much for your help….Liz

  17. Hi Cindy
    just love this idea and can’t wait to try it.
    I can see how quick it must be.
    So simple wonder it hadn’t been used before this.
    Anyway it should be called the Leitz Blend, so keep that in mind. Hope you do a Tut in Polymer Cafe about it if poss.
    Thanks for all the nice blend I love them all.
    Elizabeth from Australia.

  18. Cindy, You are amazing! As I travel around the country, I am constantly checking at Art Shows for other PC Artists, there are so few/or none at all. It amazes me that such an awesome & versatile medium still has so little exposure to the general public. Of course, those of us using PC think everyone knows about it, but in my experience it “ain’t” so. I head for Columbia, SC for 2 months & then to Upper NY, for the summer, and will be checking out those states. I will also be playing with your new method. I can hardly wait. Hmmmm…Now how many different colors can I get from this process:)

    Your the BEST!

    Bev

  19. Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for letting me watch this tutorial. I have learned a lot and will certainly use this technique!

    Greetings,
    Sandra from The Netherlands

  20. hi cindy:

    just watched your video and can’t wait to try it. i can tell already that rolling the sheet instead of folding it before each pass will really cut down on air bubbles.
    thanks so much for taking the time to develop and share such great time saving technique.

    wanda

  21. Cindy,
    I watched you video and had to run right down to my studio and try it. I have always had trouble with the Skinner with more than two colors because I have trouble getting the triangles even. This is so much easier.

    Thanks,

    Donna

  22. Great tutorial, I am now using this technique and it really does make the whole blending process so much quicker. What I enjoy the most about your videos, Cindy, are all the little tips that you share not just the main subject. For instance, your method for making the tear drops is a time saver as is the rolling of the sheets. I am becoming a better clayer by being a subscriber. Thank you and many Blessings coming your way.

  23. Pretty neat. ;)

    I particularly like this as a way to try out multi-colour blends or to do small blends. (Being a total control freak I’d still use sheets for two-colour blends, or when I want something to be accurately reproducible though.)

    By the way, 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!

  24. Cindy,

    Thank you SO much for making this video public long enough for your newsletter subscribers as well as library members to view it. It’s a wonderfully efficient and very versatile technique for achieving a smooth color blend. I hope you know how much your generosity and your many contributions to the PC community are valued and appreciated!

    Thanks again.

    Margaret

  25. 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

  26. Cindy,

    Wow! That was great. I can’t wait to try it. I always did have a problem trying to figure out the triangles when I wanted to do more than two colors. I just love your website!!!!

    Susie

  27. I’ve tried the Skinner blend once, it was so complicated for me, a newbie, I just gave up, thinking I’d try again after more clay experience. Your method seems so much simplier, I’m going to try it today. Thanks for sharing. I love your site. Anytime I want to try something new I check here first. Thanks again for all you do.

  28. Wow Cindy! This is the first of your videos I have watched, and I have to say what a nice job! The camera angles were great and the picture was very bright and clear. Much better than the blurry, dark, jumpy videos I have seen elsewhere. If all your vids are this well done, then what a value your membership really is! Thank you so very much for sharing this one in particular with all of us. I am sure everyone who watches this will be able to use this method easily after watching you do it. Even if they have been intimidated by the skinner blend in the past. What a sweetheart you are to give us all this chance to see it. XOXO Jamie

  29. Thanks Cindy. I can’t wait to try this technique. Being able to blend multiple colors easily will make for greater creativity.

  30. Cindy, thanks for being so generous and sharing your new method. I tried it yesterday without viewing your video and came out with good results, but watching the video made it much easier to understand. Rolling it up makes a big difference. Thanks again.
    Janet Allen

  31. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am a member of your newsletter group, but not for the library and this had me really curious. Yes, I could have probably figured it out from your descriptions, but a picture (in this case video) is worth a thousand words. Thanks, again, Sue Castle

  32. Thanks so much for the video! I like to “see” things done…..and now I definately feel like I could give this a go! Such a cool idea! I love things simple! Thanks again,
    Kam

  33. This quick skinner blend tutorial was awesome. As I am new to polymer clay, this is the pefect new method for me.

    Thank you!
    K.W.

  34. 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!

  35. Cindy, Thank you so much for sharing your quick teardrop method of the skinner blend. You are so sweet for sharing with me, and I can’t wait to give it a try.
    Peg :)

  36. it’s amazing to me that anyone can come up witha new faster idea. I can follow any directions but I am not creative or innovative. I am grateful that you are willing to share your ideas.Thankyou Sue

  37. Wow!! Thank you so much for posting this to the public. I love the fact that you don’t need a pasta machine for this since I currently don’t have one in my arsenal. Thanks again! I’ll be trying this out as soon as I can!

  38. 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.

  39. wow cindy! I went to the clay table and tried it right out. I love the Skinner blend but it always took so long to do it and with my arthritic hands I would end up in pain before I was even finished. This one is so much faster and easier, thankyou so much for sharing it with us. I will always think of, and refer this one as the “Leitz blend. Much mahalo, Norieta in Hawaii

  40. Now that makes more sense! I am not one to measure and
    be exact about things either. Doing it that way does not
    intimidate me as much as having to cut all those little triangles. To tell you the truth, it makes me want to try the skinner blend, whereas before I didn’t want to be bothered. Thanks for the shortcut!!

  41. Your “Lietz Blend” is pure genius! Artforms progress when one builds on the foundation laid by another. Thanks so much for sharing this video for a limited time. We appreciate that!

  42. Nicely done, Cindy! Having only seen the preview last week I was trying to figure out how you had shortened it. I had just decided on the way home from work today that I would try to figure out the technique based on the description you had written before you published the full version. Nice to see how it all comes together.

    Kudos! You are to be congratulated on your creativity, your generosity, and your exceptional teaching skills.

  43. This is an exciting video! I have tried to make a skinner blend a few times and didn’t really like my results. I can’t wait to try your method – a method that should bear your name! Thank you!!!

  44. I am new to polymer clay and yet even I recognize the innovative brilliance of this technique. I have only a roller and don’t plan to invest in more tools, so this is perfect for me.

    Thank you for sharing the video.

  45. Thank you so much for making this video available to all of us, members and non-members! You really are brilliant and I love your creativity. And who wouldn’t want to save a little time on their skinner blends? (Though I confess I like running it through and watching the colors blend slowly.)

  46. Your teardrop method of blending is just too simple. I like the idea that you only need to use a small portion of clay to test out color combinations. thank-you!

  47. Thank you for the shortened version! It will definitely help when making multiple blends at once. Thank you for your generosity.

  48. This was a wonderful video. You really make it easy for a new clay artist like myself. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.

  49. Great stuff! I don’t have a pasta machine, and have had only little success in making skinner blends with my roller. I’ll try these tips. Especially about rolling the clay instead of folding it halfway.
    Thank you.

  50. I love the teardrop Skinner blend! It hadn’t occurred to me that I could use more than one color plus white in a flower petal. This worked great.

  51. What a great idea! I know this would work best for me when I just want to do smaller skinner blends (which is most of the time). Might be a little more difficult with the stiffer clays like Kato but could still work if they are well conditioned. Thanks for your tip! I love it!

  52. Hi Cindy,
    thanks for sharing this method. I don’t have much patience making sheets and cutting triangles and usually just make triangular handformed wedges when blending, but I like your method of then rolling the sheet into a jellyroll, flattening with brayer and rolling it through machine again.

  53. Wow, that was awesome! I have been playing with the idea of purchasing your course and the weekly videos, and now I’m convinced that it will be worth it! I’ve been wanting to play with clay for awhile, but am a little afraid of it. I SO want to make some of the flower canes to make the trumpet flower beads. Thanks!

  54. Tina said: “…usually just make triangular handformed wedges when blending…” Yup. On top of that, when I tried this new method, sometimes I rolled on an angle to get more of one color into the other. I need more practice with this.

  55. Very good, I have done a similar thing but was using the pasta machine, with not so perfect teardrops. Your technique of rolling the log with the acrylic roller then rolling the log from the bottom is the secret to speeding up the blend. A question, did you premix any of your colors? Thank you for your sharing heart.

  56. Hi, Cindy,

    Great tutorial! I see teardrop blends in my future. Your method is much easier than trimming up all those triangles. Clay is fun, but I flub things up without even trying. This looks like it just may be a flub-proof method. This is exciting. Thanks!

  57. I thought your skinner blend method was wonderful – will definitely try and and I think it is simpler then the usual one.
    Thank you for demonstrating it.

  58. hi Cindy & greetings from South Australia.

    thank you, thank you, thank you.
    as a newbie clayer & ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kind of gal, i found the precision measuring of the traditional skinner blend more than a little off putting – although the results are beautiful. i had most trouble with cutting the angles of the triangles.

    your new method is VERY exciting, & have just altered my plans for my day off today, to include some experimentation of your technique.
    so once again, thanks for your generous sharing of knowledge & want to say how much inspiration i get from your wonderful site.

    cheers,
    sharispice

  59. I just learned how to do a skinner blend and I LOVE this because I am such a unexact person at being able to visually measure clay amounts.

    Also it is much simpler for me to remember

    boy I need that!

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

    Lisa in AZ

  60. […] has written several articles on the technique so far, so go check them out and read all about it. She also has […]

  61. Cindy,

    Thank you for sharing your ingenious discovery. I love it and look forward to trying it myself this weekend. I enjoy your tips and hope to become a member someday in the near future.

    Helen

  62. i want to pass along alittle 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 to 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 Watts hope this helps

  63. Shear genius! Thanks so much for sharing this technique. Not only is it faster, it is far easier to get successful blends without all the trial and error.

  64. Thank You everyone!!!! I wish I could respond to each of you individually to say thanks, but that would mean I’d run out of time to make more videos… and that wouldn’t be good!

    I will be writing a separate post or two to address any questions that were asked above, so that everything gets addressed properly. Also thanks to those of you who added tips of your own. This is very helpful to your fellow clayers and I’m sure they appreciate it!

    Also a big thanks to Sandy from Simple Inspirations and Chica and Jo for posting on their blogs about this Teardrop color blending technique! That was wonderful!! Huge Hugs and Kisses go to you guys!

    I love you all! And please do keep those comments coming… the video is still available for public viewing as of this writing.

    Cindy

  65. I was wondering if you ever put the clay through vertically instead of horizontally. Would that ruin the blend? It’s just that I was noticing that during the video, it was starting to get too wide for the pasta machine. I am excited to try it because I have never gotten the skinner blend to work nicely.

    Thanks!

  66. Betsy Butler Use Teardrop Method

    Hi Cindy, I love the teardrop color blend – here’s a picture of a candle holder I made. I made a blend of yellow to orange to red, for the roses in here.

    I came up with the best way to make the candle holders – I press lots of flower and leaf slices together on top and bottom, and a sheet in the middle, then put it all through the pasta machine together – it makes it all one piece, like the flowers were painted on there! ~Betsy

  67. Wow Betsy! That candle holder is just beautiful! Thank you for sharing the cool tip on how you did it. I cant wait to try it. And now it will be easy peasy with Cindy’s new method. I just love new ideas!! XOXO Jamie

  68. @Monica: I will be writing a post to answer your question so stay tuned!

    @Betsy: Love your rose cane! The blend turned out wonderful! Neat candle dish too. It is so pretty and the idea you had for sandwiching the cane slices between a sheet of clay was perfect!

    @Jamie: Thank you for your sweet comment. I am sure Betsy really appreciated it!

  69. Hi, Cindy!
    I’ve just watched your video three times and all I can say is: Cindy Lietz- genius among us!
    Not only the teardrop shapes are helping a lot, but also the rolling. It is simply smart! Congratulations! And thank you thank you thank you!

  70. Fab teardrop method – no math required! I have never gotten a multicolor blend to work out for me. This is literally a no brainer.

    Thanks, : )ebbi

  71. Today I made a blend of several colours, shortening the rolled up log to keep it under control and it worked so well and was very quick!

    I did have one problem – however carefully I rolled up the sheet I trapped air bubbles. Have you had this happen? I popped them but it’s easy to miss some. I folded the sheet and took it through the pasta machine on a few occasions to help get rid of them.

    I now have a load of beads shading through the colours of the rainbow :-

  72. @Debbi: Thanks! I’m all for the no brainer techniques… saves the brain for the more important stuff, like making great new bead designs!

    @Caroline: Is your clay super warm or super soft? I had the same problem with the new soft Premo, trapping air in it. Try cooling down your clay and stretching it to release the air. Your idea for doing a few folds instead of rolling at the end of the process is good. I’ve done that myself too. I don’t have this problem at all with some of my older stiffer clays, so I think that its the softness of the clay that is your problem. You could also try leaching out some of the plasticizers in the clay too. Click the link by my name for more info.

  73. What a great idea – and a great video!

    As I have not yet invested in a pasta machine, this is especially helpful as I will now attempt to do a skinner blend ‘by hand’.

    Many thanks.

  74. Re – air bubbles when I roll up my clay….

    yes, my clay was soft Fimo, and I think you’re right – I guess it tends to stretch as you roll – firming it up sounds a very good idea – thankyou once again :-)

  75. @Lore: That is great! It is probably the only method of doing a Skinner Blend without a pasta machine out there! You will find it easier if you are using softer clay and hard clay, so keep that in mind.

    @Caroline: You’re welcome! Always here to help!

  76. Thanks for the great video, Cindy!!! It really helps to see what you do in your video!!!

    I have been away from my computer for a while and am trying to catch up on everything you have.

    Hugs to you, Cindy E.

  77. While I am a beginner Cindy, I have been researching “how to get this”…”how to achieve that look”. All the skinner ways has been with the triangles. I will definitely remember this one.

    Wow. Just watching this…my mind was leaping with all the wonderful creation of colors one can create. Time saved is obvious.

    Thanks.

  78. Thank you Chanel! You are so kind. You can be so much more free with your color combinations when you don’t have to work so hard to put them together! Have fun with the technique!

  79. @ Sue

    Just reread these comments, and was thinking about your’s…that you would still use the Skinner blend for two clay combos for accuracy.

    How about weighing the teardrops and recording the results for future duplication? Seems that that might give you accurate results. Even tracing the size and shape of the teardrops for future reference might help?

  80. Awesome!! I love this technique. I am so with you on the saving time thing. There’s just so little of it to go around. :-) Can’t wait to get started on a project.

  81. @Jocelyn and Sue: It might be even easier to just use a cookie cutter to measure out same amounts of clay, each time. Once their formed into a teardrop they would be the same size every time. But as far as preciseness when it comes to blends, I don’t really see a big need for it. A sunset is a little different each time but it is still just as pretty.

    @Tammy: So pleased to be able to help. Yeah more time is always nice! :-)

  82. On Polymer Clay Daily blog yesterday or the day before, she included a video clip with Judith Skinner and it was mentioned that she wants to do a gallery book and would love submissions from people who have done variations of the Skinner blend. I thought of you immediately, so you may want to check it out. Have a great day!

  83. Hi Rosemary,

    Thanks so much for thinking of me and letting me know about this video. I’ll try and track down Judith to see if she is interested. It was great to see her on video!

    ~Cindy

  84. Oh, Cindy, I so wish you the very best of luck!!! Would so love to see the techniques you invented and so generously shared be mentioned in such a book.

    Can just imagine all the pictures from all of you, and the in depth discussions of techniques and mastery tips. Yummm!!!

    Really, she should consider doing an internet type book. Don’t think Kinder could do such a wonderful book justice. And the pictures/tuts and videos you can link to here, and on the web, I think you’d see a surge in the number of folks using polymer clay.

    This shading issue is critical in fine art work. To me, if you can do it with artistry, then you are an extremely talented and gifted person. Great to hear it’s being documented for the ages.

  85. I LOVE your Teardrop Method and I really think you should get that in PC magazines so it can become a household name, it is really that great!

  86. Thank you gals for your feedback. Here’s an update on where things are at for getting the word out about my Teardrop Blend.

    Polymer Café has given me the thumbs up to submit an article for publication in their magazine… just now trying to find the time to add this to my long list of things to do.

    I will also be submitting photos that will hopefully get included in the new book that Judith Skinner is publishing next year in 2010. She wants to include a section that focuses on modified Skinner Blend Techniques such as my Teardrop Method.

    And I will also be making some free demonstration videos to post on YouTube for everyone to see. My intention is not to keep the technique “hidden” in my membership site. It’s just a matter of finding the time to get everything done as quickly as I would like.

    Thank you all for the support and gratitude. I really appreciate it!

  87. What a great video….I am starting from scratch so in some ways it is even more useful since I am not having to “unlearn” a technique but rather just diving into a new one. Thank you!

  88. Thanks Cindy for showing us this method for free. I really appreciate all you show us. Have been a bit scared to try the skinner blend incase I made a mess of it, you make it look so easy now I shall have a go. You still gave us a brilliant Friday. Thanks again.

  89. Thank you for posting such a great way to make a Skinner Blend. I’m new to working with polymer clay and have had trouble with the triangles and angles when trying to make a Skinner Blend. I just tried your method and it works great! No more math! I am so happy with the early results. You should name it Cindy’s Teardrop Method or the Lietz Method – something where you can take full credit. Thanks again.

  90. Hello Cindy,
    I have used your technique before and it is wonderful. I was trying to blend some colors to see how they would “work” together and this was a great way to do it. Next time I do this, I will try your rolling method before putting it through the pasta machine.

    Thanks so much for the video. Your site is great!

    dori

  91. WOW, this technique of yours is awesome…. I am so glad to read that Judith Skinner is including you in her book and PC mag will publish your article… way to go!! Thank you so much for sharing with us… I love your color blends and look forward to them every wee, but this was the icing on the cake… I can’t wait to try it, especially since it’s much faster.

  92. wow, cindy, this is great! i did my first experiment last night with a skinne blend and i was thinking surely there is a faster way to do this and wallah! here you are with just that! thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  93. Thank you so much Cindy for coming up with, yet again ,a less complicated way of turning a difficult project into a much simpler one. I am one of those people you mentioned in your video who likes the simpler and less tedious way of accomplishing a task that otherwise I might not even attempt because of its complexity in doing. I love your way of bead making. Your videos are so helpful and the projects you come up with are so beautiful. Showing us step by step methods is so considerate and worthwhile. You make bead-making a joy instead of a task. Thank you so very much and please keep up the good work.

  94. I didn’t get to see the video and I opened it right away,,,,is there a trick to seeing it if I am not a member,,it said it would be avail. for a short time and I am sure I made it in that short time..lol.lo. maybe I didn’t..lol.lol.it sounded cool…lol.lol..I could hear you but not see you…

  95. @All – Thank you for all the kind comments. So glad to hear everyone is enjoying this Teardrop Blend tutorial. Please feel free to spread the word to others you know who may want to watch it as well.

    @Bre – Sorry you are having troubles viewing the video. It is still available for non-members to view. No special tricks or passwords are required. What you described is an issue that is happening with your web browser. There are several different things that could be causing the problem. If you are interested in fixing the issue, I have posted a central resource of web video troubleshooting tips at another post. The link by my name will take you there.

  96. Hi Cindy, This is really a great video. I’ve had it for a while now and I don’t know what I’d do without it. I have more time to clay now because I spend less time blending. I have a feeling you’re going to become famous some day because of the Lietz Skinner Blend and all your great information on these videos. I, of course, will be logging on every day watching it all!!!!! Keep Going Girl and show your Greatness!!!!! Take Care, Honey

  97. Yeahhhhhhhhh,,,, I got to see it finally,,,, all I had to do was shut down and reboot,,,, lol.lol.. don’t know why,, but it worked,,, I am new to this clay and I am enjoying it so much,, being that I am on total disability it really helps me make my day go by fast,,, sometimes too fast… lol.lol..

    I was wondering if you have a free color chart that you could email me,,,? I don’t know how to make my own colors yet,,, my friend bought me a bunch of bricks of clay for my birthday but there is always that one color you don’t have and I know I could probably mix something to get it.. but just don’t know what and how… lol.lol.. any help would be greatly appreciated,,, I was hoping to join so I could see all of your wonderful videos but I just can’t afford to right now.. hopefully by the beginning of the year,, your site has so many wonderful things on it and it just kills me I can’t get to them,, lol.lol.lol.lol.lol… well thank you for all of your help so far,, take care, Bre

  98. @Helen – I’m blushing. Thanks for your kind words.

    @Bre – So glad you were finally able to watch the teardrop video. In regards to color recipes, what you should do is subscribe to my Polymer Clay Email Newsletter. Each week I send out free recipe cards you can download to your computer. To see a sample of one of my designer color palettes click the link by my name. And… you’ll be glad to know that even though you aren’t able to become a member right now, there are currently over 600 helpful articles at this blog that are ALL free to learn from. Just use keywords in the search box at the top of the blog to find topics you want to read about.

  99. absolutely amazing…. so simple…I’ve always been intimidated by skinner blends, but i feel I could do this method in no time! Thank you so much!

  100. Yes! Quick and Easy Skinner blends! And small Skinner Blend trial sizes!! Brilliant! My hands have been in polymer clay for 8 years. Your Teardrop technique has brought a wonderful and sudden change in my way of working with color blends. Thank you so much for sharing!

  101. I know, being able to make tiny blends is awesome isn’t it! Sometimes colors just don’t act the way you expect them to. So doing a tiny test blend really saves you from wasting a whole bunch of clay!

    Thanks so much for your comment. It’s great to hear from some 8 year polymer clay veterans such as yourself!

  102. Thank you for sharing the full video. It was very interesting. I have been making Skinner blends and I always enjoy short cuts. One can always appreciate a process that goes from 20 -25 time through the pasta machine to maybe 7-10. Great time saver in preping for work. Leaves more time for creativity.

    Also liked the idea of making smaller samples before hand to see how colors would look together. Excellent idea.

  103. I am VERY NEW to clay and am excited to have found your website. I have never blended but have had a great desire to try. I read books on the Skinner blend, but have not mustered up the courage to try it. After watching your “tear drop method”, I think I would prefer trying this way first — no need to de-program from the measuring and multiple folding of the original Skinner blend! Wonderful video!

  104. Thank you Mary and Jos for posting your thoughts. I REALLY appreciate getting feedback like this!!! :-)

    Heres are a couple more comments that that got posted on Twitter regarding tis Teardrop Method:

    @bhartsook said… “Watched your skinner blend method. Your technique took the hair-pulling out of blending. I recommend.” ~Barbara

    @cinnabarr said… “That was awesome! I never do those, because my pasta machine is awful, but that makes it look so easy!! Thank you!” ~Valerie

  105. I read about this method a couple month’s ago. I’ve been dying to learn it, so I finally bought the back issue so that I could see this video–boy is it worth it! Cindy’s Quick Skinner Blend is so simple, yet such an awesome idea! I can tell it will be such a time saver, and a clay saver, too! Being able to do test blends helps identify colors that won’t blend well (before commiting a large amount of clay, not to mention time & effort, to a regular blend.) This is just the trick I need for when I want to do a small project, but I don’t have time to condition a bunch of clay, sheet it, set up a blend, make the blend, etc. Now I can go from balls of clay to blend pretty quickly. Very cool. Thanks so much, Cindy!

    BTW: The other videos in Back Issue Vol. 9 (the one this method is in) are wonderful, too. I can’t wait to try some of those projects, like the Extruder Mod Cane, Mobius Beads, and Trumpet Flower Beads. Both of the bead videos call for canes. I can make some of my favorite ones even faster now that I know the “Lietz Teardrop Method” for my blends!

  106. This is awesome Cindy! I just tried it and it is very easy and fast compared to the original method. My one question is: is there a way to limit the stretch of the clay horizontally. For example, I would like to blend my piece a few more times, but I run out of space in the pasta machine. Am I just using too much clay to begin with? I’m a beginner, so any info would help :)

  107. @Rada: Hi Rada, Cindy actually posted an article with tips on this very thing. It’s (appropriately) called, “Are Your Skinner Blends Getting Too Wide For Your Pasta Machine?

    The article explains how to narrow your blend…the tip was actually mentioned above (by Sue, near the top of the comments): “adjusting the width while in the cylinder stage.” It’s a good idea to read the comments under the articles, as they often have even more info than the original article! If it’s a long thread, like this one, you can try a ‘find’ (Cntrl F for most) using a keyword…in this case, “wide” would help you find relevant comments.

    After getting the blend to the right width, using the tip you’ll find at the other post, place it in your pasta machine. Loosely/lightly hold your hand around the blend (thumb on one side of the blend and fingers on the other.) Gently guide it into the machine, slightly pinching with your fingers/thumb to keep the blend from getting wider. You can do this with each pass, so you don’t get a “crazy wide blend”. There are other ways, too, like Lynn’s method (above) about using magnets or other gadgets. The other page (linked to) mentions a few of these, and other ways to do this. Good luck, have a great day! ~Kat

  108. Hi Guys – I just came across a link to another article talking about my Teardrop Blend Method and wanted to add it as reference here…

    EXCERPT: “Yesterday my Guild had a presentation on Skinner Blends. The Tear Drop Blend was very interesting to me so today I looked it up and found that Cindy Lietz invented this method. It is a far less scientific manner of creating the Skinner Blend. She named it the Tear Drop Blend which is quite appropriate as you can see by the picture…” you can click the link by my name above, for the full article.

    Thanks Sandy for your interest in this modified Skinner Blend technique. It really will save you a ton of time.

  109. Adding one small proviso… the Tear Drop Method is definitely quicker than a traditional Skinner Blend with soft clays like Premo, but it actually takes noticeably longer than the standard folding method with firm clays like Kato (at least with the older, very firm Kato; I’m avoiding the newer softer formulation because I don’t like it as much).

    I’m not going to give the technique away by saying exactly why, but if you try it it with both types of clay it’ll be obvious.

    Still neat though. ;)

  110. I am a really newbie to polymer clay and am learning the skinner blend. My question though really dumb sounding even to me is when you have rolled up the blend. what can you do with just the blend. If you cut it in pieces and roll into ball won’t you lose the gradient in the rolling?

  111. I’ve tried the tear drop blend a few times now and done a few pieces with them. I have a question ; in the video Cindy runs it through on the thickest setting always. Can you run it on thinner settings to lengthen the piece of clay and prevent it from getting too wide? I have followed Cindy’s tip about putting your thumb and finger and gently squeezing to keep it from stretching. Just thought , would it work going to a thinner setting?

    • @cherie: I did that because the clay was quite firm and running it through at thinner setting when it was rolled up, would have been too hard on my machine. I have found with the newer Premo, the clay is softer and it will go through the machine quite easily at a thinner setting. In that case, you are right, a thinner setting would be faster. As far as the sheet getting wider, if you don’t put your fingers on the sides it will eventually keep getting wider no matter how thin you go. If you find it is getting too wide for your fingers to control, just push on the ends of the log when you’ve rolled it up, to make the log shorter. This is one of the advantages of the Teardrop Blend over the folded Skinner Blend, which is tricky to control the width of. Hope that helps!

  112. I’ve tried the tear drop blend a few times now and done a few pieces with them. I have a question ; in the video Cindy runs it through on the thickest setting always. Can you run it on thinner settings to lengthen the piece of clay and prevent it from getting too wide? I have followed Cindy’s tip about putting your thumb and finger and gently squeezing to keep it from stretching. Just thought , would it work going to a thinner setting? yes thankss

    • @Dizi: You can run it through thinner settings, but it’s a good idea to do it setting-by-setting (or at least every OTHER setting.) Taking a thick piece of clay and immediately running it through a thin setting could stress your pasta machine (bending scraper blades, etc.) Better to be safe, and use a thicker setting first, then take it down in increments…using the finger trick with each pass. For example, with a 7-setting PM, take your softened clay & run it thru setting # 6 (the 2nd thickest,) then #4, then #2, etc. — until it’s as thin as you need.

      (IMO, Cindy uses the thickest setting because that’s what’s required for that project. I’ve seen her go straight to thin in one of her videos…although she warns us not to do that in the video. She said the reason she was able to do it was because her clay was already so warm from the lights they use for filming…)

  113. Wait, Dizi’s comment is just like Cherie’s above…what? And Cindy answered her. Hmmm…

    Anyway, I realize the question’s more about the width of the blend, not so much the thickness of the sheet. In Cindy’s latest tute, the Sculpted Iris Flower Beads video, she demonstrates how to take a wide blend and make it thinner (as part of her project.) Perfect timing…watch it & you’ll understand perfectly! ~Kat

    PS: If you’re not a member (why not? LOL) use the search box for more info. Try “wide blend” or similar, and you’ll find a post Cindy wrote with tips on how to keep your blends from getting too wide…

  114. today working on johhny jump ups and its amazing how a person can work from past issues to the current. Im trying to think of all of your training youve done to do these series. surely you have taken speech and production etc etc. to glorouously make your own business. Cudos to you Cindy. Im fascinated by what you do and to also get your family involved. Thanks so much for this uplifting lesson. Sorry so chatty.

  115. Your quick skinner blend video was what I was looking for. You’re so clever! I’m a big efficiency nut, so this is great! Bravo.=

  116. Thanks so much for sharing this technique. Not only is it faster, it is far easier to get successful blends without all the trial. Your technique of rolling the log with the acrylic roller then rolling the log from the bottom is the secret to speeding up the blend. This is exciting.

  117. Great and easy technique. It is faster and successful also. The video is very self explanatory. I too was not sure about the width. But I watched your video two to three times and then got it right.

    • Thank you for your kind words Nancy! Make sure to take a good look around the site and to use the search box. There is tons and tons of info that will help you answer any polymer clay questions you may have. Thanks for commenting!

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