Faux Unakite, Polymer Clay Think Tank Session. Cool! [Spotlight]

Faux Unakite by Cherie Sagmiller “You guys have no
idea how wonderful it
is to be able to get answers
so fast from so many.”

These “Spot” features are for you guys to display your accomplishments, share stories of inspiration and even ask for assistance with challenges that you may be experiencing. The projects are based on techniques learned from articles here at the blog, as well as from tutorials at the Polymer Clay Video Library. My hope is for these “Show and Tell” features to help everyone get to know each other a bit better, thanks to this wonderfully artistic medium of polymer clay. And… by participating, you can win some beads too!

Faux Jade by Cindy Graveline

Here’s the pictures of the faux unakite that I made. They have not been completely sanded and polished yet, but I did want the group to see what I did with everyone’s help in the comment section of the recent Puffy Beads blog post thread. Thanks.


Recap Of All the Help Cherie Received…

I need help with making some beads that look like jaspar – the green with salmon or pinkish orange mixed in. I have the two colors that I want to blend, my problem is that no matter how little I seem to blend them, once I put it thru the pasta machine it gets too blended to show the colors I need?? The clay needs to be flat so I can cut the square beads. So what am I doing wrong?? Somebunny nice, please help?? Thank you. ~Cherie-S

Real Unakite from Carolyn FieneHi, Cherie. It sounds like you are referring to unakite. Unakite has striations and splotches. Sometime I think unakite looks just like a garden. This is one of my all time favorite semi-precious stones. The photo is of one of my real unakite cabs. Is this the stone you are referring to? If so, I’d recommend, rather than blending, stack your colors randomly and use an extruder. After extruding run the clay through the pasta machine so it will be flat. ~Carolyn-F

Cherie: I’d grate clay in the component colours separately, some coarsely and some finely, and then partially mix the different grated clays. I’d then gather the clay together and form it into a log or a slab, pressing everything together while trying not to twist the clay or blend it. Once I had my log or slab, I’d let it sit for a while to make sure it was nice and cool, and I’d then cut fairly thick, even slices from it using a tissue blade. Depending on the size of your log or slab, and which direction you cut it in, you might be able to use those slices directly for your square beads, or cut square beads directly from the slices. If not, place the slices side-by-side and touching on a flat surface to make a larger sheet, roll with a brayer in all directions so that the slices join up, and then if necessary feed that joined sheet through the pasta machine to even everything out. It would be important that the sheet be not much thicker than the setting on the pasta machine for that stage, however, as you don’t want to distort it or have the clay smear. Grating techniques like these work best with firm clay; if you use a softer clay, put it in the fridge for a while before grating. ~Sue-F

Cindy, request alert! Cherie described her dilemma getting the right look with pink, orange, salmon & green beads she was attempting. Carolyn identified the stone Cherie was faux-ing (!) as, not jasper, but unakite. And Sue F. suggested methods of getting the result Cherie was after with her square beads by grating the clay and other clever moves. Talk about teamwork – wow! Seeing the Carolyn’s unakite cab was a revelation – such a beautiful stone. Cindy, would you put that on your growing list of how-to-faux? Grateful thanks as always. ~Mary-U

Sue F: You beat me to it! That’s exactly what I was going to say, lol. Think I might have a go at this one myself, it’s a beautiful stone, and I love making faux stones. ~Silverleaf

Silverleaf: I love making faux gemstones too. I have a whole stack of them that I can use for reference when I want a realistic effect… but sometimes I just take a bundle of scraps and invent my own stone! ~Sue-F

@cherie: When you first posted your question on the Dragonfly Pendant page, I thought you were trying to make Australian Rainbow jasper, with brick-red & green. I was trying to figure out how to do it, & decided to sleep on it. (My color-mixing experience is minimal, and the only “faux jasper’s” I’ve seen were in neutral tones, like Picture jasper.) I’m glad I waited to post – I had already started writing another one of my long-winded spiels with the wrong stone! I’m learning ways to keep my comments shorter… hehe. This is wonderful, all the help everyone gives each other. This is an amazing community! Hurray for Cindy, and all the members of this site! ~Phaedrakat

Thank you all for all the wonderful help and ideas – will work on all of them to see which gives me the best results for what I am trying to achieve. Again, I thank all of you and I too would love to see what Cindy comes up with for this one. ~Cherie-S

And yes, that was about as close to the color of the stone as I guess I’ll find. My “real” beads are small squares but very similar in color-maybe a little more salmon and less reddish-but the idea is the same. Thank you all one more time, what a great place to be a part of! you guys have no idea how wonderful it is to be able to get answers so fast from so many. I purchased an item on Ebay week or so ago, asked the seller what her technique was and the only answer I got was – years of working with polymer clay – how deflating and disappointing… the members here rock!! ~Cherie-S

“…the members here rock!!” >>> @cherie, I couldn’t agree with you MORE!!! The “teamwork” (as Mary put it) is phenomenal! @everyone – Please do keep on sharing. When someone needs help with something, your input is ALWAYS welcome and appreciated here at this friendly and supportive polymer clay community. ~Cindy-L

@cherie: Please let us know the results. Maybe if you email a photo to Cindy she could post it here. I rather like the idea of grating – or finely chopping then globbing and rolling. I may have to try that myself. But do let us know how things turn out for you – and what worked best. We are all here to learn together! ~Carolyn-F

@Sue F: Me too!! Who cares if there’s no real stone in a translucent turquoise colour with sparkly bits? ;) Just made some faux jade today with trans and dried herbs – three different green colours grated together. The beads are in the rock tumbler now along with some pale purple beads made from trans and alcohol inks with the Buffalo Snow type stuff I ordered from eBay for the faux opals tutorial. I’m planning on antiquing both sets of beads with acrylic paint when they’re done. ~Silverleaf

@cherie: OMG! How rude that seller was! It’s one thing to not want to share your technique so you can sell it, but you don’t have to be mean about it – especially to a customer! ~Phaedrakat

@cherie: Yes, we’d love to see your results! Some people just don’t want to tell you their secrets in case you copy their work and take away their sales! I’m the sort that will tell anyone who asks exactly how I make things. I was in my local bead shop a couple of months ago showing the owner some of my pendants which she’d asked me to bring in, when a customer asked me how I’d made a particular one (based on Cindy’s Crackled Gold Leaf and Alcohol Ink technique). I gave her a rough idea how it was done, and as soon as she left the shop owner told me off for revealing my secrets! She says I should never say “Oh it’s easy, you just have to…” because then that person will go away and make their own version rather than buying one from me. I can sort of see where she’s coming from, but I still share. I figure if someone’s going to make their own pieces they’ll do it anyway, and I like to explain exactly how much work went into my jewellery. ~Silverleaf

@Silverleaf: You are soooo creative! ~Carolyn-F

@Silverleaf: Wow, it sounds like you’re making some really pretty stuff! I agree. “Faux” is freeing – you don’t have to mimic nature exactly. In fact, this is one way you can improve on nature! Actually, everybody sounds like they’re busy creating! Cindy’s tutorial has been really inspirational, huh? Lot’s of glowing goin’ on – all around the world! ~Phaedrakat

@Phaedrakat: Absolutely, that’s what I love about this site. I’m constantly getting inspired by things I see and read here. Thank you everyone! ~Silverleaf

When I get them done, I will most definitely send pix to Cindy and hopefully she will let you all see what I attempted to do – and once more thanks a million for all the help and support from super fellow “polygimists” – (hope you get the pun! lol). ~Cherie-S

@cherie: Funny – lol. I love how everyone jumped right in to offer advice. It’s what I love about this site. It would make a great “member spotlight”, so make sure you send Cindy some pictures. Can’t wait to see how they turn out! ~Phaedrakat

If you are interested in sharing pictures of your polymer clay projects with the community, please follow these 2 simple steps:

1) Email several of your photos to me as attachments. My email address is shown in the “From” line of the weekly Polymer Clay Newsletter that gets sent out each and every Friday morning.

2) Include a description and/or story about your pieces, being sure to reference the tutorial(s) or blog article(s) that provided at least some level of inspiration for your work.

Don’t be shy. As you can see above, everyone is VERY friendly and supportive here.

In the comment section below, please do compliment each other; Offer encouragement; Ask questions about the techniques used; And in general… be social. This is your community! It’s up to you to make it a fun and supportive place to hang out. All of you are amazing and it’s wonderful to have everyone here!

Everyone has so much talent in this community. I am so jealous but only in a good way I promise. Hats off to all the talent everyone has shared. Oh so inspired by all. Uuuuuuuggggs. ~Peggy-B

** Did You Know… Members with current subscriptions to the weekly tutorial videos are always entitled to a 10% discount when purchasing 6 or more back issue packages in a single transaction. If you are interested, let me know which back issues you would like and I will send further instructions on how to complete your order.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Melinda Herron, 18 April, 2010

    Wow, what a great thread and how fabulous is it that Cherie figured out how to make her faux unakite! And it’s beautiful! Just one thing…. what technique yielded the results?

  2. cherie, 20 April, 2010

    @Melinda Herron: Actually I took the colors and BARELY mixed them together-ran it through the pasta machine on smallest setting ONCE-and then wrapped the thin layer around a bead of leftover and scrap clays–I know it seems as though it made it harder to do but actually it was easier to pick and choose the design to go on the outside

  3. Anna Sabina, 18 April, 2010

    Sometimes I forget there are a lot of techniques that do not involve a pasta machine. I think with faux techniques you want chunks, globby before smoothing. it is easy to over process using the pasta machine. Many times is alway looks better right before the last pass through, then it is too late.

    Anna-Des Moines, Iowa

  4. Cheryl Hodges, 18 April, 2010

    Beautiful faux unakite! It’s great you figured out how to do it – I would love to try and make this stone. I’m curious too, which technique did you use? Did your chop it up or grate?

  5. Ken H., 18 April, 2010

    Well done on the Unakite, as a suggestion you might want to try some translucent in the mix as well. I applaud you, that’s a tough one to copy, and you did really well.

  6. cherie, 20 April, 2010

    @Ken H.: I did have a little translucent mixed in but not quite enough I believe-thanks

  7. Silverleaf, 18 April, 2010

    Well it just shows how great this site is, doesn’t it? A few suggestions from “Cindy’s Girls and Guys” and Cherie manages to create some beautiful faux stone beads! I love how everyone’s so happy to share their expertise and ideas and experiences to make us all better clayers. Keep it up, everyone!

    They look awesome Cherie, can’t wait to see them when they’re sanded and polished! :)

  8. Phaedrakat, 18 April, 2010

    Way to go, Cherie! They turned out great! It’s so cool how this worked out. You mentioned your request, and got a flood of ideas to choose from. Pretty amazing how people here are so eager to help. What a great clay community!

    I also: 1. am curious which of the various methods or combinations you chose to use, and 2. would love to see how they look when they’re sanded & polished. I know – not very original. Consider it a vote for info & pictures… :-)

    (Sorry, I’m pretty out-of-it today. Back pain & an all-around bad day—except for your beautiful beads, of course. They certainly cheered me up a bit!) Congrat’s on your lovely Faux Unakite!

  9. Peggy Barnes, 18 April, 2010

    Sorry for your bad day Phaedrakat, Sunday is the worse day of the week to be ill in my opinion. Hope you feel better soon.

    Cherie love your beads and thank you so much for sharing with us. I agree with the rest and would like to know which method you used to make these.
    Sending Uuuuuuuuggs to all in hopes everyone has a healthy happy safe week. Enjoy your clay as much as you can. Peggy

  10. carolyn, 18 April, 2010

    These are great beads, but as a unakite lover, they miss the mark a little as faux unakite. Compare yours to the cabochon. Notice how there are flecks of pink in the green and kind of lighter pink in the pink. I think probably Sue-F had the better idea: ‘I’d grate clay in the component colours separately, some coarsely and some finely, and then partially mix the different grated clays. I’d then gather the clay together and form it into a log or a slab, pressing everything together while trying not to twist the clay or blend it.’ Now, Cherie-S, please don’t take this wrong because I think your beads are beautiful … and I’d be happy to have some like them. I love the pink and green combination and you’ve done a wonderful job forming these beads.

  11. Phaedrakat, 18 April, 2010

    Let’s not forget, Cherie wasn’t necessarily trying to make Unakite. She was trying to make something like the square beads she has (or saw?) that are more salmon-colored. It was Carolyn who mentioned the Unakite; Cherie said above that it was probably as close as she was going to get to her “real” stones. But that doesn’t mean she was trying to match the cabachon shown on this page…

    Either way, I love her beads (oh yeah, I’ve already said this!) I’m so happy that everyone came together to help Cherie make something she’s happy with, that matches the stones she wanted more of!

  12. cherie, 20 April, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Right you are! I had no idea what the original stones are –just wanted to make some that looked like what I had purchased in a store–thank you so much for re-iterating that for me–I have been under the weather as well-fibromyalgia and sometimes it hits hard and lays me down flat-so thanks for helping me out with the response—

  13. Carole Holt, 19 April, 2010

    these look so good that i am sure we will all want Cindy to do a tut and let her experiment and find the coolest way to do them as usual.Meanwhile lots of interesting suggestions to be going on with thanks to all for this and especially to Cherie for her wonderful beads

  14. Phaedrakat, 19 April, 2010

    Cherie, I was looking at your post on the puffy bead page where everyone gave their advice. I was reminded about your submission to the “Use your Muse” contest. How’s that going? Are you able to share what the Muse is yet? Is it the beads shown here that you used with the muse, or did you make a different kind of bead for that? Curious minds want to know… ;~)

  15. cherie, 20 April, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Well, actually, I cannot reveal it yet—the fibro kept me from getting mine in on time, but I am still going to finish my project and then will submit a final picture–thanks for inquiring–I am a curious “cat” as well

  16. Illaya B, 20 April, 2010

    I am going to jump in on this band wagon. Unakite bead needs a little translucent in the mix of the coarsely and fine chopped colors to get the suspension of color in the stone. I have my version in the oven now and hopefully they will come out the way I think they will. I did 2 versions. a few with the translucent chopped in and a few with thin layers applied over and under the chopped mixture. We will see which comes close to the real stone. I love this spotlight that you are doing Cindy, thanks for all of the work you do to get our creative juices flowing.

  17. carolyn, 20 April, 2010

    @Illaya B: I can’t wait to see yours. I was looking at a unakite pen that my late husband bought me a few years ago for my birthday – a real splurge, let me tell you! I noticed that it has some of that clearish agate in it and the translucent should be great for that. That is one thing about unakite … it depends on what part of the full stone you are dealing with. I even have some that is all green, but I must prefer the pink and green. Cindy, I hope you’ll post Illaya’s as soon as you get them. I thank you, Cherie, so much for getting this string started. You do great work and you are getting us to look beyond the box for making faux unakite.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 20 April, 2010


    “Cindy, I hope you’ll post Illaya’s as soon as you get them.”

    Absolutely! I can’t wait to see Illaya’s version as well… same goes for anyone else who has some faxu unakite to show. This is such a great learning experience for everyone.

    Wonder what happened to Cherie??? Girl… you’re missing out on all the follow up fun that’s happening as a result of your original post :-)

  19. carolyn, 20 April, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Pansy Cane Tutorial: Sure hope my comments didn’t ‘scare’ her away.

  20. Cindy Lietz, 20 April, 2010

    @carolyn: No, I don’t think you scared her off. It’s probably just that she hasn’t seen this Spotlight yet. I know that may sound hard to believe, but it’s entirely possible that Cherie has a life outside of this blog as well ;-)

  21. cherie, 20 April, 2010

    @carolyn: Nah, I don't scare easy-lol

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