Does Your Pasta Machine Handle Keeping Falling Out?

Pasta Machine Handle FixVideo #414: Here is a quick fix using a small snip of material from an old rubber dishwashing glove.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Does the handle on your polymer clay pasta machine, constantly fall out and onto the floor? Oddly, it is a common problem with inexpensive pasta machines commonly sold in the marketplace.
  • Wrap a small piece of rubber glove around the end of the handle that slips into the crank hole on your pasta machine, and then re-insert the handle into the hole. It may take a few whacks with a nylon hammer to get it in. ;)
  • Now your pasta machine handle won’t keeping falling onto your toe or your cat or you dog. Your sanity will be saved!

Question of the Day:

Does your pasta machine handle fall out all the time? Do you think you will you use this simple tip to fix it?

I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Pasta Machine Handle Fix To Stop It From Falling Out. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Sue F, 22 August, 2013

    This seems to be a really common problem, and I’m sure this tip will help a lot of people out.

    I’m lucky enough not to need it myself… but that might simply be because I move one handle between two pasta machines depending on which one I’m using, so it gets re-seated periodically anyway. :D

  2. Anna Sabina, 22 August, 2013

    You look and sound absolutely exhausted in the video. Must be from all the bending over to pick up that pasta handle. On a more serious note, we know how hard you and Doug are working on keeping these video tips and tutes coming despite illness, running the kids around and all the other obligations.
    Thanks again for all of your inspiration.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 22 August, 2013

    LOL! I wish that the cameraman would notice my hair was all over the place, before rolling the camera…. but since I look like that often these days, he might not have even noticed! ;) (Also have been sick for a while, which probably didn’t help with the sounding exhausted and forgetting what to say part.) Anyway… thanks for your kind words. It takes a lot to bring everyone all these videos, and I appreciate hearing that you enjoy them.

  4. Jocelyn C, 24 August, 2013

    Cindy, so sorry to hear you have not been feeling well. Hope you are on your way to a full recovery.

  5. Dixie Ann, 22 August, 2013

    great tip Cindy. I’m sure many will appreciate the fix.

  6. elaine faulks, 23 August, 2013

    Cindy, slow down, you work too hard and need a vacation ( although you still look great in your video).
    I have also used scrunched up kitchen foil or blue-tack to hold in my pasta handle, both work OK but will now try the rubber glove trick. Good to think these can be recycled. If you cut strips from the cuffs they are ideal to use around support canes for your garden plants and can be cut to any width…………………cheers…….xx

  7. Marion Rayner, 23 August, 2013

    Definitely! – and, yes. thanks Cindy!

  8. Alessio G, 23 August, 2013

    Dear Cindy,

    I am so happy to have found you “googling” on YouTube. Your videos are very instructive and simple even for me, an Italian “beginner” in polymer clay modeling.

    Yesterday I signed up for your newsletter and today I watched your beautiful free video tutorial… and I’m considering to become a member of your useful “Polymer Clay Library” …

    Can’t wait for your next videos on Youtube!

    You make great videos! Thank you so much for sharing them with us….

    Sincerely yours,


  9. Vivian B, 23 August, 2013

    Yes … I will use this tip starting right now ! Thanks Cindy !

  10. Cat Hamlin, 23 August, 2013

    Hi Cindy

    I just bought my pasta machine and haven’t even taken out of the box yet, but I zero’d in on this tip as I’m sure somewhere along the way this problem will come up seeing as it has for others. Thanks so much for taking the time to show this to us. As for how you look and sound, I didn’t even notice..I think you look natural and normal and like a really nice person!! That’s all that really matters now isn’t it!

    Take care, stay well and again, thank you for all your hard work and for sharing it with us!


  11. Frederique Desiles, 23 August, 2013

    Thanks for the tip! If you have tips about deeply cleaning the pasta machine so that it won’t leave drops of multicolor clay even after passing a piece of clay through it again and again and again, I would LOVE that!

  12. Sue F, 25 August, 2013

    Hi Frederique,

    Some pasta machines are more prone to collecting clay bits during use than others… my Atlas pasta machines are worse than most others I’ve used in this regard, although they’re better than those other pasta machines in many other ways.

    Jocelyn already gave some suggestions and info on searching this site (in her post further down the page), but for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

    Wind the pasta machine backwards

    Normally, all I do is wind my pasta machine backwards for a bit, wiping off the collected clay as it appears with a piece of kitchen paper towelling.

    If the pasta machine isn’t too terribly dirtied with collected clay, I just wad up a piece of kitchen paper towelling, press it into the space where the pasta machine rollers come together so it touches as much as possible of both rollers, then hold it there while I (1) wind the pasta machine quickly in the normal forward direction while moving the paper towelling from the extreme left to the extreme right and back again, (2) wind the pasta machine backwards quickly while moving the paper towelling left to right and back again, and (3) wind the pasta machine quickly in the normal forward direction a final time while moving the paper towelling left to right and back again. This only takes a few seconds in total and gives multiple passes of the full length of the rollers in both standard and collected-clay-cleaning (backwards) directions, so I do it as a matter of course between “stages” of claying.

    Some clays collect more than others, and some techniques (and mistakes! :D) cause it to collect more than normal too, so if I find the pasta machine is particularly dirty I stop and wipe with a fresh section of paper towelling each time I see a clump of collected clay as I wind the pasta machine backwards. I’ll usually wind backwards at the thickest setting until no more collected clay appears, then change to the thinnest setting and wind backwards again until no more collected clay appears, then change back to the thickest setting for a final backwards wind.

    Clean behind the scrapers with a wooden skewer

    I’ll also occasionally take the blunt end of a wooden skewer and use it to scrape out any clay that’s collected underneath the pasta machine, behind the scrapers or the metal moulding there. I don’t do this much since I discovered the winding-backwards trick, but before that I’d sometimes find whole beads-worth of scrap clay collecting at the bottom of my pasta machine.

    If you can take your pasta machine apart you can clean much more thoroughly, but some pasta machines are very difficult to put back together again (and I’m too lazy to try in case mine prove difficult!), so the skewer is an adequate workaround.

    Run scrap clay through the machine

    It sounds like you already do this (“… even after passing a piece of clay through it again and again and again …”), but I also keep a small quantity of scrap translucent clay to run through the pasta machine a few times to pick up scrap clay, and also the chemical-reaction-based streaks that appear with some clays on some pasta machine roller surfaces.

    Use a separate pasta machine for light colours

    I have quite a bit of bench space, so I have one pasta machine that I just use for translucent, white and nearly-white colours, plus the main pasta machine that I use for everything else. The light colours show contamination most easily and this avoids one major source of colour contamination.

    It’s not foolproof, however, as it doesn’t do anything about the streaky black marks that can result from the surface of the rollers reacting with compounds in the clay. Some roller surfaces do this more than others (the chromed rollers on the cheaper pasta machines seem the worst), and some clays do it more than others (on chromed rollers, my favourite Kato clay streaks more than Premo, for example).

    This streaking is one reason why I don’t use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to clean my pasta machines. It seems to make the streaking much worse… it’s not too bad on my current Atlas machines, but I’ve had pasta machines with chromed rollers where the isopropyl alcohol on its own caused streaking (i.e. I got much more discolouration after “cleaning” the rollers with isopropyl alcohol than I had beforehand while they were supposedly “dirty”).

    Anyway, I hope that helps a bit. Try a few things out and see what works for you! :)


  13. Frederique Desiles, 25 August, 2013

    Dear Sue,
    Thank you so much for you very exhaustive answer. I’ll try the going backward technique and the skewer tip first thing tomorrow. I really appreciate the time you took to answer me.
    Thanks again!

  14. Cheyrl B, 26 August, 2013

    Hi Frederique,
    That was some instructional, I will definatly try some of those tricks. I have taken my machine apart and it takes two of us to put it back together again still with great difficulty and one of us is an engineer, lol I am especially grateful to know where some of those black streaks come from. I had no idea it was a chemical reaction and not a dirty machine because I thhought i was missing some clay when I cleaned
    My machine has started to ” grab ” clay on any setting smaller than 5, I was wondering if there is some way to adjust the tension on the rollers so that no longer happens. For sticky clay I brush the rollers with corn startch and it helps somewhat.
    anyway thanks for the info it relly does help.


  15. Sue F, 26 August, 2013

    Hi Cheryl,

    In relation to avoiding black streaks, I figure it’s worth mentioning the Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machine, which has rollers coated in a non-stick, non-reactive surface.

    I’ve had a couple of those too. They had good points and bad points, and while they ultimately didn’t work for me my experiences with them might help others decide whether they’re worth trying or not.

    The main good point was that the non-stick roller coating definitely stopped the black streaks from occurring, which was very nice and specifically what I’d bought those machines for. Another good point was that they were wider than most of the pasta machines around at the moment (1″/2.5cm wider than my current Atlas machines, for example, although I’ve had even wider machines in the past).

    The bad points from my perspective may or may not be relevant for other people, but for me one was severe enough to stop me from getting them again.

    The minor bad point was that the non-stick roller coating was slightly textured, so instead of getting completely smooth sheets of clay out of the machine I’d get slightly textured sheets. It’s relatively subtle and quite a fine texture anyway, but it meant extra handling for me most times because I usually want a smooth surface to start off with.

    The major bad point — and a total deal breaker for me — was that they were the least robust pasta machines I’d ever used. I use Kato clay, and the old, super-firm Kato formulation to boot, so my pasta machines have a much harder time than they would if I used a softer clay like Premo. I’m not particularly gentle with my pasta machines either, and never will be. But I handle them all the same way, and the gears on the Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machines broke faster than even the nastiest of the el-cheapo no-name pasta machines I’ve gone through. One only lasted a couple of days. This is a real shame, partly because they were a bit more expensive than normal, but mostly because the non-stick roller idea is neat and it would be nice if such machines were practical for me. (They quite possibly would be practical if I used soft[er] clay, but I prefer the way really firm clay handles.)

    The stainless steel rollers on my current Atlas pasta machines don’t cause much streaking, however, especially compared to the various chromed rollers on the myriad other pasta machines I’ve tried. They’re also quite robust as well as being more finely adjustable than the machines I’ve had in the past, so they’ll do me for the moment (even though they also have a few minor annoyances!).

    I still have my dead Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machines, and some time I’ll try assembling a Frankenstein pasta machine or two, with the non-stick rollers from the Makin’s machines, the main mechanism from others that no longer function properly, and gears that can stand up to my heavy handedness from wherever I can get such things.

    For adjusting the tension to avoid clay grabbing, it probably depends on the pasta machine and on whether the problem is due to connections that can be tightened or closed up becoming looser, or whether it’s due to parts wearing or deforming instead (which is what always happens to me). Sorry I can’t help out with that!


  16. Cheyrl B, 27 August, 2013

    Thanks Sue,
    My machine is a sculpylll and until recently worked just fine but I have had it for over a year, I do have a ” still in the box ” kitchen ” pasta machine and am wanting to try it, maybe the rollers will work better on it but so far I have not heard of anyone using these machines so I am reluctant try as it will then be useless in the kitchen. I have two of them so it won’t be a total loss but still it would be nice to hear from someone who has used them.

  17. BinkyM, 09 September, 2013

    Sue, I hafta take it back! (shocked face) Within 30 minutes of rolling clay in my new Atlas 150, I noticed the outer 2cm on each side of my rollers looked sorta blackish to me. I thought it was my imagination, so I kept on rolling and suddenly, there they were: black streaks on my clay. I felt sick. I rolled up a tissue and rolled it through the outer edges of the rollers, back and forth, and then examined it: there was the black stuff, as well as some honey-colored stuff that looks like lube.

    The clay never went to those outer 2cm.

    I’m kinda-sorta back to my theory that it’s lubcricant somehow spreading from the inside across the rollers, with fine particles of oxidized metal in it. I never touched this machine with alcohol! I’d only been using it for less than thirty minutes! To roll pearl Premo (green and the original pink pearl magenta, both with a little black in it, FWIW)!

    (This machine is not NEW new; I mean it sat in someone’s closet, an unused wedding present, for some time before I bought it on eBay. Also FWIW.)

    Maybe this info will be useful to you somehow. I hope so; I hate thinking it’s all just gonna be a pain in my butt for nothing. Besides pain, I mean. Guh.


  18. Sue F, 11 September, 2013

    Hi Binky,

    Oh no!!! :o

    Lubricants could definitely cause streaks too, and it sounds like it in your case with the honey-coloured stuff you mentioned (hard to see what else that could be) and the fine particles of oxidised metal too, although I haven’t had that issue myself. I hope you can clean that up without too much hassle — try to clean the bottom of the machine and behind the lower moulding and scrapers if you can — and that you’ll have more luck afterwards.

    The black streaks that I’ve had on various pasta machines were caused by a chemical reaction between the clay and the roller surface, and isopropyl alcohol definitely made it worse (and caused streaks all on its own); I test things really thoroughly and don’t have any doubts about that, and have seen many other comments about it around the ‘net. There are pleny of other things that can cause streaks too but most are obvious, e.g. contamination, while the chemical reaction is not (“I’ve just cleaned the darn thing, what’s happening now?!?”).

    By the way, do the rollers on your new machine look like they’re stainless steel, or do they have some other metal on the surface? That might make a difference too. (There are quite a number of Atlas variants and I think I’ve read somewhere that they’re not all manufactured in the same place either. My Atlas 150 machines are “new” new Marcato Atlas Wellness machines and made in Italy, for reference.)

    If you were in Sydney I could give you a spare brand new Makin’s Ultimate Clay Machine with non-stick, non-reactive rollers to try — I got so annoyed at how easily I broke them that I didn’t even bother opening the third one that I bought in that batch — but I’m guessing you’re too far away for that!

    Good luck with taming your new pasta machine :)


  19. BinkyM, 06 September, 2013

    Sue, I usta wonder what on earth people were doing that they got the black streaks, and a couple months ago, it suddenly started happening to me. I was just sick about it, and finally began to empathize with the streak people. I kept taking my machine apart, trying to remove all traces of the lithium grease I’d recently lubed my machine with, but it wasn’t stopping the problem (and the grease wasn’t black anyway, nor was it near the rollers). I alcohol my machine to within an inch of its life, though.

    As it turned out, I needed a new machine (the gears were slipping), and I read this message while it was in transit. I’ll never go near *this* machine with alcohol, believe you me!

    Thinking about it, it’s just plain not necessary. Alcohol SEEMS like a good idea: it feels as if I’m being really thorough using it. It’s like washing an expensive cast iron pan: you really, really ought NOT do it, but it SEEMS as if you should because we wash *all* our items which touch food! But when you think harder, you realize you can get your blades and rollers just as clean by wiping them really well. Once they’re clean, alcohol’s not gonna get imaginary stuff off.

    I’ve learned to be less anal about a lot of things in life as I’ve gotten older; now to let go of this one!

    I’m sooo grateful I read your message before this machine got here; I’m anticipating being streak-free from now on. Thanks ever so much for always being generous with your experience!


  20. Anna Sabina, 26 August, 2013

    Some people take their machine apart and clean it but it never goes back together right. A paper towel 1/2 way through and rub the rollers, a baby wipe works good too. I flip my machine over and remove clay build up on the scraper blades, they get pretty gross.
    It is amazing how long you can go without a problem until you decide to condition White !!

  21. Mary H, 23 August, 2013

    You always help me with something every week. You are practical and clear about what you suggest. Thank you!

  22. Nicola Gray, 23 August, 2013

    Thank you for this tip about the pasta machine handle. I have the same problem with my handle on pasta machine. Thank you for all the videos you make on polymer clay, I am still learning about how to work with polymer clay. Sorry to hear you haven’t been well. I have an autoimmune arthritis, so I understand when forgetting what to say. Thanks again.

  23. Cheyrl B, 24 August, 2013

    You look and sounded great but we all know how hard you work and appreciate everything your whole family does to provide all the wonderful tutorials that we have come to love. We send prayers, blessings and energy your way, hope it helps.
    Yes my handle falls off so I put some duct tape on it but it wears off and I have to replace it from time to time otherwise the baby pulls it out and walks off with it if the door is left open for even a second. I will definatly try this trick today.Thanks for another ” Llife saving ” trick. lol This should cut back the frustration level to a manageable level.

  24. Jocelyn C, 24 August, 2013

    Hi Frederique! Cindy’s past blogs and the comments have covered pasta machine cleaning, just go up to the search box in the upper right corner and put that phrase in the search box, and you will get a lot of links directly to that information.

    Myself, with my new precious Atlas with motor, I try to keep up with daily maintenance, especially after using crumbly clay or brightly pigmented clay like red, by using a small piece of translucent, and literally jamming it in every cavity especially below under the rollers, it is fantastic at picking up stray bits caught on the machine.

    Then I follow up with an alcohol drenched piece of paper towel, sending it through the rollers and underneath. The final run through I do with a dry piece of paper towel, just to catch any remaining liquid.

    Hope this helps. All best.

  25. Frederique Desiles, 25 August, 2013

    Thank you Jocelyne for your answer. I’ll go for the crumbs below under the rollers too now thanks to you!

  26. Marilyn P, 25 August, 2013

    GREAT idea on the handle as they are always falling out. I put a piece of black electrical tape around mine. I travel with it so cannot hammer it into place, and the electrical tape seems to work well. Thanks for the clue!

  27. Marne S, 25 August, 2013

    After trying the rubber glove technique for some time and still getting frustrated because it didn’t stay fixed for long, I read somewhere that someone had super glued theirs in. It worked like a charm and never fell out again!

  28. BinkyM, 31 August, 2013

    Super-glue? What happens when you need to take the machine apart for maintenance purposes? I use the fingertip of a nitrile glove, and yet I still have a (slightly) hard time working the handle out when I need to take the machine apart (to oil it, to tighten nuts, to give it a good cleaning, etc). If the handle is glued, you can’t get it apart … or do you have a pasta machine that somehow comes apart with the handle in it? I’m trying to picture it, but I guess I don’t have enough experience to be able to do that!


    Edit: But wait: your handle *must* be the kind that comes out so you can take it apart, otherwise it’d have been attached permanently at the factory, right? Do you never take your machine apart? You’re not worried that you’ll need to? (Or have I completely misunderstood?)

  29. Anna Sabina, 26 August, 2013

    Blue tac is great ! I have also wrapped the handle end with a rubber band.

  30. Beth W, 28 August, 2013

    I’m sure that this is addressed elsewhere, but I’m new to polymer clay and very frustrated with either my technique, my pasta machine or my skinner blend – probably all three.

    When I try to do the skinner blend, unless I use ALOT of clay I end up with a very wide piece that is about an inch tall. I have played with the teardrop, but it spreads on me too. I look at books, and I see these very nice rectangles. That is NOT what I end up with.

    I was also told that the clay would stop spreading when it reached the width of the pasta machine – not mine. It goes right out the sides of the pasta machine, and I have to cram it back within bounds.

    May I have some practical advice and suggestions please? I’m ready to throw my Makins machine out the window.

  31. maría josé, 29 August, 2013

    Que buena idea, muchas gracias.Creo que todos pasamos por el mismo trabajo de estar recogiendo constantemente la manija del suelo.
    Maria José

  32. Jocelyn C, 29 August, 2013

    Hi Beth!

    That was a challenge for me too, those blends can get out of control quickly, and when you spend so much time making them, you sure do not want to be disappointed at the end.

    A lot of the mysteries were solved when Cindy published her Lietz Teardrop Blend technique, and I would highly recommend you view the free blog here: Teardrop Color Blends

    The way you adjust the width of the blends, so you do not end up with pasta wide pieces will unusable ends, is demonstrated clearly.

    Think once you review this and practice it a few times, you will fall back in love with polymer clay.

    Also she covers using the blend in several other projects and shows a neat technique for shifting your blend colors, a plus up plus, lol. Go to the search window in the upper right and put in terms like blends, teardrop, etc., and a whole bunch of projects and blends blogs and comments will come up for you to read through.

    Hope this helps, all best.

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