Polymer Clay Tutorial | Faux Raku (Pt1) Smooth Surface Technique

Faux Raku Smooth Technique

Vid #114: “Oh my God, the Faux Raku videos are coming for real? I’m a little delirious right now, you’d be too if…”

One of the greatest attributes of polymer clay, is its ability to ‘become’ or imitate just about any material you can imagine. That is why it is such a popular medium for creating faux ceramic and stone effects.

An excellent example of a faux technique that can be done in polymer clay, is Faux Raku. And starting on Friday July 10, 2009 in the member’s library (Volume-014), I’ll be posting a two part Faux Raku series that I think you are going to enjoy.

The first part (Video-014-2) is the smooth version. It is the technique that many other polymer clay artists do… although I throw in a few twists that you may not have seen before. At the end of Part 1, you’ll be able to make beads similar to the ones in the photo above, plus create several other variations.

What you learn in Part 1 will then be expanded on in Part 2 (Video-014-3). This second part will be available for viewing in the members library on July 17, 2009. It will focus on my exclusive deep crackle method for making Faux Raku beads and jewelry.

These faux raku beads are exquisite!!! I can’t wait to learn this technique!! In response to your request for feedback from existing members, I’ll repeat once again that I feel as if I have been given a gift in discovering this site. I have been working with polymer clay for some time and was constantly trolling the web for information that would enhance my learning. Granted, there are some I found useful but finding yours resulted in a shift in how I do so many things. For me, though, in addition to the amazing techniques you teach us, it’s how you teach that has made the difference. I love that I can actually sit in front of the computer and rewind the video as many times as I need to until I learn a particular step. I love that I can watch how you hold your hands to form a particular shape or about how much embossing powder to dump on translucent clay to create a d’anjou pear (thanks to you, mine turned out so cute I can’t stand it). Bottom line… I have never found a resource like this. (I just reread this and fear it might be a bit sappy but I am submitting it anyway with the hope that you will be able to glean from it my joy and appreciation.) Gotta go now-I’m sitting here with a blend of Studio Sculpey and need to rerun the rose cane, part 2. ~Elizabeth

I don’t think it is sappy Elizabeth. I feel the same way and it is hard to express deep appreciation. I agree with you 200 %. GOD BLESS YOU, CINDY LIETZ!!! I have been waiting for this video but knew you would only share it when the technique was perfected. Cuz, that’s how you are. You make the mistakes so we don’t have to. For anyone who has not joined as a member, this is something you definitely should do. The monthly fee is minimal and you will save that amount in aggravation. ~Anna

Looking forward to the videos. I’d like to second the comment about value for money. Your videos are great information. Thanks so much, Cindy. ~Sue

Oh my God, they are coming for real? The faux raku videos I mean. I’m so excited about these new lessons. As I see above, I’m not the only one jumping for joy and waiting for time to pass faster. The smooth raku technique seems wonderful, but the deep crackle raku technique must be heaven!!! By the way, I’m the brand new member. And I couldn’t resist to subscribe starting with the volume 013, because those little Anjou pear beads from last week looked so perfect that convinced me it was really the time to subscribe. The four videos I’ve watched until now are simply so good. You are teaching a beginner how to make something new and also teaching an intermediate how to make something right. And you are giving everyone who’s watching one of your videos the desire to try that project. I’m a little delirious right now, you’d be too if you were a member at the library knowing the deep crackle faux raku secrets are coming your way in a couple of weeks! Cindy, thank you so much for sharing this innovation with us! ~Squash

If you want to see a preview video clip of the Part 1 Smooth a faux Raku segment, click here, or just scroll down a bit to the video player below.

Information about how to get signed up at the members library, is posted further down on the page (under the video player). I hope you can join me and the many other students who have already enrolled.

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 “Faux Raku” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-014 Back Issue Package.

The following topics are covered in Part 1 (Vol-014-2: Smooth Faux Raku) of this 2 part mini series:

  • How to create a mottled color surface on polymer clay beads using alcohol ink and water.
  • Techniques for adding a metallic sheen to the clay surface using mica powders (Pearl Ex).
  • Discussion of how the base color of your clay affects the look of your finished faux raku beads.
  • Using drywall screen to texture the surface of your beads to simulate the look of certain types of real raku surfaces.
  • Preparing a faux raku sheet that will get used in deep crackle part 2 tutorial of this mini series.
  • Several examples and variations of the smooth raku technique are shown to give you endless design options.
  • What to use as a protective finishing coat to give them a professional looking shine.

Topics covered in Part 2 (Vol-014-3: Crackled Faux Raku) of this 2 part mini series:

  • How to crackle the faux raku sheet of polymer clay that you created in Part 1.
  • The secrets to getting the right crackle and how to check when your clay is ready.
  • What do with stubborn pieces of crackled clay that don’t always do what you want them to do.
  • Options for using different colors of clay, alcohol inks, mica powders and background clays to achieve a wide variety of different looks.
  • How to how to use your deep crackled clay to create tube beads, round beads and many other designs.

  1. Shannon, 08 July, 2009

    What a gorgeous finish! I can’t wait to try this and tell all my polymer friends!

  2. Carrie N, 08 July, 2009

    Ok, Cindy. I admit, I was skeptical, but you made a believer out of me. I made my first Premo beads today. I made small lentils for a charm bracelet. I sanded (started at 600 grit up to 1200) and buffed, buffed, buffed. I am stunned at how much they shine!! I love it! I will still use my Sculpey III but will definitely use Premo more often! BTW, those faux raku beads are so cute!!!

    **PHOTOS ADDED: The following link will take you to a Spotlight Article Featuring some of Carrie’s beautiful beads: Faux Raku, Jupiter Beads, Mod Canes

  3. Polyanya, 09 July, 2009

    Can’t wait for this one either – and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed above. Thank you Cindy!

  4. Jocelyn, 09 July, 2009

    @ Shannon

    My goodness, what a lovely site! And your work is great…go and see everyone!


  5. Jamie, 10 July, 2009

    This faux raku technique looks like so much fun Cindy!! Gaaahhhhh! You are making it so hard to keep my promise not to clay until my “studio” is done!!! Im not going to know where to start when I can finally clay again! Color chips and roses and faux raku and and and……… Ok so deep breath and count to ten(billion) Ahhh! Im ok again. Dont worry. I’ll…be…fine…. XOXO Jamie

  6. Claycass, 10 July, 2009

    I like your raku beads. I am fascinated with your wire finding. Will you share how you flatten the wire after placing the bead on? I love the look – but I have smashed a few nice beads – so I am interested on how you avoid that disaster.

  7. Sue, 10 July, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    I particularly liked the dark brown chocolatey looking deep crackle tube that you teased us with… can’t wait for next week!

    A couple of questions in relation to making the faux raku sheets (since I can’t try for myself right now because I’ve busted my pasta machine):

    1. How much of the final colour is contributed by the alcohol inks, and how much by the PearlEx powder? Is one of them much stronger than the other, or are they about equal?

    2. Did you try dotting the alcohol inks onto the clay sheet and then spritzing that with water or blending solution? If so, what negatives did it have compared to your approach? (Just curious because I know I’d make a mess!)

    Thanks Cindy, :)


  8. Melinda, 10 July, 2009

    Those are fabulous too… can’t wait until my next clay day… shopping list started… ideas churning in my head…
    Quick question: Can you use oil paint on PC? I have tons of oil paint from my painting days that I would hate to waste.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 12 July, 2009

    Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the nice feedback. I think you will really like part 2’s Deep Crackle Technique. You’ll be able to really make some one of a kind beads with this technique!

    @Sue: Although a pasta machine would be really helpful with this technique, you should be able to do it with just an acrylic roller as well. In regards to your questions:

    1)The ink is really the main color source. The powders give a sheen to the whole surface which is an important feature to getting that raku look.
    2) It works best for me if I do the inks on the non-stick surface rather than directly to clay because the ink absorbs quite quickly and doesn’t blend as easily. But of course, you could try it the other way and see if it works better for you.

    @Melinda: You can only use oil paints when the clay is raw. It will cause the clay to get sticky if you use it on baked clay.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 12 July, 2009

    Sorry Claycass I forgot to address your question… With the copper finding on this bead, I hammered the flat end before adding the bead and the loop at the top. Then once I added the bead and made the loop, I slowly hammered it with a small lightweight hammer that is easy to control. Plus I hit it only enough times to stiffen the wire a bit. You could skip hitting the loop if you found you were still hitting the bead.

  11. Freda, 13 July, 2009

    On the raku beads – do you let the alcohol inks dry before applying the powders?

  12. Cindy Lietz, 13 July, 2009

    Yes. That part is in the video. Did you not see it there Freda? Let me know if it was somehow unclear to you.

  13. Freda, 13 July, 2009

    I noticed you blotted it off but I figured if I put powder on the moist part it would smear or something. Also I thought your lights for the camera might dry it more than it would under normal conditions.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 09 October, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some project pictures have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Elizabeth Schydlower, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Faux Raku Picture Frames” link by my name to have a look.

  15. Phaedrakat, 17 February, 2010

    Yay! I’ve just watched the Faux Raku video, and it is excellent, of course. Now this is something I can make right away (I’ve got all the ingredients! I don’t have to wait for my extruder on this one…) This is a beautiful technique, and it looks very forgiving. I’ll be able to make lots of stuff with this, but I think I’ll want to buy more alcohol inks. I have only a few colors, and I know I’m gonna want to “mix it up” more than that!

    Once again, I’m surprised there aren’t more comments here. There are so many gorgeous Faux Raku Beads in the Giveaway Contest that I thought people would come here to take a look. Anyway, thanks for another fantastic video tutorial, Cindy! Now I can’t wait to learn the Crackled Raku~

  16. Rosita Cortés, 23 June, 2010

    Hi Cindy. Now I received vol 014. I liked very much.

    I have two question. Have you ever tried to use fabric pigment solved with water or alcohol, instead of alcohol ink. Because that I have difficulties to find alcohol ink.

    My second question is how do you get, the different crackel (big crackel or small crackel). I have worked over wood with crackeler paint. The thing is if I blow the hair drier for a long time over the crackeler paint, the crackel are bigger.

  17. Phaedrakat, 24 June, 2010

    @Rosita Cortés: Hi Rosita, isn’t Vol-014 great? That’s one of the first back issues I bought (I had to have it after seeing all of the great beads they made during the first bead giveaway contest!)

    I noticed your question about whether Cindy’s tried fabric pigment or dyes instead of alcohol inks. I know she has, because she wrote a post on it! The article is called, Alcohol Ink Techniques and Recipes.

    In it, Cindy describes how she made her inks, and how they turned out. Whenever you have a question, you can use the search box at the top left of any page to find information. For example, type in “alcohol inks” and you’ll get a list of articles with information about them & their uses. Be sure to read the comments under the articles, as well, as there’s lots of good information and tips there, as well (sometimes even more than in the article!)

    I still haven’t tried the crackle raku, so I can’t help you with that question. But there are lots of tips from Cindy and others in the comments section under the Crackled Raku article/preview video. Have you read those? There’s a link to the Crackled Raku article in the comment directly above yours.

    Have fun with your videos, & happy claying! ~Kat :D

  18. Gloria Kaplan, 12 October, 2016

    I would very much like to produce these and similar faux raku pieces. I did raku with clay for some time but had to stop because of breathing problems.

    Unfortunately I also have a hearing problem and feel that I would not be able to produce based on a video with speech. Can I receive this in written form? Please let me know, also the price.

    Many thanks. Gloria Kaplan

  19. Cindy Lietz, 12 October, 2016

    Hi Gloria, although we don’t have of tutorials in written form available yet… we are working on that and will have them available to purchase when the new site is ready (which we are currently building if you did not know). All the pricing for the content in the new site has not been finalized, so I can’t give you a price right now. If you haven’t done it already, I would go to the top of the page and sign up for our newsletter so that you will be made aware of when the new site is finished and you can get the Raku Tutorial. Thanks! :)

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