Roll Polymer Clay Into a Flat Sheet Using Bamboo Skewers

Roll Polymer Clay

Vid #023: And You Thought Bamboo Skewers Were Just For Roasting Yummy Stuff on the Barbecue:

This tip is for anyone who is getting started with polymer clay but does not have a pasta machine yet.

When you need to roll out a flat sheet of Fimo or Sculpey for making pendants, lay down barbecue skewers or chopsticks on either side of your piece of already conditioned polymer clay.

These skewers work great as guides to run your acrylic roller on top of in order to control the thickness of the flat polymer clay sheet.

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The full version of the “Rolling Flat Sheets Of Clay” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #23 of 39]. It has some valuable lessons for beginners who don’t yet have a pasta machine or some of the other basic polymer clay tools.

  1. France, 18 April, 2008

    Hi Cindy!
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I was pleased to hear that you found the information on swaps useful!! :)

  2. Cindy Lietz, 18 April, 2008

    You’re welcome France you have some lovely stuff on your blog. Thank you as well for stopping by!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 18 April, 2008

    In the tuorial mentioned above, I demonstrate how to roll clay using an acrylic roller. However, you could also use a straight-sided thick glass vase as an alternative. But be careful. It should go without saying that glass can break and cut you.

    Besides using flat sheets of clay for making pendants, you can also use them for making striped canes and checkerboard canes.

    Cindy’s last blog post..The Difference Between Marbling Polymer Clay and Mixing It

  4. Marsha, 01 November, 2008

    Cindy, do you think it’s OK to run clay with flower petal inclusions through the pasta machine? Thanks!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 02 November, 2008

    Marsha, it should be OK if you use a thicker setting and the flower petals are very soft and in small pieces. If there are crunchy bits or thick globs of petals in your clay, I wouldn’t risk scratching your pasta machine or pushing the rollers out of alignment with it.

  6. Kayak Sue, 27 February, 2010

    Hi Cindy,
    The amount of info is overwhelming! I think my pieces have been under baked. I buried them in cornstarch but didn’t cook for a longer time. I’m wondering if they could go back in the oven.
    What do you think?

  7. Phaedrakat, 27 February, 2010

    @Kayak Sue: Hi! Yes, you’re probably right that they are underbaked; but yes, you can certainly put them back in the oven! Most things can be baked for an hour at 265F/130C. Burying in cornstarch shields your items from the heat a bit, so if you did not add more time, then it’s very likely they’re underbaked. You can take items in and out of the oven multiple times, as long as your oven is not too hot. Make sure that you use an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature. Lots of ovens are off by a few degrees, so this is a very important part of baking clay.

    To give you the best advice, it would help to know what kind of pieces you’re baking, what kind of clay you used, how long you baked it (and at what temp.?) etc. Hopefully, though, the info above will help you get your project fully baked. Here is an article with lots of polymer clay baking information, as well as links to other baking articles (including those about baking with cornstarch.)

    Also, don’t forget you can also use the search box at the top left side of the page to find advice on any topic — just type in a word or two and you’ll get a list of articles on that topic. Good luck with your project, and I hope I was able to help you. If not, leave a comment with your project details, and Cindy or someone can help you further.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 27 February, 2010

    Great advice Phaedrakat! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  9. Phaedrakat, 24 March, 2010

    The method in the video above is quick, easy, portable, and cheap! Now they actually make a product that works the same way. It costs about $15 (plus tax, shipping, or whatever charges the site adds.) It’s called the Aptiva Slab Roller — just a roller & a surface w/”adjustable rails.” Why would someone buy that when you can use the method here for nearly free? Or if you’re going to spend the money, why not buy a cheap pasta machine? They have inexpensive ones at craft stores – wait for a sale or use a 40% coupon, and the PM would cost less than $15.

    I suppose one advantage of the slab roller over a pasta machine is its width, 10.5 inches. Pasta machine’s aren’t that wide, but you could do the method above using a wide roller or glass. Another advantage is the slab thickness, goes to 1/4″. Pasta machine settings don’t usually go that high. You have to layer slabs on top of each other to make something thick. But again, using the method above you could make thick slabs, just use 1/4″ dowels instead of skewers, or tape some chopsticks together into different widths.

    I just thought I’d mention this new product, since it basically works the same way as the above method. I also seem to have some strange fascination with it (I wonder what the surface feels like, and if it’s nice & sturdy.) See? Weird. Has anyone tried this Aptiva Slab Roller?

    Hmmm, I don’t know why, but I’m oddly intriqued by this product. I can’t decide if it’s a good or bad thing. And, I can’t seem to stop yapping about it either! help? No, I’ll stop… :~D

  10. Cindy Lietz, 25 March, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: I finally went to check out the slab roller you are speaking of and I see what you mean. I guess the advantages it has over my method is that there are a variety of thicknesses and the raised pieces wouldn’t move around. But you could always tape down the skewers to keep them from moving and if you were creative you could find any size you needed.

    They advertise that it is easier than a pasta machine, but I don’t get that. Unless your clay is completely mushy, then it would be harder to roll out using this tool not easier. Plus it would take up more desk space.

    I too am oddly intrigued and wonder if they have the money to spend if there is anyone out there who loves it over a pasta machine and why?

  11. Kat, 26 March, 2010

    @Cindy L.: Yes, I just thought it was a strange product. As a manufacturer, why not put money into making a better clay machine – a pasta machine that is wider & easier to clean, for starters. I’m wondering if this is marketed to beginners who do not know about the above method?

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