A Sanding Trick For Gripping Small Polymer Clay Beads

Scotch Tape Handle For Sanding - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #725: Low tech solutions are often the best way to go… as you will see in today’s polymer clay sanding demo.

In today’s video I’ll show you a neat little tip for making a tape handle for sanding small items that are difficult to hold onto by themselves.

This idea will work for sanding all kinds of small or awkward shaped pieces… but for this demo, we are specifically talking about sanding polymer clay beads.

Sanding polymer clay has many benefits. Sometimes you may want to sand to give your pieces a nice shape and feel to enhance the look with a rich shiny finish. Other times the reason may be more structural in nature. Both of these use cases apply when making Hollow Lentil beads like the ones I am working with in today’s demo.

I show an example of a hollow lentil bead that has one side sanded and buffed, with the other side unsanded, so you can see the difference.

Sanding not only improves the look and feel of the hollow lentil bead, but is also necessary for the construction of the bead. The bead is made up of two halves that need to be sanded before they are positioned together, so that they fit nicely and look professional.

I have a paid tutorial (Reptile Pattern Hollow Lentil Neckwire – See link below video), that goes through the entire process of creating one of these hollow lentil beads. Starting with making the Reptile Pattern Cane, through to the construction and finishing of the hollow lentil bead itself, and then onto making the neckwire to add the beads to. It has been one of the more popular tutorials in our PcT Library if you have been thinking about trying out one of the paid lesson ;-)

One of the tips that I share in the Hollow Lentil Bead Tutorial, is how to use a piece of scotch tape to make a handle for holding onto your lentil bead shapes while your are sanding them.

Sanding the larger lentil bead shapes aren’t too hard, but as you can imagine, the tiny little ones are very difficult because your fingers get in the way. Adding a small piece of scotch tape to a DRY bead before sanding, gives you a simple little handle to hold onto… even if you’re sanding your piece under water.

Check out the video and you will see what I mean.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Dixie Ann, 24 March, 2016

    “What a neat trick Cindy” You always come up with the best ideas and turn a hard job into something a lot simpler to handle. After seeing this necklace again, I just got the urge to make another one in the dark blue. It’s such a stunner! Thanks Doll.

  2. Cindy Lietz, 24 March, 2016

    Thanks Dixie Ann! I would love to see your dark blue lentils when you get done!

  3. Vicki E, 25 March, 2016

    Awesome tip Cindy! I just love your videos. They are so helpful.
    I work a lot with PMC also. I wonder if the tape would hold on the
    dried, unfired clay?

    Thank you again!

  4. Cindy Lietz, 25 March, 2016

    Hi Vicki, I haven’t worked with PMC so I don’t know for sure. Isn’t it quite fragile when dry but not fired? If so, you would need to be very gentle with it I would think. I am guessing it would stick and hold just fine, but I am wondering if it might pull some of the surface off when you try and remove the tape? This is something that you may want to test on a scrap piece… if there is such a thing with PMC, since it is such an expensive clay. DO let us know if you end up trying it. You now have me curious…

  5. Jen H, 25 March, 2016

    Ha! I was just struggling yesterday to hold onto some little lentil beads while sanding – I think my fingers were abraded more than the clay was – and here’s my answer! Thanks!

  6. Cindy Lietz, 25 March, 2016

    You are more than welcome Jen! Sometimes it is the simplest things that make all the difference!

  7. Kristine Dier, 29 March, 2016

    Hello I have watched many of your polymer clay videos and you have been very helpful. I am having trouble with sanding, acetone and buffing black FIMO polymer clay. The clay looks grey after sanding or using acetone. Can I use mineral oil to get the color back? I don’t want it to be shinny, I like the natural may finish of the clay. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Kristine Dier

  8. Cindy Lietz, 29 March, 2016

    Hi Kristine, The reason why your black clay is turning gray when sanded, is because there is dust caught in the minute scratches that were created by the sandpaper you used. This means that you need to use a finer sandpaper so that the scratches are so fine that the dust is imperceptible. You may need to go as high as 2000 grit or higher. If you still want the matte finish, just don’t buff it. Adding oil will not fix the problem. You could use a matte varnish instead if you didn’t want to spend as much time sanding. Just type Matte Varnish into the search box to learn more about that.

  9. Kristine Dier, 29 March, 2016

    Thank you for responding to my question. I go down to 1200 as that is the highest number I can find. So I spent most of the day experimenting on wet sanding and applying the oil. I found that when I sand with the object in the water (not just soaking the sand paper in soap water) with better results. I have also found that applying the oil improves the look too. Is there any reason not to use mineral oil? Or is it possible to wash out the partials?

    Thank you again,

    Kristine Dier

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