Skinner Blend – Modified Teardrop Method Faster and Just As Good

Skinner Blend Challenge

The Skinner Blend Challenge: Will I Ever Go Back To Doing Polymer Clay Color Gradients The Old Way?

My husband Doug was really amazed when he saw the modified Skinner Blend technique that I now use exclusively, for doing ALL of my polymer clay color gradients.

“That’s way quicker and easier than what you demo’d in the original Skinner Blend video we filmed a couple of months ago,” he said. “Everyone is going to love this! Especially beginners! Is there any reason why someone would still do a color blend the old way? Where did you learn this technique anyway? It’s amazingly simple to understand!”

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a link to an article where I first introduced my modified Skinner Blend technique. By the way, it was my DH who insisted that I coin this as the Teardrop Method:
Quickest Skinner Blend You’ll Ever Make

It was very encouraging to see Doug’s enthusiasm. And to answer his question about where I learned the technique…

…I thought this one up all on my own. It just came to me one day when I was rolling tear drop shaped pieces of clay. Side by side, these colorful teardrops reminded me of Skinner Blend triangles.

Being an experimenter at heart, always looking for ingenuitive ways to get things done more efficiently, it didn’t take long for the concept to gel in my head.

Doug’s other question stumped me a bit though. “Is there any reason why someone would still do a Skinner Blend the traditional way… by taking the time to prepare, measure and cut out triangles?”

This got me to thinking… I suppose there could be an argument for the preciseness of how the original Skinner Blend technique works. Though personally, I have yet to come across one instance where it made any difference to my bead creations and projects.

With my modified Skinner Blend method, you can have as much precision as you want by simply controlling the size of the teardrop pieces of clay being used.

But in my opinion, handmade artwork is actually more about the one-of-a-kind thing that happens from piece to piece. Precision is much less important to me.

Some polymer clay artists like to have a bit of the pure, unblended color at each end of their gradients. It’s referred to as an offset when you are doing traditional Skinner Blends.

Well this can be done with my modified method as well, simply by offsetting the teardrops.

So I’m at somewhat of a loss. I honestly cannot think of a reason why I would ever go back to spending so much time doing things the traditional way.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter… especially from those of you who have been around a while… doing color gradients as Judith Skinner originally pioneered for all of us.


Links to all Articles in the Lietz Teardrop Blend Series:

Article 1:
Tear Drop Method | The Quickest Skinner Blend You’ll Ever Make
Get Smooth Polymer Clay Color Gradients 10 Times Faster. A preview video is posted at this article page.

Article 2:
Skinner Blend – Modified Teardrop Method Faster and Just As Good
The Skinner Blend Challenge: Will I Ever Go Back To Doing Polymer Clay Color Gradients The Old Way?

Article 3:
Modified Rainbow Skinner Blend Tutorial – No Measuring Required
The Lietz Teardrop Method – A Super Simple Way To Do Multiple Color Gradients.

Article 4:
Full Video | Lietz Teardrop Method | Polymer Clay Color Blends
Limited Access So Please Watch The Video As Soon As Possible. Thanks.

Article 5:
Beautiful Polymer Clay Canes Begin With Beautiful Color Blends
A Couple of Options for Blending Polymer Clay Colors to Use In Your Canes and Skinner Plugs.

Article 6:
Are Your Skinner Blends Getting Too Wide For Your Pasta Machine?
The Rolling Technique In My Teardrop Method Will Help You to Solve This Problem.

Article 7:
Vertical Pass of the Teardrop Blend Through Your Pasta Machine
Monica Stockton Asked A Great Question About Whether This Will Affect The Color Blend.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Ken H., 19 February, 2009

    I agree with a poster on another thread, it should be called the Lietz blend or Lietz Skinner variant, or something like that, inspiration should be rewarded. It’s insights like this that move the world forward in all aspects, not just the creative.

  2. lynn watts, 19 February, 2009


  3. Jamie, 20 February, 2009

    Yes! Definitely put your name on this alternate method! Maybe the Cindy Color Blend or the Leitz Blend Variation. You deserve the credit. And everyone should know who to thank for saving them so much time. XOXO Jamie

  4. Caroline, 20 February, 2009

    This is a brilliant idea and I can’t wait to try it, Cindy – thanks for sharing! I too think you should give your name to it ;-)

  5. Gayle Thompson, 20 February, 2009

    What a great technique! I think I would still use the Skinner Blend for 2 colors but when I want more than 2 colors, this is much easier! YES – Put your name on it! You should get credit for this new technique!

  6. Cindy Lietz, 20 February, 2009

    @Ken: Thank you so much, you are very flattering! It does feel a little funny naming something after your self. I’m sure when Judith figured out her technique, she didn’t call it the Skinner Blend. It was probably her peers that called it that and it stuck. We’ll see what happens here.

    @Lynn: Thank you so so much for your kind words! I know things are tough right now but they will change. I’ve kept the membership fees at $3.32 per month if you purchase three months at a time, so hopefully you will be able to take advantage of that soon. Meanwhile there is lots of free stuff here for you to learn from and I can answer any questions you may ask.

    @Jamie: Thank you! It means a lot coming from a veteran clayer like you!

    @Caroline: Thank you and you are very welcome!

    @Gayle: Thanks for your comment! Hearing positive feedback from an experienced clayer like you is very encouraging! You’re right, it is definitely way faster when there is more than two colors. Much faster than tracing out templates like we used to do!

  7. Illaya, 20 February, 2009

    During your fairly recent Mod extruder cane video, you used colors Petunia, blossom, pesto, blueberry. You stated that those colors were in the color recipe file. I found them all except for the Blueberry has it not posted yet. I can hardly wait for all the hydrangea colors to post. Yum yum yummy. I also love the teardrop blend. How simple and why haven’t we all thought of it before. It really seems like it would have been a natural progression to it years ago. I hope that you have a contest for the naming. Please do submit it to the world thru polymer cafe. Love & Light, Illaya

  8. Cindy Lietz, 20 February, 2009

    Hi Illaya,

    The Blueberry color recipe will be posted next week. Glad to see you are anxious to get it :-) And yes the Hydrangea colors are going to be great as well. They are special because I added some alcohol inks into these ones. They turned out very shimmery!

    Hmmm…. a naming contest. That’s something I never thought of! Thanks for the suggestion.

    With regards to Polymer Cafe… if anyone would like to send an email to the editor there to let him/her know about my new teardrop method for doing color blends… that would be be very much appreciated.

  9. Illaya, 21 February, 2009

    Good I am not loosing what little I have left of my mind. Now adding inks to a blend!! Do you wait a bit before you start blending to get the moisture out? I thought that a bit of mica powder was how you were doing it.

    How would you like the email to be with Polymer Cafe. I would be glad to rattle their cage a bit. I just want to do it correctly. You can email off list if you prefer.

    Entahs, Illaya

  10. Cindy Lietz, 21 February, 2009

    Hi Illaya,

    I’ll discuss the alcohol inks in another color recipe post so that we can keep this page on topic with the Skinner Blend and Teardrop stuff. [BTW: If I get busy and forget please do re-post your question at one of the color recipe articles and I promise to get to it :]

    In regards to Polymer Cafe… no need to rattle anyone’s cage. One of the cool things about blogs like this one, is that all of the content is published for everyone to see. And that includes the comments… both the supportive comments as well as the ones that may express opposing or alternative viewpoints.

    I’m sure the editors at the Polymer Cafe Magazine are very busy and likely have not yet had a chance to see what others are saying about this teardrop color blending method. So a simple email letting them know about the articles here, is all I was suggesting :)

    A few people now, have mentioned that Polymer Cafe may be interested in publishing something about my “Lietz Teardrop Method.” I would be thrilled and honored to talk with them further about this.

    Thanks everyone for your kind support.

  11. Louise, 24 February, 2009

    There are so many ways to get a skinner blend your is a nice addition.

  12. Lisa Whitham, 24 February, 2009

    All I have to say is: Thank You! Thank you for letting us all learn the Teardrop Method. Even those of us who can’t afford to be members!

    I really enjoy your blog too.

    Thanks again, Lisa Whitham

  13. Cindy Lietz, 01 May, 2009

    Thanks guys! :-)

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