Is Your Skinner Blend or Teardrop Blend Too Wide?

Skinner Blend Too WideVideo #435: How to fix wide color blends… and then keep them at a manageable width!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Have you ever made a Skinner Blend or Teardrop Blend that ended up getting so wide that it would no longer fit through the opening in your pasta machine?
  • I have a trick for making it skinnier again.
  • First thin it out a bit so you have a longer length of clay to work with, by rolling it through a thinner setting on your pasta machine.
  • Then roll your sheet up, making sure that you don’t change the orientation of the sheet while rolling. Your resulting log should still look like a blend, with one color on one end, blending to another color at the other end. If you roll the wrong way, the outside layer of the log will only be one color.
  • Start shortening the log by pushing on the ends and bunching the cane a little at a time, until the log is much shorter in width.
  • Flatten out the shortened log and roll through the pasta machine at the thickest setting, so that it is now back into a sheet format.
  • You can then continue passing your blend through the pasta machine, but rather than just letting it get wide again, this time hold your fingers on either side of the blend as you pass it through the machine. This will control the sheet and prevent it from squeezing out sideways as it is pushed through the rollers.

Question of the Day:

Do your Skinner Blends get way too wide? And do you think this tip will help you? Please post your feedback in the comment section below.

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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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Jeanne S, 10 October, 2013

    I love this tip. It may be something obvious to other people but not to some of us slow medicated thinkers. lol.

  2. Tante Sherry, 18 October, 2013


  3. Amy C, 10 October, 2013

    Wonderful! I will have to try a skinner blend again. Love your tips!

  4. George G, 10 October, 2013

    I have had this problem so I really appreciate this tip. Thanks Cindy!

  5. Jan W, 10 October, 2013

    Hi Cindy! Great suggestion. I thought I was the only one that happened to! Not only does it get wider, but it gets all wonky too…you know, one side much wider than the other. Can’t wait to try this tip.


  6. Debby K, 10 October, 2013

    Small magnets placed on the rollers also help contain the clay to a certain width.

  7. Teresa W, 11 October, 2013

    And I thought it was something I was doing wrong! Like Jeanne, I wonder now why it wasn’t obvious…….. But I am so glad to have the answer to this problem I’ll be too busy to keep kicking myself.

  8. Carrie Harvey, 11 October, 2013

    Great tip!
    I have some short pieces of wooden doweling about half inch diameter which sit on the rollers and help keep the blend from widening too much.

  9. Genie K, 11 October, 2013

    Why yes, in fact, I was having a problem with this the other day actually! Great tip! Will use from now on. :-)

  10. Elizabeth V, 11 October, 2013

    I had such a hard time with this happening to me. I looked all over and couldn’t really find something that would help until this. Thanks. You have saved my buns with skinner blends :)

  11. Jocelyn C, 11 October, 2013

    For those that wish to make narrow blends, perhaps the first step should be starting out with narrowed teardrops, made with long tails and tinier blobs on the top ends. That way, when you use Cindy’s teardrop blend techniques, the strip stays contained and doesn’t spread out as much.

    Several folks have developed products that help keep the clay narrow. Desiree at DesiredCreations developed one made from clay and adjusted by magnets.

    I agree with Cindy’s concern about magnets marking your rollers, and really like the wooden dowel technique Carrie mentioned, so maybe using Desiree’s clay “narrower” jig plus a set of dowels made to various lengths might just be the ticket.

    Another fabulous poly clay artist, Dan Cormier developed a tool called the S.H.A.R.K., which adjusts the width of the clay.

    I have trouble with my hands and use a motor on the pasta machine, so for narrower pieces, I think I am going to try the multi sized dowels and Desiree’s homemade poly clay jig. But to start a narrow blend, I always narrow down Cindy’s teardrops to produce a long thin blend to start. I definitely will stop using my big magnet, as I do not want to mark the rollers of my new Atlas machine.

    Thanks Cindy for tipping us off to this problem of roller damage, plus giving us an easy way to condense big blends! In the past, all of my blends somehow end up the full width of the pasta machine, LOL!

  12. Maria, 11 October, 2013

    I have never understood why, even though you use exactly the same amounts of each clay color, the edges come out uneven no matter how carefully you roll the blend through the pasta machine. Can anyone explain this phenomenon?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 11 October, 2013

    Hi Maria, the uneven sides happen on blends because the clay wants to push out whichever way is easiest. So it goes out sideways as well as out through the rollers. Then when the sheet gets wide, the sides of the machine drag on the clay and you end up with little ears on each side.

    Now if one of the clays is softer than the other, or if the rollers are uneven, they will skew even more.

    Those perfectly square blends you see in tutorials are fake. The artist trimmed those to make them look nice. So don’t worry if they don’t look perfect when they come out of the machine. They rarely do! :)

  14. Susie W, 11 October, 2013

    Wow! I never would have thought of that. GREAT tip! Thanks.

  15. Monica D, 12 October, 2013

    I haven’t attempted Skinner blends for fear they will be unmanageable. Your tutorial is encouraging and I will probably attempt a Skinner blend soon. Thank you Cindy.

  16. Marilyn P, 13 October, 2013

    Oh my gosh but that was wonderful. I have ended up with long skinny blends and you just solved that issue totally! Can’t wait to tell my clay-play-day pals….
    Thank you so much, marilyn

  17. Suguna S, 14 October, 2013

    Thanks Cindy ! I have just started making skinner blend and was facing this problem. You were the first one who came to my mind to ask query to..and voila i see your post on this already! That is a wonderful way..Amazing.

  18. Jocelyn C, 17 October, 2013

    Another artist (Katers Acres) added their take on a polyclay jig to narrow clay on Tonya’s FB tutorial site, and Cindy’s video is featured on this page as well (congrats, Cindy!).

  19. Andrea Paradiso, 18 October, 2013

    Used Skinner Blends almost since I started using PC, so I encountered this problem immediately and could not find an answer anywhere. I set out to find my own solution, which is basically the same as Cindy’s. I make a Skinner plug and then work from there. I have seen some of these other work-arounds to the problem, but have been loath in buying anything because I’m not sure if the clay wouldn’t do what it wanted to do anyway.

  20. Theresa Tatum, 24 January, 2014

    Thank you Cindy for the information. I am having so much fun experimenting with new things. I am trying to master the two videos I purchased and then I plan on buying more. I am happy with what I have done so far. You are an inspiration to me and one day I hope I can be as good as you.

  21. Fran V, 04 April, 2014

    I have seen a great looking tool on the internet, Dan Cormier’s Shark.

    It has been mentioned here on this site by a couple of people (I was a good doobie and searched the site before writing this!) but it never got a lot of discussion, and I thought it deserved a little more attention. And I’d like to know if anyone out there has one besides Gayle Thompson. If so, do you like it?

    It is a set of a magnetic ruler and a magnetic wedge that you put onto your pasta machine and the wedge totally controls the width of the sheet of clay. There are only 2 types available, for the Atlas, Makins, and the AMACO. Here is a link to Dan’s video demo….

    Check it out! It looks cool.

  22. Fran V, 28 April, 2014

    Wow, Cindy & Doug! thanks for embedding Dan Cormier’s video right here!

  23. Sherry Wallis, 31 May, 2014

    Thank you so much for this. I seem to have some kind of mental block when it comes to Skinner blends. Your teardrop method has made my life a lot easier since I always managed to mess up the triangles, but I still have had terrible issues with the clay getting too long and narrow or not being able to make it narrow. This video series has been a great help.

  24. Kathy Basil, 12 August, 2019

    Hi Cindy –
    While scanning the internet about everything polymer clay I came across a short video advertising a kit (?) of attachments for your pasta machine called the Cutting Edge Shark. Why I was interested is because it looked like a guiding tool to keep your clay from widening, instead of trying to use your fingers to guide the clay, which I’m not very good at. Couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. Apparently it was a few years ago. Do you know anything about it?
    Thank you!

  25. Cindy Lietz, 12 August, 2019

    Hi Kathy, the Shark is a tool made by polymer clay artist Dan Cormier from Cutting Edge. I don’t know if he makes it any more. I don’t think he sells his tools through a regular store, just does popup sales and online workshops from time to time.I am sure if you Google his name you could find out if he has them for sale anywhere.

    I think you should practice using your fingers. It may be a little trickier but it is not hard and the more you use your hands, the better they will work for you. New gadgets are handy, but practice is how you get good at polymer clay.

  26. Kathy Basil, 13 August, 2019

    Yes, I did finally connect with him. No sale which is fine. I fear I’m one of those who sees all these fun things and buys things (for PC) when I haven’t even learned enough. So I appreciate your comments and suggestions. Brings me back to earth!

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