Are Your Skinner Blends Getting Too Wide For Your Pasta Machine?

Teardrop Color Blend Method

The Rolling Technique In My Teardrop Method Will Help You to Solve This Problem:

A couple of weeks ago I published a video tutorial in the members library on how to make quick and easy polymer clay color blends. Due to popular demand, this video has been made available for public viewing… but only for a limited time. As of today, you can still access the full tutorial without being a member at the library. Instructions are provided here: Lietz Teardrop Method

I’m so pleased to see how excited everyone is about this new technique. To date there have been over 125 very enthusiastic comments posted by polymer clayers ranging from complete newbies right up to advanced professionals. Thank you so much to all of you who shared your kind words. I really appreciate it!

In reading through the feedback, one topic that came up several times was about a common problem that many clayers experience with making color blends…

“One problem, as I also have with the older Skinner Blend… How do you keep the piece from becoming so broad that it doesn’t have room to go through the pasta machine? For most projects, I would like to have a SQUARE piece, not a narrow, broad piece.” ~Van

“Thanks for sharing the video with all of us, Cindy. I like the fact that you can use so many more colours in the blend. Does it still spread out as much as doing the regular blend? I find that I lose the outside colours as it spreads out wider than the pasta machine opening when doing the standard version.” ~Rosemary

As with all Skinner type color blends, your clay sheet will get a bit wider each time you feed it through your pasta machine. To address this issue, many polymer clay artists try and smush in the sides of the sheet after each pass.

Or they use little tricks like making wedge shaped gadgets to place in the pasta machine to reduce the opening. Lynn Watts shared some information about some of these tricks in one of her comments…

“I want to pass along a little hint to Van. Use a piece of dowel cut to the size within the inside of your pasta machine to the width that you want your blend to remain. You can really use whatever you have to keep your clay from spreading out too widely. I have seen some use a strong rectangle magnetic covered in clay of course to sit on the top half above the rollers to keep the clay at a certain width. Things the clay would not readily stick too.” ~Lynn

With my Teardrop Method, you can easily adjust the width of the blend right after you have rolled it up into a log, and before you flatten it out to pass it through the pasta machine.

While it is in this log stage, you can gently massage the ends inwards to shorten up the overall length of the log. Try to ‘work’ the middle section of the log too. You don’t want to just jam in the ends without also compressing the middle, or a lot of the original colors at each end of your blend may disappear.

If you are still losing most of the end colors, start with larger balls of clay at each end to compensate for this problem. With the old way of doing the skinner blend this was a little trickier to plan out. Now it’s as easy as grabbing more clay.

Thank you to Sue, Caroline and Terri for your comments about this log shortening trick…

“…one other advantage over rolling the blend-in-progress into a cylinder compared to the standard fold technique is that you can easily shorten it at the cylinder stage before flattening it for the next pass through the pasta machine. That’s an easy way to control the width… e.g. to stop small blends from becoming impractically wide, or to keep it off the edges of the machine if they discolour the clay more, or just if you want a narrow blend. Looking forward to seeing more of your ideas!” ~Sue

“That was great, Cindy – thanks! The flattened roll of clay tends to get wider and wider – I shall try pushing the roll in from the ends before rolling it flatter. Keep up the good work!” ~Caroline

“Wow, this is a great technique. No more weird edges with my Skinner blends!” ~Terri

To see all of the original comments, feedback, questions and opinions that have been posted to date, here are the links to the series of articles where you can find them:

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. Lindsay Weirich, 02 March, 2009

    you are a genius! It’s like one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments when you smack your head and say “duh” as soon as I saw the pic in your article of the teardrops is was so clear! You rock!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 05 March, 2009

    Thanks Lindsay! I almost had to do one of those Doh things myself when I thought of it. It was just too simple!

  3. Gayle Thompson, 06 March, 2009

    Dan Cormier has also designed a great new tool kit for the pasta machine called “The Shark”. It has a magnetic ruler that attaches to the front of the machine so you can see how wide your blend is and a very strong magnetic wedge that you can place anywhere on your rollers to stop your blend from getting any wider. I have them and use them often and love them.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 06 March, 2009

    I’ve seen that gadget online Gayle. It looks cool! So does it work by just keeping the blend from spreading out sideways then?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 11 July, 2009

    Just wanted to post this excerpt from the Emicraft blog over in Russia. I am very pleased to hear they are using my Teardrop Method in their classes and instruction.

    “Thank you, Cindy! I like all new things and try many new materials and technics. So your studies are very interesting for me. I try to shortly translate your articles, for those readers, who don’t know English. I see that some ideas are common and people from different places tell about one thing simultaneously. For example, we begin to use something like your skinner blend version in automn classes. It was very exiting to see your post about it! Hope we could help you too in your work.”

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