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Faux Anodized Niobium Roll-up Beads - Beginner Polymer Clay &
decorative polymer clay sheet that mimics the look of anodized niobium or
titanium using the
Ultrafine Glitter Collections available
from the EJR Beads online store.
These sheets can be used in a
variety of polymer clay projects, such as the simple but effective Roll-up beads shown below.
The EJR Beads Ultrafine Glitters
have fantastic sparkle and a very fine particle size. This makes them perfect for
creating gradated metallic blends using the technique shown below. The wonderful
thing about creating your own metallic glitter blends is that, unlike
rainbow-effect transfer foils, you are in control. You can chose how many colours
to blend together and the width and orientation of each band of colour.
You can adapt the project to use other types of glitters, mica powders
and so on, although obviously the end result will vary depending on the
Condition the polymer clay, kneading
it until soft and pliable.
Roll out a sheet approximately 1- 1.5
mm thick. On my pasta machine, this is the third thickest setting but
machines do vary.
Cut a neat rectangle 6 cm wide and as
long as you care to make it. Lay it on a ceramic tile.
Set the 9 different colours from the
"Anodized" Ultrafine Glitter kit into a paint palette or separate
containers. Make sure to keep them in number order!
Brush a generous line of each colour
along the length of the sheet, working in number order.
Blend the colours together a little
using tip of the brush. Work along the lines not up and down. This will help
the colours stay relatively separate and only blend with their nearest
When done, brush off any excess
glitter. You can collect this and save it for other projects - it will blend
into a pretty periwinkle colour.
You can now chose which effect to
use. If you leave the sheet as it is, the colours are blended together but
remain quite sparkly.
For a more metallic look, gentle rub a
piece of baking paper all over the sheet. This will burnish the glitter
particles, flattening them down so they reflect the light more evenly. The
camera doesn't pick up this effect too well, but you will see when you do
it. Cool huh?!
Using a permanent marker pen and
ruler, measure and mark the tile every other centimetre along both edges of
Mark only the even numbers along one
side and then the odd numbers along the other edge. (So the top edge
has a mark at 0, 2, 4 cm etc. The bottom edge is marked at 1, 3, 5 cm etc.)
These guide marks will come off
easily afterwards with a quick wipe of methylated spirits / rubbing alcohol.
Using the guide marks, cut diagonally
from point to point to cut the sheet into neat triangles.
You can make the cuts with a tissue
blade or carefully use a craft knife against a metal ruler.
If you are using a tissue blade, you
may find it easier to turn the tile so the cutting position is a little more
Loosen the triangles from the tile,
taking care not to stretch or push them out of shape.
Starting from the wide end roll each
triangle up around a wooden toothpick.
Carefully trim the ends of each bead
to a flush finish using a craft knife or tissue blade.
Brush a little glitter over all the
cut clay edges if you wish. You can use the leftover glitter saved from
earlier steps. Waste not, want not!
Indent random textures into the beads
if you wish, using a ball stylus tool,
wax carver tools or anything else that springs to mind.
Gently loosen each bead so it turns
freely on the wooden toothpick.
Transfer the beads to a bead baking
rack and bake as per the clay manufacturer's instructions. (You can bake the
beads on the wooden toothpicks using the method shown in the
glitter project if you prefer.
Once cool, the beads can be varnished
with a waterbased varnish.
Don't forget - if you make
any beads or jewellery using these techniques, I would
love to feature a photo of them in the Customer's Gallery!
Text & Images © Emma Ralph
2008. May not be printed, distributed or reproduced electronically or
otherwise without the author's written permission.
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