The Polyclay Forum

General Category => General Polymer Clay Questions => Topic started by: JewelryByAmyT on May 15, 2015, 03:09:04 PM

Title: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 15, 2015, 03:09:04 PM
A group of us at our senior center have made our first batch of beads which turned out fairly nice shape and color wise.  But . .   .  I am not happy with how they look for using them in jewelry pieces yet.   :-\

Can someone please point me in the right direction on what needs to do done after baking beads to finish them so they look more finished and ready to use to make jewelry?  I have read people referring to sanding and polishing but not sure how to do this with polymer clay beads.

Thank you
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: MilleD on May 16, 2015, 09:35:06 AM
Hi Katherine,

There is tonnes of info online about this, but it really depends what look you are going for as to how you finish your beads.

Wet/dry automotive paper used wet and going down the grades is favoured by many to get a soft sheen and remove any unwanted marks.

They can be buffed on a piece of old denim or other fabric.  Or of you want to get technical (and a bit more expensive) a tumbling machine or buffing wheel can be used.

Then there are the glazes and finishes you can apply.

What is it you don't like about the beads?
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 16, 2015, 03:30:25 PM
Claire thank you for pointing me in the right direction.   To answer your question - What I do not like about the beads is that they look like a kids made them with play dough even though they are shaped nicely and the colors are nice.    Maybe it is because I am a glass artist so am used to a more polished look?  And I do not mean that the beads have to be shinny as at times even with glass I work towards a more organic look and ethc my beads.  But clearly something is missing from the clay beads as far as being attractive and eye catching.  So I am trying to figure out the next steps that we need to do.

Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: Sylvia on May 17, 2015, 12:18:06 AM
Any chance of posting a picture?
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 17, 2015, 09:02:14 PM
Sylvia when the senior center opens tomorrow I will take a picture and post.
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 19, 2015, 02:21:45 AM
These bead are not shaped perfect but it is the finishing part that I am most concerned with and need help with.
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: monkey ann on May 19, 2015, 09:34:49 AM
Hi Katherine,  in my opinion these beads will look best left with a matt finish, no sanding.  No offence meant here, they are not perfectly round and are more what a lot of us like to call 'organic'.  I still make plenty of organic beads, mostly by choice, but not always.  Any areas that it is not easy to sand (ie hollows) may remain matt and not give an overall good finish.

If you are after perfectly round beads, the best tools we have for this is our hands.  Take a piece of clay roughly shaped into a ball, put it into the palm of one hand and roll it with your other hand for really big beads, or just 2 or 3 fingers for smaller beads.  Practice on a piece of conditioned clay.  Also find a way of measuring out your clay to get equal sizes.  I use round cutters, and count how many disks of clay I use to each bead, adding or decreasing the number to get graduated sizes.

I don't sand everything, after baking, if it looks good then I leave it alone.

Happy claying


Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 19, 2015, 02:51:11 PM
Thanks Money Ann - no offense taken.  These beads were the first time one of our seniors ever made beads.  I will have her leave these beads alone.

But we do have other beads that are better shaped because we are also using one of those bead maker thingys.  Should we be sanding and buffing better shaped beads?
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: MilleD on May 19, 2015, 04:26:44 PM
Do you mean a bead roller?  I can't get on with those for love nor money  :)

I think it really depends on what you want a bead to look like.

The only time you really need to glaze a bead is if it has a surface coating that may rub off.

That said, can you 'sacrifice' one of these to see if you would prefer a glazed look?  Emma holds various finishes that you could try http://www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=17_178
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: MilleD on May 19, 2015, 04:28:13 PM
By the way, I think your beads would look nice interspersed with little orange seed beads or something.  Glazed or not
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 19, 2015, 04:34:56 PM
MillieD  thanks for the info and suggestions it is much appreciated.  :)
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: Carrie on May 19, 2015, 09:18:59 PM
I agree that they look nice as they are - also varnishes can end up looking 'gloopy' .
lt really is too much trouble sanding beads - fingernails are the things that suffer most!   The natural clay finish is very attractive and sets them apart from mass produced glass or plastic  :) 
Claire's idea of contrasting seed beads inbetween is great - especially if they're shiny. 
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: Bonipie on May 19, 2015, 11:47:15 PM
Hi, All,
I have a couple ideas.  First, I like these beads more everytime I look at them.  I'm going to mention stringing first-that will be your next question.  May I suggest, if you desire to make a bracelet, these beads seem like they would work well with elastic.  It's easy to make the bracelet, and since the artist is a senior, very easy to use.  Clay works well with elastic because you can ream out an area at the hole of one bead the size of the knot, and the knot will have a place to reside that is not visible.  I can't make suggestions for elastic since I am USA, but I bet there is someone here who can.

On finish, don't forget Pledge with Clear, I think you call it in the UK.  Please correct me if needed.  I like it when I don't want a high shine, but want a nice easy finish.  It's inexpensive, applies easy, you don't need to sand-what's not to like.  First application is not usually shiny, but gets more shiny as you apply more applications.  It is polymer friendly.

I have found that life is too short for sanding (and, I have a whole drawer full of sandpaper).  Sometimes you can't avoid it, but I have found that what I like now doesn't usually need sanding.  Buffing can give you a really nice semi matt/shine surface.  You can do it with fabric or can use an electric buffer.  The electric buffer works well and fast, but you must do your homework to operate it safely.

A couple of other comments-I have a tumbler (I used it for my wire work).  I tried several times to use it with polymer, and never had successful results.  It was probably just me as others have reported success.  But, a good tumbler is pretty expensive, so do your research before going this way.  And, someone mentioned the bead rollers.  I'm surprised you had success being rather new.  I have tried several times and have not been impressed.  After time and many beads, I have no problem making just about any style bead without a bead roller.  Emma has at least one free tutorial on making a rolled bead.  And, her 'Illuminare & Clarice Beads - Polymer Clay Tutorial & Support, 26.95' tutorial has several very important techniques for bead making.  It's an excellent tutorial.

Hugs, Boni  8) in Lovely Yuma, Arizona where it is not yet HOT!

Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 19, 2015, 11:59:26 PM
Carrie thank you for the info.

And Bonipie thank you also.  Actually we are in New Mexico, USA so we are almost neighbors.  Are you talking about Pledge floor wax?  And I have never used elastic to make jewlery so if you happen to have a USA source I would appreciate it.

I also have a small light wt 3 inch grinder at home and am thinking about buying a buffing wheel for it.??
 If that is a good idea I could carry the grinder to our polymer clay sessions.

FYI:  I am running a group doing (or trying to do) polymer clay with seniors who are on the younger side and are very creative.  But we have never used polymer clay before.  Our goal is to make jewelry to sell as a fundraiser so as you can see we have a long way to go.  And you are right we have not yet gotten to stringing the beads.  But we do have seed beads from our bead weaving group that we could use as suggested above.

Again thanks for all of your suggestions and info.
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: Bonipie on May 20, 2015, 02:11:47 AM
Carrie thank you for the info.

And Bonipie thank you also.  Actually we are in New Mexico, USA so we are almost neighbors.  Are you talking about Pledge floor wax? Yes, Pledge Floor Wax with Future.  One bottle will last a long time.  And I have never used elastic to make jewlery so if you happen to have a USA source I would appreciate it.  I'll send you a source and instructions.

FYI:  I am running a group doing (or trying to do) polymer clay with seniors who are on the younger side and are very creative.  But we have never used polymer clay before.  This is so awesome.  Watch those seniors, they will amaze you.  There are many on this forum who started by themselves, teaching themselves.  This group is very sharing and will teach you a lot.

Again thanks for all of your suggestions and info.  You are so welcome.  Boni
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: JewelryByAmyT on May 20, 2015, 04:16:26 AM
Thanks again Bonipie
Title: Re: finished cured / baked clay pieces
Post by: MilleD on May 20, 2015, 01:29:12 PM
I agree that they look nice as they are - also varnishes can end up looking 'gloopy' .
lt really is too much trouble sanding beads - fingernails are the things that suffer most!   The natural clay finish is very attractive and sets them apart from mass produced glass or plastic  :) 

I agree, it knackers your hands.

Claire's idea of contrasting seed beads inbetween is great - especially if they're shiny.

Why thank you Carrie  :D