Polymer Clay Creations

Recently I was looking at the past monthly challenge contests on polymerclaycentral.com.   In June of 2005, I won second place in the “PCC Lessons” challenge.  I had used the basic techniques from Jenny Cox’s Faux Howlite tutorial, however..instead of using white clay and grey paint, I substituted purple clay and metallic gold acrylic paint.   It’s funny, because I really enjoyed experimenting with that technique, but I don’t think I ever made anything using that method again.  I’m too easily distracted!  :)

After bringing it to mind by viewing the PCC challenges, I realized that I should really explore that method a little more thoroughly.  I wondered if using translucent clay with metallic inks would work as well as my original experiment.  I hoped that it might add more subtlety and depth to the piece.

I started out by taking 1 ounce of Premo bleached translucent clay (note:  I am working from my huge supply of old formula Premo, so all my recipes use old formula clay).  I mixed it with a pinch of orange clay until I got a nice peachy color translucent.  I rolled it out into a sheet using the thickest layer of my pasta machine.  Then I placed the clay in my freezer to firm it up a bit.

In her original tutorial, Jenny uses a grater to shred the clay into small slivers.  Instead, I used my blade to chop it into tiny, irregularly-sized fragments.   I divided the chunks into two equal piles.  Into one batch of clay, I mixed Metallic Charcoal Posh Impressions Inkabilities ink.  Into the other, I mixed Red Metallic Ink.   After allowing the ink to dry (mostly…this technique does get quite sloppy), I mushed the pieces together (one color at a time, so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate the inks).   It can take a bit of work to get the pieces to stick together well.  Once they were sufficiently “mushed”…I stuck them in an 18×25 cabochon mold (homemade using the old Miracle Mold several years ago).   Then I cured them.   I always use an ice water bath immediately after curing any project using translucent clays…it just makes the translucent even MORE translucent!

When they come out of the oven, they will look really messy and unattractive (all that ink smeared everywhere!).  Don’t worry!  They will become very beautiful once you sand them…it helps to remove the sloppy looking layer of ink on the outside.

They turned out well, IMHO!

Both of these cabochons began with the same light peach translucent clay. The cabochon on the left was mixed with charcoal metallic ink, while the one on the right was mixed with red metallic ink.


I thought these turned out nicely.  I loved the striking contrast between the two pieces, despite using the same color of translucent clay for both.  It really shows how much impact the color of ink/paint can really make!

After this success, I decided to try again with a different color.   This time I made a light pink translucent clay.  I followed the procedures described above (chilling and dicing the clay, then separating into two piles).   This time I wanted to try lighter shades of ink…I was curious how subtle the effect would be.  So for one pile, I used White Pearl ink, and for the other I used Silver metallic ink.  They both turned out lovely…and yes…both have very subtle effects (with depth to both pieces):


Both of these pieces use light pink translucent clay. The cabochon on the left was mixed with White Pearl ink, the one on the right with Silver metallic ink.  I love the subtle nature of the design and the depth of both pieces.


Finally, I decided to try with a light sea green colored translucent clay.   This time I mixed the green translucent clay with Metallic blue ink.  I think this one is my favorite!

Light sea green translucent clay with Metallic Blue ink.  I did get some plaquing with the translucent clay, but it actually adds an interesting effect to the depth of the piece.

You will be seeing more of these modified Faux Howlite cabochons in my next post (the results of my orange soda color challenge!)…but it was certainly fun to experiment with a PCC tutorial in a different way.

PolyClay friends:   What is the favorite adaptation or experimentation that you’ve added to a familiar tutorial?

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