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Bead Week: Roll, Blow, or Craft Your Own

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
By Twistie

Welcome to day three of Bead Week at Crafty Manolo! Set a spell and see if something appeals.

Sure, it’s fun to buy beads. That’s something I enjoy doing on a fairly regular basis, often with no clue what I’ll do with them later. I just like having lots of beads to choose from when I decide on a project.

But what about making the beads themselves? Most of us never do that. And why not? I can’t think of a good reason. Maybe if we all take a look at ways beads can be produced, some of us will find a way that appeals to our crafting genes. Even if we don’t, we’ll certainly have more appreciation for those who do the job!

Over at Shermo Beads, Ann Sherm Baldwin has a great visual tutorial on making lampwork glass beads. She recommends (and I heartily second this advice!) that if you want to try it yourself, it’s probably better to take a proper class. Still, this tutorial will not only help you see whether this is a craft for you, it will also give you a better appreciation of the work involved in making those gorgeous beads. So put on the pretty, sparkly safety goggles she has thoughtfully set out, and take a look.

Art Trader Magazine Online has a good tutorial on using polymer clay to make Pandora style beads. Wendy, this is for you. Wouldn’t this be a great way to come up with beads with big enough holes to use for your knitting?

I’m just sayin’….

Paper Beads.org has a terrific blog on techniques and projects for paper beads. I found myself kind of intrigued with the idea of using posterboard, which is how these beads were made. Learn how here.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make wooden beads? eHow has a clear set of instructions for free. Oh, and if you’re looking for wood and carry your own saw, I’ve got a tree out back that could really use a good pruning. No, really, I do.

You can even make beads from beads. Somehow I’d never really thought about using seed beads to make bigger, more elaborate beads, but the results can be amazing. Check out how with this peyote-stitch bead tutorial on Beading Arts.

Happy beading, everyone!


Polymer Passion

Thursday, January 19th, 2012
By Twistie

I remember well when I first discovered polymer clays. I was busily trying to find the perfect craft for me and thought beading looked fun. I got myself a couple catalogues to check out supplies and educational resources. Lo and behold, there was this amazing new product called FIMO, a colorful clay from which you could make your own beads in the oven. What a cool idea! I ordered some and made a few beads. It was fun. I enjoyed it. I did it a few times… and then I lost interest in actually making the beads. All the same, I really enjoyed seeing what people did with this intriguing new product.

I’d moved on to tossing bobbins, but I still admired a good FIMO or Sculpy bead artist.

So imagine my delight when I recently discovered the Polymer Art Archive. It’s a fabulous site dedicated to polymer clays, their history, uses, and dedicated artists. On the site, you’ll see many lovely pieces like the ones above… but you’ll also see more ambitious uses of this versatile material, like this bracelet at a recent show of polymer jewelry artists in San Diego:

Who knows? With inspiration like that, I might just give polymer another try!












Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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