From February 2015

Translucent Polymer Clay Hollow Bead Experiments – Part 1: Core Materials

Dried papier maché clay and paper pulp patched with it (some sanded)
Dried paper, papier maché clay and paper pulp patched with it (some sanded)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fascinated with some of the jewelry I’ve seen online that uses translucent polymer clay, especially when it looks like sea glass or glass glass.

After a lot of poking around for answers to how people like Kathrin Neumaier, Barbara Fernald  and other clay artists, like those featured on The Blue Bottle Tree blog create their pieces, I had some idea of what to do, but was still a bit fuzzy about how to create the effects I was after. There were hints here and there, but nothing that really gave me the complete picture.

There were plenty of tutorials available for a price, but I had no way of knowing whether they would tell me what I wanted to know.

It was time to set up the la-bOr-a-tory (mwah, ha, ha!) and try some experiments.

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Happy Accident – A Recycled Storage Case for DIY Alcohol Inks

Alcohol ink storage from recycled floppy disk case
Alcohol ink storage from recycled floppy disk cases

Sometimes it pays to clean out your closet, even if you’re avoiding something you should be doing instead (preparing tax info).

So, I’m pretty sure what possessed me to do my more-or-less annual computer/office supply closet purge and reorganization. If it hadn’t happened just after I made the alcohol inks from Sharpies, this idea would probably never have occurred to me.

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Make breakfast last a little longer

Always looking for ways to recycle household packaging (and a huge fan of my sacred morning ritual), one of my favorites is the plastic lining in cereal boxes.

cereal box liner They get a lot of use during gardening season, being a great way to store greens like lettuce, kale and arugula.

Liner bags can be rinsed out easily, closed with a chip clip and seem to keep produce fresh for a fairly long time.

The kitchen is always well-stocked with them, but after a certain point, the line between saving and hoarding gets a little blurry. Throughout the winter months, it seems like a such a shame to throw the liners away. Kale and arugula grew through November, but in the last few months, you wouldn’t be able to find them under the snow if it survived.

Today they got a chance to stay out of the trash a while longer.

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Using Alcohol Inks to Color Translucent Polymer Clay

Polymer clay test beads colored with alcohol inks
Polymer clay test beads colored with alcohol inks

The reason I made all of those alcohol inks from Sharpies was to color translucent polymer clay. Now it’s time to put them to work.

I had no idea how much ink to use in proportion to the clay, other than hints online that it didn’t take very much at all. The translucent clay was also new to me and I wasn’t sure how translucent it would get. So…it was time to call on my inner mad scientist.

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