I discovered this miracle during our travels around New Zealand. At that time I could not do without "turning the handle", so I ordered all kinds of things for polymer clay work from Australia. Besides other things there were PanPastels. First, I did not know what I would use them for, however, … I can say they look gorgeous and the work with them is simply great! It is! PanPastels are unique to touch – their consistency is similar to blusher. They are intensive pigments: dry but not crumbly, smooth and fine to touch. In a word, they are an absolute joy to work with. However, let´s stop dreaming and get down to work!
You need the following for creation of PanPastel hollow beads:
transparent clay, ca 1 block
a piece of paper for preparing a stencil for beads
polystyrene balls 2.5 cm in diameter
and sure… PanPastels in several colours
silk screen stencil (I am using MOIKO leaves)
acrylic (white) paint
and standard tools for polymer clay work
First, cut a stencil – rectangle - out of paper for beads. The length of the shorter side corresponds with the diameter of polystyrene balls (I have 2.5 cm) and the length of the longer side is identical with the circumference of the ball, i.e. 2.5 x 3.14 cm (Ludolfs number = ∏ at the keyboard). Well, condition the clay at 3rd thickest setting of pasta machine (#4 with Imperia). The length of the shorter side corresponds with the longer side of the paper stencil (see the picture). The length of the clay sheet depends on the number of beads (i.e. how many bead stencils fit next to each other).
Now, it is time for the funniest stage: choose the colours of PanPastels, daub and smear them on the clay and have fun! Everything is possible, enjoy it! I switched from one colour to another, so there are parts of the sheet with one dominant colour passing to another one. Don´t be sparing with the pigments, the clay should not (but could as well) be transparent. Amazing, isn´t it?
You can apply the silk screen stencils, if you want. I chose new patterns of MOIKO stencils which match the oncoming autumn perfectly. Since they are smaller than the sheet, I started with border imprints and when the paint got dry I washed the stencils and impressed them on the central part. The third picture shows that only a very small gap appeared in the middle of the sheet and this gap will be invisible on the beads.
Condition the thinnest sheet of the transparent clay the size of which corresponds with the colour rectangle. If you cannot condition the sheet at the thinnest setting, spread it out with your fingers – from the centre towards the edges. Then lay the transparent sheet on the colour one, start at one end, continue towards the other one and smooth it out. Pass the final sheet through the pasta machine at the second thickest setting. Pass the sheet through the machine quickly, the lower layer tends to unstick from the upper layer. If the lower layer unsticks from the upper one, powder the upper layer with a little corn starch.
Trim the sheet and cut out the first rectangle according to the stencil.
Take the polystyrene ball and wrap it up into the prepared sheet. Join the edges with a needle / metal stick.
Press your fingers inwards and reduce the edges of the sheet, i.e. the sheet gets the shape of the ball. Only a small hole remains. Repeat the procedure at the other side. Roll the ball between your palms.
Cut out a big hole with a round cutter. After baking the shrunk polystyrene falls through the hole. Bake the clay following the manufacturer´s baking instructions. We recommend to bake it in a covered bowl.
Buff the beads, string them on e.g. silk cord and it is done.
Are you as happy about them as me? My beads are being baked in the oven, it is about one a.m., but I have to wait for them, I could not have fallen asleep…
Enjoy your days!
It's wonderful!It's very nice to share your discovery.I'm french, excuse me for my bad english
So many thanks!
This is an interesting tutorial. Your beads are quite beautiful. It needs to be mentioned, however, that baking any form of polysterine, or styrofoam, releases extremely toxic fumes. This should never be done in an oven used for food. And if one does it indoors, you need to be sure that your studio space has some sort of fan, or other ventilation system in place so that the fumes are directed out doors immediately.