Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tutorial: Polymer Clay Bead Basics Part 4- Covering a Mud Core with a Solid Color

Okay, I know last week I promised some more bead shapes but as I was planning that tutorial, I decided I needed to do the next set of shapes in a solid color of clay to make them easier to see.  So I decided I needed to show how I cover a "mud" (scrap clay that's been thoroughly mixed so it's a lovely mud color) core with solid colored clay so as not to use as much "good" clay.  I always seem to have a lot of mud lying around and am constantly trying to come up with ways to use it.

Anyhow, here it is:

Covering a Mud Core with a Solid Color
Condition your colored clay thoroughly and roll out into a medium-thick sheet.  Mix your mud until it is all one color.

Roll your mud up into a fairly fat log.

Lay the mud log along one edge of your colored sheet and trim the sheet on three sides.

Wrap the sheet around the log and roll until the edge of the colored sheet meets the part still on the table.  Roll back a little and you should see a mark where the clay touched.  Use this as your guideline to cut the sheet of clay.  When you wrap it all the way around, the edges of the sheet should butt up against one another.

Smooth the seam with your fingers.

Squeeze and turn, squeeze and turn your log until it starts to lengthen and get skinnier.  (I really think I should clear my craft table a little before I do the photos for these tutorials.  You can still see the remains from my last project.)

When it gets to a certain "skinniness," my fingers can't handle any more and that's how I know when to move on.That's about as far as I can squeeze.

Now roll it out onto the table until it is smooth and about the thickness around that you would like your beads to be.

Trim the end.  You can see how the mud is running through the log of clay with the pink on the outside.

Mark your log where you want to cut.  I'm using a Marxit tool but you can use a ruler or even just eyeball it if you're good enough at that sort of thing.

Cut your log into even chunks.

Take one of the chunks and start pressing on the sides of one end of it.  Kind of squeeze the color in toward itself.  Squeeze and turn, squeeze and turn.  You can probably see what I mean better in the next photo.

Keep squeezing and turning until the colored clay almost meets.

Then press down toward the center of the bead to squeeze the air out that may be trapped from the shaping.

Roll the bead between your hands to make a ball. 

Ready to pierce or make into another shape. 

Voila!  No one will ever know that these beads aren't pink throughout.

(I promise the next lesson will be about more bead shapes.)


The "Bead Basics" Series of Tutorials:
Part 1: Covering a Core
Part 2: 5 Bead Shapes
Part 3: 6 More Bead Shapes
Part 5: Impressed Beads


  1. Excellent post! I quite new to polymer clay and as a result have a ton of mud already!

  2. This is a good way to use it up!

  3. Wow that is amazing! It looks so perfect in the end. Nice strategy!