Sunday, January 1, 2017

Necklace from a Christmas Ornament? and Wavy-Blade Mokume Gane

Here are the step-by-step instructions for making the beads in this necklace. They were shaped by using a holiday ornament as a mold (seen below). But you might want to create this wavy-blade surface design even if you don't have the ornament. 
I used a combination of Sculpey III and Premo polymer clay for this project. I liked the softness of the Sculpey for how easily it "smooshed" into the geometric recessed areas of this ornament (which I bought on clearance after Christmas at Lowes).

 To make the beads:

Step 1. You can use any colors you like, but I used Yellow, Sweet Potato, Turquoise, and Fuchsia Pearl Sculpey III. Roll 1/4 package of each color to a fairly thin setting on your pasta machine. Stack the colors in random order, as seen below.
Step 2. Cut the stack in half diagonally. 
Step 3. Square each half up to form a rectangular solid, as shown here. 
Step 4. Push the the 2 pieces together and compress them to form roughly a cube.

Step 5. Cut slices from the cube with a small-pattern wavy blade like the Sculpey Super Slicer. This photo shows the approximate thickness of the slices and the pattern that will emerge. 
Step 6. Spray Armor-All Protectant onto a paper towel and rub lightly inside the mold. Press a clay slice, prettier-side-down, into the treated mold and trim off any excess clay.

Step 7. Roll a medium-thick sheet of black Premo! Sculpey and cut a piece slightly larger than your mold. Press it firmly onto the back of the molded piece while it's still in the mold. Use the black base to pull out the colorful molded piece (see below).
Step 8. Trim off the ragged edges of the molded piece for your finished bead (see below).

You can use this wavy-blade mokume gane technique with any simple-shaped mold you have. The heart-shaped bead shown below was made in a candy mold. 

I baked my beads and then drilled them with a drill press. Because none of them were drilled at precisely the same angle, they hang in slightly different directions, giving the necklace a funky modern look that I like.

I'd love to see the projects you make using this tutorial!