Monday, September 7, 2009

Polymer Coral and Amber

I'm on a roll. Things I've been putting off are finally getting done. Feels great.
The above photo shows the polished shine accomplished from progressive grit sanding and then buffing. I may still add a buffing compound to see if I can bring the shine up one more notch.
Above is my bowl of water (reflecting the circular task light), the wet 250 grit sandpaper next to the bowl and the 350, 400, 600, 800 and 2000 grits lined up in order. The water is yellow orange because I just finished the 250 sanding. I emptied it and started the next grit.
These beads were sanded all the way through to 2000 and then I polished them on the electric buffer. The first batch was finished last night and I started the second batch this morning.
It is too hard on my hands to do them all at one time. Below is the start of the second batch.
They are very dull and chalky looking after the first sanding. The before and afters are amazing. It's really satisfying work. I followed Victoria Hughes' color recipes for the amber and coral. They are both in her book, "Polymer-The Chameleon Clay", along with recipes for ivory, jade, turquoise and other natural materials.
A couple of spots of water still sitting on the beads. I used some fine gravel from my backyard to add texture to the coral to simulate worm damage that can sometimes appear in coral.
So, I will finish up today (hopefully) and string them tomorrow and get them posted.
Not everyone has an electric buffer sitting in the middle of their home. I cover the tables with old lightweight sheets and put a box behind the buffer (to catch beads that go flying). My rule is if two beads get caught and go flying, I put it away until tomorrow. The two spots in the above photo are on my camera lens and not on the wall. Honest.
My convection oven is in the garage and is used solely for curing polymer clay. It is one of the larger ones and when I remove the trays, it can accommodate larger pieces.

1 comment:

Arlene Harrison said...

What I have found to work well with my beads when I buff them is to run either wire to a small knitting needle through them to hold on to. I found some knitting needles in a bead shop in Florida that were just a bit thicker than the piercing pins that come with bead rollers. I put no more than 4 at a time on the knitting needle so I'm able to get a good shine on all of them.