Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Faux Marble

I finally gave myself permission to try the faux marble technique from Carol Blackburn's book (Making Polymer Clay Beads). I'd been admiring it ever since I got the book. Of course, I didn't follow the directions precisely, but that's what makes it fun. ;o)

This technique even made sanding fun-- for a while. Now that's worn off, though, and I'm back to hating sanding, like a normal person. (g)

I have many more that have yet to be sanded, buffed, and photographed. Some are destined to be earrings, some pendants. . . and some were going to be earrings, but turned out to not match closely enough in size. (Grr!) So they'll be. . . I'm not sure what, yet.

Here are a handful that I did manage to photograph, this afternoon:

I like this first batch-- especially the heart on the bottom. I think the colors are nicer than the photo suggests. I probably should've stuck with the heart shape instead of making that odd one, though. It looks like a pair of legs in curly-toed elf shoes. Or something. (g)

These are less translucent than the others. That was partly planned, but I didn't think they'd be quite so opaque. I still like them, though-- again, they look better outside the photo. (Next time, I'll have to be a bit more careful to get decent shots.)

Best parts of this technique:
  • The element of surprise. They go from such ugly ducklings, all covered in paint, to very presentable beads and pendants-- right before your very eyes.
  • How well they buff up. (The buffing really makes all the difference in the world.)
  • Being able to make "stone" in any shape you want, without the trouble of chiseling, etc. ;o)
Worst parts of this technique:
  • Can be rather time consuming, what with all the sanding and buffing.
  • All the sanding and buffing. (g)


Christie said...

Those are very cool beads. I agree about the sanding with this technique. The first couple minutes sanding each bead is like unwrapping a gift. The surprise element is very cool. But then you have to KEEP.ON.SANDING. Blech. :)
I like all the shapes you tried. I didn't get any more adventurous than cubes and cabs.
Did you use mica powders at all? The mica powder colors I mixed turned out to be my favorite beads. The colors shift in the light. It's COOL.

red.daisy said...

Oh yes, I still have plenty to sand and buff and I'm so tierd of it! (my wrists hurt!) I'm still trying to figure out if there is a machine to do this for me *g*.

Love the outcome though! :-)

Tina T. said...

They are just stunning! Love the shapes... love the colors... just very pretty!

Deabusamor said...

I like the second batch best because of the grainy opacity. And UGH the sanding. The little odd shape could be the base of a flower? It looked like an upside-down tulip to me.

artandtea said...

Hi Michael,
These are wonderful! You've really inspired me to try this technique.
Your curly piece reminds me of the bottom part of a whimsical being.
I enjoy reading your blog!

Michael said...

Thanks for all the kind words, everyone! :o)

Christie-- Yes, I remember how great your beads turned out! All of mine used a little mica powder, but on most of them it didn't show much. I did try a couple with lots of mica powder. I haven't photographed them yet, but you can definitely see the mica shift, like you say. I'm going to try more like that!

red.daisy-- A machine that would neatly sand any shape of bead would be *so nice*. (Well, "so nice" doesn't even begin to express the wonderfulness. (g))From what I've heard about tumble-sanding, I get the impression that it doesn't work as well on anything that's not kind of round. Too bad!

Tina-- Thank you! :o)

Deabusamor-- Neat idea about the possible tulip. I hadn't thought of turning it upside down like that. :o) And the secret behind the grainy opacity is embossing powder. I was playing around with some "seafoam white" powder I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby.

artandtea-- Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy it, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with! :o)