Posted in Jewellery and Charms, Tutorials

Pastel Opal Polymer Clay Tutorial

I hope you can all find some measure of clarity in these pictures; it was a rainy day.

This is the tutorial for the faux opals I made in the previous post, in case you are mightily confused.

The Necessary Materials:

  • Translucent white polymer clay of some description (whatever brand you like, I used Sculpey.)
  • Something to color it with – either small bits of colored clay, chalk pastel powder, mica powders – whatever you want to use.
  • Iridescent glitter – the confetti flake type might work best, but I had tinsel glitter, so that’s what I used. I’d avoid round glitter or glitter that’s a very regular shape, unless you like that look.
  • A craft knife – you’ll need to cut some thin slices, so a scalpel/Xacto type with a handle might not work as well as a flat blade.
  • Hole-poking tools of some description (if you need them, I used a ball tool.)
  • A polymer-clay safe gloss glaze.
  • Jewelry findings, depending on what you want to make it into.

Start with conditioning your translucent clay. I separated it into small bits so I could add some mica powders to color them in a few pastel colors. You want to keep one large portion white. Keep in mind that translucent colors tend to deepen when baked, so don’t add too much pigment (I did that with a few colors :/)

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(This is the type of glitter I used, in pink and white. Flake or confetti glitter, which I could not locate, would probably have worked better.)

Glitter: **glitters**

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Start with a small chunk of the white translucent. Slice a thin piece of one of the colors and press them together.

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Continue with more colors. You want to layer them patchily over each other, with varying sizes. Don’t worry about the shape yet.

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Do keep adding white slices between some colors, to make sure they don’t blend too much into each other. Unlike the rest of life, it should be predominantly white.

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Because I wanted to make a few things from this chunk, I cut it into pieces with the blade. As you can see, the cross section looks much like an anatomical chart of a unicorn’s brain.

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Smooth down all the edges and smush it into an approximation of the shape you want. I added a bit of glitter here and there over the top.

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Cut or roll some very thin slices of white translucent. (The one in the picture is not very thin, nor white, but I’m sure you can do better than me.)
You don’t want the edges to be straight whatsoever – pull at them to roughen them up a bit.

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Layer them over the top of your shaped pieces – they don’t have to cover the whole piece, but should cover the majority.

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Continue for all your pieces.

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This is the fun part: using your blade, cut slices away from the surface to create facets and to reveal some of the colors underneath. Use a reference picture if you need to, but it’s pretty easy. Vary the size of the facets, and unless you’re going for a very uniform faceted stone, try not to put a large one directly in the middle. You could also use a stone mold if you have one, but seeing as I am a peasant and I do not own anything so exciting I did it this way.

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Keep at it until you like the look of the stone. After baking, I realized the pink was coming on too strong so I ended up putting a bit more translucent over the top and baking again, so let this be a lesson in not overpigmenting your clay!

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Repeat for your other pieces – as you can see, the bigger the stone, the more facets you can put in, but the little ones look pretty cool too, I think. I pierced a hole in the teardrop shape, and added a few scratches with the blade. I also added a bit of liquid clay on the back around the hole to strengthen it. I used a ball tool and the end of a crochet hook to make the hole, but make sure you open it up from the back of the piece as well to make sure it’s open all the way through.

So, before baking:

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And after.

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I brushed on a layer of clear polyurethane gloss. The colors do intensify after baking, so do be careful when mixing your initial colors, but you can of course vary the depths of the colors according to what you want it to look like.

Add some jewelry findings, and you’re done!

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(I suppose this is more a rainbow moon rock/unicorn bezoar than a realistic opal, but shush.)

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All my friends are dragons.

4 thoughts on “Pastel Opal Polymer Clay Tutorial

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