Sunday, 23 September 2012

Faux Lampwork Glass Beads with Liquid Polymer Clay

As some may know before discovering polymer clay, I was very keen to try glass lampworking,  alas in my tiny apartment it was not to be and so I discovered polymer clay in my quest for making beads.


Well it is possible to imitate lampwork glass beads using liquid polymer clay, if you search the internet you may find tutorials and projects limited for this technique and having tried it once before myself and failed I can see why, its very tricky and fiddly though the clayers that have perfected this technique the results are amazing.


I am going to use a project from my book Polymer Pizzazz by Bead & Button.  The project is Grapevine Beads by Carly Seibel and uses translucent liquid clay with oil paints, its also worth noting that this method uses a different technique in that the oven is used rather than a heat gun.

For this project I'm not going to be doing the grapevine as specifed in the project I'm going to try some poppies instead.

Translucent Liquid Polymer Clay TLS
Translucent Liquid Polymer Clay TLS

Its important to mix only a small amount of liquid clay with a fair amount of liquid clay in the desired colours you will be using, as I am going to be doing a poppy design for me this will be red, black and two shades of green.















My acrylic painted background sheet on polymer clay
My acrylic painted background sheet on polymer clay


My background sheet used to cover my bead bases was painted and decorated using Lumiere acrylic paints.








My polymer clay beads bases are wrapped in my background sheet
My polymer clay beads bases are wrapped in my background sheet


Once dry i covered my bead bases and shaped them into the bead shape I wanted to use, in this case ovals they are cooked for the time recommended for the clay you are using.




My polymer clay beads are painted with the TLS & oil paint mix
My polymer clay beads are painted with the TLS & oil paint mix

Once the beads are cooled they are ready to be decorated with your liquid clay and oil paint mix, here is my decorated beads almost complete











And here are my final finished beads the two smaller beads did'nt quite turn out right and the flowers where too close together.

My faux lampwork beads with polymer clay
My faux lampwork beads with polymer clay


My finished larger focal bead, its worth pointing out here that once you add the varnish to the beads it really does add to the appearance, also my photos have been lightened considerably to show you the effect, the beads are actually quite dark.


My faux lampwork focal bead with polymer clay
My faux lampwork focal bead with polymer clay

This is a great technique for achieving the faux glass lampwork appearance with polymer clay though possibly more suited to an advanced clayer and those who are familiar with liquid clay.  Personally I feel the beads came out too dark, this I believe is to do with the black background I used, with better planning of colours and a white background the end results could be quite different.
 
If you would like to learn this technique with the full detailed tutorial instructions please refer to my resource list below, I would highly recommend this technique as its a great one to learn and once you do and have the time you could really plan to create some amazing beads.

I have a couple tips if you are going to try this project.
  • Make sure you use the smallest amount of oil paint to liquid clay as it will only cause problems when cooking and not dry properly.  The balance is very important as I found out with my lighter shade of green.
  • I would highly recommended when taking on this project you make sure you are undisturbed, get rid of the kids and any other disturbances that will distract you from this project it is time consuming and requires your full attention as I unfortunately found out when I had to start preparing dinner.

Resources


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