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Topic: How To Roll A Ball (tutorial)  (Read 3782 times)
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teapotdnky
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« on: December 05, 2008 02:32:35 PM »

Sounds simple doesn't it? I know you veterans think you don't need to know how to roll a ball, and you newbies are confounded. Here is a tute I think will bring harmony to us all.  Cheesy

Why are there so many steps to rolling a ball? Well, if you have a hunk of raw unconditioned clay there is no air trapped inside. You can cut off a hunk and if it's soft you can roll a ball without fear.
What if it's hard? Then you can either roll like hell on a hard surface, bruising your palm... or you can condition.
Condidtioned clay is softer and easier to work with, but what if you have a lump of old clay and you need a smoooooth ball? Here's how to do it.









1. Take your lump of clay and warm it in your hand for a minute.
2. Lightly roll it into a loose ball shape.
3. Oh no! A crack! That's good. You'd rather have your ball ruined now than later.
4. Smash the clay into a sort of flat, mostly even kind of rectangle.
5. Fold it in half, being sure to press tight to make sure all the air is squeezed out.
6. Fold it in half again making a dense cube.
7. Press your fingers hard all over the surface to smooth out the lines. Form it while pushing to a sort of ball.
8. Press tight with your hands cupped around the ball while you roll. As your ball becomes more and more even lighten your touch until you are just barely touching it. The surface will be a little sticky because of the heat.
Set your perfectly smooth and shiny ball aside to cool before using it!!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008 02:32:59 PM by teapotdnky » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010 04:18:34 PM »

Thanks? lol!! Tutorials no matter what they are, can always be helpful!!
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teapotdnky
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2010 04:38:43 PM »

Sometimes it can be discouraging when you keep rolling and it keeps breaking or messing up. I was hoping some people would feel like even the simplest question wasn't out of reach.  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010 08:23:52 AM »

Thanks for the tutorial!  Don't think much of anything can't be helpful for many and there are always multiple ways of doing things and sometimes one can save just a bit of time, or be more efficient, or be better for some people, etc.

Another good way to get a smooth ball is to roll the clay into a log between both hands first.  That makes the clay thinner, then applies heat/friction to that thinner clay and also makes the clay smooth on the exterior.
If the log won't create a smooth ball from that point, then the log can be twisted, folded over itself once or twice, then balled-and-logged again till it's conditioned enough to be smooth and pliable throughout.  
(If the clay is really hard from the beginning, one good idea is to start off by banging on the wad of clay with a hammer or acrylic rod  Grin, then do the log/twist/ball thing.)
That method is also easier on my fingers which tend to get repetitive stress problems if I use them much for "smooshing."

(It's definitely a good idea to always begin any clay shape with a smooth round ball or log if a pasta-machined sheet isn't needed.)

There are more tips/etc for rolling balls and various other shapes in one's hands, using different kinds of pressure, etc, collected on the Beads page at my site, if anyone's interested:
http://glassattic.com/polymer/beads.htm ...click on the Rolling By Hand category near top of list

Diane B.

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« Last Edit: May 24, 2010 08:26:44 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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