Okay, I see. Cool beads! ...not exactly
what I was expecting though.
If you do use your waste clay for the bead "cores," be sure to bake them before adding other layers if any total bead width will be over 1 1/4", though you might need some liquid clay and/or tacked up white glue to help the outer layers hold onto the baked layers.
I'd also bake them a fairly long time to be sure they're fully cured all the way to the center (at least 30 min, but up to an hour or even longer if you can).
(Or you could use blocks of wood or other materials to "cover" with the outer clay layer.)
You could also use an air-dry
clay under as your bead cores (thoroughly dried) like salt dough clay or bread clay, or you could use an air-dry clay based on paper which would also be lighter-weight (like purchased Creative PaperClay, Model Magic, Celluclay, even paper pulp, etc.). Those air-dry clays might need sealing inside their holes
though since the clay wouldn't be sealing the beads in those areas.
If you want to actually "carve
" the baked (or semi-baked) clay to create textures on the beads, you might want to check out some of the tips on doing that on this page:http://glassattic.com/polymer/carving.htm
You may also want to avoid certain brands of clay for the outer layer since some might not carve as smoothly as other brands/lines.
(Also, carving on top of sharply
-rounded polymer clay surfaces can get pretty fiddly--slightly-curved surfaces are much easier).
It might be a lot easier and quicker to do beads like this though especially for deeply
-textured items like the ones in the pic by using "onlays," or by using "stamping" or "molds" (or "texture sheets" you make yourself or buy or just find around the house), instead of by carving them.
For example, the rectangular bead in the pic with long raised (rectangular) rows, could be made as a raw large rectangular shape of clay, onto which 4 or so long thin "logs" of raw clay would be pressed into place (i.e., "onlaid
" onto the clay) before baking.
Those long logs could be extruded with an inexpensive clay gun
** (using one of the square dies), or they could just be cut from a very-even thick-ish sheet of clay
into strips using a long blade--or with the tip of another kind of blade plus a straight-edge/ruler).
There's lots of info on doing clay onlays on this page:http://glassattic.com/polymer/onlay.htm
...click on Dimensional Onlay
**using clay guns with polymer clay: http://glassattic.com/polymer/claygun.htm
Here are some onlay examples that show abstract lines (and other shapes) in particular:http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB/tools/?action=view¤t=273b.jpg
...on left and top are two extrusions from a clay gun (one has been flattened a bit)... they haven't been put onto other clay to use as onlays yethttp://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB/tools/claygun_quartertriangles.jpg
...the 2 yellow triangular logs on the right were made by splitting another extrusion, but the same thing could have been made just by using a triangular die in the clay gun for the extrusion
(if those, or extrusions using a square die were simply onlaid onto the beads, leaving spaces between them, you'd get the same effect as carving out channels with a square linoleum carver)http://www.mregan.com/portfolios/portfolio3/photo1.htmhttp://www.pbase.com/revbyrd/mandala__gallery
...all those are created with "onlays" (click on each to see detail much better)http://bangertmusic.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/heartpend1.jpghttp://www.polymerclaycentral.com/guilds/shrinegallery4.html#liska
(click on orangey one by Laura Liska)
I can't find good pic of a "twisted square log" but this shows the same thing, but the twisted-logs here are large and have been cut into shorter lengths to create freestanding beads:http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/mikeb/MultiNklc.html
2 round logs twisted around each other (not used here as "onlays" but could have been):http://www.jeannerhea.com/eb/swapjeanne2.jpg
If you had used a stamp
though --or made your own stamp-- (or used a mold
or texture sheet
--or made your own of those too) then indented
a pattern into the clay instead of onlaying a pattern on top of it with more clay, you could easily get the same kinds of patterns as on the beads in the pic (though the edges of the upper edges might not be quite a sharp as with the extrusions or cut strips).
You can see a few examples of using either shallow molds or "stamps" to make lines and other patterns in raw clay in this pic:http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB/molds/?action=view¤t=9b21.jpg
(at bottom right, the lines and dots created on the clay pieces were made with a rubber eraser I'd carved--then the upraised areas were highlighted with gold mica powder to make them show up more ...for other pieces there, I used all kinds of things to "stamp" with, from things around the house like the blue one in the center which was impressed with a sheet of "plastic canvas" and the bottom center one stamped with the plastic bottom of a fancy corrugated box, to stamps/molds I'd made with polymer clay then baked--highly addictive
Here's the Craftster post I created to show those, and talk about how they were done, but the link took so long to come up that I'd given up:http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=101292.msg960710#msg960710
(more info on stamping, molds, and texture sheets here, if you're interested:http://glassattic.com/polymer/stamping.htmhttp://glassattic.com/polymer/texturing.htmhttp://glassattic.com/polymer/molds.htm
P.S. If you do make these with clay, I'd love to be able to put a link to them at my polymer clay "encyclopedia" site so others could see them (especially those who want to make similar learning things for young kids, for those with learning or other disabilities, etc.)