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Topic: Polyclay Tute- Skinner Blend  (Read 8867 times)
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teapotdnky
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« on: May 31, 2006 01:59:11 PM »

I wasn't sure where this went so I'm putting it here. Sorry in advance about the dirty polyclay table. Most of it is stained and never ever looks clean no matter what. Roll Eyes
How to make a skinner blend:

1. Start with 2 colors. Roll both of them to the same thickness and cut into large squares. Cut the squares a bit larger than you think you'll need.




2. Cut them both on the diagonal.


3. Fold them both in half onto themselves on the diagonal.


4. Butt them up against each other, making a 2 colored square.


5. Fold it in half with the majority of the color on itself. (In this case, yellow to yellow, green to green)


6. It should look like this.


7. Roll it in a pasta machine, or by hand in one direction only!


8. It might do this:


9. Thats fine, just reshape it with your hands by pushing in the sides to make another square. Roll it again about 15-20 times. This will make a good blend.


10. This is about half way done.


11. Because of the flash, I took a picture of a different colored skinner blend.


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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006 05:05:02 PM »

Thanks for posting a tute. I haven't seen too many polyclay technique tute 'round these parts. I've seen the instructions before but I'm sure other clayers will thank you!
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teapotdnky
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006 05:21:23 PM »

I've got more, like mica shift and stuff, but its time consuming taking all the pics, so its slow going. I hope to get a few more up this/next week.
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006 07:52:40 PM »

See, this is why craftster should get a polymer clay board. Nowhere else to put this stuff. I'd love to see your mica shift tute!
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teapotdnky
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006 09:17:05 PM »

Its actually 2 different techniques in one tute. Ooooh Suspenseful!
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2006 10:32:44 AM »

Whoa, yowza!Twice the learning, twice the fun! *cheesy wink* Education is POWER!
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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2006 10:49:55 AM »

Thank you! Great tutorial, Teapot!

I really need to get a pasta machine.  At least that's what I tell myself is keeping me from doing polyclay things.
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2006 12:30:07 PM »

I gotta say that my pasta machine is totally invaluable. Ain't no way I can roll flat sheets to save my life. It's fun also just to roll stuff through it. Again. And again. I put a blob of scrap clay through at the thinnest setting and it got kind of fluted and dimpled and looked like bacon! Mmmmm...

PS Teapotdnky, are you of native descent? Cause I saw on the Unique Name Swap that your name was Wolf Shadow, or something similar. (Pardon my bad memory).
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teapotdnky
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2006 01:07:50 PM »

Very good funkyandfried! Yes I am Pueblo. I got my name when I entered womanhood. Most people make up stupid names so I just go by Sarah most of the time. I really do prefer Wolf Shadow though.

Lets see... You can do this without a pasta machine, but it takes forever and the results are not as good. If you are having trouble with your machine, try taking it apart following a tute (I will write one for that too.), or just wipe the rollers down. You can try water on the rollers too. I have an ATLAS. It is the best pasta machine period. Even though it is top quality, I can't roll my clay past a 4. It sticks and gets wavy. Oh well. I didn't use a pasta machine for the first few years doing clay, but now, it is invaluable to me.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I really do want the whole world to know how fun this stuff is!
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006 08:12:35 PM »

I bought a pasta machine tonight.  Cool  I'll be trying my first Skinner Blend tomorrow.   Grin
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2006 08:22:09 PM »

Oooh! I really want to see pics of it! How exciting!
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2006 08:35:30 PM »

I'll show you pictures of the results only if you promise not to laugh;  I'm a clay novice.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2006 06:43:46 AM by Fidget » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2006 08:58:16 PM »

I have never, nor do I intend to, laugh at another persons clay works unless they were meant to be amusing! I promise that in the realm of clay, I will be totally upstanding and serious. As for everything else, that free game!
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2006 05:33:51 PM »

LOL Ok, it's a deal.  My attempt at a Skinner Blend may have to wait a couple of days, due to cutting a bit of the side off a finger off this afternoon.   Shocked 
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2006 05:55:30 AM »

I can't roll my clay past a 4. It sticks and gets wavy.

Teapotdnky, is the problem maybe because your clay is too "fresh" and needs some of the plasticizer leached out?   Or maybe it's the kind of PC you're using?  Sculpey III tends to be softer than any of the others, but even Premo or Kato clays can be softer than you'd like (Fimo's the firmest, and I've never had it be too soft to work with) - if that's the case, you can put a sheet of clay between a couple of sheets of paper (plain old white copy paper will do just fine) and put a weight on the stack for a couple of hours - you'll see that the paper gets oily-looking.  That's the plasticizer being soaked up.  The clay will then be a little firmer.  Repeat if needed.  Of course, once you've done that you'll need to condition it again so it's consistent throughout, so if you want to do something like a Skinner blend, leach the clay *first*.

You can also put your clay between two layers of waxed paper and roll it down thinner - just peel the paper back in between passes through the pasta machine.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2006 07:07:55 AM »

I use premo. I can't work with firmer clays. Both of my hands were crushed in a car accident so I have some trouble with them. I don't really need my clay past a 4 anyway, so there is no problem there!  Cheesy
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2006 07:32:55 AM »

Very good tute! I have always had the "urge" to work with pc, but never really the knowledge.....*puts pasta machine on "to buy list."*  Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2006 08:25:52 AM »

Good tute, tpd!   (sorry to hear about your hands!... I have lots of problems with mine that get in the way of claying too  Sad).


For those who don't have a pasta machine and want to make Skinner blends anyway, check out the lesson on this page at my site:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/blends.htm
(click on "Making Without a Pasta Machine"...)
....and  http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/pastamachines.htm
(click on the subcategory "No Pasta Machine?--Other Ways"...)


It's also possible to make "discrete  blends" where the colors are in individual but slightly changing steps rather than the continuous color change of Skinner blends... discrete blends are more a bit more work, but don't require a pasta machine in the same way as Skinner blends.  They look really cool too.
(...from that first page link above re Blends, click on "Discrete Blends"...)

That page also has links to many photos of other examples of Skinner blends (alone, or being used in canes or for backgrounds, etc.), info on how to make multiple-color blends, and bullseye or "plug" logs from Skinner blend sheets.
(...click on Multiple-Color, Logs, Plugs, and Websites...)



Having said it's possible to make blends without a pasta machine, it's still probably the best polymer toy around!!!!  Grin



Diane B.
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2006 10:33:26 PM »

I don't know what I am doing wrong  Huh  Everytime I try to make a Skinner blend everything is great until the 5th time or so through the pasta machine.  It gets so wide I can't get it into the machine.  Any suggestions?  I swear, sometimes I think I am PC cursed! Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2006 11:26:31 PM »

Don't worry. Pretend like it is a cane. Fold it in half, and start carefully smooshing the clay to the middle. Try not to twist it and try to keep it uniform thickness. Once it is shorter and fatter, you can flatten it a bit and put it back through.
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2006 09:13:49 AM »

Unfortunately, it's just the nature of Skinner blends to get wider with every pass because there are so many passes.

One way to deal with that taken by many who do a lot of clay (and make more of everything) is to start out with enough clay to fill the entire width of the pasta machine.

If you don't want to make that much Skinner blend, or if you want to make a blend that's really skinny rather than wide for any reason, there are a few ways to do it:

One is to use a  spacer or "stop" of some kind... that is, put the clay into the pasta machine so that it touches one side of the unit.  Then hold or attach something in-between the rollers at the other edge of the clay sheet to keep it from spreading.
...some things that have been used as spacers or stops are the end of a palette knife (works best when using a motor on the pasta machine), a finger, paint stick on card stock, baked clay wedge, unopened pkg of clay, magnets, etc.

Other techniques are:

...fold the blend in the normal way, but run it through the pasta machine with the fold lying against one wall (rather than against the rollers)... repeat if nec.

...add more clay to one or both ends (enough to fill entire roller width)
..... this could be scrap clay, or you can make more than one blend at a time, then cut apart and save second one for your library

...begin with long narrow clay so that fewer passes are necessary (but creates a more discrete blend)... or just accept a streakier blend

...roll or accordion-fold the clay into a log (light at one end, dark at the other), then press to create a shorter length or whatever you want (like making a SB "plug" or bullseye), then put through again (teapot's way)

...pull on the clay strip as it passes through the rollers

...roll blend through on increasingly thinner settings (will make it thinner and longer, but not narrower)


There are more details on all those on this page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/blends.htm
(...click on "Limiting Width & Making Longer"....)




Diane B.
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http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
...for the upcoming polymer clay board here at craftster, check here:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=72141.msg813624#msg813624
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