Monday, December 22, 2014

Extruded Square Spiral Beads and Memory Wire Bracelets

When I first saw this free tutorial published by Marie Segal a while ago, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  It was even one of the first things I pinned to my Polymer clay pinterest board but it kept getting pushed down to the bottom of our "things to play with" list.  Then one day while working on our memory wire bracelets, I remembered those beads and immediately pulled out our extruder and dies and had to give it a whirl.  You need to make the extruded tubes first with the special clay core adapter to create a hole in the tubes for the beads.

Extruded strands with mica powders applied before twisting
I love how they turned out but for a memory wire type bracelet, we decided they should have a curve for a better fit and easier threading.  We had a bunch of these cool tins for covering with clay which are the same size as the wire so decided to use some as a baking form.  After applying the mica powders and twisting the long ropes, we gently arranged them inside the tins.  We placed the lids on each tin so they could be stacked on the baking tray in the oven.

Here are the long bead tubes after baking.  To seal the mica powders we like to spray them first with the PYM11 (Preserve Your Memories 11).  It was much easier to spray them first before cutting into bead lengths.  This way the mica powders wouldn't rub off during the cutting process.  To make cutting easier, we warmed the tubes first in the oven and then used a sharp, rigid tissue blade for cutting.

We then applied several coats of Pledge (Future) and then baked again at 200 F to harden the finish.

Here they are a few strung on the memory wire as bracelets.  We like adding our own clay rondelle spacer beads in with the twisted tubes.

To see our tutorial on how to make your own memory wire bracelets you can click here.  Making the beads and the bracelets are a lot of fun and so we have been making them in a wide assortment of colors.


Unknown said...

I'm wondering how long you bake and at what temperature? I use Kato clay as well, but I think I'm unde
rbaking as I have a problem with things breaking. I usually do 40 minutes at 325F. I'd love to try these as they are beautiful.

2 Good Claymates said...

That is what we bake for -- usually at least 40 minutes but usually 50 minutes is our standard time -- depending on thickness or if items need more done and rebaking again. Do you have an oven thermometer? Just because your oven says 325 does not mean it is so. the other thing is to be sure your clay is well conditioned. Kato clay takes a lot of conditioning and if it sits for a few hours you need to recondition it again thought not as much. It is a bit of a pain but that is what helps give it the strength. Hope that helps.


Unknown said...

I do use an oven thermometer to make sure that it is correct. Maybe I'm under conditioning the clay, especially older canes. Thanks for replying! Merry Christmas and Happy Anniversary!

2 Good Claymates said...

Ahhh. If you are using older canes that can be a problem. Anytime I use canes that are even freshly made I use a newly conditioned layer of Clay underneath as a support for strength. I've seen many people just slice their cane and bake (for beads or buttons) and that is more likely going to break.