Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How NOT to sand your beads...

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Over at the Art Jewelry Elements blog, Jennifer has come up with a great tell-all topic: "Everyone Starts Somewhere". The idea is to show off our sad, pathetic, scary, weird, wonky or otherwise undesirable early efforts.

The two polymer clay beads above were SUPPOSED to be a matched set... Ha! They were kaleidoscope cane slices I tried to make into lentil beads. The one on the right isn't too bad, a little crooked and off center. I must have been mad about something when I started sanding the bead on the left... there's hardly any pattern left! Not to mention the fingerprints and dings all over the surface. AND it's shaped more like a dinosaur egg than a lentil LOL.

I hadn't even realized I had kept it all this time... I must have hoped it would be good for a laugh some day!

**AUGUST 22 ADDED TO POST**: Based on several comments I received (below), I am now thinking part of my explanation must have been confusing... must work on that... The polymer clay is shaped into lentils BEFORE being baked. There is a particular way to give the soft, unbaked clay a swirl design, which I was just attempting for the first time. The sanding is supposed to be a finishing "touch" after baking. Also, part of the reason I wore away the surface pattern, was that I used TOO THIN a slice of cane over a white (probably scrap) center. I think that is a common mistake for beginners. So there you have it: a bonus boo-boo!

Hope everyone has a similar "horror" hidden away in a drawer or bin, and you're proud to show how far you've come.  Link back to AJE and join in the fun! You can also scroll to the bottom and instantly link to any current participant.

Ooops... almost forgot to post more recent work:

Some PC components I made earlier this month for a Art Bead Scene challenge. While these were mostly experiments, the improvement is that I only have to try something two or three times... instead of a dozen LOL.


  1. Monique, I applaud you for showing your progression. You are a fantastic example of how far you can take your craft.

  2. haha! Great story. Love the visual. I loved seeing the journey and the experiments. Thanks for playing painful as that might be :-)

  3. Monique, I love your lentils!!! They are great memories!

  4. Actually, I'm darn impressed with your lentils!

  5. Lovely post! and wonderful to hear about your journey

  6. Those first beads are so trendy! The trend being asymmetric earrings. I would totally make something out of them, ahaha.
    And dinosaur eggs...good to know they were so pretty.
    And I guess I already mentioned i loved your "blackened" fish.

  7. Yes, I believe I saw the original entry on those fish! This was the second try, as I recall! ;-) But everything turned out terrific in the end! Thanks for sharing about the lentil too--those seem a little "free-hand" now that you mention it--not yours but the idea of sanding a bead into a lentil shape. I have no concept of how you would do that!

  8. Beautiful post!!! would you like follow each other?
    Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

  9. Love those Fish! I've ground right through the odd jellyfish trying to flat lap beads... usually because it's not quite flat... so lets take a bit more off here then there then the design is gone.... but trying to hand shape a lentil.... I think I would run out of bead before I got anywhere near lentil shape!

  10. Monique - let me know if you questions about setting up an Etsy. Happy to give any advice I can - if I know the answer!

    1. That is very generous, Cynthia! Hope you don't regret your offer if/when I am so bold as to begin selling... I can be a big baby when I don't know what I'm doing!

  11. Hahaha - love the bonus boo boo:)

  12. well, I have to say, I rather like the swirly non matched beads at the top - you were obviously a very good beginner!!

  13. Wow, look how far you've come! I'm glad you found those early pieces to share with the rest of us. But really they don't look bad to me especially if you saw them as singles rather than a matched pair.

  14. The lentil on the right is really lovely! And I love that green piece on the bottom.

  15. Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments... sometimes the pack rat tendencies are actually useful!

  16. I love both lentils, although I understand your dilemma in using them as matching earrings. I must find my first few polymer clay tries - if I still have them... they were a funny sight!


I love your comments and read each one! I am happy to reply to anyone who has an email attached to their profile, and I love doing just that (plus I was brought up to say "thanks" LOL). I don't usually reply here on the blog, but I will if you are a "no-reply blogger" with a question. Know that I appreciate EVERYONE who takes time to drop me a line!

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