My first FIMO beads

FIMO beads with flower and leaf cane
Here are my first beads with polymer clay, I am pleased with them, they are very flawed but also very pretty.
I threw myself in at the deep end, picking a truck load of tricky techniques for my first time out because I love making murrini beads with glass - so it is only natural to want to go to that idea first with a new medium.

I am going to break down for this blog post all the things that I found tricky, what went wrong, what further research I have done and how to best avoid similar problems in the future.

  1. Slicing Cane - The images on my flower canes were getting squashed and distorted as I cut slices. I made them from FIMO soft which I found out later was not an ideal clay for picture cane. I found a great article which said to put your canes in the fridge or even your freezer before slicing and also to rotate your cane slightly before each cut. I have also been using an ordinary craft blade and a thinner sharper blade such as a tissue blade would give less distortion.
  2. Equal Sizing - I rolled a ball of FIMO and sliced it in half, then sliced each half in two again and so on until I had 8 pieces. When I rolled these pieces in to balls they varied in proportion much more than I thought they would. A better method would have been to roll the base clay in it a tube of the desired diameter of your finished bead size and then to measure and cut off at lengths of the desired diameter to make your blanks.
  3. Scale - I made base beads the size I had wanted for my finished bead not taking in to account that I would be adding significantly more clay with my cane decoration - my finished beads were all huge (20-25mm in diameter). Cutting thinner slices of cane to apply would help me maintain scale along with starting with a smaller blank.
  4. Discoloration Whilst Cooking - I found that the transparent FIMO was starting to “toast” on the top – I am using a mini oven which radiates heat down from a filament at the top. I think that this may mean that my oven is too hot or having temperature spikes so I need to get my hands on a thermometer to check out exactly what is going on there. Top tips that I have found for another time are to protect the clay from radiant heat with a parchment tent or to immerse my work in cornflower before baking – a technique used by doll makers in particular. I also found out that some white and translucent clay are prone to a bit of yellowing upon baking and so I will need to experiment a bit.
  5. Translucent does not mean Transparent – With a background in crafting with glass – I read translucent and imagined transparent. Not so! The slices of cane that I cut were way too thick so once baked it is possible to see the impression of colour underneath but none of the actual detail of jelly roll cane or leaf cane.
  6. Painting on Glaze – I used Sculpy sating glaze on these beads, applied quite thickly with a thin soft brush. It worked quite well but there are lines where I apply the glaze evenly enough and it was too viscose to *smooth out* by itself before setting. It is possible to lightly sand and buff polymer clay to a gloss by hand – this will help too in removing some of the tell tale fingerprints marks in the clay which are a dead giveaway sign that I am a PC newbie.
    FIMO beads with flower and leaf cane

    Many thanks to Cindy Lietz and Sue Heaser for publishing the invaluble articles on line for the newbiw PC crafter that I have linked to from this post.

    Jolene x


    1. I must get the boxful of polymer clay out of the cupboard and have a play - once I have mastered round glass beads, which might be some time ;-)

    2. Do it Di, I have been having such fun - and it is so much warmer in doors than in the studio right now!!

    3. We have just discovered your gorgeous beads made of STAEDTLER FIMO soft and would love to meet you on our facebook fanpage http://www.facebook.com/STAEDTLER.headquarters - it would be great if you became a fan, too, and showed your artworks to all other FIMO fans on our page.

      BTW: It's amazing how detailed you managed to create the patterns! Have you already tried STAEDTLER FIMO classic? Ususally we recommend this polymer clay for filigree patterns and more sophisticated artworks like yours :)

      Hope to meet you soon and best regards from STAEDTLER headquarters in Germany, Yvonne