November 2002
Volume 3, Issue 11
Faux Opal
by Kathy Weinberg

Adobe Acrobat version

Editor's Letter | Face Cane Packing | Faux Opal | Layered Illusions | Peacock Feather Cane | Storyteller Wreath | What's the Point | November Holiday Art | Email Us! | Home

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The wonderful thing about polymer clay is that it can be used to create many different faux looks, such as opal, and there are many different "recipes" for each faux technique.

This project is Kathy's technique for making faux opals, and the results are beautiful!

Supplies:
  • 2 oz translucent clay (for this example I used Sculpey III)
  • Small bits of green, blue, purple and red/pink clay
  • Approximately 1 tbsp. Arnold Grummer's Iridescent flakes* (ground fine in coffee grinder). The Grummer flakes are perfect for this technique because of their random size and color
  • Sandpaper, in various grits from 220 to 1500
  • A buffing machine or buffing cloth
  • Flecto or Future to finish (if desired)

*Flakes are available at Arnold Grummer's or can be found at your local JoAnn's store.

Click on images to see larger picture.

Step One:
Take 1/2 oz (1/4 of 2-oz block) and divide into 4 equal parts.
Step Two:
Tint each of the 4 parts with a bit of clay (approx. the size of an unpopped popcorn kernel). 
Step Three:
Roll these into snakes approximately 5 inches long.
Step Four:
Take remaining 1 1/2-oz clay and condition it until it is soft; roll out into a sheet and sprinkle with Grummer flakes. Roll this into a cigar shape and begin mixing the flakes into the clay. 
Notice the bumpy appearance of the clay with the flake inclusions.
Step Five:
When the flakes are incorporated, roll into a log approximately 5 inches long. Place logs of tinted clay around the large log with flakes, roll, and double over and begin marbling colors together.
Step Six:
Roll logs together and twist.
Step Seven:
Roll out, twist again.
Step Eight:
When you have achieved a pleasant marble, the clay is ready to be used. You can shape into beads, or cabs or sheets. Your clay will have a bumpy surface that must be sanded heavily after curing. I prefer to roll mine flat. 
I then cut shapes with cutters and cure, adding a backing and "bezel" around the edges of the cutouts using metallic clay.

Before baking

After baking

Copyright 2002 Kathy Weinberg
Editor's Letter | Face Cane Packing | Faux Opal | Layered Illusions | Peacock Feather Cane | Storyteller Wreath | What's the Point | November Holiday Art | Email Us! | Home

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