just love the look of Raku, all kinds of Raku, but
particularly the rough textured, multi-colored
Raku. I've tried many different techniques to
duplicate this type of surface. I finally found
one that I think looks surprisingly similar.
Here's the supply list you need to get
- black polymer clay
- micaceous iron oxide, aka Raku sauce
(available at art supply stores)
- stipple paintbrush or very stiff brush
- interference paints (blue, violet, red,
orange, green, gold)
- iridescent bronze, gold, copper
To make the beaded necklace shown, I used
bicone bead rollers from Sue Lee at Poly-Tools.
These are custom sized because I like large
beads. You can use any size or shape you like
Step One: Condition your clay,
make your beads and bake according to the
manufacturer's instructions. I use black clay
because I always have it around. You can use
scrap clay too since you will be painting the
entire bead anyway.
After baking, I do not prepare my beads in any
way prior to painting. If you like, you can sand
slightly for better adhesion but I'm simply too
Step Two: Scoop out some
micaceous iron oxide - I will call it Raku sauce
from here on -- and let it set up for a few
minutes. This creates a better texture. I put my
beads either on the end of a wooden skewer or
toothpick to hold them while I paint; picking
them up and placing them back in the Styrofoam®
You can assembly-line paint them this way.
Using a stiff stipple brush, coat the bead at
least once with the Raku sauce. Don't be skimpy
with this application. Sometimes I will paint
the bead twice if I want lots of texture.
This acrylic-based product dries really fast
and the first bead is usually dry by the time
I'm done with the last bead so you can do the
second coat immediately.
When doing a second coat, pull the brush
outward to leave little peaks of Raku sauce if
you want lots of texture on your beads. You can
also pop the beads into the oven to dry them
just keep the temp low.
Step Three: Now for the color!
Paint on a base coat of color using one of the
iridescents like gold, bronze or copper. Of
course, there isn't anything stopping you from
using all these colors together and not applying
the interference colors. This is just a
different look and opens up lots of variations.
For the Raku look though, paint a base color
but don't cover the entire bead. Dab a little
section here and there.
Don't worry if you think you've used too much
because you can just cover it up with the next
Decide on which colors you would like your
Raku to be and begin assembly-line painting with
your first color, say interference blue. Paint
all your beads with your first color. Then
continue on with however many colors you have
Sometimes I have a particular color scheme in
mind; say a verdigris kind of look. For this I
would use iridescent gold and interference
green. It's not Raku but very pretty just the
same. I've also done gold and interference red
(the red actually looks more pink than red). How
about an antiqued look using bronze, copper and
I've also used Lumiere
paints occasionally if I need a particular
color. They have a great deep blue and purple.
So after dabbing on your choice of colors and
covering the entire bead, take a step back to
see if you might want to add a bit more of your
base color in case you got carried away.
I don't apply any kind of protective coating
because I want the color to remain matte.
Step Four: Next choose some
beads to go along with your color choice, string
it up and you're ready to wear your new Raku
In the pictures, one necklace is strung using
beads and buna cord. The other necklace is
simply strung on a sterling necklace cable.
You'll also see in the photos there are other
shapes and applications for this technique. I've
stamped into polymer, cut and shaped the bead,
baked and painted them. I've also made shaped
vessels, small square beads, large square beads,
and rounds beads. Just leave it to your
You can apply this application to picture
frames, those shaped paper boxes, your kids,
whatever. Have fun with this!
If you have any questions, write to us at pcPolyzine.