Make Your Own Bookmark
by Toika Bridges


These bookmarks can utilize most every polymer clay technique -- canes, mokume-gane, layering, leafing, rainbow blends -- for an elegant finished project.

1. Start with a bookmark and a bookmark cabochon mold.

2. Cut a square of black clay into 3 equal pieces. Condition one section. Roll it out to a thickness of approximately 1/32". Shape and size as you roll an piece approximately 3/4" in diameter (basically enough to cover the mold). This small black sheet will be referred to as the ‘work piece'.

3. Tear off a small piece of variegated red leafing (about ½" x ½"). Choose your piece out of the sheet that reflects the colors you like most. Place it on the black work piece as shown. Lightly burnish it down with your finger. Set work piece aside.

4. Condition one of the remaining blocks of black clay from Step 1. Form it into a square approx. ½" high x ½" wide, by ½" long. You will also need small pieces (about ½") of the leafing foil for this step.

Place two pieces of foil on top of the black clay square. Use the blade to finely clop this leaf down into the clay block. Each chop should go about 2/3 of the way down into the block.

5. The foil will disappear into the clay quickly. Put on two more sheets. Chop in. Two more sheets, chop in.

Use your fingers to lightly press the clay back into a ½" square. Tilt the square over so that the top (where you were chopping in foil) is now the side, and is facing you.

6. Use the blade to shave off a few thin 1/32" slices. Choose 2 slices that you like the best. Place them on the black work piece as shown.

7. Condition a small piece of gold clay. Roll out into a thickness of about 1/64". Use the blade to cut a strip about 1 /64" wide and 1" long. Cut this strip in half. Place them on the black work piece as shown.

8. Condition and roll out the remaining black clay to a thickness of 1/32". Place the black layer onto the remaining gold layer and roll into the standard ‘jelly roll.'

Roll down (compress) this cane until it has a diameter of 3/32". Cut off 4 or 5 very thin slices. Place them randomly on the black work piece as shown.

9. If you like, place a tiny piece of the variegated red foil in among the jelly roll slices.

10. Use your fingers to lightly press straight down on the entire work piece, just to make all the items you have placed onto the work piece stick to the work piece.

11. Turn work piece upside down and lightly press into Clayflex cabochon mold. You don't need to be concerned about getting down into the mold. The next step will do that.

Take a dime size piece of conditioned scrap clay and press into the mold to take up the rest of the mold space. Always push straight downward.

The Clayflex mold should not need any ‘mold release.' If you are working with a particularly sticky clay, you can smear a very light coating of an automotive protectant such as Armor-All(r) into the mold. This product is found in car care stores or the car care aisle of your department store.

Tip: I find Armor-All® useful to put on my blade before making slices. It makes the blade go through the clay easier, and enables me to get very thin slices.

12. Put mold/clay into freezer for two minutes. Take the mold/clay out, and cut the excess from the top with the blade in a sawing motion. Make sure to just run along the horizontally, and don't head the blade down into the mold/clay.

13. Turn mold over and flex at the sides until the clay cabochon falls out. Bake the clay as usual, according to clay manufacturer's directions.

Never bake the mold. If any leafing foil, etc. are clinging to the mold, clean the mold out with a cloth and water, or window cleaner.

14. On this particular bookmark project, do not sand or buff the baked cabochon. The foil that you placed on top of the black work piece will come right off. The cabochon will be smooth and accurately shaped when it comes out of the mold.

Put on a polymer clay-compatible clear coating. Let dry. Use a clear drying glue to adhere the baked, coated cabochon into the bookmark. DO NOT USE any super glues, super gels, etc. They have a reaction with the gold plating and form a frost. This frost can take up to 24 hours to appear, and cannot be wiped off.

Now you can do infinite variations of this bookmark!

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