Saturday, December 29, 2012

Color mixes for pastel beads

I wanted to make colored translucent beads from Fimo polymer clay. I think the ready-made colored 'translucent' Fimo is too strongly pigmented, and not so translucent. The idea here is to reduce the amount of pigment, by mixing in unpigmented (i. e. 'white') translucent polymer clay.

Unpigmented clay is very soft, almost too soft to form into beads with any precision. The unpigmented clay in the reddish-violet beads above on the left was a bit dry, which made it much easier to control. But when baking, the dry clay produced a lot more of whitish flakes or stripes you can see in the picture above. I don't mind so much though, it looks a bit like some kind of stone.

I played around a bit with mixing different colors with varying intensity and lightness, to get the shades I wanted. The glass beads in the picture below served as inspiration and goal, to keep the colors subtle and counteract the temptation to create super-bright shades.

It's impossible to get an accurate idea of the color of these low-pigmented mixes while actually mixing them. Unbaked (in the upper half of picture above) they look almost completely white, since they get translucent only during baking. That's why a color chart comes in handy!

To read the chart: '1 blue + 1 violet + 32 white' means that I mixed 1 part translucent blue, 1 part translucent violet, and 32 parts 'translucent white' (i.e. unpigmented) Fimo polymer clay. In practice, I used one stripe (one eight of a packet) of unpigmented clay, and one 32th of a stripe each of the blue and violet clays. So one part is here just a tiny amount - unless you want to end up with piles of pastel clay.

The conical turquoise beads are made with a bead roller, the other ones I formed by hand. They were all sanded and polished after baking.

For the brownish ones, I mixed in a bit of green, as you can see, to get the saturation down. The result it a bit too reddish for my taste. My favorites are the darker turquoise and the bluish violet. Most of these semitransparent pastel colors would probably look nice layered with opaque white!
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