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Here's a terrific "faux" project from Karin Ashdown that will have you wondering if it's really clay! With this lesson you'll be making Faux Pearls that will fool everyone!

Click Pictures for a Larger View


    Click for a Larger View
  • Premo Pearl or similar polymer clay
  • Pearlex or similar pearlescent powders in white, pale gold, pale blue and pale pink
  • Water based gloss sealer
  • Craft Knife
  • Blade
  • Soft Brush
  • Tile for curing

Step 1: Thoroughly condition a piece of pearl polymer clay about the size of a golf ball. Roll it into a log about 3/8 inch in diameter. Cut slices of varying thickness off the log -†these will form the pearls.† † The rule is the smaller the pearl the thinner the slice, so if needed cut the slices in half if you want even smaller pearls. Click for a Larger View
Step 2: Roll the slices of clay between your hands to form a round ball.† † Donít worry about the mica shift that happens at this stage because that will give the tonal variations in the colour of the finished pearl. Click for a Larger View
Step 3: Place a tiny bit of the pearlex or pearlescent powder into a small ziplock baggie.† † If the base colour is too intense use a ratio of 1 part colour to 3 parts white and mix thoroughly. That will make the colour a lot softer. Click for a Larger View
Step 4: Drop the clay ball into the bag (do one at a time!) and shake thoroughly.† Remove the "pearl" from the bag and roll on a flat surface to work the pearlescent powder into the surface of the clay. Click for a Larger View
Step 5: This is where you decide what shape your pearl is going to be.† If you want round pearls, simply keep the coated clay balls round.† You can pierce holes beforehand or drill them through afterwards.† I recommend you bake the pearls on a layer of cornstarch if you want to keep the rounded shape perfect.† If you are making mabe pearls, flatten the ball slightly, so that the top is rounded and the base flat.† If needed tweak the shape of the pearl between your fingers.† Mabe pearls are not perfectly round. Click for a Larger View
Step 6: Using a flat blade lift the pearls onto a tile for baking.† Smooth the surface of the pearl so there are no fingerprints or scratches to mar the lustre of the pearl.† If needed use a piece of cling film or a soft brush.† A sheet of paper under the pearls will eliminate† any shiny spots on the underside. Click for a Larger View
Step 7: Once the cured pearls have cooled down LIGHTLY buff with a very soft cloth to remove any excess powder from the surface.† Use in whatever setting you desire and coat with one or two coats of a water based sealer such as Minwax Polycrylic Clear Gloss Sealer. Click for a Larger View
Step 8: Finish your "pearls" with findings (real or clay) for a beautiful addition to your Jewelery Box! Click for a Larger View

by Karin Ashdown
©2009 Text and Photos

We want to thank Karin for sharing this excellent project lesson with Polymer Clay Central. If you have a lesson or tutorial, or something you would like to share with PCC, please email Leigh or Stephen and we will help you prepare your project for the PCC Website!

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