Thursday, 12 May 2011

Bangle problems

I struggle with bangles. I love them and want to make them but don't trust them not to break. I have bought several tutorials on making bangles in the hope they would give me confidence to make bangles I could trust but still the only ones I have faith in are the 2 part 'Bam bam' bangles that I learnt from Tina Holdens tutorial (which I'd highly recommend). My favourite bangle I wear all the time is made like this and seems very sturdy.

I have tried several other methods of making bangles and find that they break very easily, sometimes when removing from the bangle form (I use a coke can, a glass or a large round cookie cutter), sometimes whilst sanding and some seem ok but due to the number that have broken I always wonder.

The blue and white set I made for myself and have been wearing seem to be OK. I made those by rolling a long sausage of clay and joining the ends with polypaste. In the past it was often the joins which popped open so I thought the addition of polypaste would help to strengthen that weak area. I was also concerned that perhaps the clay wasn't conditioned enough so the clay for these were very well conditioned to make sure this wasn't an issue. I also baked them extra long to try and make them as strong as possible.

With the success of these bangles I made another one the same way. A long thin sausage of well conditioned clay, covered with cane slices, joined with some polypaste and the clay well smoothed over, some cane slices on top of join. I baked it extra long. I loved it and put it on straight away. I wore it all morning and it seemed fine. I then went to sand it and within about 5 seconds it broke. Devastating! I was being careful, I wasn't being rough.

This wouldn't be so bad but I have an oustanding, or perhaps I should say over due, order for a smaller bangle like one I had made at Polymer Play Days last year. We were given prebaked bangles to cover which had been formed from extruded D shapes. I tried this last night. I made sure my clay was thoroughly conditioned. I extruded using the largest D shape in the standard makins extruder die set, put them round an empty coke can, joined the ends with polypaste, baked extra long (50 mins) ..... and they broke when I tried to take them off the can. Arghh!!

The first break in both cases was not at the seem so I am sure the polypaste at the join helps.

Maybe they just need to be more chunky. I am off on Carol Blackburn's Beaux Bangle course next weekend (so exciting, can't wait! I get to see my 2 lovely school friends for a couple of nights first too!) so I am sure I will be able to make beautiful big bangles after that but I want to be able to make little ones that don't break too. I shall see what I can find out -I shall do some experimenting and I have asked for advice on the Polymer Clay Central forum too. If you've got some advice I'd love to hear it!


1 comment:

  1. Cara, What brand of clay are you using? I know that Sculpey is pretty brittle in applications like this.