Just Barrettes Blog

Barrettes and jewelry crafts


I have always loved things that sparkle and glimmer.  I have been using glitter on some of the barrettes to halp create that effect.

My earlier ones where simply braids of polymer clay covers with glitter and then sealed with a finish.Glittery Blue Braid Barrette

I have been playing with creating more dimension with the glitteriness.  I will say that this is one of my favorite seasonal barrette.

Glimmering Holly Sprig Barrette  I really like how the light reflects off of the glitter and the dimension that it creates.


When using glitter with polymer clay.  I recommend that you only use metal glitter.  You can test a small amount of glitter on a piece of paper in the oven at the temp that the clay is cured at.  If the glitter does not melt, it will work with the clay and not turn into a gooey mess.  I, also, always cover the barrettes that i add glitter to with some sort of sealer. Flecto Varathane is a good choice, it is now sold by RustOleum.  (For more information on this check out the following website, http://www.polyclay.com/flecto.htm  )  There are other glazes that work with polymer clay but this is the one that I have always had the best results with.  I know many artists that use Triple Thick with luck but be aware that the spray kind stays sticky.


This afternoon I put a small chip of Herkimer in the clay oven at the temp that I bake polymer clay at.  I put the piece in a white paper box that I made for it.  (I was concerned that it might explode undet heat and damage the oven.)  I let the oven warm up like I do when I use it for clay, added the Herkimer and left it in there for over an hour.  That is longer then I usually cure my barrettes but there have been times that I have forgotten them in the hot oven for longer.

There are no damage to the Herkimer chip.  It looked just like it did when I put it in.  So this test is a success.

I have not tried to cure polymer clay with a piece of Herkimer in it.  I will do that test tomorrow.  I am thinking that I will create a barrette that uses the Herkimer Diamond as an accent.  That way, if the clay and Herkimer “survive”, I will have a barrette to wear and show off.

So I guess it is on to the design table and I get to play!


Well, after trying the rubber bands on the tumbler form Harbor Fright and having the piece that holds the band in place be destroyed, my husband went to have it replaced.  When we had bought it, we paid the few dollars extra for the extended warranty.  The clerk at the store asked if my husband wanted to replace it or get his money back.  Without talking to me, he got the money back and then came home a ordered a two barrel Lortone tumbler.

I was upset at first, I had a bunch of stones tumbling that I wanted to finish polishing and know I could not finish them.  Earlier we had gone an a trip to Hiddenite, North Carolina and done some digging, sluicing, and creeking for raw gems and I wanted to see how some of the “ugly” ones turned out when they where polished.

Now that the Lortone has arrived and the rocks finished.  I am very glad that my husband did what he did.  I still have to figure out how to use the gems in my barrettes but I have many ideas and will be figuring out what works and looks the best.


You can see the patterns that you create in the block of clay by doing the distorting and stacking in the blue and purple blocks.  The red block has not been sliced yet but I am sure that I will find really nice patterns in it as well.


Once I figure out what background color to use, I condition that clay and roll it medium thin.  (I use setting 3 on my Atlas, with 1 being the thickest.)  I then carefully slice thin layers of clay off of the block.  I do the slicing across the top of the block to get the most interesting patterns.  If you want to slice the block of the sides you will get patterns that look like layers of sand.  If there is  a slice that I am not happy with, I can change the look by placing another slice over top of it.


One thing to remember when picking the background color is if you have used translucent clay, that color will be seen through the slices. 

I then reform the block and press it thinner.  I do this all by hand or with tiles but never send the clay through the pasta machine.  I then do the distorting and reforming the block a few more times.  Until I think that there is enough interesting patterns inside.mgblock5.jpg

This are my current blocks of Mokume Gane.  The red one is the one that I just took pictures of the steps for my blog.  The purple is on that I did just because I like purples.  I did use metal leaf in that block.  The blue and silver has translucent and no metal leaf.  I have been making beads and barrettes out of it.  I haven’t sliced into the red block.  I try to let the clay rest before making thin slices.


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