Faux Glass Polymer Clay Tutorials FAQ
Still have a question about one of my tutorials that I haven’t answered here? Feel free to reach out via email, I’m always happy to help!
Amber (at) CraftingWithClay (dot) com
Absolutely! If you go to any of the product pages in my tutorial shop (www.PolymerClayTutorials.com), then you’ll see the option to download a preview underneath the “Buy Now” button (directly above the description). I can’t automatically offer a preview on Etsy.
Yes. To make beads like mine, you will need to have a variable temperature heat gun (preferably one that can be used handsfree), clear liquid Kato PolyClay, and a K-type thermocouple probe to test the output of your heat gun to make sure it isn’t running so hot that you’ll burn the clay.
I don’t see why not! My techniques don’t build on any skills that a beginner does not have, and my instructions are thorough enough for someone new to polymer clay to follow them. However, this technique does require specialized tools and supplies that you may need to purchase. You will need good hand-eye coordination.
Absolutely! You can always experiment with other brands to see if you like the effect they create – for example, super transparent Fimo liquid gives beads a slightly frosted look when you add it in multiple layers like I do and overall the bead will be squishier (i.e. you can distort the shape really easily by squeezing it in your fingers). I’ve personally found that Kato liquid polymer clay is the clearest for making faux glass hollow beads and faux lampwork so that’s what I stick with myself. Aside from being the most transparent, it also results in firmer beads than some of the other brands that I’ve tried (the hollow faux glass beads I make using Kato aren’t easily squished between your fingers). Make sure you adjust the temperature of your heat gun (either by changing the distance that you hold it from the bead or by physically altering the output on a variable temp gun) if you use a different brand.
You will need to find a variable temperature head gun – being about to adjust the temperature from 250℉-300℉ is an important part of my technique. You should also be able to adjust how fast the air blows (if you there isn’t a low air speed setting, then you’ll end up blowing liquid clay everywhere before it gels). The one that I use has a stable base on it so that I can use it hands-free, which I find invaluable when I’m laying down so many layers of liquid polymer clay. In the past, I have made the beads with heat guns that only have an on/off and low/high function, but it is much harder to make sure you aren’t burning the clay. I don’t think you will have very much success with an embossing heat gun.
Make sure you’re covering them when baking the faux glass beads. You can use a foil tent, or make something more long-lasting with two aluminum baking pans. I’ve found this to be super important for light colored beads (especially uncolored transparent ones and light blue colors). I tend to gravitate towards making yellow, amber, and brown beads because I don’t have to babysit the clay so much to stop it from taking on a yellowed tint.
When I’m making beads that require a lot of clear layers (more than 2mm thick), I will sometimes bake the bead in multiple stages (once every few layers has been put down). This seems to help the finished bead have a clearer appearance. I also drop the beads into a jar of ice water after baking. I don’t bother with either of these things if the transparent layers are colored – only when I’m working with uncolored, transparent liquid.
I don’t offer refunds on digital download items, but I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot any problems that you’re encountering! Just send me an email (Amber (at) CraftingWithClay (dot) com).
There are three things that will help prevent unsightly drips when you’re making faux glass beads. First, make sure you’re applying the thinnest layers you can. Second, make sure you’re applying enough heat to nearly instantly gel the liquid clay layer. But not so much heat that the clay is at risk of burning! If your temperature is already set appropriately on the heat gun, try experimenting with how far you’re holding the nozzle from the bead. Again, be mindful of how close you get so that you don’t burn the clay. Third, make sure you have your heat gun adjusted so that it’s blowing minimum amount of air possible (otherwise you’ll just blow the liquid clay all over the place before it gels).
If your faux glass beads are looking patchy instead of smooth and glassy, then you’re trying to apply a new layer of liquid polymer clay before the previous one has had a chance to cool down enough.
I wrote a post that lists the places that I look for my own bottles of liquid clay, you can find it here (sorry, it’s US-centric!): Where to Buy Clear Liquid Polymer Clay