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Here's a great new take on the ever-popular swirly by first time contributor Anna Anpilogova! Follow her excellent directions
and you'll have beautiful new bead patterns, like the ones below, to work with!

Since the final effect is a combination of swirled patterns, you first need to plan the overall pattern. I used simple graphic software to create and color the pattern, or you may just draw it on paper. Note that the pattern can involve items where colors are placed differently – in my example we’ll need a total of 12 items with 3 different types of color combinations - 6 items of type 1 as shown at the right, 3 of type 2, and 3 of type 3

Step 1) Select 3 colors of polymer clay, equal parts. Roll each into a log – this will facilitate further dividing into equal-sized items.

Step 2) Cut each log into 4 equal parts and make 4 same size balls of each color. You can certainly use other ways to get equal or nearly equal sized balls.

Step 3) Cut each ball into 6 equal sectors as shown.

Steps 4 , 5) Combine the color sectors back into balls that represent the combinations needed for the patterns.

Step 6) We're now going to turn each ball into a lentil swirled bead. If you don’t know this technique, you can use this excellent tutorial by Desiree to make the lentils.

Step 7) Now arrange the lentil beads according with the overall pattern, checking that you've got all the color combinations right. If not, make additional beads and replace wrong ones. Compress the individual pieces together to form one large lentil bead.

Step 8) As an added thought - since the individual lentil swirl beads have the swirl pattern on both sides, you can make two pendants by cutting each individual bead in two halves before combining them into the pattern.

Steps 9, 10) Compress the items by flattening gently with your fingers and with a roller. Use a cutter around the edge to get a nice, round form. Here they are, ready for baking!

Step 11) I love convex pendants, so I formed these on some old light-bulbs!

Step 12) Bake in accordance with the clay manufacturer's instructions, sand, buff and glaze.

Mixing the different swirled patterns can give you some beautiful pendants. Here are some more examples of utilizing swirled patterns. Click the picture for a larger view.

by Anna Anpilogova
©2010 Text and Photos

We want to thank Anna 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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