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Thank you all for the wonderful comments about my "Stencil Bead". There is really no technique to it, just a little shaping. All very basic and quite simple. It is only the split shading that gives it that "stenciled" look.

I got the idea while looking through a craft magazine. I saw some stenciled roses and wondered what they would look like in polymer clay. I think it is the distortion cause by using Sculpey that gives it character.

I used Judith Skinner's method of gradient shading(I think everyone knows what this is?) using white/red, white/green and white/purple. I used Sculpey this time. After rolling the shaded clay into a snake (light side in center), I reduced it down to about 7/16" D. and cut them into 1 1/2" lengths. I then cut them in half lengthwise.

I used a small round tool (like a knitting needle, 1/4" or smaller in diameter) to shape the petals. It seemed to give them the right curve. Just lay the 1 1/2" piece (long sliced side down) along the length of the tool and press the "clay" until its length is concave shape, like a half moon. All the pieces do not have to be this shape. The leaves could be shaped by hand. Always keep the light shaded side down.

(Hope I can remember this part.....) I used a 1 1/2' yellow snake for the center of the flower. . I ran white Sculpy through the pasta machine at about medium to thick setting. (about #2 on the Atlas). From this, make some 1 1/2" strips. I wrapped the center of the flower with a piece of one of these strips.

Take one petal and place one long edge against the center piece length-wise. The concave edge is not to be placed flat against the center of the flower, but set on edge touching the white wrap.

Then, slightly round off the outer edge to a more petal shape. Place a white strip against the length along the backside of the petal. Add another petal and another strip until you come all the way around. Slip in a leaf, here and there, remembering to surround it also with the white. You could keep the petals all one color or add some other colors like the purple, as I did. Fill in with white as needed to keep the petals moon shaped. The petals and center should now be completely outlined and covered with the white.

I continued on and added white snakes to make spacers between and added more flowers to the basic design in the same manner, but I suppose it would be simpler to reduce the cane at this point, enough to cut into threes, put them all together and fill in with white, making a cane with three identical flowers. Reduce and voile!

Some observations: I rolled waste clay into balls and covered them with a thin sheet of white, then added the slices. Use Sculpey if you can because the white is so bright. The red color bled as I rolled the beads in my hands and I had to do a little sanding after baking to make them white again. I am now wondering if I had used a wet one on them before baking if it could have been removed.

Arlene Thayer
© 1998 Arlene Thayer

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