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Building a Template for a 4 Color Skinner Blend

Simple Rainbow Skinner Blend

Simple Rainbow Striped Cane

Simple Rainbow Jellyroll Cane

by Leigh Ross and Sunni Bergeron
Marie Segal is the QUEEN of Production Canework, and Judith Skinner is the Mother of Gradiant Polymer Clay Blends. The only thing I can take responsibility for here, is being compulsive and obsessive enought to put it down on paper and make a little template for it!

This is a lesson on a simple Gradient Rainbow Skinner Blend using four colors of Polymer clay! All the clay I'm using here is Premo, but there is no reason why you can't do it with any of the other Polymer Clays.

Whether you are a new clayer or a sesoned veteran, I'm hoping you will gain something out of this lesson. Remember, all measurements are approximate... you don't need to follow them to the letter. The exact measurements are there for those interested in duplicating this as closly as possible.

As to Color, I have used certain colors and will show you as we go along which colors I'm using and why, but this does NOT mean that you can't use whatever colors you like! This is a technique that is meant to be experimented with and played with! I'll show you at the end of the lesson some other color combinations and alternate information. I'm hoping that everyone will share their favorite recipes with all of us on the message board!

Building a Template

Supply List

Red Clay
Yellow Clay
Blue Clay
Fushia Clay
Translucent Clay
White Pearl Clay
Card Stock or Paper
Pasta Machine
Cutting Tool

Use card stock because you are going to use this template a few times before this project is done.

Make a rectangle about 5 5/8" (1.43cm) by 2" (6.35cm).

Cut this out.

The width of the template is the approximate size of the opening of the Atlas Pasta machine. If your Pasta machine is a different width, you'll have to adjust the template accordingly.

Place the template you've just cut out onto the other end of the card stock and trace around the outside of it with a marker. This will give you an exact double of your template on the paper.

You now have two templates, one the exact size and the other is the outline on a larger sheet of paper! Set the cut out template aside for now.

Time to start measuring your guide marks. Starting along the bottom edge from the right corner, measure in 5/8" (1.59cm) and mark it.

The next mark is 2 1/2" (6.35cm) from the first mark!

The next one is 1/2" (1.27cm) from the second mark.

This now leaves a space approximately 2" (5.1cm) wide! Remember, I am saying APPROXIMATELY (don't get nutsy over it!).

Go to the top left corner of your template. Now mark this edge the same way you did the first one, only going from left to right. First the 5/8" (1.59cm) mark.

Now add the 2 1/2" (6.35cm) mark.

Finish up marking at 1/2" (1.27cm) mark, again leaving about 2" (6.35cm) of space.

Now we play connect the dots!!! We have named the marks (dots) to make the next directions easier. Lay your ruler from
A on the top left to a on the lower left and draw a straight line. Make your lines extend out from the template for about the length of your finger. You'll see why in just a minute.

Next, lay your ruler from
B on the upper edge to b on the lower edge and draw another straight line, letting the lines extend out again.

Finally, lay your ruler from
C on the top right to c on the bottom right and draw the last straight line. When you are done you will see the four pieces to our puzzle template!

Now, pick up the CUT OUT template and lay it on top of the one you just marked up. You'll see the lines on the covered template extending out from under the blank rectangle!

Using these lines as your guide, lay your ruler once again from
A to a and draw a straight line. Then from B to b, then from C to c, drawing straight lines.

Lift the template off the paper and cut on the three lines you just drew. You have 4 puzzle pieces that fit into your template on the paper. This makes it really easy to cut and assemble your clay for this type of Skinner Blend!!!

The clay needs to be conditioned only lightly - just until it's workable - because you are going to be putting it through the pasta machine multiple times to blend it. This will take care of the conditioning!

Put your clay through the pasta machine at it's thickest setting. You will cut out equal numbers of each piece for each layer you use. I am using two layers of each color, so I cut out two identical pieces from each color. But - you can do it with one layer, or you can use three or four. Let your imagination fly!

Choose which color you want for which piece of the puzzle. I chose red for 1, yellow for 2, blue for 3 and purple for 4. You can use any colors that strike your fancy.

I'm using Flourescent Red here, but red is very saturated. So I blended 1 part red and 1 1/2 parts translucent clay to cut down on the saturation without detracting from the color. I'm also using Flourescent Yellow. My blue is 2 parts turquoise with 1 part white blended together to brighten it and then Fuschia, which is blended with equal parts fuschia and transparent to tone down the saturation again! You can use whatever color combination you prefer.

Assemble these puzzle pieces on the bottom template so they match the shapes, keeping the angles even. Press down a bit on the edges between the colors to get them ready for their trip through the pasta machine. We don't want the colors to split apart and fall into the wrong place!!!

Keep your corners even and squeeze the whole thing together a little bit to make sure it's going to travel safely to the pasta machine without any separation!

Check your seams one more time, then pick up the whole thing and make way to the Pasta Machine!

If you have two or more thicknesses, carefully run this through the pasta machine at the thickest setting. If you are only using one thickness, set your pasta machine two settings lower that the thickest setting. This will produce a longer sheet when it comes out and give you something to grip when you start folding the sheet and reinserting it into the pasta machine.

The first time through should set the seams!

Fold the sheet in half from top to bottom edges, making sure they are matched evenly.

Press out the air as much as possible before putting it back into the Pasta machine!

Continue putting it through the pasta machine, making sure to always fold the same way: top edge to bottom edge. You will have to put it through about 20 to 25 times to get a good blend!

Here you can see my blend ready to start playing and making canes. You can see the even stripes of at least 7 colors that have come from our 4 starting colors!

See how well the color strips line up!!! (that's cause I got lucky and it worked well for the photos! I get crooked ones all the time! And that's okay too.)

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