Friday, July 20, 2012

Sand Dollar Cane Tutorial

We made Auntie J and The A Man some mini sand dollar beads to add to wedding things.
Here's how we did it.

Things you will need to make some mini sand dollars of your own:

Clay cutter
Pointed tool
Parchment paper

Condition some fimo effect translucent clay until it's nice and soft and shape it into a long diamond profile cane. Mine was three cm tall and one cm wide.

Cut the long cane into five pieces. These will become the inner star on the sand dollar.

Condition some fimo soft white clay and make a long triangle profile cane. Each side is about 1.5 cm.

Cut the triangle cane into five lengths that match the translucent diamond profile cane pieces in length. Flatten one edge of the triangle cane so it becomes approximately 2cm by 1cm. These triangle cane pieces will fit between the diamond pieces. Alternate the shapes to form a star.

Make sur the pieces are tight together and begin to fill the rest of the space between the star arms with leftover white clay worms.

Once the translucent star is completley and evenly surrounded by white clay worms, you can flatten more white clay to a 1/2 cm thick sheet.

Cover the sides of the cane with the sheet of white clay making sure not to leave gaps or voids.

Cut off the extra clay with a clay cutter.

Start to reduce the size of the cane by gently squeezing the middle of the sides of the cane. Press evenly and little bits at a time.

Squeeze the cane like this until you have a fairly even cylinder.

Roll the cane on a flat surface to make it even smaller in diameter. I stopped reducing when my cane was about 1.5 cm across.

Trim back the ends of the cane until you get to a use-able part. The ends of the cane will distort while reducing.

Cut off 3/4 cm slices of the cane. Turn the cane after every second cut to avoid flattening the cane too much.

Lay the cane slice cut side to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten with your fingers. I left the middle of each sand dollar a little bit mounded and tapered them out to a thin edge. Then I took my pointed tool and made five slits of holes in each bead. I tried to keep them irregular in spacing. 

Bake the beads in a preheated 230 degree oven and let them cool off before you use them.

I'm in love with these little beads. You can use them for a huge amount of projects. I made earrings and brooches, charms and a necklace pendant or two.

Here are some sand dollar beads paired up with some other beachy items. Here is a link to how I made the coated seashells if you interested.

and here's a sneak peek of the next project.............

These beads are awesome mostly because of the transparent fimo effect clay. They remain simple white accents but the translucent clay lets light shine through the beads and they really are spectacular in the sunshine.