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From: ljjdragon11/30/12 12:49 PM 
To: All  (1 of 10) 
 70035.1 

Good day, all!

My two issues/inquiries today are:

1) How long does it take to sand, to get a nice finish?  I'm sure the size and condition are a criteria, but what I mean is, should it take 10 minutes to sand a bead, or 30 minutes? A pendant? A fridge magnet? Etc.  I feel as if I am sanding forever, with no results. 

 

2)  How long is "long" when it comes to making a project.  Let's use earrings as an example.  Does it take an hour, a few? A week?  Again, I am sure that this depends on the detail of the project.  However, I feel like I am working too slow. Hmm.  . maybe, maybe not.

 

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Lisa

 
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From: SherryBinNH11/30/12 3:44 PM 
To: ljjdragon  (2 of 10) 
 70035.2 in reply to 70035.1 

I'm gonna sound like a smart-ass, but "it depends on the project"! (It really does.)

I can make several pairs of drop style earrings with wires, jump rings, and bead dangles in a couple of hours, not counting baking time and preparing a decorative sheet of clay from which to make them.  Sometimes faster.

But if you use plain, out of the package colors and simple designs, it could be a few minutes. Or, if you do mica shift or mokume gane or canes, and the base is complicated, and you create hollow beads in multiple steps and you sand and buff to a high gloss and you assemble the earrings in several pieces, it could take a few work sessions over several days.

It takes the time it takes. You need to get good at your skills and time efficiency if you want to sell or whatever, because then it factors into pricing. And some things just take too much time to sell, except at a loss -- nobody can see or appreciate the amount of work in certain things to be willing to pay the per-hour "salary" you may be entitiled to.

Everything is relative and individual.

Sherry Bailey

 

 

 

 
From: Melody0111/30/12 6:36 PM 
To: ljjdragon  (3 of 10) 
 70035.3 in reply to 70035.1 

<<1) How long does it take to sand, to get a nice finish? I'm sure the size and condition are a criteria, but what I mean is, should it take 10 minutes to sand a bead, or 30 minutes? A pendant? A fridge magnet? Etc. I feel as if I am sanding forever, with no results.>>

Hi Lisa, My answer would depend on the brand of PC you are using, the grit numbers of sandpaper you use and the degree of smoothness you are able to create in your uncured beads before you cure them. I use PREMO, which can be fairly easily hand sanded and hand buffed. I find Kato virtually impossible to hand sand and hand buff. For that I think it takes power tools.

Below is a URL to my PCC thread on hand-finishing off pieces cured PREMO pieces (hand buffing-sanding) without varnishing so they are shiny, (but not as shiny as using a varnish).
http://forums.delphiforums.com/polymerclay/messages?msg=64038.1
The teardrop pendants in the necklace mentioned there took me about 30 minutes to hand sand and hand buff.

I hand roll my beads using rested clay in a med cool studio.
I am also a fan of using a tiny acrylic roller to help with final smoothing. To see my post on this tool please click on the URL and scroll down to #1 fav tool.
http://melobeau.blogspot.com/2012/10/part-2-my-25-favorite-polymer-clay.html

<<2) How long is "long" when it comes to making a project. Let's use earrings as an example. Does it take an hour, a few? A week? Again, I am sure that this depends on the detail of the project. However, I feel like I am working too slow. Hmm. . maybe, maybe not.>>

It probably depends a great deal on the level of experience and the technical complexity of what the person is making. Is one following a tute? .... or are they following their muse into uncharted territory? I've been working with PC for 16 years and make mostly to sell. I work very slowly and meticulously and try to enjoy the process and journey. I make my own color formulas and they can take quite a bit of work to nail the color. Over the years I have accumulated thousands of color samples and that helps speed up the color selection process.

I make quite a few mock ups before I put a piece into production. I will take as long as it takes to get it right. That sometimes means a month of test pieces if the design is detailed or technically challenging and I'll have an overflowing garbage can! Sometimes it's a few days, but not often. For a simple pair of earrings probably just an hour plus curing time.

I think "normal" has a huge amount of room for variations and we all work best at different speeds. If I look at the clock it just stresses me.

Anita in AZ
http://www.MelodyODesigns.artfire.com/
http://www.etsy.com/shop/melodyodesigns/
http://www.melobeau.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melobeau/

  • Edited 12/2/2012 1:32 pm by Melody01
 

 
From: gilladian12/1/12 10:52 AM 
To: ljjdragon  (4 of 10) 
 70035.4 in reply to 70035.1 

You've gotten some really good answers to your questions, but I'm going to try to give my personal views:

1) How long does it take to sand, to get a nice finish? I'm sure the size and condition are a criteria, but what I mean is, should it take 10 minutes to sand a bead, or 30 minutes? A pendant? A fridge magnet? Etc. I feel as if I am sanding forever, with no results.

I use Kato clay. I'm about to pull four beads (of about 1/2" dia) out of the oven this morning. I will sand them when they're cool. I'll start with 400 grit, and probably go through 3 grits (400, 600, 800).

It will probably take me 20-30 minutes to sand all 4 beads. (there are only 4 because I'm testing design variations). Once I'm done, I'll buff them; that will take 20 minutes because I have to get the buffer out and set up. The actual buffing; 5 mins.

2) How long is "long" when it comes to making a project. Let's use earrings as an example. Does it take an hour, a few? A week? Again, I am sure that this depends on the detail of the project. However, I feel like I am working too slow. Hmm. . maybe, maybe not.

If I were to decide to "make a pair of earrings" that were simple clay beads, I would plan on taking around 2 hours, total. Certainly, if I were using a more complex technique, it could take a lot longer; but if I'm say, making simple disc beads with a texture-stamp and mica powder, baking and finishing them, then choosing small accent beads and then wiring them together, I'd expect to have something nice in a couple hours, max.

 

 
From: mkirkwag112/1/12 3:15 PM 
To: ljjdragon  (5 of 10) 
 70035.5 in reply to 70035.1 
Hi, Lisa. I felt the same way when I started. Some things that helped me:
Premo, not Kato. Not sure what you're using now, but if it's Kato, I would set it aside until you're more experienced. It's very hard to sand to a high finish.

Make sure you've baked long enough and and the higher end of the correct range for the brand.

It doesn't take that long. A few moments with each grit is fine - just enough to rough up the entire surface. Going over and over it accomplishes nothing but sore fingers. What works for me is a mixture of types - considered taboo, but I do it anyway. Black wet and dry sandpaper at 400 grit, then  3M sponges in fine, ultrafine, microfine, then - if I want a high polish - 1500, 2000, 2500 wet and dry sandpaper. I only spend moments at each grit and I spray down the piece and the sandpaper each time (I use a spray bottle instead of a bowl of water).

Remember that you're scratching the surface - your goal is to make the scratches smaller each time until they are gone as far as your eye is concerned. To do that, you want to be sure to remove the grit from the previous round before you start on the next one. That's why some people do it under running water and I spritz it. Everyone rinses somehow.

I hand buff with a cloth diaper. If I have round beads, I put them on a skewer and put that in the dremel and run it inside the diaper. If I want a high shine, I always buff with the dremel. The buffing may be your problem, not the sanding. If you use a dremel, you need to touch it so lightly that if you put it against your hand while it's running it just tickles. I started with a string wheel because it was easier not damage the piece. Now I use a muslin wheel and turn the battery dremel up to 6 (electric to 4) and the shine comes up much faster. If you turn the dremel it too high you build up too much heat and damage the surface. If you're using a buffing wheel, think about it in the same terms.

Since I don't spend much time on sanding - maybe 30 seconds per grit - I don't resent it if I get to buff level and discover an area I should have done better - do-over isn't such a big deal.

Hope that helps some. It's one of those things that eventually comes together and gets easier for you, but seems like it never will.
 

 
From: Elaine (tooaquarius)12/2/12 11:49 AM 
To: ljjdragon  (6 of 10) 
 70035.6 in reply to 70035.1 
Hey Lisa!

Since I make my work to sell, the time thing is an issue for me, too.

1. The sanding... for beads, I use a tumbler. Not as awesome as hand sanding but it lets me make enough beads to fill orders and make jewellery without hurting myself. And I had to learn to step back a little... very very few of my customers have EVER commented on my finish apart from to say it looked like glass or antiqued or what not.

Sanding other pieces, by hand, is something I reserve for pieces that go at much higher prices. It takes time, patience and sometimes repairing. To do 4 or 5 grits on my largest vases can take hours.

2. Time for making items - items I sell, I do in batches and time it based on that. Timing myself for one item lets too much error in. So I'll time how long it takes to make 10 pairs of earrings or 5 fancy bracelets. That sort of thing. Since I already priced out the beads (my own handmade ones or purchased ones) I already know the input costs. And I redo the time studies on my most common items every year or two because I've improved over the years.

and finally... if you're doing this for FUN let yourself do it away from a clock. I always have a few projects going that are either never going to be sold or they're gifts. It's always a challenge to myself to just enjoy them.

Elaine
 

 
From: ljjdragon12/3/12 12:37 PM 
To: SherryBinNH  (7 of 10) 
 70035.7 in reply to 70035.2 
Thank you so much!  I thought I was doing something wrong.  I am enjoying working with clay, and it is strictly for personal growth at this point in time.  I have no plans to sell, but who knows what the future might bring.  I see thousands of projects on the web and think that these projects are just snapped right out. HaHa to that!  A labor of love.
 

 
From: ljjdragon12/3/12 12:57 PM 
To: Melody01  (8 of 10) 
 70035.8 in reply to 70035.3 

Thank you very much for your response.  I know there are a lot of variables involved and a specific answer cannot be given.  But based on everything you stated, I am not entirely off-track.  I know now, based on my skill level, that I cannot start making Christmas gifts in December!! :)   Not for this Christmas, anyway. 

 

I have reviewed your links - I have actually seen your artwork before - beautiful!

 

L J

 

 
From: Melody0112/3/12 5:34 PM 
To: ljjdragon unread  (9 of 10) 
 70035.9 in reply to 70035.8 

Hi LJ, Thanks for your kind words!

I respectfully disagree with you that, "I know now, based on my skill level, that I cannot start making Christmas gifts in December!! :) Not for this Christmas, anyway."

I think there are PLENTY of projects you could make NOW that would look GREAT and your recipients would absolutely LOVE. It's just a matter of picking projects that aren't too difficult and picking a brand of clay that is relatively easy to use. (I like PREMO) Some basic canes projects look terrific and complicated but are really easy (like jellyroll, bull's eye. etc.)

There are lots of easy project tutes around. You could try
www.sculpey.com/projects

I love the projects in Sue Heaser's book "The Polymer Clay Techniques Book". If you are located in an English speaking country you might be able to find PC books in the library or through inter-library loan.

My fav way of getting around fingerprints and the hassle of smoothing is to texture raw beads with rough sandpaper. Great look and no stress. Take a peek at the closer-up (2nd) photo to see what NO SAND stress-less texturing looks like.
http://www.melobeau.blogspot.com/2012/11/southwestern-christmas-ornaments-from.html

Hope that you'll get lots of PC under your fingernails and make some gifts for the holdays

Anita in AZ
http://www.MelodyODesigns.artfire.com/
http://www.etsy.com/shop/melodyodesigns/
http://www.melobeau.blogspot.com/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melobeau/

  • Edited 12/3/2012 5:47 pm by Melody01
 

 
From: SherryBinNH12/4/12 10:56 AM 
To: Melody01  (10 of 10) 
 70035.10 in reply to 70035.9 

With regard to making Christmas gifts in December...

I just finished a set of ornaments as gifts for the other Reference Librarians with whom I work. I rolled out white pearl Premo at #3, embossed it with a swirley design rubber stanp, cut out shapes with two sizes of snowflake cookie cutters (medium and small) highlighted the raised portions with Pearl-ex powder, sparkled the recessed portions (and the back)  with ultra fine holographic glitter, used a tiny tube to cut holes at top and bottom of the flakes, baked, attached the two flakes with gold jump rings, added a dangle of crystal beads at the bottom and a gold hanging cord from the top...

I added rhinestones (with superglue) at the points of the bigger snowflake and the center of the smaller one, but they weren't really necessary -- I just like glitz!

They are pretty, simple, non-denominational, and don't require a lot of expertise. Nearly everybody can find some use for another ornament, and they aren't so personal that you can't give them to co-workers. (On the other hand, one of my group has a newborn baby, so I customized his ornament with the baby's name, for a "baby's first Christmas" memento. So that can be done, too.)

The hardest part was rounding up snowflake cutters I liked. (I found two more after I made these, and got them anyhow -- I can see making snowflake ornaments to sell in the future, and now I have an assortment of sizes and shapes to play with!)  Snowmen and other shapes could be used, too -- how you trim them make the difference.

Sherry Bailey

 

 

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