Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to make a basic Skinner Blend

Creating Skinner blends is one of the basics of working with polymer clay.  This technique allows the even gradient blending of two or more colors and was developed by Judith Skinner.  You'll need two colors of clay, a 3" by 4 1/2" cardboard template (an index card works well), a straight blade, and your pasta machine.

Step 1: Using the largest setting on your pasta machine, roll out two contrasting colors of clay.  Make sure you have enough clay- usually at least half a block per color.

Step 2: Cut each rectangle diagonally from corner to corner using your clay blade.

Step 3: Stack the same color triangles, one over the other, to make double thick triangles of clay.  Be sure they match perfectly.  Re-form the triangles together with both colors so you have a rectangle again.  Run this through the pasta machine on the largest setting.

Step 4: Fold the rectangle in half and run it through the largest setting on the pasta machine.  After folding before each pass make sure that the side edges of the clay are identical in color.  The clay should always be inserted in the pasta machine fold first.  This helps to avoid any trapped air bubbles between layers of clay.

Repeat step 4 until you get the color gradient you want to achieve.  This can take anywhere from 10 to 30 passes, all depending on the effect you're looking for.
And there you have it- a fairly easy technique that has all sorts of uses!  Here's a link to a great tutorial from Smooshers member Drunkenmimes that shows how to use a Skinner Blend to create a leaf cane: Polymer Clay Skinner Blend and Leaf Cane Tutorial.  Get creative and see what you can make using the Skinner Blend technique!

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