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A while back (oops!) I mentioned I have a secret weapon for mixing colours and it is… grid lined paper. By looking directly down and lining up a rigid blade with the lines on the paper and  I can get accurately sized pieces. I use this both for colour mixing and for getting evenly sized beads.

Cutting polymer clay on grid paper

To cut 1/2 a square, I line the blade up diagonally with the corners of the grid (see image above where I’m cutting 5 squares into 2x 2.5 square pieces).

colour recipeThe other thing I do is record my colour recipes in percentages rather than the usual parts ratios. I find this makes it easy to size up (or down) a batch of colour.

For example the colours above are the following mixes of Fimo Classic:

  • Brick = 25% bordeaux, 25% yellow, 50% white
  • Mustard = 2.5% bordeaux, 47.5% yellow, 50% white

in the usual ratios this would be:

  • Brick = 1 bordeaux, 1 yellow, 2 white
  • Mustard = 1 bordeaux, 19 yellow, 20 white
  • OR Mustard = 1 (1 bordeaux, 19 yellow pre-mixed), 1 white

So if I wished to make 100 spacer beads (each using 1 square of clay) in each colour, I would simply use 1 square of clay for each percent and mix up the perfect quantity of clay. If I were working in the parts method I’d get 4 parts of brick and 40 parts of mustard (or to get equal quantities I’d have to mix up 1 part bordeaux + 19 parts yellow and then use 2 parts of that with 2 parts white and mix a second time). Or I could multiply each part in the brick recipe by 10, and then that’s 80 shapes to cut out.

I don’t know about you, but I find mixing colours a bit of a chore when I’m impatient to make beads so the single mix option appeals to me! There is a further perk to the percentage recipes when mixing gradients which I’ll explain in another post.

small polymer clay squares cut

Once my colour is mixed I use the grid paper to cut the polymer clay sheet into equal sized squares.

Marsala spacer beads by Cate van Alphen

That way I end up with nicely regular sized beads. And providing I write down what I did, if I come back another day, I can make more beads of the same size (e.g. in another colour).

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