Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be looking at a few of the most useful tools for making polymer clay beads and jewellery. These will save you time and energy, and ensure that your beads are clean and well-made – and some are just to make them a little more snazzy!
We’ll start with my most indispensable tool – the pasta machine!A good quality, Italian-made pasta machine (Atlas, Imperial or Mercato brands are best) is incredibly useful – they can be used to help with conditioning clay, mixing colours, producing “Skinner Blends” (shaded sheets of clay), rolling even thickness sheets of different sizes, for creating fine striped loaves. Personally, I couldn’t work without this!
Tip: Keep your pasta machine clean by wiping with alcohol regularly to clean, and removing built up clay from inside machine. Do not, however, take the machine apart! I use cotton buds, and a needle tool with a alcohol drenched small cloth to poke up inside machine to clean.
BONUS: Pasta Machine Motors
Also available are motors which fit to the pasta machines – these take the hard work out of rolling clay, and are great for people with arthritis or shoulder injuries. I did without this for about 8 years, but since having one I would not want to go without it again! They are not strictly essential, but are very nice if you are doing a lot of clay conditioning and rolling.