Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: Get ready for Spring! Make jewelry with Friendly Plastic and watch your ideas BLOOM

Friday, February 22, 2013

Get ready for Spring! Make jewelry with Friendly Plastic and watch your ideas BLOOM

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How to use Friendly Plastic to make a Bloomin' Cylinder beads for jewelry making

Nearing the end of February 2013, I know it won't be long till the daffodils emerge and blossom covering our yard in a gorgeous tones of sunshine yellow and glistening gold   What  better way to get ready for spring than with a Friendly Plastic craft project that is not only fun, but drags us out of the wintery lull and brightens up our day!

In a recent post on my personal blog, I shared how to make jewelry that sells.  In that article, I also talked about pantone colors for spring and fall and how vital they are to deciding on what materials to use or even what colors to use when designing and making jewelry to sell.  Regardless of whether or not you are making jewelry to sell, the advice is still good as it gives us an idea of what colors we'll be seeing in the store and perhaps what the latest trends of our clothing purchases will be.

Today's feature is from one of our favorite artists - Jana Ewy.  There are so many ways to make cylinder beads unique by using texture, colored plastic strips or even with alcohol ink.  So why not challenge your skills that you've acquired so far and make some beads that will brighten your day and your spring fashion, then gather up your jewelry findings and have some bloomin' fun!

Here's how:

Blooming Cylinder Necklace

Friendly Plastic: Cylinder Technique

Designed by Jana Ewy for AMACO


 Friendly Plastic 7” sticks: Gold/Black, Gold Spectra/Black, Silver/Black, Silver Spectra/Black, Copper/Black 
 Mat knife
 Acrylic ruler
 Cutting mat
 Griddle set at 200-300°F
 Non-stick baking sheet
 Silicone non-stick baking sheet liner, cut to size: 3”x 8 1/2” 
 8” length of 1/8” (4mm) Rubber tubing, sold by the foot at Hobby stores 
 Craft blade or utility knife
 Round nose and needle nose jewelry pliers
 Wire cutters 
 AMACO® Needle tool
 Various Jewelry supplies and findings: ( brass head pins, 6” piece wire, chain, clasp, spacer beads, crystal rondell, brass flower, crystal bead, fresh water pearl, branch pearl and jump rings. 


1. Using a cutting mat, ruler and blade, cut a 1/4” and 1/8” strip from each color of plastic stick. Then cut the strips in half using scissors. 
2. Pre-heat the griddle. Place the baking sheet onto the griddle. One at a time, in a pleasing color pattern. Place the plastic strips onto the baking sheet. Make sure each strip is stuck in place before adding the next. Try to press each strip tightly against the one before, to prevent any gaps. Continue until the desired number of the strips has been added. 
3. Allow the plastic to soften and fuse together. If any gaps do appear, simply tap over them with your finger pressing the softened plastic together. When all the strips have softened and sealed together, remove the baking sheet from the griddle and allow the plastic to cool. Use the needle tool to press under the edges of the cooled plastic and remove it from the pan. 
4. Place the cooled plastic back on the cutting mat and trim off the uneven edges. Cut the plastic into 1” wide strips. 
5. Lay the silicone sheet onto the griddle. Position the plastic strip, right side down onto the center of the silicone sheet and allow the plastic to soften. You will notice as the plastic softens it becomes very shiny. It is important that you watch this process closely. As soon as the entire strip is shiny, remove the silicone sheet from the heat and lay it onto your counter or work surface.
6. Carefully lay the rubber tubing along the top edge of the softened plastic strip. 
7. Moisten your fingers and hands with water, to prevent sticking to the plastic, and begin to roll it up and around the tubing. Continue until all of the plastic is wrapped around the tubing. Now you can use your fingers and palms of your hands to roll the cylinder back and forth on the silicone sheet, to secure and seal the overlap. Once you are happy with the look of your cylinder, pick it up by the extended ends of the tubing, pulling it straight and taut. Quickly run it under the flow of cold water from the faucet. This will quickly harden the outside of the cylinder allowing you to lay it down, to finish the cooling process without the fear of it getting marred. 
8. Once the cylinder has cooled and the plastic has hardened completely, remove the rubber tubing by pulling on each of the exposed ends until the seal within the cylinder has been broken. You will know when this has happened, as the tubing will slide out. 
9. Place the cylinder onto the cutting mat and trim off the uneven ends, using a craft blade or a utility knife. I prefer using the craft blade for this. You do need to put a little muscle behind it in order to cut through the plastic. Just do it carefully. Continue to cut the cylinder into 1” beads. 
10. Assemble all the decorative components, and begin sliding them onto the wire in a pleasing arrangement. You may want to add the pearl, flower and crystal to a small length of chain first. Use the photo above as a guide or create your own arrangement. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, form a loop using round nose pliers to both ends of the wire.
11. Attach the decorative cylinder to the chain using jump rings. Finish the necklace by attaching the jump ring and clasp.
Variation: This is a great way to use all your odd jewelry components in a fun eclectic mix. Get creative and be sure to make a matching pair of earrings.

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Linda Peterson is compensated and endorsed by AMACO. The guests features may or may not have any affiliation with AMACO.

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