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Polymer clay bangle bracelet

Use a mega-extruder to form a big, bold bangle that won’t weigh you down.

The question: How do you make a strong, bodacious bangle entirely out of polymer clay without it weighing a ton? Answer: Mix nine parts UltraLight polymer clay to one part regular polymer clay. Use this clay blend and a super-size extruder (think caulking-gun size), and you’re on your way to building a large but very wearable bracelet form. This diva-worthy bangle is 2 in. (51 mm) wide and 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) thick, and yet this sizable accessory weighs just 41 g. The trick? Using a polymer clay veneer, which gives you plenty of surface area to show off your latest polymer clay pattern, whether it’s a screen-printed design, a mica-shift masterpiece, or a collage of cane slices. 

Supplies

  • Cardboard mailing tube: 3-in. (76 mm) outside diameter
  • Polymer clay:
  • 10 oz. (280 g) Sculpey UltraLight
  • 1 oz. (28 g) Super Sculpey (original formula)
  • 2 oz. (56 g) regular formula, metallic gold (for base layer)
  • 8–10 oz. (227–280 g) regular formula (for veneer)
  • Polymer clay softener (optional)
  • Additional tools & supplies
  • Utility knife
  • Glue stick
  • Extruder: 2-in. (51 mm)-inside-diameter barrel
  • Extruder disk: circle quadrant shape for 2-in. (51 mm) barrel
  • Waxed paper (optional)
  • Dividers
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Flat-tip paintbrush
  • Premade silk-screen design or silk-screen kit (optional)
  • Acrylic artists paint (optional)
  • Scissors

Instructions

Go Big with Polymer Clay 01
Figure 1
Part 1: Cardboard Mandrel
Prepare a mandrel. I use an inexpensive cardboard mailing tube with a 3-in. (76 mm) out-side diameter as my bracelet mandrel. Use a utility knife to cut the mailing tube to 6 in. (15.2 cm). 

Make a graph-paper guide. Cut a 4 x 11-in. (10.2 x 27.9 cm) strip of graph paper. Using a ruler and pen, draw a guideline 1⁄2 in. (13 mm) from the bottom of one long edge of the paper. 
 
Attach the guide to the mandrel.  Wrap the paper guide snugly around the mandrel, making sure that the guideline aligns with itself where the ends of the paper meet. Leaving a 1⁄4-in. (6.5 mm) overlap, trim the excess paper. Use a glue stick to adhere the overlap to the paper beneath it [FIGURE 1]. 
Go Big with Polymer Clay 02
photo 1
Go Big with Polymer Clay 03
Photo 2
Part 2: Bangle form

The bangle is made up of three parts: the base layer, the bangle form, and the veneer layer. The extruded polymer clay strips that make up the bangle form need time to set, so we’ll start with those.

Make an UltraLight/regular clay blend. I’ve experimented with various materials to make a strong, lightweight underbody for large polymer clay forms, and my favorite so far is a combination of UltraLight polymer clay and original formula Super Sculpey. Use about 9 parts UltraLight clay to 1 part Super Sculpey. Condition the clays together, mixing them until they are completely blended and smooth. 

Load an extruder. Following the extruder manufacturer’s instructions, load a large extruder with the clay blend and an extruder disk [PHOTO 1]. I used an extruder with a 2-in. (51 mm)-diameter barrel. The disk pattern I used [see the pdf for the pattern] creates wide strips of clay in the shape of a circle quadrant. 

Extrude the clay. Extrude two 14-in. (35.6 cm) strips of clay [PHOTO 2]. Lay the strips flat-side down in a straight line on a nonstick surface or sheet of waxed paper. Let the strips sit for about 24 hours; the clay will firm up, becoming easier to shape. 

For the rest of this project, please download the PDF here. 

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