Creating Image Transfer 'Tube Beads' Using
Polymer Clay and Tranz-Fuze Paper
Spumoni “Tranz-Fuze” inkjet transfer paper is amazing on polymer clay. We have been experimenting for a long time with products that work really well with inkjet printers, which seems to be the most common type for home use. Our paper is unique in that the layers can be separated, allowing for a larger variety of applications such as clay cylinder beads. Your transfer images will be as vibrant and beautiful as right after you have printed them. The steps are easy and the results are very durable.
Tranz-Fuze works great on flat sheets
of clay, as well as slightly domed clay cabochons (see two-sided domed bead with stripe trim below).
Bead Transfer Instructions
1. In a photo program (or on a document), adjust the brightness, saturation and sharpness of each image individual before placing them on the page layout. Make sure they are sized about 1/8” (3mm) larger on all four sides, than your desired bead sizes.
3. Print your images on an inkjet printer and let the paper set for about 5 minutes. Seal the image surface all the way to the white paper edge, by smoothing on a thick, even layer of liquid clay. I use my fingers. The thickness should look cloudy white with just a little color showing behind it when using TLS. Experiment with the thickness. Let it set for 15 minutes as it is self-leveling. Hold close to sun lit window or a bright light to check for bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at the recommended temperature for the liquid clay brand you are using. Remove from the oven and trim off the white area around image with scissors.
5. Peel the image from the backing carrier paper by simply rolling a corner of the image forward with your finger and separating layers. Roll a conditioned rope of white or pearl white clay (shown at right) to the desired thickness. Note: The transfer layer is transparent except for the ink, so white clay will allow the colors to remain true, but you can try other light clay colors as well.
7. Dip finger in liquid clay and seal the side edges of the image if you plan to glaze piece, or use paint or a pen to decorate edges.
8.Pierce a hole in the bead. I use a bead skewer and bake on a baking rack placed on a ceramic tile. Bake at the temperature and full length for the thickness of clay and brand you are using.
10. Optional step: If you do not plan to use bead caps or ends on your beads, another nice method to finish the ends is to add a line of metallic paint. I run a Krylon 18K gold color metallic marker over the edge so that it hits just a little area on the bead surface and also the ends of the beads (see beads on page 1). I then paint the ends solid gold as well. There are many variations and different types of paints, findings and of course beads you can use with this technique. Use your imagination!
You can purchase packages of 5 or 10 Tranz-Fuze inkjet transfer sheets here.
Our transfer paper is for use with most any brand of polymer clay. I have had success using the paper with Premo! Sculpey, Sculpey III, FIMO classic, FIMO Soft and Kato clay. I imagine any polymer clay will work! The transfer layer of this paper is flexible, allowing it to wrap around cylinder shapes such as this tube bead. A slight surface texture may form, but does not affect the image appearance. Ink colors will not fade. As the package states, “What you print is what you get"!
2. Arrange the images so that they will print out on a standard 8 ½” x 11” (A4 size) page, leaving about ¼” (6mm) of white around each image and placing them at least 3/8” (7cm) from the edges of the paper. If you do not plan to print an entire page of images in one step, arrange them so that the bottom of images line up straight. This way, you can probably put it back into your printer tray, push it forward and run it through again to print additional images later on.
TIP: Create a test tube bead and bake. Measure around the bead with a sewing tape measure to determine your image width.
4. With the transfer still on the backing layer, roll the transfer up into a tube about the same thickness as the clay rope, so that it curls naturally. This will aid in the transfer clinging to the clay. As you can see in this photo, the transfer is already beginning to release just from the curling of the paper. This is fine and shows you how easy the TranzFuze paper will peel from the backing.
6. Wrap the transfer around the clay tube keeping it straight. If the edges do not quite meet, or overlap, re-roll the clay tube and secure the transfer in place. To make an even bead, place a small piece of acrylic sheet on the bead and roll it, keeping the acrylic sheet level. Trim off any excess clay from the ends of the bead with a slicing blade.
9. The beads are moisture proof as is, as they are sealed with the liquid clay. If you like a shiny surface (like I do), you can glaze your beads with any polymer friendly glaze, or you can sand a little and buff them. Be careful not to sand with a rough, low grit sand paper (400 is the roughest recommended). And, do not sand too much or you will reach the transfer layer and sand off the image itself.
Note: It may be obvious from our packaging, but
Tranz-Fuze works great on flat sheets of clay, as well as slightly domed clay cabochons. You can also cut your sealed images into any shape, using scissors...or believe it or not…craft punches! I have had success cutting and punching shapes from the transfers, both with or without the backing paper still on them, with crisp results.
If your transfer looks anything like this one, with cracks and a highly textured surface, it could mean a few different things:
Copyright © 2014 Shirley Rufener All Rights Reserved.
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Using Polymer Clay Molds to Create Clay Replicas
Watch this short YouTube Video to check out an easy way to get perfect castings from your polymer clay molds, then come on back to see my materials list and instructions below. I tried plastic, but didn't work, wrong type? I like packing tape (or just a thin acrylic block)!
4. Press the clay into the mold firmly with the acrylic square, until it stops. You can rock the acrylic around if the clay does not
want to reach the edges of the mold easily. Remove the acrylic square. Lift a corner of the tape slowly and carefully, so it PULLS THE CLAY OUT with it. Place the clay, WITH THE TAPE still in place, into the freezer for 15 minutes, to firm up clay.
6. Place the clay with the tape back into the freezer for 10 minutes, to firm up the clay again. Remove form freezer. Holding the clay piece with one hand, slowly peel away the TAPE FROM THE CLAY with your other hand, NOT the 'clay form the tape' which can bend or distort it.
8. Optional: Add a hole or loop to the clay IF needed at this point. I did not as I will glue on a bail when it is finished (see project above).
*Check out "Molds For Resin & Clay" Facebook group for buying silicone molds (for clay) and ldpe flexible plastic molds (for resin). Just request to join!
1. Spritz the clay mold and rim using an extra fine spray or spritzer bottle of water. Some people prefer to use a dry release such as cornstarch.
2. Roll a ball of clay that will be just large enough to fill the mold with just a little overflow over the edges. This can be cut off later. I try different ball sizes, measure with a circle template and write the size on the back of the clay mold with a permanent pen (Sharpie) to refer to later.
*TIP: Do not try to press the clay into the mold to fill it with your fingers. Just "place" the clay on the mold and press lightly.
3. Place a piece of packing tape on the clay ball, sticky side down. It will not effect the clay....as long as you do not leave it there and forget about it. Ask me how I know?
5.Take the clay out of the freezer. While the clay is STILL ON THE TAPE, place it on a smooth ceramic tile and cut away the excess with a craft blade knife. This way it sticks and you can rotate the tape and clay making cutting easier. If you have any areas to cut out from the space between or inside the flowers or design shape, do this now I also like to smooth cut edges.
7. Remove clay from the freezer and allow it to warm up to room temperate for about 5 minutes. Add any surface powders etc. now, and then bake on a tile, as directed for your clay brand. Tip: you can antique your piece with paint after the clay cools to bring out the details as an alternative to using powders.
*TECHNIQUE UPDATE: Lately I've been experimenting a little more...and I am just using the acrylic square (no packing tape) to press the raw clay FIRMLY into the baked clay mold. Then, flip the acrylic over and lift the mold a little all around the edges...then PEEL the clay MOLD from the raw clay. The raw clay has been sticking fine to the acrylic. I then CAREFULLY cut around the shape cutting extra clay off the edges with an Ex-Acto knife held at a 90o angle. Try not to press to hard as you will cut into the acrylic (ask me how I know?). The tiny scratches/cuts don't hurt as I try to always use the same side of the sheet but try not to cut into it.
Mixed Media Textued Frame with Silver Leaf and Alcohol Ink
New Ways with Liquid Clay
Faux Ceramic Pendant
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