Hope you are all well and enjoying the sunshine we've been experiencing in the UK during the last week. I had a great day at Flutterby Crafts teaching a lovely bunch of ladies how to make a Fimo bullseye cane and decorate beads as well as another session on the fabulous Efcolor enamelling. If you're interested in Fimo jewellery then I've recently uploaded a few projects and technique guides to get you started... and there'll be more to come soon!
One very good question that I've received via the 'contact us' page came from Debbie who asked if it was possible to use a stone polisher for polishing Fimo beads. As there may be more of you out there who are wondering the same thing I thought it worth mentioning here in the blog. And the answer is yes, you can use a stone polishing tumbler to polish and buff up your Fimo beads! Instead of using grit as you would to polish stones you need to use either wet and dry sandpaper or small, rounded, smooth but not polished, river rocks. If purchasing from a garden centre or builder's merchant here in the UK you need to be looking for pebbles or gravel from which you can pick out smooth pebbles that are no larger than 10mm and that are not jagged or cracked. If using wet and dry sandpaper either line your tumbler with it or cut it up into small pieces and don't forget to put some water in. If you want to buff your beads further then cut up small pieces of white denim or acrylic fleece and tumble that with your beads - this time without any water. If using a rubber barrel (not plastic) you may need to line it with a double thickness of denim to prevent discolouration of your beads.
I have always hand sanded my Fimo with wet and dry sandpaper as I don't own a stone tumbler and it is accepted as the best way to achieve the finest finish. (Always use it wet as that way the fine polymer clay dust is trapped in the water and you don't breath it in.) However, it does take quite a lot of time to achieve a superb shine - I tend to do it whilst watching tv as not only is it is time consuming but also thoroughly boring! I generally tend to start with a 360 micron and end with an 800 micron. For extra gloss you can then coat it with a layer of Staedtler's Gloss Lacquer - if sanded smooth before application I find you can't tell that it is coated in lacquer, all you see is an extra sheen. Also if you are happy using the lacquer you don't need to be quite so fussy with the sanding.
However, if you don't want to waste any time on sanding and polishing then a stone tumbler is the way to go - just leave it working for a few hours and let it do the work for you. Do bear in mind that it can be anything up to 6 hours for the first stage after which you will need to remove the rougher stones leaving only the really smooth ones for another 4-5 hours to achieve a truly polished look.
Happy Crafting everyone!