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Friday, May 2, 2008

An important item and very helpful little tool

I wanted to share something with you that I alluded to in my last post. That ‘thing’, that I said would make my next tutorial much easier to accomplish and bring the sanding involved to a minimum. That ‘thing’ is my new handy dandy, nail filing, buffing, polymer clay sanding gizmo. It is a little item that I picked up from Wal-Mart for about $15.00 - $20.00. You see, I really hate to sand. I will do it, but I don’t like it. Well, lately with all of the hollow beads that I have been making, sanding was an important issue. I needed to find something that would make this much easier to handle. I think I have found it in this little tool. This was well worth the money and quite a handy little tool to have around. You can use it in many ways with your polymer clay, not just this latest tutorial, so if you can find one, I would suggest that you buy one. The brand name of the one that I bought is “Homedics”, which I think is the generic name that Wal-Mart uses for their home care products. Basically it is just a little nail filing, and buffing machine. It even has this dome shaped area in the front where you can place your hand in the dome and it dries your nails. So far, I have only used one of the filing heads, the flat one, and the main unit. It has 2 speeds and it comes with 7 or 8 metal covered filing heads that you just pull on and off the main unit when you want to change them out. The cool thing about this one is that it is cordless. You only have to plug it in to its electrical adaptor once in awhile to charge it. You can use it while it's plugged in charging, or use it cordless. I have just adapted it to use it to sand some items down quicker. I own a cordless, variable speed Dremel but sometimes it is still just too much power. Not to mention the fact that it would grab one of my beads and send it flying across the room. Or it would make big gouges in my beads. So this has worked out much better for me. I know that there are numerous other things that certain ingenious people on the internet have come up with, to make sanding your polymer clay easier. Scumbusters, spinning grout cleaners, and tide stain removing gizmos to name just a few. In fact Desiree McCrorey has a great website with all kinds of very good ideas and ways to adapt tools for using with polymer
clay. ( go to I have tried all of them and none of them quite worked out as well as I had hoped, until now. So, using a few of Desiree's ideas (Velcro), here is what I did. I took the flat filing head and attached a 1 inch x 1 inch piece of strong Velcro to the top of it, (see photo). I then cut out a circular piece of 280 grit wet dry sandpaper, a little over 1 inch in diameter and attached that to the sticky part of the Velcro. When the stickiness starts to break down after having changed the sandpaper too many times, I just get out my hot glue gun and add a dab of that to attach the sandpaper. This tool really works great to sand down the inside edge of the hollow beads that I have been making. And it eliminates those raw fingertips that can develop from using the drywall screen! So I just use this little device around the bottom edge of each domed shaped bead. Then, I only have to run the bead across the drywall screen quickly a few times to make sure that I have a flush sanded surface. Then I can glue both domes together as nicely, and seamlessly as possible. In fact I was able to cook, sand, and string together 3 bracelets the other day. That’s pretty amazing, considering it used to take me a few days to complete just one! So if you can manage to get one of these things before I post part 2 of the tutorial, it will speed things up for you immensely. Now I have some other computer work to do, and that tutorial to finish up. So until next time....


DivaDea said...

Cool, Sally. Thanks for sharing this!

Jenny said...

Thanks so much for the tip. I also tried the Dremel, but ended up with gouged beads. This sounds like just the trick. I'm now officially a part of the "Harry" fan club!-Jenny at

pollyhyper said...

Great idea! And thanks for that link to Desiree's - I've never seen that site before!!