How To Make Clay Texture Rollers
Unlike texture sheets, textured rollers allow you to apply a design to any length of clay you choose. If you’ve ever shopped for rollers you know they can be quite costly. So here are instructions that will allow you to make your own with a craft knife or stencil cutting machine.
I found my 4” wide (9” including handles) roller at a local dollar store. It is also available online at Aliexpress. Mine measures 5.50” around and is made of ovenproof silicone. Because it won’t melt in the oven, I can cut designs from clay then wrap the raw clay around the roller and bake it. After rolling designs onto raw clay with my new texture roller, I slip a thin blade under the edges to dislodge it from the roller, which allows me to slip it off. I can create a whole collection of clay designs to slip onto the same roller for different projects.
Many size projects can be created with rollers. My Floral Tissue Box Cover and 2017 Chinese New Year – Year of the Rooster Cuff Bracelet are just two examples.
step 1 - Plan Your Design
Clay should be conditioned and rolled out to about 1/8" thick before cutting the sheet to size. Cut the sheet about ½” longer than needed to wrap around the roller. My clay sheet measured 6” x 3 7/8”. The extra half-inch allows for bringing clay edges together and blending them smoothly.
Plan the placement of images so they won’t overlap on the seam of the clay when it is wrapped around the roller.
step 2 - Cutting Tools
When using a craft knife the images could be traced from printed pages. Metal cutters are also an easy way to create your texture roller. Space images evenly for defined patterns like the Fleur de Lis. For patterns like the poppies, perfect spacing is not critical.
step 3A - Cutting With A Stencil Cutting Machine
Using a Silhouette Curio machine for the roller images makes easy and fast work of cutting. When using the machine, place freezer paper on the cutting mat with the shiny side up. Place the clay on the paper and cut your design.
Place deli paper over the clay. Flip it over and remove the freezer paper. This will be the right side of your pattern because it will have cleaner lines than the opposite side. Place deli paper on this side too. Flip it over and remove the first sheet of deli paper.
step 3B - Push up from the backside and the die cut clay pieces will pop out.
step 4 - Creating The Roller
No matter what cutting method you use, the right side of the clay sheet should be covered with deli paper and placed face down on your work surface.
Use a gloved finger to lightly spread Liquid Polymer Clay over the roller. Place the roller in the center of your clay sheet.
step 5 - Wrap The Clay
Using the deli paper, wrap half of the clay over the roller. Then wrap the other side. Pull paper away from the edges only and use a sculpting tool to blend the clay seam. The paper will minimize scraps or lint from sticking to the clay while you work.
step 6 - Cure The Clay
Place two equal height ovenproof objects like wood blocks on a metal tray. The blocks should elevate the roller so it the clay does not touch the metal surface. Remove the deli paper from the roller and place the handles on the blocks. Bake per clay package instructions.
step 7 - Texture The Clay Project
The roller must be completely cooled before pressing it on raw clay otherwise the clay will become soft from the heat.
Cut a sheet of conditioned clay to the desired size for your project. Sprinkle a small amount of baby powder in your hand and rub it over the roller to prevent it from sticking to the raw clay. Align the roller at the end of the sheet. For the best results, roll the texture with a small (one or two inch) forward and backward motion while pressing down. Work to the end of the sheet. Use a fluffy soft brush with gentle strokes to sweep powder off the clay.
Dramatic textures can be achieved using this method provided the thickness of both clays are suitable for the project. Naturally, the thicker the clay on the roller, the better the impression. But the clay on the roller can be less than 1/8" thick. The clay to be textured should be rolled on the thickest setting ( 1/8") of your clay conditioning machine for maximum results.
Before curing the clay on the roller, a sculpting tool can be used to trim flaws in the cut designs if necessary.