Giving up the coke can – bangles almost solved | Cara Jane Polymer Clay Giving up the coke can – bangles almost solved | Cara Jane Polymer Clay

Giving up the coke can – bangles almost solved

Posted on June 13, 2011

You may recall I’ve been having problems making bangles. I’ve had trouble with them cracking.

In my usual style I did a little experiment to see how curing on different ‘bangle forms’ changed things.

I had a suggestion from Jo who writes the FloRaeMe blog that perhaps the coke can being flimsy might move, undermining the strength of the bangle and that I should try using cardboard tube. I tried to make a cardboard tube the size I wanted a bangle but the join where the cardboard overlapped made the bracelet a wonky shape so I gave up on that. I think it would be ideal if you could find a nice round cardboard tube ready made (hmm just eyeing up my sellotape roll…)

Here’s what I did try

The first support (top row on the left) was a catering ring (supplied by the lovely Carol Blackburn at her Bangle workshop), lined with paper – oh I see I muddled up the bangles in the picture the middle bangle was the catering ring one – I can tell cause it’s larger, and round.

The middle support was just a paper lining. I formed the bangle on the coke can (which incidentally is filled with plaster of Paris so sturdy to work on) and then slipped it off and baked on a tile, this is the first bangle, it’s a bit wonky, so I wouldn’t recommend that way.

The last support was the plaster of Paris filled coke can. I made 2 bangle on this at the same time and one of them I gently removed from the can at the end of the curing time whilst still warm and then gently rested the paper lining over the top of the can and put back in the oven to cool down slowly (check out  my baking experiment results if you haven’t already). The other I just left as it was. When I went back to the oven the one I had left on the can had popped off – as in completely broken  – on it’s own! That’s not good! The one I had taken off whilst warm seemed good though.

I gave them all a good squeeze, gently to start with, them remembering how strong the well cured specimens were in my previous experiments very firmly. At this point I heard a crunch from the coke can cured bangle

… and there was a crack, not at any seam or join, just a crack. The other 2 bangles remained intact and crack free.

What I am finding so infuriating is I know that plenty of people cure polymer clay bangles on coke cans with no problems (well not that they report). I looked through about 5 different bangle tutorials and  4 of them used a coke can. None of them mentioned using a release agent (I am using the paper as a release agent to make sure the polymer clay doesn’t stick to the can – a very helpful suggestion by friends on the PCC forum and also from Carol Blackburn). So why does it work for other people and not me?

Anyway that’s it for me and coke cans for bangles. When the one came out broken before I had even touched it I knew it just wasn’t working for me.

The bangle formed on the catering ring has been decorated with cane slices and baked again and I am confident it is strong. It was a little on the large size so I added an extra thick lining of polymer clay so it fits a average size hand and now it is just right. They come in different sizes so I shall investigate. If you have any other ideas of things to form bangles on please do comment, or email (see the contact me page)

Getting there with the bangles but still not perfected yet.

7 Comments

  1. I admire your persistence I would have given up completely by now.

  2. I don’t like to be beaten!

  3. I just saw that the August issue of Polymer Cafe will have a Soda Can bracelet article by Dotty McMillan in it. Let’s see what she has to say on the subject, shall we?

  4. Hi Cara. I’m thinking there is a difference in the pop cans we have in the UK to those in the States. Our cans are very flimsy aluminium and I have a feeling those in the States are Steel, which would be much sturdier. Perhaps steel cans are also less prone to expanding when heated and thus there is less shrinking on cooling which may be causing your bangles to crack when not supported??

    This is all guesswork of course but I’ll bet those tutorials you found are by American artists using steel cans. It is probably worth a try using an Ameri”can”. There is probably a sweet shop near you that sells imported pop but if not you could try: http://www.homesickamerican.com/

    and of course let us know how it goes!

  5. Jo I think you could have something there. I’ll be off round the shop with a magnet later 😉

  6. Ha!

  7. I have successfully used paper tightly coiled into a cylinder as a bracelet mould. So far I am making a hinged bracelet that gets cut off, but I would be interested to know if it works for a solid bangle.

    Here is my blog post with more details: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com/2011/08/27/because-sometimes-baked-beans-dont-fit/

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