The Bargello Technique for Polymer Clay

This simple techniques uses several colors of clay. These can be fresh out of the package, or scraps you have accumulated over time. These are tools you will need.

  • Pasta Machine
  • Tissue Blade
  • Acrylic Roller

First, choose some colors of clay you would like to use. I have chosen some scraps that I think would good together.

After conditioning each piece and running them through the pasta machine on the thickest setting, you are going to stack each piece on top of each other. There is no specific order, but try to stack contrasting colors. Dark on light, bright on dull. This will make for a more interesting pattern.

Next you will roll out the stack with your acrylic roller to about 1/2 of the original thickness. Cut this in half and stack the two pieces on top of each other. Do not change direction of the stripes, just stack one piece on top of the other.

Repeat this process again so you have four layers of the original stack. That is, roll the stack, cut in half, stack the two on top of each other.

Now you are going to squish the stack into a log and twist to get striations running through the log. This will create the stripes when you roll it flat.

Twist until you happy with the look. Don’t twist so much that your stripes are super tiny. The roll may start to get a muddy look. Roll out your log with the roller, going in the same direction as the stripes.

Run this through the pasta machine in the direction of the stripes.

I have cut the sheet in half to show two variations on this technique,

With one half of the sheet I am going to use my tissue blade to cut diagonally on the sheet. You can cut the slices as wide as you like, I am cutting about 1/4″ each time. Use the blade to keep the slice straight and lay it on your work surface. With the next slice, turn it over to reverse the direction of the stripe. Butt it up against the first slice. You can try to match up colors or stripes or just place them randomly.

This is an example of  my diagonal pattern. Once you are finished, you can roll the sheet out a little thinner.

This next variation is done by cutting the sheet across the stripes and offsetting each piece. this will create a cool pattern.

I like to offset a few pieces to the left, then reverse the direction.

Here are the two sheets side by side. Both are interesting patterns that can be used for all kinds of things.

I am going to make a pendant from each sheet. I rolled out some black clay for the backs of the pendants. I then textured the clay with a brillo type pad. I placed the textured side down on my surface and placed the sheet over it.

Using a circle cutter, I cut out pendants.

Here are two examples using this cool geometric technique! Have fun with this and leave your comments or questions below!

10 thoughts on “The Bargello Technique for Polymer Clay

  1. Carol

    Thank-you so much. I am quite new to polymer clay & already addicted to its versatility.

    1. Leslie Shimasaki

      Thanks Carol! You really can do so much with polymer clay. Good luck with your clay journey!

      1. Patricia Queen

        WOW! I have never gotten the hang of this cane until I’ve seen your tutorial. Thanks!

      2. Leslie Shimasaki

        Thanks Patricia! It is a pretty easy cane when you get the hang of it.

  2. Winona

    I am so glad I found your site. I have learned a lot from the articles. They provide simple, easy directions with wonderful pictures. Thanks for taking the time to help beginners like me. Looking forward to following you.

    1. admin

      Thank you so much Winona! I’m glad you find the polymer clay tutorials easy to follow. Stay tuned for more!

  3. Kath

    Thanks for the tutorial, I’m new to making clay jewelery (for myself & grandkids) & love the offset pattern. I am definately inspired!

    1. admin

      Thank you for reading the tutorial on the Bargello technique. It is easy and the use of color can create dramatic, interesting patterns. I hope the grandkids enjoy working with polymer clay!

  4. Berry Evers

    Easy but very nice.

    1. admin

      Thank you Berry. I’m glad you liked the tutorial!

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