Sunday, January 6, 2008

Skinny Skinner Blends

I was prompted to post this entry after reading a discussion on Polymer Clay Central where Desiree showed how she makes narrow skinner blends using little magnets.  I solved the same problem slightly differently.

I like to make narrow Skinner blends too so I recently bought a curved magnet from Sue Kelsey and covered it in clay.  The magnet is great but it won't stay in place when I'm trying to make a very narrow blend, perhaps because I covered it too thickly.  Anyway, to keep it where I want it, I made some spacers out of clay.  With the one inch, half inch and quarter inch spacers, I can make any width strip in quarter-inch increments, with or without using the magnet.

Here's how to make them:

At the thickest setting, roll out some scrap clay the full width of the pasta machine and about 5 1/2 inches long.  Trim ends and roll into a snake which will be the width of the pasta machine.  On one side of the snake, pinch a ridge as if you were making a tear drop shape.  Cut squares of plastic wrap the width of the rollers and wrap both rollers so the clay will not stick.  You don't want to distort the clay when removing it.  With the machine set to #4 (a middle thickness), put the ridge between the rollers of the machine and press the clay down firmly.  You want to shape it to the rollers.  Remove the clay carefully and put it into the freezer to firm it up.  Trim one end as straight as possible and then cut the clay into 4 one-inch-long segments, one half-inch segment, and one quarter-inch segment.  Make the sides as straight as possible.  I cut through the narrow ridge first and then down through the rest of the piece.  Bake with the pieces lying on their sides.

After reading Desiree's tutorial, I decided to make a long guide piece to use on my machine that does not have fenders.  It ain't purty, but it works.


  1. Ooh, what an interesting idea - I didn't know it was possible to narrow a pasta machine. I'll have to give it a try!

  2. Neodymium/rare earth magnets lose their magnetism if heated above 175F. I found that out the hard way once... but maybe a possible explanation for the issue you mentioned.