Giving Polymer A Turn

turned acrylicI was so excited to have Carol Beal put together an article on lathe turned polymer. She demonstrates what you can do with a fairly inexpensive table top lathe to make intricate but easy polymer beads. But here is the thing that we didn’t have room for … you can make a lot more than beads on a small hobby lathe.

I searched around and found all these things being turned in polymer or a similar material like acrylic. Most would require the you cure and then turn the ‘blank’ as it is call without the functional parts attached so other than ensuring you can take the item apart to add the polymer, you have a pretty wide open field of functional and decorative art objects to explore with this technique:

  • Pens (the top turned small item in pretty much any medium
  • Bottle stoppers
  • Ice cream and coffee scoops
  • Every kind of eating utensil you can think of.
  • Key chains
  • Razor blade handles
  • Crochet hooks
  • Seam rippers
  • Perfume applicators
  • Makeup brushes
  • Ornaments
  • Hair sticks
  • T-handle corkscrews
  • Spinning tops
  • Drawer handles and pulls
  • Gauged Ear plugs
  • Wands …

… basically any smallish thing with a long handle, long body, or is stout but round can potentially be created from or decorated with lathe turned polymer. I never thought about it but I sure am now.

What you see here are lathe turned acrylic pieces I found linked with Craft Supplies USA’s YouTube pages where they have a bunch of lathe videos for wood and acrylic blanks. However, you can see how easily this could be polymer. All you would need to do is follow Carol’s easy tutorial and once you are comfortable making beads, you could branch out into whatever you like. You would need the lathe of course which can be had for something in the range of $150-$600 dollars, depending on how precise and how serious you get. You can also find these kinds of tools on Craigslist and Ebay, sold by the well-intentioned hobbyist, on the cheap. I would go for new or like-new ones though so you know it is in good shape. These are not toys! That plus a set of woodturning tools which can be had for $30 brand new and you are set to go. I could see this being very addictive!

We could only post a small sample of what Carol has turned out (couldn’t resist the pun!) in lathe turned beads but take a peek at what she has on her Flickr site and in her Etsy shop as well as searching for lathe turned crafts or lathe polymer clay on Pinterest, Flickr, Etsy, and Google images to find even more ideas!

And if you still need to get your copy of the Spring issue, jump over to our website for Carol’s article and much more.


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