My pots are all red earthenware, dipped in white slip, with designs drawn through the slip, and then covered in multiple colors of underglaze after bisque firing. Many of the designs I draw on my pots require parallel lines, which I found time consuming, and to be honest, mine were not very parallel. Whenever I started on a batch of mugs that needed parallel lines, I wished there was a way to speed up the process. I tried making a guide to draw lines through, and while this made neater lines, it was actually slower. I really needed to figure out a way to draw lines deep enough to expose the red clay through the white slip—and faster than drawing one line at a time.
The solution that has saved me countless hours and tidied up my drawings is super simple: combining polymer clay and sewing needles (1). This is one of the simplest tools you can make.
Begin by inserting sewing needles (point sticking out) into the polymer clay at the spacing needed for your design (2). Bake in the oven for 15 minutes per ¼ inch thickness at 482°F (250°C) (3). Holding the tool so all of the needles are making contact with the clay, you’re ready to start drawing.
A pair of sewing needles works great for two parallel lines for designs like curling stones or bike tires (4). The idea that started this venture into polymer clay was creating a tool with seven needles to draw rainbows.
This technique will work with materials besides sewing needles. I’ve also used it with sections of serrated ribs and other found mark-making items.