Sunday, July 29, 2012

Polymer Clay Pendant

My favorite craft, by far, is jewelry making because the sky is the limit as far as what you can make.  You can do something as simple as looping a single bead on a chain and you end up with a beautiful necklace or you can weave hundreds of beads together to be make a really intricate piece.  I tend to lean towards more simplistic beauty when it comes to jewelry and I love necklaces with a cute little pendant. 

Normally, I buy store bought beads for my creations but recently I've been playing around with making my own beads out of polymer clay.  The thing that is so great about polymer clay is that it is very inexpensive (each block is $1-1.50) and there are so many fun shapes you can make with it.  For this project I decided to make round, flat pendants with an imprinted design.  

I made two pendants, using two different brands of clay. The first one is made out of lavender Fimo clay and the second is Craft Smart clay in blue (Michael's store brand, so a little less expensive). The Fimo clay comes in an array of beautiful colors and is easy to work with, but I wanted to try the Craft Smart clay to see if the cheaper brand was much different. The only difference I noticed was that it was a little harder to break a piece off the block and initially it seemed a bit drier but after kneading it for a couple of minutes, it was just as pliable as the Fimo.

Polymer clay
Cord or chain
Jump rings (if using chain)
Parchment or wax paper
Rubber stamp
Sculpey Glaze (optional) 

To start, I broke off a small piece of clay and began kneading it for a couple of minutes.  Once it felt soft and easily workable, I rolled it into a ball between the palms of my hands. 

Then, I used the balls of my hands to flatten it into a disc shape.  Just keep pressing all sides of the disc until you have a relatively even thickness all around.  You'll probably end up with lines on the clay from the palm of your hands and you can easily smooth them out with your fingertip once you've reached your desired shape.  Mine was about 3mm thick and an inch in diameter.  You can also use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten your ball into a disc, which is the method I used for my second pendant and that resulted in a more evenly shaped disc.  Both turned out nice, so it just depends on how you want yours to look.

Once you've made your disc, you can then stamp your design onto the clay.  I used a rubber stamp that has a lovely flower in the center of a circular design that was a little smaller than my disc for the lavender pendant.  I stamped my initials into the blue pendant.  You have to push the stamp in pretty firmly to ensure that the entire stamp shows up clearly and that all edges of the stamp go into the clay.  If you're not happy with your first impression, you can always smooth the clay out with your finger and try again.  Once you're happy with your impression, you can take a round toothpick and gently push it through the top of the pendant to create a hole for the cord or jump ring (depending on your stringing material).

Next, I laid the pendant on some parchment paper on a baking sheet and following the Fimo package directions, baked my clay for 30 minutes in a 230 degree oven. 

Once it cooled, I brushed on some of the Sculpey matte glaze, using the toothpick as a holder so I didn't have to touch it while glazing it.  When the glaze dried, it was a bit difficult to remove the toothpick, but I just twisted it gently until it broke free from the excess glaze.  The blue pendant I left unglazed, so you can see the different finishes.  I think both look nice, so you don't have to apply the glaze if you don't want to.

Then I strung some hemp cord through the pendant and tied a knot right above the pendant.  And viola, for less than a dollar, I have a cute little handmade necklace!  I think this would be great to layer with other necklaces in a pink or purple tone. 

There's a few different options for finishing the ends of the cord.  If it's long enough that the necklace can be slipped over your head, you can tie a simple knot at the end and call it good.  You can also make adjustable knots so you can vary the length each time you wear it.  Or, if you have a shanked button, you can tie the button on one end and a loop on the other (just make sure it's big enough to pull the button through) and you've got a super simple clasp.

Hope you enjoyed this DIY.  If you give it a try, I'd love to hear how yours turned out!


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