Polymer clay is a (group of) modelling compounds based on PolyVinyl Chloride...Chemistry apart, the fun and understandable part of this material is it is easy to shape, retains the shape and colour after baking, the colours are easily 'mix'able i. e. they can be blended to form new colours just like you do with your paints... What more, it can be painted upon, engraved, embossed, clay-modelled, punched, moulded into just anything that your imagination makes it out to be! I was super-excited when I came across this material and have been playing around with it for a while now.. So, when Itsy Bitsy (craft supplies store) announced their SizzixTutorial Challenge this month, I thought what better than to add a Polymer Clay Jewellery Tutorial?
Well, this is going to be a looong photo tutorial with step-by-step pictures, so I'll spare you the talking and get on with it right away :)
Tools and equipment: Round-nosed pliers, wire cutter, knife, a baking tin, two skewers and an oven for baking (OTG)
Polymer clay: I used black, magenta, red, yellow and white.. The black piece measures around 1.5 cmx1.5 cmx1.5 cm whereas the rest measure around 1cmx1cmx1cm. I used more black since I wanted to have it as the base. The choice of colors is purely yours to make.. So choose with abandon :)
Findings for the earrings: two earring hooks, two eye pins (2"), two jump rings(3mm)
Findings for the necklace: two spring coils, a clasp, a 6mm jump ring and an 8mm jump ring. Plus, a cord of your choice for stringing these.
In case you wonder about the beads, we are going to make them... yes. With the very pieces of polymer clay(PC) stated above. Lets see how.
Take the black piece of PC and knead it well with your fingers for 30-45 seconds. This will make it pliable and thus easy to shape. (Cover your work area with a spare plastic sheet preferably. You can throw it away when done.. makes cleaning up easier)
Repeat with the other pieces as well.
Now, to colour mixing.. I mixed (blend and knead well) half of the red piece with half of the yellow piece to get orange. Similarly got violet by mixing half of the magenta piece with half of the white piece. (And mixed the rest halves of yellow and magenta to get maroon which I've stashed away along with the rest half of white for future use.. You can instead cut smaller portions of yellow, magenta and white in the beginning). I retained the remaining half of the red to use as it is.
Half way through the mixing, you'll get a beautiful marbled effect... (You can stop right here if you want and make beautiful marbled beads out of this).
After all the mixing and kneading, this is what I got:
Now for the modelling.. Shape a 3/5th piece of the black into a ball. Then, flatten it out and shape it into a rectangle using your knife. This is for the base of our pendant.
Repeat on a smaller scale to make the earring bases with 1/5th of the remaining black dough for each.
Pinch of a ball of orange, roll it into a long thin cylinder and use parts of it to make designs on the bases. Repeat with the other two colors. Let your creativity run amuck :)
Once you are done, use your round nose pliers and eye pins to pierce holes into the pendant and earring bases.
Now, what do you do with the leftover pieces of orange, red and violet? Make co-ordinating beads to string along with the bases. Again, the shape and size are purely your choice.
I made small discs out of them.. Tiny ones for the earrings and medium ones for the necklace. Now pierce holes of the appropriate size into each of them.. They are ready to go into the oven.
Now, take your baking pan and place the skewers parallel to each other. String the beads onto spare head/eye pins and arrange them at a small distance to each other. Bake according to packet instructions. Mine had to be done at 130deg C for 15 min.
Once the beads have been baked and cooled down, it is time to assemble the earrings and necklace.
Put a 3 mm jump ring into the hole of each earring base (always use round-nosed pliers to open and close the rings. In fact for making, opening and closing any curved portion, always use round-nosed pliers since it helps to retain the curve without distorting it in the process). Leave the ring open.
Bead the small discs to an eye pin.
Use your wire cutter to cut away at a distance of about 8mm as shown.
Use the pliers to curve the uncut portion into a loop.
Attach the beads and close the loop of the hook. Similarly, attach the prepared earring base to the bottom loop of the beads and close the jump ring.
Repeat with the other pair of earrings and here your are!
String the beads and the pendant in a pattern you wish using the cord of your choice.
To finish the ends, take one end of the cord and bend into a coil with one or two loops according to the thickness of the spring coil used.
Insert the rolled cord into the free end of the spring coil and adjust its position so that it does not peek out of the other end.
With your pliers, pull out the lowest loop of the free end of the spring coil a little apart from the rest. Now press this loop's end to tighten around the rolled cord as tightly as possible. To seal this end, use a length of the cord itself to fashion a tight knot at the base of the tightened loop. Seal the knot with wax if required. Now, slip a clasp into the opened out end of the coil.