Polymer Clay Napkin Rings
For people and cultures around the world the dining table is a place where meals are shared, conversations (or passionate debates) are had, and beautiful memories are created. There is something special about a table that is decorated for the occasion whether it’s for a seasonal celebration or a more formal event – a beautiful table sets the scene! This tutorial is a walk-through of 3 different designs of Napkin Ring which can be made to complement your table setting.
What You Will Need
- Polymer Clay – Colours of your choice
- Letter Stamps
- Rolling Pin
- Corn Starch
- Aluminium Foil
- Access to an oven
- Toilet Paper Tube
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Jute Twine or Ribbon of your choice
- Clean Paint Brush
- Bamboo skewers or thin wooden craft sticks
- Needle Tool
- Nail file
- Fine Grit Sandpaper
Make sure your work surface is clean and free of dust and lint. White clay is especially difficult to keep clean as any debris is very easily visible. If necessary, a clean paint brush and some Isopropyl Alcohol can be used to clean the surface of your clay.
Before you begin to roll out your clay, dust your work surface and roller with a thin layer of corn starch. This will prevent the clay from sticking. It is important that your clay is well conditioned before beginning and that any air trapped inside the clay has been removed. If you encounter any air bubbles whilst rolling out your clay, be sure to pop them using a sharp needle tool or skewer, then smooth over the hole.
Rolling Out the Clay
Solid Napkin Ring
Solid Napkin Ring
Roll out your clay to a thickness of roughly 3 mm or 1/8 inch. Using a blade trim the edges of the clay to create a straight edge, then cut two equal size strips of clay. Cover the toilet roll tubes in aluminium foil. Wrap the strips of clay around the tube, overlapping the edges. You can use sculpting tools or your fingers to join the seams. This design has a pronounced join/seam for effect however using the principle above, you can change the design to achieve the look and feel you desire.
Trim Straight Edges Using a Blade
Cut Two Even Strips of Clay
Wrap The Clay Strips Around The Foil Tube
You can now personalise your design using letter stamps or other baking/crafting stamps. You could choose to use words or phrases that are more generic and themed around your dining experience for example: Eat, Enjoy, Cheers or as used in this tutorial – Nom! However, this project could be used to make personalised name place settings for wedding décor or to add a special touch to your dinner table setting. The possibilities are endless!
Personalise Your Piece Using Stamps
Bake your pieces on the aluminium covered toilet roll tube. This will prevent them from collapsing and will ensure they maintain their shape. Cardboard and paper have a burning point of roughly 200⁰C/440⁰F therefore baking in a standard electric convection oven at the lower temperatures required for polymer clay is suitably safe. However, it is recommended to monitor your pieces throughout the baking process.
Baking consistently at the recommended temperature is most important when curing your polymer clay pieces. To assist in even baking and accurate temperature control it is best to use an additional oven thermometer positioned next to your clay pieces. Do not rely solely on the built-in oven temperature control as this can be inaccurate.
Bake your pieces as per the product guidelines included on the clay packaging. Baking temperatures are different across Polymer Clay brands.
Baking your Pieces
Spiral Napkin Ring
Spiral Napkin Ring
On a work surface dusted with Corn starch, start by rolling out well conditioned clay to form a long extrusion. You can use a clay extruder however the uneven, organic nature of hand-rolling is more in keeping with the look and feel desired for this project.
Rolling Out a Clay Extrusion
Roll a foil tube to create an armature or frame to support your clay spiral. This tutorial has used a tube roughly 25 mm (7/8 inch) in diameter, however you could choose to adjust the size depending on your requirements.
Wrap the clay extrusion around the spiral armature to create your desired shape.
Wrap the Clay Around the Foil Armature
Bake your pieces as per the clay brand’s recommended guidelines.
Bake your Pieces on the Foil Armature
This tutorial uses jute twine to add texture and contrast to the final piece however, you can add any yarn/cord or embellishments to your piece. As seen in the reference image, wrap the twine around the piece and secure the loose end with glue. Allow to cure as per the requirements of your chosen glue brand. For best results it is recommended to use a clear, fast drying glue.
Adding Twine Detail
Tag Style Napkin Ring
Tag Style Napkin Ring
Roll out your well-conditioned clay roughly 3 mm or 1/8 inch thick. Straighten the edges by cutting away excess clay with a sharp blade. Dusting your blade in Corn Starch will prevent the clay from sticking to the blade and help to create a clean, smooth edge.
Rolling out the Clay
Cut a rectangle piece roughly 20 mm x 40 mm (3/5 Inch x 1.5 Inch). At this point, you could choose to create a different shape for your tag or even use baking/clay cutters to do so. Dusting your cutters with Corn Starch will prevent the clay from sticking and help to create neat edges.
Trim Straight Edges
Using letter/word stamps, stamp your desired word or phrase into your clay. Be mindful not to push too deeply into the clay as this could result in the edges of the stamp making contact with the clay and creating a line on the surface. Keep your pressure even over the stamp so that the impression is even throughout.
Personalise Using Stamps
This design also lends itself to being personalised for special occasions or table settings which require name place holders. They would make the perfect addition to wedding table styling!
Pierce a small hole on either side of the tag to allow for twine or ribbon to be added after baking.
Pierce Holes for Twine/Ribbon
To create a gentle curve in your tag, lie the piece over a toilet roll tube wrapped in foil. Gently manipulate the clay to follow the curve of the tube. To prevent the tube from rolling over during the baking process, weigh the tube down on the baking tray using a metal spoon or similar oven proof item. Bake Your pieces as per the clay brand guidelines.
Bake Pieces on Foil Armature
After baking, thread your piece with jute twine and secure with tight knots. You may choose to use a different cord or ribbon to match the look and feel of your table setting.
Finish with Twine/Ribbon
The added advantage of this design is that it can be reused and updated by simply changing the ribbon/cord to create a different look and feel or adapt to suit seasonal décor.
Your pieces are now ready to be added to your dining table, bringing together the “look and feel” and creating that personal touch for beautiful celebrations with friends and family to be enjoyed!