Getting Started in Clay Jewelry
Clay Me, Baby!
Browsing through your social media feeds, you’ve probably seen plenty of crafts and different ways to be creative. One of the many popular ones is, of course, jewelry making. It can be as simple as working with some beads or a bit more complex by playing around with painting and maybe even wire wrapping. Another fun and creative way to make jewelry is to use polymer clay. Now, obviously, this isn’t the only way, but it will be the focus of this article. It’s a great way to get creative while also getting to work with your hands. Who knows what fun designs you could come up with!
Supplies and Fun
So, what will you need to create your beautiful designs? Here’s a simple list – and, as always, you can take away or add to the list of goodies with what you feel you need to personalize your designs even more. These are just the basics, and many items can be found on Amazon or even at your local craft stores. Search around before you decide. And always look for coupons because those will save you a good chunk of money. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can also substitute different items with what you have lying around the house. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just functional.
So here is your basic list:
- Polymer Clay
- Acrylic Sheet
- Acrylic Roller
- Various Clay Cutters
- Jewelry Adhesive
- Jewelry Hardware
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
So, that’s the basics. If you do some searching you can usually find Clay Jewelry Kits, which should have most of the tools you will need for your craft. Polymer clay can be found in various colors, as well as glitter or shimmer options as well. The Acrylic sheet will be used as your workspace, the clay will be easy to work on this, as well as using the acrylic roller to flatten out your clay. Now if you can’t get those pieces you can easily use parchment paper for your workspace and any acrylic cylinder as well to roll out your pieces. For your Jewelry pieces themselves you can use clay cutters or even cookie cutters – and don’t be afraid to be creative by designing your creations freehand as well.
Let’s Get Crafty
Let’s get started: you’ll want to decide on what aesthetic you want for your jewelry, what color scheme, and all that. If you just can’t decide, sometimes it’s best to start off with primary colors and work from there. Or you could even take color examples from a favorite character or painting. For this example, we have two clay colors: a teal glitter and black glitter. With these two colors we will be making them into some cute stud earrings.
From your clay, you’ll want to cut off enough clay for what you’ll be using. Work each piece, kneading it between your fingers until it’s nice and pliant. Once both pieces are ready, you’ll want to mix them together. To do this you will make 2 ropes of each color and line them up. For the next step, you will twist and fold your pieces until you start to form a marble-looking piece. Make sure to not overwork it, as the colors will start to mix, and for this piece, we want more of a marble design than a solid color.
Once it is marbled nicely, you will grab your acrylic roller and start to roll out your clay piece so that you have a nice even slab about ⅛” thickness. You can then use your clay cutters to cut out your earring pieces. A nice trick when using cutters is to use saran wrap over the clay and then cut from there. Your clay won’t get stuck in your cutter and the clay pieces will have a nice smooth, rounded edge to them.
Once you’ve cut out all your designs you’ll want to go over each piece and smooth any pieces that may have any ragged edges or may need just a little more smoothing. You’ll then grab your baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then place each earring set on parchment, making sure they are evenly spaced out to make sure they bake properly. For the baking process, you will want to bake your clay according to the instructions on the clay you bought. The studs in this example were baked at 275º for about 15-20 minutes, but the time and temperature can vary, depending on the clay and sizes of your cutout designs.
Let the clay pieces cool down for about 15-30 minutes. The pieces are pretty much done, but if you want to really get them to pop you can always use a glaze or UV resin to add a nice shine to them. You really don’t need much and it does help the colors to pop out a little more than they would on their own.
After glazing them you are now ready to create your stud earrings. You’ll need some jewelry glue and stud posts. Secure the posts to the clay and let them set for about 24 hrs. After that, your new studs are ready to be shown off.
Clay Jewelry for the Win!
So there you have it; the basics to start making clay jewelry. It’s pretty fun when you can be as creative as you want, and with polymer clay jewelry, you really have that option. If you’re very artistic you can make clay charms that you can put on a necklace you would use to create a whole jewelry set. If you’re not quite to that level yet you have plenty of cute cutters and designs at your disposal, and even get creative by making freehand simple designs. These pieces can make great gifts for friends and family. They can even be great crafts to make with kids as well, what kid wouldn’t want to show off the amazing jewelry they made or even give it to a special family member like a parent or grandparent. This craft really has some amazing possibilities, you’ll never want to stop creating!