Introduction: Geek Earrings: Instructables Robot, Totoro, Gir, Triforce, and Wiimotes!
First Prize in the
Dremel Jewelry Contest
I wanted to make some very personalized and funky earrings to give to my little sister. She loves all the classics--Zelda, Totoro, Nintendo, Invader Zim, Robots, etc., and generally loves to wear anything that screams loud and proud to the world "I LOVE THIS STUFF!!" While her backpack, t-shirts, shoes, shoelaces, necklaces, and hats all carry the stamps of various anime and video game titles, her ears remained sadly unadorned. Luckily I stepped up to include her ears in the party.
This instructable covers how to make awesome Instructables Robot earrings to show off your love for Instructables. Once you know the basic process of attaching pieces, firing, and painting the clay, the other geek earrings are easy to make! I have included drawing 'patterns' of the other earrings with all the shapes broken down.
It is simple to make earrings of just about any character or object using this process. Happy making!
Step 1: Materials
- White Sculpey or Fimo clay
- Pin or needle
- Acrylic paints
- GLASS seed beads. DO NOT USE PLASTIC.
- Thin jewelry wire
- Thick wire (coathanger ok)
- Two earring findings
- Jump rings
- Tiny paintbrushes
- Clear Nail Polish
- Baking Dish
These earrings cost VERY little to make. Each pair uses 1/16-1/8 a block of Sculpey, which is around $2.50 for the whole block. All the other materials are used in tiny quantities.
Step 2: Draw Your Design
In order to sculpt the robot, I broke him down into simple shapes. I wanted to add a few non-clay elements, so I also planned those out in the drawing stage.
Sculpey needs to be baked in the oven, and it is safe to embed any metal or glass objects into the clay before baking since they can withstand the heat. Never affix any plastic, paper, or non-heat-safe material with your clay before baking! These kinds of things can be glued on after baking. I use glass seed beads, but if you only have plastic ones, wait until you finish your earrings and superglue them on afterwards.
I have included the plans for all the earrings (except the triforce pair, because that's a little obvious). Our friend Robot is the most complex, and after learning the basics of working with Sculpey in miniature and how to build the basic shapes in this instructable, it is easy to make most animated characters into funky earrings.
Step 3: Shape the Body
In order to make two earrings, everything had to be done in doubles. The earrings will turn out looking much more like each other if each step is done on each earring at the same time, as opposed to making one entire robot and then making the other robot.
Break off about 1/8 of your sculpey and start working in your hands. Just keep wedging it in your fingers. Get it nice and soft.
Start out by making two same-sized balls of clay. They should be about the width of a sharpie thickness.
Gently tap each ball onto a table to flatten out the bottom into a fat bell shape. This is Robot's body!
Step 4: Make Robot's Arms
Roll out four little lengths of clay by making four small, same-sized balls and rolling each between your thumb and pointer finger. Each one should be about half the length of Robot's body.
Pinch the end of an arm and press the end flat to the tips of your fingers, making a cone shape. Gently push the tip of the cone over to one side, creating a bit of a curve. Repeat, making four little arms.
Step 5: Attach Robot's Arms
Use a toothpick to mark where you will attach the arms on the body, making sure they are exactly opposite from each other and that they are the same height on both robots. Scratch the area around your mark with the end of a pin, and do the same to the inward-curving side of each arm. The scratches help the arms attach to the body.
Put the arm on the body, pressing gently. Hold the arm by the sides and wiggle it slightly back and forth while pushing it into the body. Use a toothpick to push clay from the sides, bottom, and top of the arm down into the body, shaping the arm as you go.
Repeat until both robots have two arms each. Make sure all four arms are the same size.
Step 6: Robot Fingers
Cut small sections of thin jewelry wire using pliers and bend it into a tiny "u" shape and snip off most of the tail-wire so that you just have a tight "u." Using the pliers, insert the ends of the wire "u" into the flat underside of an arm. Make sure to leave room for another finger loop! Keep adding u-wires, giving each arm two wire fingers.
I made these wire fingers so that in the future I can make accessories for Robot to hold that can hook onto the wire loops. That way Robot can bake, knit, and create all the things he loves to make.
Step 7: Make and Attach Robot's Legs
Make four equal-sized balls of clay. They should be slightly larger than the balls you made for the arms. Roll the balls into thick, stubby tubes and flatten the ends by gently tapping the end against a table.
Attach the legs just like the arms--mark where you will attach each leg, scratch the surface of both the leg and the body with a pin, and use your toothpick to push clay from the sides of the legs into the body.
If your clay gets scratched up in the attachment process, roll your toothpick flat on the damaged area with a little bit of pressure. The clay will flatted right back out.
Step 8: Robot Wheels
Holding Robot in one hand and a jump ring in the other, gently press the break of the jump ring straight into Robot's leg. Press it in just enough so that the clay in the leg bulges over the open part of the ring slightly. Use your toothpick to press the clay into the ring, connecting the sides of the leg over the metal.
After adding all four wheels, keep an eye on you robots. They are fully mobile now.
Use your toothpick to even out the legs, making sure all four are the same.
Step 9: Make Robot's Head
Roll two equal balls for Robot's head. They should be the same proportion to the body as the photograph.
Pinch the balls into a rough cube shape using your fingers, and then tap each side against the table to flatten.
Step 10: Ears, So Robot Can Hear You
Press a red glass seed bead into the center of Robot's head. Press another bead onto the opposite side.
Remember the wire bits you snipped off the "u" fingers? Pick out the four straightest sections. Insert wire through the beads and into the clay of Robot's head. Trim all wires to the same lengths.
Step 11: Eyes, So Robot Can See You
Make two tiny, tiny, equal-sized balls. These will be Robot's small eyes. Roll two slightly larger equal-sized balls. These will be Robot's big eyes.
Using your toothpick or your finger, place a big-eye ball onto the right side of Robot's face (our right, his left) and press until the eye is flattened into a circle. Push the tip of your toothpick through the center of the eye and move the toothpick in small circles to expand the space of the inner-eye. Attach the small eye to the left side of the face in the same way, barely expanding the inner-eye circle at all. Just poke the center with the toothpick.
Step 12: Attach Robot's Head to His Body
Mark the top center of Robot's body using the toothpick and scratch up the area around it with a pin. Scratch up the bottom of Robot's head as well.
Because the head is going to be bearing all the weight of the Robot when the earrings are hanging, the attachments needs to be really strong. Take another of your left-over wire bits and stick it into the toothpick mark on Robot's body so that an amount slightly less that the height of Robot's head is sticking out.
Hold the head gently and slide it onto the wire. Gently press the head against the body and wiggle it slightly so that all those scratches can grab onto each other!
Step 13: Buttons, Buttons, Buttons
You could use the scratch-up-both-sides method of attachment to join the buttons to the body, but here is another great way to make sure that small pieces do not break off the piece after baking. This process works best for small, round attachments.
Poke a hole in the center of the body using a toothpick, and poke one hole on either side of that hole.
Roll out three tiny ropes. Insert the end of a rope into the hole, filling it with clay. When the hole is filled, press the remaining clay in the rope into a circle on the body.
Because the button clay is rooted within the body, it will not break off after firing.
Step 14: Mystery Slot
Who knows what this rectangular slot is for?
Using a pin, draw a shallow rectangle into the body.
Step 15: Add a Jump Ring
Robot needs a way to be attached to an earring finding. Push the break in a jump ring slightly into the top-center of his head. Roll a small piece of clay between your fingers to make a little rope. Place the rope through the ring, laying it over the break. Use your toothpick to attach the ends of the rope to the head.
Step 16: Build a Baking Rig
You can bake Sculpey right on a cookie sheet, but the clay softens as it heats up. This leaves any part of the clay that is touching the cookie sheet flat and weirdly shiny.
In order to keep your robots from touching a pan and touching each other, bend the center of a piece of thick wire into a sort of angular, widened "w" shape with two distinct valleys. String a robot carefully along the wire, letting it rest in one of the valleys. String the other robot down into the other valley.
Wrap the ends of the wire around the handles of an oven-safe dish so that the earrings hang safely inside the dish without touching anything.
Step 17: Bake.
Bake your earrings at 275F/130C for 13 minutes. The clay will still feel flexible at this time--the clay will harden as it cools. I have burned quite a few pieces thinking they needed more time after noticing the clay was still a bit malleable-feeling. The rule is 15 min. per 1/4" (6mm) thickness.
After 13 minutes, remove the pan and let the robots, pan, and wire cool completely before touching.
Step 18: Paint Instructables Robot
Mix your paint colors to match Instructables Robot.
Paint the body first and let dry, then paint limbs and head, then the eyes and buttons, letting each layer fully dry.
Using a tiny paintbrush, fill the indentations of the slot with black paint. Wipe off excess paint using a damp paper towel, leaving only the paint deeply set into the lines.
Paint a straight line just below the eyes and a line just above the eyes.
Paint small black dots along the bottom edge of Robot's body.
After adding all the details, go back over the robots and touch-up any paint mishaps.
Step 19: Earring Hooks and Protection
Attach earring hooks using pliers. Coat the robots with clear nail polish all over, making sure to get in the seams on each piece. Without the clear nail polish, the paint will wear off quickly with regular use of the earrings. The nail polish also makes robots really shiny.
Step 20: Show Your Love
Now that you know a variety of attachment methods, ways of shaping the clay, how to paint and protect the piece, etc., you have the knowledge to make all the designs posted in Step Two and anything else you can dream up! Most animated/cartoon/videogame characters break down into simple shapes very easily.
Show off your love for Instructables and wear your creation with pride!
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.