Introduction: Paintbrush and Palette Pendant

Picture of Paintbrush and Palette Pendant

I made this pendant for an artist friend of mine. I chose the colors of the palette based on a painting she did. I placed them in the same order ,from top to bottom, as I saw them in her painting. Hope she likes it.

I used steel, brass and, polymer clay.

Step 1: Mount a Nail in a Drill Press

Picture of Mount a Nail in a Drill Press

Spin a nail in a drill press. Use a file to make the profile of a paint brush. Once you have the shape you want hammer it flat. Continue the refine the shape with a file. Just like my steel butterfly pendant.

For the collar of the brush, cut a small piece of brass and wrap it around just above the bristles. Solder it in place. Solder brass wire above and below the collar to make it look more believable.

Step 2: Trace and Cut

Picture of Trace and Cut

When I was a kid, one Christmas, I got a paint palette calculator. I’ve longed since lost the calculator but I got a little laugh when I found the image online. I cut and paste it into Microsoft paint and reduced it to 45% it’s original size. I then used a pen, pressing hard, to cut out the silhouette of the palette.

I cut the shape out on my scroll saw and refined the shape with a file. For the inner hole I drilled a hole and used a file to shape it. I’m using 22 gage sheet metal from the Home Improvement store.

Step 3: Drill and Mark, Mark and Drill

Picture of Drill and Mark, Mark and Drill

Drill a hole at the top of the pendant and paint brush. Suspend the pendant as if it were on a chain to see how it hangs. Use a pencil to mark out the brush. Once you have that marked you can mark out where you’ll place the colors.

Use a center punch to mark the palette and then drill out the holes.

Step 4: Prepare the Holes

Picture of Prepare the Holes

To help keep the polymer clay in place you’ll have to bevel the edges of the holes. Use a ball bur bit to expand the holes on the back. Don’t do it so much that you go though the palette. Just enough to make it a cone shape.

At this point you can use the same bur to make perfect circles at the front of the pendant. I like the uneven shapes so I left them as is.

Cut a piece for the back side of the holes and solder it on. Use a file to clean up the edges and make them even.

Step 5: Polish and Clay

Picture of Polish and Clay

Use 400 grit sand paper followed by 1000, 2000, and then polishing compound on a polishing wheel to make the brush and palette shine.

The clay I’m using came from the craft store for $6.00. It hardens in the oven at 230 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut off small pieces of clay and press them into the holes. Use water to wet your finger tips to smooth it out. Make sure you fingers are clean before you move on to the next color.

Bake the clay in the oven as mentioned above.

Step 6: Make Up the Chain

Picture of Make Up the Chain

This particular chain came from the craft store. I think I paid $3 for 6’. Cut a section to your desired length. Use round nose pliers to form clasps and jump rings as shown in the pictures.

Link it all together.


petalee (author)2012-11-01

What's/is there an alternative tool you can use to press the nail flat?

Mrballeng (author)petalee2012-11-02

The nail was hammered flat with just a common hammer. The only other tool you could probably use is a rolling mill but I think a hammer would be best even if you have access to one.

eggplanthunter (author)2012-01-29

Took a while to get pictures, but I made these as a gift a month ago.
The pallet is aluminium rather than steel, so it polished a bit odd and scratches easily.

Mrballeng (author)eggplanthunter2012-01-31

This is great! Who ever gets your earrings will be thrilled to have them. My hat off to you for pulling it off.  

'structables won't let me upload pictures


CrLz (author)2012-01-09


Nawaz (author)2011-10-26

Will make this one for an artist when I find that clay.. :P hope she'll like it

kfavreau1 (author)2011-10-15

Hi, I've been looking at your pieces and can you tell me what kind of torch you use?

Mrballeng (author)kfavreau12011-10-16

I bought this propane torch at walmart in the plumbing section for $15 dollars.

MicioGatta (author)2011-08-30

I agree with what you say: "There's plenty of ugly duckling materials waiting to become swans, so get your hammer, light your torch, and get to making smiles.".... But I also think that you have to be very skilled to do something beautiful and complicated like this one. I think this is a bit too difficult, but the pendant is wonderful and the tutorial well done. :)

ShoutOUT (author)2011-07-02

You should sell this, seriously.

tinker234 (author)2011-06-22

hey 2 paint brushes would make good earings

Kryptonite (author)tinker2342011-06-26

They'd be the perfect addition to this, good idea!

tinker234 (author)Kryptonite2011-06-26

my sister wants some earings so i thought of this project have to get a drill press

Kryptonite (author)tinker2342011-06-30

You don't need a drill press to do this, it just helps. A standard cordless / corded drill clamped securely or even a dremel could work... I probably wouldn't try the dremel method at first though, the power in one of those isn't very high and you'd have a fair time trying to do this I should think.

tinker234 (author)Kryptonite2011-07-01

ok thanks

tokichu21 (author)2011-06-26

This is simply beautiful! If you were selling this, I'd definitely purchase this as a necklace. Unfortunately, I don't have the proper equipment to make this myself =( Great and simply tutorial!

facklere (author)2011-06-22

Wow. I saw the picture and thought, "Oh my god, that looks really hard," but your directions were really easy to read and your pictures are excellent. I might try making this.

NaturalCrafter (author)2011-06-21

I enjoyed the process of making the pain pallet. Very nice piece.

sunshiine (author)2011-06-20

This is absolutely beautiful! I would chrish one of these even though I am not an artist. I am of a different breed. Have talent but not in that department. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this. I will be looking for more of your wonderful works of art.

Mrballeng (author)sunshiine2011-06-21

Do tell. What's your talent?

sunshiine (author)Mrballeng2011-06-21

I create. Sew, cook, quilt, and garden. I keep busy because I can't sit still. I actually enjoy cleaning. Anyway I saw this and had to comment because it was so unique. I may even try to make one. What I meant by I am not an artist is I can't draw or oil paint. My entire family are artist in that way but I missed that department by a long shot. I have talent in other areas that stand out.

bonecholampworks (author)2011-06-21

Georgeous! I rarely work with metal anymore, however, you've given me inspiration! A lovely piece, and very thoughtful of you! (way beats a box of chocolates anyday!!!) Thanks for the awesome instructable!


TheGeek1984 (author)2011-06-21

Quick question, re: step 4, picture 2 - does that piece of metal stay there forever, or do you remove it before it bakes?

Mrballeng (author)TheGeek19842011-06-21

It stays there. Otherwise I think the clay would fall out.

trophywife (author)2011-06-21

this is beautiful!!!

Mr.Sanchez (author)2011-06-21

As soon I get my Dremel Lithium-Ion cordless Stylus, I´ll Try this awesome project.

CamillaLuvzMusic (author)2011-06-21

SOOOOOOO beautiful!!

foobear (author)2011-06-21


mslaynie (author)2011-06-21

I thought I was the only one to use a pen as a way of roughly cutting things out!

emilygraceking (author)2011-06-20

This is so beautiful! I love it so much, and the colors are perfect of course :)

tinker234 (author)2011-06-20

dang it today my siter birthday and i found this i did not make her anything or buy soething ohwell chirstmas presen it is

ehudwill (author)2011-06-20

Bravo! My oldest daughter would love this.

poofrabbit (author)2011-06-20

As always plain AWESOME! I'm around some of these tools this summer, I might give this a try, In a week I'm doing your butterfly bracelet, I'm so excited! (still keeping my eye out for the right year pennies!)

Chirpoff (author)2011-06-20

That's so cool! I'm also an artist, and this was really cool to see as I was 'ibling around! I'm sure your friend loved it! Maybe I might figure out how to make one for myself...someday...:)

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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