This instructable will show you how to make a Polymer Clay Tentacle Pendant. The inspiration of this piece is a friend of a friend posted a gorgeous tentacle pendant on their facebook wall, and it popped up on my newsfeed. I went to etsy.com and checked it out and it was amazing! I really thought they looked neat! (Just google Polymer Clay Tentacle and you will get a lot of images of what can be done with this very basic concept.) Anyway, I saw that and I thought, that I could totally make that too, and so here are my adventures of clay tentacles.
WARNING: This is entirely too addictive, because they come out so cool looking!
Step 1: Things Needed to Complete This Project:
Polymer Clay ---------- For this project I used white, purple, and pink. (For the other tentacles shown I used blue, green, yellow and white)
Oven, or Toaster Oven ---------- I've only used a full size oven for baking the clay, so I don't know how toaster oven's work for this type of clay. However, through online research I know a lot of people do use them.
Oven Mitt ---------- It's hot, use a mitt.
Glass Dish for Oven ---------- Here, I used a casserole baking dish top, I also like to use glass pie pans.
String ---------- I prefer satin string for jewelry making, a nice thick hemp cord, or something out of the yarn section of a store. It is personal preference. Just don't go too thin, or it will cut into your neck.
Small Tin ---------- I like to keep all my small clay pieces in a tin so they don't get lost.
Tools ---------- I've seen all the tools for polymer clay in the craft stores, but they are so expensive. Right now for this project I used, a small flat screwdriver, and a plastic fork. (Optional shown: safety pin, skewer, plastic butter knife)
Scissors ---------- They come in handy. Cutting the string, shaping clay.
TV Remote ---------- I like to watch TV and work with my clay, it is very relaxing.
Nail Polish ---------- For the extra shiny.
Step 2: Get Out Some Clay!
Get out some clay!!
Knead the clay until it is soft and you can work with it.
Most of these clays have four sectioned off little areas in them when you first buy them. I only used 1/4 of each block of (white, pink, purple) or less to make this pendant.
To me, the clay goes a lot farther than I thought it would, so just be aware that you can always take off more from the block.
I mixed white and pink together to make suckers. The colored clay will go a lot farther then you think it will, and only use a small amount in the white at a time in order to make a light version of the color. Knead and mix it together to get the colors you are looking for.
The most uniform way, I found, to make the suckers, was to make long strings, and chop them with my little screwdriver.
Step 3: Make Those Suckers!
(NOTE: According to how you roll them into little balls with your fingers, but your thumb and pointer/middle finger, will be sore after a while.)
I always try to make more then I think I will use because it is easier to make them all in one batch than to have to make more later.
Example: For the pink pendant I used 102 suckers ( 51 pairs), and the green/blue pendent I used 66 suckers (33 pairs).
To make the balls look like suckers, I poked them all in the middle with a middle prong of a plastic fork.
Now, make sure they aren't touching each other.
(NOTE: This step is a lot harder than it seems because they have a tendency to stick to everything, the fork, the glass, the fingers, and they try to flip over. Be patient.)
Step 4: Bake Those Suckers! (Literally)
Manufacturer's recommended baking time on the type of clay I got was 275 degrees F for 15 minutes per 1/4" thickness.
I usually bake for twice the time, because I want them to be as hard as possible, and with these I haven't found an adverse effect from baking them for 30 minutes instead. (I am also lazy and don't preheat the oven, so I just shove them in there for a half hour.)
Please wait until they are cool to touch them. They will not be 100% hard when they come out of the oven. When they cool, they will be a lot harder. I just leave them alone until the glass is cool enough to be touched.
Step 5: Mix Your Clay for the Tentacles!
Sometimes I use the warm glass from the suckers to help quicken this process. The warmth will make the clay softer faster.
For this step I used purple, pink and white clay. I mixed, white with pink, and white with purple to make the more strips in my final project.
Step 6: Making the Tentacle!
I really like the way it turned out!
Make sure you have a big enough areas to work on. Here I am working on the underside of a hamper!
Step 7: Attach Those Suckers!
I have tried in the past to coordinate them by size, but I like the look when they are all mostly the same size.
It is also according to personal preference whether you like 1 row or 2 rows of suckers. To me, a tentacle looks weird with only one row.
NOTE: You will have to press down and pinch the tentacle slightly to get them to attach, be careful not to flatten the tentacle. You may want to use tweezers for this step. I didn't have any and I think fingers are fine.
Step 8: Make It Swirly!
Be very careful not to drop any suckers.
Now, arrange how you would like it on your glass dish. I like to make mine extra loopy, because it gives a lot of different options on how to wear it afterwards!
Bake the tentacle.
Again, I like to bake for longer than the recommended time so that it gets extra hard.
Step 9: Finished!
NOTE: See pics for various arrangements of the tentacle. With so many loops, you can wear it for 4 different looks!
Step 10: Optional Finishing Technique
With other tentacles I've made, once they are cool, and completely hard, I give them a coat of clear nail polish to give them shine. I'm personally a fan of both the matte and the shiny finish.
There are other ways to make pieces shiny, I just happened to have clear nail polish on hand, and thought I would give it a shot.