Introduction: Polymer Clay Thumb Drive

Picture of Polymer Clay Thumb Drive

An oven, some time, some artistic talent (more than I have, anyway) and some polymer clay are all you need to have a cool, unique thumdrive....Er...I suppose you need a thumbdrive too.

I don't think that these are instructions that anyone really needs. I just wanted to tell the world that it could be done.

Step 1: Remove the Case From Your Thumbdrive.

Picture of Remove the Case From Your Thumbdrive.

I suppose I could have taken pictures of this process but there are many manufacturers of thumb drives and the steps probably wouldn't apply to yours.

It's pretty simple. Just find the seam and poke and pry.

Step 2: Cover All But the USB Connector With Polymer Clay.

Picture of Cover All But the USB Connector With Polymer Clay.

This is where design considerations come in. It's all a matter of taste.

Step 3: Bake

The brand I use says to bake 15 minutes for every 6mm (1/4in) of thickness at 130C (275F). I think they are all pretty much the same.

Step 4: Some Thoughts That Aren't Really Steps

The only down side is that you wind up covering the LED. On the ones where the led flashes whenever the drive is being accessed this could be a minor problem. You just have to make sure it is unmounted before pulling the drive.

On the ones I have the LED is useless. It is lit whenever the drive has power. I don't know why they even bothered with it.

They do make translucent versions of the clay but they aren't really clear. I may try just using a glass shard as a window in future attempts.

One last thing. I doubt anyone who uses a thumb drive needs this warning needs to hear this but.........Don't try this on a drive that has the only copy of data you need...Duh.


mofirelizard123 (author)2007-08-10

why dont you just make a mold with the clay bake the clay and glue the drive in later that way youd be able to do much more with the led artisticly speaking and in saying that i think regular model glue would probably do.

dwhp (author)mofirelizard1232009-01-18

he doesnt bceause dodo,clay shrinks as it drys.

TishDaFish (author)dwhp2009-06-16

Rofl. Its polymer clay. It doesn't shrink, one of the lovely things about it. And hence the reason he said at 130*c, cause polymer clay only needs low temperatures to cure, unlike most other clays.

dwhp (author)TishDaFish2009-07-10

ok then, cause it might melt or fall out

ladybug2535 (author)dwhp2017-07-14

What is going to melt or fall out? If you glue it on after it is baked nothing is going to melt. If you epoxy the cover on it's no more likely to fall off than the original case. You are more likely to have problems if you bake it directly onto the thumb drive whether you leave the original case intact (and glue on your polymer clay cover) or remove the original case and cover the thumb drive directly. Computer components don't like heat--though at the low temp you bake polymer clay that probably won't be an issue. Still, there is a risk, while adding the case and baking seperatly completely removes that particular risk.

dstanke (author)2011-08-30

I made these for my husband using polymer clay, but I didn't remove the original shell.I just made a case and glued it on with epoxy.See ore at

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-02-03

I'm surprised the drive survives the oven. Nice instructable.

killerjackalope (author)2007-09-10

Ok things that thumbdrives I put in that are unecessary -lighters -big shrink wrap - 4 usb altoids tin with hub built in (with the possiblity of 24GB storage so far -a BB gun (no idea why but ya no those tiny keychain ones) -plastic petri dish (too awkward) -bottle opener - 9V battery casing (tricky but cool) -stapler (don't no why myself) -permanent marker (really good as they can work fin if the have the feltip inside) -Padlock (I spent an hour being bored hollowing it out so i did that) -Highlighter pen (great for ones with good leds replace with superbright and glowing highlighter is born) -Fimo similar idea to the stuff you used but more like foam that's hard -mini alarm clock (handy for school as a personal lunch bell) -digi cam bag (has three built in as they fill up quick) -my next one's going to be a simple vacuum molded roacket with racing stripe and port holes for the LED (glue drop windows prolly) How bout you, I mean it takes someone bored and adventurous with their drives to put them in the oven. gotta get one of those cube MP3's they would be great for case mods.

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-18

JESUS JACKALOPE I DIDNT KNOW YOU DID THAT MANY USB'S!! WOW!! the highlighter sounds cool :)

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-19

the highlighter is great as the bottom indent is the same size as a usb plug but yeah way too much free time

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-19

hey can you tell me how to hollow out a padlock cuz that sounds wicked! please email me at and all hte instructions in it with pix plz :0) i understand if its too much lazy too :)

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-20

any cutting drill bit for metal powerful drill and a good aim, then file out the rest with a round file a few mm smaller than teh drill bit

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-20

sounds to complicated to tell ya the truth :P but thanks enyway

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-22

not complicated just drill big holes that make it sorta hollow but with the round edge bits still coming in so you file them off, it was easy because I was bored, I've done my most inventive and creative things when bored...

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-22

gotta find lock + usb now :) but i'll try it :)

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-22

yeah it's not ideal to carry in your pocket on its own but as a keychain it's excellent

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-22

hehe :) aight i'll try it i found a lock plus i just need a usb now.....

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-23

doesn't have to be a usb... how bout a padlock lighter, just need a lighter with a reservoir and a tube the goes to teh gas nozzle after that it's really simple to do, I made a permanent marker into a lighter using the guts of a BBQ igniter, why? because I go flying in liverpool but live in northern ireland therefore I was sick of leaving lighters behind in airports so I devised a plan to avoid this. Only question I ever got was 'wow marker pens look dead complicated inside' as it went through the scanner... I love idiots sometimes its just funny as hoohah

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-24

aight but i tink i'll work on somthin maybe a padlock knife? :) cool thanks for inspiring the idea whahaha

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-25

yeah I'm in the process of making one with a workin lighter but it's a toughie but it will happen sometime, especcially since I have two jet lighter nozzles and the T connector spare, now add a lunatic and drive (note to self keep destruction to a minum with lunacy.....)

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-25

lol............. :D

killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-25

oh shock and wonder I got the jet nozzles fired up but the ignitor spark needs some soldering and general reworking more power mainly as the gas goes by so fast.... thinking of some kind of utility item with a USB a jet lighter, emergency cigarette, light (blue LEDs!!) and maybe an MP3 player lying around... any body thinking altoids already lol If I makes this people will bow down to me for I will be god as this is the platypus of altoid tins

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-27


killerjackalope (author)Darkshot2007-09-27

I'll do it but I'm away to italy for 6days now so after that i'll finish it up, jet nozzle and reservoir are up and running but need the ignition more reliable and to get the dremel really fired up for this....

Darkshot (author)killerjackalope2007-09-28

cool! :) hope your trip in italy goes well you lucky bastard ;D

fwjs28 (author)Darkshot2008-12-02

YAAYYYYY!long thread!!!!!

Derin (author)2008-06-20

put one in an office chair that would be the biggest usb drive

Hungry_Myst (author)2006-06-04

I must say that I'm mildly suprised that putting a thumb drive in the oven won't ruin it o_O.

mikesty (author)Hungry_Myst2006-06-04

Next up - Thumb Drive Cake :)

Hungry_Myst (author)mikesty2006-06-04

Hahaha, "You can have your thumb drive and eat it too!"

zachninme (author)Hungry_Myst2006-12-02

And the sub-tagline will be: Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm, CRUNCY!" (Playoff of Quizno's mmmmm toasty!) Actually, you could probably swallow RFID tags, so that is halfway there. Stick a reader on the toilet seat and you can see how long that cassarole takes to go from end-to-end, or if lil' johnny really ate it...

Mr. Smart Kid (author)zachninme2007-06-27

u can

ElMarko (author)Hungry_Myst2006-06-05

Oops I hit the wrong (reply). My reply to this is down a little farther.

ElMarko (author)Hungry_Myst2006-06-04

Truth be told, so was I. That's why I didn't put much effort into the sculpture itself. I was more worried about the polyethylene like plastic in the connector than anything else.

radiorental (author)Hungry_Myst2006-06-04

you have to appreciate these things are baked at super high temps in reflow ovens which solders the parts to the board. As long as you dont bake the clay at a higher temp (which I dont know) then it will be ok.

radiorental (author)2006-06-04

very cool, I've never used this stuff. Could you put a loop on the end for attaching to a keyring? thanks

as for the LED, you could just leave it empty and fill in with reson afterwards... similar to the other usb drive here

ElMarko (author)radiorental2006-06-05

I used a cheaper brand of clay that is softer that the more expensive brand so it wasn't really practical to put a loop in it. The model of thumbdrives I have have little metal thingies with a hole in them in the original plastic cases. for my next attempt I plan to salvage one of those.

About This Instructable




More by ElMarko:Stashing Your Bike ToolsCatproof Remote ControlCheapass wire control
Add instructable to: