Introduction: Purpleheart Ouija Pendant With Polymer Clay Inlays

Picture of Purpleheart Ouija Pendant With Polymer Clay Inlays

This is my second Ouija themed project, this time using purpleheart wood (Peltogyne), which is a naturally purple hardwood that comes from the tropical regions of Central and South America. I had never worked with purpleheart wood before so I wanted to start with a small project and I also wanted to experiment with polymer clay to test it's suitability as an inlay material in woods. This was a fun and inexpensive project and I am pleased with the results.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

Purpleheart wood board (I did 2-up on a piece that was 5" x 3.5" x 1/4")
Polymer clay
Clear Polyurethane spray
Necklace Bail
Epoxy glue

Sand paper or sanding sponges
Woodcarving tools (knives, rotary tools, router, CNC, etc. - Whatever is available to you)

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

My design is Ouija Board inspired, based on a typical planchette or pointer, which is almost heart shaped to begin with, I thought it would be interesting to use as a pendant.

I created the design in Adobe Illustrator and then imported the vectors into vCarve Pro, where I set up the tool paths to be carved with a CNC machine.

Alternatively, the design could be printed out and transferred using carbon paper, or other transfer methods, and carved out by hand with carving blades, rotary tools, etc.

Here is my vector design if you would like to try it out. Please only use it for non-commercial purposes, thanks!

Step 3: Cutting the Wood

Picture of Cutting the Wood

This was my first time ever using a CNC machine, so I did a test run on a piece of scrap MDF. After I was happy with the result I ran it on the purpleheart board. I used a 90 degree V-bit to carve the design and a 1/8" end mill to cut the profile. Afterwards I cleaned up the rough edges with some sand paper.

A fun tip: If you feel that your purpleheart isn't purple enough, leave it exposed to the sun for a few days and the purple will deepen.

Also, another fun fact: Exposure to dust generated by cutting and sanding purpleheart has been reported to cause irritation and nausea, so it might not be a bad idea to wear a mask or respirator while working with it.

Step 4: Polymer Clay Inlays

Picture of Polymer Clay Inlays

I had been looking for an excuse to try using polymer clay as an inlay material as an easy and inexpensive alternative to typically used materials, such as shell, wood, etc. I think the idea has a lot of cool potential, so I was excited to try it out.

I bought 3 different colors of polymer clay at a local craft store. There are several different brands to choose from and I think they are probably all comparable. The colors I picked out were gold, silver and pearl (Sculpey brand). For this project I ended up using the pearl color, because I thought it would be the best contrasting color with the dark purpleheart wood. 

Press the clay into the design, making sure to fill all voids. Apply a generous amount, but try not to lay the clay on too thick because after the clay is cured it will be rock-solid and will take a lot of work to sand all the way down to the wood.

Put the clay-covered wood into the oven at the temperature and time indicated on the clay packaging. For Sculpey I believe it was 30 min. at 275 Degrees. When done, allow to cool and harden completely. I stuck mine in refrigerator for around 15 minutes and it was very solid when I took it out.

Step 5: Sanding and Sealing

Picture of Sanding and Sealing

I started with a medium/heavy grit sanding sponge until the design started to emerge. I finished the rest of the sanding with a fine grit sanding sponge and was excited to see that the polymer clay didn't shrink at all when baked.

Next, I applied several coats of clear polyurethane spray and allowed time to dry.

Step 6: Bail Mounting

Picture of Bail Mounting

You can find necklace bails at jewelry supply shops or online. Drill a small hole to the size of the mounting wire on your bail. Then mix up a tiny amount of epoxy and apply it to the hole using a toothpick. Insert bail and allow the epoxy to set up.

Step 7: Final Thoughts

Picture of Final Thoughts

Done! Now go get a sweet tattoo of a Ouija Board on your chest to frame your new pendant!

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!


RolfH1 (author)2015-09-09

dude this looks so cool. i like the differant mediums used, im geting into marketry and in lay as a new hobby. but can not affored any of the tec machines. mine is based on blades. old sharp screw driver. and a heck of a lot of pasiance. but you defo set me up with new ideas. and one day i might get to pst my works. thanks for sharing. rolfo

MrSvengy (author)2014-12-01

I saw these for sale, didn't realize it was your design:

purpletheory (author)MrSvengy2015-03-03

Dang man, that bums me out! I appreciate you letting me know though.

SparkySolar (author)2014-11-02

Such a detailed and fine Instructable. Thank you.

ArticAkita (author)2014-01-26

quite clever use of what you had avaible for you to use, love the polmer clay inlay techniqe you used for your Quija pendant! good job! *Thumbs up*

emilyvanleemput (author)2013-06-14

Congratulations on being a finalist!

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-04-30

That looks so cool with the clay inlays! And awesome design in general :)

I appreciate that Penolopy!

MissouriVillian (author)2013-04-30

I'm officially following you, if you maintain this level of aweome I don't want to miss a project.

Thank you sir! I'll try not to let you down!

Exocetid (author)2013-05-05

Beautiful! You could sell these easily. They would be snapped up at a renaissance fair.

purpletheory (author)Exocetid2013-05-19


mvinnicombe (author)2013-05-05

Great Job, congratulations..

purpletheory (author)mvinnicombe2013-05-19

Thank you!

buggybunch (author)2013-05-05

I really like this! It would also be cool as a guitar pick on smaller scale switch the skull and hole positions and round the point. The board as a top on a cigarbox style guitar might make the ultimate mojo box (might even play itself!)

purpletheory (author)buggybunch2013-05-19

Whoa, that's a really cool idea! I'll have to look into that!

jtmcdole (author)2013-05-05

Looks good! I wonder if you could have squeegee'ed off the sculpy before baking it to make for less sanding work. I like the results!

purpletheory (author)jtmcdole2013-05-19

Thanks! Yeah, maybe a thin metal scraper would work well.

alanjamesblair (author)2013-05-06

Your piece looks really smooth! Great job! I don't have a router/printer, but I think I'll use your technique with some rougher designs. Thank you for introducing me to the idea of clay polymer inlays!

Thank you! I would love to see what you come up with!

hammer9876 (author)2013-05-08

Looks great. Let us know how well it wears, i.e., does the inlay stay put after many weeks of wearing it. I wish I had a nifty CNC machine.

purpletheory (author)hammer98762013-05-19

Thanks, I'll have to let you know how it fares!

JRPeyesatsne (author)2013-05-08

I know it's cheesy, but there's a glow-in-the-dark skulpy that looks pretty good. It's a pearly white too, not a greenish color.

Oh wow, that could be really cool!

fpennington (author)2013-05-16

do you have a shop like a etsy?

purpletheory (author)fpennington2013-05-19

I don't at the moment, but might be fun to make one.

katerlyn (author)2013-05-05

As an avid instructables fan, it's one of my most favorite websites, I have to ask you to research ouija board phenomena. I have gone to a seminar by a local church in Geneva, and the speaker put fear into me and when I get a chance i am going to delete my board and slider thing somehow from my house, because he was apparently very adamant and fearful to mention such a thing during his talk. If you want to hear him speak he is on youtube. I saw him in Geneva in March. Father Nigel Mumford. Also, does anyone know, I have arrowheads from the local area and is it okay to sell them, as no one in the family appreciates them.

MercuryCrest (author)katerlyn2013-05-05

"...and the speaker put fear into me". That pretty much says it all. A simulated Ouija board planchette is not going to conjure demons by wearing it as a necklace.

I agree that Ouija boards can have a dark side, but this isn't even a real planchette and board; it's "inspired by" them, and looks beautiful, but you don't need to be afraid of everything someone else tells you to.

katerlyn (author)MercuryCrest2013-05-05

I would think you are right, but I have had this computer since 2008 and my eudora email reader started spazzing out like it has NEVER done and through the blinking on and off, I got your instructables comment in my email! I will delete my post, but....I would keep going on your other wonderful avenues instead if I were you! Smile. And the next time I walk past the two ouija parts I have I am getting rid of them somehow!

randomray (author)katerlyn2013-05-05

Chuckle , maybe you're correct , but if you are my Ouija board demons are pretty inept or maybe I have some friendly ones because after picking up a 50yr old one , I''m not having any of those problems . What keeps harassing my computer are just regular virus's and Trojan's and what not . No more or less ... well maybe less of them since I picked up the Ouija board " maybe I did get some nice ones ". 2008 ? they are probably not updating your computer fixes any more .

katerlyn (author)2013-05-05

Maybe you could take these ideas and your beautiful instructable to create something dissimilar without the scary part of the Ouija board thing. I googled Ouija board demons and it IS scary.

supersoftdrink (author)2013-04-29

Great instructable. I love your photos (and purpleheart is always a favorite).

Out of curiosity... why didn't you scrape off the excess clay before baking the piece? If it starts to pop out of the carved areas when you scrape the top smooth, you can thin it with some liquid polymer. That'd leave much less sanding to do after you bake it. You might want to consider pore filling the wood before adding the clay if you go that route, though...

I like how the pendant turned out, but I've gotta ask... what's with all the woodworkers' obsession with poly? Purpleheart can have an absolutely stunning sheen and depth without a plasticy coat on it.

(here's a picture of a couple rings to show you what I mean about purpleheart... sanded to a mirror finish then rubbed with shellac - it's protected, but it still feels like actual wood)

Thanks for the comments and suggestions, supersoftdrink, I think you are right that the finish could be better. I have some shellac chips that I have never tried out before that I want to experiment with, I will have to let you know how it goes. The rings in your photo look great! I'm curious about the liquid polymer that you mentioned. Also, would the French polish method fill the grain eventually, or should I do that beforehand? Thanks again!

Ironsloth1993 (author)2013-04-30

There are three contests this should be eligible for.

ccrowe1 (author)2013-04-30

I really LOVE this and of course what a genius idea !! I am very very familiar with working with polymer clay for sooo many things. But I do not have access to some of the tools that you used - would you please consider selling me the pendant, I know of people right now that would love to have one. Thank you, Cindy, my email is , plus I have joined Instructables :)

About This Instructable




More by purpletheory:4 Player Portable Arcade MachineWitches' Brew Black Licorice KombuchaPewter Skeleton Key Talisman
Add instructable to: