Introduction: Beginner Jewelry: Easy Stamped Earrings
Sometimes when you look at other people's stuff you can feel like you are not that creative, or that it all the projects you see are just too hard. If you have ever looked at making handmade jewelry from clay and thought anything like that, then I hope this tutorial helps you! I have tried to make this tutorial as simple as possible so that anyone (ANYONE) can make these earrings.
Don't just stop at earrings. Use this idea to make pendants for necklaces, or brooch pins, or rings.
The supplies are simple so that hopefully anyone can find them without much trouble.
1. Clay (I am using red). You can use polymer clay or air dry clay, so some of the instructions will differ depending on the type of clay you use.
2. Clay tools. I have included a link from Amazon for my favorite clay tools. They are inexpensive. If you don't have clay tools, you will just need something to function as a roller and something to poke a small hole in the pendant. If you are interested in the tools and the link doesn't work, they are Firefly Modeling Tool Set by Sculpey (or sometimes listed as by Polyform).
3. A work surface (I am using a plastic cutting mat)
4. A stamp (I am using a rose). This doesn't have to be a special clay stamp, an ink stamp will work, or any kind of thing that will make a texture or image (peach pits, beads you can roll on the clay, etc.)
5. A small cookie cutter in the shape you want (optional: you could cut out a shape with a knife by tracing a piece of paper in the shape you want or free hand)
6. Black acrylic paint (whatever brand)
7. A brush
8. An old rag for wiping off paint
9. Varnish I prefer Duraclear Gloss ( https://www.michaels.com/americana-duraclear-gloss... ) but you can also use Varathane Gloss ( https://www.homedepot.com/p/Varathane-8-oz-Clear-G... )
10. Round nose pliers
These are the supplies you will need depending on what type of jewelry you want to make.
For Earrings (what I am making):
11. Jump Rings ( easy to find in many different sizes, many general and craft stores carry them)
12. Earring hooks ( also pretty easy to find. Lots of craft stores carry them, or order off Amazon)
For a Necklace:
You would need jump rings and some type of chain or string, depending on what type of look you wanted. Hemp string, chains, leather or faux leather cording, or cotton cord are some choices.
For a Brooch pin:
You would need a blank pin back ( https://www.amazon.com/Rustark-120Pcs-Jewelry-Craf... ) that you can find in many craft stores and a strong glue.
For a Ring
You would need ring blanks ( https://www.amazon.com/OBSEDE-Adjustable-Jewelry-F... ) and a strong glue ( https://www.amazon.com/Gorilla-Super-Glue-Gram-Cle... )
Step 1: Earring Design and Shape
Roll out your clay with your roller (or marker, or cup, or whatever you are rolling the clay with). Thin or thick is your preference.
Once the clay is rolled out, punch your stamp design in the clay. Press hard enough to make the design on the clay, but not too hard. If you press it too hard you will warp the clay and make bumps.
*If you are using something to make an interesting texture instead (a toothbrush, rolled up aluminum foil, textured material), press or roll that into the clay now instead of using the stamp.
Next take your cookie cutter and cut out the shape around the stamped design.
*Feel free to just cut out a shape with a knife instead of using a cookie cutter or use a template to trace a design and then cut it out. You can even draw a shape on paper and then cut that out like a stencil and use it as a template to cut out a shape.
Step 2: Finishing the Shape
Using a tool or your finger, tidy up the edges of the cutout (you may have some frayed looking bits of clay on the edges depending on how awesome you are at this).
With a stylus tool or a pencil or another object that can poke a hole in clay, poke a small hole in the top of the pendant for the jump ring to go through.
Repeat the first and second steps to make two pendants for earrings.
Depending on your clay type, this is where the instructions differ.
If You Are Using Polymer Clay:
This is the point where you will bake your clay. Follow the package's directions to bake your clay properly (different brands are different and the thickness of your piece will also determine how long you should bake your clay). Keep a close eye on your projects while they are baking in your home oven so that you don't accidentally burn your clay!
Ginger Davis Allman has a great article (and other information) on baking polymer clay on her website The Blue Bottle Tree. You can find the article here : https://thebluebottletree.com/baking-polymer-clay/
If You Are Using Air Dry Clay:
You are just gonna have to wait! Air Dry Clay needs time to dry and hurrying it along can be tricky. To help air dry clay dry properly, place it on a foam mat or sponge so that air can circulate thoroughly and help the piece dry evenly.
Step 3: Paint
Once again, we have different instructions for different people.
You are good to paint the piece right now with your acrylic paint. Dampen your old rag first. Then take your brush and the paint and cover the piece with black paint, making sure to get in the cracks of the design. With the damp rag, just brush over the surface of the clay until you have removed all the paint except what is in the cracks (or you can just stop when you decide it looks cool). Leave the piece for the paint to dry.
Air Dry Clay:
Once the piece is dry, put a layer of varnish on the clay, making sure to get in the cracks. Let the varnish sit until it is dry, then dampen the old rag. Then take your brush and the paint and cover the piece with black paint, making sure to get in the cracks of the design. With the damp rag, just brush over the surface of the clay until you have removed all the paint except what is in the cracks (or you can just stop when you decide it looks cool). Leave the piece for the paint to dry.
*Be careful when you do this that you don't have the rag too wet (you don't want to somehow rub off the varnish as well as the paint). The layer of varnish protects the clay from becoming affected by the wet of the rag.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Now we join back together to both do the same thing (polymer clay people and air dry clay people, I mean).
With a soft brush, apply 2-3 layers of varnish to both sides of the earrings (do one side, let it dry, and then do the other side and let it dry). Let the varnish dry between coats (follow the directions on your varnish).
Once the piece has been varnished and has dried, use your pliers and put a jump ring in the hole in the pendant. Don't pull the jump ring open; open the jump ring by twisting the sides away from each other. Then close it the same way (you may have to pinch it a bit to get the ends to meet).
Open the earring hooks the same way and insert the jump ring inside, then close the earring hook loop.
* For a Necklace (not pictured):
Put a jump ring through the hole in the pendant as described above. Then slide it onto your chain/cord and your necklace is finished. If you want the pendant to stay in a specific spot and not slide around, you will need to use a chain with big enough links that the jump ring can be attached to a link in the chain. After you have put the jump ring on the pendant, don't close it. Simply put the chain link on the jump ring as well and then close the jump ring.
*For a Brooch Pin (not pictured):
With a strong glue (such as a type of super glue), glue the pendant to the blank pin back. Allow to dry the given amount of time (follow the glue directions) and then you are finished.
*For a Ring (not pictured):
Put a strong glue (like a super glue) onto the ring blank. Press the pendant onto the ring blank and allow to dry the given amount of time (follow the glue directions).
Step 5: Enjoy Your Handmade Jewelry!
Now you can tell everyone that you made that piece of jewelry and you can know that you, too, can be creative!
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