Introduction: DIY Clay & Copper Container NECKLACE | Keep a Pen & Paper in Your Pendant!

About: Multi-crafter, jewellery maker, card designer and frequent procrastinator.

The idea for this necklace came about because I always need to be making notes and writing things down. As a kid, I always had paper and pencils in the car and would write ideas down constantly, and as an adult I have Post-Its and bits of paper all over the house. I just always need a piece of paper and a pen within reach!

In this necklace design I have made a container that can hold a roll of paper and a pencil so I always have the necessities with me. I hope you enjoy this Instructable :)


- Polymer Clay; I used white FIMO clay.

- Clay Roller; I used an acrylic roller to flatten my clay, but you could use something else like a glass jar.

- Clay Tile; or other surface to roll clay out onto, which can also go in the oven.

- Cardboard tube; this will be the mould for your tube shape, so make sure it is the size you want your container to be. I used a tube from a clingfilm (plastic wrap) roll.

- Small amount of clingfilm (plastic wrap).

- Baking tray

- Oven

- Paint & Paintbrush (optional); I used copper paint to match my foil. You can skip the painting if you wish - particularly if you used a clay colour that matches your foil anyway.

- Pen/pencil

- Ruler

- Scissors

- Short length of wire; I used copper wire to match my foil. - Narrow straw (or a skewer)

- An Awl

- Parchment/baking paper; I used this to bake on and to protect my work surface.

- Craft knife (or other cutting blade); I used an X-acto knife.

- Embossing Foil; I bought some copper embossing foil, but you could use a different colour if your prefer.

- Paper; just a sheet or two of plain paper.

- Masking tape

- Necklace Findings; you will need necklace chain, 2 jump rings and a clasp. Mine were all in 'gunmetal' finish.

- Scrap of wire (optional); to make a holder for the cardboard tube.

- Wire Cutters & Pliers; I used jewellery pliers.

- Strong clear-drying Glue; I used UHU all-purpose adhesive.

- Wet & Dry Sandpaper; I used 320 grit and 600 grit. You could use a higher number if you wanted a smoother finish.

- Wooden embossing tool (& paper stump); I used the wooden embossing tool that came with my foil, and I used a paper stump to smooth out some areas of foil, although this isn't a vital step.

- Plastic Embossing Folder; I used an embossing folder meant for a Sizzix Big Shot or similar craft machine. Don't use an embossing folder with too fine details - large shapes are best.

- Some kind of Elastic Band

- Bone folder (optional)

Step 1: Mould the Clay Tube

Firstly, you will need to take your carboard tube and add markings near one end to represent the length you want your clay tube to be. The length of the clay tube will need to be at least 1/2" longer than what you will want to keep inside the tube (in my case, a small pencil). My clay tube was nearly 4" long.

Then wrap clingfilm around the tube where you will be adding the clay.

Next, condition your polymer clay by warming it in your hands, then rolling it flat or into a sausage shape, then into a ball, and repeating the re-shaping until the clay becomes malleable and no longer cracks.

Roll the clay out so that it is at least as wide as the tube you want to create.

Then wrap the clay around the clingfilm-covered tube, making sure the markings you made on the tube are covered. You want a single, even layer of clay all around the tube. Use your fingers to smooth dents, lumps & bumps.

Use a cutting blade to cut off excess clay where you have made the markings. This will leave you with a clay tube that has been cut straight across each end.

Step 2: Add Holes & Bake

Use a narrow straw (or skewer) to add 2 holes to what will be the top of the clay tube.

Make the holes about 1/2" from the tube edges and make sure they line up.

Shape a scrap of wire into a 'holder' for your cardboard tube. This doesn't have to be fancy! This is simply to keep the clay from touching the tile or baking tray (as this would flatten one side of the tube.)

Bake the clay in the oven, following the instructions on your packet of clay.

Step 3: Sand the Tube

Using a piece of wet & dry sandpaper and a bowl of water, sand the ends of the tube flat and smooth, and also smoothen the outside of the tube. You want the walls to be nice and even, with no lumps or bumps.

In hindsight, I could've removed a bit more material to make it lighter, but at the time I was worried about weakening it.

Rinse and thoroughly dry the tube.

Step 4: Make the Tube Ends

Condition more clay, take a small ball of it and roll it into a flat disc. You want this to be on the thicker side, around 1/4". It needs to be at least the size of the inside of the tube.

Press the tube down into this clay disc, remove, then cut away the flattened clay. This should leave you with a disc that fits perfectly into the end of the tube. Leave this where it is on the tile.

Take another small ball of clay and again roll it out into a flat disc. Press the other end of the tube lightly onto this disc, and mould the edges of the disc down onto the tube. This clay is to cover over this end of the tube permanently.

Smooth out the clay on this covered end until you're happy with the look. If the clay end sags into the tube, use the eraser end of a pencil (or, like me, the stopper end of a knitting needle), to push the clay back into a flat position from the inside of the tube.

Bake these pieces in the oven, following the instructions on your clay.

Step 5: Make the Tube Lid

You should now have a clay disc that fits perfectly into the end of the tube, plus the clay tube with one end covered. You can then sand the end of the tube if you need to, but only sand the clay disc very lightly, and only if it needs it. Removing too much clay will mean the disc won't fit snugly in the tube.

Now you need to make one more circle of clay, so roll out another flat disc at least as big as the tube end.

Place the tube on top and use a craft knife to cut away the clay around the outside edge of the tube. This will give you a circle of clay the same size as the end of the tube.

Shape a short length of wire (16 gauge at the thinnest) into a handle shape, and make sure you angle the 2 ends that will be lodged inside the clay (to help anchor the wire in the clay).

Press the ends of this handle into the centre of the clay disc and smooth the clay over the top to bury them. In hindsight, I should have made the handle larger as it was too fiddly the size it was.

Bake this lid.

Step 6: Painting the Tube

Lightly sand the lid you just baked - you don't want to change the shape of it.

You will then need to glue this lid to the clay disc that fits snugly inside the tube. Before you do though, score a few lines with your craft knife on the surfaces you're going to glue, just to help with adhesion.

Then add the glue and press the discs together. Make sure the lid is centred.

When the glue is dry you can test that this lid pushes neatly onto the end of the tube, and fits snugly.

Note: This container-making method can be used for making all kinds of clay pots, in any size, and isn't limited to making a pendant :)

In order to match the colour of the container to the colour of your foil, you can then paint this container. I used metallic copper acrylic paint.

Step 7: Cut Out the Foil

Once the paint is dry, you will need to work out how big you need the piece of embossing foil to be.

So take a piece of paper, a pencil and a ruler and draw out a template. To do this, draw a rectangle that is the same length as the tube (with the lid on) and can just wrap all of the way around the tube.

To this rectangle shape add about 1/4" on every side. This is the amount you will need to fold over to stop the edge of the foil being sharp.

Then cut this final shape out.

Use this template to cut out the same size rectangle from your embossing foil. Mine can just be cut with scissors.

Step 8: Fold the Edges

(I placed a mat on my work surface to protect it from damage in these next steps.)

Use your ruler to fold over the excess foil on 2 opposing edges. This is the amount we added to each side of the template in the last step.

I folded the 2 long edges first, making sure to fold them straight, and also checking that the resulting foil was the same as the length of the tube.

I then folded the shorter edges, again making sure that the finished piece just wrapped around the tube. The aim is to have the copper foil edges just butt up against each other.

If you have a bone folder (or plastic ruler) you can drag this over the folds to make them crisper and flatter.

Step 9: Embossing

Take your plastic embossing folder and decide which side you would like to use. I would recommend using the side where the details (in this case, flowers) are lower than the background.

Place the piece of copper upside down on top, and tape in place.

Use your wooden embossing tool to press the copper down into the details. To do this you will first need to rub the tool over the entire surface of the copper first to see where the details are. Do this lightly first, then go over the whole surface more completely.

Try and use the bluntest end of your tool for going over large areas so as not to leave sharp lines in the copper. I used a paper stump to help softly rub the copper where needed, and to remove lines.

You can use the angled or pointed part of the tool for the details, to try and push the copper down into all of the finer details.

Don't worry if the copper crumples up a little bit - this is due to the embossing flattening (and therefore enlarging) the copper in the central section, whilst the sides stay flat and unstretched. Just try and keep the copper as flat against the folder as possible.

Note: Don't use a metal embossing tool for this as it will scratch the foil.

Step 10: Add the Holes

You can now wrap the copper around the tube. I would recommend making sure the join in the copper is at the back of the tube, towards the top. Remember, the holes represent the top of the tube.

Glue one short end of the foil to the tube using strong glue. This should be the end furthest from where the holes will be added.

Wrap an elastic band around the tube, and leave to dry.

Then unwrap the foil slightly, mark where you need the 2 holes in the foil to go, and use an awl to add these. Line these up with the holes in the tube as perfectly as you can.

Then glue the rest of this foil to the tube, secure with the elastic band and leave to dry.

My copper ended up overlapping slightly so don't worry if yours does too.

Step 11: Add the Necklace Findings

To add the chain, I recommend first feeding one end through the hole furthest from the open-end of the tube.

Then you can use your fingers to feed that end of the chain back out the hole closest to the open end.

Use pliers to open a jump ring and add it to one end of the chain. And then add a jump ring and a clasp to the other end of the chain.

Step 12: Add Your Treasures

Then you can add whatever you want inside your necklace!

I cut out a strip of paper, rolled it up and put it inside the container, along with a small pencil.

Note: If you want to protect the copper from discolouring, it is a good idea to add some kind of clear coating to it (a clear protective spray coating is best, such as Rustoleum crystal clear spray).

Step 13: Finished!

And that's it, all finished!

I'm pleased with the finished necklace; the lid fits snugly enough that I have no worries that it will fall out by accident, and I've always liked the look of textured copper. Despite how it may look, it's actually fairly lightweight, but I think I would still look to remove more of the clay material if I were to make it again.

I hope you were inspired by this idea :)

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