How to Make a Faux Agate Monarch Necklace

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Introduction: How to Make a Faux Agate Monarch Necklace

Polymer clay is a versatile medium! I was inspired by the monarch butterfly to make this necklace which includes a faux agate. With a few colors of clay and some techniques, you can make a faux agate too!

Supplies

You will need:

-Polymer clay, I used Sculpey brand in white, black, orange and translucent.

-Plastic sandwich baggie or other piece of plastic

-Cookie cutter

-Tile or other surface to work on

-Tissue blade (a long thin blade made to cut tissue in medical settings) - not 100% necessary but helpful

-Sanding papers

-Acrylic clay roller (or something simi

-Polycrylic (optional)

Step 1:

Polymer clay is a great medium to work with. It's not terribly expensive and you can make all kinds of things with just a few techniques! When working with polymer clay, it's best to work with all the same brand of clay as different brands may have different baking directions. I found all the colors I was looking for in the Sculpey brand, but there are lots of brands available, certainly pick whichever brand you like best! When working with clay, I typically work on a large 12x12 ceramic flooring tile that I picked up at the ReStore (a recycling center for household items). I love working on the tile because the whole thing can go right in the oven to bake my pieces on saving me from transferring delicate pieces.

For this necklace, I used black, white, orange and translucent Sculpey clay. I started off by conditioning the clay by working it between my palms to soften it up. I prepared small pieces of the solid colors and also mixed some of the orange and translucent together. When they clay was ready, I broke off little chunks and rolled the pieces to make small balls, about the size of a small pearl. Placing four pearls together to form a square, I alternated what colors were included in each layer. I kept adding pearls and built a little tour until it was about 2.5 inches in length. I alternated the orange(s), white and translucent mostly, and added in dots of black periodically. I didn't want the black to overwhelm the piece, so I used it sparingly.

Step 2: Square Up and Twist

Once I had about 2.5 inches of pearls stacked up, I pressed the stack against the tile to form a long rectangle.

Next, I rolled and twisted the rectangle out into a clay rope. I began twisting the rope by rolling the ends in opposite directions. The more you twist, the more lines you will have and the more "agatey" the agate will look. Once I felt like I twisted enough lines in, I pressed the rope back into itself and rolled it again to make a fat little log. You can really start to see the lines of the agate now!

Step 3: Flatten the Log Out

Next, I took the log and flattened it out on the tile with my acrylic clay roller. I smoothed the clay out into a flat sheet a few millimeters thick.

Step 4: Cut the Clay

Now we are ready to cut out the agate shape! I used the back of a fluted cookie cutter that I bent slightly to get the oval shape I wanted for my agate. I covered the clay with a plastic sandwich baggie and aligned the cookie cutter over the clay where it looked most interesting. I pressed the cutter into the clay with the baggie between the cutter and they clay. The baggie helps curve the edges of the clay downward instead of creating a straight down cut with a sharp edge.

Step 5: Clean Up the Edges

Once you have cut through the baggie and clay, gently remove the baggie and then use the cookie cutter to cut around the shape again ensuring you cut all the way through the clay to the tile. Remove the excess clay from around the edges.

The edges may be a little rough and it's worth the effort to take some time to clean them up. Using the edge of a tissue cutter, or even just your fingers, smooth the clay and gently remove any wrinkles.

When you are ready to remove the clay from your work surface, slide a tissue cutter pressed firmly against the tile and pass it under the clay. Once the clay is removed from the work surface, go over the edges of the shape again making sure all the imperfections are fully smoothed out. It's a lot easier to smooth clay while it is unbaked then to try to fix a flaw after it comes out of the oven.

Bake the clay according to the package directions. In my case, I baked at 275 degrees F for 45 minutes. Let the piece cool completely before handling.

Step 6: Sand the Agate

When the agate is cooled, I used wet/dry polishing papers to give the agate a more realistic like shine. Polishing with these wet/dry papers will help bring out the translucent layers which really helps "sell" the look of an agate.

You can find the papers I used here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001BHGC7G/ref=p...

I worked through each sanding paper gently polishing the "stone." Be sure not to over sand or you may lose some of the cool details in your work.

Step 7: Making a Necklace Setting

Now that the agate is ready, I wanted to put it into a necklace setting inspired by the monarch butterfly. I had an idea of a butterfly wing going over the top of the stone and the orange part of the wings would be cut out so you could see the stone peeking through giving the wing color.

To start creating the setting, I rolled out a thin sheet of black clay using my acrylic roller. If you have a pasta machine for clay, this would be a perfect time to use it! I knew I needed the back part of the necklace to be slightly larger than the agate, so I used the same cookie cutter to cut the back out then rolled out a thin rope of clay long enough to go around the cutout. I smoothed the rope of clay into the disk using the back of a needle nose tweezer. If you have a slightly larger cookie cutter, or even a different shape you want to use, that would work as well.

Step 8: Make a Butterfly Wing

To make the butterfly wing shape over the agate, I rolled out another thin piece of black clay and used a Silhouette Cameo to cut the shape of the wing. Using a Cameo to cut clay is a process that I am still learning and it's a little too complicated to add in this particular 'able. The Cameo machine is typically used to cut vinyl, paper or heat transfer, but it can be used to cut other materials, such as clay, with a little tweaking and experimenting.

I created the wing shape in the Silhouette software and then had the machine cut it out. It took a few tries to get the settings right and you can see that this didn't lead to the most clean cut. I tried it out first on some silver clay and, after figuring out some settings, I tried again with the black clay. The black clay cut a little nicer, but it was still a pretty rough result. I used a sewing needle to smooth out all the imperfections in the clay, which took quite a bit of time. In hindsight, it would probably be easier to create the wing part by rolling out ropes of clay and working with a template to form it into the wing shape.

At this point, I decided I wanted to make the dots on the butterfly wing white, so I rolled out a very thin sheet of white clay and then gently pressed it to the back of the wing over just the dot areas.

Step 9: Assemble the Wing

Now that the wing is ready, I lined the agate up with the center of the back part of the setting and placed the wing over the top. I smoothed the edges of the wing into the setting to attach the front and the back of the setting. I used the back of the tweezers to help blend the seams together and added a bail at the top of the setting to hang the pendent on a necklace cord. I added a small extra rope of clay on the right to look like a butterfly body and to help attach the edge of the wing to the setting (it was just shy of reaching the edge).

Once the setting was ready, I put the whole thing in the oven for another 45 minutes. The great thing about polymer clay is you can bake pieces separately and then add on and bake again! Baking the pieces separately allowed me to polish the agate part first and then form the rest of the necklace around the "stone" so it fit snuggly.

Step 10: Shine the Stone

When the piece came out from the second bake, the agate wasn't quite as shiny as I had wanted it to be, so I added a layer of polycrylic to just the stone part to give it some shine. Of course, this part is optional. I used Minwax water based polycrylic and a very tiny brush to get the polycrylic on just the agate.

Step 11: Add a Necklace Chain!

Once the polycrylic dried, I added a cord and it was done! 🤩

I tired this technique a few other times and made some yellow/white/black agates instead of orange (like the monarch caterpillar). I covered both the agate and the wing part of one of the necklaces with the polycrylic to make everything glossy. To be honest I'm not sure how much I liked the end results of everything being glossy.

I also tried another agate with the same yellow/white/black piece of clay and this one I didn't add extra clay to but added a metal bail to hang the "stone" by. This one really shows all the different agate layers, but is a good example of over sanding as the top used to be much more yellow. Oops. The great thing about clay is you can experiment and make mistakes and try again!

One final idea for this agate technique... if you have extra clay from cutting out your stones, you can also sneak in some matching earrings. For these earrings, I used a small circle clay cutter and attached them to earring posts using E6000 glue.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, try playing with some clay and see what you can make!

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1 Person Made This Project!

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15 Comments

0
bryans workshop
bryans workshop

3 months ago

This was fun to read! Great idea and awesome Instructable.

0
andimadethings
andimadethings

Reply 3 months ago

Thank you!

0
Elvira Ter Horst
Elvira Ter Horst

4 months ago

Thank you so much for sharing this great idea. I just made the outside locket and put a real quartz stone in that belonged to my mother.

0
andimadethings
andimadethings

Reply 4 months ago

I am sure that turned out lovely!

0
Alex0nder_110
Alex0nder_110

Question 4 months ago

can we use air dry cly? or we hve to use Polymer clay

0
andimadethings
andimadethings

Answer 4 months ago

I haven't worked a lot with air dry clay but I think you'd be able to do the setting part of the necklace at least. I'm not sure how the agate would work with air dry though. The times I have worked with air dry clay, I didn't find it as malleable as polymer clay so I suspect that may affect its ability to be twisted like I did to make the agate. If you do give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

0
seamster
seamster

4 months ago

Impressive results, I really like it. Nice work!

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andimadethings
andimadethings

Reply 4 months ago

Thank you, I appreciate it :D

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grafiti4u
grafiti4u

4 months ago on Step 11

I love this idea! Great job and thanks for sharing!

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plantmgr
plantmgr

4 months ago

I like this idea. My wife enjoys the ocean and beaches. Will try using your posting to create a blue and white necklace with matching earrings. Thanks for sharing.

0
andimadethings
andimadethings

Reply 4 months ago

Ocean theme would be great! You could start out with sandyish colors, then do some white and then do a few shades or blue to give the overall piece a beach to waves to ocean theme! I may give it a go as I've got a picture in my head (and sometimes that's all it takes!). If you try it out, I'd love to see the end results!