Introduction: Octopus in a Seashell Necklace
This cute little fellow is made with polymer clay and clear epoxy resin. It's oFISHially the best way to use those seashells that you've had sitting in a shoebox somewhere for years.
(be forewarned, the sea puns won't be stopping anytime soon.)
Step 1: Materials
To make this pendant you will need:
A seashell. (Duh)
Small shells, pebbles, sand, or preserved moss for decoration.
A drill with a small bit.
White Polymer Clay.
Soft Pastels, (alternatively chalk or paint could be used)
Glaze or sealant, Sculpey satin glaze works swimmingly.
Clear epoxy resin and preferred tools for measuring/mixing
An eyepin, (or a piece of wire to shape like one.)
Pliers (roundnose, and wire cutters)
Jewelry chain or cord.
Step 2: Drilling and Prepping Seashell
I used a shell that I had already primed and drilled, so I'm going to demonstrate this step with a new shell. I apologize for the sub-par photo quality as I don't currently have access to a fully functional camera.
Place a block of scrap wood under your shell so you don't damage your work surface when you drill into it.
Using your smallest bit, drill a hole near the top of the shell. NOTE: make sure to keep your drilling speed under control because drilling too fast can cause the shell to break.
When you have a nice hole in the top of your shell, break out that glaze of yours and use the paintbrush to coat both sides of the shell. This will serve to both strengthen it and bring out its natural color.
Step 3: Sculpting Doctor Octopus
Grab some white polymer clay and roll it into a teardrop shape for the head. The size depends on the size of your seashell, so check the reference image on the front of this instructable for a guesstimate on sizing. Then roll some tentacles about twice the length of the head.
Arrange the tentacles as shown and flatten a small piece of clay over them to secure them.
Fix the head onto the octopus and smooth it down.
Step 4: Doctor Octopus 2: Taking the Heat
Stick a piece of clay over the end of an eyepin and string it through the hole in the shell. Smush the clay down to secure the eyepin so the wire is sticking straight out the back. You'll use this later to attach the pendant to the chain.
Take your newly made octopus and stick him in the shell. Sculpt the tentacles in loopy shapes around the shell.
Bake according to the directions of your polymer clay. Mine was Sculpey clay so I baked it for twenty minutes at 275 degrees (Fahrenheit) or 135 degrees (Celcius.)
Step 5: Time to Sea About Color
Using a wet paintbrush, drag the it across one of your soft pastels, (in a color of your choice,) and use the pigment to color the octopus in a shade of your choice. Seal the color with a coat of clear glaze.
If you want to use two colors like I did, make sure you use the glaze between layers.
Step 6: Resin, Stones, and Sand.
Now for the tricky part. The nightmare of mixing and measuring resin. The different types have varying mixing instructions, but they all have the same two problems: Unforgiving exact measurements and those infernal bubbles. Follow the directions on your particular brand of resin, (If you are going to buy some for this project I recommend EasyCast brand. It's still difficult to get the measurements right, but at least it's self-degassing so you don't need to worry so much about the aforementioned bubbles.)
Pro Tip #1: line your work surface with wax paper. It's one of the few things that resin won't adhere to.
Follow the directions on your package of resin. You don't need much, maybe a tablespoon or two depending on the size of your shell and the number of pendants you're making. I can't emphasize enough how important it is that you measure the resin exactly, do not try to eyeball it, your casting will be ruined and you'll have to throw it away.
Pro Tip #2: If you clean out an old glitter glue bottle or any kind of bottle with a nozzle, it makes filling the shell without bubbles much easier.
Take your shell with your octopus in it and add a light layer of resin to the bottom of the shell as though it were glue. You are not filling the shell yet. Sprinkle a little bit of sand into the resin and with tweezers add your moss, small shells, and pebbles at your discretion.
Fill the shell the rest of the way with resin and cover the shell with some kind of covering, (I used an aluminum baking tin,) in order to keep the dust out. Cure it for 24 to 78 hours depending on the instructions on your resin.
Step 7: Adding the Cord
You can attach this pendant to any kind of necklace, like a beaded chain, or a wire wrapped choker, but I envisioned this as more of a fun and casual beach necklace so I decided to put it on a simple piece of black hemp cord.
After the resin has cured, cut off the excess wire from the piece sticking out the back and curl the rest of it into a loop with your roundnose pliers. Attach it to your chosen form of necklace and, viola! You have your octopus necklace!
Thank you for bearing with me through the bad ocean puns and the subtle references to spider man comic books. :) please free free to comment any questions or suggestions you might have. If you do make this, I would love to see a picture of how your Doc. Oc. turned out or hear about the reactions people had to it. If you like this instructable, please vote for it in the Jewelry contest.
Participated in the
Jewelry Contest 2017
6 years ago
awesome necklace! Definitely trying this out (great puns too ;oD)
6 years ago
Cool! Did your clay crack?
Reply 6 years ago
Nope. The only issue I had with it was when I was holding it up and dropped it 7 feet, (I'm tall,) onto solid concrete and part of a tentacle chipped. TBH I actually liked the way it chipped better than the original sculpture. I don't usually have any problems with polymer clay cracking so long as I keep the temperature regular during baking. :)