Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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