I love to make clay jewelry and one of my favorite things to make are clay word pendants. Not only are they easy but they are completely customizable. For the pendant I'm showing today, I choose to make it in honor of a couple of brave women currently battling breast cancer. I used the color pink and the word "courage" but you could customize it to whatever you'd like. Awesome, right?! Let's get started.
Step 1: Step One: Supplies
The first thing you need to do is gather your supplies, you will need:
- Firm working surface
- Wax paper
- Clay, two colors (one for the pendant, one for the bead)
- Sharp tool, a tooth pick will work if you don't have a pointy stylus
- Shape cutters
Also, not shown in photo, you will need:
- brown paint
- paint brush
- paper towels
- small bowl of water
- Mod Podge or a finishing product for clay, like a glaze
- Jute, hemp chord, or string
Step 2: Step 2: Set Up and Conditioning
- First, place a piece of wax paper down to cover your work surface. This is to protect your work surface.
- Break off a piece of clay that will be your pendant and condition it. To condition it, you basically knead it or play with it, squishing, rolling, etc... for a few minutes.
- Once the clay is soft, roll into ball
- Then, flatten making sure to keep the thickness the same all around.
Step 3: Step 3: Add the Stamp
- Next, grab your stamp and make an impression in the clay. You don't want to press so hard that you see the edges of the stamp base but you do need a good, deep impression.
Tip: If you press too hard, just repeat step two and start again. Or, if your stamp leaves lines that you don't want in your clay, very carefully smooth them out with your finger.
Tip: I always stamp my design before I cut. This way I can line the cutter up better with my design. Plus, if you stamp after the shape is cut, you risk flattening your edge and your pendant will be lop-sided.
Step 5: Step 5: Adding the Word
Once the excess clay is removed, you're ready to add your word. There are lots of ways to do this, but I'll show the way that works best for me.
- Take your stylus and lightly poke several holes in the shape of each letter. It's kind of like you are making a dot-to-dot game for each letter. If you just start "writing" with the stylus, it will push the clay and doesn't produce the desired results. Once you've got all holes and the letters shaped, go back and carefully connect the dots.
- Once your word is done, add anything else you want to your design. I added some dots in my flower to give it a little more detail.
- Add the hole for the string at the top of your pendant. Then carefully set it aside while we make the bead.
Step 6: Step 6: the Bead and Cooking
Next we are going to make the bead that sits at the top of the pendant.
- Take a small piece of clay, I used a tan color, and shape into a small ball.
- Then shape into the desired form for a bead and poke a hole through the center. Make sure the hole is big enough that your twine, or hemp, when doubled can thread through it.
- Next add any details you want to the bead. I used the side of my stylus and made random hash marks to give the bead some texture.
- *Not shown : pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees and bake your clay, both the pendant and the bead, for 15 minutes. (Different clay brands have different cooking instructions so read the label on your package)
Tip: It is wise to use a disposable pan or dedicate one cookie sheet to just clay projects - remember, you don't want your clay to touch surfaces that also touch food.
- Once they are done cooking, let them cool completely!
Step 7: Step 7: Adding Paint
Now that your pieces are cooled, you're ready to add the paint.
WARNING: **You want to do this step quickly or else the paint will start to stain your clay.
- Take a little paint, just craft paint works great, and very carefully add paint into the stamped impression.
- Next using a damp paper towel or rag, quickly wipe most of the paint away.
- Repeat this process for the word and the bead.
Tip: If you wipe off too much paint the first time, just repeat the process until it looks like you want it to. I like mine to have just enough paint to show the depth of the design.
Step 8: Quick Look
Once you have added the paint, here's what your pendant and bead should look like. We're almost done!
Step 9: Step 9: Protective Coating
Technically, you can skip this step. The clay pendant and bead are pretty much ready to be strung on your necklace, however, I like to add a little bit of a protective coat to my piece. I've tried various products and I usually just end up using plain old Mod Podge.
- Using a paint brush, paint a small amount of Mod Podge over your pendant and bead and let them dry.
Step 10: Step 10: Putting It Together
Now you just need to put the necklace together.
- Take a long piece of hemp and fold it in half.
- Thread the folded end (the middle of the string) through the hole in the pendant.
- Next tuck the remaining hemp through the loop that the fold makes after it's threaded through the pendant. Then simply pull tight.
Step 11: Step 11: the Final Steps!
- Next thread on your bead. You want to put both ends of the string through the bead and then tie a small knot at the top of the bead.
- And the final step, tie the two ends of hemp together to make your necklace and then YOU'RE DONE!
And that is how you make an customized word pendant necklace!
Step 12: A Few More
Here are two more pendants I made using the same process but in different colors and with different words.
Finalist in the
Play with Clay Challenge