Paintbrush and Palette Pendant




About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

I made this pendant for an artist friend of mine. I chose the colors of the palette based on a painting she did. I placed them in the same order ,from top to bottom, as I saw them in her painting. Hope she likes it.

I used steel, brass and, polymer clay.

Step 1: Mount a Nail in a Drill Press

Spin a nail in a drill press. Use a file to make the profile of a paint brush. Once you have the shape you want hammer it flat. Continue the refine the shape with a file. Just like my steel butterfly pendant.

For the collar of the brush, cut a small piece of brass and wrap it around just above the bristles. Solder it in place. Solder brass wire above and below the collar to make it look more believable.

Step 2: Trace and Cut

When I was a kid, one Christmas, I got a paint palette calculator. I’ve longed since lost the calculator but I got a little laugh when I found the image online. I cut and paste it into Microsoft paint and reduced it to 45% it’s original size. I then used a pen, pressing hard, to cut out the silhouette of the palette.

I cut the shape out on my scroll saw and refined the shape with a file. For the inner hole I drilled a hole and used a file to shape it. I’m using 22 gage sheet metal from the Home Improvement store.

Step 3: Drill and Mark, Mark and Drill

Drill a hole at the top of the pendant and paint brush. Suspend the pendant as if it were on a chain to see how it hangs. Use a pencil to mark out the brush. Once you have that marked you can mark out where you’ll place the colors.

Use a center punch to mark the palette and then drill out the holes.

Step 4: Prepare the Holes

To help keep the polymer clay in place you’ll have to bevel the edges of the holes. Use a ball bur bit to expand the holes on the back. Don’t do it so much that you go though the palette. Just enough to make it a cone shape.

At this point you can use the same bur to make perfect circles at the front of the pendant. I like the uneven shapes so I left them as is.

Cut a piece for the back side of the holes and solder it on. Use a file to clean up the edges and make them even.

Step 5: Polish and Clay

Use 400 grit sand paper followed by 1000, 2000, and then polishing compound on a polishing wheel to make the brush and palette shine.

The clay I’m using came from the craft store for $6.00. It hardens in the oven at 230 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut off small pieces of clay and press them into the holes. Use water to wet your finger tips to smooth it out. Make sure you fingers are clean before you move on to the next color.

Bake the clay in the oven as mentioned above.

Step 6: Make Up the Chain

This particular chain came from the craft store. I think I paid $3 for 6’. Cut a section to your desired length. Use round nose pliers to form clasps and jump rings as shown in the pictures.

Link it all together.



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    36 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The nail was hammered flat with just a common hammer. The only other tool you could probably use is a rolling mill but I think a hammer would be best even if you have access to one.

    Took a while to get pictures, but I made these as a gift a month ago.
    The pallet is aluminium rather than steel, so it polished a bit odd and scratches easily.

    2 replies

    This is great! Who ever gets your earrings will be thrilled to have them. My hat off to you for pulling it off.  


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Will make this one for an artist when I find that clay.. :P hope she'll like it


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Hi, I've been looking at your pieces and can you tell me what kind of torch you use?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 6

    I bought this propane torch at walmart in the plumbing section for $15 dollars.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with what you say: "There's plenty of ugly duckling materials waiting to become swans, so get your hammer, light your torch, and get to making smiles.".... But I also think that you have to be very skilled to do something beautiful and complicated like this one. I think this is a bit too difficult, but the pendant is wonderful and the tutorial well done. :)


    8 years ago on Step 6

    You should sell this, seriously.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You don't need a drill press to do this, it just helps. A standard cordless / corded drill clamped securely or even a dremel could work... I probably wouldn't try the dremel method at first though, the power in one of those isn't very high and you'd have a fair time trying to do this I should think.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is simply beautiful! If you were selling this, I'd definitely purchase this as a necklace. Unfortunately, I don't have the proper equipment to make this myself =( Great and simply tutorial!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Wow. I saw the picture and thought, "Oh my god, that looks really hard," but your directions were really easy to read and your pictures are excellent. I might try making this.


    8 years ago on Step 3

    I enjoyed the process of making the pain pallet. Very nice piece.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is absolutely beautiful! I would chrish one of these even though I am not an artist. I am of a different breed. Have talent but not in that department. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this. I will be looking for more of your wonderful works of art.