A birthday for a friend of mine is coming up soon, so I decided I would give her something special. Since she loves to collect earrings, the only logical thing for me to do was to give her a unique pair of earrings that she couldn't get anywhere else. I wanted to make earrings for her that were not only hand-made, but also themed after her favorite game: Pokémon.
But why keep the process of making pokéball earrings a secret? Why not share the process with the world so that anyone could make a pair of pokéball earrings too? That's where this instructable comes in. I've documented every step of the process from beginning to end for all to see so that you too can make a pair of pokéball earrings for the people you care about too.
These make "super effective" gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, or just as a simple symbol of your appreciation for another person's friendship.
So, without further ado, let us begin!
Step 1: Tools and Items Needed
About one pound of normal pottery clay
Earring hooks, etc.
Circle cutting utensil
I was given limited tools and materials to make these earrings with. Granted, I could have just used plastic with an acrylic coat, but I wanted something that had more of a hand-made look to them. Besides, they mean much more to the person you give them to when you can tell they’ve been hand-made.
Once you have your tools and materials, you can move on to the next step: rolling out the clay.
Step 2: Starting Off
To begin with, you want to follow the standard clay item making process by kneading the clay.
You do this by mashing your pound of clay into the table until it is pressed somewhat flat. After that, you fold the clay in half, and repeat the process several times until you feel that there are no more air bubbles in the clay.
Kneading the clay is one of the most crucial parts of the entire process of making these earrings, because by kneading the clay, you get rid of the air bubbles inside the clay.
While air bubbles in clay might not seem like a big deal, any potter would tell you that if you have air bubbles in your clay, your item has a very high potential to explode when you go to fire it later. This will not only be a mess to clean up, but it might also damage other items that are being fired as well, so make sure you knead the clay well!
Once you're done with that, you can move on to flattening the clay.
Step 3: Rolling Out the Clay
This step is pretty self-explanatory, but I will give you some pointers on rolling out the clay that will make the process much easier for you.
First, cover the area where you’ll be flattening the clay with clear plastic wrap. This will make it much easier to remove the clay off the table once you roll it out. Unfortunately, I had no plastic wrap available to me, so I had to use the wire cutter to cut the clay off the table, and then clean the clay off. It wasn’t fun-- trust me.
Once you start rolling the clay, you’ll want to roll out the clay to be about a quarter of an inch thick. The closer you get to the thickness you want your earrings to be, the easier it will be to adjust them later when you carve it.
Now that the clay is rolled out, you can start cutting the shapes of the earrings from it.
Step 4: Cutting the Earrings Out
Once you have the clay flattened, you can take whatever you want to use to cut the clay with and make the earring shapes.
I used a tool I had laying around that is used more for carving clay to make the circular shapes I wanted, however, you can use just about anything that's round, like the mouth of an empty bottle or a tube.
Step 5: Smoothing the Shapes Out
When you cut them initially, they will be pretty rough around the edges. Luckily, the clay you're using should still be soft and malleable, so use this time to round them out before continuing.
Step 6: Making the Earring Holes
Without making holes for the earrings, these will be nothing more but tiny pokéball paperweights. We're more interested in making earrings, so take a needle tool and poke a hole in the top portion of each earring.
Once you do that, you're done for the day. Clean up, and wait until tomorrow before you start carving.
Step 7: The Next Day...
The next day, the clay should be hardened since the day before.
Be extremely careful with these earrings between this step and step 9. This is the time where the clay is the most fragile; something so little as dropping them on the table will cause the clay to chip, crack, or break apart completely, so be careful!!
Step 8: Carving the Earrings
Once you've allowed the clay to dry, you might want to carve off some of the more unsightly portions of your earrings with a knife.
I can't stress this enough: be very careful. I've had to throw away two pairs of earrings because I pushed down to hard and made the earrings break. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also accidentally cut my thumb when one of them broke, so be very careful.
Anyway, just carve away the parts you don't want on your earrings with the knife until the earrings are perfectly round and smooth.
Once you're done with that, you can move on to painting the earrings!~
Step 9: Painting the Earrings
It's pretty simple to paint them. Just use the underglaze and a paintbrush, and make the pokéball design on the earring.
Here is how I would recommend you paint them:
- Paint the middle circle
- Draw the line on the front face going to the outside edges
- Continue the line on each side
- Turn the earring over and connect the two lines on the sides
Once they are painted, you can put them through the first firing.
Step 10: Bisque Firing
Bisque firing pottery is a pretty simple process; however, I don't think I could explain how to bisque fire pottery as well as this article on about.com can.
Be careful when removing the earrings from the kiln! Unless you know the kiln has completely cooled down, you run the potential risk of burning yourself. You do *not* want to know what it's like to get burned by hot pottery.
Once the earrings have gone through the first bisque firing, you can move on to applying the overglaze to the earrings.
Step 11: Applying the Overglaze
- It leaves a smooth and shiny surface
- The earrings will attract more attention because they will be much shinier
- And the paint won't look as cloudy
When you apply the overglaze, only apply it to the outer face of the earrings. If you apply overglaze to the entire earring, then when the earring goes through the kiln firing it will stick to the kiln and will be impossible to remove from the kiln without damaging the earring or the kiln itself. Underglaze can be fired and can touch the kiln shelf without any problems, but any sort of overglaze can not touch the kiln shelf.
Just take the cap, fill it with some overglaze, plop the face of the earring in, and you're done! Use a paper clip or other small pointy object to clear the hole of any overglaze. Doing so will prevent the earring from sticking to the kiln, and will allow you to put the jewelry wires in. Check the pictures for more details.
Step 12: Glaze Firing
If you are not sure about how to glaze fire pottery, I highly suggest you refer to this ehow article that explains how to do so in detail.
Once you glaze fire the earrings overnight, you can start making them into wearable pieces of jewelry!
Step 13: Adding the Ear Hooks
Again, be careful and make sure the earrings are completely cooled off before proceeding.
Once you take them out, you can start adding the ear hooks.
Here's how to add the hooks:
- Insert a wire into the hole of the earring. It is recommended that you use a wire that has a head so that it will not slip all the way through the hole and stop at the end of the wire.
- Bend the wire backwards, making sure to keep the wire close to the earring.
- Cut off the wiring that you won't need. Just make sure you have enough wiring to make a small loop with.
- Make the loop for the ring by using a pair of pliers or other tool to twist it around to the right shape. If all else fails, use your fingernails to bend it down. It will work in most cases, but I wouldn't recommend doing that unless you're willing to risk it.
- Attach the ring to the wire loop you made in the same way you would attach a key to a keyring.
- Add the ear hook in the same way mentioned above.
Step 14: Done!~
And there you have it, folks! Your own pair of pokéball earrings. Put them in your bag under "Key Items", and present them to the person who's heart you want to capture!
Overall, the project wasn't too expensive nor was it too difficult. It took about three weeks for me to make these earrings simply due to the workload I've had in the past month, but if I were to devote all my time into these, it probably would have taken four days at most. I highly recommend you try this, because they're not only fun to make and wear, but they also make very great gifts. If you don't have the materials to make these, you can still make a good pair of these earrings with plastic-- or even wood!
Thank you for reading!
Live long, fight strong.