by Iris Rodriguez
Making your own jewelry can be so rewarding. You get to make fun and exciting creations, express yourself and make a statement. Making beads out of polymer clay is a great way to get started or simply experiment and see if you like it. The beads can be stamped, colored, and even embossed. For this project, I made a round, dome-shaped bead, stamped it and embossed with silver embossing powder.
Time: 30 minutes + baking time according to clay manufacturer instructions
Set out your mat. Ceramic, glass or special mats like Polyform’s Sculpey Make ‘N Bake Mat surfaces work best when working with clay.
Begin by conditioning the clay with a clay roller, or pasta machine. When first taking the clay out of the package, roll the clay a few times in order to soften it. If it cracks when running it through the pasta machine or roller; this means that it’s not conditioned. So continue to condition. If using a pasta machine, roll one sheet of clay to the third thickest setting. If using a roller, aim for 1/16 inch thickness. Place stamp over the clay, press firmly into the clay with your fingers or clay roller.
Remove stamp. Ensure you get a deep indentation so that you have good dimension.
Using the Premo Sculpey Circle cutters, cut out the clay. Use the second largest cutter from the set.
Prepare the pendant for baking. In order to get a dome shape, place the clay over a rounded object, like a burned out light bulb or the round edge of a ceramic bowl. Bake the clay according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the package.
While the clay is baking, prepare the bail. Using the Premo Sculpey Circle cutters, cut out a circle. Use the second smallest cutter from the set. Then use the smallest cutter and cut out tiny slices off on opposite sides of each other.
After the clay cures, roll out a small sheet of clay to the 4th thickest setting in the pasta machine. Spread a little bit of liquid clay on the back of the bead. The liquid clay adheres the clay to each other. Adhere the newly rolled out sheet of clay. Cut out the excess with a precision knife. Texture the back. This is in case, the bead flips while you are wearing it and it will still look fabulous. Add a couple of drops of liquid clay to the bail and adhere to the bead. Before doing so, lay down a piece of wire, so that it bakes with an opening. This is where the cord will go through. Bake the bead according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the package.
Ink the raised areas with the VersaMark ink. Add embossing powder in Silver. The clay tends to attract the embossing powder so it will want to go into the non-inked area. Use a liner brush to remove the embossing powder from the crevices.
Heat set the embossing powder, just like you would on paper. The clay will tend to get a little soft with the heat. Let cool off, do not touch and risk distorting it. The clay will harden again. Seal the bead with Sculpey Gloss Glaze. It is very important to seal the clay. It protects the embossing powder and clay. Add the leather or cotton cord and clasp. Now you have a necklace to add to your wardrobe.
- Craft Mat
- Embossing Powder – Silver
- VersaMark Inkpad
- Polyform – Sculpey Souffle Clay in Poppy Seed, Gloss Glaze, Graduated Cutter Circle Set
- Rubber Stamp
- Leather or Cotton Cord
- Jewelry Hardware: jump ring, clasp, needle nose pliers
- Ceramic tile, crafting glass, or Sculpey Work ‘N Bake Clay Mat