Filed under: Clay Jewelry
I received a bit of scrap jelly roll cane that got me thinking….this has some serious malachite potentional! You don’t have to use a whole cane for this project…it is a great way to use the trimmed ends and smushed bits!
Leftover green and white jelly roll cane
Cutting tool or blade
Clay dedicated pasta machine or acrylic roller
Needle, toothpick, or awl
Non-yellowing acrylic sealer
Slice off about 1/8th of an inch of your jelly roll cane, and with your pasta machine on #2 setting, run it through to warp and distort the cane. You can also do this with an acrylic roller if you don’t have a clay-dedicated pasta machine. It takes a bit more work, but you will also achieve some more natural variations by hand rolling!
Fold the clay in half and run it back through your pasta machine. Fold in half again and repeat.
After these three passes, the green and white will have blended enough to recreate the various shades of green found in malachite.
To form your beads, fold the clay in to the shape you want (instead of rolling it, which can muddy up your layers). If you want the final bead to be round, fold it to shape first then round off the edges gently with the palms of your hand.
Pierce the clay to make bead holes, and bake according to clay manufacturers’ directions.
Seal with a non-yellowing acrylic sealer, and let dry completely before stringing!
“As you read through this book, you’ll notice a few underlying concepts. These are the basic concepts of creative action. Consider for a moment that all of life is creative action. Art is just the tip of the iceberg.”
It has been a long time since I have been really excited about a new book. I almost always glean some new ideas, and learn, if not a new technique, a new twist on an old one. But this book, Polymer: The Chameleon Clay by Victoria Hughes was a rarity in that I found it truly exciting. The book introduces with more than just the normal overview of techniques and materials. Tory Hughes also offers advice and motivation for readers, whether new to the medium or old hands, that reminds me of the warmth and artistic support of Holy Moly Mackeroly: Reflections On The Business of Art and The Art Of Life by Gloria Page, which as many readers know is one of my all time favorites!
The Chameleon Clay focuses on techniques for re-creating the look of expensive natural materials in clay to a beautiful result. Her projects include an ivory brooch, beaded necklaces in polymer coral and turquoise jade ginko leaf necklaces, and many others. Although finely attuned to detail, none of the projects have that you’ve got to be kidding! element of complication. Even if you are new to working with clay, she baby-steps you through each project in a way that is a guarantee of success! One aspect of the book that I greatly appreciated was the actual visuals of the color mixes she uses. Instead of just saying “1 ounce of translucent to one pea sized bit of purple” you actually see pictures of her amounts before the clay is mixed and conditioned. VERY helpful to the numerically challenged.
Although there isn’t an enormous number or projects and recipes, each one is a keeper and a very true duplicate of the material it mimics.
My fight with creating a faux turquoise is legendary. I have made some truly awful versions until I tried the recipe from this book. On my first try I got amazing results! Even allowing for the time to condition and chop clay by hand if you don’t have a dedicated food processor and pasta machine, you can still create a piece for resale for a tenth of the cost of real turquoise.
I have also been playing with her jade recipes (and quickly learning, that it doesn’t translate well to more complicated designs) and I am excited about experimenting with other techniques from the book. Besides the projects in the book, the author assembled a beautiful gallery of work from ten other polymer artists that is truly amazing. This title is definitely a must-have!
About The Author: Tory Hughes is a self supporting artist has been making and selling artwork in polymer clay for more than 30 years. She started her business ArtRanch (formerly known as Art For Life) in 1982. Her development and use of innovative techniques has influenced a generation of polymer clay artists, both through her jewelry and sculptures. Her work is seen in galleries nationwide and in numerous publications across the United States and Canada. She travels nationwide teaching her ArtRanch techniques.
Filed under: Clay Jewelry
A few years ago, soap making was the “IT” craft and it seemed that everyone had a stash of soap and lollypop molds for this purpose! I recently received a big box of them and was thrilled with all the possibilities. Now, soap and candy molds are a lot more thin and flexible than clay molds which means they are that much more fragile and likely to warp so when you are using these kinds of molds for clay, it is really important that you brush a release agent (like corn starch) in the mold before pressing in the clay. Other than that, they are no different from regular polymer clay molds!
Black polymer clay
Pearl Ex Pigment Powders in Copper and Green
Mold of your choice (I used a Celtic patterned soap mold)
Small square tipped paintbrush
Clay working tools for cutting and smoothing
Convention or toaster oven for baking clay (preferably clay-dedicated)
Non-yellowing acrylic finish
Corn starch or other release agent for the molds
Jewelry adhesive such as E-6000 or Jewel Glue
Condition and roll out your clay to about ¼ inch thick. Brush some releasing agent in to your mold andthen press the clay in. Remove the clay and brush off the releasing agent. Push the barrette backing in to the back of the clay so the clay molds to the shape of the barrette. Dry brush on a coast of copper pearl ex and then lightly brush green over some areas of the copper. (Pearl Ex powders are available in multi-packs at Michaels and by the jar at most art supply stores. I purchased mine at http://www.texasart.com/ in Houston. You can also use paint instead of pigment powders, just bake and cool the clay before painting!
Bake the piece according to clay manufacturer’s directions leaving the barrette backing in place so the barrette bakes to its shape.
After the piece is baked and cooled, remove the barrette backing and seal the clay with a non-yellowing acrylic sealer such as Future Floor Finish. After it is completely dry, glue barrette backing back in to place and you’re done!
Rubber stamps are a great way for those of us stick-figured art skills to “impress” some amazing images in to our jewelry designs! I’ve included some great rubber stamping links, a huge list of projects from BellaOnline and a bunch of other websites, and links to the three stamping books I could not live without!
Stamping Info And Resources
Tons of great basic information and resources on using stamps with clay!
Excellent article with clay “recipes” and clear photo examples!
Get a 9 by 7 sheet of your own designs printed as a sheet of rubber stamps! If you request it, they will also send you the plate and the matrix that the sheet was made from (great for clay use!). For 32 dollars (which benefits the United Cerebal Palsy foundation) you can have your own sheet of designs!
Make sure you aren’t violating copyright policy on any rubber stamps you use on jewelry you make for resale!
Rubber Stamped Jewelry Projects
I’ve seen these faux typewriter key packages selling for ten dollars each at Michaels! Make your own version with rollabind disks and letter stamps!
This is a great starter jewelry project for paper crafters. It uses cardboard, stamps, and embossing enamel (Suze’s UTEE)
Easy stamped clay jewelry projects made with air drying clay and finished with acrylic paints!
This is a great idea! Do a polymer clay image transfer with a rubber stamp to make this pretty piece!
A great beginner’s metal embossing project! Note that this uses a very thin gauge of copper, so it will probably need a thicker backing to be worn as jewelry!
I’ve always been fascinated with handmade books…so this project incorporates two loves! You can use stamps to create the art on the pages and the covers!
A very cool use for galvanize step plates!
Have you been itching to try soldering? Here is a great walk through. (Hint: You can fake it with aluminum tape from the home improvement store, instead!)
Beautiful polymer clay pendent with a gorgeous, decorative wirework bail!
Lots of innovative domino stamping ideas with directions!
Brings a whole new meaning to soda can recycling!
My Favorite Stamping Books
I admit, I have an awful lot of jewelry making books. I had too many before I started writing for Bella, but now that I get publisher freebies I have way, way, WAY too many. Some of them I could give or take, but these ones are permanent favorites that I use and refer to on a regular basis:
This book predates Rubber Stamped Jewelry by about a year, and isn’t dedicated solely to jewelry, but there are several jewelry projects and many other useful techniques and ideas.
Sherrill Kahn’s work is so vibrant and fun you can’t help but be inspired! Lots of great information on creating your own rubber stamps out of just about anything! Sherrill also has a fantastic technique for making shrink plastic beads that I haven’t seen anywhere but this book!
This is the book that got me interested in using rubber stamps in jewelry making! Several jewelry making projects, fantastic information about stamps and clay!
If any book takes rubber stamping from “crafting” to an “art form” this book is it. You have probably read Rice Freeman-Zachary’s many published articles and are already familiar with her work.
Filed under: Beading, Clay Jewelry, Holiday Projects, Kid Friendly Projects, Wire Work
Wire Work Projects
Polymer Clay Projects
Paper or Plastic Projects
Projects For Kids
Filed under: Beading, Clay Jewelry, Holiday Projects, Kid Friendly Projects, Wire Work
Thanksgiving Jewelry Making Projects
Cute lapel pin project made with wood cut-outs!
Fun beadwork project…complete with fabulous beaded “feathers”!
A great project for small fingers using satin cord and pony beads.
Two nice perler patterns…a thanksgiving turkey and a gorgeous cornocopia.
Easy felt lapel pin project.
A nice beaded safety pin jewelry project.
A colorful cornocopia pattern.
I love this little guy! He would make a great little pendent!
An easy polymer clay molding project.
The pumpkin seeds get salted and roasted in my house, but if they last longer in yours, you can make this fun necklace out of them!
Mexican pottery clay and water colors duplicates the look of fired pottery for this cool pin!
A lovely indian corn beadwork pattern!
This triangular brick stitch pattern works up into a pretty moon and star earring pattern.
Work up this cool pentacle beadwork pattern to make a choker, a bracelet, or even earrings!
This pretty choker is a great wire jig project!
Another neat Wig-Jig University project…check out the pretty purple moons!
Pretty five point star earrings!
Pretty half moons made with a wire jig super peg.
Honor the Maiden, Mother, and Crone with this triple spiral wire pin.