by craftbits (shellie wilson)
What you need
Beads â€“ any colors you like (glass, plastic, etc)
Ear wires â€“ I prefer surgical steel
Headpins and/or eye pins
Jewelry pliers or small needle nosed pliers
Wire cutter or toenail clipper
Polymer clay â€“ any brand â€“ 3 colors of your choice & translucent (Premo is recommended for translucent)
Tissue Blade (very sharp â€“ adult supervision required!)
Clay knife or plastic knife
Toothpick, bamboo skewer, or piercing tool
Shaped cutters â€“ various sizes (optional)
Acrylic roller or dowel
Clay dedicated pasta machine (optional)
Work surface â€“ ceramic tile, file folder or wax paper
Condition each color of clay until soft and pliable by rolling and squeezing in your hands. Test to see if it cracks when you bend it – that means it needs more conditioning!
You will need half of one 2oz block of translucent clay for each color & about a dime sized portion of the other colored clays. Blend thoroughly. A pasta machine will speed up the process.
Roll out an even sheet of each color & trim the ends so they are the same size & shape. A pasta machine on the thickest setting works great!
Stack the colors on top of one another, as desired.
Roll gently with your roller to help them adhere to each other.
Divide the stack in half with your tissue blade & repeat until you have 4 smaller rectangles & stack these on top of one another. Make sure the stripes are following your initial pattern.
Roll each new stack with your roller again, to adhere & trim off the excess to make a solid & even stack of clay. You have created a simple striped cane!!!
Cut a thick slice of the cane (enough to poke a hole through or insert an eye pin). You may use this piece, as is, cut it to your desired size and shape or use you cutters. See pictures. Have fun!!!!
Poke holes in your beads or insert the eye pins to create charms. (If using eye pins, be sure to add a drop of clear “super or crazy” glue to adhere it to the clay once baked.
Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Glaze if desired. I use varathane – found in most hardware stores. For small projects, use the clay manufacturer’s glaze. The bottles are smaller & more affordable!
Stack your beads with accent beads on an eye pin, trim off excess wire if needed. Bend the wire into a loop as shown and attach it to your ear wire. Pinch it closed with the pliers.
If making charms, open the bottom loop of the ear wire as shown and attach the eye pin’s loop. Reclose the ear wire with your pliers.
Enjoy your new jewelry for yourself or give them as a colorful gift!
***SAVE those pieces you trimmed off and roll them together to make swirly accent beads!
***Dark colored clay, like red, blue, etc. can leave some pigment on your hands. To help keep lighter colors from turning pink, etc. handle most of the light clay first. You can also use baby wipes to clean your hands and tools (alcohol is a solvent for the clay) or wear latex gloves & switch in between colors.
***Once you use cookie cutters, pasta machine, etc for clay, it is recommended to no longer use it for food. Shop around for inexpensive cutters at your local craft store.