Polymer clay earrings have been extremely popular lately. Blame it on an uptick in DIY projects, on easier access to step-by-step instructions or just on the fact that they are cute—no matter the root of the trend, this style is here to stay! If you dig them, you might as well learn how to make polymer clay earrings yourself so the finished products will look exactly the way you want them to. Your handmade earrings can make for great holiday gifts— or even the basis for a creative side hustle.
Read on for more details about polymer clay earrings, DIY tips, and plenty of artistic inspiration.
How to Make Polymer Clay Earrings
First Off: What Is Polymer Clay?
You may already know that you like the look of polymer clay earrings, but how much do you know about polymer clay itself? Let’s break it down.
Polymer clay is a versatile and pliable sculpting medium that is super easy to work with to create a variety of projects, including home decor, pottery, sculpture and, of course, jewelry. Unlike other types of clay, it is man-made and not natural. Composed of polymers, resins, coloring agents and fillers, polymer clay is typically baked into a finished product after it’s sculpted.
One of the biggest advantages to working with polymer clay is that it remains soft until it’s baked, no matter how much you work with it. If you’ve experimented with other clays, you may have noticed that the texture changes after being handled for a certain period of time. Not so with polymer clay! You can take all the time you need to DIY polymer clay earrings without worrying about the clay getting tough or hard. It’s only when you pop your project in the oven that you’ll see a change in the texture and be unable to make additional changes.
Polymer clay is a fantastic medium for making earrings because it’s user-friendly and offers lots of room for experimentation. Even without any jewelry-making experience, you can use it to design pieces that will easily become your new favorites.
FAQs About Clay Earrings
Here are a few common questions that people have about polymer clay earrings and the process of making them.
Q: How thick should polymer clay be for earrings?
A good rule of thumb is about two millimeters thick.
Q: How long do polymer clay earrings need to bake?
A: According to this polymer clay earrings tutorial, you should plan to bake most polymer earrings for 50 minutes at 260 degrees Fahrenheit. If your earrings are wider than about two millimeters thick, your earrings will need an extra ten minutes in the oven.
Q: Do polymer clay earrings break easily?
A: Polymer clay earrings tend to break when they haven’t been baked for long enough. Bake them properly—according to the instructions above!—and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Q: Does polymer clay need to be stored in a special way?
A: Yes! Store your clay in its packaging and away from sunlight and heat. If you’ve already opened the packaging, store the clay wrapped in wax paper, preferably in the freezer or refrigerator. Storing the clay properly between uses will ensure that your clay will be easier to handle when you’re ready to create.
Q: Can I paint polymer clay?
A: Yes! While polymer clay can be purchased in a wide range of colors, you can also use water-based acrylic paint to achieve the final look and color you’d like. Apply a few coats of paint, then seal with an acrylic glaze to lock it in.
Experiment With Earrings!
5 Polymer Clay Earrings
Example Polymer Clay Earrings (For Inspiration!)
These rainbow-style earrings have been just about everywhere lately — and they’re so cute that it should hardly come as a surprise! Once you’ve worked with polymer clay enough, you’ll be able to create these shapes smoothly and in whatever assortment of colors you choose.
The hand-cut floral technique demonstrated by designer Kiley Bennett in this Skillshare class can be applied to stud or tentacle earrings. Both styles make the perfect statement piece for spring and summer.
Once you master the stained glass technique with polymer clay, you can cut it into different shapes to match your personal jewelry preferences. The options are endless.
By mixing different colors of polymer clay, you can create a marbled effect that can then be cut into whatever earring shapes you prefer.
Hoops never go out of style, and making them out of polymer clay is totally doable once you have a little practice. Plus, you can experiment with different colors and patterns!
No one ever said that stud earrings have to be boring. In fact, with a little patience and some basic info about how to make polymer clay stud earrings, you can create beautiful and detailed designs unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
What You’ll Need to Make Your Own Clay Earrings
Here are all of the materials you might need to make polymer clay earrings…
- Polymer clay (recommended brands include Sculpey Soufflé, Sculpey Premo, Cernit and FIMO)
- X-ACTO knife (or a kitchen knife, pizza cutter or pair of scissors, if necessary)
- Tissue blade (or an X-ACTO knife or kitchen knife)
- Pasta roller, acrylic roller, drinking glass or rolling pin (to roll out the clay)
- Earring cutters (examples here and here)
- Jewelry pliers or tweezers
- A flat acrylic plate (an acrylic ruler can work too)
- Jewelry hardware, including jump rings and posts
- Dremel tool with buffing wheel and drill bit
This list might seem a little overwhelming, but here’s the thing—once you’ve collected all of these materials, you’ll be able to make lots of polymer clay earrings. Most of the items listed above are one-time investments that you can use time and time again for many sets of earrings.
You should be able to order all of the materials for your DIY earrings through online craft retailers. Kitchen supply and hardware stores should also have some of them available. With the exception of the clay and hardware (the only materials you’ll need to restock over time), everything should cost you between $100 and $150. The dremel tool is easily the priciest item on the list. You can save money by using things you have around the house—kitchen knives, rolling pins, etc.—in place of more “official” jewelry-making tools. If you want, you can always upgrade to other tools down the road!
Now that you have all of your materials, it’s time to get started. Find yourself a clean, smooth work surface (you can put down some wax paper if you want), and let’s make some earrings! We’ll start with a simple style, but you can continue practicing these skills to achieve any of the looks you see above.
Step 1: Prepare the Clay
Use a blade to cut a small section of polymer clay from the block. Your clay may be quite hard when you take it out of the packaging—the texture can differ from color or color—so you should play with it in your hands for a few minutes to warm it up. Repeat this process for each of the colors you plan to use in your earring design. Your goal? To get the clay to a consistency where it can be rolled out.
Step 2: Roll Out the Clay
When it comes to rolling out your clay, there are many different techniques available. For rolling out large quantities of clay that will then be cut into disks or other shapes, use a pasta roller or rolling pin. The black clay pictured above was rolled out with a pasta roller. The instructor in this polymer clay earrings tutorial used her fingers to roll out the pink clay into thin strings, which will be used as design elements in the earrings.
Step 3: Lay Out Your Basic Design
Now that you’ve prepared and rolled out the clay you’d like to use, start building a marbling design by layering the different clay colors on top of each other. It might not look like anything special right now, but you’ll get there!
Step 4: Keep Layering the Clay Colors
This is where you’ll really begin to experiment with your clay. After you’ve built one layer of design, roll the clay out through your pasta roller or with a rolling pin until all of those layers are flat. Repeat this process with additional layers until you’re happy with the overall effect. Get creative! Cut out different shapes to make funky designs with each layer. When you’re finished building your design, roll out the clay so it’s about two millimeters thick.
Step 5: Cut the Clay to Your Desired Earring Shape
Use earring cutters to cut the clay you’ve created to the size and shape you prefer for your earrings. Push the cutter straight down into the clay, then twist back and forth several times for a clean cut. Use your fingers to pop it out with your finger.
Step 6: Bake the Clay
Bake your clay shapes at 260 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes. If you have a white tile, that can serve as a great surface on which to bake them.
Step 7: Sand the Earrings
Once your earrings have cooled from the oven, dip them in a bowl of water. While each piece is under the water, use a coarse sandpaper to remove any rough surfaces, including anything that might be on the edges. Remove it from the water and use a finer sandpaper to repeat the process over again until the clay feels soft and smooth.
Step 8: Buff the Earrings
Buffing your clay pieces with a Dremel tool will add a glossy finish to your earrings. Use the buffing head attachment until the pieces have a look you like.
Step 8: Add Earring Hardware
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your polymer clay pieces are if you can’t actually wear them. It’s time to add hardware! The hardware you choose may differ between sets, but if you’d like to keep it simple, you can drill a small hole through each earring, use your pliers or tweezers to attach jump rings through them and then finish with earring hooks through the jump rings.
Tackle More Advanced Polymer Clay Earring Designs!
Easy Clay Earrings: Advanced Techniques