Easy Clay Earrings: Advanced Techniques | Kiley Bennett | Skillshare

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Easy Clay Earrings: Advanced Techniques

teacher avatar Kiley Bennett, Artist + Online Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction to Class

      1:13
    • 2. Supplies: Clay

      2:20
    • 3. Supplies: Everything Else!

      3:24
    • 4. Hand-Cut Florals (Technique 1)

      11:43
    • 5. Stained Glass (Technique 2)

      13:06
    • 6. Hoops (Technique 3)

      8:48
    • 7. Baking Times and Temperatures

      1:53
    • 8. Finishing Touches

      10:46
    • 9. Show Off Your Creations

      0:41
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About This Class

Welcome to Easy Clay Earrings: Advanced Techniques! I'm Kiley Bennett, and I'm that person who always has some crazy earrings on.

In 2019, I taught a class right here on Skillshare called 'Easy Clay Earrings.' Since then, I've learned a TON... we're talking updated tools, better, more accurate information about how to properly work with clay, and a slew of really unique techniques that have people going 'how in the world did she do that?!'

In this class, you'll learn:

- The supplies, materials, and tools needed to make clay earrings
- The exact tools and brands I use
- A hand-cut floral slab technique (that you can build upon with ease)
- Stained-Glass Technique (and how to create a pattern cane)
- Perfect Hoops
- Accurate baking times and temperatures
- Professional finishing techniques using a Dremel Tool

Get ready to bring your earring dreams to life! I can't wait to see what you make!

SUPPLY LIST

- Sculpey Clay (Recommended varieties: Soufflé or Premo)
- X-Acto Knife (Substitute: Kitchen Knife, Pizza Cutter, or Scissors in a pinch!)
- Tissue Blade (Substitute: Kitchen Knife or X-Acto Knife)
- An Acrylic Roller (Like this one) (Substitue: a drinking glass or rolling pin)
- Earring Cutters of Your Choice (These from Etsy or These Metal Ones)
- Clean, Smooth Work Surface (Or use wax paper if you want to protect your work surface, or ensure you have a smooth area to work in)
- Jewelry Pliers (or two pairs of tweezers)
- A flat Acrylic plate (I use a quilting ruler like this one)
- Hardware: Jump Rings, Posts, and Any Earring Hardware you prefer for your earrings) (Check this website for higher quality findings)
- Dremel tool with buffing wheel and drill bit (I have this exact kit)

For MORE techniques and foundations, check out my beginner's class here.

Meet Your Teacher

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Kiley Bennett

Artist + Online Educator

Top Teacher

Hi! I'm Kiley Bennett, an artist and online educator based in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.

Whether you are joining me for a class (or two, or three!) here on Skillshare, or you're hanging out with me somewhere else online, you can expect to feel encouraged, confident, and inspired to dig into your creative side. My favorite way to share what I know is through my growing library of online courses, covering everything from lettering to Procreate to oven-bake clay earrings! In between classes, you can find other tutorials and resources for artists and creative business owners on my blog.

What will you learn here on Skillshare? 
Answer: Simple processes for creating art in my favorite mediums: digital, watercolor, and lettering. On occasion... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction to Class: Hello there, and welcome to class. I am Kiley Bennett, an artist, a designer and an online educator. In 2019, I published the class right here on Skillshare called Easy Clay Earrings, sharing my newfound hobby of creating clay earrings using oven baked clay. Since that class published, I have learned more than I could ever imagine learning about clay and advanced techniques and tools that are needed to create earrings that are truly of a professional quality. So in this new class, Easy Clay Earrings Advanced Techniques, I'm going to break down all the techniques and tools and secrets that I have learned so that you can create earrings that are more than just a handmade piece of jewelry. They are truly little works of art that you can wear or you can gift or sell. This class will grow your confidence with clay, will give you new skills that you can build upon as you continue to experiment with making clay pieces. In the end, you will have a final result that will have a special place in your jewelry box forever. 2. Supplies: Clay: Let's quickly talk about clay since that's the most important supply needed for this class. In my first iteration of this class, I didn't really focus on brands or varieties of clay because at that time that wasn't something that was very important to me, but nowadays it has become more important to me as I found that the brand of clay really does affect the baking process, and also can affect the final result. In short, higher quality brands are going to give your earring a flexible feel. It's going to bend a little bit or a lot. That's actually a good thing, that's a sign of a well conditioned, a well baked earring. Having flexibility is what you want. The lesser quality brands can cause your earrings to be brittle, they can snap, they can break, they can crack, really no matter how long you bake them, no matter how properly baked they are, properly conditioned. I've had this happen to me so many times and it is truly the worst. The best brands around that you can use for a really great final result are: Sculpey Souffle, Premo, Cernit, and FIMO. There are some other varieties of Sculpey flooding around out there such as Sculpey III which I have a lot of in my stash, and it does not bake nearly as well as Sculpey Premo or Souffle. I also have Craftsmart brand which I believe is Michael's in store brand, and I've used that plenty of times. It definitely does not bake as well, but it's not at the end of the world. The only time I would say it's absolutely necessary for you to use one of these top brands, is if you plan to sell your earrings or any clay products of any kind because you definitely don't want to sell a product that is going to snap or break on your customer. Another thing to note is that those brands are difficult to find right now because clay jewelry has become hugely popular in the past few years, as well as COVID affecting production and manufacturing, so don't stress out if you can't find the good brands. Working with clay is purely a hobby for me, and I use whatever I can find on the shelves or online, and I just handle them accordingly if I know that my final result is fragile. 3. Supplies: Everything Else!: As for the rest of our supplies, I have a complete list with substitutes and links to purchase in the projects and resources section of this class. The first thing that you'll need to have are some cutters, and I have those here in this bowl. I like to pre-plan all the cutters that I'll be using for class and then put them in a little bowl because sometimes it can be really hard to keep up with them as you are busy working on your slab. I like to buy my cutters from Etsy, you can find some really fine shapes there. Or I will snatch up these metal cutters if I see them at Michaels or Hobby Lobby because they are usually really cheap and they work super well. Next, I will need an acrylic roller to roll out and help condition my clay. You can use any roller, but I love these acrylic clear rollers. You will also need a tissue blade to slice and cut. You might need some wax paper or palette paper to lay on your surface, that is optional. I also like to use an exacto knife to cut out shapes. You can also use this in place of a tissue blade if you don't have one of those. I also will need an Acrylic Ruler or a plate. This one happens to be a quilting ruler that I already had because I like to sow. This is what we're going to use to help make our hoops. You could also use a glass from a picture frame, or some clear plastic surface that you have on hand. You will just need something that is clear, and something that is flat. Earring hardware to attach and put my earrings together, pliers or tweezers to attach that hardware, some superglue. I like the Gorilla glue, I've had really good luck with it. Next thing, this is a more advanced tool, is a Dremel tool. I use this to make the earring holes where the hardware is going to go after my clay has been baked, and then I have this buffing attachment that I use to smooth out any edges. If you do not have a Dremel tool handy, in the first iteration of this class I was just smoothing out my edges and cutting holes for my hardware before I baked my clay. If you'd like to see how that was done, definitely go and check out that class. Then lastly, I have an oven thermometer because getting the right temperature on the oven is very important for baking your clay properly, and I found out the hard way that my oven was completely inaccurate. Whenever I preheat my oven, whenever it tells me that it's heated, it is actually about 50 degrees off. So I have to wait until my oven thermometer tells me that my oven is properly heated or I need to adjust the temperature until I get the right temperature on my thermometer so that I can properly bake my clay. This is also really handy, if you'd like to bake or you'd like to cook, you will want to pick one of these up there like a dollar. So definitely worth it. Like I said, if you are missing some of these tools, definitely check out my first clay earring class because I use a lot of household items for a lot of this process, and in the list below where I have all these items linked, I share what you could use in place of certain tools if you don't have them. Definitely, check that out. 4. Hand-Cut Florals (Technique 1): The first technique we'll be doing, is creating hand-cut floral earrings, just like these. This is by far my favorite technique to create earrings that are truly a statement piece. The first thing we need to do, is design and pre-plan our earrings. I like to do this process in Procreate on my iPad because it is fast and easy, and if you're interested in learning how to use Procreate, I have a Skillshare class on it called The Procreate Class, which will teach you the basics and beyond. Pre-planning and designing is not necessary at all, but it helps the creation process go so much smoother, if I can decide on scale and colors and decide which cutters I'm going to use prior to sitting down to work. I've already gathered all of my colors and my cutters. As for colors, I am using this leaf green from Sculpey as the base for my slab. The yellow is tranquility by Sculpey and I have mixed in a little bit of white with that to tone it down just a little bit, and then this pale pink is just a pale pink I had in my stash. I don't remember what color it is, but I have so many little chunks of clay all up in my stash so I'm trying to use what I have and this is the perfect color for my design. Another tip is to design based on what you have on hand. As long as you have white and black, you can mix all kinds of colors up with those. If you have a red that you want to turn into a pink, mix a little bit of white with it, and get a pink. Same for pretty much any color, don't be limited to what you have, just be willing to experiment and play around a little bit. Another thing is, I have already conditioned my clay, meaning I have worked with it to warm it up and prepare it to be rolled out and used. Conditioning is a really important process. If you don't condition your clay enough, you may have tiny bubbles that appear in your final product after it has been baked and there's nothing you can do about it at that point. To condition my clay, I simply remove a chunk of it from the bar that it came on, and then I'll use my hands to warm it up, I will roll it out with my acrylic roller, and I'll really just work with it until it is malleable and easy to move around in my hand. Another way of knowing that your clay is completely conditioned, is when you bend it, there are no cracks that appear in that bend. So if your clay is not conditioned enough, there will be a crack that will appear along this line, so that's a good way to know whether your clay is ready to use or not. Let's go ahead and get started. I'm going to need my acrylic roller, an exacto knife and then my colors. That's pretty much it for this. I'm going to move everything out of the way. I have the most of my green here because this is going to be the base of our slab, so, this is going to hold our little daisies that we're making. I'm going to go ahead and get this rolled out, and I'm going to try to roll it out into somewhat of a square shape as best I can, and I'm not going to be rolling very much of it out because I'm just making one one of earrings. So if you'd like to get more earrings out of this, use more clay and roll it out some more. I also want to get it to about two millimeters or maybe a little bit thicker. Two millimeters is the standard that you'll see, but if you like yours a little bit thicker, no problem. You just need to bake them a little bit longer in the end, which we will talk about because that's what I do. So I'm going to go ahead and get this rolled out. As I'm rolling my clay out, I see that there's some bubbles here so I'm going to go in with my exacto knife and just cut a little hole where the bubbles are. That's just air bubbles from where we conditioned. Sometimes that can happen, so, just be mindful of that because you want to go ahead and get those out now. If I fold this over again to roll it out, I want to make sure that I'm smoothing out, pressing out any of the air that might be trapped between those layers because that's how you get those bubbles. I'm really just eyeballing this to make sure that it looks pretty even. I'm going to get a few of these bubbles out here, and I'll smooth those out with my fingers. Right now is a good time for me to make sure that I can get two earrings out of this using the cutters that I planned for it, just so that I know that I am using the right amount of clay. That looks pretty good to me, and I have it about the thickness that I like it. I want to make sure this isn't sticking too much to my surface because that's going to make it hard to get the shapes out. This looks pretty good. I am now ready to start rolling out my pink. I'm going to set this just here to this side, and then I've got a little bit of green on my table, so, I'm going to take a baby wipe and just wipe that off because I don't want my pink clay to pick up any of my green and I'm also going to wipe my hands with it as well. I'm going to roll the pink clay out into a little bit of a thinner sheet because, our green slab is going to be our base so, that needs to be the thickest and then these petals don't need to be all that thick at all. This looks good to me. Another thing that I want to do, is make indentions where my earrings are going to be cut out, because this is going to help me not to waste any clay because I'll know exactly where my petals need to go. I'm just going to go ahead and press pretty lightly into the clay and just gently bring that up, and then you can see just barely I have a little indention for me to go off of, and this will be a guide for me when I'm cutting my earrings out as well. I'm just going to press. In my design, I had planned about six or seven petals per flower, and I'm going to use my exacto knife to cut these out. This is where the hand-cut part of it comes in because we're just going to be cutting each of these petals out, and because we're cutting them out by hand, they are going to be organic, they're not all going to be identical, which I personally like. They do make cutters out there that are flower petal shapes. If you want something that's a little faster and a little bit more uniform, but I really like this look. I'm just going to use my edges as I go, and I'm just going to do a rounded edge, but some of them I might leave more square, and they're not all going to be the same size either. I'm going to cut more than that, but I just want to see what these look like. That size flower looks pretty good to me. I am going to fill. I'm going to speed it up and I'm going to fill this entire slab with everywhere that I want my daisies to be and then we will put in the centers of our flower after that. At this point, I've placed all my flowers and I'm ready to start placing the centers of the flowers into them, and to do this, I'm just going to tear off the tiniest little piece of yellow and I'm going to ball it up between my fingers, and I'm just going to, maybe even that's too big. I mean, we're talking a very, very tiny amount, that big, and I'm going to place that in just the center of my flowers and I'm going to just gently press that in there. There is something else we can do to take this up a notch, and that is to add some detailing. So easy to do. I'm going to use my exacto knife for this, but you could use a dotting tool, a scoring tool, really anything you have on hand. I'm going to create some little lines. Actually first, I'm just going to gently roll across my design. That's flattening everything else a little bit. It is making my flowers is a little bit bigger, but that's okay. Now we are ready to place our blinds. I'm just going to drag my exacto knife gently through the center of these a couple times, and then in the center of my yellow pieces, I'm going to just do some dots with the tip of my exacto knife. Now that we have that done, we're ready to cut our earrings out, and I'm just going to follow the original indentions that I made. I'm actually going to stand up from my desk and stand over these so that I can press in straight through. That's something that you want to be mindful of, is you want to press straight down and not at an angle. It just helps me to stand up and do this. If you have a piece that is stuck to your surface, use your exacto knife or your tissue blade to gently lift that up. I'm going to use my tissue blade because I don't want to bend this. So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to very carefully use the blade removed from the handle because I can get really low and scrape it up. Like you're scraping a pizza off of a pan. I'm hungry, can you tell? Now is the point if you don't have a dremel tool that you want to smooth out your edges and I just would use my finger to do that very gently, you can also use your exacto knife to cut off any jagged edges as well. I'm not going to do that just because I do enjoy the process of buffing afterward. Then you would want to make your earring hardware holes right now. You would obviously need to make one here and here to attach those earrings as well as one at the top. If you're going to use a fishhook wire or if you're going to glue a back, a post onto the back of your top piece, then you wouldn't need to do that. I do go over this planning aspect of where to attach your hardware in the first class so definitely check that out. Now, I am ready to put this to the side. I'm not going to put them in the oven just yet, because I'm going to wait until we have all three of our styles done. So I will see you in the next video for the second technique, which is the Stained Glass Window technique. 5. Stained Glass (Technique 2): The next tutorial we're doing is this stained-glass window technique that is so unique, it is so beautiful and it's also a really fun process that's going to teach you another technique, pattern caning, which is where you create a patterned slab and then you're able to actually slice off pattern pieces to create a very unique piece of clay artwork. You're going to see that as we walk through this process. What you will need for this technique, you will need 4, 5, or 6 colors of tinted translucent clay. That's what you see right here. This is what my translucent clay looks like. I've taken just the tiniest piece off of these clay bars that I have. These are all Sculpey Souffle, I'll tell you the colors here in just a second. But you'll notice they were really bright, vibrant colors and that's what you want to choose when you're choosing how to tint your translucent clay. This one is lagoon, pumpkin, I believe this one is pistachio, jade, and guava. These are the colors that I chose to tint my translucent clay. You need about four parts translucent clay to one part of colored clay to create this kind of tinting. Why this is important is that you need to use translucent clay in order to achieve the see-through stained-glass window effect in the very end result. How much tinting you do is really up to you. I might have gone a little bit overboard on some of these, but it's okay, I love that. This turns out differently every time I do it. Another thing is you need your base color. For me, my base color is going to be black because I love the contrast and I also love working with black clay for earrings because I find that it makes such a statement. You do not need this much black clay, but this is just the conditioned piece that I already had ready to go. The first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to roll out my pieces of clay into little snakes and I'm just going to do that by rolling these out into snakes using my hand. I'm going to get them fairly thin and just let them be the length of that they going to be, I'm not going to worry about thickness, I'm not going to worry about them being absolutely perfect, they don't need to be at all. All of my translucent snakes are rolled out. I'm going to put those to the side because I need to start rolling out some black to complete the next step in this process. For this one, I want to roll it out as thin as I can without going overboard. This black clay is pretty thin, it's about where I want it and I'm going to start rolling each of my translucent snakes in this black clay. I'm going to use my X-Acto knife to slice off little segment, and this is not at all scientific, I'm just guessing and eyeballing because it doesn't really matter if you get it perfect, you just need each of your snakes to be covered in the base color that you are using. This also looks really good in white. I am not going to worry about it being perfect, once again, I just want the whole thing to be covered in black and I'm just going to roll this out, smooth this out, and I'm also going to pinch this excess black off the sides. Once again, you don't have to worry about this being perfect, just get each of these snakes covered. All my snakes are covered now, they look really beautiful and some of them have gotten really long and misshapen in this process. I'm just going to roll them all out and I'm going to cut them in half as well because I want to create a really thick pattern cane. The more you start rolling this out the longer your clay is going to get, so you can roll out and trim your pieces to about the same length and just place them together. Now, we've got all these little snakes that are about the same size. You can see you have your colors peeking out on the corners. The next thing we are going to do is arrange them into a pattern cane based on the colors. If you can't see the color, makes sure that it's on an end where you can see it because you don't want two colors to be beside each other as we create our cane. I'm just going to arrange these and make sure that everything is good and mixed up. That looks good to me. I don't have any colors that are beside each other and I have everything nice and mixed up. I'm going to start squeezing these together, and I'm also going to make it into a rectangle log shape and this is going to be our pattern cane. I'm going to bring in that quilting ruler that I showed you to help me combine everything. I'm just going to press it down and I'm going to do that on all four sides. I'm also being mindful of any air bubbles or anything like that, so I'm going to roll this in my hands. I'm also going to push this, I don't want this to be super long, so I'm just going to work with it. I want it to be ideally about that long, so I've got some work to do here. I have my pattern cane created, and now I'm going to stick this in the freezer for 3-4 minutes, not very long at all because my hands are warm. When we slice through to create slices of our pattern cane in the very next step, I want this to be easily sliced and I don't want it to get warped or anything. If you try slicing your pattern cane and it is getting all misshapen on you, then throw it in the refrigerator or freezer for just a couple of minutes and it should be way easier to work with after that. I'll see you in a couple of minutes. My pattern cane is fresh out of the freezer and it feels solid enough that I'll be able to slice through it without deforming any of my shapes. First, the most exciting part, we want to slice off the tail end of our slab and see what it looks like on the inside. I'm going to go ahead and slice through and this is why it's really important to have it in the freezer because if this wasn't solid, that thing would be all bent up. Look, so gorgeous. You can already see how the stained-glass technique is showing up. So pretty. I'm going to slice off this end as well and that looks pretty good to. Now comes another fun part. We're just going to slice this thing up into pretty thick chunks because we are going to roll it out again. If you want it to be that two-millimeter depth, then you'll need to make a little bit thicker chunks. I'm going to go ahead and slice those up and I'm going to try to get them pretty even. Now that everything is sliced up, I want to get out some of the air bubbles that are in here. Now is a really great time to make sure you are squishing out any air bubbles because those will create a problem as we start creating our earrings. You can just smoosh together and work with each little slice. This is also the time to choose which side of your pieces you want to be the top side. We are going to start laying out each of our little pieces into a grid. Just start fitting them together like puzzle pieces. Once again, you want to make sure that you're not getting colors right next to each other, so I probably wouldn't do this because there's two oranges right beside each other, this, there's the greens beside each other. That looks good to me. Then some of them have these mushed ins on the back, so just make sure that you're using the side that you want to be visible in your final slab as your top piece. I'm going to move mine, let's see how many do I have? I'm going to do rows of four. This next step is rolling this out to not only roll it out to the thickness that you'll be able to cut your earrings from but you also want to roll it out so that these pieces become connected together because it's very likely that you can get some air bubbles where these are separated, so rolling is going to help bond them together as well, which is super important. I'm going to roll and I'm going to press pretty hard and just make sure that everything is really smooshing together, bonding together, becoming one. I'm also going to scrape this up and reposition it because, with this slab, in particular, I've noticed that it loves to stick to my surface. I don't know why, but whenever I do this technique, I have the hardest time getting it to come up. Also, already look at the back. This is really important as well because whatever side you choose to be your front side is going to be your front side because already this is what the back looks like. I'm going to rotate that around and just make sure everything is together. When you try to pull it up, you'll really be able to tell where are those weak spots are, where they connect, so just make extra sure that everything is getting nice and bonded. Remember, I'm only making one or two pairs of earrings out of this slab. This technique does make quite a bit of clay at the end, so you could definitely get a couple of pairs of earrings out of this technique every time you do it. I believe it is now ready for me to start cutting out my earrings from this slab. I've made sure that everywhere where I'm going to cut from is completely bonded together, and I'm also going to be picky about where I cut my earrings from. I'm going to make a three-part earring: I'm going to have my top, I'm going to have this as the main piece, and then I'm going to have some little danglies that hang down. I'm going to make sure that each of my pieces is really clear. Some of these have kind of gotten a little too blended and they're a little bit faded on the edges, that's okay, it's not the worst thing in the world, I just don't know that I want that to be part of my earrings so I'm going to be careful about where I cut from. Once again, if you are creating your own earring holes as well as smoothing out edges, you need to do that now. I'm going to set these aside to go in the oven when we're ready and we're going to move on to creating our hoops. 6. Hoops (Technique 3): For this final technique in class, we are going to create hoops. This is a newly acquired skill for me. I've always thought that hoops were impossible to make without some extruder that would make perfect cylinders. But actually, someone local to me who makes earrings taught me this technique. With her permission to share this here on Skillshare, this is a total game-changer because, with just a simple tool like this acrylic ruler that I have, I can create hoops that are very symmetrical, very uniform, and they look great. I'm going to need, of course, my acrylic ruler. This is just the one that I use. It's a quilting ruler and it has this little grip here in the center. I got this at Hobby Lobby. If you want to pick this up for yourself, this is a great thing to use for this technique and it's not very much money. I also have my sage green Sculpey see flay. This is going to be the base of my hoop and then I'm going to add some white accents. You also need a blade or an x-acto knife to slice your hoops. Then you also want a round shape or something to shape your hoops around. You can use any household item you have that's a good size. Like you can use a bottle of some sort or really anything that you find. Also you can make hoops that are square as well. If you don't have a circular shape, maybe you have something square that you could use as well. You could also hand-shape them, but that's a little bit more finicky. It's not impossible is just a little bit more picky. I'm going to take about this much clay and I'm going to start rolling it into a snake. I'm just going to start with my hands. This is going to get it somewhat uniform, but of course, it's not going to be perfect. From here, I'm going to start rolling it out with my hands. A great way that you can make your snakes longer is when you roll out, move your fingers slowly apart and your snake is going to get longer. I'm just going to roll it, roll it, roll it. Once it's about this size, I am going to go ahead and start rolling it using this. This is where the real magic comes in. It's really not uniform at all. But what I'm going to do is I'm going to lay this on top. I'm going to grab it by this little handle, and I'm just going to move it back and forth like this, and it is already looking so uniform and so good. I'm going to continue doing this. I'm going to hold the camera so it doesn't shake. If you notice that your one end is shorter, smaller, or anything than the other end, you can always focus more pressure down on that end. Another thing about this technique, I really think you just have to try it for yourself so you can see what works for you. But you have to apply the right amount of pressure in order for your snake to get longer. I'm going to hold it on either side and apply what I feel is even pressure and roll it back and forth. You can see that my snake is getting a little bit longer. It just takes some time. If you want it to look really good in the end, then it is going to take some time and you can also pull on it a little bit. This side is a little bit fatter than the other side so I'm going to press on it. As far as the thickness goes, there's only one thing that you need to worry about in terms of thickness, and that is how thick around your posts are on your hardware. This is the little post that I have. I'm just making sure that I could glue this onto the end and there wouldn't be too much that's sticking out. This side's definitely too thin so I might go ahead and slice this off. See if I could fit a post on there. I can, it is perfect. That's about how thick you want your earring to be unless you have a different method of attaching hardware to it, which you might. The middle of this is still just a little bit too thick. I am going to put pressure on the center and roll it. The next thing that we want to do is you could, of course, leave it perfect like this and looks so good, or you could add some color or pattern. This is where you want to do that. Your base color is going to be a solid color. Or if you wanted to get really creative, you could do all sorts of pattern techniques and then roll it out. You could really go experimental, but so far the best thing I've found is to do just a blank slate, so to speak, and then you add your pattern onto it after. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to pinch off just some white pieces and I'm just going to put them on here. Again, I'm just going to apply even pressure and just make sure that this is all smoothed down. There are just a couple of parts where it's not. That looks really good. For me, I have found that the best length to cut your hoops, and of course, this is up to you. You might want really huge hoops. I however don't, is I'm going to cut it at about four and a half inches. Then if we need to cut it down from there, we can. So I'm going to cut this right at four and a half, and if you need to stick this in the refrigerator so that it is easy to cut, feel free to do that. This is looking good. I'm going to slice off the very end so that it's not rounded. We need to make sure that our posts are going to fit on one side. It really only needs to be one side. Choose which side your posts will fit on. For me, it could be either one of these. That one it for sure will not, it's too small. So I'll just remember that whenever I am putting my hardware together and I'm going to grab my circle cutter and I'm going to shape my hoops around the circle cutter. I'm just going to make sure that they are nice and round. They look great. To remove your hoop shape from your mold, I'm just gently going to pull on it and I'm going to try to hold it in shape, hold it in place, and I'm just going to let it sit there. Doesn't have to be a work of art, even though these are little works of art for sure. I'm just going to make sure these look about the same, and they do, they look awesome. Now I'm finally ready to bake all of my clay creations. In the next video, we will talk about baking times in temperatures. 7. Baking Times and Temperatures: Aside from conditioning, baking is the most important piece of the process, because the lifespan of your earring really depends on the temperature and the time they bake your pieces. You can use either a regular oven or a toaster oven. But just make sure that you have the temperature correct, which is why I use an oven thermometer to ensure that my reading is accurate. You want to set your oven to 260 degrees Fahrenheit and you want to set your oven timer for 50 minutes, but is completely different than what the package says and it is completely different from what I said in my first class, which I said to follow the directions. No wonder my earrings were always breaking, because I wasn't baking them nearly long enough. Fifty minutes is about the Standard Time for two millimeter thick earrings that are properly conditioned. If your earrings are thicker, you want to give them probably an extra ten minutes, then let them cool completely in order to check the flexibility on them and you might need to put them back in the oven if they are still not flexible enough. If your earrings are still brittle and hard, and you've used a really good brand like Sculpey Souffle or Primo, then you might need to lower your oven temperature by about ten degrees, leave your earrings and longer, or just make sure that you are conditioning long enough. Sometimes with those better brands, It seems like you can't work with them enough and as far as what you place your pieces on, I just use a regular old metal baking sheet and some people like to layer a piece of card stock on top of their pieces and just to prevent some burning, I really haven't noticed that this is a problem, but that's something for you to take into account as well, if you're noticing that on your earrings. 8. Finishing Touches: Now that my pieces are out of the oven, I am ready to buff the edges for any rough areas to be completely smooth and then also drill in the holes where my earring hardware is going to go, so I can actually attach my earrings. To do that, I'm going to use this dremel tool. I picked this one up from Los. I will link a kit that is similar to the one I got, because it came with this buffing attachment as well as this attachment right here and these are the two attachments that I've found that work really well for sanding and drilling my holes. I don't need to do any drilling or sanding for the hoops. They turned out so great, they have just a little bit of bend to them. They're flexible and they are a really lightweight and they're going to look so cute, make a big statement. To use your dremel, it's really really simple. Each one that you get is going to come with its own instructions of how to attach your different pieces and all of that. So make sure that you read the instructions to properly and safely use your specific tool. But the main thing with any tool like this is that you don't want to press hard, you want to just let the buffing wheel so to do its own thing. I'm going to show you the edges that I'm talking about. There's just these little rough edges that I don't love. Now, that I have buffed all my pieces, I am ready to drill the holes into each of my hearing pieces so that I can attach them together. I'm going to be using the drill attachment to do this. All I need in addition to the drill attachment is a piece of cardboard or a thick piece of wood or something that you can use as your base, because your drill attachment piece will go through your earring. Whatever is underneath, it needs to be protecting your tabletop or your surface. The most important thing when using this drill is to make sure that you are holding your dremel tool at a 90 degree angle. It's going to be a little bit difficult for you to see what's happening here but I'm going to place my earrings together where I want my holes to attach, that about looks good to me, and I'm just going to eyeball. Now once again, if you are selling these earrings or if this is going to be a professional endeavor for you, you might want to make a definite mark with a pencil or a permanent marker or something wherever you want your holes to go. But I am going to eyeball it because the jump rings that I'm going to be using to attach it are fairly long, and so I know that I'll pretty much be able to do this no matter where I draw my holes as long as they are within a reasonable distance of one another. I also want to make sure that my hole is not going too close to the outside because I don't want to completely drill through the very bottom edge or the top edge of my pieces because then they would be unusable. If you're using this for the very first time, do some test pieces. Trust me, I did some test pieces and I was so glad I did because I definitely messed up the first couple that I did. I'm going to turn on my drill, and I'm going to drill in the very bottom of this piece. I'm going to hold it with two hands. I'm being very careful, very cautious and I've practiced this a million times. I'm going to drill in. Press in till I hit the bottom. Then I'm going to turn my piece over and I'm going to see a tiny little hole. I'm going to go back through on this side and reinforce that hole. Now it is the perfect little hole. Now, I'm going to do this piece where it will attach. I'm just going to make my mark where I want to go, that's about where I want to be. I'm going to flip it over, and I'm going to continue to do this for all of my earring pieces. We're finally ready to glue on our posts and also to attach our hardware. I wanted to talk a little bit about hardware and about the type of glue that you use and the different methods that I've seen out there. To be completely honest, among professional earring makers, superglue is not the way to go. I have seen all different types of makers talk about different types of glue, E6000 superglue, this gorilla brand, which I personally like, but it's not the best option out there if you are going to be selling these earrings. You want your customers to have earrings that can last. There is a product that Sculpey make, it's called Bake 'N Bond, that you actually use to attach things like post, and you bake your posts onto your earring pieces in the oven during the baking process using Bake 'N Bond. I have never used it because I can't get my hands on it, I can't find anywhere. For now, superglue is what I'm going to be using. I also don't have sensitive ears, I can use just the regular old jump rings that I find at the craft store, and they don't bother me and I've not had any trouble with them tarnishing. But once again, if you're looking for a more professional earring, do some research on the best quality jump rings and hardware that you can get for sensitive ears that are going to last and look pretty for a really long time. The last thing I want to note is that, these are the types of backs that I like to use for my earrings. These to me are the best, they're the easiest to get off, but they are also super secure on your ears, and that's really important if you don't have the highest quality clay out there and you're afraid that your earrings are brittle and they might snap when you're taking them on and off. Then getting these plastic bags will ensure, well, they're more like rubber, but getting them will ensure that they're easier to take off, easier to put on and they are really secure in your ear, so that's what I like to use. I know which sides of my hoops need to hold the post. For this one, this side right here needs to hold the post but it's not completely flat, and really none of these are flat. After your hoops are baked, you can take an exacto knife or you can take your tissue blade and you can actually cut down very carefully into your earring and you can slice off just a little bit, so that your surface is completely flat. Now, I'm going to take a dot of glue, and I put my post on there. To let this dry, I'm going to set this against something where it can sit up, but no part of it is touching the post. I'm just going to set this back here against a couple of books that I have stocked on my desk, and I'm going to repeat the same process for this earring. My earrings are now completely put together and finished and they are ready to wear except for letting the glue on those posts dry completely. You can also finish off these earrings by cutting out a piece of card stock, watercolor paper or another type of thick paper that you have and creating actual backers for these earrings to gift them to a friend, or to give them as a gift during a holiday or a birthday. They make really really sweet thoughtful gifts, and I know that if you put as much creativity into your packaging as you do these earrings, that would be the perfect way to finish these off. 9. Show Off Your Creations: Thank you so much for joining me for class today. I hope that you created something that you are so proud of and excited to show off to the world, and I would love to see what you made. Snap a photo of your earrings, bonus points, if you're wearing them, and post it in the projects tab of this class so that I can see it and show it off to everyone in my community. If you use Instagram, tag me there as well @kileyinkentucky. I'm so grateful that you chose to sit down with me today and learn something new. I can't wait to connect with you further and cheer you on as you continue to create.