Polymer Clay Basics: Earrings | Elle Benson | Skillshare

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

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

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Introduction 1

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Step 1: Softening Clay

    • 4. Step 2: Rolling and Cutting Clay

    • 5. Step 3: Marbleizing Clay

    • 6. Step 4: Adding Jewelry Holes

    • 7. Step 5: Adding Hardware

    • 8. Step 6: Optional Finishes

    • 9. Conclusion

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About This Class

Together we'll design and create several different earrings in a short amount of time. We'll experiment with marbling and solid designs. Great course for those wanting to create fun statement earrings. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Elle Benson

Curator of Happiness Activities


Hello, I'm Elle. 

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1. Introduction 1: Hi, I'm L Benson and I love working with polymer clay to make fun earrings. Join me as we use a small amount of clay to make over 12 pairs of earrings. Let's get started. 2. Materials: When just starting out with polymer clay, I do recommend getting a kit. And so this kit is one that I bought that allowed me a variety of colors so that I can start playing with the clay before learning how to mix and make my own colors, which I prefer to do now, this was about $20 and included a lot of tools and a lot of colors. One of these small cubes will make several pairs of earrings. And even my scrap Clay. I make sure to keep and keep it a bag. And sometimes I mix these together for some fun variety. So it needs really well and falling as you keep it airtight, it won't dry up. Now this is a off-brand and so you will notice a difference in quality if you can tell from this hearing here, there's a little bit of a rough texture on it. That's probably also from me rolling it out, but I think it's a lump of clay quality as well. It looks cool, but depending on what finished you're looking at, you might want to have more control on the sharpness and the flatness of it. If so, a better quality brand I would recommend is sculpting still very affordable. These were 250 each and at my local craft store. So definitely invest in some clay, but no, you don't have to buy too much at once. It'll last you a long time. So far our claim we're going to need something to roll it out. I use this stainless steel making roller from Kitchen Aide. I'd use it more for clay, then actually baking. But I like the texture and consistency of the clay rarely gets stuck. Twins are levies and that when this isn't working, I often use a glass. I found the glass to be very smooth and helps eliminate bumps and bubbles. So if you have one of these, make sure you get one that's the same with all the way throughout so that your thickness of your clay remains consistent. Now, not required for this class, but if you have one, I got this pasta maker for a wedding present and only use it once for pasta, but you can use this for clay. So you put the clay and the top and we'll it down and you'll have a really consistency and thickness from the bottom to top. It's also great for mixing colors. So if you have one, these are fun to play with, but you don't need to go out and buy one couple little tool you will need that I recommend, but you can also find something around the house. This isn't exactly a knife. You could use a different sort of knife. I've just found this to be really simple to add to my pile of clay materials. I also loved this metal ruler because it allows me to measure, make sure everything's consistent in what it allows me to scoop up my clay earrings and put them on top of the big machine without getting fingerprints on them. So I use this mostly for transferring clay, but it's helpful for measurement as well. Not required for this class, but can be helpful is a tiny little Sander. This is the cutest little thing in the whole world. So after I bake my items, if they're still a little rough for the edges or course, I can use my little sander. It's got lots of different little attachments and such to sand. This is maybe $15 and just again, it's nice, it's not have to have, you can't just use a regular piece of sandpaper. Now, another helpful tool using jewelry is some debris tweezers, or use the tweezers that you have in your bathroom. Can't forget that you'll need some superglue. Typically if you're going to make jewelry, I like locked tight because the lid doesn't get glued on like so many other of my suppose. My kit came with a starter kit, came with a lot of different tools for textures and patterns on your claim. Use these a lot, but it allows, it, it allows you to death at it and kind of fun, a lot of different options and such that I haven't spent a lot of times playing with this one looks like a little canned kind of bug. It came with my kids. Now, you will need comes my favorite part, cutter. So I have these cookie cutters online for just a few dollars and allowed me a lot of variety and different dangling earrings. I say go big or go home when it comes to hearing. So I was the big shapes. But you can get these from any sort of local market. Don't be afraid to hit up the baking mouse because they've got a lot of great things for making clay items. And then I did go on Etsy and I liked the shape of these. I know there are all the rage right now. If you type in polymer clay hearings on Etsy, there's a lot of fun moles and such that people are specifically making. So now depending on whatever jewelry you're making, you may need BIRADS to adhere your clay to. Depending on what type of dangle and what style you're designing for. I have a four-year-old who loves make earrings with me too. So I have the little coupon earring backs. I got this starter drawing making kit that has the backs of the earrings, the rings, and different hairs for your ears in different colors. But I found these rings to be about their size, 45. These were too small for the thickness of the clay that I was using. So I've taught it to weld thickness. So these might be a little bit, but I kinda like the style of and big. So you might be able to get away with an 810 or 12. I think they just come in even numbers. These have been really helpful in a variety of colors for making all of my atoms. So grab your items and let's get started. 3. Step 1: Softening Clay: We're gonna make sure that we preheat the oven to 300 while we get started. Ok. So you may also want to go ahead and grab a cooking sheets or baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Parchment paper is optional, but I found that the earrings come off really easily off apart, which meant paper. So I've picked out three colors that I like a kinda like this, red, white, and orange. I think I'm feeling the fall colors right now. Me, I like to use my cookie cutters to help design some earrings. So I think I might do a day angle of this shape. I think that will be really funky. I don't know which colors in such i'm going to use with it. I'm going to use my favorite cutter as well. I think I might do a love this hexagon shape. So I'm right, do three different sets of earrings like that, but also sometimes I'm inspired by the design, so that may help dictate what we end up doing. So the first thing I need to do is warm of my clay and this is what takes the longest and makes your hands really tired. So I'm gonna start with my orange and I've just taken out of the package. So you can tell it's pretty thick. I'm going to need to do is to twist and warm it up with my hands. A funny thing is on the package is said to warm it up, sit on it. And that just gave me quite a chuckle. So feel free to sit on it. I don't usually use that approach. But do it you'd need to do to warm up your clay so you can already see the consistency changing based on my hands getting it more. So I'm going to spend a couple minutes, maybe two to three minutes, just really warming it up and getting it flexible. Think I've gotten my orange to a good texture, feels like bubblegum that's not quite as sticky, which you can see the difference from what I started with. So now I'm going to with my white and make it soft as well. And then we'll move on to my red thing and my answer. After lots of squishing in my hands, starting to be tired, it feels like a really good putty. So I think our white is ready and now I'm going to move on to our red. So again, you just start squishing it, using it and you'll can see just instantly the texture changing. That's a good workout for your hand. So your hand's don't have to go to the gym today. 4. Step 2: Rolling and Cutting Clay: Now I've already done so, but make sure that the surface you're gonna work on is nice and clean. Any sort of dust particles or dog hair, anything will get into your clay. So I have already done that. I'm working on my dining table because I know that the colours won't transfer, but R-d, my hands are a little pink for working with this clay. So make sure you're working on a surface that won't transfer the ink or do any damage. Some people like to roll actually on parchment paper or on a baking sheet, but I've just found it to be easy to work directly on my dining table. So I'm going to start with my bread. I'm going to roll out some pieces. So I like this stainless steel roller because it allows me to fly a lot of pressure. And I know that it can go to a good consistency so it's sticking on there. But I like that because I know that it's working and then I'm Roland really well. So it's easy for me to pull it off. See already I can a little bit of a white in there. I don't know if that's from the clay layer for my table, but I'm fine with working with clay and having imperfections. So you'll need to do that as well. So it'll be good mental health for you to learn to eliminate those, that perfectionism. I love this quality, this red and this I'm texture, this is gonna be beautiful. So sometimes when you get bubbles, I use my exact DO knife TO eliminate those. But oh, that's beautiful. So you can see I've got a little bit of a texture issue down here, but I'm just going to cut around that. So I'm not too worried about it. So my consistency is like a thin cracker that you can go thinner. You can go thicker. It's really up to you and your art form. I like this consistency of life thin cracker. I don't like my earrings to be too heavy and clay naturally is pretty light. So this one stayed right in here. So what I need to do, usually it stays on the table. I need to pop this out very gently. Thing for me is to not get fingerprints. Now I might need to review that because we're going I got a little indentation in there. And so for me, if I want to make that the back that might work. But that's also what the standard can come in handy for. Make tube a solid red. Again, it did it again. Ok, I've got to, but I'm going to make those little pieces that showed my tweezers and we're gonna make those the backs of my pieces. Okay, see, try to think of what other shapes I might want solids force, you might want this overall ecosystem, right? For most of that was really good. As you can tell, just one little piece of clay can make a lot of earring. Really gentle with it. But the cool thing is if you're not happy with it, you can start over. That's what I love about clay. When working with watercolors and other creative mediums which you've done something sometimes it can be too late, but this has been really fun. Have lossless read so much, I think I'm going to have to buy similar from the store. We'll get that was really too much. I can really tell a difference in my quality of clay when I'm cutting it. So I think I've got all of the solid pieces that I need for my red. So I'm going to remove my red and now let's roll out. My wife a little nervous that my hands are a little pink from the red. So I'm hoping I don't make my my white a little bit pinkish, but maybe that was part of the process and that was intended to do that. And you got to be comfortable with what happens. It's a good life. But I really love about making clay hearings is that this is a project I can start and finish within an hour. Now I think of a lot of other my DIY projects are creative projects. And it's an afternoon or it's the whole weekend, but not with clay hearings. I also have a four-year-old them. So getting her involved in projects, she's got a short attention span, so she likes to help me roll out the clay, get it warm, pick the colors is definitely her favorite. But then cutting it out, it should last throughout the whole project. So you can see a little bit on here. I've got some clay stuck, does have automate comes off really easily, but if I don't remove it the next time I roll it, it'll make mutations in there. So I've cut a little texture in there, probably from those little loose pieces. Just depends on how flat you want it. So if you're adding texture at the end, which we will be adding glitter and paying in other items to. That may also change how then you want your item and what texture you want it. I'm looking for a good map flat finish. But I'm not going to be a perfectionist here and I don't think you should either. Okay, that works for me. Now it doesn't look like a lot of clay because you think of that big piece that we started with was about this big when she said it out, it's not that padded. Ok. So these are pretty funky. I like this color a lot. Ok. I think my white is a bit thicker than my red. Kind of like as though for different pair, pair appearance. Now when your mixed match, gene, mix and matching different clay pieces, you want to have them similar consistency. Oop, see, okay, so here's where this one's stuck here. If I'm going to put this on my baking sheet, I don't want to mess up the shape or your fingerprints on it. So that's why I love this, allows me to easily scoop it up and transfer it over. Okay, with a pretty sight upfront. So look at we've got some good pieces go in to pick this one. White a lot went into a triangle. Clay earrings is a great project for all ages. Get everyone in the family involved except for the dogs. My dogs want to be involved in their hair just gets involved so they're not invited to my party. I haven't made any dog tags though that might be fun for another project to do all this stuff. So sometimes when you're getting things out, the shape may shift a little bit. So this is where the executor knife might commit. I think I can save it and make sure that it still has the triangle shape. That's also what's cool about Clay earrings. They're all unique. No two pairs will ever be the same. That's all I'm gonna do for the white right now. So I'm going to move my way over this orange. Oop. See, it had been sitting there while so it needs to be warmed up just a bit so it can have that flexibility that I need for rolling. Okay. This was a smaller piece. I used a size similar to this. I don't have quite as much orange. Maybe I can only cut out a little bit of pieces here. Now in between, you may want to clean your space. I've got some weight on here and want to make sure I don't mix that with my orange clinician. Sometimes you might want to check your cookie cutters as well and make sure those that we haven't either oh, my my rollers got a little bit of clay on it. That's true. Like the stainless steel one that was not recommended to me. That's something that I just had in my house and started trying to use. So see what works for you. A lot of people I saw were used in the wooden rollers and it was get stuck a lot, which might get stuck. But it's so easy to peel off just like this. So I don't mind when it gets stuck. It makes it easy to work for me. I don't want it. You can tell already in the quality, but this is my off-brand and this is my skull B. And its feel so different to me. So maybe invest when you really know what you're doing, but I can tell the difference at this time. Okay, I want to make some switch. Okay, and I'm just gonna use a little bit of the orange here because I want to save our for our marbling with my other colors. So I always get nervous to touch them because I have fingerprints and I don't want those on here. So that's where you can use a razor blade, you can use something else. I've just found this to be really easy for me and puts minimal fingerprints on there. Okay, our next step will work on marbling are clay. 5. Step 3: Marbleizing Clay : Okay, I'm going to show you my favorite sort of way to create patterns and designs for polymer clay. And my first one I'm, I love to do is marbling. So I'm going to use more. I'm going to partially my white out into two different pieces, kind of on a similar map, the orange first, see what happens. You're kinda gonna make snakes. What did the same with random gonna portion a little off here and also just so nervous to use all that. I love it so much. Sometimes I just hoard craft supplies instead of actually using them. But Skill Share allows me to feel more comfortable using my spliced. So here we've got three beautiful snakes. So if you tell I have a four-year-old was how I was my terminology is the snakes, we kind of make them together into one piece. And so I'm going to twist by rubbing my hands together. The cow, we learned how to make fire. And then so long as you make a mistake, smaller again. So I can do some twisting. Whoa, look at how cool these colors are. Okay. A lot of times I say I'm making earrings for other people, but I end up keeping them. I am so excited about what this looks like. Ok. So depending on how much marbling one, I liked this, I'm getting a little nervous if I do too much. And one thing that I will lose my white, it's going to become a light orange or a light pink. And so I'm going to start rolling this out because pile like these funky lines, which is my cutters a little bit. Oh my goodness, this is fantastic. Look at these colors. These are wonderful. Some kind of looking for Y pattern. You can make any shape you want. Most important thing is the consistency of your clay. Oh, look how pretty that is. Beautiful. Okay, this might be my favorite ever. Okay, that is a fantastic. Now you have the option of choosing which side you like. I like the marbling. Both. I think I'm gonna start with this side is really fun. Okay, so we've got it to be my sort of cracker texture that I like. And now I like to use we host all of it, but my biggest pieces get the prettiest marbling. So I think this pretty piece right here. Oh, that's a fun area. Yeah. We need to cut that down. So a key with you, cutters as you don't wiggle them as a kid, you know, you put it in there with your Plato and wiggle it. Do not wiggle it cuz you'll lose your shape. Okay, I'm excited about that. That's a funky hearing. Okay. Love it. Now I need another one to match. Again, you'll never have to have the same earrings. So unique. Okay, those are going to be great. We also need some other ones too, so I like to see how many can I get all three colors and a covariation and each shape. Right? And the different colors. So sometimes you may cut them out and then decide, oh, what was the front? I now want to be the back because on the opposite side it does other cool. Thanks. So I don't like that one because it's mostly solid red. And this side, that's really fun to just kind of random careful getting it out. This one's kinda stuck. So sometimes I use these are Kitchen kitchen skewers for grilling. So sometimes these can help me get him out. And gently. Now you see I have a little bit of a hole from pushing it out, but that's where I'm going to put the hole for my earring Luke, anyway, so that's OK. What other shapes? Ok. This one's really fun and he persuaded. And I don't know if there's a college or university that has these as their school colors, but they're really should, because this is a fabulous color palette. Get creative. And at any point, you think you've got all the good pieces out, you can stop, rewrote it and start over, but I'm still trying to decide if I've got all the pieces I want app. Now that I've got my cut pieces, I can rework it so I'm going to warm it back up, get it back together. Don't wanna blame this white too much. I don't want to turn it pink and light orange, but I didn't want some new marbling, maybe some smaller marbling. Look at that. That's beautiful because my favorite thing, it's very therapeutic working with clay, you've got your hands, you've got the color mixing. And my sensory sort of touch to him. Okay, so now I'm going to roll it out again in a little bit of a brain. That is fantastic. Marbling. Cool. Ok. So that's again any better than that. I don't know if it does. I'm sure you can create it in better too, so let me know. Okay, this secures and I'm definitely need to go back to the store and get more of these colors and make this pattern again because this is too fun. Okay? I like this one. Sometimes it's just so hard to pick. Those will be great. Tinker around with triangles. Now, we're making jewelry at this first attempt, but you also can think of what of making key chains, making other short of items, necklace pieces, dependence, a variety of things, and so forth. Make sure you're working in a room where the temperature is around the sixties and your temperature may change how quickly your clay starts hardening or gets really soft. So I'm gonna finish cutting this and then we'll make holes for the jury. 6. Step 4: Adding Jewelry Holes: Okay, the next step is to take all the pieces that we've cut out. And I like to line them up by earrings. So I may have initially designed what I thought would go with each other, but then once I cut them out, I rearrange. So I thought these big statement pieces worked well with these ovals will have the inside shape. It came from my large pieces with the big ovals, super funky. I was going to use these white as a topper for my marbling, but now I love the white on white. And we're going to end up painting these afterwards. Kinda funky, long dangles with a three tier, more moderate, conservative, little to tear my solids here and then these will be studs. So we don't need provide holes for these. So this allows me to know where I need to put my holes or ART jewelry rings. So now I'm sure there are other tools and other tactics that other artists may use, but I love my kitchen skewers. This is what I use to make. I was using the topper of hook my icing bags for frosting cakes, but I found this to be less damaging and make smaller holes that don't destroy my earrings but still allow me to adhere the jewelry to. So without smashing it or adding a lot of fingerprints, you gotta get your hole in there. So see where your hole is gonna go from your top piece to your bottom piece thing. Sure, it goes all the way through. Some mediums will shrink while baking. Polymer clay will not so nice. Whole See how I just barely put the hole in without changing my shapes. So I'm gonna do that with all of these. And then what we're gonna do is come in and fine tune the shapes. This is where we'll get our exact DO knife and see if in all the manipulation and sorting of my shapes or done anything to it. Now these are my studs, so these don't meet holes. Like any medium. There's ideas and suggestions on how to do things that make it work for you. So in the chat, tell me if there's something else you'd like to use for making your holes? I just know that I always have these on hand. They come in packs of about a 100. And so I'm not going to run out. Many times my inventions and innovations have been in from necessity of just needing something in the moment and trying to find what works. And that's what I've done here. And it's my trick to share with you. Now after we bake them, we can decide if and which color rings we wanna put with them. I think with this color, we could do a lot of gold and silver works well. Much variety in designing your killings. Makes it really fun. Customers see a cat, a dog hair on there, so make sure you grab that before it's baked. My dogs always want to be part of my projects too. And you want to make sure you get low so that you can get the ring around there. I mean, if if this one's kind of high, but if I went any higher, That wouldn't be able to really adhere it from down here. And I found that was my problem when I was using 45 size range. And that's why I had to opt out. But maybe you can get closer to the edge of that. I can, you can use some of those other rings. So this is the time where we perfect anything and see if anything needs trim. So I think my triangle here a little bit has lost such shape. If you need to slice off any little piece, you can do it now or you can sand it afterwards. I think we've done a pretty good job keeping the shape and don't get too picky could be here all day. And I like to juice themself the tiny pieces. So just tiny, tiny little salubrious lifestyles give is a little more professional look. So I'm gonna pop these in the oven. I like to put them in the oven at 300 and for ten minutes, some people do 1214. I just like to check on that ten and if it needs to or four more minutes will know. Now the higher-quality clay hardened and a little bit better, the cheaper ones if you cook them for too long, they turn a little yellow. So just watch yours and get comfortable with your climate, your oven, and your clay that you're using. 7. Step 5: Adding Hardware: Now, let's check on that. You see, okay, I don't see any yellowing of these might be perfect. I think they are perfect. So I'm going to let them cool for about two minutes and then we can put the jewelry pieces to them. Now, let's evaluate our creation. So based on those three colors and those small pieces of clay, I was able to create 12 earrings. These are the earrings we created together. And wall of these were baking. I went ahead and made more. So you can see more ideas in cutting and circles and cutting out almost like a Pac-Man shaped to create an additional element, cutting circles and half to make half moons. You've got WHO many variety and options. But as you can tell, the more I worked with that, the tighter the marbling. So we began with this widespread marbling. And the more I rewrote it again and again, you can change the color and it starts to get more paint. But I love all them. So I like to share the good, the bad, and the ugly in my mistakes. So a couple of them, I didn't make the holes quite big enough. So in trying to widen this hold, you could I broke it. So just know that once you've baked it, they are hard as clay, but also fragile. So if your holes aren't big enough and we need to make them bigger. That's where I do recommend this little rotary drill to drill your full and very gently. Not like what I did. But for me it was just a happy accident because Bob Ross would say so. Rather than combining these two, I'm going to add this to my piece up here and make these a two tier hearing rather than a three tier areas. So it all works out. That's why you can design in advance, but you still don't know until after you've evaluated all your pieces. Next up, we're going to add our rings. Now, for time's sake, I will show you how to add the rings to one set of hearings and then I'll show you the completed. So the smaller the hole, the more professional you are hearing will look. But also the more, the harder it will be to get these little rings through. But you squeeze them through. I use my nails to open up, but you can also use pliers and tweezers. I've got long nails which help for jewelry making. And so now you can use your fingers or your pliers to clamp them together as closely as possible. I love that. I chose up gold for these. I thought it just kinda looked very retro. Maybe 19 seventies to go with a goal. Really quick and easy. Make sure they're together. And now I need to glue on the backs. Now I only have silver. I wish I had some gold so that it would look even more professional. But turn them over and get your superglue out. Tiny bit at two different size hearing backs. So make sure that they match. I'm going to let that dry for a couple minutes. I'm going to put the range around the rest of my earrings and I'll show you the final project. 8. Step 6: Optional Finishes: Now these earrings are complete, but you have additional options for other airing styles. So one thing you can do is add mod podge. This one is a matte finish on top, but they also make a semi gloss and a gloss finish if you want your earrings to be sharing here. I think the matte finish is fantastic with these. The clay that I bought was a matte finish. I don't want to keep it a mat finish. Let's say that you bought a matte finish, but you want a gloss. Go ahead and put some mod podge on there also sculpt, he makes a clay gloss. The other thing that you can do that I've played around with is adding nail polish. You can add colors, you can add designs, or just add a clear gloss if you want it shiny as well. So my daughter loves to paint and ad. She adds a lot of glitter to her earrings once they're done and you can paint them. So this is one variation in which I did a splatter paint. Here's a different variation where I painted on the pink, but it looks marbling, but that's actually paint. And then you just may want to keep them solid. This is a solid blue that I really like this blue or you can paint on a design or draw on a design with a Sharpie. So I can't wait to see what you create. Let me now. 9. Conclusion: Whether you chose to go with small earrings or big bold statement pieces, I want to see what you create. The possibilities are endless. All of these were created with that small amount of clay that we began the classwork. So share your results below.