Kaleidoscopic Earrings

Sometimes, an idea strikes you, and regardless of whether you know how to execute it or not, it persists. That’s just what happened this month when a concept for a pair of earrings popped into my mind, which would work for not one but two challenges! I didn’t know if it would work out, but I did know I had to try. So these are the earrings I made using polymer clay, and they’re mostly true to how I envisioned them in my mind. That means happy times!

Kaleidoscopic Polymer Clay Earrings | Anita

This project also marks my attempting canes after a long hiatus from when I tested the caning waters. I used simple colors and simple patterns for the cane – nothing too ambitious until I get better at it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The cane turned out pretty usable, but there’s some distortion from the reduction, and I’ll need to figure out how to avoid that. The slicing also resulted in some distortion, and I learned later that I should let it cool well before I start slicing. (Lesson to remember for the future.)

As for the making of the beads – I tried out a different hollow bead concept since I knew I was going to use cane slices on the bead. I covered large, metallic beads in brown-black Premo clay – also ensuring that I poked holes in the clay to match the ones in the underlying beads. I baked the beads, and then sliced them into hemispheres so I could remove the metallic beads. I then used some liquid Sculpey to adhere the halves back together, also sticking the cane slices in a kaleidoscopic pattern along the join using more liquid clay. Another round of baking, and the beads were done!

Well not fully done, of course. I wanted to glaze them, and tried out some Vintaj Glaze for the first time. I loved it when I initially applied it, but after a day or two, I find that it’s a bit sticky, so I guess it’s not viable.

Anyway, continuing with the earrings – now I only had to add in other beads into the mix. I used beads and headpins to make simple embellishments revolving around the color scheme of the focal beads, put them all together, and voila! we have super-lightweight earrings.

With these earrings, I’m participating in these challenges –

  • Art Bead Scene Studio’s June monthly challenge, which features an oil painting, Les Ibis, by Jean Metzinger. Jean’s role in Cubism inspired me to go with the cane-based concept, and the colors and the nature theme definitely contributed.

ABS Challenge June 2018 Inspiration

  • Earrings Everyday’s We’re All Ears challenge, which features Kaleidoscopes as the inspiration for June. And who hasn’t been mesmerized by those? ๐Ÿ™‚ I used mirroring of cane slices for the pattern on the beads, inspired by those in kaleidoscopes. I’m also pretty excited since it’s my first time participating in this challenge! ๐Ÿ™‚ This is a blog hop, so do check out the entries from other participants by clicking on the Linky Tools link below.

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Heart earrings

Okay, it’s Valentine’s day again. I’m not a fan of special days that are invariably associated with many expectations of gifts and much pressure to have a great day. ๐Ÿ˜› Anyway, here are a pair of heart earrings that I made. Not with this day in mind, they just seemed the easiest stencil to use from a Sculpey template that I bought recently. Until I found that working with them was actually kinda difficult. But I persevered, and well, here they are:

Heart earrings from polymer clay

Heart earrings from polymer clay

For the base, I used dark chocolate colored Premo clay with a reddish tinge, which also has red and silver glitter in it. It needed some hand conditioning along with machine conditioning, because too much machine conditioning can eventually push quite a bit of the glitter to the edges.

Cutting out the hearts was the easy part. My knife did slide too much in the clay because I’d conditioned the clay so well that it was like butter I was clumsy, but I managed to smooth over those nicks later. I cut out a slice from a pinkish colorway cane that I’d made quite a while ago, and laid it on a part of one heart. After many attempts at making the heart puffy, and ending up with as many bad bruises on the clay, I decided that puffing can wait for a shape with all smooth edges, and that I’d stop trying it with a heart with a sharp angle at its top. (On second thought, the bruising was also probably because the cane was Sculpey III, which is super-soft.)

So I went back to the drawing board. I cut pieces from the cane-embellished heart, leaving out the unrepairable bruised areas. I made another heart, arranged the cane pieces on the new heart pair, and flattened them. In the middle of each, I embedded some seed beads. I laid the hearts on a curved surface and baked them. (Yup, a consolation for not making the hearts puffy.)

After baking, some seed beads fell off on their own, and I pried the rest off. I like how they’ve left traces of their insides on the clay, like they’re not truly gone. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then, it was time to try out my first ever sanding. I used coarser (400) to finer (2000) grits and wet-sanded for a while, and buffed the pieces for some more time. Yes! A sheen, finally! (The cane was Sculpey III, and it apparently doesn’t like to turn shiny. Always something new to learn, and that’s what makes it fun for me.) I might eventually buy a machine for sanding and buffing, but for now, I’ll just rely on my arms.

To finish the pair, I connected them to ear wires with jump rings as usual.

Bright Summer Jewelry

My next project from PCA 2017. The tutorial itself involves creating a pendant with canes and gradients. The pendant looks awesome, but if I do make one, I’m doubtful if I (or my sis) would wear it, because it is a tad large for our liking. I really liked the shapes and colors in the piece, though, so I thought I’d make tinier versions from parts of the project. And here’s the result.

Bright Summer Jewelry

Bright Summer Jewelry

Love these tiny things!

Trying to use a gradient for the spheres in these little pieces would not even show the gradient colors much, so instead, I just used glass beads for them.

Shaping the crescents was a bit tricky, but the results are not too shabby. After my last project, I’d thought of trying out sanding for my next project, but the curves in the tiny crescents made it kinda difficult, and I ended up not sanding. I did buff the pieces for quite a while, although I admit it doesn’t make much difference without the sanding preceding it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next project, hopefully…

Clay buttons

Button 1

Polymer clay button For this button, I started off by making a partially-done swirly lentil bead. I then rolled a thin strand of dark green clay, cut it into 6 equal pieces, and arranged them on the bead by gently pressing them onto it. I then continued to swirl the bead until the green strands, in the center, merged a bit with the green of the main bead. I then poked holes before I baked it.

I like how the strands are very distinct at the edges of the button, and grow less distinct as they near the center.

Button 2

Polymer clay button For this button, I used a cane that I made. I started off by making a marbled medallion from cream and brown colors. (And realized how easy marbling is! ;) ) I then cut two slices from the cane, and arranged them on the medallion for a more or less organic look. I rolled and pressed the medallion enough to make the cane surfaces lie at the same level as the medallion. I then poked holes before I baked it.

As for this button, the look is what wins me over!

These buttons are so much fun to make — and so many possibilities, too — that at this rate, I think we’re gonna end up with too many buttons and too few items to use them in. What can I say, one can never have too many buttons, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Swirly lentil bead… button

So I made a decent cane.

I didn’t own decent claying tools though, and found that slicing across the cane with a razor blade makes the cross-section pretty distorted and untidy. And that means I went and ordered a flexible blade, a roller (again, I was finding my makeshift roller inadequate), cutters and silicone molds. That’s right, I’m beginning to get serious about polymer clay. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, I wasn’t going to sit around waiting for the tools to arrive. I decided to practice making a swirly lentil bead since that doesn’t require many tools. So I rolled a ball of green clay, and got to work practicing the swirling hand movements.

When I became comfortable with the hand movements, I decided to add some actual swirl to the bead. I cut slices from the cane that I’d made — and yes, they got distorted and untidy — and placed them on the lower half of the bead, and continued swirling it. After a while, it turned into this.

Swirly lentil bead button

Swirly lentil bead button

I’d made it slightly big, thinking I’ll make it into a pendant. I thought of some ideas for the pendant, which included a macramรฉ addition, and I pierced three holes near the top for that. I baked it, and set about adding the macramรฉ section. Sadly, it didn’t work out, and I undid all the knots.

After a lot of thinking and looking around for a different jewelry use for the pendant, and not finding any, I thought it could be a button instead — a decorative button though, due to the weird positioning of the holes on it.

In fact, I don’t think any of the clays in my sample clay pack will become jewelry, mostly because the limited number of colors in it don’t work for my clothes or those of my sis. I’m thinking that all my practicing with this sample pack might result in buttons — ones with normal placement of holes, of course. No worries though, sis and I have lots of uses for buttons in our tote bags, purses and cushion covers. One can never have enough buttons! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Tiny flower earrings and pendant

My mom had received tiny glass bangles at a ceremony — they’re barely 2-3 cm (an inch) wide. They were obviously not made for wearing, but the uneven thickness of the glass made them look very artsy. With my newly developed interest in polymer clay, I had just the idea for using them in some jewelry.

In related news, I recently made my first cane with some leftover gray and pink clays from a (disastrous) project that I talked about previously. I didn’t have any particular design in mind, I just wanted to practice reducing the cane and seeing if the original pattern stays recognizable. The pattern did change, and I need a lot more practice to get to the stage that I see in tutorials, but this cane is obviously not wasted. (Is anything ever wasted in clay land?) I cut out slices from it for the jewelry I had in mind.

Remember, in my last post, I’d discovered that Sculpey III clay, which I’m using, turns out brittle when used for thin pieces? Well, I used that wisdom this time. If you’re thinking I made something thick, well, you’re in for a surprise. I went even thinner! ๐Ÿ˜€ What can I say? I trust my creative instincts, and it pays off sometimes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I cut out slices from the cane, and stuck them to one another like independent-but-kinda-joined petals, and to the backs of three of the bangles. One of them would become a pendant, and I worked on that first to get a feel for this stuff. The other two would make earrings, and, feeling confident from my practicing with the pendant ๐Ÿ˜› I made them look mostly alike. (Phew!) I shaped all of them so they would bulge slightly outward.

Then came the baking. I placed tiny paper balls under the petals so they would retain their bulges. And I used my newly-made foil-lined paper box to protect the them from temperature fluctuations. I baked for about 10 mins tops because they’re so thin, and they turned out alright when I took them out of the oven, yay! Maybe I can stop feeling apprehensive about the possibility of burning things now.

I grabbed some jump rings and findings. (Looks like I don’t have blackish rings and findings anymore, and neither does the online store I usually shop at. Time to look around.) I carefully added jump rings to all three pieces, and then earring findings to two of them. Ta daa!!

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower earrings

Tiny flower earrings

Given the fragile nature of all the parts that make these jewelry pieces, I don’t know how long they’ll last. I did apply copious amounts of glue to the backs, and since earrings and pendants don’t undergo rough use, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Not all my fingers, though. ๐Ÿ˜‰