Foray into clay

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my jewelry making supplies, or lack thereof. I’ve mostly been interested in trying out wire jewelry so far, but I’ve not been able to find thicker-gauge soft wire — essential for cool jewelry 😉 — where I live. The only other option is ordering from stores outside my country, and I’m not ready to undergo the hassle of international shipping every N months, and all that waiting for the package to clear Indian customs, with no way of tracking its whereabouts. 🙂

So I decided to look for other types of jewelry-making that I could try out, and this time my choice would be based not only on my interest, but also on easy availability of essential supplies.

Enter Polymer Clay.

My sis already has a sample pack of 20 mostly-earthy-and-pastel colors with her that she’d bought from a domestic company, and she’d made an awesome bowl and some cool coasters with it a long time ago. I, being in my wire-jewelry world, hadn’t given much thought to polymer clay then. But when we talked about my supply issue, and she mentioned polymer clay, I was like “Why haven’t I looked at this yet?” Because I’d definitely seen some cool polymer clay stuff on Pinterest.

So I went through some basic polymer clay videos on YouTube, appropriated my sister’s polymer clay supply (muahaha!) and made these dangle earrings.

First polymer clay dangles

I rolled some gray clay into a sheet, and cut out two rectangles. I stamped some circles on the lower half of the rectangles. I then hand-rolled some white clay into a rope, and gently set the rope on the rectangles, above the stamped area. I poked a hole at the top of each rectangle to let a jump ring through later. I baked the pieces at the recommended temperature.

After the pieces came out of the oven, I applied some prussian blue acrylic paint on the stamped halves of the rectangles, and quickly wiped it off lightly so the paint still stays in the etched areas. Some paint remained on the unetched surface as well, but I do like that it turned out that way. I let the paint dry.

I then applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the pieces, inserted jump rings and added earring findings. Done!

Needless to say, I’m happy and excited about my foray into polymer clay, and I’m buying some tools when my basics get better. (Yes, tools do seem to be available in India. Hurrah for that!) I’m hoping it’ll be a rewarding hobby.

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Hearts bracelet

I made this macramé bracelet using yarn left from my autumn leaf lace top project.

Hearts bracelet

Hearts bracelet

I started out with two cords folded in half, which I made into reverse lark’s head knots around a jump ring pair. I started making symmetrical double half hitch knots from center to sides — I crossed the central cords and used them as carriers to knot the remaining. (This cross-and-knot is what the bracelet rows are mainly made of.)

I added two more cords in the next two rows, while I slowly started to incline the carrier cords more and more, so the two sides eventually made an inverted heart-like ‘/\’.

I continued making outward-moving double half hitch knots. After a few rows, I threaded a metal bead through the two central cords. (I really need more small beads that can fit a macramé cord through them. It’s so difficult to find them where I live — either they’re only wide enough for thin wires, or they’re huge beads.) I knotted the same inverted heart around the bead, leaving the worker cords lax around the bead. Rinse and repeat — a fixed number of plain inverted heart rows, followed by one around a bead.

After a while, I had reached bracelet size, but I guess I had grossly miscalculated the length of cords required, and I had so much of it left. Not enough for another bracelet, though. So I decided to make this piece longer. I can wind the piece around itself, chain a different short piece to its ends, and turn it into a double-loop bracelet. Or I can just add a long-enough chain and turn it into a fancy necklace. There are just so many possibilities, aren’t there? 🙂

I finished the piece by imitating reverse lark’s head knots around another jump ring pair and securing the ends before I snipped them off.

(My first) Stitch markers

Hopping through my favorite knitting blogs — and even on new ones that I’d discover — I’d come across occasional mentions of bead-based stitch markers, with pictures of the cute ornaments. Seeing that I love both yarn and beads, I don’t know why it took me so long to make some of my own. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re not removable? But I’ve even used rings made of scrap yarn for marking, so that’s not it. Well, whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter now because I made a few stitch markers!

Stitch markers

These are real simple ones that just involve stringing combinations of glass beads and seed beads through head pins, making an eye loop and adding a jump ring. That’s all a stitch marker needs, right? Here‘s one of them doing its thing with a shawl that I knit for my mom. I don’t know if I’ll make more anytime soon, but I saw quite a collection of markers in a blog post by Bethany (Orange Swan), and most of these markers don’t have a jump ring in them, so I’m gonna try my hand at least a few.

When I showed these to my sis, she was mildly disappointed that they weren’t earrings like she’d first thought, so I went ahead and made some earrings to match. Happy, Sis? 😀

Stitch marker earrings

Beaded partial necklace

My first attempt at bead crocheting resulted in a beautiful bracelet and some very painful fingers. 😦 I’d wanted to try my hand at Kumihimo instead, but I haven’t managed to buy a disc yet. While I’m thinking if I should make a DIY Kumihimo disc, I decided to give bead crocheting one more shot — this time, with cotton crochet thread instead of generic nylon wire.Partial beaded necklaceI tested out the pattern with a few color combinations before finalizing this one. The white seed beads are non-uniform and slightly larger than the others, which made me almost not use them, but it gives the piece a bit of a rustic and handmade look, so I decided to keep them after all. I like this look now. 🙂

The pattern is a 9-bead repeat of blue(3)-white(2)-brown(3)-white(1). It is broken in the middle by a 9-row single-color band of metallic silver seed beads. That makes it around 40 rows of the base pattern on each half, resulting in a partial necklace slightly longer than 16cm (about 6.5″).

To finish the piece — At each end, I used gold wire to make an eye loop that went through the visible crochet stitches and strung a bead cap through the remaining wire. I made another eye loop outside the bead cap to hold the cap in place. I then attached a large jump ring through the outer eye loop, through which I strung black rope to make the partial piece ‘complete’.

Paper bead bunch keychain

Yay, paper beads are back in my jewelry-making!

Paper bead bunch keychainI spent some time recently making paper beads. I used some junk-mail paper for these. I didn’t really have any sizes in mind, I just wanted to make two sets of beads — one set smaller than the other.

I cut rectangles from the paper, 4 of the same dimensions, and 2 of smaller dimensions. I folded each rectangle diagonally and cut it along the diagonal, giving me 8 large and 4 small right-angled triangles. I rolled them up into simple tapered beads, applying glue at regular intervals to keep the rolls snug.

When the bead bases were made, I painted gradients of acrylic colors onto them. Mod podge followed when the paint dried. The beads were now ready!

I then strung these paper beads and various seed beads through head pins, making eye loops at the top of the headpins. These formed individual units of the bead-bunch.

Finally, for the trunk of the bunch that extends into a chain, I joined small jump rings. While I was adding each link, I also added the bead-bunch units, larger ones at the beginning / bottom. That went — open jump ring, insert it into the topmost jump ring of the chain-in-progress, insert bead-bunch unit #1 from one end of the open jump ring, insert bead-bunch unit #2 from the other end of the open jump ring, close jump ring, repeat.

I just love this keychain! It’s so fun-looking and so light! Needless to say, I’ve already swapped out the earlier chain in my car keys for this one. 🙂

Torus pendant

I have a few of these metallic-silver tori in my stash, and had a few ideas on using them. This is the first of the ideas brought to fruition —

Torus pendant

Torus pendant

I used a 22-gauge black wire for the embellishment, simply wrapping it around the surface of the torus. Every 4 turns, I added a blue seed bead to the wire, fitting the bead at the outer circumference of the torus. I’d originally planned to cover about half the surface of the torus, but I miscalculated the length of the wire needed, and it came to a little more than a quarter of the torus. But no worries, I like how it looks. 🙂

The torus is large and does not have any clasp of its own, so I made one — I added four more wraps on the opposite corner using the same wire, looping the centermost wraps through a jump ring.

The pendant is neither too light nor too heavy, and it works well with short chains, or longer ones that already contain some embellishments. I clicked only one picture, though —
Torus pendantI’ve been trying to banish this insistent idea of making earrings with these, because they’re going to be just too large. Making a couple of them a part of a long chain is another idea I have. Which jewelry item pops into your mind for a torus like this?

My very own asymmetric long chain necklace

Oh yay! My first attempt at an asymmetric necklace is successful, I must say.

Asymmetric Long Chain Necklace

Asymmetric Long Chain Necklace

The necklace is 90cm (36″) long overall. I started out wanting to make something just like this, and this is one of the few times the result of my work resembles whatever is in my head when I begin.

How I made this

I cut out 5 lengths of copper-colored flexible wire, each measuring about 25cm (10″.) I gathered them into a bunch and secured one end of it using a crimp end. Then I started working with each wire individually, adding beads and securing them. I used a whole lot of assorted beads for this — seed beads, bugle beads, glass beads — of different colors. I strung one or more beads into the wire, and added a simple knot. I repeated the stringing and knotting until about 3-4cm (1.5″) was left in each wire. To make it look more random, I crisscrossed the wires, and loosely plaited them, and wound some wires around some others — anything that would make the piece look unstructured. I then picked up the free ends of all those wires, strung more beads into each — no knots this time — and carefully secured this bunch again using a crimp end. There weren’t any extras for me to snip off, but you could do that now if you have wires showing. This completed the assorted-beads portion of the necklace.Asymmetric Long Chain NecklaceNext was the jump rings section. I connected medium-sized jump rings into a chain until I was happy with its length, and connected one end to the crimp end of the beads segment that I just completed.

For the long chain, I used some shiny black yarn from my stash, and strung some brown flat beads and black spherical beads at some distance from their neighbors. To secure the beads, I added simple knots around them. The knots kinda show because the yarn stretched when I finally wore the necklace; the stretching tightened the knots, pushing them away from the beads. But I don’t mind that very much this time. 🙂

I used crimp ends again to secure the ends of the long chain. I attached the earlier jump ring section to one of the crimp ends, and used a small jump ring to connect the other end to the one from the assorted beads segment. (Remember, only one end of the assorted-beads segment was connected to something else. Yes, to the jump rings section, see, I knew you’d remember! 🙂 )

That completed the chain. I tried wearing it a number of different ways, and I like how it looks…

Asymmetric Long Chain NecklaceAnd here’s a (post-processing-effects-added) photo of a happy me wearing it –Asymmetric Long Chain NecklaceSooo… what do you think of the chain?