Introduction: How to Make Polymer Clay Earrings for Beginners
I (Malin) am not a very crafty person, but in the spring of 2020, when the Coronavirus started to hit hard, I needed something to keep myself busy. I looked online for some ideas and stumbled across the Instagram page of a friend of mine. She makes beautiful polymer clay earrings and sells them on Etsy. I immediately felt the urge to buy all her designs but quickly realized that I did not have the finances to do so. Since I was also bored, I decided that I would make these earrings myself. Then, college started back up, and I had no longer time for crafting, as it takes about 2-3 hours to make these earrings. Luckily, we were supposed to write instructables in our English class, and therefore, I seized the opportunity to write about making polymer clay earrings. I teamed up with my project partner Matt, who had never created these earrings before. As you can see, we are all beginners here, and together we want to teach you how to make your very self-designed polymer clay earrings.
Safety waring: Crafting polymer clay earrings involves baking the clay in the oven as well as the use of sharp tools and super glue. Children should therefore only craft these earrings in the supervision of an adult. This is recommended for children ages 10 & up.
Polymer Clay (14 g total)
1 Acrylic Clay Roller (around 8 inches long, ¾ inch thick)
2 Open Jump Earrings (9 mm in diameter)
1 Long Nose Pliers
1 bottle of Super Glue
1 Copy Paper for each Color
2 Stud Posts with 2 Stoppers (Post diameter: 3/8 inch)
4 Craft Sticks (each 6 inch long, 1/16th inch thick)
1 X-Acto Knife
1 sheet of Parchment Paper
2 Cookie Cutters (¾ and 1 inch in diameter)
1 Safety Pin or Toothpick
1 Sealed Plastic Bag (for leftover Clay)
1 piece of Plastic Wrap (big enough to cover Finger)
1 small bottle of Mineral/ Baby Oil
1000-7000 grit Sandpaper (1 small sheet of each one, 3 x 2 inches in size)
1 -2 tsp. Corn Starch
3 Cups cold Water with 1 Teaspoon of liquid Hand Soap
***See attached listed for online buying options, optional items not included**
Step 1: Clay Preparation (Complete This Step for Each Color)
Note: You only need to follow step 1 if your clay is too moist and sticky. The goal is to dry the clay out so that it is easier to work with it. If material seems to be too dry, you can add mineral or baby oil to clay.
A. Roll out polymer clay with acrylic clay roller on the bottom half of a sheet of copy paper.
Note: The amount of clay you use is up to you (1 tablespoon = approximately 2 earrings of our design). Clay does not shrink or expand once you bake it and you can preserve unused clay for later use by placing it in a sealed plastic bag, which will keep it from drying out.
B. Fold the paper in half and lightly press onto clay (Figure 1).
C. Let sit for 30 minutes minimum. Notice in Figure 1 how the paper has absorbed some of the moisture of the clay.
Step 2: Set Up Your Work Area
A. Place parchment paper on a flat surface.
B. Lightly cover parchment paper with around 1 teaspoon of corn starch (Figure 2).
Note: Only use corn starch if clay is still somewhat moist. It prevents stickiness.
C. Remove clay from sheet of paper.
D. Roll clay into a ball with your hands.
Note: If you use multiple colors and you want to blend them, roll them together and make a ball. Use your fingers to mix up the colors for your desired pattern.
E. Place clay ball on parchment paper
F. Place 2 sets of craft sticks on each side of the clay, each set containing 2 craft sticks stacked on top of each other (Figure 2).
Note: The craft sticks will help you to roll out the clay evenly, because you will place the clay roller on top of them as you roll out the clay (Figure 3). 2 craft sticks make up around 1/8th of an inch in thickness, so this is how thick your finished earring pieces are going to be.
Step 3: Use Cookie Cutters and X-Acto Knife to Cut Clay
A. Roll out clay with acrylic roller on top of the set of craft sticks (Figure 3).
Note: If desired pattern is not apparent, ball up clay again to move material around.
B. Apply corn starch to cookie cutters, to prevent clay from sticking to the metal.
Note: if clay is dry enough, skip step 3 B.
C. Place desired cookie cutter(s) on to flattened clay (Figure 4).
D. Gently press cookie cutter(s) through clay.
E. Use X-Acto knife to cut from the edge of the material to the cookie cutter (Figure 4). Remove surrounding clay with hands.
Step 4: Design and Bake Your Clay
A. Lightly push clay with finger out of cookie cutter onto parchment paper. Be careful as you do not want to deform the clay.
Note: You can cover your finger with plastic wrap to avoid fingerprints on clay. Small diameter clay pieces can be removed from cookie cutter by placing your lips around the cookie cutter and blowing the clay out.
B. Repeat steps 3 A to 4 A for second piece of earring.
Note: If you are creating the same earring design as we did, by now you should have 2 pieces of the finished earring. The smaller, upper (¾ inch in diameter) part (Figure 6) and the bigger, lower earring part (1 inch in diameter) that will hang from the stud earring in the end (Figure 5). Also remember that we have 2 ears, so we need to make each earring twice.
C. Use a safety pin or toothpick to create a hole in both pieces of the clay earrings (Figure 5 and 6).
Note: Make sure it is close to the edge and large enough for the open jump rings to fit through, so you can connect the 2 pieces later.
D. Place clay pieces on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, equally spaced apart (Figure 7). If clay is placed too close to one another, it might stick to other pieces and harden together during the baking process.
Note: Lighter colors may discolor in oven, apply tin foil on top to reduce color variation.
E. Bake material in oven, Cure clay according to directions of clay manufacturer.
Note: You may need to convert the oven temp from Celsius to Fahrenheit, or vice versa.
F. Remove from oven and let cool for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Step 5: Finish Your Earrings
A. Optional: If the surface of the clay is uneven, smooth out any bumps using 1000 grit sandpaper. Mix 3 cups of cold water with 1 teaspoon of liquid hand soap and dip a small part of the sandpaper in the water before you rub it on the product.
Note: Do not use 120 grit sandpaper! It will ruin your product as it is too rough. Only use 1000-7000 grit but start with the 1000 grit and work yourself up until you use the finest sandpaper (7000 grit) for best results.
B. Use long nose pliers to install open jump rings through holes of both earring parts to connect them (Figure 8).
C. Apply super glue to flat side of smaller earring pieces (in our case the black one) and press stud post onto clay (Figure 9). Cure glue according to directions of glue manufacturer.
D. Place stopper on stud post. Repeat step 5 A- 5 D with second earring.
Congratulations! You have now created your very own polymer clay earrings. The finished product should look like our very first picture. At this time, you can make any earring design, or maybe you can make something completely different. Some people make miniature figurines, necklaces, charms, or even refrigerator magnets. What are you going to do? Let us know what your polymer clay creations look like or write us a comment about what you think of our project!