A Beginner’s Guide to Polymer Clay Earrings
I was feeling burnt out at the beginning of this year, as I’m sure many of us were. I wanted to pick up a creative hobby that I could do to decompress just for the joy of it. I decided to try my hand at making polymer clay earrings, and I can’t tell you how satisfying and therapeutic it is! It’s also been really fun to pull out when friends come over and make earrings together. Recently, I put on a clay earring making party for some friends, and we had such a blast! A few of them asked for a list of supplies so they can make more themselves, so here is a run down of all of my favorite tools and resources for you. (Quick Disclosure: Some of these links happen to be affiliate links which means when you click the link to purchase something on this page, it doesn’t add any additional cost, but I may receive a commission from the retailers for sharing this with you. Which is great, because I was going to share it with you anyway!)
How to Make Polymer Clay Earrings
Here’s a super simple way to get started with your first set of polymer clay earrings! Watch the video below for a step-by-step walkthrough that I used as my tutorial when I was learning.
Choose a simple design. Something with simple shapes and solid colors is a good place to start. You can look at my pinterest board for some inspiration! https://www.pinterest.com/rachellaurentenney/polymer-clay/
Open your clay from the packaging and begin to work the clay with your hands. Polymer clay has particles it it. In massaging it, you are mixing those particles so that the clay bakes properly.
Once the clay is warmed, you can begin rolling it through your pasta machine. I use mine on the #1 setting at first and once my clay is conditioned (warmed up and pliable), I graduate it to the #2 thickness setting. When folding your clay, always run it through the pasta machine crease first so as to let any air bubbles out the top.
Lay your clay onto a glass or tile surface. I just took a piece of glass out of a random picture frame I wasn’t using and duct taped it to a TV tray table we have in our living room.
Now it’s time to cut out your shapes! You can use small house hold objects like spice jar lids to cut circles, but cutters designed for polymer clay have sharper edges that give you a better result (you dont end up with slightly mishappen edges)
Use a clay blade to pick your shapes up off the glass and cut your holes for your jump rings (the connecting rings between pieces). I like to use the small brown circle cutter in the collection linked below. Your clay will be pretty strong once baked, so make those holes close to the edge. Also, make sure your holes go all the way through to the back of your earrings. You don’t want partial or super tiny holes.
This is a good time to gently smooth any edges on your shapes that are ragged. This will mean you can have little or no sanding later!
Lay your shapes face up on a piece of paper on top of a baking sheet.
If you are attaching posts to the backs of your earrings, do that now by flipping those pieces face down on the paper and putting a small dollop of sculpey oven bake adhesive to the earring. Put your post on the dollop and put an additional dollop on top of the post and spread with a toothpick for extra hold. Make sure to center your post when you’re all done.
Bake your earrings at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. You’ll want to use an over thermometer for this because ovens can read a temperature and be 10 or 20 degrees off. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes or until cool to the touch, and then assemble them using pliers and jump rings. Put on cardstock or package to give as gifts!
Up Level Your Earring Game
Once you’ve mastered simple earrings, use these techniques to add some more interest!
Use a texture sheet to add a texture to your clay (see the links below for my favorites!)
Use an embosser or debosser stamp to stamp a simple design onto your clay
Paint dots, stripes, or other deigns on your earrings before baking using acryllic paint.
Create a slab. There are so many techniques for this. Here’s a good tutorial to start with! https://youtu.be/TH7zCtx82kI
I have only used Sculpey brand clay because cheaper clays can produce poor results. There are a few other trusted brands like Fimo or Cernit, but Sculpey is the go-to in the clay world. Be careful to avoid Sculpey III clay because it’s chemically different, and stick with Premo or Soufflé.
Sculpey Premo https://www.sculpey.com/20-premo-sculpey
Sculpey Soufflé https://www.sculpey.com/products/sculpey-souffle
Here are the tools that are necessities in my book- Small Circle Cutters https://amzn.to/37quSWW
Oven Bake Adhesive https://www.sculpey.com/products/oven-bake-clay-adhesive-2-fl-oz Oven Thermometer https://amzn.to/3w0mtUa Earring Posts and Backs https://amzn.to/3vWnL2G Earring Posts (Additional Style) https://amzn.to/3KB2BLu Pliers to close jump rings (If you have some in your tool box, use those!) https://amzn.to/3t68quv
Helpful or Fun Things
Circle Cutters https://www.sculpey.com/products/premo-graduated-cutter-set-circle Gold Leaf https://amzn.to/3vXZqJT
Texture Rollers or Texture Sheets (The ones I bought are no longer available, but these are similar!) https://www.etsy.com/listing/934897675/banana-leaves-texture-sheet https://www.etsy.com/listing/716536865/krfl-015-fine-line-acrylic-texture https://www.etsy.com/listing/885735808/krfl-024-wacky-weave-fine-line-acrylic https://www.etsy.com/listing/1022648368/peacock-clay-texture-rollerpolymer-clay Earring Cardstock and Packaging https://amzn.to/3hZjvY2
Debossing Stamps https://www.etsy.com/listing/1023121184/polymer-clay-debossing-stamp-botanical https://www.etsy.com/listing/885307398/polymer-clay-debossing-stamp-raised-clay https://www.etsy.com/listing/1033108097/flower-9-embossing-stamp-for-polymer
You can use acrylic paint to paint designs on your earrings as well! You can get Acrylic paint at Walmart for under a dollar, along with cheap paintbrushes to do designs like the black lines or dots (like the ones in the picture above).
If you decide to make clay earrings your new hobby, I think you are going to really love it! I’m not typically a super crafty person, but I truly love both the process and the finished product. The earrings are surprisingly light, making them easy and comfortable to wear all day!