I love creating jewelry that makes other jewelry makers cock their heads, squint their eyes and say, “how did you do that?” Crystal Clay is one of those mediums that people are surprised by over and over again. Me included!
There is something about this look that I’m just in love with. It feels a wee bit elegant. A wee bit funky. A wee bit artsy. A wee bit romantic. I wee bit organic. A wee bit hip. Maybe it is all of these things. Regardless, it is a fun technique to explore for creating a wee bit of jewelry.
Here is a tutorial and a video showing how these pieces were created.
Needle Nose Pliers
Prepare Ribbon Ends:
1. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to open up the center channel in the Ribbon End. Poke your needle nose pliers into the gap and pry to open the Ribbon End even wider. This will create more of a gap to insert the Crystal Clay.
Mixing Crystal Clay:
2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the handling and mixing of the Crystal Clay. While wearing gloves, pinch off two equal sized balls the size of large blueberries of Part A and Part B and blend together fully until the clay is no longer marbled and uniform in color.
You have approximately 90-120 minutes of working time before the clay starts to harden, so take your time. Once the clay is thoroughly mixed, remove your gloves to make it easier to work with the clay.
Shaping And Inserting Crystal Clay into Ribbon End:
3. Roll the mixed Crystal Clay in the palms of your hands until smooth and round. Any creases in the clay will be more challenging to smooth out later, so roll until the clay is nice and smooth.
4. Once your ball of Crystal Clay is nice and smooth, start to shape the ball of clay into a flat patty with your fingers. It might take a bit of playing to get the shape that you want, but you have plenty of time to work with the clay before it starts to harden. The width of your piece is going to be the width of your Ribbon End. You won’t want the depth of the clay to be more than the channel width of the Ribbon End opening. If you have way too much clay, you can pinch off the excess and start the process of rolling it into a round ball and patting it into a flat patty all over again.
5. Once you have the shape that you desire, it is time to insert the clay into the Ribbon End’s channel opening. I find it helpful to slightly pinch down the very top edge of the clay, making it easier to insert the clay into the channel.
6. Start to insert the Crystal Clay patty into the open end of the Ribbon End. Slide the clay down the center channel of the Ribbon End until it is fully flush side-to-side with the full length of the Ribbon End. Don’t worry about closing the open end of the Ribbon End until the Crystal Clay is fully cured and hard to the touch.
7. Start to sculpt the Crystal Clay into your finished shape. Pinch off any excess Crystal Clay and continue to shape the clay with your fingertips until you have the shape that you want. Take your time. Use a wet-wipe to remove any Crystal Clay off of the Ribbon End. Once that stuff hardens, it is like cement to remove.
Texturizing & Colorizing with Clay Squishers & Mica Powers:
8. Select your Clay Squisher design of choice. Using a pair of scissors to cut the Clay Squisher pad so you can easily access the section of the texturing surface that you like. If you would like to have an impression on the front and backsides of the clay, cut out two Clay Squisher designs. The example used in this tutorial is from the Clay Squisher Japan.
9. Use a Q-Tip to apply some PearlEx Mica Powders to the surface to the Clay Squisher. PearlEx Mica Powder will create visual interest and highlights to the clay. The Mica Powder will also help the clay from sticking to the surface of the Clay Squisher while making your impression.
10. Place one of the Clay Squishers designs face up onto the edge of your work surface. Place the Ribbon End filled with Crystal Clay onto the Clay Squisher with the Ribbon End part hanging off the edge. Place the design of the Clay Squisher onto the top of the Crystal Clay, making a sandwich.
11. Press evenly on the Clay Squisher Sandwich. Peel away the Clay Squishers from the front and back of your Ribbon End Pendant to inspect impression results. If you aren’t happy with your impression, use a wet wipe to remove some of the Mica Powder. You can either remove the clay from the Ribbon End and start the process again, or you can use your fingers to gentle reshape the Crystal Clay until the undesired impression is no longer visible.
12. If there are areas where you would like to apply more PearlEx Mica powders, use a Q-tip to lightly apply more color onto the Crystal Clay. You can also use a wet-wipe to rub away the PearlEx Mica Powder, giving it a subtle look.
Add Bling (Rhinestone Chain):
13. To add some bling to your Ribbon End Pendant, measure and cut a piece of Rhinestone Cup Chain. I like to make sure that I’ve cut the extra little bit of metal that is retracting in between the cups. To do this, try to make the metal piece show itself and snip it with a pair of Flush Cutters. Lay the measured and cut Rhinestone Stone Cup Chain along the top edge of the Crystal Clay and press gently but firmly to embed it into the clay.
14. If you want to dangle an item off of the bottom of the Ribbon End Pendant, use a toothpick to create a hole. Make sure the hole isn’t too far up that you won’t be able to use a jump ring to connect your additional dangle bits.
Curing & Clean Up:
15. Lay your uncured and therefore soft and bendable Ribbon End Pendant on a section of a Zip-Lock or plastic bag with the Ribbon End section of the pendant hanging off the edge of the table. Let cure for a minimum of 2 hours. Your piece will be firm, but it will continue to cure over the next 24 hours.
16. Wait until your pendant is fully cured before closing the open flap of the Ribbon End. To close, use a pair of needle nose pliers to slightly bend down the open end of the Ribbon End. Use the edge of a table to press the flap completely closed. Dang! No photo of this step! It is the video below!
If you would like to create a glossy look to your Ribbon End Pendant, you can do so by either painting on a coat of Nunn Design Sealant or pour a coat of Nunn Design 2-Part Resin over the surface. I love both looks!
Watch the Video!
Still need to see more? Take a look at this video I shot with Beadaholique last year.
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