I’m going off topic today. I like to do that on occasion – if someone I read on a knitting blog hadn’t one day started talking about spinning and dyeing wool, I’m sure I never would have gotten into it, and I really enjoy it. So, here’s something I’ve been doing the past few weekends. It may be new for you, or you may be an expert at it already and much better at it than me – in any case, this will be my one and only post on polymer clay roses for jewelry!
So easy! You make them out of clay, then stick them in the oven. They turn into a plastic that my clumsy self has already dropped on the floor and happily found they didn’t break! (At least not on my first dropping – I’m not pushing it.)
Once you make the roses its up to your creativity how you turn them into jewelry -stick wires through them, wrap petals around old posted earrings, etc. I learned how to make the polymer clay roses with this video by makoccino:
The only thing I did differently on these from the video is that I didn’t glaze them to make them shiny, and on many I used white clay to blend the colors gradually so the flowers could be whiter at the base and deeper colors at the petal ends.
Making blended colors to resemble real roses: I did the blending by making 3 balls, 3 different shades- a whiter shade, and medium shade and the shade for the ends of the petals. You only need white clay and the color of your choice to achieve this. I then rolled each of the 3 shades into a snake and pressed them together. If you cut your snakes and stack them and squish them, (always keeping the same shades on top of each other), it gradually blends into a clay that changes color slowly. (Sometimes I didn’t bother to blend, just left the color separated before making petals, you can see this on some of them.)
My biggest challenge has been ending up with earrings that stick out too far. Here’s what happened and what I did to fix it.
These solid color studs are done like the video, but instead of cutting off the flower and gluing onto a flat earring, I wrapped the petals around some old dingy studs that I had gotten for cheap when I was 15. The method in the video is better! I did use the same trick from the video, using a knife to cut it shorter and press it in around the base of the earring to try to make the flower stick out from my head less. But this was only partly successful, they do still stick out too far, and I don’t really want to wear these. The smallest stud ones (white with leaves) in the top photo are ok. Live and learn, I will try to saw these off at the base and see if that helps.
This necklace sticks out quite a lot too, but I like it. It sticks out so much I got stabbed in the chin when I sneezed! Bit of a surprise! But again, I didn’t manage to break it, even slamming my head into it, so they are a little tougher than they look. I made the rose and leaves, and the two beads on each side out of clay, then just wrapped wire in random ways to make the rest of the necklace. The leaf is just a piece of clay pressed flat and cut with a knife into a leaf shape, then the end of it is rolled into a snake and used to wrap around the flower for attaching the leaves.
This was a bright royal blue and fuchsia before I baked it, but this blue turned into more of a navy after baking.
Making a leaf shape with a rolled snake on the end to wrap around the rose. This is the back side. I might attach this wire to one of the barettes.
Below is the process of the rose making – The 3 tools on the left are useful for wire cutting and wrapping, and are sold as a set and inexpensive at walmart. Most of the wire also comes from there, and the clay can be bought at a craft store. I use Premo! clay. Its kind of like paint, you can blend colors together, so you don’t need a ton of colors, just black, white, and a couple of your favorite shades. You can see a glob of green clay for leaves (near Earth on the mat) which I made by blending white, aqua and a little yellow.
I have a selection of old dingy earrings (below) from the 90’s that I no longer wear to which I planned to glue roses. To help fix the problem of the roses sticking out, I cut some of them off like shown in the video and glued them onto these dangly earrings. It’s easier to cut them if you let them sit for a few minutes after you are done making them. When they get less warm, they get a little less soft. You can see those finished in the top photo. Here I show a petal on the mat, white at the bottom and a deeper purple for the outside of the petals. The mat is a child’s place mat, and helps protect the table, and that is the foil pan I bake the clay in. I put another pan just like that on top to make a domed enclosure to help keep the clay smells out of the oven. The first time I ever baked clay, I noticed the smells a lot, but I don’t even notice them now, I’m not sure why.
The baking pan- I got a ceramic bathroom wall tile from the home improvement store for sitting the clay on (it will make a smooth shiny spot where it sits on that during baking, so best to have the back down). Several of these I stuck wire through before baking to make jewelry making easier. It is easier to bend the wire into shapes once the rose is cooked and harder.
The copper color wire will turn a darker yellower color during baking. You can see this in the pair of orange roses below, you have two different colors of copper because some of it wasn’t baked. The copper will turn as time passes in the air, so I’ll see how it winds up looking later after these sit out for a few months. I love original copper’s peach color, but don’t like the yellowy baked color too much.
Below, and also in the top photo you can see after I worked out the sticking-out issue. Baking the wires through the peach ones allowed me to wrap them in ways that helped them face outward on a dangling earring, I also tried face down like the blue ones below. I used bead caps and a potato pearl bead and wrapped wires around those. (I also like wrapping wires around crystals, like the ones on the left, no need for baking.)
Finishing up: After attaching the loops on the wires to store bought earring wires, I use a tiny amount of Aleene’s tacky glue to clean up anything I need to when done, such as adding extra hold to the back of a rose so it faces outward and sticks well to its wire, or to seal any wires that wrapping has left sticking out or unsealed. Also glueing roses to the old earrings (use a little rough sandpaper to roughen up the back of the rose and the front of the old earring to help the glue hold.) It also helps hold the crystals inside their wires on the other pair to dab some on the back side, holding crystal to wire.
So concludes my foray into clay roses. Back to knitting with skinny yarn, which takes a very long time.
I did saw those roses that stick out too far off, and I like them and wear them now. I got this saw which I used to saw down to the metal earring inside. I found out just how sturdy this polymer plastic is! Despite how delicate these look, they are pretty tough stuff! I grabbed them pretty hard while sawing off the back, and no damage. This was not that easy, it was a couple minutes of sawing, then the earring may pop out and need gluing back in (I used the pictured glue when that happened). It’s much easier to get the right shape before the clay is baked than it is to saw it later, but if you need to, this is possible.