DIY: Clay Bead Deco Collar Necklace

I’ve got a real treat for you today, reader – a jewelry DIY, courtesy of Christine Fail of Fail Jewelry and Schatzelein. Her work is stunning and 100% handmade in her studio here in Austin. Today she’s showing us how to make a clay bead and leather version of her deco collar necklace, which she traditionally makes using hammered brass.

I love how the piece turned out and I can’t wait to get busy with some of this polymer clay.

What you’ll need:

Polymer clay in gold, bronze, and copper (or any colors you want) 
Bottle or rolling pin 
Exacto knife 
Sewing needle 
Greek leather cord, 1.2 mm round and 30 inches long 
Office pen 
Baking sheet

Note: Christine opted for Sculpey's Premo Accents clay, a higher quality clay that retains flexibility while remaining strong and durable. 

1. Knead the clay so it's soft and pliable.

2. Using a rolling pin or an object with a similar shape (like a bottle), roll the clay out so that it's about 1/4 inch thick.

3. Using an Exacto knife, cut three strips. Cut two of the strips to be 1 inch wide and the third strip at 7/8 inch wide. The oblong pieces in bronze were cut from the 7/8 inch piece, so plan your colors accordingly. The clay will be rather soft at this point, so take multiple light passes with the Exacto to get a sharp cut through the clay and maintain the shape.

4. Use the template above to cut out the shapes for the individual sections.

5. Texturize each piece using the round top of an office pen, or a similar object. I (Christine) first texturized the back edge of each piece before moving onto the sides and front so that each piece would have a light organic edge to complement the texture on top. Use your finger to make some marks lighter and to vary the texture.

6. Use the sewing needle to pierce holes for the leather cord. Make sure your holes are large enough for the cord to fit.

7. Bake in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. If your pieces are thicker than 1/4 inch, you may want to bake them longer. When the beads are finished baking, they may seem fragile and flexible, but they're actually pretty durable and hold their shape.

8. String your beads using the leather cord.

9. Adjust the cord to your desired length and tie in a simple knot to fasten it. The necklace definitely seems to work best when worn between 18 and 24 inches to prevent the sections from flipping over.

Ta-da! And there you have it. I love the colors Christine chose. It's such a playful and interesting piece and I can't wait to get started on my own. Thanks so much, Christine!

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a fun DIY! I never thought of using clay before to create something beautiful like this! Brilliant
    I'm having a give away on my blog for a cute tank top. This could be an excellent new addition to your summer wardrobe.
    Have a lovely Tuesday!