A lover of handmade jewelry, Donna has been crafting (and wearing) unique pieces of statement jewelry since she can remember.
There are many ways to use polymer clay to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry. This tutorial shows how to make a stained glass inspired pendant using polymer clay, stamps, and colored pencils. This tutorial is fun and easy and should be appropriate for any creative crafter.
This technique can also be expanded to make larger items like Christmas tree decorations, key chains, and other decorative items.
Materials for Making a "Stained Glass" Polymer Clay Pendant
- About 1/2 of a block of polymer clay (I used Sculpey brand clay)—choose a light color of clay for your pendant. I found that the colored pencils will not show on a dark color clay.
- A clean stamp or some textured buttons to use as stamps—choose a stamp or buttons that will create a design with wide indentations when pressed into your clay.
- High quality colored pencils in an array of colors—I use Berol Prismacolors which work well with the clay. You may have to test your pencils with your clay, but avoid cheap pencils with a lot of wax in them.
- A necklace chain or cord of your choice.
- A jump ring to attach your finished pendant to your necklace. Jump rings are available in the jewelry section of most craft stores.
- Hard piece of plastic to use to cut your clay—I use an old credit card but you could also use a plastic knife.
- A wooden dowel or round handle to use to roll out your clay.
- A sharp pointed tool, like a skewer or knitting needle to create a hole in your clay (I use an old pen tip which cuts a small round hole in the clay).
- Needle nose pliers to attach your pendant to your necklace.
- (Optional) Ceramic tools if you have them, but they're not necessary.
A Note About My Materials
I tend to use Sculpey polymer clay for my jewelry projects, but there are other brands available. Sculpey is a very soft clay, and they're easy to work with. It doesn't require specialized tools and can be found in most craft stores.
When choosing a stamp or other materials to make a stamped design, pick items that will create wide impressions in your clay. These will be the areas that you will be adding color with your pencils. You may have trouble coloring in your design if it has small stamped areas.
I also like to use simple household materials for my clay tools, like dowels, pens, and plastic utensils. You can use ceramic tools for this project if you have them. Do not, however, use any kitchen implements with your clay that will be in contact with food later.
Directions for Making a "Stained Glass" Inspired Polymer Clay Pendant
1. Take about 1/4 of your block of clay and roll it out using a dowel or round handle. Roll it out so that it is a little thicker than a 1/16 of an inch and wider than your stamp in all directions.
2. Using a clean stamp or some interesting buttons, press down your stamp materials into your clay. Apply pressure all around the edges and surface of your stamp to get a clean impression.
Make as large a stamped area as your piece of clay will allow. This will give you a choice of design when trimming down your clay to make your pendant.
3. Now, using your cutting tool, trim down your stamped clay to be the shape and size you want for your pendant. You can make your pendant heart-shaped, circular, or any shape you choose. You can find and print out a template on the internet to cut around if you need it.
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You may want to cut various shapes out of your clay to make multiple pendants. Be sure to choose interesting areas of your stamping as your pendant design.
4. As you work, try to keep your clay as flat as possible. You want to avoid your finished pendant appearing warped. Also avoid touching the clay too much and leaving finger prints or nail marks in your clay.
5. (Optional) Take another 1/4 of your block of clay and using your fingertips and even pressure, roll out a long snake of clay until it is the same thickness as your pendant piece.
6. Take your snake of clay and carefully wrap and press it against the outer edge of your pendant to create a border on your design. Carefully trim the ends so they meet neatly for a finished edge.
If you do not want to put a border on your pendant, use your cutting tool or finger tip to gently smooth the edges of your clay.
7. Use your needle tool or a pen tip to make a round hole to hang your pendant from. Make sure your hole goes cleanly through your clay.
8. Bake your clay according to the manufacturer's instructions. Be careful not to overcook your clay. Let your pendant cool completely before touching it.
9. Once your clay is cooled, use your colored pencils and color in the impressions in your pendant to create a stained glass design. It will be easier to fill in the areas if your pencils are sharp. Be sure to fill in each area completely.
Using good quality pencils, you can layer your colors to make them darker and richer. You can also mix colors, like yellow over orange, to get brighter or deeper colors.
10. Once your pendant is completely colored, use your needle nose pliers to open up your jump ring and attach your pendant to your necklace or cord. I attached my pendant to a necklace dotted with little seed pearls.
I made a second pendant using a different stamp. When completed, I added additional charms to my necklace for more interest. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to wear and enjoy your finished pendant!
© 2017 Donna Herron
Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 30, 2017:
Hi Heidi - Yes, colored pencils are a great way to add color, texture, and detail to polymer clay items. You need to test your pencils on a spare piece of baked clay, though. Some cheaper pencils will not make a clear mark on the clay. Thanks, as always, for your wonderful comments!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 24, 2017:
I did not know you could use colored pencils on polymer clay. Super interesting effect. Also love how you've trimmed the clay to showcase part of the stamp design. Your cheery projects always make my day! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!