DIY Jewelry Tutorial: "Love Letter" Polymer Clay Pendant or Key Chain
This sweet romantic charm can be made either as a small pendant for a necklace or bracelet, or as a larger key chain. This is a quick and easy clay project and makes a "charm-ing" gift for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, an anniversary, or as a gift for a special friend or bridal party.
I used polymer clay for my pendant and key holder. I believe you could also used salt dough to make the necklace pendant or bracelet charm. But I've never worked with salt dough, and I do not know how tough it is or whether it would hold up well to the use that a key chain gets.
Materials for Love Letter Pendant or Charm
I like to use simple household items when working with clay, so the materials are quite basic:
- about a 1/4 block of Sculpey clay - you could also use Fimo or some other brand of polymer clay.
- a set of small alphabet stamps (this is optional) - you can decorate your pendant as you choose. A pencil can also be used to engrave a message in your pendant.
- the empty tip of a ball point pen, or similar item - I like to use this to make holes in my clay pieces, particular for stringing on necklaces.
- a small screwdriver, or similar item - mine is from a set of eyeglass tools. I like to use it as a small straight edge and cutting tool.
- a piece of stiff plastic - I use a fake card that came in a credit card offer. I use this to cut a straight line in my clay. You can also use a razor blade or utility knife.
- colored pencils - optional, but you can use them to add color and detail to your charm.
Additional Jewelry Supplies Needed
- a necklace chain or bracelet with clasp
- a couple of jump rings to hold your charm on your necklace or bracelet
- additional beads, buttons, or charms to accent your pendant (optional) - I used a heart-shaped bead and a charm from an old necklace to hang with my pendant, but you can choose whatever you like.
How to Make a "Love Letter" Pendant or Charm
1. You want to work on a clean, smooth surface with any type of clay. I like to work on top of wax paper for my projects. It's something I usually have on hand, and I can just throw it away when I'm done.
Take about 1/4 block of your clay and roll it out to an area that is about 2 inches square. As you roll out your shape, flip your clay over so both sides are smooth as they are rolled out.
2. Once you have your flat shape, use your cutting edge to cut a letter-shaped rectangle out of your clay. The rectangle for my pendant is about 3/4 of an inch by 1 1/2 inches.
3. This is optional - on one side of my clay letter, I drew on a stamp and address using a dull pencil. I roughly sketched this in, like you might see in a comic strip. This is a small detail, but I did this so the back of my pendant would not be blank if it were to turn over while I was wearing it.
4. Next, I turned over my pendant and stamped the word "love" on the right side or my letter. I used a neat trick I saw on the internet. I taped together my individual letter stamps to form the word, and stamped them on my clay together at the same time. With this technique, I didn't have to worry about trying to line up my letters as a stamped them.
If your stamps leave a little block edge around them, you can gently buff it out of your unbaked clay with your fingertip.
5. You can add whatever little details or decorations you want on your letter using stamps and cutting tools. First, I used my pen tip to cut a hole on the corner of my pendant to string it on my necklace. You can either put this in the center of the edge, or on a corner.
Then I used my stiff plastic to create a little envelope outline on my pendant, including the back flap area.
Lastly, I took my pen tip again and made two holes side by side in the center of my envelope's flap area. Then I used my little screwdriver to make a small v under these two holes to form a cut out heart in my letter. I think this small detail adds a lot of charm to my pendant.
6. I baked my charm according to the directions on the packing. Once my pendant was cool, I used a purple colored pencil to go over the lines and details of my stamping. This added a little color and made everything stand out a bit more.
7. I added a jump ring to my pendant and strung it on an old necklace chain. Then I added a couple of other heart charms to my necklace. This is a great way to personalize your pendant or bracelet. I used hearts, but you could add buttons, beads, or any item that reflects the interests or hobbies of the person who is receiving your love letter. This necklace would also be cute with a little bird charm, a cross, a flower-shaped button, or a peace sign.
Materials for Making a "Love Letter" Key Chain
The materials for making this key holder are the same as the supplies for the love letter pendant, with a few changes:
- For the larger key holder, I used 1/2 block of white Sculpey clay, and about a dime-sized ball of brown clay
- I used a heart-shaped button to decorate my key chain. This is optional, but you will probably want to include some larger details and decorations on this item.
- You will need a key ring to attach your keys to this holder.
Directions for Making a "Love Letter" Key Chain
1. I wanted my letter to be an off-white for this project, so I mixed about a dime-sized amount of brown clay with my white clay. I kneaded these two colors together until they were thoroughly mixed. Then I formed my clay into a log and started rolling it out.
As I rolled my clay, I switched between rolling it length-wise and rolling it width-wise until I had a shape that was at least 2 inches by 3 1/2 inches. I rolled this clay out to be about twice as thick as my pendant above.
2. Again, like my pendant, I used a stiff piece of plastic to cut out the outline of my letter for my key holder. I made my key holder about 2 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches long.
3. Then I drew on an address and stamp on one side of my letter using a dull pencil.
4. Turning my key chain over, I added similar details as my love letter pendant above. I made the hole in my holder larger by twisting my pen tip in the clay and working it through on both sides.
5. I stamped the center of my letter using a heart-shaped button but removed this before baking my clay. I also used my alphabet stamps to add a personal message.
6. When my love letter was complete, I baked my clay according to the directions.
7. When my clay was cooled, I glued my heart button in place using superglue. I also went over my details and lettering with a brown colored pencil to make them stand out more.
8. Lastly, I slid on a ring so I could attach my keys to this key holder.
These "love letter" accessories are a wonderful way to let that special someone always know how you feel about them!
Copyright © 2015 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.