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DIY Craft Tutorial: Polymer Clay "Knit Stitch" Notions or Trinket Box

Updated on May 12, 2016
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An avid knitter for over 10 years, Donna enjoys sharing her free patterns and knitting experience with other fiber fans and yarn lovers.

DIY Polymer Clay "Knit Stitch" Box
DIY Polymer Clay "Knit Stitch" Box | Source
Source

This little box is made with polymer clay, an Altoids tin, and some creativity. Great for keeping small items, this would be perfect for any knitter to store notions like stitch markers, tapestry needles, or buttons. Although this box features a knit stitch design, this pretty keepsake would appeal to almost everyone for holding little things.

This project takes some detail work and patience and is probably not suited for small children.

About the Materials

I used polymer clay for my box, mainly because it comes in a number of colors, and you can blend colors together to change the shade or make more colors. I'm not sure how this project would work if you used air dry clay. It may not stay stuck to the box over the long term.

Polymer clay must be baked in an oven or toaster oven to harden. An Altoids tin (or similar item) seemed to work well as a base for this project because it could withstand the heat of the oven without warping or giving off any smell. However, I would be careful of using other metal boxes that might have a plastic coating or other surface treatment. They might affect your clay surface or give off fumes while baking. A glass box might also work, but do not use a plastic (it might melt) or a wooden box (the polymer clay will not stick to wood).

Do not use any items from your kitchen, or that you will later use for food preparation, when working with polymer clay. Your tools can be quite simple - like a wood popsicle stick, plastic knife, and ball point pen - but do not use them with food after they've touched the clay.

Materials List

  • Polymer clay, in your choice of colors. I used about 2 blocks of Sculpey brand clay for my box, but you can use any array of colors you choose.
  • An Altoids tin, or similar box
  • An array of household items to use as clay tools; a plastic knife (to cut with), a wooden dowel ( to roll your clay), a skewer or ball point pen (for detail work), a plastic credit card (for cutting and shaping) are all great tools.

Great to have, but not necessary:

  • A clay gun or extruder
  • clay tools

clay coils for making knit stitch design
clay coils for making knit stitch design | Source
Use an Altoids tin as the base of your knit stitch box
Use an Altoids tin as the base of your knit stitch box | Source

Directions for Making Little "Knit Stitch" Box

1. First, take your Altoids box, turn it over onto its top, and trace the shape on to a piece of paper. This will become your template for the top of your box. Cut out your template and put it to the side.

2. Start making thin clay rolls for the top of your box. You can use a clay gun or roll them out by hand. Depending on the thickness of your rolls, you will probably need about 30 of them. Each roll should be at least 8 inches long.

You will also need two longer rolls if you want to put a knit stitch border around the top of your box (see below). You can join shorter rolls together to create a piece that is long enough.

Creating a knit stitch with polymer clay
Creating a knit stitch with polymer clay | Source

Polymer Clay "Knit Stitch" Tutorial

3. To start making your columns of knit stitches, take two of your clay rolls, put them next to each other, and start twisting them together by turning your strips to the right. Then take two more rolls and do the same, but twist these strips of clay together, turning to the left.

Be careful as you work not to squeeze or squash your clay rolls. Do not twist your rolls of clay together too tightly (see photo example). To stop your clay for continuing to twist at the top, put your finger lightly on your clay roll to stop any movement.

Turn your left twisting column and your right twisting column evenly so the twists are about equally spaced on each piece.

Source

4. Now, putting your right-twisting column on THE LEFT, and your left-twisting column on THE RIGHT, line these two rolls together so your twists create little "v's" (see photo). Give these two columns a gentle squeeze together on the sides to get them to stick to each other.

5. Continue to make columns of knit stitches for the top of your box. Try to make all your "stitches" even by twisting your clay together evenly on each column.

lining up your columns of knit stitches
lining up your columns of knit stitches | Source

6. Line up all your columns of knit stitches to create a plaque for the top of your box. Try to line up the "v"s of your stitches across your plaque so they are all in a row across. As you place each column, give it a gentle squeeze to the next column so they stick together.

7. Take your template of the top of your Altoids box, place it on your clay surface and carefully trace around the template with your cutting tool. Remove your excess clay and put it to the side. You may need it later.

8. Place your plaque of clay stitches on your Altoids tin so it covers the top.

The finished top of your "knit stitch" box
The finished top of your "knit stitch" box | Source
Edge design of "knit stitch" box
Edge design of "knit stitch" box | Source

9. (optional) I took a single roll of clay and put it around the edge of my top surface (making sure that the join was on the back side). This created a nice finished edge and also helped to adhere my side piece to my top surface.

Once your top is complete, carefully open your box to work on the sides. You may want to put something in the opening so it will not close while you work.

10. (also optional) I took a longer column of stitches and used it as the side edge on top of my box. You can join columns of knit stitches by carefully nesting the bottom of one "v" into the clean edge of another "v". Use your cutting tool to trim the stitches to create a clean join.

If you do not want to add a knit stitch edge, you can either roll out and cut a strip of coordinating clay to wrap around your box top (see below), or you can glue on real ribbon around your box after your clay has been baked and cooled.

Source

11. You can also cover the sides of the lower portion of your box in clay, if you want. Roll out a long piece of clay (I chose a lighter purple color to go on my box). The thickness of your clay should be about the same as the thickness of your original clay rolls or a little thinner. Cut a long strip of the clay that fits on the side of your box, but sits under the little bumps that act as catches on your tin. Join your strip in the back and blend your seam so it is unnoticeable.

If you don't want to use clay to cover your sides, you can glue on some ribbon or decoupage some decorative paper onto your box after your clay has been baked and has cooled completely.

making a polymer clay bow for your box
making a polymer clay bow for your box | Source

12. You can add a clay ribbon to the top of your box, too. A ribbon is a nice detail and is great for distracting from any small mistakes or blemishes. (You can also just glue on a real tied ribbon after your box has been in the oven and cooled.)

To add a clay ribbon:

  • cut a thin strip of clay that is the length you want your ribbon to cover
  • cut two smaller pieces of clay (same width) that are each about 1 inch long
  • take your two smaller pieces of clay, fold them each in half, leaving a little loop of space like a teardrop. Gently squeeze the ends together on each piece.

Source
  • place your two loops of clay in the center of your ribbon strip (or wherever you want your bow). Your two loops should be in line with your ribbon.
  • take a smaller strip of clay and put it over the seam of your two loops like a bridge. This will create the knot of your bow and hide your loop ends.
  • place your tied ribbon on to your box top and gently press the strips of your ribbon onto your clay surface.

Baking your "knit stitch" polymer clay box
Baking your "knit stitch" polymer clay box | Source

14. Place your completed box into the oven for baking. I would bake your box with the lid slightly open. Follow the manufacturer's directions for your clay for temperature and duration. You may want to bake some of your leftover clay trimmings with your box so you can test glazes and sealants on them.

Source

Finishing Your Box

You may want to seal your box after it has been baked and cooled. There is a lot of discussion about polymer clay glazes and sealants which is worth reading before you decide to coat your box. I bought a glaze that Sculpey makes for its polymer clay, but didn't like the plastic look it left on my test pieces, so I have decided to leave my box as is.

Source

Copyright © 2014 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.

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    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      purl3agony

      Great Project! I smell a HOTD coming up. I love it and the images are beautiful, voted up, pinned ++ etc.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi Sallybea! So great to hear from you!! Thank you, as always, for your kind works, vote up and pin. I appreciate it :)

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Just looking at it in the photo, I never would have guessed it was clay! Super cute project. Voted up and beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Kay Badder 2 years ago from USA

      Don't forget crocheters too. I love the idea.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Neat project! Appreciate the tips. I know some little girls who would love to have a little box like this... :) Yes...a Hub of the Day for this project should be in your future!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi Heidi - Thank so much for your comments! This "knitting" technique with polymer clay is quite clever. It's kind of amazing to see the stitches come together. Hope you have a wonderful holiday! Thanks again for stopping by!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi Barbara - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Sadly, I don't crochet so I'm not sure how to replicate the stitches in clay, but I'm sure you can find a tutorial somewhere on the web. Thanks again!!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi RTalloni - So glad you like this project! If you were to make something similar for a little girl, you might consider just making the top surface plaque and bow, baking it, and gluing it on to another box. I'm not sure a box completely covered in clay would withstand a small child's wear and tear. Good luck with your project and thanks so much for your comments! Always appreciated!!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Okay, thanks for that tip! Using a small box with a lid that lifts off might also be a workable idea for littler girls. I'll think it through… :)

      Such a cute, cute project!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks again, RTalloni!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      You've been busy purl3agony and I'm trying to catch up on my reading. LOVE this project. It really looks like a knitted box at first glance. What a great gift this would make for a crafter friend.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks! I love this knit texture on accessories and it's (relatively) easy to do. The tricky part is fitting it around the box without squishing the clay. But I love the finished result. Thanks for your comments! I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 2 years ago

      This is fascinating, and I've worked with polymer clay with a great deal of detail for my decorative boxes. Easy to follow directions for a beginner, or anyone who has worked with the product, or works in crafts.

    • mySuccess8 profile image

      mySuccess8 2 years ago

      Looking at your top photo, I initially thought it was a product made by knitting real yarn! A wonderful gift project and such a beautiful creative craft idea! A well-explained tutorial, supported by a great video, made this seemingly difficult project much simpler and easier to craft. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Coming back to say Congratulations! This project is so cool and really deserves the HOTD! Have a great day!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi ArtDiva - Thanks so much! It's wonderful to hear from someone with as much experience with polymer clay as you. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi mySuccess8! Thanks so much! This "knit stitch" is really easy and creates a really knit-like texture. And it can be used to make various accessories and items. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Hi Glimmer Twin - Thanks so much! Always great to hear from you. I appreciate your support! Hope you are having a wonderful day!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Just dropping back by to say congrats on your Hub of the Day award!

    • anima knitts profile image

      Lejla M.S. 2 years ago from Bosnia and Herzegovina

      This is an excellent idea. I might try making one for myself.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi RTalloni - Thanks so much! I appreciate it!!

      Hi anima knitts - Thanks! I hope you make something you love. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!!

    • theframjak profile image

      theframjak 2 years ago from East Coast

      Congrats on your hub of the day. Nice work purl3agony!

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      I knew this was destined for Hub of the Day! BIG congrats on a job well done. Happy Holidays!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      purl3agony

      A well deserved HOTD - I told you this one had all the makings of one. Congratulations I am delighted for you.

      Sally

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi theframjak! My husband gave me a hand with this project, so I have to give him some of the credit too :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day!

      Hi Heidi - Thanks so much for your support! I appreciate it! Happy holidays to you and your family! Best wishes for the New Year!!

      Hi Sally - You're so sweet - Thanks so much for your congratulations and comments! Hope you have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

      This is just too cute! It looks so much like an actual chain stitch, I was surprised that it was made of clay. What a wonderful gift for knitters! The pictures were fabulous and the video quite helpful. I think starting off with the little heart project in the video would be a good idea, then when you get that right, move on to the box. Well done!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks, Dolores! I agree that starting with a smaller project first would be smart. I made a brooch/pin first (http://with2hands4you.blogspot.com/2014/11/polymer... before tackling this box. But the technique isn't all the difficult. It just takes a bit of care not to squash or leave fingerprints in the clay :) Thanks so much for your comments! Hope you have a wonderful holiday!!

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 2 years ago from Maine

      I love this and am so looking forward to making this in the near future. My sister and I also knit. This would be a great gift for me to give her. Great hub!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi creativelycc - Thanks so much! As Dolores mentioned above, you may want to start with a smaller project. A pin, pendant, or charm to hang from a keyring (like in the video) might be a good starter project. But if you feel daring, try this box. I'd love to hear how it turns out. Good luck with whatever project you choose! Thanks again for your comments!!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Wow - very cool! I've only used polymer clay a few times in the past, but I have some sitting around at home. I really like the braided/knitted appearance, so I may have to look for an extruder when I'm at the craft store again. Pinning!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi Natashslh! I don't think an extruder is absolutely necessary. If you are making a lot of coils, an extruder is certainly helpful. But if you want to make a smaller item, you could just roll the coils by hand. Hope you have fun with this project! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! I always appreciate hearing from you :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I thought the box was made from knitting yarn. The braid fooled me. It is very creative and the braided design gives it dimension. I have not used polymer clay before and this one really impressed me.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 2 years ago from New Jersey

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day!

      This is a really cool and interesting idea.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow, it really looks knitted! Awesome craft idea with great photos and instructions. Pinned to "My Crafty Side" on Pinterest. Congrats on the well-deserved Hub of the Day!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Thanks, aesta1! So glad you like this project. Thanks for your comments!

      Hi Stephanie - Thank you for your congratulations and for stopping by. I appreciate it!

      Hi Susan - Thanks so much for your comments and pin!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love this hub very much and I'll show to my mom. Congratulation on your hub of the day. Thanks for sharing. Vote up (useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting).

      Prasetio

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 2 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congratulations on HOTD!

      This was very interesting, even though this is a craft medium I've not yet tried.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi Prasetio! Thanks so much for your kind words and vote up! I appreciate it!

      Hi DzyMsLizzy! Hope this hub inspires you to try crafting with polymer clay. Thanks for your congratulations and comments!!

    • profile image

      Emilia Riera 2 years ago

      What a great visual trick! I now need to go out and do this myself :) .

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Great, Emilia! I hope you have fun and make something you love!! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Great, Emilia! I hope you have fun and make something you love!! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      What a cute little box! They would make a beautiful gift. Unfortunately, I´ve never used polymer clay or knitted. But your instructions are very clear and I´m sure they will benefit others who have that much talent. It´s amazing the crafts that can be done at home using an ordinary oven and an Altoid´s tin as a mold. Thank you for sharing!

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 2 years ago from USA

      Hi vespawoolf - Thank you so much for your comments! If you want to try a similar project, a small brooch like the one in the video, would be a great place to start. Thanks again for your comments and support!

    • profile image

      Hannah 6 months ago

      This may have been said before, but you can actually use a wooden box as well. You just have to use transparent liquid sculpey (or something similar). I use bake n bond as well. If you paint the box with a thin layer of the liquid clay, the polymer clay will easily stick to the wood. I've used small jewelry boxes before, and they work great. Just make sure you paint small portions of the box at a time, or your project will be too sticky to handle.

    • purl3agony profile image
      Author

      Donna Herron 6 months ago from USA

      Thanks for adding this information, Hannah. Great to know!

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