Thursday, July 10, 2014

Putting Homemade Charm into Charm Bracelets - DIY Polymer Clay Charms

I loved to collect things as a girl. I had pencil toppers and pencils, stickers and trading cards. Another thing I loved to collect were charms. They were plastic, inexpensive little trinkets, but I loved all the little characters and items. Some were normal like hearts - simple and made out of a single color plastic, others were silly and elobrate like a kitchen sink, and I kept them all in a special collectors binder with rows and rows of places to hang all those little clasps.

Now that I have a 4-year old daughter (almost 5), I wanted to get her a special charm bracelet.  I have looked, but nothing really caught my eye. Instead, after seeing how easy they are to make out of polymer clay I decided we could make some for ourselves.

We ended up playing around and making 6. My daughter created the pear on the left, and my son tackled a cheeseburger! Yes, if my 4 and 6-year old can make these, anyone can.

I love working with polymer clay because it doesn't dry out like Play-Doh. You do need to keep your hands washed so the colors don't mix, but other than that... there are no rules.

My son plans to put his cheeseburger on his backpack for school. Isn't it cute?

To get started on your charms you will need a few items, and most of them you probably already have around the house. The jewelry specific items are available in any craft store, Michael's or Walmart and are inexpensive. I purchased an assortment of Sculpey polymer clay and for $20 it will last me a very long time.

You Will Need:

  • Wax paper
  • Polymer Clay in your desired colors
  • Shaping tools *optional
  • Eye pins
  • Jump Rings
  • charm bracelet
  • Translucent Liquid Sculpey 
  • Glaze
  • Paint Brush
  • Baking sheet
  • Aluminum Foil
To Make a Watermelon Slice

Start by rolling your peice of red and then creating a triangle. Flatten it out slightly to make a wedge. Take care that you don't make it too thin or you will have a hard time placing your eye pin later. Use a tool or a straight edge to form the sides.

With a little bit of white, roll out a snake and then flatten it to the top for the rind. Then grab your two tones of green clay.

I twisted it to give the variation found on the outside of a real watermelon. 

Then roll out a very thin peice of black to make the seeds. With a sharp edge, cut off tiny peices and with the pointed end of my tool I placed it on my charm and then smoothed out one edge to create a seed-like shape.

My kids are very rough on things, so I used a little translucent liquid sculpey on the eye pin and then pushed it into my charm. This will help act as a glue to keep it in place.

When my charms were completed, I baked them at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. This will set the polymer clay so they can be glazed once cooled.

A thin translucent glaze specifically for polymer clay adds a little shine to the charms. It dries quickly and then the jump rings can be used to attach them to the charm bracelet.

It took us around an hour from start to finish to create these. My kids are already brainstorming what they want to create next. I think Santa will be bringing each of them their own set of polymer clay for Christmas this year.

What would you make with polymer clay?
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