How to Make Polymer Clay Earrings

Making polymer clay earrings is one of my favorite creative outlets. Not only are polymer clay earrings fun and trendy, but they are lightweight and relatively inexpensive.

I enjoy making them mostly because there is endless creative possibilities! The only limitation is your own mind.

With Christmas coming quickly, I starting thinking of personal gifts I can make. I quickly became obsessed with all things polymer clay. I spent hours on Instagram, following all these wonderful clay artists, and absorbing all that I could. 

I spent weeks watching videos, reels and reading up on all that is polymer clay.

Within a few weeks I purchased my fair share of supplies and started creating. Who’s kidding, I bought WAY too much supplies! Honestly, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t dive in head first.

Let me share with you all I’ve learned and the fantastic joy of making polymer clay earrings.

Let's Make Some Polymer Clay Earrings

PRICE

$25 – 100

TIME

2-4  Hours

DIFFICULTY

Easy

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Making Polymer Clay Earrings

What is Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a man made modeling medium that is composed of polymers, resins, coloring agents and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). It is known for being so soft and simplistic to work with. 

Polymer clay so versatile – you can blend existing colors to make your own custom colors, mold it, sculpt it, mix it with paints/alcohol inks/mica powder, and add texture with impressions. 

Once sculpted, polymer clay is oven baked to cure. After it is baked, you can paint it, sand it and/or polish it to a sheen. 

The creativity options are endless. 

I also love this medium for earrings because it’s lightweight, and durable!  

Which Clay to Choose

It’s important to choose high-quality polymer clay, if you want your earrings to last. 

You want a clay soft enough to be sculpted with your hands, and firm enough to hold your designs without distortion during transferring and baking. 

Let’s discuss some of the various clays that are available in today’s market…

Scupley Premo, Sculpey Soufflé, Fimo Soft or Fimo Professional, Cernit, or Kato Polyclay are all high-quality polymer clay appropriate to make earrings. Consider the finish you desire. 

Sculpey’s Soufflé is known for its matte finish and it’s soft and sculpt-able quality (did I make another word up?) 

Sculpey Premo is probably the most sought after polymer clay, after the Scupley Soufflé, due to it’s flexibility and strength once baked. Premo is also one of the most lightweight and inexpensive clays out of all the higher quality clays. 

Fimo Polymer Clay is on the more expensive side of the types of clay available. Fimo Professional has true colors that allow for a better mixing pallet (if you’re into color theory.) Fimo Professional is also firmer than their alternative Fimo Soft (if that wasn’t self explanatory in the name of the product) and can be mixed with other types of Fimo without any issues. Giving you endless possibilities! 

Cernit is similar to the other professional brands of clay. Used more internationally, it is more responsive to temperature changes. As it warms, it becomes soft, let it cool and it firms up nicely. Cernit is highly desired for it’s transparent “color” as it is one of the more pure on the market.

Lastly, Kato Polyclay is known for it’s firmness and durability. This means it’s best for making “canes,” or rolls of clay that is cut to make thin slices. Due to its firmness, it resists distortion when being cut.

Clay to avoid – Most the verity packs you can order off Amazon are not desirable to make polymer clay earrings. They tend to become too soft and are not the best for sculpting earrings.

Sculpey III and Scupley Bake Shop, once baked, often becomes too brittle for creating earrings.

Supplies You'll Need

Clay.

Well maybe that’s obvious!

There are a few supplies/materials you need to get started. I have listed my favorites below… but it’s all in what you want your polymer clay earrings to look like.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED

Materials

Tools:

Prep Your Work Surface

Here are some things you should know before breaking into your first bar of clay…

Polymer clay is completely safe to work with, however it will stain your work surface. With that said, I recommend using a large tile, piece of glass, or wax paper to prevent staining your furniture. 

I use this 12×24 inch tile, that I bought for a whopping $1.99 as my work surface. Worried the tile would scratch my desk, I put these awesome furniture pads on the bottom and voila!

For smaller detailed work, I use smaller 4×4 white tilesI find the smaller tiles are really helpful.

Keep in mind, polymer clay will attract any dust, pet hair or random fiber that’s within a 100 mile radius. Make sure you wipe down your tools, cutters and work surface often. 

Also, use a microfiber cloth to avoid any lint leftovers that might cling to your clay.

When a polymer clay block is first opened, it is often hard and difficulty to work with. This means it needs to be conditioned. 

Conditioning clay involves working the new clay to bring the oils to the surface. Once conditioned, the clay becomes softer and easier to work with, less likely to crack when being molded and baked.

There are a few different ways to condition clay. One way is using your hands and knead the clay. I hope you’re strong! Some of this stuff can be tough.

Another method you can use to condition your clay, is a craft roller or “pasta” machine. The machine does all the hard work, you just crank and fold and crank some more… until the clay is good and malleable.

Once conditioned, clay can be mixed to make a variety of colors. If you’re familiar with the basics of color theory, you can really have fun blending colors. The sky’s the limit! 

Also, most professional quality clay can be intermixed, just keep in mind this might change your bake times to get a full cured piece. 

Making Polymer Clay Earrings

Now that you have perfectly conditioned clay, it’s time to get creative! 

Clay cane is made of various colors cut into pieces and then rolled together. To help the pieces adhere to one another, I use a little of this to make everything stick together. 

Once rolled, cut 1/4″ slices and lay them next to one another to make a slab. Take a roller over the slices to help them all adhere to one another.

Once rolled together, you’re ready to cut out your shapes.

If you don’t want to make your own canes, use solid clay. Keep in mind, it’s important to make sure your clay is consistent in thickness, so when you bake your pieces, they bake evenly. 

Once you’re done cutting your pieces, transfer them to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Baking Your Polymer Clay

Before you bake your pieces, take the time to clean up the edges and fix any imperfections. A little rubbing alcohol can help clean up the surface of the clay, especially white clay.

Once you pieces are finished, transfer them to parchment paper on a baking sheet. 

Make sure you preheat your oven to the recommended temperature. Check your packaging, each brand of clay has different temperature and time recommendations for baking. 

Also, keep in mind not all ovens are accurate. I recommend using an oven thermometer to check the accuracy of your oven’s temperature before baking your pieces. Mine is of about 50 degrees, trust me, this is an important step.

When baking your pieces, this cures the chemicals within the clay, allowing the longevity of your project. Properly baked polymer clay is very flexible and will not crumble. If you’re unsure if your pieces fully cured, let them cool and give them the “bend” test.

If your clay isn’t fully baked, you can easily re-bake your clay to make sure the pieces are fully cured.

Sealing, Sanding and Polishing

Once your pieces have baked and are fully cured, it is important to finish them correctly.

You can seal your pieces using polycrylic, modge podge, and resins.  However, it is not necessary to seal your polymer clay earrings. Simple sanding will give a really good finish.

 

There are a bunch of different methods to finish polymer clay. I finish my polymer clay earrings first with a buffing tool on my Dremel, and then hand sand them using use the wet sanding method.

First, I clean up the edges using my Dremel and buffing tool. Once cleaned up, I dunk the pieces in a water bath (with a drop of dish soap.) Then, one at a time, I take each piece through 400, 600, 800 and 1,500 grit sand paper. Occasionally, I wash off the sandpaper to keep it from getting gunked up.

Once all the pieces are sanded, it’s time to assemble your earrings!

Finishings and Assembly

There is unlimited possibilities when it comes to finishings for your polymer clay earrings.

To adhere earring posts to the pieces, use superglue to first attach them. Next, I choose to use resin around the entire backing, curing them under UV light. You can also cure resin outside in the natural sunlight, if you don’t have a UV light.

You can use post, hooks, hoops… whatever your hearts desire! I have a box of hardware to give me as many options as possible.

If you have sensitive ears, make sure your finishings are nickel free. I typically purchase surgical steel finishings for my polymer clay earrings, because my skin reacts so dramatically to most metals.

I have to say, the creativity is endless when making these!

I have indulged is so many different methods, and each one is more exciting than the next. Making polymer clay earrings has turned into one of my favorite creative outlets.

If you’ve have started making polymer clay earrings, send me photos of your finish pieces! I’d love to showcase them here for all to see. Email me at [email protected] I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

Happy creating!

XOXO,

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