How Too Make A Clay Beaded Necklace

So I had some clay left over after the children had made their Piggies for the Natwest Competition.

This was air hardening/drying clay and with more than enough air tight containers full of modelling clay or play dough, I decided to use it up.

It was a real awkward amount, not enough to make anything to big, but more than enough not to want to waste. With this I decided to make some clay beads and a necklace for my daughter.

Here’s what I used…

Air Hardening/Drying Clay
Pearlised Acrylic Paints (Green/Yellow)
Acrylic Glaze
Black Bead Thread
Plastic Necklace Fastener

Tools…

Paint Brushes
Scissors
Clay Modelling Tool
News Paper or Table Cloth ( to cover surfaces)

How I Made The Beads

Despite only needing a small number of beads for the necklace I decided to make some extra so that the toddler could use them to help build his fine motor skills.

To make the beads I simply worked with very small amounts of clay at a time, rolling them into a ball, then using the sharp end of a modelling tool to make a hole through the middle of each bead (make sure the tool pushes right through the clay so the hole goes all the way through).

I then used the opposite end of the modelling tool to score lines, grooves and various patterns into each bead.

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Feeling a tad adventures, I also made a few different shaped beads and charms.

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The clay instructions are not to use water as its ‘Air drying’ However, I always find that this type of clay tends to crack more easily and does so fairly quickly. So, with this I often just wet my fingers a little and smooth over any cracks if I find this to be the case at all!

Once all my beads were complete, I left them on a sheet of newspaper and placed them in a dry area, leaving them over night to dry at room temperature.

Tip: You can tell when your beads are dry as the colour of the clay will turn from a stone grey colour, to white.

Decorating The Beads…

Once fully dried, I choose two paint colours (pearlised green and yellow) and put a small amount of each on a pallet (aka paper plate). I then used the end of a very thin paint brush and pushed it through the hole of the bead I was going to decorate. This allowed me to paint the entire bead without it being to fiddly and no area was missed.

I rotated the colours, painting one green the next yellow and so forth.

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The paint is very quick to dry, but I left for a good hour then repeated the process.

I then left to dry for another 2 hours before painting them in the same way only this time with a clear acrylic gloss glaze.

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After an hour the beads were ready to thread. I used black thread and secured with a plastic necklace fastener.

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Having made my necklace and some beads for harley to practice his fine motor skills, I did however, find I had a bit more clay left over. So, with this I decided to make a pendent for the necklace and a pair of earrings to match. I also made a feather pendent too.

How I Made The Matching Pendent & Earrings…

Added materials needed…

Earring wires

I flatten the clay so it became very thin and delicate. I then used the modelling tool to cut out a large tear drop shape for the pendent and two for the earrings. Once I had my earring shapes I then flatten these a bit more as to make them almost paper thin. This is to unsure they are not to heavy to wear.

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I then used my fingertips to help form a pattern, before using the sharp end of the modelling tool to complete my desired design. I did this for both the pendent and earrings (not worrying if they were the exact same in detail)!

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I then used the sharp end of the tool to make holes in each piece.

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Next I followed the same steps as I did for the beads. I painted in the same way only using both colours on each piece. I also covered all pieces in the same acrylic gloss glaze.

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The last step was to add the ear wires to create a pair of earrings.

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How I Made The Feather Pendent…

I flatten the remaining clay like that above and cut out one large leaf shape and another one about half its size.

I used the modelling tool to add the detail of the leaf before finally adding the holes for threading.

I then did all the same steps as I did for my beads, pendent and earrings. I used the same paints, gloss glaze and dried for the same amount of time. (Note the earrings and leaf pendent dried much faster as they were so thin!)

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Alice loved all the pieces (apart from the earrings these are to large for her as she only wears studs, plus they are not real silver)!

The clay jewellery is perfect for dress up or even gifts. I’m now making clay bead bracelets for Christmas Cracker fillers. 🙂

Alice is keen to have a go herself so I’m going to make a batch of salt dough and see what she can come up with!

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