I was inspired by Caroline’s post to create a DIY gift for my husband for Father’s Day. I thought a keychain was the perfect idea because it wouldn’t clutter up our house (as DIYs often do!) and it is sufficiently masculine. I wanted, however, for the baby to get involved and unfortunately he’s too little to do any detail work!
I had seen air-dry clay thumbprint pendants floating around on Pinterest, but I wanted something sturdier since keys tend to get tossed around, and something that looked a little more finished and professional since my husband would carry it with him all the time. I came up with a polymer clay pendant nestled inside a bezel. I loved the result, and my husband loved his handmade present (pun intended!). You could use this same DIY to make a necklace, a fob, or a holiday or window ornament.
I didn’t get the chance to share this in time for Father’s Day, but it would be great for any occasion– and Grandparent’s Day is only a few months away!
For this project, you need:
– Polymer clay (I used Sculpey Premo brand because I liked the metallic option)
– Bezel (I found this with the clay products but for more selection, try the beading section of a craft store or disassemble a necklace from a thrift store. Or you can make a custom bezel out of the same polymer clay)
– Oven and cookie sheet
– Safety Pin
-Glue: hot glue, liquid polymer clay, or E-6000
-Split ring, chain, ornament hook, leather strand, etc.
D I R E C T I O N S:
Start by preheating your oven to the temperature specified on the clay package. Pinch off a little clay, then work it in your hands until it is malleable. This helps to condition, or strengthen, the clay. If you want something more colorful, you can mix colors for a marbled effect.
After you’ve done that, set the clay aside. Coat your bezel in cornstarch, and shake off the excess.
Fit a little of the clay you conditioned into the bezel and smooth into the desired shape. Remember that when baby makes her thumbprint, the print will displace the edges of the clay a little, so shoot for a little less volume than you want the finished fob to have.
Then, wrangle your baby into making his or her thumbprint on the clay in the bezel. This is much harder than it sounds!
Use a safety or straight pin to carefully pop the clay out of the bezel, then fix any damage you caused with the pin. Place the clay on a cookie sheet. I made a few clay discs so I could pick which one I liked best after baking.
I used the pin to poke the date into the clay. Poking the pin into the clay instead of dragging it through the clay made for a neater final look.
Bake according to the instructions on the clay. Mine were to bake for 30 minutes. When I took the discs out, they were still soft, but once they cooled, they hardened. If your discs aren’t hard after cooling, you can pop them back in the oven for five minute increments.
I baked my pieces on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil. I read later that a pizza oven or non-metal surface is ideal, but my discs turned out great!
While the discs are baking, rinse the cornstarch off of your bezel.
After the discs are baked and cooled, use a flexible glue to affix one in the bezel. I used E-6000. Polymer clay brands have their own glue brands as well!
At this point, you can glaze the item if you want! I thought mine looked good as is. If you want to glaze your piece, buy a glaze made by the same manufacturer as the polymer clay you buy. You can also use regular Mod Podge to give your piece sheen, or Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to thickly coat it.
Affix to jump ring or ribbon, etc.
The final step is to find a cute dish in your house and take a picture of your finished fob nestled inside.
Ok, not necessary actually!
I think it would be fun to use this technique for ornaments, necklaces (you could even make your own DIY “living locket” a la Origami Owl), charm bracelets, or to fill the inside of a locket that has a clasp.
Have any ideas for how to use this technique? Please share them!