Poly Clay Play: 6 Fresh and New Polymer Clay Projects

I was shuffling through boxes of jewelry supplies recently when lo and behold! I found brand-spanking-new packs of polymer clay, still soft and squishy. You would’ve thought I found a pile of cash, I was so excited. As much as I love making polymer clay projects, for some reason that I can’t explain, I rarely do it. Now I see that the universe wants me to, and who am I to refuse?

ABOVE: From Polymer Clay Jewelry: Learn 10 Beads and Charms online workshop with Christi Friesen.

I’ve had the polymer clay bug even more since the amazing Christi Friesen created a fantastic series of polymer clay workshops for Interweave awhile back. In addition to Christi’s workshops full of polymer clay jewelry projects for all skill levels, she shares bonus techniques like how to age clay, using clay in mixed media designs, and more.

polymer clay jewelry making

Christi Friesen’s vibrant polymer clay designs make me want to play with clay for hours.

3 Free Polymer Clay Projects

marbled polymer clay

How to Marble Polymer Clay for Faux Wood, Gems & More

One of the things I love most about polymer clay is how it can mimic just about anything—wood, glass, stones and gemstones, paper, fabric, coins, buttons, and . . . there’s no end! Taking advantage of clay’s ability to mimic other items allows you to duplicate fragile, rare, expensive, and one-of-a-kind items in clay multiples and save the original. With this marbling tutorial, you’ll learn to make marbled polymer clay, which is ideal for mimicking cabochon gems, pebbles, or design elements like water and sky.

polymer clay tab-set pendant tutorial by Laurel Nathanson

Tab-Set Stamped Clay Pebble Pendant

Speaking of endless versatility, you can use any color, any stamp, any inks, and other embellishments you like on this free stamped tab-set clay pendant project by Laurel Nathanson. They’re beginner friendly, but Laurel’s unique design and unusual shapes make this project look way more advanced than it is. It’s also a great way to use up leftover chunks of polymer clay. As you work with clay and have leftovers, just form the pebble, stamp your design, cure the clay—and then finish the rest of this project at your convenience.

how to make polymer clay beads

Why stop at just one?

Make Textured Polymer Clay Beads

Once you’re familiar with using polymer clay, you’ll want to start adding embellishments. You can add crystals, foils, ink, and more. An easy and totally free way to embellish polymer clay is by adding texture. You might be surprised at how many things you have around the house that can be used to imprint texture on clay. Watch and learn how to create easy textured polymer clay beads in our free BeadWise video.

3 Sneaky Polymer Clay Projects

I called these projects sneaky because you wouldn’t know they are made using polymer clay by looking at them!

Project: Sarah Wilbanks’s Starlight Lantern earrings look like agate, but they’re not; photo: Jim Lawson

Sarah Wilbanks’s Starlight Lantern Earrings; photo: Jim Lawson

Through the years, I’ve seen more and more jewelry artists who use simple, affordable polymer clay to create stunning artisan-quality jewelry. For example, would you know the translucent material and eye-catching design of Sarah Wilbanks’ Starlight Lanterns Earrings, featured in the May/June 2019 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, was the result of polymer clay? See more of Sarah’s artistic and surprising polymer clay jewelry.

celtic polymer clay cuff

Among the things that polymer clay mimics so well is metal. This Celtic Gold cuff bracelet by Syndee Holt (from Step by Step Beads, March/April 2006) is made of gold-colored polymer clay links instead of actual gold metal. As you can imagine, the clay is more affordable, lighter weight, and easier to make than the same design would be in metal.

polymer clay box

Continuing with the perks of polymer clay being so versatile, it can be used to make many things beyond jewelry. This pretty clay box, made by Kari McKnight Holbrook, is just one example of home décor and household things you can make with clay. Candlesticks, Christmas ornaments, photo frames, keychains, figurines, and so much more–you can use the techniques and embellishments you learn in any of these projects to create your own polymer clay creations.

Have fun! and read more about how fun it is to create with poly clay!

Have fun with versatile, affordable polymer clay!

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