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Polymer clay & resin leaf pendant

If you’ve ever wanted to dabble in polymer clay or resin, here’s your chance to go out on a limb and use a little of both

SUPPLIES

Pendant 1–2 1⁄2 in. (2.5–6.4 cm)

  • 7 1⁄2 in. (19.1 cm) 20-gauge wire (copper)
  • 24 in. (61 cm) 26-gauge wire (green)
  • 40–45 assorted glass (not plastic) seed beads that can withstand the heat of the toaster oven
  • jump ring or bail
  • 2 oz. polymer clay (black)
  • 2 leaves
  • Pearl Ex powders (gold and green)
  • Envirotex Lite two-part resin (www.eti-usa.com)
  • acrylic roller or brayer
  • craft knife and/or tissue blade
  • needle tool
  • paper and pencil
  • parchment paper
  • pasta machine*
  • plastic mixing cups
  • Popsicle or craft sticks
  • soft paintbrushes
  • spray bottle with water
  • toaster oven*
  • roundnose, chainnose, and/or flatnose pliers
  • wire cutters
*Dedicated to use with polymer clay

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant a
Photo a
Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant b
Photo b

Beaded frame

1. Cut a 24-in. (61 cm) piece of 26-gauge wire, and center 40 to 45 assorted seed beads (PHOTO A). You can string fewer beads for a more streamlined look, as in some of the pendants above.

2. Cut a 7 1⁄2-in. (19.1 cm) piece of 20-gauge wire for the frame wire. Starting 1 in. (2.5 cm) from one end of the frame wire, wrap the beaded portion of the 26-gauge wire around the frame wire as desired. Stop wrapping 1 in. (2.5 cm) from the other end of the frame wire. 

3. Wrap the unbeaded ends of the 26-gauge wire around the frame wire for 1⁄4–1⁄2 in. (6–13 mm), and trim any excess 26-gauge wire (PHOTO B).

Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant c
Photo c

4. Draw the desired shape of your leaf pendant on a piece of paper. Using your drawing as a template, form the frame wire into the leaf shape. Cross the ends of the frame wire, and pull them around each other once to lock them together (PHOTO C).

Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant d
Photo d

5. Grasp one end of the frame wire with the tip of your roundnose pliers, and make a small loop. Using roundnose, chainnose, and/or flatnose pliers, spiral the wire around the loop. Repeat this step with the other end of the frame wire (PHOTO D).

Polymer clay insert

1. Condition the clay.

2. Set the pasta machine to the thickest setting, and roll out a sheet a little larger than the beaded frame. Spritz both sides of the clay with water.

Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant e
Photo e
Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant f
Photo f

3. Place one leaf under the clay sheet and the other leaf on top. Make sure that the back of each leaf is touching the clay. (The veins on a leaf are more distinct on the back.) Using a roller or brayer, roll over the top of the clay so that the leaf makes a deep impression (PHOTO E). Turn over the clay sheet, and repeat on the other side.

4. Carefully remove each leaf from the clay. You should have a nice impression of the veins on both sides (PHOTO F).

Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant g
Photo g
Polymer clay and resin leaf pendant h
Photo h

5. Place the beaded frame on top of the clay, positioning it so the leaf veins are realistically oriented. Press the frame firmly into the clay, and trim the excess clay around the frame (PHOTO G). You may need to turn over the piece and trim from the back as well so that you don’t see any clay around the edges of the frame when viewed from the front.

6. Place a piece of parchment paper over the back of the piece, and gently burnish the edges of the clay with your finger to round them.

7. Dip the tip of a soft paintbrush into the gold Pearl Ex powder, and apply it to one half of the front of the leaf. Apply the green Pearl Ex powder to the other half and also to the back of the leaf. Using the needle tool, cut a small hole at the top of the pendant where you would like to attach a bail or jump ring (PHOTO H).

8. Bake the pendant (including the wire frame) in the toaster oven at 275 degrees, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the pendant cool completely.

Finishing

1. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, mix a small amount of Envirotex Lite two-part resin.

2. Pour a small puddle of resin onto the front of the pendant, and use a Popsicle or craft stick to spread it evenly over the surface. Do not allow the hole at the top of the pendant to fill with resin.

3. Allow the resin to cure completely. Attach a jump ring or bail to the hole in the pendant, and string as desired.

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