Thursday, April 24, 2014

Disco Ball Inspired Earrings

Hello out there in Creative Paperclay® Modeling Material Land! It's Susan from with a fun and quick jewelry project.

Creative Paperclay® Modeling Material
Pasta Machine and Cookie Cutter (optional)
120 4mm Hot Fix Crystals
Hot Fix Crystal Applicator
Black acrylic paint
Jewelry Head Pins and Earring Hooks

To get started, You need two balls of clay as close to the same size as possible. There's lots of ways to achieve this, but I leaned on one of my favorite polymer tricks. I put a nice sized piece of Creative Paperclay® Modeling Material in a sandwich bag. I left the top of the bag open then pushed it through my pasta machine on the largest setting starting at the bottom of the bag. This created one large sheet at roughly the same thickness all the way across. I cut off the side of the bag to access the clay without changing its shape and used a cookie cutter to get two equal pieces.

After you've used my method or your favorite way of measuring out your clay, make two balls and push a jewelry head pin though the center of each stopping before the wide part of the pin pushes into the clay. Getting it straight though the middle can be a bit tricky. I find it easier to stand the pin straight up and push the clay ball onto the pin rather than pushing the pin into the ball. If you don't get it on your first try - take out the pin, re-roll your ball and try again! If your pin isn't straight, you're earrings wont hang straight either.
I baked my two clay balls at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. This DOES not complete cure them. If you don't wait for your clay to dry overnight or longer at this step, handle your earring balls carefully. If you pinch too hard, you will damage the round shape you worked so hard for.  Baking does dry them just enough to add the crystals and color if you're in a hurry like me. Before I started adding the crystals, I put a plumb line around the base of the ball. I used a round cutter and placed the ball just inside then traced around the edge of the cutter. You could use a small rubber band or measure the same distance from the base of the head pin all the way around.
I used a Hot Fix Applicator to add to my Hot Fix crystals. One at a time, I added them on my plumb line all the way around the base of the ball. Normally, I would suggest an alternate way to handle this, but really, in this case, the applicator is going to the most effective (and safe!) way of adding the crystals. Another option could be to purchase crystals that are not Hot Fix and use hot glue or jewelry glue instead.
Now it is just a matter of adding crystals until the ball is covered in them. I decided to leave a fair amount of space between my crystals. You may want to put them so close you can't see the clay under them or even further apart than I did. It all comes down to the effect you're trying to acheive.
Since Disco Balls have a bit of black in them, I wanted to make the color around the crystals black. This technique uses acrylic craft paint - you could make it any color you wanted! I created a very liquid wash by adding acrylic paint to a cup of water. I stirred it around until the water was a nice black color and dipped my earring in it.

Special Notes about dipping:
  • Be VERY VERY VERY (did I get enough VERYS?) quick about it. Do not leave your earring in there more than a second. The clay will dissolve if you linger!
  • Immediately after you dip it, roll it around on a paper towel to get any excess water away from the clay and off of the crystals.
  • Use a warm or hot blow dryer to dry the paint to prepare the clay for a second dipping
  • To deepen the color, repeat  - dip, roll, blow dry - as many times as required. 
You'll notice my earrings have not been finished - the head pin needs to be clipped and turned and a hook added so I can wear them! Here's the thing, I learned the hard way that it is a bad idea to attempt to bend the head pin before the clay is completely cured. In my case, the headpin busted right out of my earring and I had to make another! Right now there is a pair happily drying away and I'm leaving them alone until they are nice and solid. As soon as they are all dry and I can turn the pins, I'll update this post with the new pictures and final finishing instructions.

UPDATE: The earrings are all finished!

To finish them up, Use a rounded pair of pliers. Turn the top of the headpin into a nearly closed loop. Hang the earring hook on your nearly closed loop, then make it a completely closed loop.

See more including me wearing them on this post at!

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I love to hear from you. Leave a comment here or email directly


Rachel Whetzel said...

These. ARE. AWESOME. the end.

Susan at said...

Thank you muches Rachel! I'm loving them. Can't wait to wear them out. :)

Lisa said...

Is there anything you can't make? You win awesome for the day!

Casoppia said...

LOL Susan: can ya come up with steam punk necklace ideas? I need to make 3 probably with matching earrings..LOL
LOVE the disco ball ones, may have to make those too.... So creative

Autumn Adams said...

Great Job!