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Fancy a bit of DIY? Pt.1

With so many people having fallen in love with polymer clay over the last couple of years (both making and wearing) have you ever thought of giving it a go yourself? You don't need to have any grand ambitions to turn it in to a business, you can simply produce items for your self or family or friends or strangers this point you obviously enjoy it, have a storage issue and should probably consider selling in order to fund your new habit .

The good news is you really don't need much to get going. The first pair of earrings I made was using seven year old clay from my wedding invitations (a random colour I had bought at the time, not my final decision), grease proof paper, a wooden rolling pin (the horror!) and a bottle opener/corkscrew device as my round cutter. So pro. I have always enjoyed having a go at various crafty hobbies so had a few wee findings in and a set of tools from when I was getting into very basic jewellery making, mostly necklaces but I had purchased finding sets containing enough bits and pieces to make earrings as well as necklaces. If you're desperate to see that first pair scroll most of the way down my blog insta page to the lovely turqoise and pearl white marble semi circle dangles with birds attached :D

Ok where to begin? Buy yourself two or three colours of clay you like (avoid the temptation to buy any labelled as soft at this point), a wee pack of findings (depending on whether its's earrings, necklaces, brooches etc that you want to make) and some strong glue - I like Gorilla gel as it doesn't just pour out everywhere but every maker has their own preference, try whatever you have on hand and see how it goes.

If you have any small cutters on hand then great, if not, get creative like I did! Small lotion lids could be a great statement stud size, wee Lego blocks? save your feet from finding them first or just free style it and cut or mould shapes by hand.

Plastic or acrylic rolling pins are best but if you only have a wooden one then you can still use it, just make sure you put a sheet of greaseproof paper between the roller and the clay. Otherwise you get a big mess. A glass chopping board or tile is a great base, again if you don't have one to hand then another sheet of greaseproof paper to the rescue! Plastic or wooden boards will leave marks on your clay and cause it to stick. More big mess. Before you pop your shapes in the oven, if you are going to use jump rings as part of your design, remember to pierce a hole where you would be threading the connector/jump ring through, a cocktail stick is perfect for this. That grease proof paper you used during rolling? Put it on your oven tray, lay the ready to bake pieces on top and that way you will avoid a patchy matt/shiny back on your pieces. By the way, pay attention to the temperatures and timings for baking as they differ between clay brands, Fimo is particularly fussy about which colours can handle longer bakes, if you mix clay brands then somewhere in between usually works out well. Some ovens also run hotter or colder than the temp you set it to so with experience you will get used to your own settings and adjust bake times and temps accordingly.

If you're only making studs then you don't really need to worry about pliers but if you are quite partial to dangles (hello) then then opening and closing the jump rings by hand on the first few pairs won't be too bad depending on how soft or hard the metal is but if you keep going you'll want to get at least a couple of pairs. The two above I use the most, I think they're called chain nose and bent nose pliers and were bought as part of a set from Hobbycraft many moons ago.

There's a heck of a lot more detail to go into each process and also a whole load more tools and techniques I use now compared to that first pair I made so I will make this a multipart series and go a bit more in depth about each step. If you have any burning questions feel free to send them my way and I'll try and answer them or at least point you in the right direction.

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