Although shopping for and using unique jewelry findings is a lot of fun, it’s even more satisfying if we can create them ourselves. This is one reason why I’ve really been wanting to get into metal clay, as I think it’s the perfect fusion between creating in polymer clay and having quality precious metal jewelry.
However, since that is cost prohibitive at the moment we can content ourselves with making our findings out of polymer clay. It’s a great way to make perfectly matched findings for your polymer clay jewelry and makes each piece even that much more unique.
In today’s video I will show you how to make simple tube bail. Interestingly, a couple hours after I shot this video I watched a video from a Patricia Roberts-Thompson, who has a relatively new YouTube channel, showing how to make polymer clay end caps. Her process is very similar to mine. The only difference between the end caps and the tube bails is that the bails need to have a wire loop inserted and the end caps need to have one end capped, naturally.
I show a simple way of texturing a bail, but don’t forget that you could also make smooth bails and then add swirls, dots, flowers or whatever else you like and then do one more baking. This would make the bail more of a focal piece than an accent, but with the right pendant it might be just what it needs.
Here’s a short little video I made for you looking back on all of the tutorials I’ve created in 2016. It’s kind of amazing to think that it’s been a year since I finished my dragon challenge, as the habits I developed over that year I have served me well this year. I learned to be more disciplined, to work at my art whether I feel like it or not, and to make it a priority.
I really love making polymer clay tutorial videos for you all! As I mentioned in the video, I added a third weekly video to my YouTube channel in February. What I didn’t mention was that in August I realized making three a week was just too much. So now I’m back down to two per week, alternating weeks (more or less) with polymer clay and jewelry videos, but always with a Friday Findings video every week.
One hundred thirty seven videos is a LOT and I hope you all have enjoyed them. Let me know in the comments if there are any that stand out to you as particular favorites.
I also created one class for CraftArtEdu.com this year, my Gradient Swirly Lentils Necklace class. This is a fun polymer technique that can be quite addictive. I strongly suggest if you enjoy polymer clay tutorials that you get on CraftArtEdu.com’s email newsletter list as they regularly send out coupon codes for 30, 40 and sometimes 50% off their classes.
Another thing I was really pleased to do this year was create tutorials for fairy garden accessories for Polymer Café magazine.
They kicked off my series with the March/April issue in which my fairy garden birdbath was featured on the cover! That was quite a thrill.
I then went on to make five other fairy garden accessory tutorials, concluding with the fairy garden bridge in the January/February 2017 issue. If you’d like to learn how to make these but don’t have a subscription to Polymer Café or can’t get the back issues, keep an eye out because I will be releasing them as individual downloadable PDF tutorials, once the rights revert back to me (about 18 months after publication.)
Dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters, cat-because he’s a cat
One thing I put in my 2015 looking back and looking ahead article a year ago was that I wanted to do more figure sculpting. Sadly I have only managed to do a grand total of ONE figure this year, this little dolly from Maureen Carlson’s How to Make Clay Characters.
I really have a strong desire to do figures expressing relationships, emotion and interactions and have been studying the work of other artists to see what resonates with me.
This idea has been one I have wanted to try for a long time. I’m always a sucker for simple and elegant design, and when I saw this pin on Pinterest I thought it was brilliant. The pin actually leads back to ElsaKStudios Etsy shop where she makes several items out of ceramics. I suspect that the weight of a ceramic piece would help with the stability of these holders, as I did have a bit of trouble getting my cell phone holders to be the right size and shape so they wouldn’t tip over.
In the video I show to make your phone holder’s clay strip 3 inches wide and 8 inches long. You might find it helpful to make your strip a bit longer if your phone is especially tall, perhaps make it nine or 10 inches long. This will give you the extra length and weight it needs in the back.
If all else fails you can do what this gal does and put a wedge in the back, which sorta seems like cheating to me, but it gets the job done. 🙂
By the way, I prepare my videos and blog posts 3 to 4 weeks in advance of them being published, so this project was actually done during the week before Christmas. Which is why I mention things being gifts. I ended up making four of these; one each for my husband, my two sons and myself.
So here’s a funny story: I finally finished three of the scroll phone holders and was ready to take them downstairs to my studio to take the beauty shots for the video. The plan was to put my cell phone in the holder and then take the photos. Silly me though, forgot to consider that I take my photos with my cell phone!
That wasn’t gonna work. Duh.
So I came upstairs and asked my husband and son if I could borrow their phones for five minutes. Being the week before Christmas they knew better than to ask questions.
When I gave their phones back I asked if those few minutes had felt like being without their right arms. My husband looked perplexed at the question, but my son mumbled, “Kinda.” lol