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I always enjoy crafting with polymer clay. If you’re not familiar with this product (and most craft fanatics would be) it’s a plastic clay that you can bake in your oven at home to harden, so it’s often used for making jewellery such as beads for necklaces and other small things. It comes in a hard block and you need to roll small pieces around in your fingers to soften them up enough to sculpt with, so for this reason it’s not the easiest medium for young kids to work with. My girls are seven and eight and they enjoy making simple things with it but will usually ask me to help them soften the clay first. They also love hama beads, which are usually set into shape by ironing them, but we decided to combine them with polymer clay to see what happened. We love the results!
You will need:
• Polymer clay – we have used fimo brand but you could also use sculpey (I have read that sculpey is softer for modelling so it might be an easier brand for kids to use, although I have not tried it myself)
• Hama beads (perler beads)
• A kitchen skewer
• Optional flexible cutting mat as a surface to work on – I bought a set inexpensively from Aldi but they are similar to this set here. I found that using a cutting mat made working with the clay far easier than when on the wooden table surface, it seemed to help soften the clay and make it more malleable.
To begin with create balls with the clay and then flatten them into whatever pendant shape you prefer. Poke a hole with a skewer and arrange the beads in a pattern. I created mandala-style patterns and also flower patterns using a combitation of fimo and perler beads. Most of them are obvious in how to recreate, but for the flowers there is a bit of extra technique involved.
Create a daisy by cutting a long piece into even, smaller pieces and flatten them into petals. Arrange in a circle and use perler beads for the centre of the flower.
Create a rose by placing a perler bead in the centre of the pendant and winding a flattened long piece around it in a spiral shape for the inner petals. Then create outer petals by arranging flattened small balls around the outside of the spiral and gently bend them back so that they look like a rose. These are some of the designs before being placed in the oven.
Bake your pendants
I’m not a fan of baking plastic on our regular oven trays that we use for cooking so I keep some disposable foil ones in our craft cupboard for this purpose, and we do reuse them again when we do more polymer clay crafting. Because all ovens are different it’s difficult to give an accurate time and temperature to bake your pendants. For our pieces I always bake on 80ºc for 20 minutes but keep in mind that we have a very hot fan-forced oven which always bakes things in less than the time specified in recipes.
This is how our pendants looked after baking. Thread them onto strings and you have some bright and cheerful home made jewellery.
Miss R made an R to hang on her school bag.
Have you tried crafting with polymer clay? We love it.
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• These decorative flowers stones look so pretty!
• Check out this list of 50+ fabulous flower crafts for kids
• Here are our tips on creating mosaic art for beginners