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How to Make Charms Out of Clay

Kate Miller-Wilson
charms

You can add a personal touch to your jewelry making by creating charms out of clay. These easy, fun designs will enhance a necklace or bracelet or stand alone as a beautiful key chain. No matter how you use them, you'll enjoy the creative fun that comes with working with this inspiring craft material.

Paperclay Bird Charm

charm

This simple charm is made from Paperclay, which is a type of clay crafted from paper pulp. It dries light and strong, and you can sand and sculpt the surface after it has dried. One advantage of this type of clay is that it doesn't require an oven.

Things You'll Need

  • Creative Paperclay, available at your local craft store
  • Waxed paper to protect your work surface
  • Very fine sandpaper
  • Acrylic paint and fine brush
  • Art marker
  • Jewelry wire
  • Pliers and wire cutters

What to Do

  1. Begin by rolling a small amount of Paperclay into a ball on your work surface. Gradually elongate the ball to make an ovoid shape.
    charm
  2. Squish one end of the ovoid between your thumb and fingers to form the bird's flat tail. Form the other end into a sharp point for the beak. Shape the clay with your fingers to give the bird a head as well.
    charm
  3. Push a piece of wire down through the center of the bird to form a hole. Remove the wire.
  4. Allow your bird to dry and then sand the surface to smooth it out. Paint with your choice of acrylic paints and decorate with art markers.
    charm
  5. When the paint is dry, make a wire loop for hanging your bird charm.

Oven-Baked Clay Lace Charm

charm

You can use an old button to create a gorgeous lacy design on an oven-baked clay charm. This project is easy, and it allows for lots of creative expression in your choice of clay color and button. For a pretty look, choose a pearlized white clay.

Things You'll Need

  • Oven-baking clay, such as Sculpey
  • Waxed paper to protect your work surface
  • Pretty button with intricate design
  • Cookie sheet and oven for baking
  • Jewelry wire
  • Pliers and wire cutters

What to Do

  1. Roll your clay into a perfectly round ball on your work surface. Fold the waxed paper over the ball and push straight down to create a flat disk about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Push your button straight down onto the clay. You may need to roll it slightly to make the decoration reach the edges. When you're satisfied with the effect, set the button aside.
    charm
  3. Use a piece of jewelry wire to make a hole near the edge of the disk. You'll use this for hanging the charm.
  4. Transfer the charm to a cookie sheet and bake according to the clay manufacturer's directions. Allow the charm to cool, and then create a hanging loop with jewelry wire.

Oven-Baked Clay Fingerprint Charm

charm

Oven-baked clay is excellent for preserving details, such as the whorls in a fingerprint. There's a bit of a trick to getting the fingerprint just right, but once you get the hang of it, these charms are easy. They make great gifts for parents and grandparents.

Things You'll Need

  • Oven-baking clay, such as Sculpey
  • Waxed paper for your work surface
  • Toothpick (optional)
  • Jewelry wire
  • Pliers and wire cutters
  • Oven and cookie sheet

What to Do

  1. Form your clay into a perfectly round ball. Place the ball on the waxed paper, and fold the paper over the top. Press down gently to create a disk that's about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Flip the disk over so the perfectly flat side is facing up. This gives you a good surface for making the fingerprint design.
  3. Push your finger straight down onto the clay, and then roll it slightly to make sure the details of your print are captured on the surface. Lift your finger straight up when you're done.
  4. Use a piece of jewelry wire to make a hanging hole above your fingerprint. If desired, etch a name, date, or other message to the charm, on the front or the back, using a toothpick or wire.
  5. Transfer the charm to a baking sheet and bake according to the clay manufacturer's instructions.
  6. When it's cool, create a heart out of one end of a piece of jewelry wire. Place the heart in front of the charm and then form the remaining tail of the wire into a hanging loop.

Clay Makes Beautiful Charms

Clay is a great crafting material for making beautiful charms. No matter which design you choose, have fun experimenting with colors and textures to create a one-of-a-kind decoration that will turn heads.

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How to Make Charms Out of Clay