Table of Contents:
- How to Prepare to Make Polymer Clay Earrings
- Tools You Will Need to Make Clay Earrings at Home
- Polymer Clay Earring Ideas for Patterns
- Different Types of Earrings
- How to Make Polymer Clay Stud, Unicorn Horn and Other Earrings
- Bring Your Polymer Clay Earring Designs to Life With Sculpey
Polymer clay is not only an exciting and fun crafting material but also one that you can use to make just about anything. It’s highly versatile and flexible, plus you can mix it to form different colors, from contrasting to complementary. If you are a creative type, you’ll never get bored playing with polymer clay — and if you don’t consider yourself one, you're about to discover the artist within you.
If you’ve never heard of polymer clay, you may be wondering what it is and why it is the preferred material to make earrings. Polymer clay isn't something you dig up in your backyard. Instead, polymer clay comes from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plasticizer and pigment. In short, polymer clay is a flexible plastic. Although you won't find it in nature, it’s extremely easy to get a hold of online. Especially on our website where we offer a wide variety of polymer clay options.
Because of its flexible qualities, you can make so many different things with polymer clay, from cute animal figurines your kids will like to gorgeous vintage-style brooches your friends will adore. And, of course, earrings you'll love to wear. Polymer clay is an excellent material for making all kinds of earrings, from studs to hoops. Plus, you can create polymer clay earrings to match all your favorite outfits. With so many ways to express yourself and your unique style with clay earrings, you're bound to become inspired.
Polymer clay is easy to work with and luckily there are a lot of different tools to help it be even easier!! From cutters, tools, stencils and molds there is a tool to help make any project easier and more successful. Before long, your friends will be begging you to make them a pair of your signature, do-it-yourself (DIY) polymer clay earrings. And who knows, maybe you'll even start your own jewelry business after a few tries.
So, let’s get started with our guide to making fun and beautiful polymer clay earrings, which you can do right at home — no studio required.
How to Prepare to Make Polymer Clay Earrings
All you need is the clay, your household oven, a clean work area and your hands to start creating with polymer clay. A lot of tools you can improvise and gather from your kitchen, bathroom or garage. You’ll need items for etching designs, as well as sculpting figures or shapes into the clay, plus a tool for cutting it. The more experience you gain working with polymer clay, the more you’ll feel comfortable experimenting with different tools. This minimal amount of prep-work applies to earring-making hardware too. To make earrings, the only additional supplies you'll need are a few accessories to form the earrings and a pair of pliers.
So, without further ado, here’s how to prepare for your polymer clay and earring-making adventure:
1. Prepare Your Workspace
First, arrange your workspace. Make sure your work area is clean and free of pet hair or other debris because this can get into the clay. Make sure to protect your work surface too, as polymer clay can damage finishes on furniture. All you have to do is cover your work area with a sheet of wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. You can also work on top of glass or marble if you happen to have those materials around. If you don’t have any of the above, a few sheets of clean copy paper can work too.
2. Choose Your Oven
Contrary to popular belief and your high school experience in art class, you do not need a special oven or a separate oven to bake your polymer clay — your regular household oven will work just fine. You can even use a toaster oven if you prefer. Just don’t use a microwave. Why? Oven-bake clays are not formulated to be cured by this method. Microwave ovens have hot spots and are difficult to set exact temperatures. If over bake clays are positioned in these hot spots they can undergo thermal breakdown very quickly and may char or emit fumes.Oven-bake clays are not formulated to be cured by this method. Microwave ovens generally have hot spots and are difficult to set exact temperatures. If oven-bake clays are positioned in these hot spots, they can undergo thermal breakdown very quickly, and may char or emit fumes. Oven-bake clays are not formulated to be cured by this method. Microwave ovens generally have hot spots and are difficult to set exact temperatures. If oven-bake clays are positioned in these hot spots, they can undergo thermal breakdown very quickly, and may char or emit fumes. Oven-bake clays are not formulated to be cured by this method. Microwave ovens generally have hot spots and are difficult to set exact temperatures. If oven-bake clays are positioned in these hot spots, they can undergo thermal breakdown very quickly, and may char or emit fumes.
3. Purchase Your Clay
To make sure you start off on the right foot, we suggest a polymer clay that is suitable for jewelry making. That would include a type that is soft enough to bend, but firm enough to hold the details. You also want to use clay that is durable, because you’ll want to wear your handmade polymer clay earrings and not keep them in a box. We recommended the following types of polymer clay for jewelry-making:
- Premo Sculpey®:This polymer clay, which is available in a variety of colors, is both strong and flexible. Its balance between firm and soft also makes it excellent for jewelry because it holds those details you'll etch onto your custom earrings. Even better, it includes baking instructions, so you're never in doubt.
- Sculpey® Soufflé™:This polymer clay is lightweight and quick to bend and shape, yet strong enough to maintain fine detail, which makes great for a soft, matte finish. It also comes in an array of colors, from hot pink and royal purple to cherry red and classic blue.
If you're not sure about the type of clay to get for your polymer clay earring design, our team is always thrilled to discuss your creative endeavor and offer recommendations. Contact a member of our team using our general inquiry form for any questions you may have on your project.
A lot of the supplies you’ll need when working with polymer clay are ones that you probably already have in your home or can find at your local store. The materials you'll need will vary by your project.
In general, the following items are wise to keep on hand, regardless of your craft idea, and they’ll help prevent an interruption to your creative flow:
- X-Acto or craft knives: This is your go-to tool for cutting clay into shapes or pieces.
- Needles: Add some sewing needles to your stock, or make your own by sticking a needlepoint needle in a small block of clay, which forms the handle, and baking it.
- Plastic toothpicks: If you're short on sewing needles, use some plastic toothpicks to poke holes in the clay.
- Ball styluses: These are perfect for creating holes or indentations in your polymer clay.
- Plastic or acrylic rolling pins: Make sure your rolling pins are plastic or acrylic. If you use a wooden one, the wood will absorb the clay’s qualities.
- Scraper blades: This tool is for shaving or cutting clay off a new block of clay.
- Foil pans or cookie sheets: When you make your polymer earring designs, you'll need a foil pan or cooking sheet for baking the clay.
- Parchment or wax paper: An essential tool when working with polymer clay, parchment and wax paper are for covering your work area and lining baking sheets.
- Toothbrush: Grab an old toothbrush and use the bristles to add texture to the clay.
- Paper towels or baby wipes: Keep your hands and workspace clean with a pack of baby wipes, or some wet paper towels.
- Ziploc bags: Store your polymer clay after opening the package with some handy Ziploc bags.
You may also want to grab a container or tote for storing all your supplies, making it fast and simple to pick up your tools and go.
Tools You Will Need to Make Clay Earrings at Home
So, you have your table covered with parchment paper and a few blocks of colorful polymer clay. Now, you're ready to get to work and make your first pair of polymer clay earrings, right? Not quite. You'll probably want to gather a few more tools before starting. Hang in there. You’ll be a polymer clay master soon enough.
While not all-inclusive, as your needs will vary based on your polymer clay earring design, here are the earring-making tools and supplies you’ll need to get started:
- Earring posts, hoops or hooks
- Jump rings
- Eye pins
- Industrial strength glue
- Wire cutters
- Chain nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
Here are a few possible add-ons to keep nearby for when inspiration strikes too:
- Accent beads or charms
- Acrylic paint
- Metal leaf
- Metallic paint pen
Ok, now onto the fun part — building out your one-of-a-kind design.
Polymer Clay Earring Ideas for Patterns
Earrings often start with a pattern, which is a repeated design and can be made by someone or found in nature. Fashion designers often draw inspiration from the outdoors because you'll find symmetry throughout nature, such as in starfish and snowflakes, plus symmetrical patterns are pleasing to the eye.
On the contrary, asymmetry can create visual interest. It's also still a pleasure to look at, but only if it is balanced. For example, a Japanese aesthetic principle known as fukinsei is the idea to create balance through asymmetry. If you've heard of the Zen Circle, also called "enso," it's an example of fukinsei because it's an incomplete circle. Balanced asymmetry, like enso, is engaging and represents the beautiful imperfections also found in nature.
It’s up to you if you want to put patterns on your polymer clay earrings. If you love prints and want to include them in your jewelry design, however, here are some ideas:
Geometric patterns are a trendy choice for jewelry-making. As far as their definition, they're human-made patterns that consist of repeated geometric shapes, like squares, circles and triangles. Islamic art often features geometric decorations, which are present in the architecture of cities in Morocco, Persia, Iran and Turkey.
There are many ways to incorporate geometric patterns into your polymer clay earring designs. You can draw geometric shapes on jewelry with a metallic paint pen, or you can cut geometric shapes with mini geometric clay cutters, which is a convenient option if you're prone to shaky hands when drawing on small surfaces. To enhance your design, you can also layer geometric shapes with other accents.
Marble consists of color streaks. It’s a form of limestone that people have adored for its clean elegance since the days of Rome.
You can make marbled polymer clay earrings by mixing white clay with a solid hue through the following steps:
The easiest way to marble clay is to create 2 ropes of colored clay. once your two ropes are created you will twist them together and keep twisting and folding until you get the pattern you want.
During the final step, be careful not to overmix. At this point, you should see a marble pattern. You can then shape and glue these marbled clay pieces to earring posts and show off your elegant flair.
Tribal patterns derive from tribal art. Tribal art, also known as ethnographic art, reflects the art of indigenous peoples. This artwork also usually holds meaning or is for ceremonial purposes. You can use tribal designs to inspire your creations. With your clay toolset ready, carve tribal patterns into the clay or use them as inspiration for cutting shapes. There are plenty of free tribal patterns online to get your creative juices flowing.
Similar to marble, you can create polymer clay jewelry pieces that resemble the iridescent beauty of seashells. It may be a little overwhelming if you're new to polymer clay, as well as require a clay conditioning machine to flatten clay layers, but when you’re ready to create faux shell pieces, there are several polymer clay earring tutorials for this type of material and jewelry.
You can make watercolor-inspired polymer clay earrings with an abstract painterly pattern, which features an appearance that's almost similar to a watercolor painting. To create this jewelry, all you have to do is shape clay into a smooth disc at your desired earring size. Then, dab a tiny piece of clay with a different color onto the disc and smear it until it thins out — make this motion in a single painterly stroke. You can use as many different “paint” colors as you like for earrings that are sure to make a statement.
You can steal mother nature's patterns to use in your polymer clay earring designs. It’s easy too. For lovely earthy earrings, flatten out a piece of clay and press the leaf or flower you wish to imprint into it. Flip and roll over your clay a little so the leaf or flower won’t move, then flip it back over again and carefully remove the flower or leaf. Use a metal cutter to cut the imprint out in the shape you want, and then bake and finish.
7. Textured sheets
One of the easiest ways you can add a pattern to your polymer clay earrings is to use a textured sheet. Textured sheets are available in a vast selection of patterns, so your options are endless when it comes to choosing a design you love. Whether you want a landscape pattern, or an edgier design, we have a texture sheet to fit your design needs.
All you need to do is roll a ball of clay in your favorite color and press the textured sheet into the clay. Then, remove the clay from the texture sheet and cut it into your desired shape before baking. Afterward, glue the clay to an earring post. Once you've tried on your polymer clay earrings, you’ll feel like an earring-making pro.
Mokume-gane is a trendy polymer clay technique that traces back to 17th-century Japan. It involves stacking colors of clay together then using tools and things found around your house to make patterns in the stack of clay. Once you have completed making your pattern, you slice off the top piece to reveal your amazing design. This is a great technique for beginners because it is easy and has amazing results!
9. Millefiori Beads
Like mokume-gane, millefiori beads are a little more involved but produce beautiful and unique results. Millefiori is an Italian technique and means a “thousand flowers.” While first used for glass work, millefiori also works for making beads for earrings, necklaces or other pieces of jewelry. The millefiori technique involves creating a cane of clay with a center pattern. With the core being a pattern, like a flower, you can slice the cane to make many identical beads.
10. Faux Gems
You can turn polymer clay into faux gems and steal more beauty tips from nature for a minimal cost. From opal to abalone, you can trick people into thinking you're wearing the real deal. They’ll never know your own hands created the gems you're wearing on your ears. When they find out, they’ll want you to make them a pair!
An additional benefit of faux gems is that they make gorgeous accessories and can be combined with other beads, charms and crafting materials to make interesting pieces of jewelry. For example, if you love opal, you can use polymer clay to create as many opal beads as you wish. It only involves translucent clay, plus bits of clay in red, blue, purple and green, as well as prismatic glitter and sandpaper to polish your beautiful stones. We also have an opal premo color that requires no work to create a faux gem look.
Different Types of Earrings
Just as there are tons of different patterns you can use to make polymer clay earrings, there are just as many different styles, shapes and colors you can use for earrings.
Here are some of our go-to polymer clay earring styles you can create:
- Ear jackets or double-sided: Animals, food, flowers — what do you love? You can build polymer clay figurines of your favorite thing in the world, add earring components and have yourself a pair of self-expressive earrings. You’ll commonly see polymer clay double-sided animal earrings, like a shark or otter, because they are irresistibly cute.
- Studs: Studs make a pleasant and straightforward earring style, and they're a fantastic choice for casual wear. They also look great and require minimal jewelry hardware — all you need are posts and backs.
- Dangling: With a hook and jump ring, you can design whimsical polymer clay earrings like leave-shaped earrings, wings and more.
- Chandelier: Chandelier earrings are elegant, and believe it or not, can involve polymer clay. You’ll need eye pins and jump rings to create chandelier earrings.
- Hoops: You can make hoop earrings entirely out of polymer clay, or you can use metal hoop earrings and attach polymer clay beads or other clay shapes.
- Spiral: Polymer clay spiral earrings are easy to make, and look lovely with added glitter or metallic accents.
- Drop: Drop polymer clay earrings would be an excellent choice for faux gems or faux marble styles.
- Disks: Disk-shaped polymer clay earrings can make an excellent canvas for a stamped earring pattern or a painterly design. It’s up to you how creative you want to get.
- Jhumka: Jhumka earrings are traditional bell-shaped Indian earrings. You can form polymer clay into dome-shaped beads to inspire the overall look.
- Mismatched: Want to know the latest fashion trend? Mismatched earrings! Experiment with different shapes and styles and wear them at the same time.
No matter what style you choose, don’t be afraid to make a fashion statement as loud as your heart desires.
Before creating your polymer clay earring design, you'll also have to choose your earring hook type, which includes:
- French or shepherd hook: This is a popular choice that fastens through the ear, which you can attach a figurine or other shape to, though it's good to use a plastic back with this kind of hook as they can easily slip out of the ear.
- Kidney wires: A lot of people love this hook because they clasp shut and are inexpensive.
- Hoops: If you love accessorizing your earrings, you may want to consider this option since you can add beads, gems or charms to them.
- Posts or studs: With these hooks, you can adhere a clay piece to the flat side of the post or stud, though you will need a back to keep your earrings attached.
Feel inspired yet? You’re getting closer to creating your very own pair of polymer clay earrings.
How to Make Polymer Clay Stud, Unicorn Horn and Other Earrings
Although we welcome free-play with clay, we’re going to start you off with a few simple earring designs. So, let’s get started building your polymer-clay confidence.
First, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:
- Bake your projects according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Store your clay by keeping opened packages in plastic containers or plastic bags, as well as away from heat sources.
We think you’re ready to make a super-cool pair of polymer clay earrings now. Take a deep breath — you can do it!
1. Heart-Shaped Studs
Stud earrings are always in fashion and are easy to create. We chose cute heart-shaped studs to introduce you to the world of earring-making.
Here’s what you’ll need to begin:
- Polymer clay in the color of your choice
- Earring posts
- Industrial strength glue
- Toothpick or needle
And here’s what you’ll do to make them:
- Work the clay in your hands until it is soft.
- Make heart shapes with our heart-shaped clay cutters.
- Use a toothpick or needle to form a cleft at the top of the heart.
- Bake the clay according to the package instructions.
- When the hearts have cooled, glue them to earring posts.
Super easy, right? Hand these out as gifts on Valentine's Day, or choose to wear your heart on your ears. Add small jewels to them after baking for a look that sparkles.
2. Fried Eggs Earrings
If you love your eggs fried, then you’ll love these Fried Eggs Earrings. Best of all, beginner jewelry-makers and chefs alike can whip up these eggs with no problem. Here’s what you’ll need:
- White and yellow polymer clay
- Gloss glaze
- Old brush
- Two earring hooks
- Four jump rings
- Light brown and dark brown acrylic paint
What you’ll do to create them:
- Wash your hands.
- Press two pieces of white clay — your "egg whites" — until flat on your work surface.
- Roll two balls of yellow clay for the “yolks.”
- Poke the egg whites with stiff brush bristles to give them a textured look.
- Push the yolks into the centers of each white.
- Push a toothpick all the way through the top of each egg. This step forms the hole you will put the jump rings through.
- Bake the clay eggs according to the package instructions.
- Paint the egg white edges with dark and light brown paint, to give it a crispy-fried look after cooling.
- Apply the gloss glaze for shine.
- Attach two jump rings to each egg and then attach the hooks.
These earrings are fun to not only make but also wear. If you're not a fan of eggs, though, you can make donut-shaped polymer earrings, pizza slices, bananas or any tasty treat you love.
3. Easy Rose Studs
Roses are the epitome of romance, and they make a great jewelry design too. They aren't too challenging to make either and look much more intricate than they are.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these DIY Rose Earrings:
- Polymer clay in a rose-like color
- Razor blade
- Industrial strength glue
- Earring posts
What to do to form one rose earring:
- Roll about six balls of clay.
- Flatten each ball with your finger.
- Fold a ball in half. This one will be the center of the rose.
- Wrap the other flattened balls around the center in overlapping layers. These will be the petals.
- Slice the end of the rose to make a flat base.
- Bake according to package instructions.
- Glue the rose to the earring post.
You can add a glaze, glitter or metallic edging to up the elegance if you wish.
4. Unicorn Horns
Who doesn't want to hang unicorn horns from their ears? Unicorn horns resemble all that is mystical, plus they bring cheer to children and always lift our spirits. They are whimsical and beautiful too, and best of all, so easy to make. And they look great with glitter and irresistible moon-shaped charms as well. Here’s how to make these DIY Unicorn Horn Polymer Clay Charms, which you can turn into cute earrings.
Here are the materials you'll need to start:
- Pink or blue polymer clay, or whatever color you want for your unicorn horns
- Pink and blue glitter, or glitter to match the polymer clay color you chose
- Two eye pins and two hooks
What you’ll do to make them:
- Flatten two pieces of polymer clay.
- Add glitter to each piece of flattened clay and roll it into balls to mix in the glitter.
- Roll each ball of clay into a thin tube shape.
- Cut each tube in half. You should have four pieces total.
- Apply pressure to the bottom of each piece to form a point. The tubes should be pencil-shaped.
- Line up two pieces and twist together.
- Add an eye pin to each horn.
- Apply a glaze and allow to dry.
- Attach hooks to the eye pins to turn your horns into earrings.
And then? You're ready to show-off your new polymer clay earring design.
5. Cupcake Earrings
Ready for some cupcakes? Cupcake earrings are a little more in-depth but are a great way to prepare you for more complicated projects. If you need something sweet to brighten up a dreary day, these cupcakes feature smiley faces too. It’s tough to feel sad around these earrings.
Here’s what you’ll need to make Polymer Clay Cupcake Earrings:
- Pink, blue, black and white polymer clay
- Translucent liquid clay
- Eye pins
- Earring hooks
- Round nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Toothpick or needle
- Dotting tool
- Rubber spatula
- Small paintbrush
- Old toothbrush or hard paintbrush
- Plain copy paper
What you’ll do to create them:
- Mix equal parts white clay with pink clay, and blue clay with white clay.
- Roll out the blue clay and cut it into two equal pieces.
- Form the pieces into thimble shapes. They will be the base of the cupcake when it's flipped right-side-up.
- Take a needle or toothpick and make indentations on the sides to make them look like cupcake wrappers.
- Flip them upside down so that the flat, wider side faces up.
- Roll two balls of pink clay into a dome shape that's a little bit larger than the cupcakes bases.
- Put a dollop of translucent liquid clay on the top of each blue base.
- Add one pink dome to the top of each blue base.
- Poke the pink top with an old brush to add texture.
- Use the dotting tool and make two eye-holes on your pink domes.
- Press the black clay with the dotting tool into the eye-holes.
- Roll a thin piece of black clay for the smile.
- Place the smiles on the cupcakes.
- Mix white clay with translucent liquid clay until you get a toothpaste consistency for your frosting.
- Take a small spatula tool and add frosting to the top of each cupcake.
- Trim the eye pins and use pliers to bend them at the bottom so that they stay in place after you insert them into the cupcakes.
- Insert the eye pins and curve into place.
- Bake according to clay package instructions.
- Allow clay to cool.
- Use pliers to open earrings hooks and attach them to the eye pins.
You can apply this method to building shapes other than cupcakes, like animals, food items or anything else you can dream up.
Bring Your Polymer Clay Earring Designs to Life With Sculpey
Polymer clay earrings are not only therapeutic to make and express yourself creatively, but they're also a great way to pass quality time with friends, kids or even by yourself. You don’t have to keep your earrings either. However, we understand if you absolutely cannot part with your fried egg earrings. They do make great gifts for any occasion, though.
Polymer clay earrings also let you make a statement in a way that no other pair of earrings can. With polymer clay, you have the freedom and the space to make your vision come true and to create jewelry that is meaningful to you, whether it be quirky and playful like unicorn horns, or elegant rose studs. Whatever your style, you can design earrings to suit your unique taste.
Plus, you can sell your earrings for extra income too, and who knows, maybe you’ll discover such a deep passion for earring-making and entrepreneurship that you’ll eventually be able to quit your day job. Hey, you never know — with polymer clay, anything is possible.
Inspired to become a clay crafter and begin making polymer clay earrings? Visit our online store for all your polymer clay needs, and feel free to sign up for our newsletter for the latest news in polymer clay and exclusive deals. And if you have any questions about how to make clay earrings at home, you can always contact our enthusiastic team!