Looking to get creative and level up your jewellery collection? Try this tutorial for making the fun polymer clay earrings everyone on Instagram is loving right now.
Welcome to The Curiosity Academy, Stylist’s new learning hub where you can access workshops, how-to guides, new research and learn the most up-to-date skills from the UK’s most in-the-know people.
The bigger and bolder the better is the current memo when it comes to earrings. A simple stud might have done the job a few years ago but earrings have levelled up so much that big gold hoops are now considered understated. Colourful earrings with fun patterns are all over Instagram right now and they’re the perfect way to accessorize if you buy into pandemic revenge dressing (i.e. dressing as carefree as possible to combat many months of leggings and tracksuits).
Eccentric earrings add an extra special touch to any outfit. They’re also surprisingly simple to make at home. In fact, you can make them out of playdough-like clay and design them using whatever colours or patterns you like.
You may also like
Try Instagram‘s current favourite cake trend with this 9-step guide
Here, Gaby shares her tutorial for making your own clay earrings at home, as well as her expert tips for perfecting the process.
What you will need to make polymer clay earrings
- Polymer clay (Gaby recommends fimo clay)
- Rolling pin or pasta-making machine
- Fondant cutters or polymer clay cutters
- Oven tray
- Parchment paper
- Washing up liquid
- Earring posts or hooks
- Handheld electric drill
- Sanding paper (or attachment for drill)
- Mini cookie cutters (optional)
- Acrylic paint (optional)
- Resin (optional)
How to make polymer clay earrings
- Roll the clay out so it’s about 0.5cm thick using a rolling pin or pasta machine.
- Sketch an idea for your design on a piece of paper.
- Cut your design out of the clay (add details using cookie cutters if you want to).
- Preheat your oven to 90°C.
- Put the earrings on a baking tray with parchment paper underneath and cover it with foil to stop it from burning.
- Bake your earrings for up to 60 minutes (check on them regularly after 30 minutes to make sure they don’t burn).
- Leave the earrings to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Sand the earrings to smooth the edges.
- Use a nail polish remover and a cotton bud to gently remove any hair from your earrings.
- Drill a hole where you want the back of your earrings or the hoop to go.
- Wash your earrings thoroughly using washing up liquid.
- If you’re adding backs to your earrings, superglue them on and cover them with resin. If you’re adding hoops, simply hook them in.
- If you want to paint your earrings, you can do that now using acrylic paint. Add a layer of resin over your earrings after painting to prevent smudging.
Gaby’s expert tips for making polymer clay earrings
Choose solid shapes
As you will be carving your earrings free-hand, Gaby recommends choosing solid shapes to carve your earrings into. “Circular shapes like circles or hearts are the easiest to make, because square shapes sometimes change shape when baking,” she says.
It’s also really important that you draw your design out on a piece of paper beforehand so you have something to base your design on.
Choose contrasting colours
You can either buy clay in your chosen colours or paint them afterwards but whichever method you choose, Gaby says it’s best to pick two or three contrasting colours for the best effect. “The colour of your clay might change slightly in the oven so it’s best to pick colours that aren’t similar and won’t blend into each other,” she says.
Invest in an oven thermometer
If your oven is old and the temperature isn’t consistent, Gaby recommends investing in an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is the right temperature for the clay. “It’s really easy to bake your clay but people often go wrong by baking it at the wrong temperature,” she says.
Ensure your earrings are properly baked
If you haven’t baked your earrings enough, they won’t be solid enough to wear. To make sure they are properly baked, Gaby says that you should scratch the back of your earring with your fingernail when they have cooled down. “If you leave a dent, they haven’t been baked enough and they need to go back into the oven,” she says.
You can find more expert tips and guides on The Curiosity Academy’s Instagram page.
Gaby Meek, founder of ClayBelle
Gaby is a graphic design graduate and the founder of the polymer clay earring shop, ClayBelle. ClayBelle specialises in statement earrings and Gaby also creates custom orders.