Hello folks! I hope you’re all having a good week so far! Well, if it’s as miserable as the weather today here in London then perhaps this DIY tutorial will cheer you up. You can’t beat a bit of craftiness to kick that mid-week blues in the bum. So here’s a super easy project that I had conjured up last week which shows you how to make some funky beaded necklace out of air-drying modelling clay, twine and nail polish! Yep….it’s as simple as that! Just THREE main materials! :) It’s all about how you can make something pretty out of ordinary (or in this case quite limited) materials kicking about in the house. Just because you don’t have all the ‘right’ art/craft materials at hand doesn’t mean you can’t do anything creative!
I had some DAS clay in my craft box for quite some time and had been meaning to make something with it, from ornaments to jewellery but always had something or another missing to feel like I couldn’t quite achieve/complete my handmade ideas. So while I’m missing all the ‘proper’ clasps and links or paints and varnish for jewellery making, I wanted to see if I could come up with something just as effective. So, if you have the following, then you have no excuse to try it out! And of course, you can add and tweak it with whatever materials you have! It’s all about having fun and letting that inner child in you to push those crafty boundaries! Now, I need to apologise for the photos in this post as they were taken with my iPhone after having issues with my SD card for my DSLR….so it’s not the sharpest of images – sorry!
MATERIALS / SUPPLIES:
- Take a lump of DAS air-drying clay and divide them up into smaller lumps, roughly all the same size so that your beads all look consistent. I used enough to make three 2.5cm (1inch) beads. Now you can have assorted sizes. The good things about this, is that you don’t have to be to perfect with the size or shape, and you can make as many as you want, depending on the style you have in mind. I wanted something that I could wear around my collared shirts and blouses.
- Now, take each lump between your palms and roll them into rough spherical shapes. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect because it does add a lovely handmade charm to the final product. The main thing is to avoid any visible cracks as they would tend to crack further when drying. If you find any, simply wet that area with a little bit of water to smooth the cracks out.
- Once you have shaped your beads, take a toothpick and insert it into one end of the bead and push it through in a rotary motion, as though your drilling through. This is a much gentler method than just pushing and avoids cracks or lumps at the ends. Try and make sure that you are creating a clean hole and one that would be big enough to fit your twine/cord through. Remember that when the clay dries, it shrinks a little so it is wise to make the hole a tad bit larger to accommodate any shrinkage. Leave the beads to air-dry. This can take up to a whole day depending on the climate of your home. So if don’t live somewhere sunny and warm or just want to speed up the drying process a bit, you can place it on the lowest heat in an oven. Air-drying clay is best left out to dry as it relies on the evaporative process but if placed in an oven make sure it’s on the lowest heat setting, leave the oven door slightly ajar and keep monitoring it every 10 minutes as drying too quickly can create some serious cracks!
- So, once you’re beads are all dry, the next stage is to paint them. Because I didn’t have the ‘right’ paints or varnish for clay, the next best thing I had, was nail polish! Not only does it do the job well (with the added sheen!) it also dries up really quick! Clever right? :D I picked out pinks and purples nail varnishes for that pop of colour and some sparkly gold glitter for that extra bit of sparkle!
- Apply at least two coats all over to give it a good all round shine. Use toothpicks to prop the beads up while you paint them so to avoid getting any on your fingers!
- You can then stick them into something like a lump of glue-tack for a hands-free drying method! Depending on your varnish, they shouldn’t take any more than a couple of minutes to dry but leave it there for 5 mins to be extra safe.
- Et Voila! Your beads all painted and ready to be strung into a funky new necklace! Now at this stage you can add other embellishments or smaller beads should you feel the need to jazz it up. And if you do actually have proper clasps, links and chains for jewellery making then go ahead and use them. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m just going to show you how you can still achieve creating a necklace by using materials like twine or cord, if you don’t have all the fancy stuff at hand!
- To string your beads up together, first decide how you’d like to place them to having to re-string your necklace several times! Then, decide the length of your necklace so you know where how much of the twine/cord you will need for that. You can use other necklaces you have as guidance or simply measure it around your neck to see where you’d like the necklace to sit. Just make sure you always add an extra couple of inches to be able to tie your bow/knot! I cut roughly 80cm in length for the necklace to sit just around the shirt collars. Now, feed the twine/cord through the holes of the beads and tie the ends together in a bow. That’s your necklace all made and ready to be teamed up with some smart-casual outfit!
Like I said, this is the most basic of necklaces you can make out of those three materials and you can obviously add whatever else you have kicking about to make it a lot more fancier! I had made some heart-shaped beads at the same time as these but will show you another time what I mean about going that extra mile to make it even more funkier. For now, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it’s inspired you to get crafty despite the limited materials you have at home. And this is also super child-friendly too so go have fun making necklaces with your little ‘uns! Oh and if you do try this, please do take photos of your creations and post them onto my Facebook page so I can have a nosey. Just remember to add the hashtag #craftwithmolu when you do! Enjoy! x x x