Showing posts with label Belle Armoire Jewelry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belle Armoire Jewelry. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2015

Polymer Clay Jewelry in Process

Although I have been creating things for as long as I can remember, I really only started creating jewelry designs in the late 1980's.  In the early 1990's, I discovered polymer clay and became immediately hooked on this wonderful medium.  At one point, I can recall other artists transferring images onto polymer clay, but I wanted to do something different than what others were doing.  Frankly, I wanted to impose images into my work in a manner that was more foolproof with less trial and error.  I developed the technique for incorporating images from real paper into my jewelry designs.  At first, I utilized postage stamps into little framed pieces of polymer clay jewelry, and gradually started using other images, as well.  I sold my designs on EBay and couldn't keep them in stock. Then, when I shared my technique for my framed postage stamp/polymer clay jewelry designs in Belle Armoire Jewelry II about 10 years ago, I noticed that all of a sudden, I had competition from people who were using my technique to create and sell their versions of framed polymer clay jewelry designs on EBay.  To this date, I can't recall anyone giving me credit as the person who discovered this technique. And yes, it is still a sticking point with me.  It is what it is, I guess.  Live and let learn, right?  OK, enough about that.  I am getting off of my soap box now.  LOL

Some of my earliest postage stamp jewelry designs (circa 1999-2000):

 Even though I still created with polymer clay at home, the pieces I made to sell on EBay and Etsy were primarily made of other mediums.  I focused on creating mixed media Catholic and pop art jewelry designs.   These days, I am known more for my Catholic jewelry designs than anything else.

Lately, I have decided to return to my polymer clay making roots while still focusing on the Catholic aspect of things so as not to alienate my customer base.  Earlier this week, I spent an entire 12 hour day working on just polymer clay.  I wanted to share some pictures of what I am working on right now.  Please keep in mind that all of the pictures show the designs in process.

This design utilizes the Klimt cane as a base.  It will be fashioned into a necklace and possibly matching earrings:

 Another pendant in process.  I'm still toying with the idea of adding more clay into this piece and then covering the top with resin:

A Virgin Mary pendant with handmade rose beads.  I am thinking about adding some rhinestones to this piece:

Polymer clay focal jewelry pieces in process- pendants and brooches:

Polymer clay crosses which will be made into earrings, necklaces and a bracelet:

An image of the polymer clay designs I made in 12 hours.  The hearts have been textured and will be highlighted with other colors so they pop:

Stay tuned for more pics of these projects as I complete them. :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Polymer Clay Tutorial - How to Make Decorative and Functional Brooch Backs

It's been a while since I've shared any tutorials here. I get quite a few requests pertaining to polymer clay and resin techniques - so, I thought I'd share one for making decorative and functional backing pieces for brooches.

Many years ago, I shared a technique I developed for making polymer clay brooches utilizing postage stamps in Stampington Publications' Belle Armoire Jewelry II.  I did not specifically address how to design the back of the brooches at that time and would like to do so today.  Brooches have never totally gone out of style, but they seem to be re-emerging as decorative pieces for accessories such as scarves and handbags.

That being said - onto the tutorial!


Pre-baked polymer clay brooch
Pasta machine dedicated for clay use (optional)
Rolling pin dedicated for clay use
Texture sheet
Mini cookie cutter
Pin back finding
Polymer clay - 1/4 of a block
Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS)


Prepare polymer clay for use by kneading it between your fingers until it is workable.  Insert it through a pasta machine at the thickest setting; fold it in half upon removal from machine.  (If you don't have a pasta machine, roll out the clay with a rolling pin to approximately a 1/8" thickness.  Omit folding the clay in half.)

Place the clay on top of a texture sheet that has been spritzed with water or lightly dusted with baby powder to prevent the clay from sticking.  Use the rolling pin to press the clay into the texture sheet, pressing firmly.

Gently remove the clay from the texture sheet.  It should look something like this:

Lay the clay with embossed side laying face up on a protected work surface.  Make sure the cookie cutter is large enough to just cover the center of the pin backing without interfering with the pin mechanism.

Place the cookie cutter on top of the clay, and press it down firmly, just like you are using it to make real cookies.

Carefully remove the clay from the cookie cutter.

 Place the pre-baked brooch face down on the work surface.  Squeeze the TLS down the center length of the pin back finding.

Place the pin back finding on the back of the brooch, the TLS side facing down.  The pin may want to slide around, so work carefully.

Pick up the piece of clay that was cut with the cookie cutter.  Apply a squeeze of TLS on the wrong side of the clay...

...and set it down on top of the pin backing.  Press gently into place.

Put the brooch in a pre-heated oven and bake according to the manufacturer's instructions as directed based on the thickness of your piece.

OPTIONAL:  If desired, prior to baking in the oven, brush some Pearl-Ex powder onto the pin back for extra effect, as I did in the brooch used in the example.

And there you have it - a functional and decorative pin backing for your handmade brooch.

If there are any specific techniques you would like for me to share with you, please feel free to leave me a comment for me here on this blog, or email me at

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Published - Three Times This Month!

I don't know what it is, but I really am starting to think March is a lucky month for me.  I'm not kidding - all kinds of cool things always seem to happen to me in the month of March.  This month is no exception.

Today, on my lunch hour, I wandered into the local Hancock Fabric store in my area, and browsed through Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine while I was there.  And - what do you know -  one of my wire and glass necklaces is featured in the Boutique section.  I really had no idea this was going to be published, as Stampington hasn't contacted me yet.  But in any case, this was a really nice surprise today.

A few days ago, I found that my article in Polymer Cafe magazine is now on the newsstands.  They ended up publishing an alternate project I sent them (for the "how to" step-by-step details) instead of the original Victorian necklace and earrings design I submitted.  But that's alright - I love both necklace designs and I'm thrilled that they chose to publish one of them.

Last, I also just received information from Heather Skowood, author of Jewelry From Found Objects, that the book will be released by the publisher on March 11, 2011 (which is this Friday). is currently taking pre-orders on this book; it features one of my repurposed statement necklaces made from vintage enamel brooches and earrings.  My complimentary copy of the book is on it's way to me.  I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the repurposed items being featured.  I love that sort of thing. :) 

Wow - what a whirlwind of a month it's proven to be - and we're only into the first week of the month.    Believe me - I can definitely handle the excitement.  :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cabinet Card Beauties Brooches


The cabinet card was first introduced in 1863 in London. It consisted of a photograph printed on cardstock and could often be found on display in parlors – usually in cabinets. These were all the rage for family photos back then and remained extremely popular until around 1895.

In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon to see cabinet cards of lovely young women, children and families gracing the bins of antique stores. They are also readily available for purchase on EBay and other internet sites. They are relatively inexpensive and fun items to collect, but instead of stashing them away in a box somewhere, how about making these forgotten treasures into little pieces of wearable art? Be warned, though – these are fun to make and extremely addicting. Before you know it, you will have a whole collection of these little beauties!

Tools and Materials:
Photocopy of cabinet card (head and shoulder portraits work best for this project)
Illustration board – slightly larger than the cabinet card
Decorative scrapbook paper
White glue (I used Modge Podge)
Light to medium duty utility knife
Pen or pencil for tracing
Colored pencils
Decorative chalk
Ink pad for shading edges (I used ColorBox Cat’s Eye in Yellow Citrus)
Krylon Workable Fixatif
Gel pen (white)
Dimensional adhesive (I used Diamond Glaze)
Small paintbrush
Small embellishments, such as buttons, rhinestones, narrow lace, charms, etc.
Pin finding
Strong glue, such as E-6000

Cut out image from photocopy with scissors. Using index finger spread white glue evenly on the back of the image. Place the image right side up on the illustration board. Gently smooth the image down with fingers. Allow this to dry for several minutes to an hour before taking the next step. (Failure to allow sufficient drying time may result in the image tearing when color is applied.)

With one hand, firmly hold the photo in place while using the utility knife to cut out the image with the other hand. The board is extremely stiff and it will be necessary to make several small cuts in an area before cutting all the way through the board. Once the cutting is completed, use scissors to trim around the photo to clean up the edges, if necessary.

Place the scrapbook paper right side down on a flat surface. Place the prepared photo right-side up on top of the paper. Trace around the photo with a pen or pencil. Cut the traced image out with scissors. Use index finger to apply white glue to the back of the scrapbook paper; glue the paper onto the back of the photo.

Now the fun begins! Use colored pencils and chalk to color the hair, skin, eyes, lips and clothing. Add “blush” to the cheeks, if desired. Place the colored photo on a piece of newspaper, and in a well-ventilated area, spray the Krylon Fixatif over the photo in a sweeping motion. Allow to dry.

Hold the photo in one hand and press the edges of it into the inkpad. The purpose of the inkpad is to conceal the outside rough edges of the photo while shading the front edges of the image. Use the white gel pen to add details to the photo.

Apply dimensional adhesive over the top of the photo with a small paintbrush. Let dry.
Use the dimensional adhesive to glue on charms, lace and other embellishments to the photo. Let dry.
Glue the pin finding on the back with strong glue, such as E-6000. Your beautiful cabinet card photo is ready to wear!

Tips and Resources:

For added dimension, color the photos with the pencils first, then repeat with chalk. This will significantly intensify the color. is a great resource for hard-to-find narrow doll lace and mini buttons.

Use small pieces of broken vintage jewelry to embellish the pins. Mini Christmas tree trims, such as beaded garland make great “pearl” necklaces.

These make great Christmas tree ornaments, gift tags and embellishments for other projects. Use your imagination! The possibilities are endless!

NOTE: This is from my original article and project which was featured in the Spring, 2008 Belle Armoire Jewelry issue. Enjoy! :)

This article and accompanying pictures are ©Wanda Eash, 2007. Please do not reuse without permission.
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