Handmade Bracelet

This handmade bracelet is made from polymer clay. Create your own unique jewelry piece with these instructions.

Age: Adult

Difficulty: Medium

Time scale: 5 out of 5

handmade-bracelet-polymer-clay

Supplies:

Can of beer (unopened) Ha, that got your attention, didn't it!??
Well, you can use a pop can but some of you might prefer the beer.

2 ounce Pkg. of light brown polymer clay. Okay, this is a bit of a guess... I forgot.
Must have been the beer. (Not really).
2 ounce translucent
1/4 ounce orange
1/4 ounce yellow

Small amounts of:
bright pink
light pink
light blue
medium green
lime green
turquoise
white
purple
black
tan

beads or pearls
fan shaped seashell or seashell mold
pasta machine
needle tool
ball end sculpting tool
spoon shaped tool
clay slicer
Burnt umber craft paint
small paint brush
Sculpey® liquid bake and bond
Construction paper
masking tape
tin foil
paper towel
future floor wax


Handmade Bracelet Tutorial

Check the size of your wrist by cutting a piece of construction paper 1.25 inches wide and 8 inches long. Wrap around your wrist and tape together. Have it so you can still slip your hand out.

The handmade bracelet will have an opening in it at the back, so you will be able to have the sizing a bit smaller than this. Now check this sizing with the can to see if it is going to fit. 

Condition the 2 oz. package of light brown clay and 1/2 ounce of translucent. Mix together. Run through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Cut the piece 1.25 inches wide and 8 inches long.

Wrap around a full beer or pop can, half way down from the top. Keep the clay away from the top of the can or it will not be drinkable! BE CAREFUL! Yes, I did say a FULL beer or pop can. They just don't make cans like they use to. It would no longer be much of a party trick to squish a can with your bare hands. They are so flimsy these days, a baby could do it! Trying to wrap an empty can is so frustrating because it squishes SO easily.

After wrapping the clay around the can, cut the ends so there is a 1.5 inch space between.

If the beer/pop can seems like it is close to the right size for your handmade bracelet, then follow these instructions:

Mix the leftovers back together well and run through the pasta machine again on the thickest setting. Cut this to 1.25 inches wide and 8 inches long.

Add sculpey® bake and bond liquid to the piece that is already on the beer can. Put this other piece on top and push together. Cut to the same length as the underneath piece. Blend together. Round off the edges on both ends.

If the can was a bit big and you need the handmade bracelet a bit smaller, add a second layer of clay to the inside. You will have to do one layer on the can and add the sea creatures and coral design. Bake and then remove from the can and add another layer of clay to the inside of the bracelet. Use bake and bond between the two layers and then re bake. This will be for a pretty small wrist.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to do two layers of clay because otherwise it will be too thin and will break. I know all about this.

Crumple up some tin foil and lay it flat on the work surface. Roll the can over the foil to make texture in the clay.

wrap-clay-on-pop-can

Now use your needle tool or wire brush and make random holes in the top layer of the piece. Don't make the holes too deep. You are only trying to create a sand like texture on the handmade bracelet.

Add-texture-with-needle-tool

When this is completed you will want to start adding your coral and sea creatures. This is a general guide. I don't know the technical terms for all the different kinds of coral, so it will have to be more show than tell.

There are five fairly big pieces (the starfish, a shell, two coral and the sand dollar) surrounded by smaller pieces. (barnacles, coral and  seaweed). Do the bigger pieces first and then add in the other stuff in between, in layers on to the handmade bracelet. Use bake and bond to attach the pieces, to the main piece.

When you put pieces on they will look better if each type is either done in one's, or sets of three's or fives. Some sets of two will also be okay. Sets of five will be fine, only if they are very tiny pieces that are added. If you are adding very thin, small seaweed, it will look better to have three or five shoots.

Make a starfish by mixing equal parts orange and yellow into a 1/2 inch ball. Flatten the ball down.

Start pulling clay out from the flattened ball until you have five points for the legs. 

polymer-clay-starfish

Use a small spoon shaped sculpting tool. The legs should be wider next to the body and get narrow towards the end. 

Use the needle tool to poke small holes all over the starfish.

texture-starfish

Put bake and bond on the back of the starfish and attach it to the bracelet.  I positioned mine so it was slightly over from center.

To make a sand dollar, use white clay and make a 1/4 inch ball. Flatten down so it is quite thin. Poke a hole in the center  Stretch the hole out to about 1/8 inch around using a small ball end tool. Draw lines going out from this and make indentations. This I positioned just over and up from the starfish.

tiny-clay-sand-dollar

Mix equal parts light pink and white clay together and make into a ball. Flatten down to about 1/4 inch thick.

Push the front side of a fan shaped seashell into the clay. Pull off. Add more shape to the lines with your sculpting tool. Push on the back to pop the shape outwards.

Slice the back off with a your slicer, so the piece isn't as thick.

Use-seashell-for-mold

Position this on the handmade bracelet about half an inch from the one end.

Use an 1/8 inch ball of a tan/translucent clay mixture to make a piece of coral that branches off into a Y shape at the top.

Make holes and add texture with the needle tool.

This coral was positioned about an inch from the opposite end of the seashell shape.

Y-shape-for-coral

Use a small amount of translucent clay mixed with bright pink to make another piece of coral. Roll into a snake shape, about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Flatten on the back.

Add bends and dents by squeezing with your fingers. Use a needle tool to add texture.

Put this next to the sand dollar.

texture-coral

Use a tiny piece of green/translucent mixture and roll into 5 very small, skinny snakes. Make them narrow at one end.

Attach together at the bottom and bend and shape to look like seaweed.

Add to your piece, beside and partially up on the side of the Y shaped piece of coral.

Seaweed-from-clay

You will want your pieces to stick out from the handmade bracelet, but not too much. Pieces should be set at different levels. If a piece seems too thick, use your clay slicer and slice off the back to make it thinner, before attaching.

Add-polymer-clay-sea-creatures

Some of the different plants and sea life will be layered on top of other pieces.

Roll out an  1/8 inch ball of tan/translucent clay mix. Push down on work surface to flatten the back but leave the front bulging up slightly. Use the ball end tool to poke random holes into the top.

making-more-sea-plant-life-with-clay-ball

Now roll some yellow into very tiny balls and push into these holes. Poke holes into these.

Poke smaller holes all over with the needle tool.

Attach this to your main piece.

Put-tiny-yellow-balls-on

Use bright pink and roll into 3 very thin pieces, attached at the bottom.

This was put near the starfish and sand dollar.

Make another bunch of seaweed this time using lime green clay. This goes near the seashell.

Tiny-pink-sea-coral-from-polymer

There is a barnacle that is made with white clay and a small amount of black. It is a small ball, flattened on the back and shaped into a volcano shape. Make a hole in the center with the ball tool and add lines down the sides with the needle tool.

Polymer-clay-barnacle

Another type of coral was made by flattening very small pieces of clay and then rolling into a hollow cylinder shape. Squeeze one end together and use the ball tool to open up the other end. Roll the tool around in the opening until you have it the size you want. Open some up quite wide and then ruffle the edges slightly.

Cone-clay-coral-shapes

I have done a set of three in orange and one in bright pink mixed with a bit of blue. There is also a set of three in a dark orange. One set of two in light blue with pink and another in purple.

Once you have a few of the basic shapes figured out, keep making them in various sizes and colors. Fill in the empty areas on the handmade bracelet. Leave some of the underneath still showing in places.

I added two small pearls near the starfish and one near one of the larger coral pieces. No, not real pearls, just fake things. They discolored a bit in the oven. This was fine with me but if you are concerned about that happening you can just leave them off.

Finished adding everything to the handmade bracelet?  You can now drink your beer or pop or whatever it is in the can you used. Hopefully you have kept the clay away from the top of the can because it really isn't going to be very good for you if you didn't. I don't want to be responsible for making anyone sick. By the way, that is ONE beer, so I am also not going to be responsible for any hangovers either! On second thought, dump the beer down the drain. It isn't worth drinking anyways. YUCK!

Make sure that you get the contents out of the can BEFORE baking. I don't know what happens when you cook a closed can of beer or pop in the oven but it could be a disaster!!

Preheat your oven to the required temperature for the type of clay you are using. Bake for approximately 30 minutes but check the instructions on your package of clay. Each brand will have different baking times.

Let cool and then carefully slide your handmade bracelet off of the can. If you need to make it smaller, refer back to the previous instructions on doing this.

Water down burnt umber craft paint 50/50 and paint on to the handmade bracelet. Leave on for a few seconds and then wipe off with a damp paper towel.

After this has dried, if you would like a shiny finish, you can put on two coats of future floor wax. I didn't do this because I prefer mine without the shine.

Even though this can be a little time consuming it is worth it! This handmade bracelet is your own, one of a kind piece of wearable art.

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