Love Locks

Personalized love locks are great for Valentines Day. Find out how to make one, without an engraver.


Age: Committed Adults 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Scale: 2 our of 5 


  • Polymer clay: Pkg. gold, small amount of blue and green

1/4 pkg. each of lime green, hot pink, light purple

  • padlock
  • Letter stamps
  • Clay tools (ball end tool, needle tool)
  • pasta machine or roller
  • exacto knife 
  • Toaster oven
  • Bake n bond 
  • 1/2 inch paintbrush
  • liner brush
  • Pearl Ex powders: Blue, Gold, Purple 
  • Small ball chain (they are sometimes used to hold tags on jeans)
  • Black pastel powder or black craft paint
  • Q-tips
  • rubbing alcohol
  • rag
  • Varathane

Love Locks are padlocks that are attached, usually to bridges, to signify a couples undying love. There are places all over the world where locks have been attached, sometimes with dire consequences. The Pont des Arts bridge in Paris had so many padlocks hanging from it, the weight has caused problems with the structural integrity of the bridge. 

Tucson is a very artsy place. Fourth Avenue is in the art district. There are various sculptures and paintings along the street. You don't even have to go into the stores, to get an eye full. 

garbage-can-from-bike-partsA garbage can made from bicycle parts!

Tucson has come up with a wonderful idea.... A place for these love locks. Buy a padlock from a nearby retailer and you will be supporting a worthwhile, non profit charity. 


There are metal sculptures here, designed specifically for those love struck couples to add their padlock, but here you don't throw away the key. It is deposited in the container below the sculpt, you attach the lock to. There are hearts, circles, be kind flowers, triangles and a skull. 


I'm not sure how long the padlocks are left on, but they are probably removed, on a regular basis when the sculpture gets too full to hold any more. So much for locked together, in love forever. Some men might think "Is it really that or is it the lock used to secure the ball and chain?"

If you don't deposit a key, the lock is most likely, eventually cut off with bolt cutters. (Just in case you think you can beat the system... I doubt it.) They are however, probably left on longer than some relationships last, nowadays!  Shouldn't there be a special permanent spot for 50 year and up couples?

Even while traveling, the wheels are not only rolling but the gears are turning in my head. When not making something, I still get inspired by what I see. After seeing all the Love Locks, on 4th Ave. in Tucson, I started thinking about how to snazzy one up, for a valentine craft. Most of the padlocks, had the names of the couple, painted or wrote on with a felt pen. There were a few that had been engraved.

What about making something unique, no one had seen before? Maybe, if it was unusual, Really special, it could stay on the Love locks sculpture, just a little longer than usual. 

Love Locks

Dressing it up....

Use Polymer Clay!

Condition the clay.

Mix a little bit of blue and green together. 

Run the gold clay through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.

Place the blue/green clay on the gold clay.

Run through the pasta machine.

Rip in half, placing one piece on top of the other. Run through again. Do this a few times until you have the streaks you like, but not so much the blue/green completely disappears.

Cover the padlock with bake n bond. (Do one side at a time to make it easier.)

Wrap the clay around the padlock. Push it down firmly, to make good contact. Leave the key hole open. Be careful not to interfere with the operation of the lock.

Cut off excess clay with the exacto knife or blade cutter.

Use letter stamps to put the name of the couple, on one side of the padlock and the wedding date (If that applies), on the other. If the stamp is sticking, use corn starch or water as a release agent.

Dab some bronze pearl ex powder on the padlock and rub with your finger, to bring out the shine. That turd polishing powder, looks great on everything! Yes, pearl ex is expensive, but it is worth every penny. It is so much fun to use and it's soooo purdy! Those little containers actually last a long time because it doesn't take much. Just a dab will do ya. There is a secret substitute, if you don't have Pearl Ex. Would you like to know what it is? Eyeshadow.

Now for the tags.... 
Love locks are better with a special message.


Roll out a piece of lime green clay.

I did it on the thickest setting on the pasta machine. I would actually suggest using a roller and making it quite a bit thicker. The thinner pieces, may not stand up well.

Place the letters "L O V E" in the stamp holder, so the letters run vertically.

Stamp into the clay. 


Use an exacto knife to cut around the edge, leaving about a 1/4 inch space from the letters.

Make an indentation around the edge using a sculpting or needle tool.


Now do the same for "HONOR" using light purple.

After cutting out the rectangle shape, bend it slightly to one side, so it has a bit of a curve.

The "CHERISH" is done with hot pink. This is quite a bit longer, so bump it up a bit, like a roller coaster track. Marriage is kind of like a roller coaster, isn't it? Oh, these hidden meanings!

To make the lettering show up better, add black pastel powder with a small paint brush. Try to get it only in the indentation of the letters.

Remove excess that went where it's not suppose to be, with a Q- tip that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol.

*Alternative: use black craft paint, instead of black pastel. Apply paint and then wipe, leaving the paint only in the lettering. This can be done after the polymer clay tags have been baked.

Use pearl ex powder around the edges of the tags, before baking. Dark purple on the purple and pink pieces and blue on the green.

You may wish to use different words on the tags, to convey your own special message. Love, Honor and Cherish are the traditional wedding vows, but I'm sure there are some more modern terms, some people would prefer.

Oh, and a note about "honor".... the spelling is different depending on where you live. It may be "honour" for you. I think "Honor" looks better.

Poke a hole through, about 1/4 inch down from the top center of each tag. Check to make sure the hole is big enough for the small ball chain to fit through.

Bake pieces in toaster oven at 275 degrees F for approximately 35 minutes.

When cool, seal with varathane for extra durability.

String the word tags on the chain and attach it to the padlock.

Now, you just need to find the place that holds love locks. Where will yours end up? Tucson, Paris, Italy, or maybe New York? 

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