Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tutorial: polymer clay pretzel necklace

Using pastels to colour polymer clay is something that I've seen done a lot but never tried. I tried it recently with some burger charms and saw good results, so I thought I'd incorporate it into this month's tutorial- pretzels!

For this you'll need only a small amount of clay (I used Fimo Soft #7 caramel, lightened a bit with white), some sienna pastel, and, if you have it, glass sugar! 

Make a long 'snake' of clay- thicker if you want a soft chewy-looking pretzel, and thinner if you want a crunchy-looking pretzel!

Make a 'U' shape with the snake, and then bring the tops of the loops back down onto the bottom of the 'U', crossing over each other. Don't worry if it's not a perfect shape as you can fix it later. Very carefully flip the pretzel over, using a tissue blade if you want to, and trim the ends as long or as short as you like. If you want your pretzel to look softer, gently press down on the places where the clay meets, otherwise just give them a quick touch to make sure it all holds together. Reshape the pretzel now if it's not quite how you want it.

Here's the fun part. Using a craft knife, scrape the top of the pastel chalk, leaving some dust. Pick it up with a paint brush, being careful not to take too much at once.

Very gently apply it to the pretzel. The pretzel looks more real if you don't cover it too thickly or too evenly, so don't worry about it too much. Keep a piece of clay from the scraps next to you as you do it- I found this helped me gauge how dark my pretzel was going, as it was hard to tell sometimes!

You can see the change in the colour here- I did four pretzels and this was the darkest one. 

Leave the back of the pretzel un-chalked- if you have bits of unwanted chalk dust clinging to the back, it's easiest to scrape or sand them off after the clay has baked, or you may risk smearing it around more than before! Bake your clay now.

If you want your pretzels to look salty, get some of this. It's fake salt/sugar for crafts, made from glass so it doesn't distort when baked with polymer clay. I found mine cheaply on Etsy. A little goes a LONG way.

Varnish the pretzels, and as soon as you varnish the tops, sprinkle a little bit of the craft salt on top so it sticks to the wet varnish. Let it dry, and then add another thin layer of varnish to help secure the salt so it won't brush off when worn.

I liked my fat soft pretzels better when I was doing the first steps, but when finished this skinny pretzel was by far my favourite. Once the varnish has dried, all you need to do is find a big enough jump ring to go around one of the loops of the pretzel, and it's ready for a chain!

These were very quick and easy to make, and just look how CUTE the necklace is! If you can't find craft sugar, you could probably also make salt by grating a piece of baked translucent clay, but it won't be quite as translucent as this glass sugar.

I have a few tutorials to catch up on- so if you'd like to see me attempt anything new or show you how I do something, please let me know! <3

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