Polymer Clay Checkerboard & Striped Earrings
Learn to make two simple canes that can be put together for a pair of unique earrings.
Designed by Amy Koranek
- Craft Smart® Polymer Clay: White, Black
- Pasta Machine
- Acrylic Roller
- Clay Blade
- Needle Tool
- Self Adhesive Crystals (the kind used for scrapbooking)
- Ear Wires
- Oven Proof Glass or Metal Baking Surface (craft dedicated)
Read all tips in the Project Tip section below before beginning project.
To make stripes, condition half of the blocks of black and white clays. Take 1/3 from each amount of the black and white and combine them to create grey clay. Roll the black, white and grey clays into sheets on the thickest setting of the pasta machine (about 1/8-inch thick).
Stack the sheets of clay on top of each other in order of white, grey and black. Use the acrylic roller to gently roll the top of the stack to press the layers together. Roll the stack of all three colors together through the pasta machine once on the thickest setting; doing this will result in a sheet of thin stripes.
Cut the sheet into a piece that is 4-inches x 3-inches. Cut this piece in half on the 4-inch edge so there are two pieces that are 2-inches x 3-inches. Next cut each of the 2-inch x 3-inch pieces into thirds so there are 6 pieces that are 1-inch x 2-inches each. Stack all six pieces on top of each other to make a tall stack. Trim the edges so the stack is squared off. Compress the stack so it is about ½-inch wide and ¾-inch tall.
Condition the remaining half blocks of white and black clays. Divide each color into thirds and roll into separate sheets, on the thickest setting. Fold these sheets in half so they are a double thickness.
Use the ruler to mark the top of the clay in ¼-inch sections; these marks will be used to cut ¼-inch wide strips. Lay a ruler or straight edge along the first set of ¼-inch marks and use the clay blade to cut through to make strips. It's OK to score through the slab of clay taking several passes to cut all the way through the thickness.
Cut 5 strips of black and 4 strips of white. Piece the strips into the following patterns: 2 strips that go black-white-black and 1 strip that goes white-black-white. Stack the three strips on alternating colors so that there is a black square in each corner.
To round the cane, gently press the corners inward a little; doing this will make it easier to start rolling the cane into a round shape. Once the corners are pressed in a little, roll the cane against the work surface using the palms of your hands. Continue until there is a nice round cane that is reduced to about ½-inch in diameter.
Cut two slices from the striped cane that are approximately 1/8-inch thick and lay them on a baking surface. Cut two thin slices from the rounded checkerboard cane. Center the slices of the checkerboard cane on top of the striped cane pieces.
Use the needle tool to poke a small hole through the middle top edge of each earring piece (to insert hanger after baking).
Bake the pieces as instructed in the Project Tip section below. Let cool.
Place one small self-adhesive crystal in the middle of each round checkerboard slice. Attach ear wires.
Use photo as a guide and follow manufacturer’s instructions for all products used.
Make sure to clean hands and tools before starting project.
Do not use unbaked clay on unprotected furniture or finished surfaces.
Knead clay for 2 minutes.
Start with lighter colors and work down to darker colors to avoid discoloring of the clay.
Put canes in the freezer for a few minutes to make slicing easier.
Bake on oven-proof glass or metal surface at 275º F (130º C) for 15 minutes per ¼-inch (6mm) of thickness. Do not exceed temperatures or recommended baking time.
Do not use in microwave oven.
Baking should be completed by an adult.
Wash hands after use.