Sometimes it’s a little, functional gift that shows Dad how much you care- and you can make these in an hour or so with just a few colors of polymer clay!
Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for kids and adults alike: it’s non-toxic, cures in a home oven at 275 degrees (so adult supervision is necessary if using it with kiddos) and comes in an array of bright, rich colors. Plus, it works so well with other craft items you might have around for jewelry making or scrapbooking. Let’s get going!
- Premo Polymer Clay in Black, White, and Gold Or colors of your choice
- Craft wire, 20 gauge (Item3958-74)
- Steel Split Rings (Item 17107)
- Rubber Stamps (optional)
- White Acrylic Paint (optional)Item 97816
- 3-in-1 Round Nose Pliers (Item 18827)
- Acrylic Stamping Block (Item SCR362)
- Old butter knife, Fettling knife, or tissue blade to chop clay
- Small cookie cutters, old pill bottles, etc, too cut shapes
I used black, gold and white clay, because it looks a little like Tiger’s Eye – and they are great basic colors to have on hand (I’ve got another project up my sleeve using these in the near future.) But feel free to use Dad’s favorite colors, or the colors of his favorite sports teams.
Start off by slicing a 1/4 inch slice off the block of black and gold, and a 1/8 inch slice of white. Using an old chopping knife, butter knife, or tissue blade, carefully chop the clay into pieces about the size of a pea. If kids are doing this step, a plastic knife is safest.
Now grab a handful of clay and make a ball about the size of a golf ball:
Now, if you remember your clay skills from Kindergarden, roll out a long snake. Twist it as you go to make “stripe.” Squish the clay back toward the center & keep twisting. It will end up looking like a caterpiller…
Now for our secret weapon- the clear acrylic block that often used in rubber stamping. I like to use this to flatten the clay because you can see through the block & see just what you’re doing. Squish the clay until it’s about 3/8 inch thick.
Now cut out a shape that you like- I’d suggest an oval, circle, or rounded square. Shapes with points are not good ideas because they are prone to break. I used an oval cutter to make this one with the initials.
Then, I used some alphabet stamps to make the impressions for Dad’s initials:
Add a hole by making one with a toothpick. Then, bake your piece according to the package directions (Premo is 275 degrees for about 20 minutes.) When it’s cool, you can highlight the stamped image by adding some acrylic paint, then wiping off the excess with a damp paper towel. Let it dry before you add your wire for the keyfob.
Since the polymer piece is thick, you’ll need to make your own attachment to the split ring- a regular jump ring just won’t work. Don’t worry, though, it’s easy! Just cut a piece of craft wire about 8 inches long. That’s more than you’ll need, but it’s easier to cut off excess than it is to work with short wire.
Using the round part of your pliers- or a pencil- create a “J” shape.The short end should be about 2.5-3 inches.Cross the short end over the long one, and then wrap it around to form a coil. (Jamie has a nice tutorial on making wrapped loops HERE, if you’d like a refresher!)
Thread it through your the polymer piece. Cross the short end over the long one, and then wrap it around to form a coil. (Jamie has a nice tutorial on making wrapped loops HERE, if you’d like a refresher!)
Repeat the loop-making process on the other end. You are now ready to add the split ring!
I came up with a few different versions of the keyfob, if you’d like extra ideas:
- Make a Monogram: roll out a long, solid-color “snake” of clay and write dad’s initial
- Fingerprints: Have the kids press their fingers into the clay-subtle, but sweet!
- Just leave it plain, and decoupage a small picture onto the piece using Mod Podge.
Of course, the smaller pieces would also make some manly jewelry- just hang the pendant on a leather cord and he’s good to go!
Have fun, and happy Father’s Day to all the Dads our there!
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Jenny is the editor-in-chief and craft concierge for Craft Test Dummies. She can be contacted at crafttherapy at gmail dot com.
Visit her craft blog at www.CraftTestDummies.com!