Monday, September 7, 2015

Showing Off My Handmade Clay Bird Necklace

So I'm super excited to share this clay bird necklace I just completed.  I've been thinking about and planning for this necklace project for a while and I'm really happy with how this finished necklace came out.

I love the necklaces on and her use of unexpected accents in her jewelry to make each piece special and unique.  I have a couple of her necklaces and really love them, but I think a lot of her pieces are a little too dressy for my definitely-not-dressy lifestyle.  So I got to thinking about how I could make my own unique-but-maybe-more-casual version.

First I bought a bunch of beads and jewelry findings at my craft store.  Then I found this bird-shaped bezel on etsy.

I needed a bezel that had connectors on the top and the bottom so I could use it for a necklace, and I needed two connection points on each side so I could make my necklace in a double-stranded design.  This bird bezel was perfect.

Next step was to string my beads and connect them to my necklace clasp and my bird connector.  I mixed in a few other beads among the ones I had bought to add a little more color and interest.  I didn't want all my beads to match.  Then I started thinking about how I wanted to fill the bezel on my bird connector.

My original plan was to fill the bezel with a grouping of vintage buttons.  But when I laid out a few designs, it seemed a little too busy for my necklace.  So I went to Plan B.  I filled the bird bezel with Sculpey polymer clay.  Then I took a couple of my favorite vintage buttons and used them as stamps to create a design on my bird shape.  When I was happy with the way it looked, I *very carefully* lifted my clay design out of the bezel and baked it according the the clay directions.  (Had I known I was going to use polymer clay to decorate my bezel from the get-go, I would have done this part first, before putting my necklace together, and baked the polymer piece in my actually bezel before stringing and connecting my beads).

After my clay bird had cooled, I carefully placed it back into my bezel and glued it in place.  Again, this would have all been a little easier had I done the clay bit first, but it all worked out fine.  And I really enjoy wearing my finished necklace. 

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