Good morning and happy Friday! I’ve got a simple polymer clay project to kick off your weekend – I’m going to show you how to make these personalized stamped clay cuff bracelets. These are a really inexpensive project, and they’re fun for groups, too.
You may remember when I shared my clay fail a few weeks back – I attempted these and they turned out awesome – right up until I scorched them in the oven. So I did NOT do that today, I baked them properly (though I’m still terrified to use my craft oven since torching 2 batches) and I will offer you some tips today too!
Here’s what you will need:
- Polymer clay
- Clay roller and slicer, possibly a clay knife
- Rubber alpha stamps (if your craft store has a dollar section – check there first! I saw some in the dollar bins at Michaels on a recent trip.)
- Wax paper and a baking sheet
- Optionally, a pasta-machine-style clay roller
First of all, please do not use your kitchen tools for clay, it’s not food safe. Kitchen tools actually work wonderfully on clay, so you can certainly hit up the flea market or garage sales for baking sheets and rollers, even cookie cutters, but once something has been used for clay, put it in your craft area for crafts only.
Now, let’s get started. Cover your work surface with wax paper or a clay mat. I did use a clay roller on a #1 setting for my clay, but it’s not a necessary tool – it’s just easy and it was a great investment given how much I work with polymer clay. If you’re rolling yours out by hand, aim for somewhere between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. I rolled mine out a little over 1/2 inch tall and 6 inches wide (a little bigger is fine to start, we will be cutting it down. If you haven’t worked with polymer clay before, expect it to be hard whe you first start. Not hard like difficult, but really firm. You’ll want to work it until it’s pliable. The roller speeds this process up – you can also use a little rolling pin to work your clay. But you’ll still need to knead it a little to soften it.
Once you roll it out, stamp your message first. For 2 reasons. One, the stamps will distort the clay slightly, squishing it out flatter so if you cut it first, you’ll have bulges. And two, if you goof up, it’s no big deal to ball your clay back up and roll it out again. Once you have your message, cut your clay.
Cut it 6 inches wide, by however tall you like. Also, by cutting it afterward, you can ensure that your message gets centered. You may notice the two bracelets I made, one is bigger than the other. I assumed I’d need a larger size for my grown-up wrist, but it turns out 6 inches is perfect for me. I wouldn’t go any bigger than 6.5 inches for sure.
You can also curve or round the corners for a more finished look. Then, I just plopped them on a parchment-covered baking sheet, and curved them to be shaped like bracelets.
Bake according to the package directions, which may vary. My brand bakes at 275F for 30 minutes for each 1/4 inch thickness. That meant mine were done in about 20 minutes. I learned from the last time; check them often. While they’re still hot, they’ll seem a little bit pliable, so it’s easy to make the overbaking mistake. You want to remove them from the oven before they brown, though.
From here you can add a little acrylic paint to make your stamped message “pop”, but I opted not to, just to keep this an easy project. Not including baking time, I had these done in under 10 minutes! Not bad, if you ask me, and polymer clay is so inexpensive. Even the little investment you make in teh tools will be something you can use over and over again in the future.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I have a couple more clay projects coming up for you next week, so stay tuned! :)