Thursday, June 21, 2012

Crystal Clay Tutorial

Finally, my long-promised tutorial! I was going to make this tutorial on a necklace, but I'll do that later. Right now I want to make a ring, so that's what you're gonna get! :P

(plus the clay only has a working time of 1 hour, so between me fumbling and trying to get good photos, I should do a small project)

Here's a basic tutorial from about how crystal clay works.

My tutorial will be similar, but I'll also include tips and tricks that I've picked up (aka all my horrible mistakes). Warning: I live on the west side of my house so the lighting in my room is very dim for most of the day. So apologies for the photo quality.

Continue reading to see my tutorial for this ring here:

Step 1: set-up

First of all, you need: a pack of crystal clay (I'll explain why there's two colours later), your components, a beeswax crystal applicator, rubber gloves, and crystal chatons. A package of crystal clay will give you all this and a few crystals (the big pile you see there, I bought extra)

Oh, and I forgot to include it in the photo, but you also need a wet Q-tip. This is very important!

At some point I used the clay (which also acts as a handy glue) to stick the two components together to make the ring. Um... actually I did it the night before to give it time to dry. This is the part from "Art-Attack" where the guy shows you all the stuff, then whips out the final product and your 4-year old self goes HOW DID HE DO THAT?

Step 2: mixing the clay

Using your rubber gloves, tear off equal amounts of each colour. The white stuff is the hardener, the pink stuff is the colour (duh). Once the two are mixed, there's a chemical reaction and in 12 - 24 hours this stuff will harden to a ceramic, rock-hard finish. So have your design planned out in advance.

Mix for about 2 minutes until the colour is even and the marbling is gone. The colour will get all over your gloves.

All ready! At this point I just used my bare hands to roll it into a ball. It will be VERY sticky. If this is a problem, just let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Step 3: pressing the clay into a "bezel"

A bezel is a pendant or component of some sort that has a dish or a pit where you can press something into. Clay, glass, resin, pizza, socks, whatever you want.

So I press my clay into the ring bezel. Start from the middle, press outward slowly. Notice that I tore off some. I ended up with extra. I just used that little bit to glue together another ring. So keep extra bezels or parts ready to use up extra clay. Don't waste!

... Done!

But you see, it's all uneven and my fingerprints are all over it. So just wet your fingertip, using a tap or bowl of water, and smooth it over by rubbing your fingertip over the surface to remove any cracks. I chose to dome the clay slightly.

See how smooth it is now?

- keep a wet rag nearby to wipe off your fingers. Otherwise you'll get the ring all sticky.

- your ring WILL get sticky. Use the wet Q-tip and clean off your ring. Otherwise the stuff will dry and it tacky and gross and h*ll to clean off.

- keep an eye out for any little fluffs or specks of dirt that got mixed in with the clay. Nothing is more annoying than putting all your crystals in, then seeing a dark fluff and digging it all out.

Step 4: adding crystals!

This is the fun part. I add shells, pearls, and metal charms too but that's a tutorial for another day.

Using your beeswax applicator, carefully pick up crystals one at a time and press them into the clay.

my little sister helped me take this picture. Sometimes I wish I had a third arm.

hurray! One lonely crystal later...

Put in as many crystals as you like! I like filling up the whole space. Make sure you press them in good, otherwise they will slowly pop out a bit. Push them back in periodically. You don't want to come back to your cured project and see the crystals have popped half-way out. Then your clay is dry and you can't do anything about it.

Aaaand you're all done! Ta-da.


Using a wet fingertip, smooth over the clay again and make sure the crystals are secure.

Now just leave it in a safe place and it will fully cure/dry in 12 - 24 hours! I'd suggest a bowl, and then seran-wrap the top to keep any dust from getting on it.

After that, give it a good polish with a cloth and it's ready.

Hope you enjoyed this rather wordy tutorial!

Oh, and this is what I made with that bit of extra clay. Cute!

PS: one more tip. If you are stupidly clumsy like me and like spilling crystals onto the floor (especially a carpet floor), keep a flashlight handy. Shine it on the floor and you should be able to see any tiny sparklies that you have dropped.

Update: Add me on Pinterest for more tutorials and updates!

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