DIY clay earrings for the win! If you’re ever wanted to make your own clay earrings (or any clay jewelry for that matter), this project is for you.
Today I’m sharing several (easy-to-recreate) clay jewelry techniques, plus a step-by-step guide for making your own DIY clay jewelry on a budget. You will get so many compliments on these, you’ll wonder why you never tried it before.
- polymer clay in the colors of your choice*
- rolling pin
- knife or clay cutter
- jewelry pliers
- earring posts and backs (I used gold)
- jewelry jump rings with open connectors (I also used gold for these)
- (optional) small circular cookie or clay cutters
- super glue
- cutting surface
- parchment paper
- baking sheet
*If you’re not sure what colors to go with or don’t see the color you’re looking for, stick with the primaries, along with black and white. You can always mix your own colors if needed. It’s just basic color theory stuff with a little extra elbow grease thrown in.
How to Make Clay Earrings: Basic Techniques
I’m sharing a couple different techniques to help get you started, but the best part about these materials is that you can literally create any style, color, or shape of earring you want – there are very few limitations, which makes the project so fun, and honestly, so relaxing.
Before you start working with the clay, it helps to come up with a color palette. It’s likely you’ll get at least a couple of sets of earrings from each batch you mix, so make it something that really suits your style and wardrobe. I wanted to create a couple different pieces all sticking to more earthy tones (muted greens, peaches, rust, marble and a little gray blue).
Marbling Technique for DIY Clay Jewelry
Start with a midsize sample of your base color, for example, white. Select 1-3 secondary colors and roll them each into small balls. Then roll each color out into clay “snakes,” you know, like they made you do in preschool.
Gently wrap each color around the base color and roll together with your hands. Stretch and fold the twisted, rolled out piece of clay several times until the colors start to blend nicely. Continue stretching, rolling, folding until it looks like a smooth marbled effect.
Here’s more specifics on how I made the marbled kidney bean shaped earrings you see in the photos… Roll two small balls of marbled clay, about the size of a small marble. Save the extra marbled clay for later. Gently roll each ball into a thick, short cylinder and curve. Lightly press the rolling pin over the cylinder of clay until it flattens slightly to form a kidney bean shape.
Roll out the remaining clay until it is about 1/16″-1/8″ thick throughout. Use a small circular clay cutter to punch out two 1/4″ circles. If you don’t have a clay cutter this size, you can also roll out two small balls of clay and press with a flat surface to get a flattened circle, or hand cut with a knife.
Creating Custom Colors for DIY Clay Jewelry
Use the same technique as you would for marbling, only this time, continue pushing the colors through one another (stretching, rolling, folding, repeat) until all of the colors are blending throughout with no striations.
Pay special attention to your ratios – a little black can go a long way, while you may need a lot more white to get a more pastel palette. And remember that adding a complimentary color can help dull down a super bright color. If you mess up, or take the color too far one way, no biggie! You can easily just continue adding in clay until you reach your desired tint.
Color Blocking Technique for DIY Clay Jewelry
Take two separate colors of your choice. Roll each out into short, thick cylinders. Lay them side by side and gently push them together with your hands until they cling on to each other. Use your roller to flatten the colors together into a simple color block. From there, you’ll be able to cut out fun shapes and create your earrings.
And here’s more specifics on how I made the color blocked earrings you see in the photos… Roll out your color-blocked clay until it is about 1/16″-1/8″ thick throughout. Use a clay knife (or old kitchen knife) to carefully cut out two rectangles. Mine were roughly 1/4″ wide and 1″ long.
So now that you have a few techniques down, here’s the breakdown on how to make clay earrings in various shapes, sizes, and colors. I love how these turned out, so I hope you’ll find some inspiration here…
Instructions on How to Make Clay Earrings
Start by preheating your oven to 225º and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Create your clay shapes using one of the above techniques.
For any earrings that you’ll be using jump rings for, this would be the time to create the holes needed… To do that, take one of the earring posts, and use the sharp end to gently create holes at the top of each shape (and the bottom if applicable). This is where you will connect them together later. The earring post alone may not make a large enough hole for the jump rings, so wiggle it around a bit to enlarge the piercing a little.
Then, for all earring shapes, place on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Make sure the clay is completely flat, otherwise you’ll run into problems when you add your earring posts. And if your oven tends to run hot, keep a very close eye on them, or they might burn. Trust me, I ruined a whole batch because my oven was too hot and I left them in too long!
Remove the earrings from the oven and let them cool. It’s okay if they feel a tiny bit gummy while still hot, just as long as they hold their shape when you pick them up.
For adding posts to earring shapes… Put a dab of super glue at the top and add your earring post. Hold firmly for about 30 seconds to make sure it completely adheres.
For adding jump rings… Use your pliers to thread a jump ring into the small circular pieces, and then into the hole or holes you created for the clay shapes. Make sure you close off the opening so the earring doesn’t come apart while wearing.
Take it Further… There are lots of additional things you can do to add to your earrings. Like adding tassels with embroidery floss, using hoops instead of posts, creating more organic shapes, marbling bright colors together, etc, etc.
Photography Amelia Lawrence
Have you ever tried making your own jewelry? What materials and techniques do you like to use?