DIY clay earrings for the win!
If you’re ever wanted to make your own polymer 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.
Materials for Clay Earrings
- 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 polymer clay 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.
What’s So Great About Polymer Clay Jewelry?
Polymer clay is a great option for clay jewelry like this because it’s easily accessible (available online and at local craft stores) and very simple to use. So everyone from beginning crafters to advanced artisans to create pieces with this material.
It’s soft, which means it’s easily to manipulate into various shapes and blend together to create custom colors, etc. It can be molded by hand or you can use special tools and even cookie cutters for more versatility.
Once it’s baked, it becomes hard, while still being pretty light overall. Making it perfect for jewelry like DIY earrings and even necklaces and bracelets.
What other projects can I try with clay like this?
- My clay bowls project is one of my recent favorites and is perfect for polymer clay like this.
- I also made clay mushrooms, which are perfect for ornaments or little figurines. Or clay starwberries.
- Last but not least… my terracotta clay ornaments that we use on Hayes’ tree year after year.
What other jewelry projects can I try?
- Probably my favorite piece of jewelry I’ve ever made is this hand necklace.
- These DIY wood earrings have cute painted faces on them.
- Made this DIY beaded necklace a long time ago, but it held up so well and I love the beads. So unique!
- And this DIY necklace is made of thick leather and brass. Love this one!
How to Make Clay Earrings (Polymer Clay Jewelry Ideas)
- 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
- Start by preheating your oven to 225º and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Create your clay shapes using one of the clay techniques I shared on this blog post.
- 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?
47 comments | Click here to reply
What a great and informative guide about making polymer clay earrings! I really love the photos you’ve used, such modern and beautiful handmade jewellery. Thanks for sharing this 🙂Saira McIntosh
Your creations are cute. But it is misleading to mention oven temperature and time to bake without giving the brand of clay you are using. All polymer clays are not equal in the curing time and temperature. You should state to use the time and temp for the clay you are using, taken from the package information. Your followers will be disappointed when their Polymer project breaks from not following the manufactures baking instructions. Too short or wrong temperature affects the strength of the clay. Good luck to all of you.Bette
Very helpful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.Nippon
Hi Mille. It would be according to the packaging on your clay, but for mine, Fahrenheit.Brittni
Hi, is the 225 degrees in Celsius or FahrenheitMille
Any flat, untextured, nonporous surface would be great for this Erik.Brittni
What kind of table/surface is best to make these on?Erik
Hi Jess. I used Sculpey brand polymer clay. Hope that helps.Brittni
Hi Jessi. Unfortunately, I don’t have a source link, it was a local purchase.Brittni
Where did you get your rolling pin?Jessi
What brand clay do you use?Jess
Can you share what brand of clay you used? I have been looking but the vairety packs that have more of the colors I like have a some bad reviews.
Could you send a link where you got your clay?
Hi Emma. Glad you’ve found this post helpful! I can imagine that that would be very frustrating. It’s hard to know for sure without seeing what the finished pieces or your technique. But off the top of my head, it could be that the hole you’ve created for the jumping to go into is too close to the top, which makes it easily break. OR that the jump ring is opened enough before being threaded through the hole to get in there without damaging or breaking the clay. Another possibility is that the thickness of the clay is too thin and brittle. Let me know if you think it could be one of those things.Brittni
Hi! I’ve just started with polymer clay earring making. Your post was so helpful! I have a question… my clay earring almost ALWAYS break when I try to put the jump rings on. It’s so frustrating because I’ve baked, sanded, and buffed by that point and then I have to start back at square one. And tips or any idea why this might be happening?Emma
Hi Riya. Thank you so much for commenting. I love to hear that your daughter is an aspiring jewelry designer. How amazing! Hope she enjoys this project.Brittni
Hi Brittni, my daughter is very much fond of jewelry and is aspiring to become a jewelry designer. I am nurturing her hobby as she loves to make jewelry designs and I am glad I came across this post. She will definitely love to make jewelry out of this clay. Thanks for sharing!!Priya Sharma
Wow! I love these jewels! I can’t wait to start creating them!Ydit
So helpful and interesting. I am definitely going to make them soon. ThanxParisa
These are absolutely so amazing! I loved all these shapes and designs.
Hey there, I’m earrings and pendants designer at the SB jewelry, You did a great job, I’m so impressed. New FollowerElizabeth | Thesb
They all look so beautiful, amazing color combinations and very creative.jewelers houston tx
I am actually trying these tonight!😬Tammy
Hi Brittni, I can’t get over how great these are! I love all the different shape and color combos. A question about working with polymer clay: how do you get the clay really smooth, especially on the edges? Everything I make has little cracks on the edges, and usually hairs or dust that have been rolled into the surface that I don’t know how to remove.Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake
MOMMY A- did you try the microwave oven? If so how did you go?Paige
Also BRITTNI-do you bake them in your normal oven? I was told not to due to cooking food in my home oven.
Trying this! How did you get the shapes to stay.. when I handle mine at all or remove the excess clay, it gets distorted and stretched. Any tips?Pressley
I am beginning to make clay earrings and LOVE it! What clay do you use? Is there a specific brand of polymer clay you found best?Megan
Lovely colours and such a great idea.Kar Ling
[…] DIY earrings made of clay…that totally don’t look like a […]21 Valentine's Day DIY Ideas that Don't Suck
Love these! How large are the jump rings you used?Natalie
Love these. Where did you get the gold hoops you used for the earrings with the fringe? Looking everywhere for gold but can only find silver.Amanda
Hi Amanda. Sure thing…It’s F for oven temp.Brittni
Great post but might be worth clarifying F or C for the oven temp 🙂Amanda
[…] DIY clay jewelry […]A Walk Down Memory Lane: The Most Loved Projects Of 2018 (According To You) - Paper and Stitch
[…] 8. DIY clay earrings […]The Ultimate Guide to DIY Holiday Gifts That Don't Suck: 89 Really Cool (Giftable) Projects - Paper and Stitch
Haven’t tried a microwave oven, Mommy A. Let me know how it goes if you do try it though. I’d love to know!Brittni
love this! Have you tried using a microwave oven?Mommy A
[…] DIY clay chimes from Paige Christensen 2. how to make clay jewelry (various techniques and designs) 3. an easy planter hack for summer 4. romantic floral bath salts […]6 Weekend DIYs to Try - Paper and Stitch
I love earrings i love this postThe Pink Pineapple
Aw, thank Cat.Brittni
The color palettes are amazing as usual 🙂 Love the windchime shapesCat
I love the tassel ones too. Thanks Michelle.Brittni
They all look so beautiful, I love the ones with the tassels!Michelle
Thanks Courtney! Happy Monday!Brittni
These clay earrings are so cool! They turned out great.Courtney Hardy