Monday, March 20, 2017

Faberge Inspired Polymer Clay Easter Egg Pendant Tutorial

By on Monday, March 20, 2017 4 Comments

We are all familiar with the Faberge eggs - the large Imperial Easter eggs which contained surprises especially commissioned as gifts for for the Russian Romanov royal family. But the legendary master jeweler also made a lot of smaller and less ornate ones including tiny gemstone Easter egg pendants.  I saw a marvelous collection when it exhibited in Montreal a few years ago -  check out the post as I shared  a couple of my pictures of these egg pendants. Also this post Rare Gemstones : Alexandrite and the Last of the Romanovs for some fascinating history on this tragic family.


Most Easter egg jewelry designs are usually brightly colored, rather like the actual painted or dyed eggs often done at this time of year.  So this tutorial does something different -  inspired by Faberge's inch long gemstone egg pendants. Instead of gemstones, I used polymer clay in jewel tones - black for onyx, a buff colored clay for faux pearls and blue to represent a wide variety of blue gemstones. Instead of real diamonds, I used rhinestone crystals.

Some ideas do take time to get right!

My first try was with resin clay (Apoxie Sculpt) - this is a two part clay which is activated when mixed together and hardens without heat. Its adhesive quality is why I like using it in the first place. But the egg shape was difficult to create as this clay is a bit softer and heavier than polymer clay.  So the charms and crystals sank into the clay each time I tried to maintain the egg shape.


The next experiment was with a polystyrene egg. I used it as the form and added a layer of prepared resin clay.  It was better than using resin clay alone as the embellishments were less likely to get lost in the clay. Plus you will use less clay.  But the resulting egg was bigger than I wanted for the pendants.  You can indeed make much larger decorative eggs if you wish - your very own "Faberge" eggs.   The dollar stores are selling these polystyrene eggs in all sorts of sizes right now.


So I went on to use polymer clay to make the pendants.  I did not use the polystrene eggs as the forms.  Others have found that polystrene will shrink in the oven.  So probably not a good thing for my designs as I do not know if the polymer clay will maintain its shape.

Fimo Soft is not my favorite clay - I prefer Premo Clay which is firmer and better for jewelry making. However, I bought this Fimo a while ago and have to use it up!


I conditioned the polymer clay by passing it through a pasta machine several times. I made a ball and then gently rolled the ends to create the egg shape.


I also applied some pretty silver pearlized mica powder (you can get them in all sorts of metallic colors) to make my faux pearl egg.


Next I secured a piece of wire (for the bail) into the clay egg so it will stay put without having to glue it later. This is adapted from the commonly used method of inserting eye pins into polymer clay charms.

I made a short bend to one end of the wire. I marked the depth I wanted the wire to go to without piercing out the bottom of the egg.


First insert the short bend as shown below. Then bring the wire to vertical and push into the egg until it reaches the mark. Then twist the wire so the bend really gets into the clay. See Cindy Lietz's full instructions here. (This photo below is blur because I forgot to use the timer!)


I used beautiful TierraCast bead caps for the tops of the pendants.  They were sent to me for review. There are so many patterns to choose from - these TierraCast Pewter Bead Caps are just one example!



The next step is to press metal rondelles , bead caps, crystals firmly into the clay. Make as deep an impression as you can.


I used some vintage crystal chatons which I purchased from a vendor closing up. But you can get some lovely Swarovski ones!  The small ones can be tricky to hold and insert, so use a crystal applicator tool. There are all kinds - as you can see I use a budget friendly one!


I also used this opportunity to test out for myself if the different coated 20 G Parawire I used  would survive in the oven. And it did!


 Bake the eggs according to the polymer clay manufacturer's instructions.  You can leave all the wire and rondelles during baking.  The metal pieces do stick a little but not permanently.  I removed the crystals in case they are affected by the heat.


When the eggs cooled, I gave them a couple of coats of water based varnish like Varathane's Diamond Finish.  I got the smallest can possible from my local hardware store.


Dry in between layers.


Once the vanish had dried, remove all the metal pieces from the eggs.  Some pieces might seem to be stuck but believe me those will not stay stuck over time.  So glue all the rondelles, wire, bead caps and crystals onto the eggs.  I prefer using Super New Glue (very strong and doesn't seem to get brittle like the common Super Glue). This is a liquid glue which sets very quickly, so don't tarry.


Super New Glue is less messy than E6000 which is why I avoided the latter. But I was forced to use E6000 for the gorgeous Swarovski marguerite flowers on the blue egg because I failed to make deep enough impressions.  So I had to add a glob of it to make sure there was enough glue to hold the marguerite.


Inevitably I got glue smeared on the polymer egg! And compounded the problem by trying to wipe it off with a paper towel!


There is an easy fix. I used 3000 Grit Sandpaper to gently take off the boo-boo. You can also get this at a good automotive supply shop.


You can then make a wrapped loop for the bail.  I used a double loop.  See this past post on how to wire wrap bails for more ideas.


Once all the eggs are ready to go, add the chain.  I wanted to make a claspless sautoir (long necklace style popular with the Edwardians) so I used a jump ring to connect both ends of the chain to the pendant bail.


Pity I don't have an Edwardian dress for my mannequin!







Do you have the same trouble as me?  Designs just simply don't make it to a shop as they get diverted to one's personal jewelry collection!

Photography
I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the ProCamera app and the Modahaus TS400 tabletop studio and the Steady Stand for final product photography. The tutorial pictures were taken with the same equipment but with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .

Disclosure
I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

Before You Go:
______________________________
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Wire JewelryTips  -Jewelry Business Tips 

Share

4 comments:

  1. Wow Pearl - you've had quite the time with this tutorial! But in the end you've come up with something quite unique!

    I'm wondering if rubbing alcohol would have taken the boo boo off instead of having to sand it down again? I often use rubbing alcohol for removing glue - hmmm - it might be worth testing...

    I haven't used varathane on any of my polymer clay projects in a long time. I polish with a buff on either my polishing machine or with my flex shaft and then apply my doodads after with glue. I got to the point where I was getting sick of the drips that hardened while it dried and eventually to preferring the hard glossy finish from buffing. But each to their own. Buffing does require sanding beforehand - at least for me - and it does take some skill with not applying the buff too hard against the piece or the heat and pressure will divot the polymer clay.

    All in all it really is a lot of fun no matter how you go about it isn't it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't try the rubbing alcohol because I didn't want the risk of the varnished layers coming off.

      Varnishing is an alternative to sanding and polishing which helps those without the tools. I avoided the sanding and polishing because I didn't want to disturb the impressions.

      Delete
    2. I've been mulling this problem over and realized that you had used superglue. That might not have come off easily with rubbing alcohol. However - I've read that putting superglue in the freeze will break the bond. If that's the case - and worth the experiment - then the rubbing alcohol would take it off nicely.
      As for sanding and buffing away your impressions - I think if you've finished the egg nicely and smoothed away fingerprints etc. then you could get away with a light sanding and then use your dremel to buff. I know lots of people don't have a dremel even - but sanding and polishing by hand sure gives it a nice effect. I'm always worried that yellowing will occur with added finishes like varathane. I'm thinking maybe PMIII might give you a finish you like as well and could be done in matte or shiny. So many options - so little time!

      Delete
    3. No, the mess I made on the blue egg was E6000.

      I did manage to get a smooth surface by rolling the egg on a glossy ceramic tile so there were no fingermarks to remove. But you made a good point about smoothing fingerprints if people inadvertently left such marks.

      Delete

 

TUTORIALS

PEARL'S DESIGNS

DESIGN MAKEOVER

TIPS AND TRICKS

SUPPLIES

TOOLS