Cynthia and Co.

Cynthia and Co.
"My Junk Inspired L I F E"


Clay Pendant Tutorial

Jewelry Tutorial Using Air Dry Clay

Today I'm going to share my recent project using Fimo Basic Air Drying Clay and show how to make clay pendants.  I've, in the past, used polymer clay for my beads and pendants but I found this clay is easy to work with and very sturdy.  The only drawback is that you have to wait for it to dry (instead of baking as you do with polymer clay.)  Pretty sure I'll continue to play with Fimo Basic a little more;  I had tons of fun and I didn't need to condition the clay nor did I need all of the tools polymer requires.

(At the end of this tut I have posted one of the necklaces I completed - its a rustic cameo assemblage!)

No Conditioning is Required
First, shape the clay inside a plastic mold

MOLD RELEASE - I used mineral oil.

I used a scant amount of mineral oil to coat the inside of my mold, however, it may not have been necessary since the clay was very moist.  I rolled a small ball of clay and pushed it into the mold as shown above.  Then I popped the clay from the mold and added texture using a metal finding.  Note: I shaped my pieces inside metal bezels to help the clay keep its shape while I was adding stamped details...

Metal findings with interesting shapes will work as stamp for clay
Use a finding with interesting detail to create your designs

STAMP the design into the clay.

In the above photograph you can see how I made one of the designs, to replicate an ancient coin, by keeping the clay inside a bezel while stamping.  This air dry clay has no adhesion quality so once it dries it will easily come out of the bezel so you can paint and glaze.

Ancient coin made of clay before it has dried
Wet clay with stamped detail

Above is how my stamped, ancient clay coin looked before it had dried.

How to use brass stampings as clay molds
Clay cameo pendant while air dry clay was still moist

CAMEO pendant made from Victorian brass stamping.

Again, for the cameo,  I coated the underside of the stamping with mineral oil and then pushed the clay into the stamping. Note:  if you plan to ever use the brass stamping for jewelry design wipe the oil from the brass when you're done so the brass won't discolor.

Mineral oil for mold release with clay
Mineral oil used for mold release with Fimo Basic

MAKE CLAY THINNER for the cameo.

I used less air dry clay for the cameo pendant so it would be easier to break...this was only about 1/4" thick while it was still wet.

Stacked clay pendants, beads glued with Super New Glue
Assemble, stack, glue and paint your clay pendants

STACK and glue your clay pieces once the clay has dried.

I let the clay pendants dry for two days before I started assembling and painting them.  I used Super New Glue to adhere clay to clay, metal to clay and glass to clay.  In the photograph above you can see how I stacked a metal flower charm in between two clay pieces and then topped the pendant with a brass bead cap.  For the piece that has holes I made an indentation in the wet clay for the glass bead and glued it in place once the clay was dry.

For the cameo pendant I used a cabochon (made of clay as explained in photo #1 above) and the clay cameo.  Because the clay was thin on the cameo I was able to break away most of the piece leaving just the head. By breaking the piece after it had dried it took on the look of an ancient artifact.

Paint pendants made of clay with acrylic paint, liquid leaf, alcohol ink
Painted clay pendants using acrylic paint, brass gilding, alcohol ink

PAINT CLAY WITH BRASS LIQUID LEAF first, then paint and alcohol ink.

This was the fun part!  Creating an ancient look with paint, liquid gilding and alcohol ink.  Note:  the manufacturer says to seal the dry clay before painting.  I skipped that step.  I started with liquid brass leaf (gilding), applied with a craft paint brush (disposable).  Once the gilding dried I added white acrylic paint (with my finger) and let it dry.  Then I painted the coffee brown in patches, covering some of the brass gilding and most of the white paint.  When the brown paint was dry I drizzled slate color alcohol ink in spots and allowed to dry. LAST, I went back over the pieces with more white paint applying it with a q-tip.

Steel wool used to distress surface of clay pendant
Once your paint has dried use steel wool to scrub the surfaces

STEEL WOOL can be used to distress your clay pendants.

By scrubbing the dried, painted surface of the clay pendants with steel wool (I don't know the grade it was from a pack from Dollar Tree) I was able to create the look and "feel" of something very ancient and old.  I like the white paint in the crevices of each pendant, however, I think perhaps I was too heavy handed on the cheek of the cameo.  Next time I'll distress less on the cameo faces.  The terra cotta color is the color the flesh tone clay took on after I buffed with steel wool.

Use Minwax Finish Semi-Gloss to seal pendants
Wipe away any debris left by distressing and apply finish coat

MINWAX water based top coat for protective finish.

I used Minwax to protect and seal the pendants and applied it with a foam brush..  I used what I had on  hand, which was semi-gloss, and in retrospect I wish I had sought out something with matt finish. These look good and the Minwax brought out many colors of each piece but I think they looked older before I added this protective finish.  Another note:  I only painted the top surfaces of each pendant so I could glue them to a leather backing or metal bezel.

Protective Finish on clay pendants while still wet
Close up of the Minwax Polycrylic Semi-Gloss while still wet

PROTECTIVE FINISH will bring out colors in your clay pendant.

Allow ample drying time for your clay pieces according to the manufacturers specifications.  I only used one coat of sealer - I hope that gave my pendants enough protection - and I allowed them to dry for a couple hours just to be sure I wouldn't mess them up with finger prints!

Rustic assemblage necklace handmade chain and cameo
Finished clay cameo pendant on handmade chain

EXAMPLE OF CAMEO pendant made of clay on handmade chain.

Here I have posted an image of the faux ancient clay cameo pendant assemblage.  The clay pendant was glued into the bezel with Super New Glue.  The leather "bail" was glued to the metal bezel with E-6000.  For added strength and detail I tied the pendant to the chain with waxed cotton cording.  The piece is made complete with a rustic, handmade chain that I made with steel wire.

Rustic necklace assemblage with clay cameo and steel chain
Clay cameo necklace on handmade steel chain

WHEW!  I did get one necklace done - am still beading and completing the other pendants and will add photographs soon (ish).

Thanks for stopping by...

Since writing this tutorial I have added a couple posts on clay beads and pendants.  If you would like to view them...


  1. These turned out beautiful! I've played a little with polymer clay but can never get it to do what I want. And I hate having to condition it. I've seen the air dry clay and wondered how well it worked. Do you have to use it up real quick? Or will it stay soft and pliable as long as you keep it sealed in a bag?
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful tutorial.

    1. The package I have now is about 2 weeks old and its still very moist. I have it wrapped in clear kitchen wrap then inside a zip lock baggy. As far as overall shelf life (months before it dries) I am not sure. Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoyed.

  2. These are so pretty and creative. Great tutorial too! Thanks so much for sharing at Vintage Inspiration Party.

    1. Thank you - and thanks for having such great vintage parties!