Friday, June 29, 2012

Broken and Mended Heart Pendant Tutorial

 Here is a tutorial to make my broken and mended heart pendant. I have a finished necklace for sale on Etsy here.  Here’s a photo of one of the finished necklaces:

Cold porcelain, in case you didn’t know, is a home made modeling clay made from ingredients that you may already have in your house. It is made mainly from cornstarch (note: NOT corn flour!) and Elmer’s glue or regular white school glue. It is very easy to make, albeit very messy. It is an air dry clay, which makes it very simple to use since it requires no baking. All you do is mold it, let it dry, then coat it with a sealant. I looked up all the recipes on the internet that I could find and this one is what I ended up using.

 You may want to buy a small pot and spoon from a garage sale or thrift shop just for this purpose because it is very sticky and sometimes you can’t get it all off the pot.  I always soak my pot and utensils in hot soapy water immediately when I am done so none of the glue dries on my pot. Then I wash it outside because if any of the glue gets down the drain it will clog the drain.

Once you have your cold porcelain made, you can color the dough with just about anything. I use acrylic craft paints, which are very cheap (you can buy a small bottle at Wal Mart or a craft store for under a dollar). All you do is put a small drop of paint on your clay and knead it through the dough until the color is even. I usually only color a very small portion of my clay at a time unless I am making something very large, because for most pendants you only need a very small amount of clay and it stores longer without the paint in it. You can also color your clay with food coloring, markers, powdered makeup, etc. However, don't add too much coloring, or it will actually alter the recipe enough that it causes your clay to crack when it dries or just become very difficult to mold or sculpt properly.

Once you have colored your clay, take a small piece and roll it in the palms of your hands until you have a ball.

Make an indentation in the middle to begin forming the two sides of your heart.

Flatten your clay and mold into a heart shape that looks good to you. Here I am molding it on top of an upturned bowl. It’s a smooth surface and easy to work on.

Next, add the cracks in your heart. I used a tool specifically for clay ( I found three of them at a garage sale for 50 cents)but it doesn’t really matter what you use. If you don’t have the tools you can just use a butter knife (the flat edge) or whatever else works for you.  Add as many or as few cracks as you like. Note: do not actually cut all the way through the heart, just make shallow indentations or your heart won’t stay together!

After that, I added the wire stitching. This is much simpler than it looks, since I did not actually sew the heart together. First, I made small “C” shaped hooks with my round nose pliers and wire cutters with 20 gauge wire and 28 gauge wire.

I then put the 20 gauge wire hooks into the middle cracks in the heart, and the 28 gauge wire hooks into the smaller cracks on the side, making it appear to be stitched together. I also inserted an eye pin into the top of the heart so I can attach it to a chain later.

Note: If you use a lot of wire in jewelry making as I do, and if you like a more rustic look, you can get a lot more wire for a much cheaper price if you buy galvanized steel wire at the hardware store instead of getting it at the craft store.

Now you just need to let your pendant dry, and then coat it with Mod Podge or another sealant. Typically I find that my pieces can dry in about two days, but it depends on the air humidity and the thickness of the pendant. Once the top side is dry, I usually flip it over so the other side can dry faster.  Also keep in mind that your pendants will usually shrink about 15-20% when they dry (this is what keeps the wire and headpin from slipping out). If one or two of your wire pieces do slip, don’t worry, just put a tiny bit of superglue or jewelry glue on the wire and slide it back in. After it dries it should stay securely. 

When you are finished you will want to store the remainder of your clay in plastic wrap and zip baggies until further use to keep it from drying out. 

You have now completed your pendant! Yay!