There is Irish magic in this Victorian-style St. Patrick's Pin or
Pendant; Vintage images from old
Ireland are displayed in lustrous metallic or pearl settings. The
magic ingredients are oven-baked polymer clay,
metallic pigment powder, and iron-on image transfer sheets for your
Despite the professional results, this is a pretty
easy craft. If you haven't worked with polymer clay before, you are in
for a treat. It is fun to let your imagination run wild with shapes,
textures and colors. Few tools are required and
the oven-baking takes only about 15 minutes at low
heat to harden the clay.
The oven heat is also what adheres
the image from the transfer sheet to the clay, just like a hot
iron transfers images to
fabric. 8.5" X 11" printable iron-on transfer sheets are available in
most craft and fabric
stores, usually under the name of "inkjet iron on transfer." Who knew
were so versatile?
We went a little crazy and created six variations;
three pins and three neclace pendants with holes for ribbons,
rings and chains.
the FREE Vintage Image Download, we give you six St. Patrick's Pin
images; three 1.5" circles and three 2"-wide ovals. With two 2 oz.
packages of polymer clay, you can make all six designs.
Rubber stamp with small shamrock or Celtic
Metallic pigment powder (gold, bronze, copper
and pearl) (see Tips).
Varnish or polyurethane, matte, liquid or spray
Ribbon, narrow green satin (optional).
Jump rings (optional).
Pin backs (also called bar pins) (optional).
Decorative edge scissors with a small pattern.
Brush for varnish.
Implements for manipulating the clay: teaspoon,
plastic drinking straw, bamboo skewer, etc.
your oven to the temperature recommended by the polymer clay
manufacturer, usually 275° f.
the vintage image using decorative edge scissors (see Tips).
Tape a 8" square of wax paper to a smooth
surface. Gently knead about .75 ounce of polymer clay into a
ball and press it
flat onto the wax paper. Roll it with the brayer into
a smooth circle or oval about 1/8" thick and at least 1/2" larger than
the trimmed image face down in the center of the clay. Use the back of
a teaspoon to gently rub the image firmly onto the clay.
Smooth the clay again with the brayer. If you are making a
pendant, make a mark on the wax paper to indicate the top of your image
so you can punch a hole in the clay at the right place.
With the rubber stamp or other implement,
impress a decorative border into the clay around the image.
the clay into a circular or oval shape around the imprinted border with
a craft knife. To cut a perfectly round circle, you may want to
mark the shape first with a circle
template or the rim of a glass or can. At this point, you may also
to cut decorative shapes around the circumference, such as
scallops. Gently smooth the cut edges with your finger.
To make a pendant, punch a hole at the top of
the clay border using a straw or skewer.
a soft, round brush (an application brush usually comes with
the metallic pigment
powder kit), brush a small amount of metallic pigment powder
the top and edges of the clay, being sure to get it in all of the
stamped or cut impressions.
Place the wax paper with the clay on a cookie
sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Slowly remove the
backing from the image with a toothpick or tweezers. Return the clay to
the oven to complete the baking according to the timing in the
manufacturer's instructions (usually 15 minutes total baking time).
from the oven and let it cool. Dust off the excess metallic pigment
powder and gently polish with a facial tissue.
Attach a pin back with glue, or use
self-adhesive pins as we did.
For optional protection, brush or
coat of varnish or
polyurethane over the image and metallic finish.
Pin it on or hang it around your neck - you are
now "wearin' the green" and are safe from pinching.
make a simple pendant, loop a 24" length of thin, green satin ribbon or
cord in half. Thread the loop end into the hole from the front of the
pendant. Pull the loose ends through the loop and pull it tight into a
knot on the pendant. Tie the loose ends into a double square knot at
the length you prefer and trim off the excess ribbon. Our pendant
is a smooth oval shape brushed with copper metallic pigment powder.
free-hand cut scalloped edge on the clay looks like
hand-worked gold. Cut the scallops around the stamped design with a
craft knife, and smooth the cut edges with your finger. Bush on gold
metallic pigment powder. We inserted a jewelry jump ring in the hole to
hang the pendant from a chain.
Mimic the look of hand-tooled copper by pressing
rough fabric (like terry cloth) or textured plastic onto the surface of
the clay with a brayer or teaspoon back. Brush on copper metallic
powder to get the look of our "Good Luck" pendant.
the effect of cast gold by randomly beveling the edges of the
smooth clay with the
of a teaspoon. Brush on gold metallic pigment powder.
vintage, carved mother-of-pearl St. Patrick's pin is our favorite. It
was Martin's brainstorm to punch a border of holes around the image,
using a plastic drinking straw. With a craft knife, he cut simple
notched scallops around the holes. One application of white pearl
metallic pigment powder turned the baked clay into an antique
mother-of-pearl heirloom St. Patrick's pin.
There are many brands of iron on transfer
sheets available for your ink jet printer. We used
Inkjet Photo Transfer Paper-3 Sheets.
Read the printing instructions carefully, because only one side can be
used for printing. Adjust your printer for printing on
matte photo paper to achieve the best color results on the transfer
Polymer clay is sold in small
rectangular, 2 ounce chunks. White or light colored clay is the best
for this craft because the image transfer film is translucent and takes
the color of the underlying clay. Also, the metallic pigment powder
tends to obscure the color of the clay anyway. We chose
Sculpey III Polymer Clay 2 Oz. Bar-Ivory, a mid-priced brand.
We had a tiny shamrock-shaped rubber stamp
which worked perfectly for impressing a border around the images. A
simple Celtic braid design would work, as well. You can even use letter
stamps to impress "Happy St. Patrick's Day" or "Erin Go Bragh" or even
name. No rubber stamps handy? Improvise! You can create a
three-leafed shamrock shape with a tiny heart stamp cut from a pencil
eraser. Or just some circles from an uncut pencil eraser. Perhaps you
have a decorative button or earring that would make a good impression.
Use what you have with creativity.
Metallic pigment powder was our happy discovery
for this craft. Brush it on to the clay with a soft, round brush before
baking (the pigment kit came with two brushes). The oven heat will make
the powder adhere to the clay. When the
piece is cool, dust it off and rub gently with a facial tissue
to bring out the luster. We used the
Perfect Pearls 4-Color Set-Metallics
gold, pearl, bronze and copper. This brand has a resin ingredient that
melts in the oven's heat and fuses the finish to the clay.
We believe trimming the image with decorative
edge scissors is an important part of this craft. Regular scissors will
give you a simple circle shape for your image, but the decorative cut
provides a much more sophisticated, Victorian flair.
If you want to try this technique with your own
images, remember to reverse the picture (horizontal flip) so it
prints correctly onto the polymer clay. This is especially important
if there is any text on your image.