Geometric filigree pendant

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Create bold geometric pendant from multi-coloured strings of polymer clay. By Emma Ralph

Beadmaker Emma Ralph has authored two books and numerous magazine articles on using polymer clay. She is the owner of EJR Beads, a polymer clay and jewellery-making supplies online business. In this project, we'll make a striking articulated pendant by patch working together different patterns made from extruded Cernit polymer clay. Not only is this the perfect project for getting to grips with your clay extruder tool, it's also a wonderful way to use up odds and ends of clay left over from other projects.



Large and small metal
mandrel tools
8mm diameter copper wire

Wire cutters or jeweller's saw

Planishing hammer & block

Liver of sulphur (optional)

Several small plain ceramic tiles

¼ block Cernit opaque white

¼ block Cernit light green

¼ block Cernit blue-grey

¼ block Cernit neon light fuchsia

¼ block Cernit neon light yellow

¼ block Cernit black

Pasta machine

Makin's clay extruder and sieve die (with multiple 2mm perforations)

Makin's square cutters - small and medium

Tissue blade

Adirondack alcohol ink - in pebble or any dark colour you wish


600 grit wet/dry sandpaper

Leather cord or chain



Cernit, tools and supplies: EJR Beads,


Jeweller's hammer, block &

Ceramic tiles from any hardware shop





Step 1

Wind enough 8mm wire around the mandrel to make 3 jumprings 10mm in diameter. Snip the rings apart with wire cutters or a jeweller's saw. Use the smaller mandrel to create four 6mm jumprings. Hammer the larger rings to flatten slightly and antique with liver of sulphur.



Step 2

Condition the Cernit clay. Form 4 balls of white and 2 from the other colours, 14mm in diameter. Flatten slightly. Starting with white, stack half the white and all the yellow and green pieces together, alternate the colours evenly. Form a separate stack using white, blue and pink. 



Step 3

Load the yellow/green stack into the extruder barrel. Place the stack so the colour nearest the screw-on cap is white. Fit the sieve die with 2mm perforations into the cap and attach to barrel. Extrude the stack to form a pile of clay strings. Clean the extruder. Repeat for blue/pink.



 Step 4

Roll a black sheet using the thinnest setting, lay on a tile. Cut 4 sections a little larger than the biggest cutter. Arrange the strings on top to form spirals/linear patterns from each colour. Gently push the clay down as you go. Slide a tissue blade under sections to remove from tile.



Step 5

Working on a fresh tile, lay out another black clay sheet, this time rolled to a thickness of 1mm. Make the sheet large enough to easily accommodate both cutters twice over - we won't need the entire sheet now but the surplus
will be used later. Cut out one large and one small square, leaving them in place on the tile. Remove the remaining clay sheet and set aside.



Step 6

To make the hanging loops, position the large jumprings on the clay squares so they overhang the edge. Place rings top and bottom on the large square and top only on the smaller one. Ensure each jumpring is centred and symmetrical and that the opening is on the clay side, not the overhang. When happy with the placement, push the jumprings down very slightly into the clay. 



Step 7

Lay the surplus black clay sheet from step 5 on a fresh tile. Take one of the spirals made earlier and cut away a small section with a tissue blade. Place the spiral on the sheet, pushing it down gently. Cut a slightly off-set edge into the linear piece of the opposite colour. Place it against the spiral, with the cut edges butted closely together, and push it down carefully.



Step 8

Using the largest cutter, cut out a square and place it on top of the corresponding clay/jumpring base from step 6. Take care not to disturb the jumprings or base and be sure to marry up the edges neatly. Push down softly to ensure all the parts are well connected. Using the remaining clay pieces, repeat the above steps and make the top for the smaller square base.



Step 9

Bake both parts on the tile, following the clay manufacturer's instructions. Once cool, remove from the tile and paint the surfaces with alcohol ink. When the ink has dried, wet-sand both parts to remove ink from the high areas, accentuating the design and smoothing rough edges. Link the components using the smaller jumprings. Hang from chain or cord.


Designer tips:  

Vary the look by experimenting with the size and shape of the clay strings. The extruder tools come with a multitude of dies for you to explore and extra sets with different shapes are also available

Try different arrangements for the clay strings. You don't need to stick to spirals or lines - try waves, wood grain patterns, zig-zags etc.

Varnish or buff the pieces after sanding for a shiny finish


Extra project:

Why not make earrings too! Use your left over clay and follow the same steps for the pendant to create a similar pair of geometric filigree shapes

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