Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Earring Displays

I've long admired the polymer clay and wire earring display stands that Celie Fago makes for her earrings. In class one time she said that she used to give one away with every pair of earrings sold. I wish the earrings I bought from her had come with one. There is one example in her website gallery, here.

I've been trying to come up with a design to make for myself that will coordinate with my work, and I decided that simple leaves would do. Mine aren't nearly as involved as Celie's, but they'll be original at least. I've learned a few things about designing and making earring displays. First, heavy black wire is available at the local hardware store for a song, as compared to the black coated craft wire, which is very expensive. The drawback to the black steel wire is that it is oiled to protect it from rusting, so it is messy to work with. I've chosen to cut the 16 gauge wire I bought with my second string wire cutters, as steel is tough. Black polymer clay can be bought in a big block at the craft store. Sorry about some of the blurry photos, but you'll get the idea.

  1. First I cut a length of wire and bent it in half, with a bit of a base.

  2. Next, I used round nose pliers to make a long coil of wire.

  3. The coil slipped over the overlapping wire stems.

  4. Then I bent each wire end over so that it won't just pull out after embedding into the clay.

  5. I formed four equal size balls of conditioned polymer clay and flattened them slightly.

  6. After pressing them over the loop at the end of the wire, I blended the edges into a nice ball.

  7. Then I shaped them into leaves and impressed veins on both sides with a needle tool.

  8. I cut the brass wire off a flat disc, one-ounce lead fishing weight.

  9. The weight was covered with more polymer clay, with the base of the leaves embedded at the top. I decorated mine with lines and dots.

  10. I drilled holes in both leaves for the earring wires to fit through.

The display is too big to bake in my dedicated polymer clay toaster oven without lying down, which might muss the finish on the leaves. I solved that by baking it in my metal clay kiln, sitting on a piece of waxed paper, at 275 degrees for 20 minutes.