These marbled clay Stud earrings are everything! learn exactly how to make them in this step-by-step tutorial.
Once you’ve made these beautiful marbled clay stud earrings, you’ll be hooked and want to make them in every color combination. They are the perfect blend of chic and functional – perfect for wearing everyday or for an evening out.
Best of all (in my book anyway) they are non-dangle, and if you’re a mom you know how important that can be.
These earrings evolved from a need to figure out how to use the scrap from making marbled polymer clay bowls. As someone who hates to waste things, it was frustrating to see how much extra marbled clay was leftover.
Enter marbled clay stud earrings. Problem solved!
This tutorial will teach you exactly how to make these beauties. Let’s begin!
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OTHER DIY EARRING TUTORIALS YOU’LL LOVE:
- Perfect Pinched Leather Earrings (aka Joanna Gaines Earrings)
- DIY Gorgeous Cowhide Leather Teardrop Earrings
selecting the right polymer clay
I like to skim tutorial posts too – I’m the queen of skimming – but please take the time to read this section.
It might make the difference between earrings that crumble weeks or months after you make them and earrings that last pretty much forever.
The most important detail to making polymer earrings that last is to select the right kind of polymer clay.
Some polymer clays do not hold up well to being rolled out as thin as these are. The earrings might appear okay at first but crumble later on.
Obviously, this is not something you want. Especially after you’ve already given the item away as a gift – as you might guess I learned this lesson the hard way.
Polymer clay essentially becomes a plastic when it is properly cured. However, some lines of polymer clay remain a bit brittle even after following the baking/curing instructions to a T.
The brand I now use and have never once had any issue with crumbling/brittleness is Sculpey PREMO polymer clay. Sculpey Original, Souffle, and III just don’t hold up to being rolled as thin as we need to here. You can buy individual small blocks or get a sample pack like this.
Color combinations for these earrings are pretty much endless. You can go classic with white, silver, and black, or mix it up and create explosions of color by putting pink, purple, blue, gold, teal, etc. together.
The foundation of these earrings is always white, but feel free to add in whatever other colors appeal to you. It is almost impossible to go wrong.
Other quality brands include Kato and Fimo, but I have not tried them and can’t personally vouch for them.
In my opinion, Sculpey PREMO has the widest color selection including their PREMO “Accents” line with glitters and pearlescent shades and I’ve always achieved incredible results using this clay.
materials needed to make marbled clay stud earrings:
- Metal baking sheet
- Parchment paper (you can use plain white copy paper in a pinch)
- Thin cardboard, for example from a cereal box or shoe box, to make rolling forms (I’ll show you how to do this below)
- PREMO Sculpey clay (or other quality brand such as Fimo or Kato). Use white as your base color, then add any other colors that appeal to you. The colors used in this tutorial are white, twinkle twinkle, ultramarine blue, antique gold, blush, and fuschia.
- Polymer clay roller (3/4″ or 1″ PVC pipe cut down to size also works great!)
- Mini metal circle cutter – I use a 12 mm one from this set. You can use a different size (or even shape!) just make sure its a little larger than the 8 mm flat pad earring posts we’ll be putting on the backs
- 8 mm flat pad earring posts
- Clear silicone earring backs (SO much better than the little metal butterfly backs the flat pad posts usually come with – get these and you’ll never, ever run out, lol)
- E6000 adhesive
- SC Johnson paste wax (yep – the kind you use on wood floors…it seems weird but it is perfect for polymer projects – I’ll explain more below)
- Soft cotton cloth (old t-shirt scraps work great)
- And I highly recommend a simple oven thermometer like this – if your oven is off even a little it can prevent the clay from curing (temp too low) or cause it to scorch (temp too high)
I’m so excited to share this tutorial with you, so let’s get started!
Step 1: Prepare the clay ropes
The first step to making marbled clay stud earrings is to prepare ropes of clay with each of the colors you’ve chosen to incorporate.
Start with your white clay base and break off about 1/2 ounce of clay. If you’re using a small 2 oz block of clay, this will be 1/4 of the block and you will see that the block is actually marked into quarters.
Roll that out into an 8 to 10-inch long rope.
If the clay is crumbly or dry, just keep working it until it cooperates with you and forms a smooth cohesive rope. This process is called conditioning. I find that sometimes this is necessary and sometimes the clay is good to go right out of the package. It probably depends on how long the clay was sitting on the shelf before it was purchased.
But trust me, even if the clay seems a little dry or crumbly it will soften as you work with it. You just need to show it who is the boss!
Continue to make ropes with each of the additional colors you’ve chosen, except use only 1/5 to 1/6 the amount of each color. All the ropes should be roughly the same length.
Here’s what my ropes looked like after rolling out each color:
Step 2: Create the Marbled pattern
Okay, now is when the fun starts!
I just love, love, love this part of the process. It’s where the magic starts to happen.
To use a very technical term (ha!), you’re going to squish the individual ropes together to make one thick rope. Give it just a roll or two to make sure that everything is stuck together well.
Then twist the rope so that the colors begin to spiral. It should look a bit like this:
Continue to roll out the rope of clay until it is about 18 inches or so long. The key is that it should be long enough to easily double over.
After you’ve doubled over your rope (basically making a U shape), twist the two ropes together.
Here’s what your rope should look like at this point in the process:
Roll out again to 18 inches in length (or so, no need to get out your ruler), and then repeat the process of folding over, twisting, and rolling 3 to 4 more times. You will see the colors begin to marble.
The more you repeat this process, the finer the marbling and more mixed the colors will be. Repeat this process fewer times and your colors will be more separated.
It really is a matter of personal preference and the look you’re trying to achieve. However, you also really can’t go wrong – the marbling process works its own magic to create an end result that is both mysterious and beautiful.
So just have fun with this part of the process and get excited for the marbling to be fully revealed in the next step.
STep 3: Roll out the clay and cut out the earrings
Before rolling out the clay, smoosh (again, very technical) your clay rope into a ball. Do the best you can to avoid creating any air pockets.
Here’s where you’ll want the cardboard forms mentioned in the supplies list. They’re super easy to make and will help ensure the clay is rolled out evenly.
I can tell you from experience it’s no fun to cut out all the earrings only to realize all the ones in the middle are too thick.
All you need to make your own forms is some cardboard – cereal or shoe boxes work perfectly for these earrings – and maybe some tape.
I found that the folded edge of a shoebox was the perfect height I needed for these earrings. My forms measure 3.5″ x 8″ and are 1.5mm thick.
If you can’t find the exact height you’d like, you can tape two thinner pieces together to make a thicker/taller form.
That’s really all there is to it.
Now you’re ready to roll out the clay ball using your forms to control the height.
Step 4: Cut out the earrings with your circle punch and cure them in the oven
Can you believe when I first started making marbled clay stud earrings I cut them out by hand with a kitchen knife? Serious.
It worked but was a painfully slow process. Then I discovered the wonders of using a circle punch like this.
I like to cut the circles from the backside of the clay. Usually, one side will look slightly more interesting than the other – put that side face down when you cut/punch out the circles.
BUT, be sure to turn the earring over after you cut it so that it bakes FACE UP. This is important because sometimes the side touching the paper/parchment develops a glossy surface. I’ve found this happens more often with copy paper than parchment.
Two tips that will save you heaps of frustration:
1. Once you’ve rolled out your clay, move it over to the parchment paper or plain white paper you plan to bake them on before cutting out your circles.
If you leave the clay on the surface you rolled it out on – laminate, marble, granite, cutting board, etc. – the circles may stick and likely be deformed in the process of peeling them off.
2. Give a little twist as you push down with the punch. This usually (but not always) helps the clay circles to not stick to the inside of the punch.
These punches do have spring to push out the clay if it does get stuck, and sometimes it does leave an indentation, but that can always be made the backside of the earring and will be covered by the earring post flat pad.
After punching out the circles you’ll be left with something that looks like this:
Don’t throw this away!
You can mush it back into a ball, roll it out, and cut out circles again. You’ll find that the marbling and mixing of colors will be even more pronounced the second time – just a slightly different effect.
Below are all my earrings from the first and second rounds.
You can see how the ones on the left from the first round have brighter, more defined colors while the ones from the second round on the right are more blended:
Now it’s time to bake the earrings in the oven according to the directions on the package. For PREMO, the instructions call for baking at 275 F for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch. These are less than 1/4 inch so I usually bake them for 20 minutes.
This is where it’s super helpful to have an oven thermometer like this to be sure your oven is accurate, and if not, you’ll know exactly how much to adjust the temperature.
After the earrings come out of the oven you might notice they’re still a bit flexible and it’s tempting to think that they’re not fully baked yet. However, trust me they are!
Once the earrings are cool they will be stiff and plastic-like.
Step 5: make earring matches and GLUE On earring posts
I like to match earring matches before putting on the earring posts. You might find that there was an air bubble after all, or you can’t quite make a nice-looking match out of all the earrings. This way you don’t end up wasting earring posts.
The marbled pattern will be unique on each earring, but typically can find similar enough looking matches for 90 percent of the earrings in the batch.
Pick out any obvious rejects and then let’s put the earring backs on.
Note: I prefer to use the side that was face down when I cut the earring out because it often has a cleaner edge, but sometimes I can find matches with the “rejects” by turning them over. The other side looks okay too, it just may have more of a more rounded edge.
Here are my matches and the rejects off to the side.
SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT: Be sure to turn them all over before proceeding to the next step!
You’re ready to glue on the earring posts – yay! Place a small spot of the E6000 glue on each earring post and place the post on the earring.
You really don’t need a lot of glue. If it’s squishing out the sides of the earring post it’s too much glue.
You’ll find that the glue behaves a bit like hot glue in that it can be stringy. I usually swirl the string around where I’m trying to place the glue on the post until the glue thread breaks – if that makes sense, lol. Just play with it, you’ll figure it out!
The glue is really quite strong and I haven’t had any issues with it not holding well. The only problem I’ve had with the posts not staying on is when I’ve stepped on an earring – which is understandable!
Let the posts sit a few minutes and then go back and give them a good push down into the earring to make sure they are well set.
Let the glue cure for 24 hours before moving on the final step.
STEP 6: Polish and you’re done!
So technically this step is optional. I like to polish my marbled polymer clay stud earrings because it gives them a hint of shine and brings the colors to life.
You might remember from the materials list that it calls for SC Johnson’s Paste Wax (the kind typically used for flooring). I know this sounds totally weird, but it works really well to provide a protective finish as well as add a little pearlescent shine to the earring.
There are gloss formulas made and marketed as being effective for polymer clay, but I’ve had disappointing experiences with these.
The paste wax won’t turn gummy, discolor, or peel off as can happen with some of the other coatings you might see recommended.
All you need to do is spread a thin layer of wax on each earring, wait about 20 minutes until the wax has dried (it will have a matte appearance when dry), then polish with a soft cloth. A piece of old t-shirt works perfectly for this.
I only apply wax to the tops of the earrings and don’t usually bother with the sides.
And yes, this wax smells! But don’t worry, once the wax has cured the smell will dissipate.
You can always choose to leave the earrings raw with no coating, and this is perfectly fine too!
If you’re looking for a permanent gloss coating I recommend using resin. I’ve had great success using this formula (the top coat) and a simple UV light like this. I like that I can paint it on the earring and control exactly where the resin is applied. Yep, it’s for nails, but it works AWESOME on polymer clay earrings!
I Hope YOu’re excited, inspired, and now prepared to go make some gorgeous earrings of your own! come back and share your best Tips for making marbled clay stud earrings
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