This is a quick guide on how to attach findings to polymer clay. If you want to make jewellery with polymer clay, attaching a finding can be a crucial step. The placement of the finding, especially in earrings, will be how the piece hangs. Too far one way or the other and it will be off balance. Also how do you attach it without it falling out after baking?
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Attach an eyepin finding
To attach an eyepin finding to your piece, this will need to take place before baking. You could attach these once it has been baked but drilling that deep into the clay isn’t recommended due to the possibility of breakages.
You have two options with the eyepin findings.
The first is to make your creation and before baking, push the finding in.
While this is a step a lot of people take, I find that you can only really do this once.
If you push it one way or the other too much then you could find it popping out the other side.
In addition, this will create a weak connection with the clay.
The second option is to build around the finding, this is my preferred option.
The other option is to start your projects with the finding itself and build around it, you can then keep an eye on where it is. Not only this, you can also bend the finding and push the clay around it. This will ensure a tight fit overall.
I pushed the finding in and it fell out after baking! What do I do?
You attach findings to polymer clay, bake it and it falls out. This has happened to just about everyone at some point in this craft. There is only one option you can take if this happens, Glue! When using glue though, do not use traditional superglue. The superglue can become very brittle over time and before long you will find your creation is suffering with the same issue again.
My personal favourite glue for this is Gorilla Gel Super Glue. The gel aspect of the glue does help and it doesn’t get brittle like traditional superglue. Shake the bottle and fill the tip with the glue. Dip the finding into the bottle rather than trying to fill the clay hole and insert it into the hole you’ve already made. I’ve yet to have a piece fail using this technique.
I’m using a stud earring, cufflink blank, brooch pin. How do I attach to this?
Same principal as an eyepin finding to be fair. If you can’t build around it, glue it.
If you plan on gluing onto the clay then I would suggest pushing your blank into the back of the piece you’re making. This ensures there is a recess there for it to connect to. It will also allow a smooth fit and should hide just enough of the finding itself to make it look seamless.
What if I don’t want to attach findings?
Then just use the clay itself. Depending on which clay you use and providing it’s baked to the recommended instructions, it will be plenty sturdy enough to withstand attaching whatever you like to the end.
Either insert a hole before baking as central as can be or drill a hole after baking. I would suggest doing this before baking though as drilling could cause micro fractures in the clay which will weaken it a lot quicker.
There are many different findings out there for jewellery. Rule of thumb for polymer clay is, if you can’t build around it, glue it. If you want to do neither, stick a hole in it and attach what you want!