How to make polymer clay tropical flower earrings
After a whole year of busy working, last week we finally got the chance to take our long-planed family beach vacation! This post was inspired by the beautiful exotic plants I saw during my trip. I hope this pair of polymer clay tropical flower earrings can bring you warm and happiness in this cold winter!
- Polymer clay: cherry red, lemon yellow, white and green
- Two 10mm round metal plates
- Two 20mm metal squares
- Two zircon stones
- Two earring hooks
- Two pieces of 28-gauge wire
- Two pieces of 30-gauge wire
Making polymer clay plumeria flower
Plumeria is a relatively simple flower with only five petals and one layer. Although it has many color variations, today we are going to focus on the classic yellow and white combination.
To create a gradient color effect, polymer clay artists had come up with a great idea -- famously called "skinner blending". Let me show you how.
Cut white and yellow polymer clay squares using a craft knife or cookie cutter. Remove a small triangle from the white clay and replace it with the yellow one as shown in picture 2. Fold the newly formed square in half; push the two sides towards the middle to make it narrower; and press the clay through a pasta machine. Repeat the process several times until the color transition looks natural.
Cut small circles in the color transition area using a Wilton No. 7 cake piping tip. Each circle should have roughly half white and half yellow.
Now let's move on to shaping the petals and assembling the flower.
Form the circles into teardrop shape. Enlarge and curl the petals on the foam pad using a large ball tool. Then turn the petals upside down and curl ONLY HALF of the petal using a small ball tool as shown in picture 9.
Arrange five petals together to a fan shape as shown in picture 10. Then hold the bottom of the fan using two fingers and transform it into a flower. If you want to make a plumeria bud, keep the petals closed as in picture 11. If you prefer a fully bloomed flower, open the petals outwards as in picture 12.
Leave the plumeria flower unbaked and we will use it later.
Making a polymer clay hibiscus flower
Hibiscus is a classical tropical flower with large ruffled petals and a very distinctive center. Its structure however, is the same as plumeria -- only five petals and one layer.
Roll red polymer clay into 1mm thickness and cut small circles using Wilton No.7 cake piping tip. Form the circles into teardrop shape and cut small indentations on the edge using a craft knife or a cookie cutter with sharp corners.
Enlarge and curl the petals on the foam pad using a ball tool. Then using a curled needle tool, draw multiple thin lines on them as petal veins. Ruffle the edge of the petal using a very small ball tool as shown in picture 6. Be very gentle at this step as polymer clay is not as flexible as gum paste. You can easily tear the petals apart if not careful.
Wrap a tiny bit of red polymer clay around a thin piece of wire (preferably 28 gauge or higher) as shown in picture 7. This will serve as hibiscus center. Then you will need to wrap a small piece of clay around the center so the petals have a base to attach to.
Adhere the petals to the base one by one with a little overlap as in picture 9 and 10. Once it's done, apply the liquid clay to the top half of the center and add tiny yellow clay dots around it, and five red dots at the top. To make sure you have equal-sized yellow and red dots, you can roll the polymer clay very thin and cut it using a Wilton No. 1 round piping tip.
Bake the hibiscus flower in the oven at 110C/230F for 30 minutes.
How to make polymer clay tropical leaf
Tropical leaf is quite simple to make. All you need to do is trace a template and add leaf veins later. You can download the tropical leaf template here.
Print the template and cut out a paper tropical leaf. One helpful trick here: You can cover the template with scotch tape 2 or 3 times before cutting. This way your paper leaf will become much stronger and you can use it multiple times.
Roll a piece of green polymer clay into 1mm thickness and cut out the leaf shape by tracing the paper template. The paper template will naturally adhere to the polymer clay as shown in picture 2. Adjust the details using a needle tool until the polymer clay is the exact same shape as the paper leaf.
Carefully peel off the paper template from the polymer clay. Place the leaf on the foam pad and draw the leaf veins using a curled needle tool. To give the tropical leaf more character, you can cut a small hole on the top of the leaf using Wilton No.1 cake piping tip.
Bake the tropical leaf in the oven at 110C/230F for 30 minutes.
Assemble the earrings
Place a tiny piece of polymer clay on the center of a 10mm metal plate. This will serve as a base to attach all the flowers. Arrange the baked tropical leaf and hibiscus on the plate as shown in picture 2-3. Using a needle tool, fill two unbaked plumeria flowers in the empty space between the tropical leaf and hibiscus.
Bake the finished bouquet in the oven for 30 minutes at 110C/230F.
After baking, remove the flower bouquet from the metal plate. Attach the plate to a 20mm metal square using jewelry wires as shown in picture 5-7. Add a shiny zircon gemstone to the bottom of the square and earring hook to the top. Attach the polymer clay tropical flower bouquet back to the metal plate using super glue.
Now your tropical flower earrings are completed!
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