Friday, March 29, 2013

What's On My Bench (WOMB) This Week: Sanding and Finishing Polymer Earrings!

My workbench is where my polymer pieces are "born"- it's kind of like a womb for polymer earrings, cuffs and necklaces! Each polymer clay piece I create is carefully crafted, formed and then cured, but that's only part of the process. To create beautiful and professional polymer jewelry, the secret is in the finishing.

Today I'll take you through the steps for finishing polymer earrings, with photos from my studio.

My Four-Step Process for Finishing Polymer Clay Earrings...

  1. Sanding the pieces and buffing
  2. Creating the ear wires and attaching
  3. Selecting Swarovski crystal embellishment for each pair
  4. Assembling the earrings-- bringing all the pieces and details together!

It all starts with sanding...and more sanding...and more sanding. I work from 800 grit through 2500 grit wet/dry sandpaper in soapy water. The sudsy water helps to keep the sandpaper free of debris.

My hands get really sore from this but they are super clean-- and my pieces look great! If you have trouble with sore fingers from sanding, try wrapping your fingers with masking tape.

When I am satisfied that my pieces are sanded to perfection, it's time to begin assembling the earrings into their final form. Every set of earrings gets their own pair of unique, hand-formed sterling silver ear wires. I use 20 gauge half-hard round wire.

Here is a peek at a brand new shape I'm working on now for YIKES!Studio. The ear wires on these earrings have a hook on back. The shape and colors of this piece are organic and perfect for spring. I've chosen a light blue Swarovski dangle for the ear wire.

These red and black earrings needed a little extra on the ear wires. I wrapped blackened steel wire around the sterling silver. I love the way the black steel mimics the lines in the polymer.

Manipulating the steel wire around the ear wire.

Here I want to create a funky, messy looking knot of wire to attach the ear wire to. It starts with a loop from the blackened steel wire.

More wire bending

Finished wire work. I like a messy looking knot of wire. Its just more fun that way!



I have been working on some photos for my new, soon-to-launch website! Stay tuned!

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