Monday, October 3, 2011

Cameo Heirlooms - Katalina Style!

To create a faux cameo pendant you will need:
  • Pasta machine (dedicated to polymer clay use)
  • Small oven (dedicated to polymer clay use)
  • Long thin blade for cutting polymer clay
  • Exacto knife
  • Ceramic tile
  • Chain-nose pliers
  • Round-nose pliers
  • Bailing pliers
  • Ball peen hammer
  • Steel bench block
  • Flush cutters
  • Baby powder
  • Liver of Sulfur (optional)
  • Wet/dry sand paper: 220 – 600 grit
  • Polymer clay: copper, orange, white, black, translucent, and scrap clay (refer to recipes below)
  • Brown acrylic paint
  • Cameo (to be used as a mold)
  • Pearls, gemstones, glass beads, ceramic beads, crystals and charms of your choice
  • Copper wire: 14 –24 gauge

General Instructions for Polymer Clay (creating and finishing techniques)
1. To condition the clay first kneed it in your hands to warm and soften; then run through a pasta machine several times.
2. Dust objects and/or mold with baby powder for a release agent.
3. Bake the clay on a ceramic tile according to the manufacturers instructions in a small clay dedicated oven.
4. Finish the baked piece by sanding the sides and back (stay away from the cameo so as not to remove the detail) with wet/dry sand paper under water using a drop of dish soap for a lubricant. Start with 220 grit and work up to 600. You can very lightly use the 600 on the cameo image but check often to ensure that you are not removing the detail. Buff with a soft cloth.
5. Antique by applying brown paint and quickly rubbing the excess off. Sand lightly with the 600 grit paper and buff.

Wire Frame
1. Decide on a wire frame design that will compliment the shape of the cameo you have chosen to replicate. Remember to consider how you will attach the clay cameo and other adornments to it.
2. Use pliers to shape 14 or 16ga wire into a frame according to your design. This particular design also requires 2 v-shaped wire pieces that will extend out from the cameo and attach to the wire frame.
3. Use the hammer to apply texture to the metal.
Clay Mold
1. Press the original cameo into a ball of scrap clay; remove carefully.
2. Bake the mold (refer to general instructions); remove from oven and let cool.

1. Push a ball of the white clay mixture (refer to the recipe below) into the mold; remove.
2. Slice the cameo imprint away from the remainder of the clay and place it back into the mold in the original place.
3. Carefully push a ball of the black clay mixture into the mold pressing lightly to adhere it to the cameo imprint; remove. 
4. Cut off the excess clay to form the desired shape and use your fingers to smooth the edges. Slice the piece in half. Use an exacto knife to dig tiny troughs on the inside of the back half where the v-shaped wires will lay. Place the wires in the troughs.
5. Replace the back; use your fingers to reseal, reshape and smooth the edges.
6. Bake; remove from oven and let cool.
7. Sand and antique (refer to general instructions).

Assembling Cameo to Frame
1. Lay the wire frame over the cameo; use pliers to bend each prong upward.
2. Trim each prong to about 3/8” long (or just long enough to bend over the wire frame). Bend each prong over the frame to secure the cameo in place

1. Use 24ga gauge wire to wrap the frame with the desired crystals, pearls and/or beads.
2. Attach additional pearl, crystal and/or charm dangles with wrapped loops.

Final Touches
1. I finished the necklace off with a chain fashioned from handmade beaded wire links and a handmade hook clasp but you can also use a purchased clasp and chain. 
2. For a time-worn antiqued look; dip the entire necklace into a Liver of Sulfer solution. Rinse with cold water and buff the metal with steel wool.

A few more styles


Clay Recipes 
White Mixture  - 1 part white  / 4 parts translucent 
Black Mixture  - 1 part black  / 1 part translucent 
Carnelian Mixture  - 1 part Copper Base / 7 parts translucent 
Copper Base Mixture  - 1 part orange /1 part copper

Good Luck and have fun!
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  1. Excellent tutorial! Hyrum has been buggy me lately to go and buy him some polymer clay so that he can fashion them into little characters and bake them in the oven. I guess I have two good reasons now to go and buy some clay!

  2. First of all, I LOVE cameos! You are brilliant! I need to make some of these! :)

    Thank you so MUCH! I am going to make some for my friends for Christmas.

  3. I just want you to say Thank you SO MUCH! You are AMAZING for sharing you unique designs with the world, your descriptive tutorials are such a help for people like me trying to be more creative! :D I have so much respect for you being so generous! So, Thanks!


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