Today’s guest post is by Matsa Zilih, who lives in Serbia. We receive many requests for information about how to make beads and other jewelry using paper mache clay, so I know this post will be a popular one. Thanks, Matsa!
You can see more of Matsa’s pendants and her lamps on her website at maxxbag.com
©2019 Matsa Zilih
How I make necklace pendants from paper mache clay.
My journey with paper mache and paper mache clay started some four years ago when I was looking for a way to repurpose a plastic bottle (to make a table lamp from it) and found Jonni’s Youtube channel and website with plenty of instructions.
Since then, paper mache and its clay became the No.1 material I use for my crafts. Thank you Jonni!
The only problem was that I couldn’t find joint compound in my country, so I had to experiment with different materials to get my own recipe. *
The best replacement for joint compound I found is a sort of tiling paste or a wall putty. As my challenge is recycling, I also tried different kinds of trash paper (egg-cartoons, toilet or towel paper rolls, white plies of napkins that remain after decoupage) but the best result I get with printed paper – you know, the one that over time clutters your drawers 😊.
The idea to make pendants from paper mache clay popped up when, after finishing a few table lamps, a small ball of clay remained… I was kneading it in my hands and it looked like… a pebble.
All my life I’ve been fascinated with them – in my stash I have a couple of shoe-boxes full of stones and pebbles brought home from various trips. And now I can make my own stones…
But, let’s get back to the post. I take a ping-pong ball size of clay and make pendants in different shapes.
To create them, I either use tools I have around or shape them by hand (the round one on the photo below is cut with a glass with thin walls and the other two are formed by hand).
I love textures and I use various household items to make imprints on pendants. For the round pendant I used the bottom of the small glass bowl with tiny ball-like bumps and for the third, a piece of non-slip pad and I left the one in the middle without texture.
When they dry, the next step is sanding – not so fun, but it makes pendants smooth and helps you take away any undesired or uneven spot.
After that, I paint the pendants with a primer – usually white acrylic paint (they often get darker when dry because of the printer ink). I did try to prime them with gesso too, but it’s not necessary and gesso requires another ‘round’ of sanding 😊.
Now, the pendants are ready to be painted with a colour of my liking.
Then, I decorate the pendants in various ways: on the one that has texture, after applying the base colour, I filled in the indents with dark green colour using a tooth pick or a thin make-up brush. I often combine different techniques for decoration, preferably decoupage with napkins.
And in the end, I seal them with a few coats of transparent acrylic varnish to protect them from scratches and humidity.
All the details about these three you can find in the videos on my Youtube channel. This link is for the playlist with 4 videos related to paper mache clay.
And additionally, I’ve lately been using acrylic pouring technique for decoration (also called fluid acrylic art). In the last couple of years, this technique became a very popular painting technique and it’s very easy to apply.
The possibilities are endless and you need a small amount of just a few paints – even two-three colours are enough, like in these heart pendants cut with a cookie cutter:
And in these four reversible pendants:
And the very last step is to add a cord – I usually thread its ends through 2 – 4 beads so the cord slides and the length of the necklace gets adjustable.
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Regarding the alternative for joint compound in my recipe: I live in Serbia and use local products so it’s what works for me – in other words, it depends on where you live and what is possible to find there. A hint: there’s a Henkel’s Ceresit line with some apparently similar products but I didn’t try any.
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* Recipe for PMC:
– 45 grams (~1.60 oz.) of printed paper;
– 1 cup of undiluted white, PVA glue like Elmer’s (or diluted carpenter’s/wood glue – I use very thick wood glue and need to dilute it – 50%:50% water:glue);
– 1 cup of starch;
– ½ a cup of coarse flour;
– ½ to ¾ a cup of tiling paste or wall putty (again, it depends on the thickness of the product you find)
– 3-4 tbs. body milk or baby oil.
Wish you all Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
I you have any questions I’ll only be glad to reply.