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Valentine's Day Crafts
Charms and pendants made using homemade bread clay
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Homemade Clay Charms and Pendants

What you will make:

In this craft project, you'll see how to make charms and pendants for necklaces and bracelets using Homemade Bread Clay or commercial air-dry clay. Make the heart and flower pendants and heart charms for yourself, or to give as gifts. When strung on cord or a chain, they make perfect gifts for Valentine's Day! You can make beads to add to your necklace or bracelet by following the instructions in the Bread Clay Recipe.

This craft project is great for family, classroom, or group craft time. The bread clay can be made in advance and stored in plastic bags.

Related crafts: For an alternative all-purpose clay, see the Homemade Modeling Dough Recipe. Bread clay is more durable, while modeling dough is easier to shape by hand.

Here's what you need:
  • Homemade Bread Clay in red, purple, pink and white, or other colors (or use commercial air-dry clay)
  • Wax paper
  • Thin wire and wire cutters
  • White glue (Elmer's, PVA)
  • Heart pattern to trace and cut (1" or smaller)
  • Toothpick and plastic knife for tracing and cutting shapes
  • Plastic candy molds for molded pendants
  • Drinking straw and 1½" plastic cap or lid  for cutting circles in clay
  • Optional: Markers, clay roller or rolling pin

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Homemade Clay Charms and Pendants

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project, then gather the materials needed for making the charms and pendants. Follow the craft recipe for Homemade Bread Clay to make clay balls in red, pink, purple, and white, or other colors best for the charms and pendants you are making.

If doing this craft with a group, make one recipe of Homemade Bread Clay for every three children. It's better to have too much than too little. Leftover clay can be saved in the refrigerator; should it become dry, simply add a bit of water and knead.

Step 2: Form Charms and Pendants

Select the charm or pendant you'd like to make from the options presented below. Each option features a different modeling technique. You can make heart-shaped charms cut from clay rolled or patted flat, pendants or charms from clay pushed into candy molds, or flower pendants with flowers shaped from bits of clay cut with a drinking straw.

#1: Heart Charm
Sample heart charms

Prep work: Decide what color you would like to make your heart charm. The charm can be made as a simple heart shape or with a second smaller white heart layered on top. Make a 1" (or smaller) heart pattern to trace on the clay. Hearts punched from a heart paper punch work great!

Form charm: Pat or roll out the colored clay to a thickness of about ¼". Place the heart pattern on the clay and trace around it with a toothpick. Use the plastic knife to cut out the heart. Use your fingers to smooth the edges and any knife cuts.

For a layered heart, make a 3/8" to 1/2" circle of white clay that's about 1/8" thick. Use your fingers to shape the clay into a small heart. Moisten the back of the heart and press it onto the large heart. If the hearts come apart after the clay is dry, use white glue to join them together.

#2: Candy Mold Charm or Pendant
Sample candy mold pendants

Prep work: It's easy to make charms and pendants using candy molds! Candy molds come in a huge variety of designs and sizes. When purchasing candy molds, select those with smaller shapes—no more than 1½" in size for pendants and 1" or smaller for charms. Some smaller soap molds are also suitable.

Look at your molds to decide on clay colors and amounts. You can make charms and pendants using a single color of clay or multiple colors of clay. You'll need enough clay to fill the candy mold well.

Mold charm or pendant: Make balls of clay that are approximately the size needed to fill the candy mold well. Push the clay into the well to fill it completely, including all the details. Use your fingers or the plastic knife to remove excess clay, leaving a flat back.

If you are creating a pendant using two or more colors of clay, like the pictured "I Love You" example, press clay into the smaller details first, without coming quite to the top of the well. Add the primary clay color last, filling it to the top.

Allow the clay to dry a bit before removing it from the mold. As the clay dries, it will shrink, and should come out of the mold easily. Just turn the mold over and tap on the back to release the shapes. If needed, run the plastic knife around the edge of the well. Tip: If you plan to add a wire hanger, don't let the clay dry too much before unmolding it, or you won't be able to push the wire into the clay.

Decorate: Some candy molds have details that can be enhanced with a bit of color. Select a contrasting colored marker. After the charm or pendant is dry, trace over the details with the marker. Tip: Test your marker on a scrap of dry clay before using it on your charm or pendant.

#3: Flower Pendant
Sample flower pendants

Prep work: Decide on the colors for your flower pendant. You'll need to cut a 1½"  circle for the pendant back. Either make a 1½" circle pattern to trace on the clay, or find something that will cut a 1½" circle. For the example pendants, the foil holder from a tea light was used to cut the circle.

Cut clay: Pat or roll out the clay for the pendant back to a thickness of about ¼". Use the pattern to trace a 1½" circle on the clay and cut it out with a knife, or use a circle cutter. Use your fingers to smooth the edges and any knife cuts. Shape the clay into somewhat of a teardrop-shape, refer to the picture.

Pat or roll out the clay for the flower petals and center to a thickness of about 1/8". Use the end of a drinking straw to cut out circles to be shaped into petals and the flower center. Use your fingers to shape the flower petals.

Arrange the flower petals on the pendant back, leaving room at the top to cut the hanger hole. Moisten the back of each petal and press it onto the pendant back. Moisten the back of the flower center and press it into the center of the flower. Tip: If the flower comes apart after the clay is dry, use white glue to put it back together.

Step 3: Add Hangers
Your charm or pendant needs a hanger for attaching it to a bracelet or necklace.
  • For the heart charms and the candy mold charms and pendants, make a hanger from thin wire. Cut a 1" length of wire and bend a circle at one end. Stick the straight end of the wire into the top of the charm or pendant. Let the clay dry. Tip: The wire hanger may loosen as the clay dries. To secure, add a drop of glue to the end of the hanger.
  • For the flower pendants, use the end of a drinking straw to cut a circle near the top of the pendant.

Let the the charms and pendants dry for a day or two before adding them to a bracelet or necklace.

That's it! Your charms and pendants are done!
Charms and pendants made with bread clay

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Red pendant set

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Tip: Make a matching set by using the same colors of clay for both the charm and the pendant.

Purple pendant set

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Related craft: See the Bread Clay Recipe for instructions on making colorful clay from slices of white bread, and for guidance on making beads to go with your charms and pendants.

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Elastic cord bracelets

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Tip: For instructions on making a bracelet with elastic cord for your charm, see the Shiny Paper Beads craft project.

Pendant necklaces

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Tip: For instructions on making a plastic-lacing necklace for your pendant, see the Suede Leather Pendant Necklaces craft project.

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