Pull String Art On Clay Earrings

 Pomegranate Premo Clay with Gold Acrylic Airbrush Paint   Earrings measure 1.75'

Pomegranate Premo Clay with Gold Acrylic Airbrush Paint  
Earrings measure 1.75'

 Black Premo Clay with Silver Acrylic Airbrush Paint

Black Premo Clay with
Silver Acrylic Airbrush Paint


The Pull String Art technique is fun and easy. You don't need to be an artist to achieve some incredible designs with acrylic paint on polymer clay. I suggest experimenting on inexpensive paper and getting a feel for this technique before moving on to clay. Various results can be accomplished with many different inks, papers, strings of different thicknesses and textures, and paints. Here are some of my paper experiments.

samples.jpg

 

As you can see, the results will vary. A good example is the two color yellow and green sample. It was created with thin cord that was wrapped with a silver (probably polyester because it did not absorb the paint) strand. The polyester resulted in very separated lines at the upper end of the page. The way you lay down the floss will also impact the finished design. Once you know what appeals to you in terms of effects, you will be ready to create with clay. 

This technique simply demonstrates an alternate way of applying paint to clay. My idea is to use portions of the interesting finished design. You could cut several bead shapes from it for a necklace or other jewelry and each would have related colors and designs, but a slightly different look. Of course, if you had a big enough project, there is no reason why you couldn’t use the finished design as is.

For lots of videos on the pull string art on paper, search Youtube. 

Before you begin, condition all clay. For these earrings roll the clay on the #2 setting. 

IMPORTANT NOTE - Setting numbers vary on clay conditioning machines.  On my Sculpey machine the thickest setting is 1 and the thinnest is 9.

Directions

 step 1 - Open the catalog. Place one 2" x 3" clay rectangle on the page.

step 1 - Open the catalog. Place one 2" x 3" clay rectangle on the page.

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  Dip about 24” of floss into a plastic container with paint. Tie a knot in the end of the floss for ease of handling in the next step.

step 2 - Dip about 24” of floss into a plastic container with paint. Tie a knot in the end of the floss for ease of handling in the next step.

step 3 - Use the craft stick to move the floss around. Be sure all the floss is saturated with paint. Wearing plastic gloves grab the knot and lift the floss from the container until it hangs without kinks.

 step 4 - Starting at the knot end, grab the floss between your gloved index finger and thumb and run them down the length. Wipe excess paint from your fingers on a paper towel and repeat once more. 

step 4 - Starting at the knot end, grab the floss between your gloved index finger and thumb and run them down the length. Wipe excess paint from your fingers on a paper towel and repeat once more. 

step 5 - Lay the floss on a clean paper towel and blot it gently. Blotting too much will result in a very faint image on the clay.

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  Hold most of the floss in one hand, away from the clay so it doesn’t make unwanted contact. Starting at the top of the rectangle, with the other hand, curl the unknotted end of the floss and lay it on the clay. Keep feeding floss onto the clay surface creating loops horizontally as you do. 

step 6 - Hold most of the floss in one hand, away from the clay so it doesn’t make unwanted contact. Starting at the top of the rectangle, with the other hand, curl the unknotted end of the floss and lay it on the clay. Keep feeding floss onto the clay surface creating loops horizontally as you do. 

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  Straighten the floss tail in the center of the clay toward the bottom edge. Allow the knot to hang outside the catalog.

step 7 - Straighten the floss tail in the center of the clay toward the bottom edge. Allow the knot to hang outside the catalog.

 step 8 - Center the second equal size clay rectangle over the first. Lightly pat down. 

step 8 - Center the second equal size clay rectangle over the first. Lightly pat down. 

 step 9 - Close the catalog over the clay. Gently press down and keep your hand on the cover. Do not apply heavy pressure. Grab the knot and pull it straight out from the catalog. Put the floss aside. 

step 9 - Close the catalog over the clay. Gently press down and keep your hand on the cover. Do not apply heavy pressure. Grab the knot and pull it straight out from the catalog. Put the floss aside. 

 step 10 - Open the catalog and pull apart the clay rectangles.

step 10 - Open the catalog and pull apart the clay rectangles.

 step 11 - When the paint is dry, use teardrop cutters over deli film. Press down to cut the shapes. The film will bevel the edges for you. Remove the film.

step 11 - When the paint is dry, use teardrop cutters over deli film. Press down to cut the shapes. The film will bevel the edges for you. Remove the film.

 step 12 - Punch tiny holes in the top center of the shapes. Press the clay into the bowls of spoons. Bake them for 30 minutes in a 275-degree oven, then drop them into a cold water bath for a few minutes. The bath will allow the clay to slip easily off the spoon and result in a super shiny finish when buffed. The clay can be machine buffed without the paint losing any color.

step 12 - Punch tiny holes in the top center of the shapes. Press the clay into the bowls of spoons. Bake them for 30 minutes in a 275-degree oven, then drop them into a cold water bath for a few minutes. The bath will allow the clay to slip easily off the spoon and result in a super shiny finish when buffed. The clay can be machine buffed without the paint losing any color.

step 13 - Attach earring wires to the clay by inserting jump rings into the holes. Add beads or other embellishments to the jump rings as desired.

TIPS

The floss design should be loose. If you try to crowd too much floss together or make too many loops in your design, it will result in a blob of color. You can get a feel for creating your design by practicing on regular sheets of paper before you move on to clay.

Before baking, dip a Q-tip in Alcohol to remove unwanted paint that may have come in contact with the clay. This alcohol fix works well but may create a noticeable spot in some dark clay colors after baking.

Floss can be reused while wet but it must be saturated again with paint as in step three. A full floss (6 strands) was used for the earrings pictured on this page. Experiment with fewer strands and you'll see how fine a design can become. 

To create a two-color design, fill a plastic container with each color. Dip half the floss in one and half in the other. When you run your fingers down the floss it will blend the first color into the second. 


Supplies

At Amazon

  • Dixie Satin Pac Deli Film
  • Sculpey Clay Conditioning Machine

Michaels

  • Acrylic airbrush paint
  • cotton embroidery floss
  • protective gloves
  • teardrop cutter
  • Pomegranate Premo clay
  • plastic container
  • craft stick

Miscellaneous

  • paper towels
  • thick catalog with slick pages
  • spons


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