Eliza, the owner of Boogie Bee Jewelry on Instagram, creates unique polymer clay jewelry such as watches and earrings. The jewelry features cute themes such as aliens, animals, mushrooms, and other wildlife. With bright colors and adorable prints, these fun earrings appeal to almost 30k followers on Instagram.
A type of modeling clay, polymer clay, doesn’t contain any clay materials. It’s made of synthetic materials like plasticizers and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). However, since its characteristics resemble clay so closely, many people consider it “man-made clay.” The polymer clay shares natural clay’s flexibility, versatility, and simplicity, making it attractive to artists.
The history and background of polymer clay
- Polymer clay didn’t make its debut in the world until the late 1930s. While it’s a relatively new arts and crafts medium, the pliable clay has grown in popularity worldwide.
- It was first discovered in Germany by doll maker Fifi Rehbinder. She had trouble finding her standard supplies due to political uprisings at the time. So, she decided to make her materials, creating a plastic clay she called “Fifi Mosaik.”
- About 30 years later, in 1964, she sold her formula to manufacturer Eberhard Faber. They named it Fimo, and toy stores across Europe started carrying the polymer clay.
- The clay didn’t appear in the US until the 1970s. An immigrant family from Germany received the Fimo brand clay as a Christmas present from their grandmother, still living in Germany. In 1975, the family started importing the clay into the US, and companies jumped on the bandwagon also.
- Others in the US also began to create their versions of polymer clay. In the 1960s, Zenith Products Company accidentally made a polymer clay while working on thermal transfer compounds. It didn’t work as they’d hoped, but the owner’s daughter suggested using it as an arts and crafts medium. The company named it “Polyform,” known today as the popular polymer clay “Sculpey.”
- Sculpey started selling colored clay in 1984. Until that time, artists had to create their colored dyes for projects.
- Today, many different companies sell polymer clay, and it’s even available in other varieties. Liquid polymer clay, mica clays, glitter clays, and glow-in-the-dark clays are some other popular options.
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Interesting facts about polymer clay
- It stays soft until baked in the oven. You can bake it in your regular home oven since it’s non-toxic. Most name brands recommend to bake the clay at 275 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
- In addition to making jewelry, some people use it to create picture frames, figurines, keychains, ornaments, and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can start with this bendable clay.
- It dries much quicker than traditional air-dry clay. Once it’s out of the oven, it’s ready to use once it cools.
- It doesn’t dry out, so you can store it for years and pick it back up where you left off. However, it does keep best in a cool, dry place out of sunlight.
- You don’t need much to get started. If you’re making earrings, you’ll need the clay, earring backs, jump rings, flexible superglue, and parchment paper for baking. For tools, you will need to have an acrylic rolling pin, a sharp craft knife, clay cutters, a baking sheet, a toothpick or large needle, and jewelry pliers handy.
- Before you make your creations, you’ll need to condition the clay. To do this, roll and knead it in your hands to increase flexibility and softness. Many artists use a pasta machine to make the process easier; run it through about 20 times for best use.
Eliza’s journey with selling her polymer clay creations
“So, I started my jewelry account in January of this year (2020), which has been crazy. But making art in general, I would say it’s been my whole life. My earliest memories I can recall my mom painting and always doing something fun to my bedroom,” Eliza says. “Like we would have really decorated and coordinated furniture in my rooms and…I remember she painted vines on one of my walls one time. I definitely helped with that, and I think I liked it.”
Eliza enjoys making her earrings in natural light whenever possible. She often works on her balcony or even sitting outside in the grass. Being natural helps to inspire the creative process.
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She advises anyone entering the polymer clay art world to ask for help if they need it. For example, if you follow a creator online who inspires you, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Often, if you’re polite and open-minded, they’ll offer you advice on getting started.
Eliza learned the hard way and tried to set everything up herself. She wanted to find things out on her own, but this made the process much more difficult. So, for any newbies, she suggests not following in her footsteps and getting the advice of long-time makers.
She says, “You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help you.”
If you’d like to check out her creations, please visit her Etsy shop! She’s currently taking a break, but you can still peruse her earrings and other jewelry. We guarantee you’ll find something that catches your eye.
Final thoughts on this talented woman who designs polymer clay earrings
If you’ve never heard of polymer clay before, you’ve probably seen it at least once in your life. Many crafters use it to create many arts and crafts, from figurines to jewelry, because it is durable and flexible. Not to mention, it’s pretty easy to use; you roll it, pop it in the oven, and it’s ready to go! After baking it, you can create almost anything you can imagine, and it will last for years to come.