Last summer, I started seeing mentions of this product called Crystal Clay floating around in my favorite beading magazine. After seeing some amazing examples of what people were doing with it at the Tucson gem and mineral shows, well, I broke down and had to try some for myself!
Crystal Clay is a two-part epoxy clay. It comes in a wide variety of colors. You work with it by mixing one part colored clay with one part of base, then mold it into a bezel or other form, and then you can stud it with tiny Swarovski crystal stones.
Because I couldn't decide on just one color to use, I chose a sampler pack that included four different colors of clay, a small bag of crystal stones, and a special beeswax-tipped applicator.
Mixing the clays together was not as easy as I had imagined! It stuck to everything, and the vinyl gloves included in the kit were just a bit too big for my hands, which meant that every time I went to unstick the clay from my gloves, the gloves came loose. I finally discarded the vinyl gloves from the kit and put on a pair of better-fitting gloves that I had on hand from my other craft supplies.
Shaping the clay was the easy part. I pulled off bits and molded them into the bezels. I chose a couple of rings from Beyond Beadery and a pendant from Nunn Designs. I also stocked up on extra crystal stones to use with the Crystal Clay, and I was glad that I did, since the stones that were included in the kit were very tiny and wouldn't have done much to cover the surface of the clay. When you purchase your own Crystal Clay, make sure that you add a few extra crystal stones to your order to give yourself enough sparkly things to play with!
Using the beeswax-tipped applicator took a little practice, and as I worked, the warmth of the room caused the wax to melt a bit onto the crystal stones. (The wax, however, was easily cleaned up once the clay had set and solidified the next day.) Setting the stones into the clay is another skill that I'll need to practice. It always seemed like just as I got the stone into the desired position, inserting the next stone pushed it right out of place!
I was pretty happy with the results of my first experiments with Crystal Clay, and I'm excited to be taking a class from Beyond Beadery's Betcey Ventrella at York Beads in New York City on June 16. I'm hoping that she can give me some more tips and advice for using Crystal Clay, because it is definitely something that I would like to do more of! I can see great potential for this jewelry making medium, and the end results are sparkly and fun.
Have you tried Crystal Clay yet? What were your impressions? Do you have any tips for mixing the clay, setting the crystal stones, or cleaning up your finished pieces? Please feel free to leave a comment here and share your tips, tricks, and advice with us!
Resources for Crystal Clay:
Crystal Clay Website: Clay, stones, applicators, bezels
Beyond Beadery: Clay, wide variety of crystal stones, bezels
The Hole Bead Shoppe: Clay, wide variety of crystal stones, bezels
Nunn Design: Clay, crystal stones, wide variety of bezels and findings (wholesale only)