So you're just starting your clay Earring / Jewellery journey? Welcome!
I get asked a lot what someone would need to start playing around with clay - maybe you want to start a business or maybe you just want to pick up a new hobby, either way - here is what you will need:
Clay (no surprises there!)
There are a ton of clay brands out there and each person will find a different brand suits them better and it may also depend on what is easy to get hold of in your country. I live in the UK and I use Fimo Professional, Fimo Soft and Cernit. I have also tried premo and have found it to be a little hit and miss for what I wanted. STAY AWAY from Sculpey III - its Brittle once baked and really not a good clay if you want to make long lasting jewellery. Below are some of the clays I use linked:
Start with some simple cutters to get you going. Try to stay away from plastic cutters which are designed for baking - these are usually to thick to use with clay and don't cut well. Use either metal cutters or plastic cutters which are specifically designed for clay. I've linked some simple ones below:
Remember you can make more interesting shapes from simple cutters - for example you can create a crescent moon by using two circle cutters. Cut a circle and then use the same or a smaller circle to cut out the crescent shape from that circle. Simple!
You will need a blade that will allow you to cut the clay. I've always used the Fimo ones and found them great:
Polymer clay is non toxic unless you burn it - so it is safe to use your at home oven. Most home ovens are not an accurate temperature so I would highly suggest getting an oven thermometer to allow you to know the exact temp you are baking at.
Early on in my clay journey I also invested in a little countertop electric oven for my clay because I found my kitchen oven was unreliable with temp and it was badly effecting my pieces. If you don't want to splash out I would suggest starting by using your home oven and then upgrade to a little electric oven if you need.
Vonshelf Mini Electric Oven - This is the mini oven I have used for the last 1.5 years and I find it really reliable. I still always use an Oven Thermometer though.
You can use any rolling pin when you are beginning your journey but if you have an acrylic roller I recommend that over a wooden one - the clay wont stick to it and it's much easier to use with clay!
Mini Hand Drill
For the first year that I worked with clay I used a hand drill to drill holes in my bakes pieces to attach jump rings etc. After that I used an electric dremel drill which is MUCH faster but can be hard to get to grips with when you are just starting out. So I would recommend starting with a simple hand held drill:
Hand Held Drill with Drill Bits I generally use the 1.5mm Drill Bit for my jewellery
Generally you will need to sand your pieces after baking. About 6 months ago I started using my electric dremel to sand and found this MUCH faster however it takes a bit of getting used to. More about sanding in future posts...
A Pasta Machine
Having a pasta machine to condition your clay is not essential, but it helps...a lot! A pasta machine will also help you get a consistent thickness for all your clay pieces. If you prefer not to purchase a pasta machine you can just use your hands and a rolling pin to condition your clay and you can use thickness guides to get a consistent thickness to your pieces.
This is the Pasta Machine I Use (and love)
Here is a cheaper pasta machine (please note I have never used this machine myself and therefore can not review for you)
Pliers make opening and closing jump rings so easy and accurate and will be an essential part of your jewellery making moving forward.
3 Piece Pliers Set (includes round nose, chain nose and a wire cutter)
Etsy is a brilliant place to find jump rings, earring posts and any other brass pieces you may with to use on your jewellery.
And you're ready to get going! Please remember nothing had to be perfect when you begin making clay jewellery, the idea is to learn. I look back at the first few pieces of jewellery I made and they were TERRIBLE! but at the time I loved them! Practise really does make perfect and remember to have fun!