Bohemian Style Polymer Clay Jewelry Inspired By Louis Vuitton Charms

Purse Charms “Polymer clay has now become my number one passion and I love making beads, jewellery, keyrings etc. etc.” ~Susan-B

Although I do not consider myself to be a fashion pundit, ever since I started making polymer clay beads, I do watch jewelry trends with a much more interested eye. This was the case the other day while watching Fashion Files’ coverage of the Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Show.

Clipped onto every purse, bag and clutch were these outrageously large, fringes, feathers, furry tails, and clunky beaded charms that shook and shimmied as the models strutted down the cat walk.

When I saw that, all I could think about was the funky tribal beads and bohemian style charms I could make for my own purse. I also thought of the fringes and tassels already stashed in my sewing drawers, and immediately went to work creating some purse charms of my own.

Albeit not nearly as large and dramatic as the Louis Vuitton charms (or as expensive at $200 – $400 each), I came up with a more livable sized purse charm that works well for me.

I created the purse charm you see in the photo above using some faux bone beads, a faux coral bead, some tribal cane beads, some feathers (attached to a wire cord end), a faux raku bead, a few African recycled glass beads, a hammered copper jewelry clasp and a silk tassel for a little sassy movement.

I like it a lot. Makes me feel like I am somewhat fashion forward, since the inspiration for the piece came from a line that isn’t even available in stores yet. And  it makes me feel oh so artsy, cause I made it myself, for less than a couple of bucks!

Tell me… Have you ever used something you’ve seen on the runways as inspiration for your jewelry making projects? And if so, how do your closest fans and critics respond to your worldy fashion sense? I am curious to hear your stories…

Dear Cindy, How nice to hear from you! I am from the UK but have lived here in Florence Italy for almost 27 years, am married to an Italian and have two bilingual boys. I find that Italians are not particularly into crafts and I often have a very hard time explaining just how I use polymer clay to make beads! I have enjoyed doing various crafts over the years from rock painting to cross stitch but polymer clay has now become my number one passion and I love making beads, jewellery, keyrings etc. etc. I have three of my best fans and critics living right here with me so I can’t wait to show off the new techniques that I learn from you just to see their reactions. I am full of admiration for what you do and the online community you have created and am so happy to have found you on the internet! With all best wishes, ~Susan-B

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** Win Some Beads: Would you like to win a gift package of handmade beads made by me personally? If so, I sure would appreciate your feedback about a new giveaway contest I’m thinking about launching: Polymer Clay Beads, Handmade by Cindy Lietz
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Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Lisa Whitham, 07 January, 2010

    I Love This!!! It’s so unique, so interesting… I’m inspired by the purse charms and I wish the picture was even more closeup/detailed. Will you be doing a vid on this Cindy? I would be delighted to see how it’s all put together…
    Cindy – you never cease to amaze me..! Thanks for the inspiration – I think I’ll be working on some new beads today. :)
    Oh, and a quick question about color mixing for faux bone… I use Kato Clay and Kato doesn’t have an equivalent of ecru – is ecru a light beige I could mix up with white and a little brown?
    Thanks again for the inspiration!
    ~Lisa :)

  2. Rose, 07 January, 2010

    Lisa, ecru is a yellowish beige as opposed to a pinkish or greyish beige. Hope that helps.

  3. Lisa Whitham, 07 January, 2010

    @Rose – Thanks, that helps alot..! :)

  4. Cindy Lietz, 07 January, 2010

    Good morning Lisa (and Rose) – I’m glad you like this. Some close up footage of the purse charm is included in the intro clip of this weeks tutorial video. The link by my name will take you to wear you can watch it.

    In regards to your faux bone color mixing question… yes ecru is light beige. So mixing a little bit of brown into white will get you there. And, I agree with Rose’s interpretation of the nuances of this color.

    Have fun making some new beads today! Sounds like a perfect plan!

  5. Peggy, 07 January, 2010

    Awesome purse charms, love the idea. I’ve repeated myself several times with the phrase I don’t think you could come up with anything I wouldn’t love. One of the many great things about you Cindy.

    Couple questions where do you get the information about these kind of shows to watch. Which also brings me to the question how or where could I find out about Polymer Clay Show or large craft shows going on different places. Never anything in my area (USA – IOWA) but willing to travel for a good show. Anywhere on the internet I can go to get listings?? Would love to go to a couple good craft or PC shows this spring and summer. Anyone know of anything would be very appreciative for info.

    Love and Uuuuuuuuuuggggggggs for all. On the edge of my seat for Friday’s Video!!!!!

  6. Elizabeth S., 07 January, 2010

    @Peggy: Peggy,
    Check out zapplication.com. It is a site that lists applications for shows all around the country with the jury fees etc. I subscribe (it’s free), not necessarily because I want to exhibit but because I want to see where the good shows are. I probably get emails from them twice a month with listings for new shows. More and more of the good ones are now listed with zapplication and there is good info about the shows and where they are. I checked the “by region” link and noticed that there were some listed in Iowa, so maybe it would be one source of info for you in your region of the country. Hope it helps. Hugs, Elizabeth S.

  7. carolyn, 07 January, 2010

    Cindy – It is great knowing what colors of clay to have available for the tribal cane tutorial video, however, it might be good to know approximately how much of each. I’d like to condition my clay ahead of time so I can work right along with you, but I don’t want to condition a whole block of each color unless that is what is needed to match what you do.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 07 January, 2010

    @Peggy: Thanks for your kind words, once again! As far as events go, Google the words ‘polymer clay events’ and it should get you somewhere. As well, the International Polymer Clay Guild has a list of events going on around the country.

    @carolyn: You make a good point. I did mention the amounts of clay needed in the full version of the tribal cane tutorial video, but since you are probably not clairvoyant , you won’t know what those amounts are to mix ahead of time. Sorry about that! You won’t need a lot of conditioned clay. About 1 section (1/4 package Premo) of each color mentioned above and 2 sections of Ecru. For future tutorials, I’ll have to remember to state the amounts of clay needed in the materials lists, when providing that sort of information is relevant.

  9. Jocelyn, 07 January, 2010

    style.com/fashionshows/review/S2009RTW-MJACOBS/

    Cindy, you are right! Plenty of pocketbook adornments, shoe adornments and big jewelry and brooches, but not too much showing on the hats.

  10. carolyn, 07 January, 2010

    We could make stick pins for all those cumerbuns! [Hmmm! How do you spell that?] Hope you know what I mean – all those things emphasizing the tiny waists that those models have, and not many of us do anymore!

  11. Zarah, 09 January, 2010

    This is a very cool idea, more designer polymer projects! :) There must be so much to be done there.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 01 March, 2010

    NEW PHOTOS ADDED:
    Hi Everyone,

    Polymer Clay Projects

    Some new project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (purse charms), have just been added in another post. The link by my name will take you where you can see full size photos along with descriptions and stories about each one.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2010

    NEW PHOTOS JUST ADDED:

    Polymer Clay Tribal Purse Bead Project by Lisa Whitham

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Tribal Purse Charms), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Lisa-W. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

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