Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant | Polymer Tute Vol-080

Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant - Polymer Clay Tutor6 Videos #609 to #614: Also known as Detroit Agate, Fordite is a now scarce byproduct from the vintage automotive industry.

To kick off the New Year I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial that has been requested by several loyal members over the past 12 months… Faux Fordite.

Now Fordite is a man-made stone crafted from the layers and layers of colorful paint over-spray that used to accumulate in the large paint booths/ovens of the vintage automotive industry… hence the namesake references to Ford and Detroit … otherwise know as the Motor City where many, many cars have been manufactured over the years.

Back when the automobile mass production factories still employed humans to hand paint the car bodies one at a time, the over spray would accumulate on the floor and on the assembly line racks. The different colors of paint would built up in large chunks consisting of 100’s and 100’s of layers. These accumulations would get baked and re-baked into rock hard shiny composites, very much like real gemstones found in nature. When the paint accumulations became too thick, the workers would chip it off and toss the unique material into waste bins.

Eventually, some clever crafty workers decided it was too beautiful to trash, and decided to collect the pieces to cut into stones and beads for jewelry. Today however, production car painting uses magnetic electrolysis techniques… which means no over-spray… and therefore… no more Fordite! It is for this reason that “Detroit Agate” Jewelry has now become highly valued by collectors all around the world.

Posted just below are a couple of videos that will give you a quick summary (as well as some visual inspiration) about the history of Fordite.

Polymer clay, being an excellent imitator, is the perfect material to mimic the concept and look of Fordite. It’s ability to be custom colored and layered, cut and sanded, and polished to a high shine, makes it the perfect candidate for creating a faux version of this unique material. So in essence, by making a copy of the Fordite in polymer clay, it is essentially making a Faux of a Faux. Just the type of challenge I love!

With this months members tutorial, you will be able to create your own Faux Fordite Cabochons out of polymer clay, that you can use to make a gorgeous wire weave pendant… and all sorts of other unique beads for your jewelry creations. Included in this tutorial is my own wire weave bezel design, to capture your Faux Fordite Cabochon and create a cool looking pendant that you are just going to love!

Posted just below is a Sneak Peak and overview of my Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial. The rest of the 6 part video series will be posted tomorrow (Friday, January 2, 2015) in Vol-080 at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.

BTW, if this Polymer Clay Faux Fordite Tutorial looks exciting to you, please do click that YouTube Like button. Many of you have been giving the Thumbs Up to the weekly YouTube videos, which is great… Thank You! However, these monthly intro clips need some love as well. When they don’t get as many likes, it makes it look like they are not appreciated as much… which surely can’t be true with all the nice comments you all leave :)

Vol-080-1: Video #609: Introduction: In this 6 part video tutorial series, you will learn how to use polymer clay to mimic the layered look of real Fordite cabochons. Fordite is a man-made material that was actually a paint over-spray byproduct from the vintage automotive industry when Ford cars (and other brands as well) were all painted by hand. You will also learn how to cut, shape and polish your piece so that it will be difficult to tell the difference between your Faux Fordite and the real thing. Plus you’ll learn how to create a gorgeous wire weave bezel to capture and dip lay your faux stone in a lovely pendant.

Pt 2 Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-080-2: Video #610:
Prepping The Clay:

In this video you will learn about the polymer clay colors you will need to mimic the original paint colors used on Vintage Ford Vehicles. Then you will discover the tricks to recreating the baked paint layers by forming a slab of polymer clay colors into a convincing chunk of Fordite material.

Pt 3 Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-080-3: Video #611:
Cutting The Cabochon:

In this video you will learn my tips and tricks for transforming the faux Fordite slab into a triangular cabochon shape. You will learn how to expose the stripy layers and how to cut the material to exactly the size and shape you need. You will also create a bake for the cab so that it has a professional looking finish from all angles.

Pt 4 Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-080-4: Video #612:
Shaping And Polishing:

In this video we will bake, sand and polish our Faux Fordite Cabochon into a beautiful stone that will later be used in the wire woven pendant design. I will teach you about the proper shaping and finishing so that you can be proud of your final results. The trick in this technique is to make sure that you follow through and do a great job with the finishing work… don’t worry how it looks when it comes out of the oven. That is not how it will look in the end. Just like any stone in it’s raw form… it is the shaping and polishing that brings out the real beauty.

Pt 5 Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-080-5: Video #613:
Wire Weave Bezel:

In this video I will show you some awesome tips for making a wire woven bezel for your faux Fordite stone. You will learn about which wire gauges and tempers to use for this wire weaving technique, and how to cut and weave your bezel to fit the stone perfectly. It is a simple process, but like all good things, takes some time to create. Once you are done though, you’ll be amazed how intricate it looks and how easy it truly was.

Pt 6 Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial - Polymer Clay TutorVol-080-6: Video #614:
Wire Wrapping The Pendant:

In this video you’ll learn how to wrap your wire woven strip around your Faux Fordite Cabochon to create the form fitting bezel with a triple loop bail on the top. You’ll discover the techniques for bending and shaping the wires for a perfect fit, so that your pendant showcases your stone beautifully and securely. This way you get to see the most area possible of your stone, without worrying that it will fall out of the wire cage. everything you learn in this tutorial can be tweaked to your own designs, including your own choice of colors for the faux fordite, the shape you cut it and how or if you use the wire weaving techniques to accent it. This tutorial is jam packed… so prepare to learn a lot!

Other Suggested Supplies:

  • Bowl of water with dish soap for sanding.
  • Towel or Paper Towel.
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper. 220grit, 400grit and higher.
  • Soft cotton cloth for applying wax.
  • Ruler.
  • Baking tray with foil pan or card stock for tenting.
  • Washi Tape or Masking Tape.

By the way, many of the “shopping” links I provide for the various tools and supplies used in my tutorials, are “affiliate” resources. That means companies like Amazon and the other suppliers I refer, pay me a small commission if you click on the links and end up making a purchase at their site. It’s not a lot, but every little bit helps in keeping the cost of my tutorials down. And, the prices for products that you may purchase through my links, are exactly the same as what you would normally pay, even if it is a “sale” price. So please feel free to click whenever you need to pick up a few things for your studio. Thanks so much for your support.

The full video series for the Faux Fordite Wire Weave Pendant Tutorial described above, is available in Vol-080 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my monthly library tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Hi Cindy I have subscribed to your videos for over a year now I think, and I really love all the great information that you share. This is the first time that I have actually commented on anyone’s online site but I had to comment on this one. I have done the Shoreline Blend and have fallen in love with this technique. I have done this several times and am amazed each time at the results. I am always surprised at how each comes out. I got so excited about this technique that I have used the blend to make pendants of mini beach scenes. I have covered one of the pen kits you use in your Faux Burl Pen tutorial in place of the burl wood look and I love that look as well. Thank you so much for all your work and help. As I plan to post at least a couple of the items I made with this technique to my etsy site, I want to be sure to give credit for the Shoreline Blend Technique to you and your site. I love this! ~Nancy-D

Wowser!! I never dreamed you could use so many cords and ribbons.  Thanks so much for making this so easy. You are a wonderful teacher!!! Your weight is pure genius, your method of using wire to “Neaten” up the ends, and the cones that are flexible for all different sizes. Where could you get that kind of info Handed to You on a Platter?? We are so fortunate to have all of your family to guide us thru EVERYTHING!!! ~Patt-W

Cindy does it best, has the best prices and support, and an extensive clay family. What more could you ask for! ~DixieAnn-S

I have been with Cindy for a long time. Like so many others the first time I came across her Videos I didn’t join. That is the biggest mistake I made. Although I didn’t miss many and was able to pick up the ones I missed out on quite quickly and am still here today. I figure I’m not leaving unless Cindy forces me out. Believe me when I say she is way to kind of a person to send me on my way even if I’m not around all the time. This family just keeps getting bigger and better by the day. ~Peggy-B

Thank you so much for your always helpful and clear concise explanations!!! I just think Cindy that you are the “Bomb” I’m so thrilled to be part of your Great Group! =) ~Deby-P

Of all the investments you make in your own personal happiness with polymer clay, signing up for Cindy’s program is the best decision you can make.  Her tutes are well researched, well taught, and provide wonderful results. Treat yourself to a membership.  Better yet, treat yourself to the whole catalog of tutes. You will not be disappointed. Cindy, I love the short little videos that use Q and A and PSA formats! The tips you provide in them are great. ~Jocelyn-C

The full video series for the Polymer Clay Faux Fordite tutorial described above, is available in Vol-080 at the Polymer Clay Library.

If you would like to receive 3 free beginner videos right now, plus some free color recipes that get sent out each week in my Friday email newsletter, please click this link: Polymer Clay Tutorials

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Hermine R, 01 January, 2015

    Happy New Year to both of you!
    Love discovering the new things you think up.

  2. Cindy Lietz, 01 January, 2015

    Thanks Hermine! Happy New year to you Too!

  3. Tante Sherry, 01 January, 2015

    Oh my, tomorrow is going to be great! I really liked the two visual aid videos you guys included. Looking forward to your take on this Cindy, thank you for putting that creative brain of yours to work on this beautiful new faux for us!
    Happy New Year Everyone!

  4. Cindy Lietz, 01 January, 2015

    You are so welcome Sherry! I hope you have a lot of fun with this tutorial. Have a very happy new year!

  5. Dawn B, 01 January, 2015

    Who knew there was such a thing? I had to Google after watching your videos. It’s very unique and beautiful. This is going to be fun!

  6. Rebecca Chisenhall, 02 January, 2015

    Well, that is just fascinating history! Who woulda thunk, huh? Can’t wait to get my hands on this tutorial to see what I come up with! I also love the fact you are teaching the wire-woven pendant setting!

  7. Catalina L, 02 January, 2015

    I may live in Michigan, for over ten years now, and I’m from Toledo, Ohio, I never heard of Fordite! Love the look! This maybe a favorite of mine! This new year will be busy! Hoping to meet up with the Leitz Team in late Summer! So, happy new year my Polymer Clay Family!

  8. Fran V, 02 January, 2015


    What a terrific technique! It really showcases one of the things I love about PC, you can plan and expect, but never really know exactly what you will get (kind of like life, eh?). I plan on having lots of fun with this one. Thank you thank you. And Happy New Year to you and everyone.


  9. Sarah W, 02 January, 2015

    I believe the correct term for this tutorial is “Freakin’ Awesome!!” Can’t wait to play with this!!

  10. Marion Rayner, 02 January, 2015

    Fantastic videos Cindy and Doug, thank you so much! I love that you included the wire wrapping in your video, so generous, we’d have been delighted with just the ‘Fordite’ cabachon! Never heard of this stuff – and the colour range is unlimited! I look forward to making things to match my outfits, great stuff. Thank you again, and a very happy 2015 to you both.

  11. elaine faulks, 02 January, 2015

    Here in the UK “FORDS” of Dagenham opened in 1931 on reclaimed Marshland by the River Thames.
    Mainly employing men, but women had jobs sewing the upholstery (at a lower rate of pay). The whole factory came to a stanstill in 1968 when these ladies went on strike for equal pay.

    A film called “Made In Dagenham” about this came out in 2010 and now also a Musical.

    Who would have thought that Cindy would have come up with this clever technique to make faux fordite from polymer clay. The patterns look so organic and I love the wired cab cage. A great way to use up all those odd bits and pieces of coloured scraps that seem to just cry out to be used to make a beautiful pendant. So once again Cindy a great new set of videos…..cheers xx……..

  12. Kay Burns, 02 January, 2015

    Hi Cindy
    I had never known about fordite what a fantasic story behind this medium
    Great tutorial as always Thank you again Happy New Year to you all

  13. Peg C, 02 January, 2015

    Great tute, Cindy! One comment…I have no idea what wasabi tape is (something to do with scrapbooking, I’m sure) but florist tape will work as well. I keep a pair of sewing snips in my purse and I use florist tape on the tips so I don’t get stabbed and my purse stays in one piece. Just thought I would share. Love the faux faux but didn’t think I was going to bother wih the wire wrap. Until I saw it done. Ya done made a believer out of me again. And now I have an excuse to buy that vise I’ve been avoiding. LOL

    Happy New Year everyone!

  14. Lawrence S, 02 January, 2015

    I am looking forward to trying this great technique Cindy. I had never heard of Fordite but have now done my research after seeing the videos.
    I hope you and Doug enjoyed your New Year holiday

  15. Pat Hristopoulos, 02 January, 2015

    Thanks Cindy. Loved this tute. Learned a lot in this great tutorial. Always wondered how the great looking bezel might be made. Never saw it demonstrated and now I can’t wait to start playing. Hope you have a great new year.

  16. Patt W, 02 January, 2015

    Oh how Fun! Our first car, after we married, was 1950 Ford. So I need to do some research, which I love) and find out what colors were popular in the Ford lines………. A blast from the Past.!

    Happy New Year to you and your family. The same for all the polymer clay friends……….What a way to start the new year…………..

  17. Cara L, 02 January, 2015

    Thank you so much Cindy… I was one of your members who requested this technique and I am not disappointed. Fabulous tutorial and easy to follow. I can’t pick your Fordite from the original and I particularly like the small earring cabochons. Thanks so much again…cara

  18. Janet Loos, 02 January, 2015

    Cindy – I am fascinated with this faux project and can’t wait to try it! My favorite videos from you are the faux stones and shells. Keep up the great work!!!


  19. Dawn B, 02 January, 2015

    Wow! This tutorial was soup to nuts! What great information. I just love all the detail, tips and tricks you give us every time. Thanks and Happy 2015 to you and all of Team Lietz!

  20. Pam R, 02 January, 2015

    Hi Cindy,
    I love the tut. Especially the wire wrapping. I had looked at pictures using the wire weaving and skipped over them thinking it would be too difficult. Inspired to have a go now and a great way to use some of those spare beads accumulating on my work table.

  21. Krithika P, 02 January, 2015

    Just watched all the videos at a stretch and can’t wait to try it! Love this technique! Just a quick request though, I’d love to see how you made those scrap heart beads. I’d definitely come up with something to do with the scraps, but those heart beads just look spectacular and very un-scrappy!

  22. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2015

    Thanks Krithika! In fact that scrap clay heart bead tutorial will be going out later this week so stay tuned! :)

  23. Krithika P, 07 January, 2015

    Yay!! I can’t wait!

  24. Jon H, 03 January, 2015

    Did she show how to make the scrap hearts or did I miss it somehow?

  25. Dawn B, 03 January, 2015

    Hi Jon, Cindy didn’t show us in these videos, but said she would put out a ‘follow-up’ to show us how it’s done.

  26. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2015

    Dawn is right Jon… we actually filmed the Scrap Heart Tutorial already and it will be out for free for everyone later this week so stay tuned for that!

  27. Michelle A, 04 January, 2015

    Cattywampus, LOL!!! Love this technique, loved the wire weaving. Thank you and Happy New Year!!!!

  28. Jamie Hibbs, 09 January, 2015

    I actually just bought a piece of the real Fordite and made my husband (a real car buff and die hard Ford man) a nice keychain from it for this past Fathers day. He loved it. But all I could get was a small piece. So now I can make my own Fordite and use bigger size pieces. Thanks Cindy!!?

  29. Jennifer H, 23 February, 2015

    Great tut.. I really enjoyed it. Thank you :)

  30. Julia G, 24 February, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    I am glad you liked the Fordite photo I had sent to you the other day. As I said, your “Fordite” looked a lot better, but it was fun to see the “real” thing. Unfortunately I can’t find a link for it to let you put it on Pinterest. I found the photo on the Reddit website quite a while ago and took a screen shot, thereby putting it into my IPad’s photo album. Later I emailed that to you. I can no longer find it on Reddit, and the photo I have gives me no clue as to where it originated from. I wish I could be a more helpful.

    Cindy, I want you to know that you are entirely responsible for me getting once more (after a hiatus of many years) involved with polymer clay. This is a HUGE deal, as I am very much hampered by ill health, and never thought I’d manage it again! Your skill as a teacher gave me the courage to try, and though I am very SLOW I am loving every minute I spend at my “clay” desk, as well as the time I spend learning even more! I know that you and Doug have to work VERY hard to produce all the videos that you do. There must be times when your schedule makes you want to tear your hair out. Please don’t! I don’t know what I’d do without you??. There is NO NEED ( and I truly mean this) to answer this comment….I just wish I could have found a way for you to “Pin” the Fordite photo!

    I can hardly wait for the first Friday of next month!

  31. Jo Harris, 08 March, 2015

    Love your tutorials. Have only started playing with clay very recently but am totally hooked. So different from the glass/wire/metalwork/paper jewelry I have been making for years.

    I really like the faux gemstones and am practicing like mad! Love to sand and polish by hand. Very relaxing!



  32. Cindy Lietz, 09 March, 2015

    How refreshing to hear someone who loves the sanding process! I agree it can be very relaxing and the reward is well worth the effort! Happy to know you are having fun!

  33. Jocelyn C, 09 March, 2015

    Thrilled with how my faux fordite turned out last nite. This tute is the bomb. Now, for the scrap roses……

    Thank you for always including so much history and background information and links when you cover a tute. Oggled all the links. I have adored fordite for years, put off purchasing, and now it is totally priced out of my market, lol. Only going to get more valuable, too.

    But now, thanks to you, I can duplicate it at home, in the model year car colors that mean something to me personally (and your color recipes). And I can make big chunks of it!

    Once the JoolTool system arrives, I’ll be able to buff it so that it looks like the same thing. How cool is that?

  34. Cindy Lietz, 09 March, 2015

    That is very cool Jocelyn! So happy that you’re having fun with this one. I know you had been bugging me (as well as a few others) to make a Fordite Tutorial, so it is a pleasure to hear that it is up to your standards and you are having fun with it!!

  35. Jocelyn C, 12 March, 2015

    Motor Agate Fordite Jewelry

  36. Patty J, 23 April, 2015

    The Fordite went over well with my brother and others. I give out many of my fordite stones with a little leaflet about the history of Fordite. I liked that you showed how to wire wrap as well. Thank you.

  37. Randi B, 19 June, 2015

    Loved your faux fordite videos. How much of the Premo clay do I use for each color? Thanks.

  38. Cindy Lietz, 21 June, 2015

    Hi Randi, this is one of those things where all I can say is… that depends… It really depends on how many colors you decide to use, how big you want to make the stones and how many. I believe I used about a 1/4 section of each color that I used in my sample on the video. I suggest you watch Vol-080-2 (Video #610) again and you will see what I mean. Have fun with the tutorial!

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials