Polymer Clay Faux Opal Pendant with Hammered Copper Jewelry Bail

Faux Opal Pendant “Making faux opals is what first got me interested in polymer clay.” ~Sue-W

Today’s photo is of a pendant I made with a Faux Opal made of polymer clay and a hammered copper bail.

I’ve come up with a way to get more depth in the iridescent layers than, the opal techniques I’ve seen others do. But I’m not quite ready to teach you how to make them yet, because I need to simplify the process a bit more so it is doable for everyone at all skill levels.

But don’t worry, I’ll definitively be getting to it in the new year. One reason I’m bringing it up now is because the technique uses some of that Buffalo Snow… you know the large flaked iridescent glitter that you sprinkle around at Christmas time to look like snow. So keep your eyes out for some of that now, since it will be harder to find after the holidays wrap up.

Making faux opals is what first got me interested in polymer clay. Haven’t made any yet, but have been playing with clay for a few days and I’m hooked. ~Sue-W

On the topic of Christmas… How many of you are going to make Christmas or other holiday gifts this year with your polymer clay beads?

I’ll be making some jewelry for the girls in my family for sure. Bookmarks with personalized book beads of course for the teachers, and maybe some more miniature food for my niece’s Barbie dolls.

Plus I made the Harry Potter Secret Compartment Book for my nephew.

Will you be making any polymer clay gifts this year? I’d love to hear what you have planned.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Elizabeth S., 26 November, 2009

    Oh Cindy,

    This is faux opal is absolutely stunning!!! I can clearly see the depth of the layers from the photo. Sure hope you feel ready to teach it soon.

    As far as gifts go, I am working on book charms as we speak. I’m also working on some small polymer clay adorned glass candle holders bowls for my husband’s staff, using random slices of canes I already have and scrap clay in the same color family.
    Sounds weird but they are turning out really pretty and can be used in a lot of different ways.

    BTW, as today is Thanksgiving in the US, please know that I count you, Cindy, and all of you, my pc family around the world, among my blessings.

  2. Anna Sabina, 26 November, 2009

    Thanks for the heads up about the Buffalo Snow. The opal looks great and I love the way it is on top of a diamond shape, the copper looks great with it all.
    We are staying home this year for Thanksgiving. The best part is watching the Macy’s Parade. Although I grew up on Long Island, I never went to see the parade. Now, I would really like to do that, maybe next year. My brother lives in Plymouth Mass and one year we went and picked cranberries from a bog and made cranberry sauce. That was pretty fun for my mid-western husband and kids.
    The best thing to be thankful for is…tomorrow I don’t work and can go crazy with Cindy’s wire wrapping technique video.

    Don’t eat too much Turkey.

  3. Maureen G, 26 November, 2009

    Looks great! Fridays can’t come fast enough! I think everyday should be Friday! Happy Thanksgiving to all from New Jersey!

  4. Marsha, 26 November, 2009

    I really like these opal beads, Cindy! I love incorporating inclusions into translucent clay!! :) I’ll be looking for the Buffalo Snow and your tutorial. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  5. Jeanne, 26 November, 2009

    Wow the faux opal is very pretty, would love to learn the technique. I’ve never heard of “buffalo snow” How is it packaged? Is it in a jar? There’s so much glitter this time of the year and I want to make sure I get the right one. Can you post a picture?

    I’m so thankful for finding your site Cindy. Happy Thanksgiving to all my PC family from Sunny Arizona!

  6. Lisa Whitham, 26 November, 2009

    Absolutely gorgeous bead..! Wonder if I can find some of that Buffalo Snow at my dollar store. Or maybe Michaels might carry it? I’ll be on the lookout…

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


  7. aims, 26 November, 2009

    Am I living on another planet? I’ve never heard of Buffalo Snow! (Is it like buffalo dandruff or something?)

    I guess I’m going to have to go out into the world and see what it looks like and grab me some!

  8. Linda B., 26 November, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving from the now sunny Kansas City. It’s 41 dregees and holding. Getting ready to go to my brothers for dinner. Hope you all have a great day. I can’t wait for the tutorial on the faux opals. I am thankful that I found all of you. You all are so giving.

    My love and thanks to you all,
    Linda B,
    Kansas City, MO

  9. Carrie, 26 November, 2009

    Don’t know about gifts yet. But, my cousin wants to hire me for her daughters 7th birthday and help her and all her friends make necklaces and bracelets! It will be so much fun, I love kids!

  10. JoyceM, 26 November, 2009

    “Twas a wonderful Thanksgiving Day here in Florida. Special it is because of all the awesome clay family members from everywhere. Thanks and blessings to all of you and yours. Looking forward to finding the Buffalo
    Snow, flakes?, glitter? I would also like a hint on the packaging and where to find it? WalMart, Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s? Love the combination of the bead and copper wire. Looks like 2010 will be exciting.

  11. Helen Sperring (honeyclay), 26 November, 2009

    The faux opal looks beautiful. I can’t wait to try it. I don’t think I’ve seen many opals in polymer clay. I love glitter and I might already have Buffalo Snow. I’ve never heard the name Buffalo Snow before. Should be fun though. Happy Thanksgiving to all my polymer clay pals , most of all, you, Cindy. Honey, West Palm Beach, Florida.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 26 November, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Even though we have already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada over a month ago, I still have that Thankful feeling inside. Thanks to you all!

    I’ll try and see if I can get some photos up of the Buffalo Snow. What it is, is the really big random shaped flakes of iridescent glitter in a large half pound to a pound bag. It is clear thin cellophane type glitter, with a rainbow sheen on it. It will be in the Christmas section of of the craft stores like Michaels. I found mine last year at the dollar store. It will last you forever, so share with a friend if you have one close by.

  13. Silverleaf, 26 November, 2009

    Not sure what Buffalo Snow actually is – is it just large flakes of irregularly-shaped iridescent glitter? I’ve never seen any over here.

    I do have some fairly big iri glitter (well it’s definitely not the “normal” or fine stuff, bigger than that) but it’s made of regular hexagons or octagons or something. Does that still work?

    And if not, does has anyone seen anything like Buffalo Snow in the UK? Because I love that opal and definitely want to try it!

    Chesterfield, England.

  14. Peggy, 26 November, 2009

    Well I am very thankful for Cindy and my new family and also very stuffed like the turkey was.
    It is so nice to hear where some of you are from. Another midwestern on the Mississippi needs help finding the Buffalo Snow. Is it an irredecent, large flat pieces of glitter that comes in plastic bag?? Help I do need Help!
    I am looking forward to 2010 thanks to Cindy.

  15. Meredith L, 26 November, 2009

    WOW!! what can I say? I love the way hammered copper complements well with your faux opal pendant… can’t wait for your tutorial on this one… Many thanks.. Happy thanksgiving everyone!

  16. Ken H., 26 November, 2009

    Cindy, I have a question, I have the Arnold Grummer “Iridecent Flakes” are these equivilent to your Buffalo Snow Flakes? They’re used for papermaking, I was going to experiment with opals on my own before you mentioned the possibility of teaching us. They were on clearance a while back and I got four 6oz bags for .97 each. Looking forward to 2010!!!!!!!!

  17. JoyceM, 27 November, 2009

    Success! Just back from JoAnn’s and there was the Buffalo Snow Flakes in a 2 oz pkg. Iridescent sprinkles, was so excited to find them on a first try wanted to buy them for everyone. Good luck in your search. Didn’t need to check at Michael’s but that was my next stop. Now its back to playing with clay. Have a great day.

  18. DJ, 27 November, 2009

    What a gorgeous pendant… another amazing technique to learn and look forward to!
    Not much luck in getting a picture of buffalo snow from the Michael’s site, but I did come across this link below for an image. I’m quite sure this is the stuff: economyofbrighton.co.uk/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=snowpak&Category_Code=sparklycollage&Product_Count=0

    Will head to the $ store first, then try Michael’s in person. Fingers crossed….

  19. Cindy Lietz, 27 November, 2009

    Bauffalo Snow Flakes

    @Anna-Silverleaf – The reference link that DJ provided above, is for a source of a “Buffalo Snow” type of product which is available in England. That UK store describes it as: “Snowpak – a wonderful collage material. Small shreds of iridescent film that reflect rainbows of light. Add to pictures as water, ice, snow or just for extra sparkle.”

    @Ken – Yes… The Arnold Grummer Iridescent Flakes are the same thing as Buffalo Snow (or at lease close enough to the same thing). I actually referenced that product in a previous article about Polymer Clay Glitter. See link by my name.

    @All – After doing some more online research, I determined that Buffalo Snow is a brand name for a range of products manufactured by a US-based, batting and felt company.

    This is not a high tech product so it has probably been “knocked off” by a ton of other companies looking to cash in on the “faux snow” market that opens up during the holiday season. You will find it re-packaged in small (more expensive) quantities for specialty niches like paper crafts. And you can also find it being sold in 1lb bulk bags at the dollar store, hardware stores, and maybe even in the seasonal section at your local grocery store… very inexpensively… but only around Christmas time.

    By the way, with a 1 Ib package of buffalo snow, you will end up with a supply that will keep you and your entire neighborhood and all of their extended families, making faux opals for several life times. Does that put it in perspective for you? :-)

    As a courtesy to others, when you end up finding these beautiful little iridescent faux snow flakes in the local stores where you live, be sure to report back here with your findings… brand name of product, package size, price, name of store… that sort of thing (like JoyceM did above – thanks Joyce).

  20. Silverleaf, 27 November, 2009

    Oh, I saw some of that recently! I can’t remember where though… will have to think about it.

  21. Ken H., 28 November, 2009

    Thanks, I must have missed that post somehow. I read about them on some of the “other” sites that only give written directions, and when I saw them on clearance I got all that was left in the bin. I’ve never been much for glitter (not even the crafts I did in school. Always thought it looked better without) but now I think my opinions are changing, I saw a set of glitters from Martha Stewarts line that I may get the next time I have a coupon for one of the craft stores.

  22. Jeanne, 01 December, 2009

    I found the Buffalo snow at Michaels, a 3 oz bag cost $2.99 I used the 40% off coupon which made it only $1.79. I hope this helps.

  23. Sue Whelan, 11 December, 2009

    Thanks for the pics, Cindy. Always easier to find stuff when I have a visual :)

  24. Sue Whelan, 11 December, 2009

    Forgot to add, I love opals and I’m super excited about your faux opal technique. Can’t wait for the video!

  25. Robin Elsey, 12 December, 2009

    Has anyone stumbled on using a broken Christmas baubel. Of course these are glass and need treating with care- keep well away from food preparation. These baubels can be broken into tiny, slightly convex pieces of mosaic. Using a base of polymer clay these chips can be assembled into all sorts of miniature mosaic designs -using a pair of fine pointed tweezers. I’ve only done one and gave it away almost immediately – so no pics. The idea needs developing. Adhesion is a major problem. My first and only attempt used unbaked clay and after baking the piece was dip coated using a UV curable lacquer. It seemed durable but I cannot help feel that there are better techniques – need to do more tests. Has anyone been here before?

  26. Cindy Lietz, 12 December, 2009

    Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    @Robin: What a cool idea! Thanks so much for sharing it here, I really appreciate all new ideas! I bet if you used Studio by Sculpey Bake and Bond on the clay before pushing in the pieces, that they would adhere much better. Only guessing though,, so you would have to try it to see if it works. Next time you make one, make sure to take pictures and email them to me so everyone can see what you are talking about. Bet it really is an effective technique!

  27. Shannon, 13 December, 2009

    My mom and I have made faux opal in the past, it was actually on glass ornaments, but I would love to see your technique as that cabochon is spectacular!

  28. Anna Sabina, 13 December, 2009

    Hi all. I found Buffalo Snow at JoAnns but there were several kinds. It looks like Buffalo Snow is a brand and they sold sheets of blanketed fluff, flakes that were opaque, ground flakey fluffy stuff that my cat might eat, string like tinsel/icicles and iridescent “snow”. I bought the iridescent. It was 2.99 and probably the same as what was at Michaels. Some many choices….who knew !!!

  29. Cindy Lietz, 15 December, 2009

    @Shannon: Thank you! That means a lot coming from you! I would love to see one of your ornaments. Sounds cool!

    @Anna: Thanks for the update! Yeah, I knew there were lots of kinds of snow (according to the Inuit anyway) but who knew there were so many kinds of Buffalo Snow? :-)

  30. carolyn, 18 January, 2010

    I started looking for this in my area, Lake Tahoe and Carson City, NV, before the Christmas holiday and didn’t find any. I then found ‘Buffalo Snow’ on a website and ordered some- got it this week – only trouble is, it was a sheet of stuff you’d put around the base of your tree. I found a place on line that handles the flakes, but only if you buy a dozen bags ($50+). Now I am up the creek without a paddle – or without flakes! I have lots of different kinds of glitter. Would that work?

  31. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2010

    Hi Carolyn as anyone else in the same situation… If you are not able to find the “Buffalo Snow Flakes” you can also use iridescent cellophane wrapping paper cut up into tiny odd shaped bits and pieces. The link by my name will take you to where I was talking to Peggy-B and Rose-M about this work around.

  32. Tiffany Morkovsky, 28 February, 2010

    Joyce M,
    What section in Joannes did you find the buffalo flakes? I want to get some now before the tutorial comes out. Thanks so much,

  33. Peggy Barnes, 02 March, 2010

    @Tiffany Morkovsky: Hi Tiffany if you are still hunting for the snow let me know and I can send you some out in the mail. Just contact Cindy so she can give you my email address and you can send me your mailing address. Wow I hope that makes sense. I might not be able to get it in the mail so you have it by Friday but I will try my best to get it there soon. Cindy said a couple of Tablespoons goes a long way. If interested let me know.
    Uuuugggggs, Peggy

  34. Phaedrakat, 28 February, 2010

    Hi,Tiffany! These buffalo flakes are a seasonal item — I don’t think Joann’s carries them after the holidays. When Joyce bought them back in November, they had them in a couple places in the store (I found mine in the row where they had the glittery garlands and stuff to make wreaths.) If you go to the other page, Iridescent Buffalo Snow Flakes… there are a couple people mailing out some of their “snow” to those who can’t find it, as well as people trying to find places where they can still get it. Check that link — good luck! I’ll be sure to post if I find some anywhere, though.

  35. Cara, 01 March, 2010

    Ordered my Snowpak from economyofbrighton.co.uk/. It cost me £3.50 including postage for a 40g bag. I sat down and thought great I am ready for when that tutorial arrives but then I thought I wonder what else we need?

    For the super impatient amongst us would you consider posting the equipment and materials needed when you send out your preview posts so we can get kitted up? Maybe that’s too much effort or perhaps it would give too much away and I should just wait……

  36. Phaedrakat, 01 March, 2010

    @Cara: Cindy did mention a couple of other things we need on the post where she announced she was going to do the Faux Opals in March, where she tells us that it’s optional, but we can pick up alcohol inks & TLS or Bake-n-Bond while we’re out supply shopping if we want the depth shown in her example.

  37. Cara, 02 March, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Thanks, I missed that, there are so many variations on this topic.

    I just found out I got the postage wrong from the site I mentioned first and it would be £4.49 for the postage! SO order canceled and buying from the same company through ebay where the postage is £1.40. Here is a link if you want it


  38. Silverleaf, 03 March, 2010

    @Cara: Thank you! I’ve ordered some – a girl can never have enough shiny glitter, right? ;

  39. Peggy Barnes, 02 March, 2010

    Anyone else still hunting for buffalo snow if you live in the US I might still be able to get you some by Friday if you let me know soon. I have enough for several more people. I will ask Cindy to please give my email address to anyone who needs it.
    Thanks, Peggy

  40. Phaedrakat, 02 March, 2010

    Yes, in case you haven’t noticed, there are 2 (& sometimes 3) threads on a subject. At least it seems that way, IMO. The first is a feeler, to see if people like & express interest in a project or idea. People’s comment’s are “votes,” so Cindy can see if there’s enough interest to make a video. The second thread is a teaser of sorts, where Cindy tells us it’s a-comin’ up, sometimes with a specific timeframe, sometimes not.

    Eventually, Cindy will announce a calendar of videos for the upcoming month. She usually puts links to the four video topics in her announcement; the links usually point to that 2nd thread. Eventually, when the video preview comes out, it is posted on that page. It seems like when there’s a third page involved, it’s because a lot of information has been gone over, a lot of time has passed, or something along those lines.

    Cindy writes so many articles and comments, films all those videos, keeps up with emails, etc, I don’t know how she does it all or keeps it all straight! And that’s not even counting how she creates the techniques & projects to begin with! When does she find “time to clay?”

    Anyway, back to the point, sometimes there can be four different places where people have commented on a topic (like “snow” for Faux Opals.) That’s why I was trying to help, because it’s easy to miss. Especially when the project is as popular as this one seems to be!

  41. Silverleaf, 04 March, 2010

    Oh and if anyone in the UK needs some I can send some out once mine arrives!

  42. Phaedrakat, 05 March, 2010

    @Silverleaf: That’s very nice, Anna. I hope it’s okay–I posted a link to this offer at the newer “Faux Opals” page in case someone in the UK gets in a jam. I think the panic is over now, though. The tut is in 2 weeks, and everyone seems to either have their snow or know where it’s coming from. Have fun!

    The link to the newer page is in this comment, if you want to see what they are talking about over there…

  43. Cara, 08 March, 2010

    So if you want another use for irredescent flakes check out polymerclaycentral.com/2_rosequartz.html I haven’t tried it yet as my Snowpak hasn’t arrived yet but I found it today so thought I would post it before I lost it again ;)

    (I shall post it on the newer page too)

  44. Cindy Lietz, 24 April, 2010


    Polymer Clay Faux Opal Pendant

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Polymer Clay Fauxl Opal Pendant), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Carole-H. 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.

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above, who took the time to comment in this thread. Your feedback, support and engaging conversations are always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address everyone individually, please know that I do read everything. ~Cindy

  45. Phaedrakat, 03 June, 2010

    In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the post for the Faux Opal Bake and Bond Technique [VIDEO].

    It shows a preview of the video tutorial, as well as comments, feedback, and lots of tips & tricks on how to make these beautiful Faux Opals (Fopals! :D ) There are some sanding ideas, as well. I hope you enjoy this tute, it makes some amazing, realistic-looking beads! Have fun!

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