Hidden Treasures to be Discovered in Your Scrap Polymer Clay

Scrap Polymer Clay, Glow in the Dark Pendant “Capturing art in
your leftover polymer
clay. You just don’t know
when that next bead will
turn up.” ~Peggy-B

Today I want to provide yet another example of how every little piece of scrap clay can be used to make wonderful polymer clay jewelry. The pendant in today’s photo was made from the small leftover piece of glow-in-the-dark jellyroll cane (aka Psychedelic 60’s Cane), used in the Volume-022-1 video tutorial.

While cleaning up after filming that lesson, I saw the little piece of orphaned clay, and admired its lovely colors and perfect leaf like shape. So instead of smashing it up into the scrap pile, I decided to create a Glow in the Dark Leaf Pendant with it.

To accentuate the leaf shape, while also creating a unique bail for hanging the pendant, I hammered, shaped and embedded some heavy copper wire. The photo above shows how the finished piece turned out.

The first reaction from my 13 yr old daughter was that she had to have it. And after she wore it this past weekend to a sleep over at the grandparents house, her Grandma (Doug’s Mom) also asked if I could make one for her, along with matching earrings. So I guess this unique copper and clay design that I’ve hit on, is actually pretty timeless. There is something about it that appeals to wide range of age groups.

Imagine… all that from a tiny little piece of scrap polymer clay!

And to show you that I’m not the only one thinking about scrap clay, here are a few more creative stories and comments from previous threads.

I too have made beads with left over clay. It’s such a wonderful medium. Each bead is different and every little scrap can be used. I’ve been dreaming polymer clay! You have me hooked Cindy. ~Cheryl-H

Just goes to show you.. never toss out your scraps or the old clay pieces! ~Rob-K

I save every little dab of scrap clay. Nothing is wasted. That’s one of the things I love about this medium. Everything gets used. Thanks, Cindy, for such a fabulous web site. I’ve learned so much over the past couple of months from visiting here. ~Bonnie-B

Yep, some of my favorite bead were destined for scrap. Scrap Jupiter Beads, scrap slice pendants, and you just never know what you get when you run your scrap through the pasta machine a few times. ~Katie-C

Oooo, I used the scrap from cutting the ends of my cane to make gitd Jupiter beads. They look sooo cool. Clay On.

Left over scrap clay from my Kaleidoscope Cane was great to use for other type beads and I came out with some nice looking beads with array of colors. That is why I like playing with clay, nothing is ever wasted! ~Lupe-M

Love those Arizona scrap clay beads. I will have to try that one myself. Those are so pretty. I have came across many happy accidents as well and made outstanding things with those. It’s exciting to hear of others, happy accidents and the beautiful things that come out of that. ~Lynn-W

I just love these beads, Cindy!  Perfect Southwestern Beads, very typical of the Arizona colors. Sometimes, scrap clay turns out better than expected! Sometimes, I will put my scrap clay back through my pasta machine and end up with the neatest blend…too bad I can’t reproduce it, but it takes care of any scrap clay you happen to have around. Thanks for all your tips and ideas, Cindy…keep it coming. 8-) ~Lupe-M

Captured art in a leftover polymer clay bead. You just don’t know when that next bead will turn up. BAM, you just did it Cindy. ~Peggy-B

I will pay more attention to my scrap clay from now on – something beautiful like this could happen and I’d miss it trying to hurry and mix my scrap! ~Phaedrakat

I love all these suggestions! I just do not think there is such a thing as scrap clay! ~Shannon-L

So I made watercolour beads today, as usual I had to put my own spin on the technique though! I’m proud that apart from the white and black, everything I used was scrap clay or leftovers from another project. If I’d made a New Year’s claying resolution it would have been to try to use as much of my leftover clay as possible rather than just adding it to the (admittedly quite small) scrap pile. Like if I make a particularly nice Skinner blend it seems such a shame to waste the beautiful colours in the trimmings. ~Silverleaf

Hi Cindy and all, just watched the inlay polymer clay technique video. Just amazing. What a way to use up some of those pieces you have left over. Would never have thought to do this but so so easy but looks so intricate. I will be getting onto this as soon as I can. Just love it. Bye. ~Elizabeth-K

In the comments section below, please feel free to share any other creative scrap clay stories you can think of. There are so many ways to use your polymer clay left overs. Lets see how many of them we come up with.

** Did You Know… Members with current subscriptions to the weekly tutorial videos are always entitled to a 10% discount when purchasing 6 or more back issue packages in a single transaction. If you are interested, let me know which back issues you would like and I will send further instructions on how to complete your order.

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  1. Lisa Whitham, 15 March, 2010

    Scrap clay – there is no such thing…I alway find a use for “leftovers”. * big grin*
    I showed my GITD beads to my girlfriend and she wants me to make some GITD pulls for her old fashioned lights in her house… They’ll probably be rainbow colors, because she likes rainbow stuff. Hmmm, now, what shapes should I make them in?

    ~Lisa :)

  2. Lisa Whitham, 15 March, 2010

    Oh and Cindy, way cool pendant..! I love the way you used the copper wire to accent the bead.

    ~Lisa :)

  3. Ken H, 15 March, 2010

    Beautiful, that’s all I can say.

  4. Bonnie, 15 March, 2010

    Thanks for another great idea. I love the copper piece in the clay. I just ordered more copper from my favorite copper lady so I’m definitely going to try this.

    I’m so glad to know that other people are up as early as I am and thinking about clay 24/7. I thought maybe I was alone in the early polymer morning.

    Thanks everyone.

  5. Ritzs, 15 March, 2010

    Well Cindy does it again, but I agree with Lisa no such thing as scrap clay. I love the idea of the wire in the pendant I must try it as I love wire work as well and the two go hand in hand, another great one Cindy.

  6. Silverleaf, 15 March, 2010

    Awesome Cindy! I love it.

    I like to use leftover scraps in lentil beads. I grab a lump of scrap mud clay, cover with a thick layer of pearly colours then add the scraps on top of that.

    When I first tried the extruder flower cane I didn’t want to use “good” clay because I was pretty sure I’d mess it up, so I just grabbed a few scrap colours to experiment with – scarlet, cream/ecru, and forest green. The cane worked fine but I hated the colour combination so it sat on my work surface for weeks because I didn’t have the heart to scrap it. And then you posted about your Arizona beads… and I figured I had nothing to lose by putting that ugly cane through the pasta machine. The end result? Three gorgeous tube beads.

  7. carolyn, 15 March, 2010

    Too much! Oh, Cindy, another winner. But, golleeeeeee, I want to try everything you post and there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day!

  8. aims, 15 March, 2010

    That is a very eye-catching piece Cindy. No wonder you’re already getting orders for it!

    btw – Almost – almost – finished my room. The excitement is really building now and I can hardly wait to start all over again from day one just to remind myself of the do’s and don’ts and to play play play with clay. Yippee!!

  9. Phaedrakat, 15 March, 2010

    Really beautiful pendant, Cindy! I’m trying to figure out that bail; I wish I could “flip it over!” Is the wire bent in half? In the picture, it has the illusion of “sticking” to the cord, but there has to be an opening for it to go thru. Anyway, I love it!

  10. Cheryl Hodges, 15 March, 2010

    Beautiful pendant Cindy. I love how you turn all the scraps and everything into such wonderful pieces of jewellery. The colors go so well with the copper bail and I love how the bail extends into the pendant itself. Does the wire go all the way over on the other side or does it bend into a loop to form the bail?

  11. Helen Sperring, 15 March, 2010

    That really is a Hidden Treasure!!!! How different!!!!! Just beautiful, Cindy!!!!!! I can’t pull myself away from scrap clay to do your GREAT videos. It’s such a surprise when you play with scrap clay. I just bought the video to make lentil beads and I just cant stop!!!!!! I can’t get the crisp edges that you get Cindy. The video really helped but I can’t get those crisp edges. Are there any tricks to getting them?? I haven’t been blogging for a while, but I’m still here. My husband had a heart attack but he’s fine now. I just can’t seem to get rid of this black cloud over my head. Thank God for this site!!!!!!! I think I would flip out if I didn’t find this great place. Luv To All, Honey

  12. Cindy Lietz, 15 March, 2010

    Thanks guys, glad you like it! Maybe I should demonstrate how to make this bail in an upcoming video tutorial, for one of the metal working segments. What do you guys think?

    @aims: I am so happy to hear that! You have been working on your studio for a long time. You will be so happy when it’s done!

    @Helen Sperring: I am so sorry to hear that about your husband. Hope he is OK. As far as the crisp edges, I just wrote a post the other day that should help. I’ve linked my name to it so you can read about it there. You can always type ‘lentil beads’ into the search box at the top of the page for more articles on the subject. I am glad you are happy here and find the support you need. Everyone needs a little love sometimes!

  13. Peggy Barnes, 16 March, 2010

    @Helen Sperring: Hi Helen, I pray blue skies will shine your way soon. You said it all Thank God for this site, I know he brought me here for more than clay. Cindy has opened this community up so that we can offer each other so much support when needed. I am happy to hear your husband is better. You and your husband are in my prayers and again I hope the blue skies will shine very soon.

    Cindy love your pendant. Scrap clay is like a close your eyes – open SURPRISE and a lovely surprise you made. YES to the bail for an upcoming metal segment for me. I would love to learn how to do this one. I don’t think you could come up with anything I wouldn’t enjoy learning.
    Your tutes are amazing to say the least.
    Thank you once again Cindy for being you!!

  14. Phaedrakat, 16 March, 2010

    @Helen Sperring: I’m sorry I missed the part about your husband’s heart attack — thank goodness he is doing better. It makes me sad knowing you’ve got this dark cloud over your head, but I’m happy that you feel a bit better when you’re here with us! This place & community makes me feel lots better, too. It’s difficult when you’re confined by your health. You need as much brightness as you can find! Seems like there are lots of members in need right now. I pray for all of you, and your families. Take care, Helen, & be happy. There’s lots to smile about — just focus on those things that bring you joy! (Easier said than done, but keep trying; look up!) Hugs, ~Kat

  15. Cara, 17 March, 2010

    @Helen Sperring: So sorry to hear about your husband. I can understand why you have a black cloud. Glad to hear he is fine now and I hope that cloud will pass soon.

  16. Phaedrakat, 16 March, 2010

    Cindy, I think your bail looks really cool — I REALLY want to get a look at the other side of it! I’d love a tut, but first, I would like to vote for copper headpins. (We have silver spoon bails this month, hammered bezels next month, so IMO it would be better to have an “all-purpose” metal tut before one used mainly for pendants.) I use headpins in so many ways when making jewelry (earrings, dangles, etc.) Just my opinion, though. I’m extremely happy with every video I’ve ever recieved! Although I can figure most metal/wire things out myself, or from a written tut, I need your help when it comes to working with a flame!

  17. Lisa Whitham, 16 March, 2010

    Yes, yes, please teach us the bail…

    ~Lisa :)

  18. DJ, 16 March, 2010

    Beautiful Cindy, I can totally see how your daughter and mom in law would want one too. I would love to learn this as well, the curved metal spine is really pretty with the shape of the bead.

  19. Cindy Lietz, 19 March, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Leftover and Scrap Polymer Clay Projects), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Ritzs. 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. Your feedback and support is always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address each of your comments individually, please know that I do read them all. ~Cindy

  20. Jamie, 19 March, 2010

    I find a certain freedom in working with scrap or leftover clay, that I dont get working on a set project. I always try to be frugal and mindful of my budget when Im working on a project. And I always try to use only as much clay as is needed for each. But no matter how carefully you measure there is always a little left at the end. And I look at those bits and pieces as my reward for working through the project. Its these snippets and tails that really allow my creativity to run guilt free. After all? They are scraps right? If what I try doesnt work? Then I just roll it up and try something else! Some of my most favorite things were made from scrap clay. (And they always seem to get the most compliments too!) Other than not being able to make more of most of them? I love truly “playing” with my clay this way. And sometimes I wish I had more of it! XOXO Jamie

  21. Cara, 19 March, 2010

    @Jamie: I know what you mean about the freedom of playing with scrap – if it goes wrong it’s still just scrap (perhaps a more muddy mix of colours but hey we’ll still find a use for it).

  22. Jamie, 19 March, 2010

    P.S. LOVE the pendant Cindy! The colors remind me of rainbow sherbet, and the bail suits it perfectly! My favorite metal to work with is copper and I like that you are including the wire and metal tutorials now. Thanks for sharing with us. Jamie

  23. Phaedrakat, 19 March, 2010

    I’ve heard so many people say that some of their favorite or popular pieces are made with scrap clay. I’ve wondered why that is? Is it because they came from color/pattern mixes that we don’t think of on our own? Happy accidents? Or is it because of that freedom to play with “free” clay? If it’s the latter, that’s a shame!

    Polymer clay is really inexpensive when you think about it. Expecially compared to other mediums. Perhaps we shouldn’t wait for scrap clay to play around and experiment. Just grab small amounts of different colors and play. If you’ve purchased your clay at a 99 cent sale or used a coupon, you’re still only playing with a buck or two. And the possibilities are well worth that! And of course, the same thing applies — if it doesn’t work out, there are countless ways to use it…

  24. Cara, 20 March, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Good thinking. I am in a really playful place right now, trying new things and it is great fun. And scrap is always useful ;)

  25. Phaedrakat, 20 March, 2010

    @Cara: Play on, girl! I’ll bet you’re creating some beautiful stuff. And if not, scrap (which will be gorgeous later in another project!)

  26. Phaedrakat, 19 March, 2010

    I just read back my above comment, and I hope no one thinks I’m talking about them! Jaime, I wasn’t disputing being frugal with clay! :D (I’m all for it, and very thrifty myself.) In fact, that’s what I love about Cindy’s tutorials, that you can make a small cane, and make sure you like something before you plan a big project. I was merely trying to suggest that we (and by that I mean ME) should just grab some clay and go for it once in awhile. Perhaps we can make our own Happy Accidents if we try…!

  27. Jamie, 20 March, 2010

    No worries Phaedrakat, I know what you mean. And I have often wished I could do just that. But it seems when I am sitting at my table faced with a brand new block of clay? And I want to just dig in and do something completely new. I just cant bring myself to do it. Because I see all the practical things that need doing.(spacer beads always need made etc..) Or I think of the projects Im committed to that that block of clay could make. And I cant “waste” it. But when I look in my scrap container it just seems to invite me to play. Maybe as you said, it is the accidental combination of colors or techniques that seems to inspire me. Or maybe it is just knowing that there is nothing to do with the leftovers that “needs” to be done, and finding their hidden potential that gets me excited. I like the challenge. But I think it is also a large dose of being 1 of 7 children, and the fact that most of my early materials were scraps from my crafty mom’s and gramma’s projects. My creative roots began while sitting under their sewing machines or craft tables, scrounging bits of material and spare buttons etc..and then figuring out what to make with them. I had a whole box full of mini animals and dolls that I made. Until I finally had to start giving some away. And thats when I found the real reward for me in making things. Giving them to others. So I guess playing with “scraps” is just in my crafty blood. But one of these days Im gonna try to just sit down and “play” with all my materials. At the worst, I’ll just end up with a whole pile of “scraps” to play with! Hee hee hee. XOXO Jamie

    PS Sorry for the novella Cindy!

  28. Cindy Lietz, 20 March, 2010

    I don’t think anyone minds your novella’s Jaime. I for one always enjoy reading what you have to say!

  29. Phaedrakat, 20 March, 2010

    @Jaime: I love your novella! It’s interesting to read about someone’s crafty roots. I found myself smiling as you described the scrounging for bits of material, remembering my own searches for objects to craft with as a child. I only had to compete with 3 other kids, and as the oldest, I got the best bits! Even though we were poor, my mom managed a children’s craft mag. subscription — and it was MY name on label (I felt so important!) We poured over those issues every month and made all kinds of fun stuff with the treasures we’d find.

    As for playing with a newly opened bar of clay, well it’s the same for me. Difficult. Even though I know I won’t be “wasting” it, I still feel compelled to utilize every bit of clay to its fullest potential. What I said above about forcing ourselves to just grab the new clay & play? About creating our own “Happy Accidents”? That’s one of those “easier said than done” things. It was quite easy to say. But have I done it? ….not yet.

    I agree with you on another point (besides the wonder & inspiration of scrap clay.) Giving feels amazing, like a fabulous “high.” A mixture of pride & joy, knowing I’ve made someone feel pretty, special, happy! Seeing a loved one’s eyes light up when I give them something I put my heart into making — it’s extremely rewarding.

    I must admit though, I’m sometimes reluctant to part with certain extra-special pieces. But that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from giving, allows me to let my pieces go, and let someone else love them. (It’s okay, anyway. If they don’t take care of the piece properly, I just activate the installed GPS & track them down.) Isn’t clay fun? ;-)

  30. Becky C., 17 December, 2010

    I agree with the others, above, too. I have made some beautiful beads and other items from “mistakes” that were supposed to be something else, usually a kaleidoscope cane gone awry! Also, I have dug out a piece of scrap clay to roll into a ball to be covered by another project only to find that the totally random and odd-colored scraps are simply gorgeous when rolled or run through the pasta machine, so much so that they just had to be used on their own. I love this about working with polymer clay. So little waste and so many happy “accidents” to be found. I love your bail idea, Cindy, and cannot wait to try it. Another lovely turtorial to add to our arsenal!

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