Hummingbirds are such enchanting creatures. They’re both cute and beautiful with the striking iridescence of their feathers that flashes in the sunshine – perfect images for jewelry. So I decided to make a set of hummingbird earrings and a necklace. Art Glitter is the perfect product to add gorgeous sheen to the birds. And crystals add even more sparkle! Here’s how I made them and what I used.
Make the polymer clay Hummingbirds
Condition the clay according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
From the green clay, form a snake shape about 3/8” thick and trim it evenly on both ends so that it is 1” long. Form a second snake shape 1/2” thick and trim it to 1 ¼” long. With the tissue blade, slice each snake shape in half lengthwise. You will be using the two smaller pieces for the smaller earring hummingbirds and one of the larger pieces for the larger pendant hummingbird. You will not be using the second larger piece.
Repeat the previous step with the black clay.
Press one green piece and a same-size black piece together on the long sliced edges. Repeat for the other pieces. You will have three snake shapes, two smaller ones and one larger one, each half green and half black lengthwise. These are the bodies. The green sides are the bellies and the black sides are the backs.
Lay all three body shapes on the work surface green side up. Use the edge of the tissue blade to make a mark across the green side at about 1/3 the length. This line divides the belly (the 2/3 part) from the tail (the 1/3 part). Now cut away the green part to form the tail: starting at the mark, and using the tissue blade, slice at an angle horizontally through the body to the end.
Shape the tail gently with your fingers.
Form a ball of the gold clay a little larger than 3/8” and another a little larger than ½”. With the tissue blade, cut each ball in half. These are the heads. Press a half of the small ball to the head end of each of the small bodies, and half of the large ball to the head end of the large body.
Roll thin snakes of black clay for the beaks. Cut three sections about ½” long (longer than the beaks will be) and roll to taper one end of each. Trim the wide ends so the beaks are the right lengths and press them in place. Cut three lengths of craft wire about 1” long. Carefully press a length of the craft wire from the tip of the beak through the length of the beak and into the head, and repeat with each hummingbird. These wires will strengthen the joints between the beaks and the heads. Leave any excess wire in place – you will trim it later when the clay is cured.
To make the hummingbird’s feet, cut six short lengths of the black craft wire and use the round nose pliers to make a double loop on one end. Press the other end of the wire into the bird until the loop is snug against the body. Repeat with each piece of wire.
With an end of the sterling silver wire dipped in baby powder, poke a hole in the top of each hummingbird’s head. These holes will later accommodate the wire loop to hang the hummingbirds by.
Cure the clay according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the hummingbirds are cool, carefully use the wire clippers to clip away any excess wire from the tips of the beaks.
Coat the Hummingbirds with Glitter
Coat the hummingbirds’ beaks with a coat of Designer Dries Clear Adhesive, using the round brush. Be sure that the beaks are completely but lightly covered –be sure you don’t use so much adhesive that it drips. Carefully dip each beak in the open container of Black Wing glitter to coat the beaks. Let dry.
Lay the hummingbirds on your work surface, bellies up. Coat the entire front side of the hummingbird with Designer Dries Clear Adhesive, once again using the soft brush. Carefully apply the glitter over the adhesive. Pick up a bit of glitter by pinching it between your thumb and middle finger, then sprinkle it over the adhesive. Use the same motion you would use to sprinkle salt, but use small movements to better control where the glitter is falling. Hold your finger tips about 3 inches over your hummingbirds. Coat the head Cayman, the throat Ruby Red, the tips of the tail and wings Black Wing, the remainder of the tail and wings Terra Blue, the lower part of the Terra Blue, and the remainder of the belly Reed. Let the adhesive dry.
In a similar fashion, apply glitter to the back of the birds using Cayman on the head, Terra Blue on the tips of the wings and tail, and Bavarian Forest over the rest. Let the adhesive dry.
Reapply Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and glitter to fill in empty spots as necessary and let the adhesive dry. Be sure you have coated the top of the head (Cayman).
Apply a coat of Diamond Glaze over the entire hummingbirds – front, back, and beak – to seal the glitter in place. Let the glaze dry.
Re-open the holes in the tops of the head with the end of the sterling silver wire if necessary.
Cut the eyepins about 3/16” inch from their eyes. Glue the shortened eyepins into the holes in the tops of the hummingbirds’ heads with the 2-part epoxy glue. Be sure you have used enough glue for a good bond, but also ensure that you haven’t closed the holes in the eyepins.
Make the Earrings with the two Small Hummingbirds
Cut two pieces of sterling silver wire about 1” long. With the chain nose pliers, make a loop in one end of each of the pieces of wire. Thread an 8mm crystal on the straight end of the wire. Trim the straight end to about 3/8” then make a loop on that end also. Repeat with the other piece of wire and a second 8mm crystal.
Cut two pieces of chain each 5/8” long.
Open one of the oval jump rings, thread one end of a chain piece and the loop on the head of one of the hummingbirds onto the jump ring, and re-close the jump ring. Repeat with the other small oval jump ring, chain piece, and hummingbird.
Open the loop on one of the ear wires and slip it through the other end of one of the chain pieces. Re-close the loop. Repeat with the other ear wire.
Make the Pendant and Necklace
Cut a piece of chain 4 1/2” shorter than the finished length of your necklace.
Cut a piece of sterling wire about 1 ¼” long. With the round nose pliers make a small loop in one end. Thread the oval crystal on the other end of the wire and press it snug against the loop. Trim the straight end to about 3/8” and make a loop on that end. Before you close the loop, thread it through the loop on the large hummingbird’s head, then close it.
Locate the chain link that is in the center of your necklace chain. Open the free loop above the oval crystal, thread it through the center link of the chain, and re-close it.
Cut 6 lengths of sterling wire each 1 ¼” long. With the round nose pliers make a small loop in one end of one of the pieces of wire. Thread an 8mm crystal onto the wire, trim the straight end to 3/8”, and make another loop. Repeat with the other five lengths of wire and five 8mm crystals.
Working on one side of the necklace, count five chain links from the center link where the pendant is attached and cut the chain in the sixth link. Open a loop at one end of a crystal/wire assembly and slip it through one of the ends of the chain you just cut and re-close the loop. Open the loop at the other end of the crystal/wire assembly, slip it through the other cut end of the cut chain, and re-close the loop. You now have inserted a crystal into the necklace chain.
Continuing to work outwards, repeat the previous process twice so that there are a total of three crystals on one side of the necklace.
Repeat on the other side.
To attach the clasp, open a large oval jump ring and slip it through one end of the necklace chain and the loop on the lobster claw clasp. Open the second large oval jump ring and slip it through the other end of the necklace chain and the large round closed jump ring.
Now for the branch in the hummingbird’s feet. Cut three pieces of sterling wire 1 ½” long. Set one aside.
For each of the remaining two, use the round nose pliers to make a large loop in one end of the wire. Before you close it, thread three glass leaf-shaped beads onto the loop, then close it. Bend the straight end of the wire perpendicular to the loop. Thread a 6mm crystal on the straight end, trim it to 3/8”, and make a loop from the straight end.
Cut a piece of chain ¾” long and a second piece 3/8” long. For each piece of chain, open the small loop on a wire/glass leaf assembly, slip if through one end of the chain, and re-close the loop.
Working with the final of the three pieces of wire, make a small loop in one end. Before you close it, thread it through the other end of one of the pieces of chain, then close it.
Thread the straight end of the wire through the hummingbird’s feet. Trim the straight end to 3/8” and make a small loop. Before you close the loop, string the free end of the other wire/glass leaf assembly onto the loop then close it.
Enjoy your necklace and earrings! When you wear them, be sure to toss your head often for maximum bling effect!
• Fimo Soft polymer clay in Metallic Gold, Black, Spring Green
• three pairs 3mm glass eyes (glasseyesonline.com)
• 24 gauge craft wire, any type of metal
• 24 gauge black coated craft wire
• Art Glitter’s Microfine Opaque Glitter: Ruby Red (MFO-500), Cayman (MFO-521), Terra Blue (MFO-510), Bavarian Forest (MFO-514), Black Wing (MFO-507), Reed (MFO-519)
• three thin gauge sterling silver eye pins 1” long
• about 2’ (for a necklace up to 20” – you will need more chain if you want a longer necklace) of fine gauge sterling silver chain (4mm links)
• about 18” 22 gauge half hard sterling silver round wire
• six small glass top-drilled leaf beads
sterling silver lobster claw clasp
• two 7mm sterling silver oval open jump rings
pair of sterling silver ear wires
• eight 8mm Siam round faceted Swarovski crystals
two 6mm Siam round faceted Swarovski crystals
one 12mm polygon Siam Swarovski bead
• four small sterling silver oval open jump rings (about 4x6mm)
one 8mm closed round jump ring
• Tissue blade for polymer clay
• Art Glitter’s Designer Dries Clear Adhesive
• Diamond Glaze
• two part epoxy glue
• needle nose pliers
• round nose pliers
• wire cutters
• soft round brush, size 8
• baby powder
pointed round toothpick