If you resolve to try one new craft medium this year – let it be oven bake clay. You can make some fun rainbow ornaments, whip up a DIY headphone holder or create an awesome tie-dye polymer clay string light set. You know the string lights I’m talking about – they are clear plastic with a Christmas light behind them to light up your photographs. Well why not make those lights that much better with a bit of tie-dye polymer clay magic! I’m going to show you the easiest technique for getting a cool colorful marbled clay effect, how to blend clay to get the exact colors you want and we are going to have TONS of fun while we do it. Win, win!
Please note this post is sponsored by Sculpey. As in I was compensated and given free clay, but all opinions and deep love for clay are my own.
Tie-Dye Polymer Clay
Do you actually dye the clay? No of course not silly! We are going to use a package of Bake Shop Clay from Sculpey to emulate the look of tie-dye. Two things trending in tween-ville right now are string lights and tie-dye. Trust me, I’ve got an 11 year old daughter who supervised this project. The thing that sets Bake Shop Clay apart from regular polymer clay is that it is more malleable and easier to handle and condition. Beyond that you can use it to make all the same things you would normally make with clay!
Are You More of a DIY Video Kinda Guy or Gal?
Well you are in luck because I made a handy dandy video all about how to make your own DIY embellished clip lights with polymer clay.
Supplies For Polymer Clay String Lights
Mix It Up and Roll Some Snakes
This package of Bake Shop Clay comes with 13 bright colors, but guess what if you know how to blend you can make even more colors! You know like yellow and blue make green. In this case I just added a bit of white to each shade.
When you have the shade of polymer clay you want for your tie-dye roll each color into a snake. Yup, just like when you were a kid playing with clay roll into equal(ish) sized snakes.
Trim Your Clay Snakes So That They Are Even
Using the tool that comes with your Bake Shop Clay trim your clay snakes on both sides so that they are even in length. My snakes were roughly 6″s long each.
TIP: Don’t throw those snake ends away! Put extra clay in an air tight container or plastic baggie to use in another project.
Gather Polymer Clay Snakes Into a Bundle
Pick up all the snakes and place them into a bundle. Don’t over squeeze but do try to stick them all together. We are about to roll these bad boys into one giant clay snake to make tie-dye polymer clay magic!
Roll Your Polymer Clay Snakes Into One Jumbo Snake
Gently begin rolling all the small snakes you gathered into a bundle as one big snake. Again, do not over mix or over roll. You are trying to thin the the snakes and join them not make a muddled clay mess.
TIP: Have you ever tried playing with air dry clay? You should!
Divide The Large Clay Snake
Once the snake has doubled in length and is the thickness you want cut it into four equal sections. Combining the clay this way creates the tie-dye polymer clay effect we are going for!
Bundle the Four Clay Sections
Just like you did with the original polymer clay snakes you rolled out bundle the 4 sections together. Try to make sure that colors in each snake are not touching. Like the pink part is next to the yellow part, not white next to white.
Roll these 4 pieces together into one snake. I know this is a lot of clay rolling, but the more times you do this step the more colors and patterns in your tie-dye.
TIP: Suddenly have the urge to tie-dye something? I got you.
- Chill Out and Try Ice Dying This Summer
- Fruity Fun Tie-Dye T-Shirts
- DIY This With Jennifer Perkins – Shibori Techniques
Cut the Clay Snakes Into Clay Coins
Look at those tie-dye polymer clay coins! Using the kid safe cutting tool that comes with your package of Bake Shop Clay cut the snake into as many cross sections as you have snake. Make them all the same thickness ro
TIP: Be careful when you make the coins as you don’t want your cutting tool to drag the clay and muddle the colors and patterns. If you have a metal clay cutting tool it will work better on this step.
Make a Slab
Roll out any color as a base slab. Pick a color you would be less likely to use in the future. For me that was tan. Roll this into a thin(ish) sheet. Stack the tie-dye polymer clay coins onto the slab. Arrange the coins so that they are snug up next to each other and just like when you were combining snakes above try to make sure colors are not right next to each other. This will help ensure an extra colorful sheet of clay to work with.
Roll the Slab and Clay Coins
Using a acrylic roller flatten the clay coins. This will also attach them to the base slab you just created. Gently roll the clay in different directions until you have your desired thickness. Remember not to over blend the clay and disturb the tie-dye pattern.
TIP: I wish I could take full credit for this awesome way to combine clay, but I have watched A LOT of You Tube tutorials on polymer clay caning techniques. One of my favorites is Polymer Clay Slab Making from The Polly Collective.
Cut Your Tie-Dye Polymer Clay Into Rectangles
Once you have the clay rolled out to the desired thickness use the tool that comes with the Bake Shop Clay to cut small rectangles or invest in a small rectangular shaped clay cutter.
TIP: You do not want your clay to cover the ENTIRE front of your clip because you will not be able to see the light in the back.
Bake It Up
Kids grab your parents because it is oven-thirty! Place your clay rectangles on a cookie sheet and pop it into the oven. Follow the package instructions for temperatures and times.
Pop the Clay Out of the Oven and Glue Them to the Lights
Once the clay has finished baking and is hard and cooled it is time to add them to your string lights. Remember you do not want to block the actual lights on the clips so you will glue the tie-dye polymer clay rectangles below the actual lights. Kids can use craft glue and adults hot glue works great.
TIP: Love to Embellish Ready Made String Lights? Check Out These Projects…
- DIY Pineapple String Lights from Easter Eggs
- Paper Napkin and Toilet Paper Roll String Lights
- Easy Day of the Dead Lights From Ping Pong Balls
Hang Your New Tie-Dye Clay Embellished String Lights
You can hang these lights on a wall, across a window or on a cork board. They are your lights you do you! The pops of color in the clay really make these fun clips special. It is taking everything in my power to not add a pompom. You know how I feel about pompoms.
I told you this was going to be fun, colorful and easy didn’t I! What do you think? Are you going to run out a grab a box of Sculpey Bake Shop Clay and make your own? I’m already thinking about a second set. With pompoms of course!