When I was little I used to make all kinds of stuff out of polymer clay. I had this huge doll house and I made things like dishes, food, even a complete thanksgiving dinner. I loved it. As I got older I started experimenting with beads and jewelry, even things like drawer pulls and switch plate covers.
So when I saw a blog post about an essential oil diffuser bead made out of polymer clay, I was exited.
But then I got to thinking about it and thought, “polymer clay isn’t absorbent…”
Then I came across another blog post using air dry clay.
Once again I questioned using it…. air dried clay gets weird when it gets wet… and essential oils are wet. And air dry clay is notorious for cracking and being generally fragile.
However since most of us don’t have a kiln in our living room to fire terracotta or other clays to make nice absorbent beads I figured those were the only two options.
However… sometimes genius strikes in the most random of places.
Like your back yard after a long winter.
Obviously these stacks of pots didn’t fare well with the whole freezing thing that happens every winter. I figured I’d use them in the bottom of other pots for drainage until I picked up a small piece and had a big ol’ lightbulb moment!
Why not make a bead out of it!
And so, my friends, I came up with this!
I’m including the instructions to make a bracelet but you could easily make a necklace this way!
The terracotta is nice and absorbent, and the polymer clay creates a barrier between your skin and the Essential Oils so you don’t have to worry about prolonged contact with undiluted oil (which is not recommended)
Here’s what you’ll need
For the Diffuser Bead:
A chunk of terracotta (if you don’t have a broken pot you can get really small ones pretty inexpensively)
Polymer Clay (my personal favorite is Sculpey )
A needle or toothpick
Your favorite essential oil (here’s some of my favorite places to purchase oils)
To make a bracelet–
Clear Stretchy Cord (you can find this in most craft stores, or even Walmart)
First- if you need to break your terracotta to get smaller chunks cover it with a rag or towel and give it a tap with a hammer. You don’t have to hit it very hard, it breaks pretty easily.
Once you have a piece the size you want you can get started. Mine was about the size of the tip of my pointer finger. Keep in mind the edges will be covered with clay, and the clay around it will make it larger so take that into consideration when choosing a piece.
It doesn’t matter if the sides or back is rough, the clay will help even that out.
Now pinch off a piece of clay in your desired color. You want a piece at least as thick and slightly larger then your terracotta. (if you’ve never worked with polymer clay before, mush it around a bit, it gets easier to work with as it warms up in your hands)
Sit your terracotta on top and push it down into the clay. Now comes the part that takes a bit of patience. Work the clay around the edges of the terracotta. You’re essentially wrapping the terracotta in the clay, leaving an exposed part on the front.
Just take your time and get it nice and even. You can even use a small knife or your toothpick or pin to smooth and trim the edges on the front to get a nice smooth effect.
Once you’re done with that sit it on a nice smooth surface and stick your pin or toothpick in the end to create a hole. If you are making a pendant just make one, if you’re going to make a bracelet like mine make one on each end.
Now go ahead and bake it according to your clay’s package instructions.
Once it’s baked and cooled you can get turn it into a bracelet!
Measure your chord around your wrist and add a few inches for tying and to give it a little room to get on and off. You want the finished result to be snug on your wrist but not too tight. Now double the length you’ve created.
Put your cord through one of the holes and pull half the length through. We’re doubling the cord to help it be nice and strong.
Now start putting your beads on. You want to put both ends of the cord through the beads. Continue beading until you have the whole length beaded, with a few inches left to tie. I recomend checking throughout the beading process to double check the length.
Once you’re finished beading pull one of the cord ends throught the second hole in your bead and then tie the ends together. The cord is slippery so be careful, and you’ll need to triple knot it.
There it is! You’re done! Now choose whatever your favorite essential oil is and add 1-2 drops. As the oil evaporates and the scent diminishes you can add more, or add a different oil.
Looking for more ways to use your essential oils?