How-To: Make Impression-Glazed Faux Ceramic Polymer Clay Buttons

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Valentine’s day is right around the corner- who doesn’t need a little heart-shaped button or two? With this “faux ceramic” technique, I’m going to show you how to use rubber stamps to make an impression into clay, glaze it with tinted liquid clay, and then finish it into a durable button using resin. Of course, you can also use this technique to make pins and pendants, too. Let’s get started!

You’ll need:

  • white (or other light-colored polymer clay)
  • coordinating clay for the back, if desired
  • deeply etched rubber stamps or texture sheet of your choice
  • heart shaped mini cookie cutters- 2 inches or less
  • liquid polymer clay (I like Kato Liquid Clay for this technique)
  • Heat tool
  • Your choice of tinting medium- mica powders, oil paint, or alcohol ink
  • Toothpicks
  • Spray bottle with water

Optional:

  • 2-part resin (I like Ice Resin best) and mixing cup
  • Dremel tool with micro bit to drill holes
  • findings for pins and pendants

This is a multi-step process, but I was able to make a batch of pendants and buttons in under 3 hours, not counting the time it takes for the resin to cure if you decide to do that step.

First off, condition your clay. That means warm it with your hands and knead it until it is soft and pliable. Then roll it until it’s about 3/16ths of an inch thick. If you are using a pasta machine, roll a thickness that is the second-thickest. Do this for both colors.

Now spray a light misting of water on your white clay. This will act as a release and keep the clay from sticking your texture sheet or rubber stamp. Now press the stamp or texture sheet into the clay. You might want to stand up when you do this- it will help you get a nice, deep impression. If you don’t get a deep impression, re-roll your clay and start again. The nooks-and-crannies of the stamp are vital to this technique!

The stamp in the middle doesn’t leave a deep enough impression to pull this technique off successfully.

Now use your cookie cutter and cut out a heart from the white clay. Without removing the clay, cut a shape from the darker color. (This keeps you from mixing the colors if you decide that you need to re-roll your clay. Now pop it out of the cutter and place it on a piece of cardstock or manilla folder to bake it upon.

If you are going to make the button holes wit h a toothpick, do so now. If you are going to use a rotary drill, you can wait until the pieces are baked. When you have made all the pieces you want, bake your pieces according to the manufacturer’s directions.

While your clay is baking, let’s mix up some glaze! (Refer back to my “making tinted glazes for polymer clay” post to help you out.) I used about a teaspoon of Liquid Clay and just a pinch of Perfect Pearls. Mix it up with a toothpick until it’s the color you like!

When the buttons come out of the oven, they will still be flexible- the clay only hardens fully after it is cooled. I like to hurry up the process by dumping the pieces into cool water so that they firm up so I can get to the next step.

I drill my button holes in baked, cool clay using the Dremel Stylus and a micro-bit. It works magnificently.

Now to glaze! Using your toothpick, drizzle a bit of the glaze onto the top of the button. Take care to work it into the impressions. What will happen is that the glaze will settle in and create darker color in the cracks, and stay more translucent on the raised portions. It looks like Italian tile.If you get glaze in the button holes, just poke it with a toothpick to clear it.

You’ll need to place your pieces back into the oven for a while for the liquid clay to cure- about 10 minutes.

When your pieces come out of the over, most likely they will have a matte finish. If you heat them with the heat tool, they will become shiny and glassy. Be careful, though- if you linger too long, the Liquid Clay can scorch, leaving a brown bubbly mark. Not so pretty.

Polymer Clay pieces w/ cured glaze. No resin yet!

You can now use your buttons, if you like. However, I noticed that Liquid Clay has a tendency to feel “rubbery”- and I want my polymer clay buttons to be as durable as they can be- so I like to top-coat them with  a 2-part resin. Again just use a craft stick to lightly “frost” the buttons so that the top is nice and shiny. Leave your buttons to cure overnight.

Buttons with a coat of resin.

I really like this technique- there is a lot of dimension! What will you put a button on?

I hope that if you need to purchase products to make Impression Glazed Buttons, you’ll use my affiliate link:

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About Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

View all posts by Jenny Barnett Rohrs

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7 Responses to “How-To: Make Impression-Glazed Faux Ceramic Polymer Clay Buttons”

  1. Peggy Says:

    Great instructions! I love the look of ceramic buttons but this makes it easy! I added a link to my Buttons Crafts article at Squidoo.

  2. jengd Says:

    These look fabulous!

  3. Julie Says:

    I love working with polymer clay. I haven’t played with it in a long time.

  4. Brandi Says:

    I love your buttons. Saving the page and thinking about making my own.

  5. Mixed Kreations Says:

    I love the buttons, very cute. I love the ceramic look. You did a wonderful job on them and your tutorial . Thank you for sharing.

  6. Violet Says:

    I just came across your tutorial and gave it a try! Thanks so much for posting it!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Impressed Hearts · Polymer Clay | CraftGossip.com - January 17, 2012

    [...] Test Dummies brings us this cute tutorial that combines texturing (making impressions), a fine finish technique that resembles ceramic glazes [...]

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