Distressed Rainbow Polymer Clay Necklace

As I’ve stated before, I am a huge lover of color. I particularly love the interplay of colors and the way they combine to create a pleasing whole. I am particularly fond of a spectrum of colors such as a rainbow. I love when one color blends to the next, creating a spectrum of gradual color change. Also known as ombre, I refer to this as graduated color. There is just something magic about color gradients.

I’ve recently worked with brightly colored translucent polymer clay to make brilliant sheer dangly earrings, graduated color necklaces, and rainbow bracelets. But colors don’t have to be bright, clear colors. Muted, toned-down colors can be just as beautiful and perhaps even more beautiful in their own subtle way. This week I had an idea to create this necklace in rainbow colors but with a more distressed appearance. I started with three muted primary colors and then used the procedure that I explain in my Graduated Colors Tutorial to create a gradual array of color blends. I used texture sheets to give the surfaces some zing and then finished them off with a variety of distressing treatments.

Necklace made with polymer clay tiles in a gradient or rainbow pattern but with a faux distressed finish.
Made using the principles in my Graduated Colors Tutorial, this necklace’s tiles are distressed to give a weathered or aged look.

I knew what I was trying to accomplish but I ran into a bit of trouble connecting each little square to the next one in the series. I discussed my frustrations on my Facebook Page and got lots of great advice from all of you about how to finish this off. In the end I couldn’t make it work the way I wanted so I resigned myself to Plan B and got out the jump rings. As you can see in the pictures, each square joins to the next with a jump ring. The entire necklace is created by stringing a leather cord through the back of all the jump rings. It’s not what I had in mind when I started, but it does give the intended effect. I wanted to get a picture of this on a live model, but my 17-year-old daughter, Katie, is in Kansas City tonight to see a concert with her brother. (When did my kids get big enough for this?) I’ll try to pin her down when she gets back and make her hold still for a photograph.

This time I remembered to take a picture of the back of the piece. I’m going to submit this to Jan Montarsi‘s Flickr group “Polymer Clay Backstory“. I think the back of this piece is just as interesting as the front and could perhaps even be worn that way around. You can see in this picture how the leather cord runs through the jump rings that hold the tiles together.

Necklace showing the back side where the connections are made with jump rings.
This view of the back side of the necklace shows how the tiles are both connect and suspended by jump rings.

I really enjoyed creating the texture and distressing on the tiles of this necklace. I think I will be working with more of those techniques in the future. I love the richness of the visual texture. Stay tuned!

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6 thoughts on “Distressed Rainbow Polymer Clay Necklace”

  1. I like the way you have stringed them together..trust me that adds a lot to the beauty..simple and novel idea..am gonna try too 🙂

    1. Well, they do tend to flip around. But I keep meaning to do something to make them more stable. I just haven’t had the time yet. Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it.

  2. Love, love this necklace, these are just my colours. Gorgeous muted tones and the way you have connected the tiles is genius.

    1. Thank you Davinia. Isn’t it funny how necessity is the mother of invention? I wouldn’t have thought of it if my first idea had worked as planned. I do love these muted tones. I will be making more of them for sure.

  3. I really like this — the colors, the texture! I’m glad you explained how you attached it all together. The engineering part is difficult for me. If it’s got a hole in it, I can string it up, but a different kind of design is always good.

    1. The engineering part is difficult for me, too. In fact, so is the designing, usually. (See my post about how I’m NOT a jewelry designer.) I had wanted to put these together with rivets but that just wasn’t working. I tried and tried and just ended up with broken tiles. But on the other hand, I learned a lot. And when we learn new things, we eventually get better. I agree, though, it does help seeing how someone else solves a particular problem. It helps spark new ideas in your own mind.

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