I haven’t worked with clay much. Maybe not at all. Does playdoh count? I’m not even sure I played with that much.
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Scrolling through Pinterest, I kept seeing all these super cute clay dog tags. I had some polymer lying around that I had bought on a whim, so I decided to give it a try. I don’t think I got the bake quite right, but they did turn out pretty well regardless!
I love that they are so customizable. They will fit whatever colour scheme or decorative motif you want to go with. You could add whatever information you need to – your dog’s name, your phone number and/or name, your address or even any medical information.
What you’ll need:
- Polymer clay
- Crafting tools
- A ring, clip or method to attach to a collar
- Embellishments like glitter or beads or gems
- Cookie cutter or small knife
- Paint or paint markers
- Modge Podge or gloss sealant
How to make a clay dog tag:
- Decide what colours you want to use. You can mix colours so that you get a bit of a swirl pattern, you can do overlays, or you can use a solid colour. You could also mix in fun things like sparkles!
- Begin by rolling the clay between your palms to soften it. If you’re using one colour or trying to overlay colours, you can roll it out once it’s soft enough.
- If you’re making a swirl pattern, shape each colour into a snake by rubbing it back and forth between your palms. If you want more of one colour than another, you could make a thicker snake or you could make 2 snakes of that colour. Likewise, you could also use 3 or more colours. Make the snakes approximately the same length.
- Once you have your snakes you need to merge them together. You can roll them into a pinwheel then squish and fold them, or you can twist them up like a rope then squish and fold them. The more squishing and folding you do, the more integrated the colours will become and the less distinct any single colour will be. Tip: if you roll it out and decide you want the colours more merged, you can always pick it up and re-roll it. Once the colours are merged, you can’t undo that
- Roll out the clay! My kit came with a little plastic roller, but you could use anything cylindrical: a small piece of pipe or PVC, a piece of doweling, or even a smooth-sided can. Roll it to your desired thickness, rolling in multiple directions to ensure an even thickness.
- Cut out your shape! You could use a cookie cutter or a small knife to reform it. My polymer clay instructions warned that materials used with clay should not be returned to the kitchen for use with food.
- Using a round tool (a screw, a nail, a toothpick, anything like that) make a hole where you want the tag to hang. Make sure it’s about the same size as what you plan to use to attach the tag to the collar
- You can bake the clay now, or you can add embellishments!
- If you’re adding embellishments before baking. Go nuts! You can add more sparkles by pressing them gently in (be careful about fingerprints!), little clay decorations or even writing or shapes using thin clay snakes
- If you’re going straight to baking, follow the instructions that came with your clay. Be careful! Overbaking can lead to cracking. My instructions were to bake on a piece of parchment or an index card for 15 to 30 mins (depending on thickness) at 250F
- You can paint polymer clay after baking. Again, be creative! You can add designs or a colour overlay, or this is a good opportunity to add your pet’s information. These paint pens are super useful for detail work!
- After baking, the clay does not need to be sealed. It is already waterproof and durable. However, if you have painted after baking you may way to add a gloss or sealant like Modge Podge to seal on any painted layers and add a nice gloss finish.
- Lastly, add the attachment that you will use to attach the tag to the collar! Ideally, this would be a metal ring, but you could use string (however it will likely break off and get lost at some point with string)
Did you make a clay dog tag? Inspire others and share your design in the comments below!