I can’t be more excited to share my latest tutorial involving polymer clay and the Cricut cutting machine.
That’s right, you can cut polymer clay with your cutting machine!
I’ve been toying with this idea for some time in my head. I love the look of polymer clay for jewelry, the semi-matte finish, the color variation, the infinite different combinations of textures and colors… the list of reasons goes on and on.
So I want to preface this by saying I have very little experience working with clay. I do, however, work extensively with fondant. And as it turns out, it was very similar in texture and better yet, I could use a lot of my fondant tools. Regardless, you don’t need a lot of skills. But I do have a few tips to help you get started even faster.
Before we get started, a quick note on food/tool hygiene best practices. The polymer clay does leave a filmy residue on anything it touches so if you are going to use any tools to sculpt the form the clay, it should be dedicated tools that will not be used for food anymore.
That said, here are the tools and materials I found to be most useful.
Materials for Polymer Clay Jewelry
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Polymer Clay – I did a little internet research and found the best polymer clay that allowed me to cut it both wet and dry was the Sculpey iii Polymer clay brand. There might be superior brands for other purposes but I found this brand to work really well with the Cricut.
Knife Blade or Deep Point Blade – If you have a Cricut Maker, I found the Knife Blade to be the most versatile and effective. If you are using the Explorer, the Deep Point Blade also works but you will have to make sure rolled the sheet out thinner (like roughly 1mm)
Jewelry Kit – There are probably better tools out there but if you are just getting started, I love this variety set kit that super affordable. It includes the pliers too. The most important piece to have here is the jumper rings. I’ll explain later on why that is.
Template – You can always cut simple shapes or design your own but I’ve included these Polymer Clay Earring Designs for FREE in my resource library if you are interested in making the ones I have in the photos.
Different Techniques and Tips for Making Polymer Clay Jewelry with the Cricut
There 2 broad directions you can but trying to cut polymer clay with the Cricut.
The first is wet and the second is dry.
I started with wet cutting first because I figured I could always do the dry method if I messed up the wet method but not the other way around.
Cutting wet polymer clay with the Cricut
First, I found the back of the Cricut cutting mat to be the perfect surface for doing an initial rollout.
You might want to prep the clay a bit by kneading it with your fingers. I did this for about 30 seconds.
What you don’t want to do is rolled it and then fold it over like you are making pastry puff. This dries out the clay too much and creates too many air pockets.
I also wouldn’t start out mixing colors, you can’t really undo this part so start with just a single color and then go nuts on the colors after you get the hang of it.
So I get it to about 2mm thick (or thinner if you are using the deep point blade). If you have a fondant roller, you can use the guiding bands. I couldn’t find mine so I just winged it.
Take the rolled clay and place it in the center of the mat and do one final roll to flatten on the mat.
I used the light grip mat and would not recommend the green mat for this step.
Make sure those guiding white rollers are pushed to the right. Don’t do what I did here in this photo because it makes an imprint.
So I actually tried it with both the deep point blade and knife rotary blade. For wet polymer clay, it doesn’t really matter.
You will need to not cut too many things at once because some clay will build upon the knife/blade. Two earrings were about all I could do at once.
To clean the blade, that it out of the socket and stab it in some wasted/scrap wet clay to pick up the scraps.
For the connecting holes, I found if you have sized the earring such that the hole is less than 2mm wide, it is best to just use a pin or needle to poke a hole after the Cricut is done cutting.
As for the cutting setting, I used the craft foam setting.
To get smaller more intricate designs off the mat, bend the mat with one hand and peel off the surrounding clay first and then gently lift the earring from the edge.
I would highly recommend baking the earring at this point. If you wait longer, it will lose moisture and warp a bit.
Cutting Cured Polymer Clay with the Cricut
If I was to do this project again (which I definitely will soon because it was so much fun!), I would wet cut all the single color pieces and then use the scrapes to make a collage/mixed color sheets for dry cutting.
For dry cutting, you want to just roll the polymer clay out as thin as possible, shoot for around 1mm thickness. Mine ended up being 2mm the first time which was fine with the knife blade but it was too thick for the deep point blade.
For dry cutting, I would use a green mat. Secure the piece with electric or masking tape on ALL sides.
Depending on the thickness of your clay sheet, you will need to play around with the settings. I found all of the leather settings to be the most helpful. For my thickest piece (around 2mm), I used the “tooling leather 2.4mm” setting.
Assembling the Polymer Clay Jewelry
Some professionals like to sand the pieces. I found this did help create a more finished look for the dry cut pieces. I just used my nail file and then rinsed the pieces in the sink.
Depending on your polymer clay brand and how long/short you baked it, it may be a little bit brittle, especially around the connecting rings. Some people like to apply another coating of epoxy or resin or polish which will help your piece stay intact. I didn’t do this for my earrings this time but might try it out in later projects.
I found the jumper rings to be super helpful in this case because they are looser and allowed more room for me to work with it with the pliers and not disturb the polymer clay.
I have to warn everyone that your first cut/trial might end up less than ideal. But it’s not hard to master and once you do, there are sooo many different project variations and design choices.