Trash to Treasure: Green polymer clay jewelry


The Philippine Polymer Clay Guild's challenge for July was focused on sustainable, eco-friendly polymer clay projects.  Titled "Trash to Treasure", the July challenge entailed using polymer clay to give junk a new lease on life.

Finding the raw materials (aka: trash) was quite easy.  I am a pack-rat, so I had a ton of material to choose from - old light bulbs, tin cans, even blank bullet cases from my grandfather's old gun closet, haha!

The hard part was deciding what to make of the trash.  I had grand plans!  But the inability to decide left me procrastinating until the night before the deadline.  I almost didn't submit a piece, but I fought the urge to give up and decided to just submit whatever I could come up with, even if it wasn't anywhere near my original plans.  In the end, I spent only two hours conceptualizing and making the project.  Quite disappointed in myself, because we had 3 weeks to prepare.  Sometimes, when I'm stuck in a rut, I'm stuck real deep. Sigh.

I chose a beat-up doorknob hardware - the part that attaches the handle to the door.  It looks heavy, but it's actually made of an aluminum-type material so it's lightweight.


Fresh from my caning spree the week before, I made a new cane, still in a bright and happy colorway.  I decided to wrap the entire thing with clay, then cover it with cane slices.  After baking, I would drill a hole so I could turn it into a big pendant.  I prayed that my oven was in the mood for a drama-free baking session, because I had no room for errors. Good thing Little Miss Oven was kind to me that night, her temperature didn't spike, she didn't discolor the clay, and no cracks or bubbles appeared. Whew.  I slept peacefully.

The next day though, I find out that I couldn't drill a hole into the piece with my pin vise.  I needed to use a power drill, so I texted my brother and asked for help.  But after seeing what I made, he told me I should have drilled the doorknob part before I wrapped it in clay.  It was too late now, the drill could accidentally chip the clay - he didn't want to risk ruining my piece.  Ugh, why didn't I think of that the night before?

I had no choice but to use the piece as a donut pendant, instead of a top-drilled pendant hanging from a beaded chain.  Here's the outcome of poor planning and cramming.

But I am glad to say that all the other entries from my guild-mates were ahhhhmazing!  Very intricate, well-made, and labor-intensive!  Some used the most ingenious materials: toilet paper rolls, old diskettes, broken zippers, even shellfish!  The creativity and ingenuity was inspiring!  Here are a few of my favorites.  Not only are they works of art, but they're all functional!

Jennifer Cruz: old bottle turned into a lantern.
Jhoi Montano: milk can turned into a bag!

Ghie Malig: diskettes turned into a caddy
I saw these in person, and they are even more amazing up close! All the details, the careful craftsmanship, and the successful transformation from junk to functional art - so amazing, I am at a loss for words.

Check out the other entries here!  This challenge goes to show that polymer clay, although a type of plastic, can be truly eco-friendly! I hope our guild's challenge inspires you to try out more sustainable projects!


Marlene Brady said…
Wow, very impressive. Love the re-purposing of the found objects. Very clever!
Unknown said…
You're so talented! :) Nice work.
Unknown said…
That lantern is gorgeous! i wish i could make one! :o

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