The headline for this tutorial had me stumped. Traditionally, a cone-like piece jewellery designed to hold a small posy of flowers is known as a tussy mussy. Heralding from Victorian times, a tussy mussy was typically a silver decorative finial 'vase' which could be worn around the neck or as a brooch. Meanwhile, the tiny posy of flowers was known as a nosegay. Long-forgotten terminology makes headline-writing a tad challenging. Finally, I settled on 'posy pendant', which really isn't any less flowery than 'tussy mussy', but at least you know what I'm talking about. Want to learn how to make this rather sweet little design? Read on…
- White oven-bake polymer clay. One packet will typically yield two or three pendant necklaces. Sculpey is featured in the photograph, however I found that Fimo Soft works best for this project.
- Rolling pin. I used a specialist acrylic rolling pin for polymer clay, which is available from any good craft store.
- Old doilies.
- Sharp knife.
- 1 metre of leather thonging or cord.
- Wooden skewers (optional).
- Fine rubber gloves (optional).
- Brooch pins (optional).
- Super glue (optional).
- Tile (optional).
- Non-stick baking paper (optional).
Step 1: Knead The Clay
Before you do anything, wash your hands well before touching the white clay. If you want to be extra careful, you might want to slip on a pair of fine rubber gloves. Now take half a packet of polymer clay and knead it until it's pliable and warm. Roll it out into the shape of a ball.
You might find working with polymer clay easier if you work on a smooth tile surface or on non-stick baking paper, which can then be placed directly on the baking tray.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to the temperature indicated on the packet of your oven-bake polymer clay.
Step 2: Roll Out the Clay
Using a rolling pin, roll out your clay to around 1mm in thickness. The thinner your clay, the finer your pendant will be, although it will be harder to work with and may stick to your working surface.
Step 3: Roll a Doily Into the Clay
In a nod to its Victorian origin, I've used old doilies to imprint a lace design into the surface of the clay. However, you might prefer to leave it smooth, or you could use a piece of linen to imprint an interesting texture. My doily had tiny faceted glass beads, which gave a honeycomb-style texture to parts of my clay.
Take your doily and place it on top of your clay, taking care to position it with an interesting design. Now carefully roll on top of the doily with your rolling pin, gently pressing the lace into the clay. You might like to experiment with this step until you've found the right pressure that gives you the result you're after.
Now carefully peel back the lace to reveal your imprinted clay. Nice, huh?
Step 4: Cut Out a Cone Shape
Take a sharp knife and carefully cut out a shape which can be made into a cone. You can leave the edges of your rolled-out clay natural, or you can cut around them too.
After some experimenting I came up with an ideal template (see below). Just click on the template below to download the design at the correct size for a necklace.
Step 5: Shape Into a Cone
Now carefully peel the clay off your working surface and shape it into a cone. Try not to touch the design too much with your fingers.
Step 6: Insert Holes in the Cone
Decide which side of your cone will be the 'front'. Now take a skewer and gently rotate it like a screw to make a hole in either side of the cone.
Make sure you don't warp the shape of the clay when you do this - you could try stuffing your cone with baking paper to help it hold its shape.
If you want to make a brooch, skip this step.
Step 7: Bake The Pendant
Place your cone on non-stick baking paper on a tray and bake in the oven according to the instructions on your packet of polymer clay.
Once it's baked, leave to cool.
Step 8: Thread The Pendant or Make a Brooch
Now it's ready for threading. Take a piece of leather thonging and cut it to the length you'd like your necklace to hang. Thread the leather through the cone, making single knots as pictured below. Make sure the knots are sitting inside the cone - you might need to trim the ends.
If you'd like to make a brooch with your cone, decide which is the "front" and then place a few dots of super-glue on to a brooch back pin and glue it to the "back" of your cone.
Fill With Flowers and Wear!
Now your necklace is ready to wear. Fill it with a bloom or two and inhale the sweet smell. Just take care not to fill your cone with water as it's not waterproof!
You could also make larger cones and hang them on your wall for a pretty decorative feature. They'd look great with air plants that don't require water.
Have you made polymer clay necklaces before? What are you best tips and advice? Tell us in the comments section below.