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How to Make a Polymer Clay Photo Key Chain

A photo key chain makes a great holiday gift. Follow these instructions by Donna Kato to learn how to make your own photo key chain.

Here's a functional, personal and quick and easy gift to make. You won't be making a transfer but rather laminating the image in Kato Clear Medium. Please note that not all photo paper will work for this project. Printing your photo on Epson Glossy Photo Paper or another brand of photo paper that you have tested with the clear polymer clay medium is critical to this project.

Materials

2 oz. bottle Kato Clear Medium
black, white Kato Polyclay
inkjet image on Epson glossy photo paper
wide, flat brush
ceramic tile
clay-dedicated pasta machine
deli wrap or parchment paper
acrylic rod
Kato NuBlade or tissue blade
small round cutter or straw
heat gun
bamboo skewer
Buna cord same diameter as skewer
key chain finding
ccissors
cyanoacrylate super-strength adhesive

Figure A

Steps:

1. To laminate the photo: Using your inkjet printer, print image onto Epson glossy photo paper and trim, leaving a wide border (figure A).

2. Tape photo face down onto the tile.

3. Coat the back of the photo with a thin coat of Kato Clear Medium using either a brush or your finger.

4. Cure medium with heat gun. This should take no longer than 1 minute. Let cool and remove from tile. Clean tile and place image back on the tile, face up.

Figure B

5. Apply a slightly thicker coat of medium to the front of the image (figure B).

6. Cure with heat gun for about two minutes. Let cool; then apply another coat and cure with heat gun.

Figure C

7. Trim image, leaving a very narrow border this time (figure C). Set aside.

8. To set the photo and make the tag: Condition half a block of black Kato Polyclay. Roll out a sheet through the third thickest setting of the pasta machine. Press the clay to your ceramic tile, forcing air pockets from between clay and tile.

Figure D

9. Place the laminated photo on the clay. Brush Kato Clear Medium along the border to seal the photo completely. Cover clay and photo with deli wrap or parchment paper (figure D). Roll with acrylic rod to imbed photo into clay.

Figure E

10. From the remaining sheet of black, cut four strips approximately 1-inch wide. Align one strip on each side of the photo, covering the border. Using the NuBlade, trim and remove the excess clay. Align the remaining two strips on the top and bottom of the tag. Gently rub the clay to "erase" the seam formed as the four strips are joined (figure E).

11. With the NuBlade, cut the two sides. Do not cut through the paper. If you do, you must begin the setting process again.

Figure F

12. Arc the blade and trim the top and bottom of the tag (figure F). Smooth the cut sides, if necessary.

13. Using the hole cutter, cut the hanging hole. Set aside.

Figure G

14. To bead the tag to the finding: Roll small sheets of black and of white through the thickest setting of the pasta machine. Place one piece atop the other. Cut in half and place one half atop the other. You now have a stack of four stripes (figure G).

Figure H

15. Cut a 1/2-inch square from the stack. Using a bamboo skewer, drill two holes through it. Turn over and drill holes from the opposite side (figure H).

16. Trim the sides with NuBlade. Bake the bead and the tag at 275 F degrees for an hour.

Figure I

17. To assemble: Thread the Buna cord through one hole of the bead. Loop one end through the finding and back half way into the remaining bead hole (figure I).

Figure J

18. Thread the other end through the tag and back half way into the bead hole (figure J). Glue the cord ends into the hole.

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