You know I have a bit of a thing for tea, right? Of course you do. You may also know that one of my many crafty hobbies is making miniatures for my doll's house. (If you fancy a look around my house click here).
A couple of years ago the fashion world went crazy for all things tea-related and quirky - probably because the new Alice in Wonderland film came out - and I bought a teapot necklace from Accessorize. I've had compliments and comments about how 'me' it is every time I've worn it. But then I thought, 'hey, I make miniatures all the time, why shouldn't I have a go at making my own teapot necklace? That way, I can have one in as many different colours and designs as my heart desires!'
Seeing as we're all gearing up for the Jubilee and the nation has once again gone potty (ahem) for all things British and tea, I thought I'd show you how to make a teapot necklace of your very own.
You will need:
- A necklace chain - you can use one you already have and just remove its pendant, or you can buy them cheaply on eBay. I prefer a long one so it hangs just above my navel, but it's entirely up to you.
- Fimo modelling clay. Fimo comes in all the colours of the rainbow, and one square pack should make four teapots. A square is £2.29 from Hobbycraft, or if you resent the supermarket of the craft world as much as I do, eBay or independent craft shops will sell it too. You can buy any colour you like, but I chose white, and then painted my teapot in my chosen colour afterwards. Transparent white looks great if you want to go for the classy porcelain look.
- A craft or Stanley knife
- Acrylic or ceramic paints in your chosen colours (shop in the kids' section, it's cheaper and you may be able to get those dinky little selection pots!)
- A clean baking sheet. I work a lot with Fimo so I use an old bathroom tile because then I can transfer my model straight into the oven without damaging it- if you find one in a skip keep it!
- A fine paintbrush.
- Matte or gloss varnish, depending on the finish you prefer. Clear nail varnish works well.
- Clean fingers and a clean work surface. The red tools you see above are entirely optional.
- Sandpaper or an emery board
1. Use your knife to cut about a quarter of your Fimo off the block, and spend a few minutes kneading it until it's pliable. Cut a chunk again and roll yourself a ball to make the body of your teapot. I made mine around 2cm diameter, but there are no rules, it depends how big you want your finished pendant to be.
2. Roll a very thin sausage of clay, curl it into a ring slightly smaller than the diameter of your body, and press the body onto the ring to make your teapot's foot.
3. Make another small ball. Roll it as you would to make a log, but taper it so it's thinner at one end than the other. This will be your spout. It's the trickiest part, but take your time until you're happy - the best thing about Fimo clay is that if it doesn't work you can just start again! Cut a V in the thinner end, and press it onto the body of your teapot, using your fingers to blend over the join.
4. Make another very thin log, and attach it to make a handle. Positioning the top of your handle so that it faces downwards will make for a stronger bond - important as this is the part from which your pendant will hang. Make sure your handle is large enough for the end of your necklace chain to fit through. It can sometimes help to use a small paintbrush handle to help you get the curved shape you need.
5. Use your knife to score a circle in the top of the body to give the impression of a lid. Or the lid of a Sharpie marker works perfectly (make sure it's ink-free) - just press down. Roll a tiny ball and press on to make your lid's handle.
6. Now you have the shape of your teapot! Use your fingers to smooth out any creases, but don't worry too much because you can sand it after baking. Once you're happy, pop it in the oven, on 130C for 20 minutes. You'll find it's soft when you take it out. If it doesn't harden as it cools, it needs a little longer in the oven.
7. Once your teapot is cool use your sandpaper or an emery board to smooth away any imperfections. Now you get to paint! You can go with simple white, or paint it all over or with elaborate designs... whatever you like. Gold paint looks amazing too.
8. If you've used ceramic paint like I did, pop it back in the oven for 10 minutes. Once your paint's dry, you just need to varnish it and let it dry again. Thread it onto your chain, and hey presto - you'll be getting compliments galore!
You can experiment with different size teapots on different length chains.
Enjoy a tea-filled Wednesday!
P.S: If you fancy a teapot necklace of your own but don't want to make one, I'll be selling them in the Etsy shop I plan to have up and running before too long, so just bob me an email to register your interest and I'll be in touch when it's all set up! x