Banned Books Week: Mini Clay Book Charms

In honor of Banned Books Week I looked up some books that have been banned or challenged and took their covers to jazz up a craft I found a few weeks ago.

This Clay Bookmark Tutorial was the base of my inspiration for this craft. 

I followed the directions for creating the bookmark closely and mimicked them to create my little charm version as well. 

For the mini charm version I utilized the white clay that was left over from trimming to create the pages for the larger bookmark version. I did however start with the full section of my base cover color from the clay to ensure I had enough. See below for why. 

A few things I learned through this process:

  • You can utilize some common household items for some of the tools the tutorial above mentions you’ll need. Such as subbing the clay roller with a jar of mod podge and a regular mug. You can also sub the tile work surface for a porcelain plate. However, having the true roller definitely would’ve made things easier to get your clay evenly rolled out.
  • The tutorial doesn’t specify but for the book cover I would use slightly more clay to start with than what you used for the book pages. You’ll end up trimming what you don’t need, but that way you don’t have to worry about your cover being too short and needing to “add” to it once its already rolled out. This is what happened to me. This is why when I made the smaller charm with some jewelry chain inside it I started with the larger amount of cover color so I wouldn’t have to piecemeal it again.
Regarding the tools and process, as well as for some tips and tricks, see below.

#1 The Clay. I picked out some single Sculpey II packs from my local craft store. 

For the bookmark version I started with one of the sections of each from the blocks of clay of my chosen colors for the pages and the cover. 

#2 The Tools. I also had to snag these when I bought the clay because I didn’t have clay tools lying around at home. This craft only utilized 2/3 of these tools. The clay cutter, the one that resembles a plastic knife, and the needle tool, in the middle of the photo. 

#3 Channeling Bob Ross to remember there are no mistakes, only happy accidents when it turns out the amount of clay I rolled out wasn’t enough to cover the pages. 

Tips and Tricks for Working with Oven Bake/Polymer Clay

  1. If you haven’t worked with polymer clay before check out this Intro to Polymer Clay, I didn’t, but save yourself the headache and check it out. You will likely end up with a more beautiful bookish creation than I did, using Q-tips and nail polish remover to smooth out any finger prints left behind is genius! 
  2. If you’re feeling frustrated that using your fingers to smooth the clay hasn’t done enough, grab some rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to help smooth those stubborn surfaces that just won’t listen. 


Banned Book Book Cover Cover Tips

  1. Make your clay books, bake, and then measure. Resize your desired cover images based on those measurements then print, cut, and glue as shown below. 
  2. Find covers you’d like to use, size several ways, print, and then once the baked clay has mostly cooled, cut out and measure book covers and cut as needed. This is what I did, which led to my cover selection being narrowed down to two possible book covers due to titles and graphics. Some titles or graphics may be cut off with this method due to the proportions. In order to preserve as much of the covers as possible and to make sure the title remained either on the cover or spine is why I ended up with only two choices from the covers I had printed. 
  3. Make sure when locating images that you have something that resembles a full wrap around cover. If needed you may have to create the spine filler yourself, like they did for this project. The Hobbit cover I used for my mini charm came from the PDF that project had available for download. I did have to slightly trim it though. For the To Kill A Mockingbird cover I was able to find a full wrap around cover in a Google image search.

As you can see, the cover is larger than my bookmark. However I was able to lay it out so you get most of the graphic on the front and the title on the spine. 

Get the cover laid out just how you want it and then make shallow notch cuts on the front and back to give you a guideline before trimming it off.

To adhere the paper cover to the clay, dip your brush (I used a little foam brush) in the mod podge and paste it onto the front cover of the clay book. This will enable you to line up the paper cover perfectly. Then flip your book over and repeat by adding the glue to the spine and back cover.

To achieve the nice satiny sheen on the outside of your cover, take some of the mod podge and paint it thinly on with your brush making sure to paint over any sections with air bubbles to smooth them out. Then let your bookish creations dry. Once dry use the bookmark to hold the spot in your favorite book and the charm, turn it into a keychain, a necklace, an earring. The options are limitless. 

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