When you’re first starting out it can be tricky to come up with brand new ideas for any creative project, and earring-making is no exception.
To get you started I’ve complied some fantastic design ideas for polymer clay earrings that are simple to make, fun to look at, and most importantly a little bit weird to wear!
Here are the design ideas for polymer clay earrings I’ll be covering:
⦁ Seasonal Items
⦁ Food Related Items
⦁ Something Trending
⦁ Experimental Pieces
⦁ Glitter Designs
⦁ Etsy-Inspired Designs
⦁ Painted Designs
⦁ The basics
⦁ Toy and games designs – nostalgic!
⦁ Animal based designs
⦁ Flowers and plants
Read on to get your creative juices flowing; you’ll be coming up with all sorts of creations in no time! All it takes is a sprinkle of initial inspiration to get the party going…
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1. Seasonal items
Seasonal earrings are EXTREMELY POPULAR on Etsy, and make for great sales – if you’re selling that is! (check out my cute ‘Christmas Jumper’ earrings above!)
If you’re creating earrings for yourself or as gifts for loved ones, seasonal designs are always sure to please.
Seasonal cutters are always a win, if you can grab some shapes for Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, you’re well on your way to having a comprehensive cutter kit, that will provider inspiration for you for years to come. Seasonal polymer clay earrings sell really well, so grabbing a basic set of seasonal cutters is a great place to start if you’re looking to start a small business.
Here are some ideas to get your brain going-
Christmas earrings: Christmas trees, candy canes, gingerbread men, Christmas jumpers, snowmen, Christmas puddings, scarf, hats, gloves, snowballs, tree stars, presents, Santas, Mrs Claus, reindeers, sleighs, fireplaces, stockings, nutcrackers, Santa’s boots, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, fairy tree toppers, baubles, gingerbread houses, Christmas cookies, angels, drummer boys, Santa hats, Polar bears, Elves, etc…
Halloween earrings: Pumpkins, candy, witches, skeletons, vampires, mummies, Frankenstein’s monsters, body parts, spider webs, ghosts, bats, black cats, skulls, witches hats, spiders, tomb stones, broomsticks, haunted house, the word ‘boo’, vampire teeth, Casper the ghost, etc…
Easter earrings: bunnies, chicks, Easter eggs, carrots, spring bouquet, chocolates, Sunday dinner, Sunday breakfast, bows, baskets, etc…
Valentines day earrings: Chocolate box, roses, cards, love letter, hearts, lips, kisses, ‘I love you’, etc…
Browse my recommended cutters here: Polymer Clay Cutters Buyers Guide
2. Food related designs
Funny, eye-catching earring designs are my favourite, as they are a great talking piece and add a bit of fun into your day.
‘The EGGY earrings’ (as pictured) are a cute food-related design I came up with to sell on Etsy, and they proved really popular on social media!
Food-related designs always seem to do well, because they are quirky and everyone can enjoy them – we all eat, don’t we 😉 ?
Here are some cute and quirky food ideas for earrings –
Fruits: strawberries, grapes, oranges, apples, pears, bananas, grapefruits, plums, lemons, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, cranberries, melons, pineapples, papayas, guavas, pomegranates, lychees, kiwi, persimmons, dragon fruit, dates, limes, etc…
Sweets: Candy canes, lollipops, wrapped sweets, pick n mix, popcorn, etc…
Vegetables: Carrots, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, bell peppers, chilli peppers, mushrooms, potatoes, taro, spring onion, leeks, parsnips, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, beetroots, sweet potatoes, spinach, etc…
Drinks: coffee cups, coffee beans, strawberry milk, milkshake, boba/bubble tea, cocktails, wine, beer, champagne, fruit juice, milk, cola, lemonade, tomato juice, lattes, Frappuccino’s, hot chocolates, etc…
Prepared food: fried eggs, soups, sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, burgers, pizza, sushi, ramen, spring rolls, dumplings, bao, spaghetti, bread, cheese, meats, burritos, tacos, fajitas, stew pots, pies, Sunday roast, fry-ups, fish and chips, falafels, kebabs, ice creams, cakes, sundaes, mochi, waffles, pancakes, cereal, etc…
Browse my recommended cutters here: Polymer Clay Cutters Buyers Guide
3. Something trending
I came up with ‘The MOOMPER earrings’ (as pictured) because I wanted to create an earring design incorporating the trending fashion style of cow-print!
It’s everywhere online and really popular at the moment, in the same way leopard and snake print will always be – animal prints never go out of fashion.
As an ever-green earring design, animal prints are a safe and popular bet. I decided to create little jumpers, in keeping with the ‘fashion theme’!
4. Add glitter to your clay
Roll glitter into your clay for a funky touch! This is an easy (and cheap) way of jazzing up your earrings. I added glitter into ‘The CHRISTMAS JUMPER earrings’ to make them even more festive! Experiment with different coloured clay and glitter combos! It’s as simple as pressing or rolling it into the clay and can really elevate your design.
Buy the CHRISTMAS JUMPER here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/895006344/the-christmas-jumper-earrings?ref=shop_home_active_4
If you’re enjoying this article you may also like: Tips for making polymer clay earrings
5. Browse Etsy and see what makes you ‘oooo’
Have a scroll through the products of some of your favourite sellers and keep a note of what makes you ‘oooo’. The earrings have to appeal to the maker after all 😉
Taking inspiration from others has been a creative method since the dawn of time; everything is inspired by everything else, so why not compile the earring designs that really stand out to you personally and make you swoon! Before you know it you’ll have an idea in a similar vein that will feel right and true to you.
6. Something pop culture related
Films, TV, music etc will always hold a special place in our hearts. Tap into that nostalgic sentiment and draw ideas from your favourite media.
I created these Spirited Away earrings because I’m a huge Studio Ghibli fan, and wanted to add a bit of that magic to my earlobes!
Think about your favourite shows, films and albums and the iconography that compels you from them, and get designing!
Here are some pop culture ideas for earrings –
Film: Harry Potter, Twilight, Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit, Star Wars, X-Men, The Avengers, Toy Story, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Alien, Fantastic Beasts, Terminator, Shrek, Men in Black, Ice Age, Deadpool, The Matrix, Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, How to Train your Dragon, Back to the Future, Studio Ghibli films, Disney films, Pixar films, etc…
Music: Album covers, CDs, tapes, radios, cassette players, boomboxes, headphones, guitars, pianos, drums, microphones, synths, amps, jukeboxes, records, LPs, etc…
Television: Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Mandalorian, The Witcher, Vikings, American Horror Story, Star Trek, Stranger Things, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince, Emily in Paris, New Girl, The Umbrella Academy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Westworld, The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Rick and Morty, Breaking bad, etc…
Mix colours you wouldn’t usually choose and push your designs out of your comfort zone – a lot of the best things in life come from happy accidents!
Playing around with ideas for polymer clay earrings and getting practice is the best thing your can do for your developing earring skills; coming up with new ideas and pushing yourself creatively will help you develop a habit of coming up with great ideas, until it’s like second nature.
I have so much fun making my little earrings and adding them to my Etsy store/posting about them on Instagram. Not only is it therapeutic for me, I can also earn some money from my hobby. Now that’s a win-win situation!
Get your fingers grubby and give some of the above ideas a go – I would love to see what you make. Please add the hashtag #wearablyweird to your Instagram posts of your designs so I can see them too!
8. Design ideas for painting polymer clay earrings
All of the above sounds great right? But what if you’re stumped for painting design ideas? I’ve got you covered!
A few general design ideas for painting polymer clay earrings are to add details to eyes with paint, shading, or highlighting with paint, adding a colour wash and easier pattern adding.
Ideas for pattern/detail designs here:
Paisley pattern, floral patterns, little happy/sad/funny faces, hair, letters and words, leopard print, cow print, snake print, zebra print, polka dot, zig zag, basket weave, chevron, honeycomb, trellis, diamonds, flamestitch, houndstooth, dogs tooth, pinstripes, barcode, abstract.
9. The basics
Often people skip the basic earring designs in favour for more funky and eye-catching pieces, straight off the bat. But if you’re a beginner its essential you master the basics, so you have a stable foundational knowledge of earring making, before you take on the more ambitious designs.
When I say basic earrings, I’m talking about simple studs and drops that you can make with a simple set of cutter tools and colours. Some popular simple earring designs on etsy include: heart studs, circle studs, rectangular studs, triangle studs, arch shaped drop earrings, teardrop earrings, multiple circle drop earrings – attached with several jump hoops.
I would suggest buying a starter kit of clay, including all of the primary colours, and then picking up some 925 silver earring hooks for no more than a few dollars or pounds extra.
My top starter kit pick is this one, as its got a lovely range of clay, tools and accessories for the price (I actually have a whole starter kit guide article available to read if you would like to have a browse here, but if you want a quick buy, the following starter kit wins for me):
10. Toy and games designs – nostalgic!
Polymer clay toy design earrings are always lovely to see, conjuring nostalgia and childhood fun that you can add to your earlobes! There are no end of toy design ideas, branching from classic toys from the 80s and 90s to modern toys and cute characters from pop culture cartoons and games.
Here are some generic toy designs to inspire you: teddy bear, doll, action man, train set, toy car, rubber duck, airplane, bicycle, roller blades, scooter, ball, alien
Here are some specific toy and games designs, based on the real life thing: Tamagotchi, Gameboy, Gameboy cartridge, Nintendo switch, Nintendo DS, Nintendo cartridge
Animal Crossing: Animal Crossing character, Animal crossing item: e.g. the frog chair, fossils, item leaf icon, Nook’s cranny, fruits, present and balloons, tools, bell bag, recipe bottle, fish, insects
Pokémon: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Eevee, Pokéball, gym badges, trainer cap, trainer bag, Pokémon town inspired themes – lavender town, make it spooky etc, trading cards
The above ideas will help you to get the gist and I’m sure your toy and games ideas are already flowing – what was your favourite toy from our childhood?
11. Animal based designs
Animal designs are great for earrings, as they’re cute, unusual conversation starters. I’ve included just about every mammal I can think of below (overkill if you ask me!), and then slightly shorter lists of fish, insects and birds.
African Wild Dog
Arabian (Dromedary) Camel Arctic Fox
California Sea Lion
Common Vampire Bat Common Wombat
Eastern Gray Kangaroo
Giant River Otter
Golden Lion Tamarin
Hawaiian Monk Seal
Killer Whale, Orca
Little Red Flying Fox
North American River Otter
Orca Killer Whale
Ozark Big-Eared Bat
Red Leaf Monkey
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
Steller Sea Lion
Western Lowland Gorilla
Birds: Swan, hawk, eagle, Pidgeon, chicken, duck, turkey
Sealife: whale, shark, orca, dolphin, sunfish, lobster, crab, sea anemones, squid, octopus, prawns, turtle, swordfish, eels, lantern fish
Insects: ladybird, butterfly, moth, bee, wasp, shield bug, caterpillar, snail, slug, worm
12. Flowers and plants
Flowers and plants might be my favourite types of polymer clay earrings, because there is just something so simple and beautiful about tiny flora!
Here are some ideas for flowers: bluebells, snowbells, freesia, lilies, roses, sunflowers, carnations, orchid, chrysanthemums, baby’s breath, daises, forget-me-nots, fox gloves
Here are some ideas for plants: ivy, ferns, four leaf clover, palm, monstera, maple tree, oak tree, willow tree, ash tree, bay tree, cactus, succulents
Is polymer clay safe?
Polymer clay is non-toxic, making it safe to use around children and pets, as it has been tested and certified. Polymer Clay only becomes toxic when baked at extremely high temperatures, for prolonged periods of time. If baked according to the packaging instructions, it’s perfectly safe.
What do I paint my Polymer Clay with?
You should be painting your designs with acrylic paint, because it’s:
⦁ Wonderfully cheap
⦁ Comes in all the colours you can think of
⦁ It’s very easy to use for beginners and pros alike
Which is the best polymer clay for making earrings and other jewellery?
⦁ 1. Fimo – best all rounder
⦁ 2. Sculpey III – good for simple designs and beginners
⦁ 3. Pardo Jewellery Clay/Art Clay – great for more advanced crafters
How do you bake Polymer Clay?
Now, there is no standard baking temperature and time across the board for all polymer clay; this definitely depends on the brand, and each clay should be baked to it’s proper instructions.
I have compiled an A-Z list of popular brands and their baking times for you below, so you can’t go wrong!
Baking instructions by brand:
Cernit: 30 minutes between 110 and 130°C (230-266°F)
Fimo: Maximum of 30 minutes at 110°C (230°F)
Kato Polyclay: 10-30 minutes at 150°C (300°F)
Original Sculpey: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Pardo Art Clay: Min 30 minutes at 120 decrees (248 F)
Pardo Translucent Jewellery clay: Min 30 minutes at 120°C (248°F)
Premo: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness. If thicker, initially bake for 15 minutes and then add another 5 minutes, another 5, and so on until done.
PVClay: 15-20 minutes at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey III: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey Souffle: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
For more baking tips, check out: How Long to Bake Polymer Clay Earrings – Quick Guide
I hope my ‘Design Ideas for Polymer Clay Earrings – stand out!’ article was helpful for you and you now feel confident to head to your craft table and have a go at some polymer clay earring designs!
My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to understand the world of polymer clay earring making, so you can go into your new hobby or small business venture with estimates, tips and facts under your belt for a smooth and rewarding start in this craft.
In this article I only scratched the surface of the world of polymer clay, starting with designs.
I also provide articles on: a How-to Guide for beginners, a Sales Guide for selling polymer clay earrings on Etsy, a comprehensive Cost Guide, and a bumper list of earring Design Ideas, so you’re never stumped by clay-makers block!
For more information on getting started with polymer clay earrings, check out:
Lorna is a footwear geek and the founder of Wearably Weird. She created a YouTube channel in 2021 for fellow footwear fanatics, dedicated to detail-rich footwear reviews and info. She has a fashion media qualification (awarded in 2011).