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DIY Salt Crystal Napkin Rings

I’ve had pink Himalayan salt crystals hanging around my kitchen for a solid 3 years, never having been used because they’re too pretty (in my opinion) to grind up and eat!

The inspiration for this craft came from the October For the Makers box, which included (among other things) a package of white Sculpey, and a packet of ground pepper. The idea was to mix the pepper with the clay to create a speckled pattern that would ultimately be shaped into a ring holder. If you’re interested in the original craft, you can find the tutorial here.

I’m pretty satisfied with my current method of jewelry storage, and have a huge aversion to black pepper, so I started thinking of different ways I could remix this craft idea.

Because this story begs to be told, the whole pepper aversion thing stems from a childhood trip to a swanky restaurant with family. At the end of our meal, our server brought us all dishes of ice cream the chef made in-house that afternoon. Awesome. Free ice cream, we thought. Free chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks! How could we go wrong?! As we all dove face-first into our ice cream bowls, realization dawned as one by one, we chewed and realized that the chunks in our chocolate ice cream were actually giant hunks of cracked black pepper. Not pepper flakes, not finely ground pepper bits, MASSIVE CHUNKS of whole and almost-whole peppercorns. Let me tell you, my family and I are adventurous eaters, but this was just BAD. We all ate a few more bites (pointedly avoiding the pepper hunks) to be polite and suffered the consequences with immediate-onset heartburn. I proceeded to barf it all up an hour later on a tilt-a-whirl (because what better way to spend the evening after eating nauseating food, than on a nauseating carnival ride), firmly cementing black pepper on my permanent shit list.

AS I WAS SAYING. Pepper is G R O S S and in no way do I want to be reminded of pepper barf, so I knew instantly this craft would have to be made another way. I then remembered that pretty little jar of three year old pink salt in the cabinet, and the rest is history.

 

Supplies

A few packages of polymer clay; each 2oz package makes 2 napkin rings (I used Sculpey III in “translucent”)

Large Himalayan sea salt crystals (I used Trader Joe’s brand)

Cylindrical object to use as rolling pin

Wax paper

Toilet paper or paper towel tube

Ruler

Craft knife

 

Instructions

 

1. Roll clay into a snake shape a little less than 6 inches long
2. Flatten clay snake into a rectangular shape measuring a little over 6 inches long and a little over 1″ wide. Use whatever you can find to roll out the clay that’s a cylinder and won’t leave texture impressions. I used an acrylic paint bottle.
3. Measure a 1″x6″ rectangle onto your clay piece, and lightly score the measurement to use as your guide. At this stage, do not cut all the way through the clay (you’ll see why in a minute).
4. Start placing your salt crystals. I like to drop mine over the surface so that the pattern is more random, but feel free to place them any way you’d like.
5. Be sure to keep crystals at least 1mm away from the edges you marked earlier.
6. LIGHTLY press the crystals into the surface of the clay, just hard enough so that they stick. We’ll press them further into the clay at a later step. If you press the salt crystals in all the way at this step, bad things will happen. JUST TRUST ME. I’ve tested it.

7. Trim the short ends of the clay to make the piece just slightly longer than 6 inches, and carefully lay the clay over your wax covered tube. Join the ends you just cut, lightly smoothing the joint with your fingertips.

8. Place a few more crystals over the spot you just covered to hide the seam, and press them in lightly. Replace any crystals that may have fallen off during this step.

9. At this point, you may now press the crystals more firmly into place.
10. Notice how when you do this, it displaces clay and warps your measurement line from earlier. If we had cut all the way through the clay at the earlier step, our clean finished edge would now be wavy and bumpy!
11. NOW we can cut all the way through the clay. With a steady hand and your earlier measurement as a loose guide, use your craft knife to cut all the way through the clay. The goal here is to have an even, flat edge, but don’t stress if it’s not perfect. Repeat on the bottom edge, removing excess clay as you go.
12. Carefully slide the waxed paper and clay ring off of the tube. Remove the waxed paper from the inside of the ring. Bake according to the instructions on your clay packaging. Don’t stress too much about slightly rough edges – polymer clays can be sanded with fine grit sandpaper after baking.

While most colors of polymer clay will remain the same through the baking process, translucent Sculpey becomes slightly less opaque. I personally like earthiness of the translucent color, but feel free to choose whatever color clay suits your fancy.

 

Upgrade your table

 

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Candle light is an instant moodsetter. Mix heights, colors and shapes to keep things casual. Vintage cigar tins make great holders for votives and other drippy candles. Melted candle wax puddles beautifully, so why not display it?

I keep a piece of dimensional raw edged cherry wood around to add height and interest without pretension; driftwood would have a similar effect.

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Paper berries bring to mind paper lanterns. Quilted jam jars reflect candlelight beautifully.

 

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Elizabeth
Blogger at Merit + Fork
The Merit of Merit + Fork, Elizabeth's posts are driven by her innate need to just make stuff.

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