Monday, July 23, 2012

Inchie Book Necklaces and Keychains

I am back after a wonderful trip to Fernie, BC.  The weather was great except for a wild storm on Friday night.  The workshop was a great success with my students creating Aztec file folder books, Inchie book necklaces/keychains,
stepping stones, and Amate paper cut outs.  My co instructor Min, had them learning about Aztec history and culture, doing a bit of drama, writing poetry, and drumming.  At the end of the 3 day workshop they each presented a poem accompanied by the drums of their classmates in front of a live audience.  It was terrific!

I did these 'inchie' book necklaces or keychains with 2 classes at the conference.

There were inspired by an article in "Pages" 2012 by Sherrie Styx.

You might remember a post I did in November last year about these "inchie" books.

You now take that "inchie" book and add covers made from polymer clay. 

You can then string it together as either a necklace or a keychain.  I also had students who just wanted it as a stand alone book.


- inchie squares, mine are twinchies (2"x2")
- jump rings, small binder clips, or chain links

- little hole punch or awl
- waxpaper
- paint, pencil crayons, whatever you have on hand
- any little embellishments, googly eyes, fancy papers, sequins, etc.
- tacky glue
- polymer clay like Sculpey or Fimo
- little rolling pin or tomato paste can, paint container, basically anything that you can use to roll out the clay
- oven or toaster oven
- optional: glass beads, metal beads, little alphabet stamps
- hemp or leather cord
- barrel clasp for a necklace or keychain fastener
- optional:acrylic paint for antiquing
- Mod Podge


Figure out how many pages you want in your book and cut your inchies.

I make mine 2 inchies by 2 inchies as that is easier for the kids to use but you can also do a 1 x 1". 

I always wash my hands first before working with polymer clay.  If you have any paint or marker on your hands it will transfer onto the clay. 

Take your polymer clay and cut the block in half.  This will be plenty to make 2 covers.  Start kneading it a bit and allow it to warm up in your hands.  It will be easier to work with.

On a piece of wax paper roll out the clay, you want it no thicker than 1/4 of an inch or .5 cm.  If it is too thick it will take up too much space in the jump or o ring.

Take one of your inchies and cut around it with a nail or wooden skewer.

Gather up all the leftover clay and repeat for the second cover.  Some of the kids did 2 different colors.

Take your two covers and place them one on top of the other, using the nail punch 2 holes near the top for the jump ring.

Now you can start decorating.  Metal and glass beads work well as they hold up to the heat in the oven.  If you want to add something that won't hold up to the baking (like a picture or printed text),  add it later with a little Mod Podge.

You can see the holes punched on this photo.

You can also use little clay cutters to add imprints or to cut out windows in your covers like this boy did.  The page underneath will then show thru the window and you can add a special embellishment or picture if you want.

You can also use rubber stamps to imprint the covers.

Place on a cookie sheet or baking tray. 

Set your oven to 275 degrees or so and bake for 20-30 minutes depending on the clay.

Check the package for baking instructions.

It gets a bit smelly (plastic like) so open your windows and if you have birds place them in another room.
If  you find you really like doing polymer clay you might want to invest in a second hand toaster oven.  I can usually find one at a garage sale.  Then you can use it only for clay and it's small size allows for quicker heat up as well as being able to place it outside so no fumes in the house.

Once baked you can antique the clay with a bit of watered down acrylic.  This helps any imprinted words to pop.  Paint over with the acrylic and then wipe away with a kleenex leaving just a little bit of color.  You can also glue on any bits that would not have made it thru the oven like paper text or pictures.

Now you can add a coat of Mod Podge to get a shiny finish and glue everything down.

Now we work on the pages.

Take one of the clay covers and using a pencil mark where the holes are onto each "inchie" page.

Punch out the holes with an awl. press punch, needle or even a sharp pencil.

Add paint and text or just leave them blank to fill out in the future.

My students wrote out their poetry.

Now it's time to put the book together.  You need the largest jump or O rings you can find.  You can also use small binder clips, chain links, or even wire you have looped around a large marker to make a double ring.

Starting with the back cover add pages.

Add the front cover.  That last hole will need a little fiddling. Push the jump ring closed.

On a piece of hemp or cord string on some beads and your book.  Add a clasp or a keychain ring.

and there you have a cute little book with a firm cover to last up to lots of wear.


  1. love your work and the way you make it visual and easy to understands for 'nerds' like me

  2. Sometimes I think seriously to move living next to you… (and it’s really require a long way transformation from Israel). Amazing what you are doing!

  3. Gail, I just love this! In fact, all your inchie projects are great! I can't wait to try this one! Thank you for sharing!

  4. What kind of paper do you use?