If you are an embroiderer or a cross stitcher, you probably lost more than once your needle while changing thread or needle size, right? I know, me too! But guess what, I have the right tool for you: the needle minder. What is it? It’s a magnet that holds your needles on your canvas or fabric, so you wouldn’t lose them. Bonus point when, said needle minder, is cute. Here I have for you both: cuteness and usefulness. In this article, I will explain to you how to make a cute needle minder with polymer clay. Let’s first see what you will need to make it, shall we?
- Polymer Clay: white, black and pink. I personally used the brand “Nara”, but you can use Fimo as it is the most known and popular.
- Sculpting tools
- Roller and cutter
- Polymer Glue
- A glossy varnish, I used UV resin
- Magnets, I used 2 different shapes of magnets: 2 large rounds of 1 cm of diameter for a thickness of 1 mm, and 2 small cylindrical magnets. Make sure that the magnets are strong enough.
- Acrylic paint
- Baking paper
- Acetone or sand paper
And that’s about it.
How to make a needle minder
Designing your needle minder
First, you have to decide a shape and a design. I went for a kawaii cloud as I always wanted a cute needle minder. So I designed it on my tablet and resize it to print it on paper.
To make up for my lack of mold, the idea was to use the printed design under the baking paper and sculpt the clay to fit the cloud’s shape. Take your baking paper and put your design under it. Cut some white clay and put it on top of the baking paper (design is under).
Sculpting your design
You may first learn how to condition your polymer clay before proceeding to the sculpting part (go to 7:51 mark on the linked video).
With your sculpting tools, try to shape the clay into the cloud (you can use my design if you want to reproduce the same cloud). The tricky part of this is to make sure that the cloud keeps the same thickness everywhere. I had to cut the top at some point with the cutter, to flatten the clay and make it even in all its parts.
Once you have the perfect shape for you, we will make 2 holes on the back of the cloud to glue the magnets, later on. Dig a little, just enough so the magnet is half inside the clay, half outside of it.
Now pick your black and pink clay, we are going to make the face. To make the clays adhere to each other, I recommend you to dig light holes to insert the eyes, mouth and blush (as shown in the picture below).
You can also put some clay glue before baking. Or if you want to put the glue after baking, then bake each part of the face apart, then glue them on the cloud after (with some superglue, ).
Depending on your brand of clay, you may have a limited temperature to not exceed. Mine was 100 Celsius degree, you can usually find out what is the recommended temperature on the packaging of your clay. Also, the thickness of the clay will affect the baking’s duration. The thicker, the longer the time it will need to be perfectly baked. I personally had to bake my cloud for around 45 minutes. (little reminder that you should use an oven for the baking, not a microwave)
Do not glue your magnets on the clay before the baking process. You should bake your clay magnet-free, first. The heat will affect the strength of your magnets, so it is not recommended to bake your clay while the magnets are attached to it.
I baked my clay on the baking paper and on a hard and flat surface plate to avoid any curbing on the back. Once it’s done baking, let the clay cool down a moment, for it to harden completely.
Sanding the clay and painting it
Now that your clay is baked, you may notice some imperfections. You have two solutions that can remedy to this (that I know of, there’s maybe more): acetone and sand paper. As for acetone, I recommend you the video of Tomatoda on youtube, she explains how to use it to erase fingertips and dust on your clay.
The second option to smooth out your clay is sand paper. Here again you have an awesome tutorial by Of Clay Jewelry on youtube, in which she explains the different sand papers you can use and how. I highly recommend you to watch her video before sanding your clay to avoid any mistakes.
My personal tip for sanding is use the bigger grain first, to erase bumps and imperfections on your clay; then use the smaller grain to smooth it out. Sand very gently, because if you go too hard, it will create scratches, which we want to avoid the most.
Once you have polished your clay, you may proceed to paint it with acrylic painting. It will hide the remaining imperfections and add a cleaner look to your needle minder.
The final touches
After the paint has dried, you can now glue the magnet on the back of the cloud. Use superglue for that.
To finish your cloud, you have one last step: varnish it. You can use the type of varnish you prefer. I used UV resin but you can use Mod Podge (it’s the most popular varnish amongst polymer clay artists). It will give a nice glossy touch to your cloud and will seal the face and the paint on the cloud at the same time.
Now, the only left thing to do, to finish your needle minder, is to make the back of the magnet. Do exactly as we did with the cloud, with a shape of your choice. I made a rectangular bar for the back and painted clouds on it to fit the design of the front.
And voilà! You have a new handmade and cute needle minder to make your embroiderer friends green with envy. Let me know in the comment box down below if you’re going to make one and how it turned out once it’s finished! I’m looking forward to seeing your kawaii needle minders!
Make someone happy: share this article to your friends, so they can also make a cute needle minder for themselves!