I made several pairs of these adorable cherry blossom bobby pins as favours for my daughter’s Geisha Party, but they are really just a cute hair pin for any occasion!
Made from Martha Stewart Crafter’s Clay, you can do them in any colour at all. It would be easy to match an outfit for Easter, a wedding, or whatever! If you are going for an exact colour match, you should be aware that the clay dries slightly darker than it appears when soft. However, it’s not enough of a difference to make a perfectionist like me throw up my hands in despair, so you should be fine.
I think calling it “clay” is a bit of a misnomer, as it’s really more of a dense, moldable foam. The objects I make out of it certainly dry to be as light as a feather, and the “clay” contains strange little fibres. Oh well!
Tip: If some of your clay seems to be drying faster than you can use it, spritz it with water from a spray bottle, work it in by smushing it around with your fingers, and the texture should be restored.
When I started this project, I actually pre-mixed all of the colours I would need. I then stored each little ball of coloured clay in its own tiny glass bowl, spritzed them with water, and covered them in plastic wrap. They all kept, without drying out, until I could use them.
I was quite surprised at how little clay was needed to fill the mold. Even with practice, I often overestimated and had an over-full mold. If you want a nice, neat back to your flowers, overfill the mold slightly, and then use a sharp paring knife to slice off the extra, flush with the top of the mold.
I found that I was able to make two flowers per 24 hour period. I would put some Crafter’s Clay in the mold first thing in the morning, let it dry all day, remove it at night, and put some more clay in the mold to dry overnight. I could then remove that flower the following morning, and repeat the cycle.
When unmolding your objects, try not to bend them too much if they aren’t fully dry, or they will dry in that bent shape (voice of experience here). This is a non-issue if the clay has dried completely, since it shrinks a bit when it dries, and should just fall easily out of the mold. Also, I found that it was not necessary to wash the mold between flowers, or even between colours. The Martha Stewart molds are very well-made, and none of the dried clay got stuck in them.
I bought my bobby pins from craftsutopia on Etsy. To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend them. In addition to the bobby pins, I bought some brooch backings, and neither product is very sturdy or well-made. My daughters wince every time I slide these bobby pins into their hair because they have sharp edges, and they don’t stay in that well.
Unfortunately, it’s practically impossible to tell which bobby pins, out of the thousands available online, are going to be comfortable and good quality just by looking at a picture. So if you know of some good ones, please let me know in the comments section below!
I used E-6000 glue to attach the clay blossoms to the metal bobby pins. Even though that stuff is as toxic as all get-out, it is really the only glue that dries clear and works for pretty much everything. I especially love that it has a flexible bond even when dry. Most glues dry hard, and just crack if too much stress is placed on them. Most other glues also require both surfaces to be porous for best adhesion, but E-6000 will stick to anything. You definitely want to use it outside though, or in some other extremely well-ventilated place. Since I was making these hair pins in the winter (yes, March is winter in Alberta), I worked on my stove-top with the range hood fan going full speed to suck the nasty fumes away ASAP.
E-6000 takes three days to fully dry. Once they were ready, I decided to seal the clay flowers. Dried MS Crafter’s Clay seems to attract dust (and cat hair, in my house). I also find the texture of the dried clay to be somewhat unpleasant to the touch. Sealing it solves both of these problems, and adds a bit of strength.
I used Liquitex Iridescent/Pearlescent Medium to seal my cherry blossoms. You could also use a basic matte or gloss acrylic medium, or any water-based varnish. I chose the Pearlescent Medium because it is quite safe, and I love the pearly effect that it gives. Note: this medium dries translucent, not transparent. It will make colours appear slightly lighter, and silvery.
I sealed both sides of the clay for the most protection, so I needed some way of drying the sakura bobby pins without laying them down. Placing the pins on some shot glasses was the perfect solution! Shot glasses are rarely used at our house, so no one would miss them while they were being used as drying “racks.”
I made these blue ones to match a kimono top that I sewed for J, but they also went perfectly with her Easter dress this year! Ditto for A’s pink sakura bobby pins below.
I made these bobby pins over a year ago, and they have held up very well with light use. It’s seriously such an easy project, and one with such cute results!
I’m debating doing a giveaway contest with this post, the prize being some sakura bobby pins or other style of hair clip. Let me know in the comments section below if you’d be up for that!