January 18, 2019

Easy Hamsa Pendants Made With Clay

A couple of months ago in the Journal, a story headlined “The Many Facets of the Sephardic Spirit” featured a cover photograph with an array of hamsa necklaces. It got me thinking. As the hamsa is one of the most popular motifs in jewelry, I wanted to figure out an easy tutorial for hamsa pendants so kids of all ages could have fun making their own. I’m not much of a jewelry maker, which meant metal and wire were out. But clay, that I could work with. The result — these colorful hamsas that work not only as pendants, but refrigerator magnets, zipper pulls or even rear-view mirror ornaments. You’ll definitely want to try your hand at making them.

What you’ll need:
Air-dry clay
Parchment paper
Rolling pin
Hamsa cookie cutter
Craft rhinestones (optional)
String or yarn


1. My air-dry clay of choice is Crayola Model Magic, which is available at crafts stores like Michaels. It’s actually not really a clay, but a nontoxic modeling compound similar in feel to Play Doh. Unlike Play Doh, however, it dries nicely in 24 hours without cracking or crumbling.


2. Place a small fistful of clay between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the clay flat to about a quarter-inch thickness.


3. Cut out the hamsa shape with a hamsa cookie cutter. I bought mine on Amazon. If you don’t want to buy a cookie cutter, you can also cut out the shape freehand using a butter knife.


4. Using the point of a pencil, poke a hole in the clay for the necklace. I positioned my hole at the top so that the fingers would point up. If you want the fingers to point down, place the hole at the bottom.


5. To decorate the hamsa, roll some clay between your palms and stretch it to create a thin ribbon. Or, roll tiny amounts between your fingers to make little dots. Apply these details to the hamsa, pressing gently to adhere the clay.


6. For some bling, press craft rhinestones firmly into the clay. They’ll set right in there. If they happen to fall off when the clay is dry, just glue them back on.


7. You can also make a “tie-dye” design by mixing different colors of clay before flattening them with the rolling pin. The hamsa will need minimal decoration because the clay is colorful enough already.


8. When the clay has dried for 24 hours, it will be very lightweight and feel a bit like foam. I love that it’s not hard like regular clay. Run some yarn or string through the hole, and you’re styling!

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at jonathanfongstyle.com.