DIY Decorative Chain Out of Air Dry Clay

How to make a knock-off decorative object chain to look like the designer version for much less using air dry clay to style table tops and coffee tables. 

air dry clay decorative chain

Decorative objects that designers stick on a coffee table or a dresser top kind of give me a chuckle. They’re so random. And sometimes I just have to ask myself why?

coffee table decor with dried hydrangeas and DIY decorative chain using air dry clay

Coffee Table | Tray | Rug | Bowl | Book | Candle | Pillow

Sure, why not put a mini statue of a horse head on your entryway table? I mean, being reminded of that scene in The Godfather every day is cool, I guess.

Why not put a giant pair of dice or a jack on your bedroom dresser? That seems normal.

Why not plop a huge chain on your coffee table? That seems like a fabulous choice to display out of all the random objects in the world.

Am I the only one who thinks this? But at the same time, I really really like them. Why am I the way that I am? Yeah, I’ve been suckered into a trend and I don’t care who knows it. They’re weirdly cool.

And you know… like all trends that start out in the high-end stores, they’re pricey. All of the decorative chains I’ve seen out there are typically $50-100-200…

Like this one and this one and this one. Whuuuut? No.

DIY decorative chain made from air dry clay and paint

So I picked up a bucket of air dry clay and took a stab at making one myself for like $9. I’m definitely not the first blogger to do this little project, and I honestly had doubts I could pull it off. (I draw stick people.)

Mistakes were made but I still love how it turned out!

DIY Decorative Chain from Air Dry Clay

Supplies Used

The Steps

1. Divide your air dry clay into 3 equal amounts – about baseball sized each.

2. Begin rolling out the clay ball with your hands to make a “snake” shape.

3. Once the clay has been rolled to about 8-10 inches in length, cut a little off of the ends with a blunt knife.

4. Using your fingers, dab a little bit of water on the cut ends and gently push the ends together to make a loop shape. Smooth the clay where you joined the ends.

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5. Shape the clay loop into an oval shape and set aside.

air dry clay shaped into chain

6. Repeat steps 2-5 two more times. Let the 3 oval shapes dry for a day. (This allows the links to dry flat and prevents the chain links from looking warped in the next steps.)

7. Repeat steps 1-3 on two more baseball sized pieces of clay.

8. This time, loop the “snake” shaped clay through one of the dried clay loops and join the ends together to create a link.

air dry clay shaped into a chain

9. Repeat until you have a 5-link chain shape. Let dry for a day or two. (If you want to speed up the drying process, put the clay chain in a cold oven on a baking sheet and set the temperature to 200 degrees. Let bake for 15 minutes but no longer or it could burn.)

10. Once fully dry, spray paint the chain shape black. Dry, flip over, and spray paint the other side. Let dry.

air dry clay sculpted and painted to look like a decorative chain

11. Dip the medium-sized craft brush in white craft paint. Tap off the excess. Using your finger, press the bristles of the brush a few inches over the chain and splatter the white paint on the black painted finish to create a granite/stone effect. (I wore a glove for this step because it’s definitely messy.)

For any accidentally large splotches of white paint, I spritzed a small paint brush with more of the black spray paint to touch it up.

That’s it!

decorative chain made from air dry clay as coffee table decor

Doesn’t it look like a real stone chain? Okay, it’s not perfect, but I kind of like the imperfections. Considering I’m not artistic AT ALL, I couldn’t believe how well it turned out. And it saved me like $90 so there’s that.

I still have a ton of clay left, so now I’m tempted to see what else could be made out of it.

Have you seen any cool air dry clay projects lately? There have been so many creative ideas out there this past year.

If you want more DIY knock-off ideas, you can find more here:

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  1. OMG, my head just exploded! You knocked this diy out the ballpark. Fabulous! I love Aretha Franklin and the Godfather my husband and I have only watched the godfather 1 million times and he knows every line before they even said I don’t know why I keep watching it with him but he loves it and I love it too I guess. Back to your DIY, it’s amazing, fabulous, creative and the list goes on and on I am so Thrilled I found and join your site because you are an amazing designer. Thanks for sharing

  2. You nailed this one! As I watched you shape the clay, my mind went to adding decorative pieces at the top of a plain mirror then painting it gold to dupe the fancy mirrors out there.