Monday, August 30, 2010

~ My crochet hooks ~

I've had a couple readers ask me about my crochet hooks so I've decided to post about how I make them.

I made my first crochet hook handle in 2002 - I needed more substance to hold in my hand - I was having a problem with having to stop crocheting and stretch out my fingers every once in a while. I thought of tape but I didn't think that that would feel comfortable or look very nice. My next thought was polymer clay. I had a small stash of it leftover from trying to make beads, so I tried it and it worked great.


This is how I create my crochet hook handles:

What you will need:
 
Step 1:  Knead the polymer clay to make it more pliable. (by the way, I use Sculpey and Fimo polymer clays) - then roll into a rope.  Twist the ropes together and then knead a little more.
Step 2:  Wrap the polymer clay around your crochet hook handle and shape it to your preference. I roll the handle on my dining room table to help smooth it out.

To flatten the end - I gently drop it to the table:

-- if you plan on adding a glass bead to the top, do that now.  Use a head pin (found in the jewelry section in the craft store) to help secure the bead.  You will have to cut the head pin about 1/8" from the bead.
 

Step 3:  Lay hook onto a bed of quilt batting - cover with an aluminum foil tent.


Step 4:  Bake in a toaster oven or regular oven at 275* for 15 minutes per 1/4" thickness.  Once baking is complete - leave the oven door open and the exhaust fan on to air it out.

Step 5:  Dry sand the handle with 320 grit sandpaper.  If you'd like, give it a good wet sanding with the 320 grit sandpaper also.


Step 6:  Buff with an old t-shirt.

Once you get the gist of creating these handles, you can let your imagination go. My favorite style is swirling 2 or 3 colors together with a glass bead on top. I think they're pretty and they really help out my crocheting hand.  :)

***Edited to add:

Use only metal crochet hooks. I tried a plastic hook once and it drooped down.


For spotted handles:

Make a handle according to the instructions except use only 1 color. To get the spots - just roll out a small ball of clay - flatten it between your thumb and finger and apply to the un-baked handle.  Then roll the handle on your table gently until the handle is smooth.  Bake it, and then sand it according to the instructions.
~~~

A little snake made with Fimo white glitter mixed with 1 drop of food coloring.

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114 comments:

  1. How clever and this one looks amazing. Clare x

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  2. Beautiful and useful...I have to stretch out my fingers alot. I have never worked with the clay, BUt I think I will have to now. thanks for sharing this.

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  3. thank you so much for the info about your hooks they are just so pretty and I can't wait to try that, I have some hooks that I got the bamboo handle on them but I do have the regular skinny hooks and I will try these on thanks again and I sure hope you have a good day!

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  4. Hi Debi, you are a never ending font of creativity. Barney Fife can crochet... and according to Barney "knitters and crocheters seldom have stomach disorders." You are a sweetie to think of the folks with those goodies too! Have a wonderful week.

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  5. Thanks everyone - I'm always happy to share. :)

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  6. I think I will try this! Thanks for the instructions.

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  7. Does the heat mess up the crochet hooks themselves? I have to try this out.

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  8. You're welcome Pammy Sue - I'm glad you like it.

    Ruth - as long as you use aluminum hooks, you will have no problem.

    :)

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  9. That's a good idea - except I have no plymer clay nor a toaster oven ;-)

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    1. You can use a throw away pan and use reg. Oven @250 degrees for 30 min.

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  10. Wow: you made them yourself! They look like professional made ones. Really great!

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  11. Wow Debi, these are amazing and look so very pretty. You should go into your own little business. I think you would do very well!

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  12. Thankyou so much for sharing this with us.. I will be trying it also.. Love your blog.. Pat in tas :))

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  13. Really clever idea Debi, could solve problems for a lot of crocheters with problem fingers.. :))

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  14. This is great!!! thank you so much!! I'll definetly give it a try... would you mind post pictures of any other hooks that you've made this way???

    Thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

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  15. hello Debi,

    beautiful hooks...love the tutorial,thank you. One question, do you hav eto sand it and is the batting step essential? I only ask cos I am desperate to try this weekend and dont have these things to hand!!

    Thank you for all the lovely comments on my blog,you have no idea how much they mean to me!!

    Please do clarify my doubts when you can,

    Hugs,
    ramya

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  16. Hi Ramya - if the batting is not used, the clay handle will have a flat side where it touches the baking sheet. The sanding will most likely take care of that - if you don't have sandpaper now, you can always sand the hook handle later. :)

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  17. Great idea. I just picked up some clay today. I do have two questions for you.
    1. What kind of quilt batting did you use?
    2. Have you tried this with steel hooks?
    I dabble a little with thread crochet and the hooks are so stinking skinny I have difficulty with them. If anyone has tried this I would love to know how it turned out before possibly ruining a hook. Thanks.

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  18. Anonymous - the quilt batting came in a small bag that I bought at Joann Fabrics - it was marked quilt batting.

    Yes I have done this with the small steel hooks. The steel hooks and the aluminum hooks are perfect for this. Don't use plastic hooks - they will melt a little. You can see one of the steel hooks I made on this post:
    http://hooksandyarns.blogspot.com/2010/10/crochet-along.html

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  19. Anonymous - forgot to mention the name of the quilt batting - it's called 'Mountain Mist' craft batt quality quilt batting.

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  20. nice idea will have to try

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  21. I love thie use of polymer clay. I've never worked with it but I'd like to try this one day!
    Thank you and your hook handles turned out beautiful! :)

    Lee Ann
    Crochet...Gotta Love It!

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  22. Hi, I just discover your blog and I am fan! It's unbelievable the way you create your hook handles! Congratulations!

    Katia from France

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  23. Hi, I just thought I'd tell you I'm proud to say I've made my first crochet hook handle :o) I've been doing doilies and the tiny crochet hooks were really hard to use. I hadn't realised how hard until I just tried out my 1.25mm hook with it's new handle - it's so much easier to hold and use!! Thank you for showing how to do it, mine isn't anywhere near as pretty as yours (how on earth do you get the spots so accurately?) but I'm still really proud of it :o)

    Sally - Newark in England

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  24. Congrats Sally! Have fun creating with your new hook. Don't be surprised if you find yourself making more - they're fun to make and the color possibilities are endless. :)

    p.s. the dots are real tricky - I had a hard time with the polka dot handle I made.

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  25. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing how to do this!!! I have seen these hooks on several blogs, and ont Etsy (very very expensive for just 1 hook) .i have all the supplies but could never could find exactly how to do them. Found 2 YouTube videos but they were not very good. So THANK YOU THANK YOU!! I will be making mine tomorrow,!!

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  26. You're very welcome Lynn40. If you have any questions just let me know - I'll be glad to help. :)

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  27. Oh my goodness, I love it! Will pick up supplies to try it on Saturday! Do you think there's any other material that could be used instead of batting?

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  28. Hi anonymous. I'm not too sure - batting is the only one I've tried. If you choose something else, make sure it will be ok in the oven. :)

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  29. Thrilled I found your blog! Can't wait to try making these!!

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  30. I am so excited to have found this, I can not wait to get some clay and do this to my hooks...

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  31. These are great! I have to make some - my hands have developed some arthritis. How did you make the polka dots?
    Thanks so mch for sharing.
    Christine

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  32. Thanks very much ladies. :)

    Christine - for the polka dots, make a solid color handle for your hook (don't bake it yet), roll out very small balls of white, flatten the ball between your fingers and then apply them to the hook handle. Roll the handle on a flat surface to make the dots smooth on the handle. Now bake the hook handle and sand to make smoother. :)

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  33. You are really creative!!! Thank you so much for all of your inspirations and ideas! I really like this idea!

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  34. OMG I'm so excited to try this! the polka dot handle is what caught my eye on Pintrest and I had to know where you found it but knowing you made it is amazing!

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  35. Thank you Sarah and Polka Dot Baby Tots. :)

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  36. I can get "air-dry" clay. Do you think that would work?

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  37. I'm not sure Kathy - I've never tried the 'air-dry' clay before.

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  38. Can you color the white clay?

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  39. Kathy - I checked at Sculpey.com and it says that you can paint the clay. Here's the link:

    http://www.sculpey.com/faq/qna/faq-179

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  40. Okay, but I'm thinking of coloring it or dyeing it before making the "handles". Food coloring or like a Rit powder dye? Think that would work? Sorry to ask so many questions...

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  41. Hi Kathy - I'm not sure if the clay can be dyed or not. I have some food coloring so I will try it tomorrow and let you know. :)

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  42. Kathy - I tried a small amount of Fimo white glitter clay and 1 drop of red food coloring and it worked. I made a little snake with the dyed clay - the picture is at the end of this post. :)

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  43. Thanks so much! The snake is adorable..

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    1. You are AWESOME! I think this may be the answer to my problem! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, which has prevented me from holding a hook. I haven't been able to crochet in a few years. (Yes, it's driving me crazy)! I miss it so much, I sometimes even cry over it. I will be heading out to the craft store tomorrow for Fimo Clay and making every one of my hooks, as you suggested. Thank you so much! Mega hugs coming your way!

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  44. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing! I have arthritis and fibromyalgia, which are both very painful. Crochet hooks are not big enough around and are very hard for me to use. Can't wait to do this!

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  45. You're welcome Kathy. :)

    Robin - thank you very much. I sincerely hope that this works for you and that you will be able to get back to crocheting. :)

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  46. How do you make the crochet hook? This is where I end up when I click on the hook.
    Brenda

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  47. Hi Brenda - I don't know why Blogger leads you all the way down to the end of the comments - they're still screwing up alot of things I guess. All you have to do is scroll all the way up to the beginning of this post. The instructions are for making a handle for your own crochet hook. :)

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  48. Love this idea! Are you using the equivalent of 1 package of clay for each one, I am sure they can be any size, but yours seem to be perfect.

    Thanks!

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  49. Thanks anonymous. The Sculpey blocks have 2 divider marks to make 3 rectangles. I use about 3/4 of a rectangle each of 2 different colors for my handles. If you use only 1 color - it's 1 and 1/3 rectangles total. I hope I explained that ok. :)

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  50. Hi, love your crochet handles. Don't have a toaster oven so can I use a regular oven and if yes what temp to set oven.

    thanks,

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    1. Thanks anonymous - step 4 answers your questions. :)

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    2. Polymer does give off toxic fumes, so it is not recommended that you use your oven. I use a toaster oven I picked up second-hand and I only use it outside on our balcony, with our windows closed. I let the work air out thoroughly before I bring it indoors. If you use your normal oven or bakewear you use to cook in, they are then unsafe to use for food. There is information about this online. If you google any of the polymer sites, you can check this out for yourself. ~ Linne

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  51. I would love to have the pattern for the doily you used as the background for the project picture. It is adorable!!

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    1. Hi. Sorry - I don't have the pattern. The doily was a giveaway gift that I won on another blog. :)

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  52. I have to say that you really remind me of myself from the 'crafty' part of yourself w/ making the polymer crochet handles to taking your crochet w/ you to your camp. I too, do this and and am lovingly given a hard time by our 'camping family'. Crocheting and crafting does tend to soothe, doesn't it?

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  53. Great!! I can't wait to give it a try!
    Thanx so much!

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  54. I've made many pen covers this way too (example: Papermate/Bic stick pens.) First you remove the pen tip and the ink tube .. it fits snugly into the cylindrical tube and comes out as one piece usually. Mix and swirl the desired colors together after conditioning your clay (like bread dough.)

    ** Don't put the polymer clay on food surfaces as they are not food safe. If you can use the toaster oven outside, that's the safest spot. There are fumes given off by the polymer clay that may not be safe - definitely not safe for pet birds you might have in your household. Keep the room well ventilated if you must do this in your kitchen. If you put your clay on a cookie sheet to bake, be sure you line it with aluminum foil - and discard the foil when you're done. **

    I have made lightswitch plate covers as well as many stick pens. If you can find metal substructures to cover, all the better. Plastic can be used if you have only a small portion of the plastic exposed during the "cooking" process. Since Debi says her plastic crochet hooks sagged/melted - I'd trust that! Stick with metal hooks. The small steel hooks would work fine too. Sometimes you just have to give it a try, and hope for the best. The polymer is breakable if you drop them on a very hard surface.. but you can start over again if/when that happens! Hope that helps.. there are LOTS of polymer how to sites online. A lot of crocheters have made stitch markers (with jewelry findings) and other accessories for themselves and friends. They make great gifts, especially when you put them in a customized zippered bag! (c;

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  55. This is so awesome and thanks for showing us all how to do this. I can't wait to try this :)

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  56. Hey Deb,

    Quick question about the quilt batting you used when ready to bake: I don't have access to quilt batting and I don't know of anyone who might donate some to me, so I was wondering if there other oven safe materials I could use?

    I was wondering if I could use cotton balls instead, but I have a feeling that might not turn out to well :/

    Thank you so much in advance!

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    1. I'm not really sure if any other fabrics could be substituted (I've never tried) - if you send me your mailing address to dlyrs@juno.com I can send you some of the quilt batting. You also have to remember to cover it with an aluminum foil tent when baking. :)

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    2. Oh thank you so much for your offer! I actually found a coupon in my wallet at lunch today, so I might just make a stop at AC Moore haha. But I will be sure to put that aluminum foil tent when I get to baking! :D

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  57. I just want to say, "Thank You," for showing me this. This is really awesome!!! I have alot of different kind of needles, and different colors of needles. I even got the wooden ones too. I really like your idea. I am going to give this a try. Thank you again. I really appreciate it alot. Hugs, Tricia

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    1. You're very welcome Tricia - and thank you too. Have fun creating your hooks. :)

      p.s. I haven't tried wooden hooks, so I'm not sure if they will hold up in the oven.

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  58. I just came across this post and I'm so excited! I have seen these being sold on Etsy and at craft fairs, but of course nobody selling them wants to hint on how they make them! I rather do it myself... and you have, thankfully, given me an awesome 'recipe' to follow! I can't wait to try this! Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome Renee. I hope you enjoy creating your crochet hook handles. :)

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  59. This tutorial is the best one yet!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Doing this makes crocheting a whole lot more enjoyable!! :)

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  60. Brilliant Debi! Thanks for sharing this tutorial x

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  61. I really love your idea and will have to try it someday. I have a question for you. I make amigurimi and have quite a bit of stuffing that I have gotten from Walmart and goodwill. Unfortunately I do not have a wrapper handy at all to tell you the name and type, other than polyester fiberfill. Would this work instead of the quilt batting?

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    1. Thanks Penny. I haven't used the stuffing for this, so I'm not sure. You can try making a little mattress shape out of some and see if it works. . :)

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  62. Hello Debi,
    Thank you so much for sharing this post and the tutorial. Many crocheters have sore fingers, hands and wrists, and this may be the solution, or in any case a help. Thank you so much!

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    1. You're welcome Elisabeth. I hope they will be able to help other people like they help me. :)

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  63. Variation: I've been doing this for years and mold the handle to fit my hand. The hook is always positioned to crochet when I pick it up.

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  64. thanks for this post really love the ideaof mkaing my own little dull grey crochet hooks lovely and pretty i like so many f the other posts on here have s een these sold on etsy and pintrest but i refuse to pay 6pounds for a crochet hook when i can get a set cheaper im going to have lots of fun making all my own crochet handles

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  65. I have several friends and family members who will really love these. I am going to the store tomorrow and get the clay, and the rest of the supplies, after I make one set, I show them what you have come up with, and hopefully they will want some. If not, I will have a wonderful set of hooks for myself. (Both for thread and yarn). I do have one question for you though, can you do this with the "Q" hooks?

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    1. I wouldn't recommend trying this on plastic hooks - they will melt a little bit. :)

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  66. Debi, these look fantastic! We have lots of ladies in my family who crochet, so now I have a great idea for next Christmas . . . thanks so much. Please see my note above in regard to baking safely. It's really important not to use items you use to prepare food, and that includes your oven.

    One thing that helps, if you plan to make lots of these; buy an inexpensive electric coffee grinder that you use only for polymer clay. Mine was about $10 at London Drugs just a few years ago. Break the clay into pieces about the size of a pea or a bit larger and grind them until they are easy to blend with your hand. I found that conditioning (softening) the clay was hard on my hands when I had lots of squares to do. If the clay is especially dry, a tiny drop of veg oil is helpful, but not too much!

    If you like mixing your own colours, put in pieces of two or more colours and blend until you like the colour. For a marbled look, blend in short bursts and not too long. It's fun to experiment and get your own look.

    I often use a ceramic tile from Totem (similar to Home Depot) as a baking support, but have not yet tried the batting and foil tent combination. Great idea!

    I would think that wooden handles would be ok to use so long as the wood is completely covered by the clay. Otherwise, I would stay near the oven (but upwind!) in case of spontaneous combustion. Fires are not fun!

    If you like the wooden handles, but find the small ones hard on your handds, another option is to make (or have made for you) wooden handles. These can be drilled to take the shaft of a metal hook and then turned so the surface is smooth and rounded. I would finish with oil or maybe a varathane-type coating.

    Wonder if I can find my polymer clay . . . thanks again for great ideas! ~ Linne

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  67. This look fantastic!
    In want to do this!

    Hugs from Italy, Violetta.

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  68. First, THANKS for sharing your technique. I have made several now and they really help since I have arthritis. I do have a question for you. After I sand them, both dry and wet, and buff them with an old cotton t-shirt, they seem dull. Is there a lacquer or clear varnish that can be used to give them that "shiny" look? Thanks for taking your time to answer our questions! And most importantly, thanks so very, very much for sharing this!

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    1. You're very welcome Shamra. There is a sealer that is sold in the polymer clay section - I used it on my first few hooks - but for me, the handle would feel sticky after crocheting for a little while. I don't have sweaty hands so I really can't figure out why that happens. It might not happen to you though - I'm not sure. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  69. Oh wow I can't wait to give this ago! Who would have though it was so easy! Xx

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  70. Thank you for posting this. I was thinking about trying it, but wasn't sure how to prevent a flat side, or even if the hooks were that heat resistant. Now I just have to get some clay, and quilt batting, and some sand paper... But I have old t-shirts! :-)

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  71. Okay, so I made one of these a couple of days ago, and love it! One question though. Is it just me, or does the clay shrink a bit lengthwise? I thought I had my handle ending just at the size marker, and now it's well behind it.

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    1. Hi there. I've used the Sculpey and Fimo clays and I haven't had any shrinking. :)

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  72. Hallo Debi hab heute erst den Blog gefunden und bin ganz begeistert der Tipp mit den Häkelnadeln ist einfach eine Super Sache ,wollte schon die alten Nadeln entsorgen aber jetzt bekommen Sie ein Neues Kleid Danke du hast einen tollen Blog ich komme wieder. Liebe Grüße aus Tschechien Karin

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  73. Greeting, This is so wonderful. Definitely would be a lot less expensive to make one's own handles. I'll try it during this winter which is fast approaching -- thanks so much for such a wonderful idea. An avid crocheter and knitter. Renee

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  74. I looove this!!! can you tell me how much clay do you use for each hook- 2 packages? less? more?

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    1. Thank you. Each package of clay is marked with 3 sections - I use between 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 sections for each handle. :)

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  75. hi I can not do all that . do you sell any that you have made please . thanks lyn webb

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    1. Hi Lyn. I don't make any hooks to sell, but there are quite a few ladies that sell them on Etsy. You should check that site out. :)

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  76. Debi, this is so cool! I can tell you I paid alot of $ for a particular crochet hooks because of the same problem of my hand... And really what a great personally made gift! I look forward to following your blog (just joined) Happy Hooking!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I'm glad that you like them, and I'm glad that you joined my blog. :)

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  77. Debi,this is my first time on your site... WOW!! Great site... I will be trying those handles, looks like great fun with the added bonus of being a gift :-) I became a follower of your blog this morning. Looking forward to reading more. Continued success, LizzieG

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  78. This is just so awesome!!! I have never tried that... my crochet hooks are the normal ones, but my mom is getting me a new kit with plastic handles... I am not so sure about that, I think I will try to follow your tutorial :D

    They look beautiful!

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  79. I'm going to try the handles I also like the doily.

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  80. This is such a wonderful idea, I cannot wait to try it out for myself. Thank you for the concise detailed directions for handling the clay. There was an earlier comment (Penny 7/22/2012) about using polyester craft batting instead of quilt batting, and I'd like to add that there is one very big difference between the two items--polyester batting (or stuffing) melts!! I have never tried baking it, but if you happen to get your iron on it, you have an enormous mess, and I am assuming the oven would be equally so. It would also give off toxic fumes, so I would not recommend it at all. Now if I could just remember where all those spare crochet hooks are that I bought at the rummage sale last summer.

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  81. Thanks so much for this wonderful idea. I modified your design just a little by covering the finger rest as well. Much more comfortable for me than having the letters and numbers leaving a callous on my finger. I also painted Sculpey gloss glaze on the clay to give it a finished look

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  82. P.s. I did not have batting and used a wash cloth once and a sport sock the second time. Both worked great. Just make sure it's a soft natural fiber.

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  83. I just found you and have become a follower. I am 72 years old and am re-learning to crochet. I have arthritis and love the way you improved your hooks. I am going to try this after payday arrives. Thank you so much for sharing. Your instructions appear to be very clear. Happy Valentines Day!

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  84. Great tutorial!
    On the weekend I took an art class, meeting your creative Muse, (Shiloh Sophia McCloud's method) & our teacher had a Magic Paintbrush on her altar! The handle is covered in polymer clay, with a small crystal on the end, for scratching into the Paint. My daughter-in law uses metallic powders with her Clay, which gives a great effect.
    Pulled out a stash of Colours to try this with on a paintbrush, & picked up some crystals yesterday.

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  85. Thank for the great tutorial!
    I took a painting workshop on Saturday, meeting your creative muse, and our teacher had a Magic Wand Paintbrush, with the handle covered in polymer clay, and tipped wIth a crystal. Ooo, I want one!
    So pulled our a few Colours, and found your tutorial! I blogged about the class: www.dia-creationstation.blogspot.com , I'll link to your tutorial on my next post!!

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  86. Thank you Debi for your post! I have made several items from Polymer and Sculpey clays but never thought about making handles for my crochet hooks. I am going to do this and I am going to add one more detail to mine. I am going to put the hook size on the handle using a totally different color shaped as the letter for the size and apply it like the spots are applied or instead of the bead on the end of the handle. I crochet a lot and my fingers cramp sometimes to the point where I have to quit for a while. I am 83 years old and have crocheted for many years and intend to never quit! Patty

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  87. Ahh thank you! What a fantastic idea. I will use this for my tiny steel hooks so I can grip them better, AND they'll be super cute.

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a message - it always puts a smile on my face. If you have a question - post it here and check back - I will always answer you. :)