Does your hand cramp up when crocheting? Do you feel pain in your hand when holding your tiny crochet hook? Have arthritis that flares up when your crochet? An ergonomic crochet hook may be the answer to all of your problems! In the crochet industry, ergonomic is used to describe a particular style of crochet hook. Ergonomic hooks are utilized to relieve stress and pain in your hand while holding your hook. Popular brands of ergonomic crochet hooks include Clover and Addi. However, these can be expensive, especially to buy in a larger quantity to get all hook sizes. The following post details how to make your own ergonomic crochet hook. This DIY polymer clay crochet hook tutorial will save you money and allow you to modify your crochet hooks as you please!
The first style I came up with is ideal for those who hold their hooks in the “knife position”, where you grip over the hook. I tend to hold my hook in this fashion. After playing with several styles of shaping my crochet hook, I found that this style is most comfortable. Gripping this hook is easy as there is a place for you to rest your thumb, and the fact that the hook is more rounded allows you to easily roll the hook back and forth in your hand. The thickness is perfect with those of you who have arthritis. My mother holds the hook in the same fashion that I do, and she loved the hook that I made her to work with. She preferred not having the thumb hold, so I made one without the thumb grip and labeled the hook on the bottom.
What is that little charm on the end of my crochet hook? It is my handmade WIP (work in progress) stitch marker. Ever forget what hook you are using for a WIP you started a few months ago? This little stitch marker contains a bead that is labeled with the hook size, so you won’t forget what size you used to start that afghan, hat, or scarf. There will be more information on how to make these WIP stitch markers in a future blog post. I know, I know. The suspense.
Okay, enough talk about how awesome this hook is! Let’s get into how we make it!
Aluminum Crochet Hook(s)
Polymer Clay in Desired Colors (Sculpey, Fimo, etc.)
Tools to Cut/Shape Clay
Optional Supplies, But Strongly Recommended
Small Alphabet Stamps
Wet to Dry Sandpaper
Sculpey Gloss Glaze
Sculpey Bake and Bond
Supplies to Make WIP Stitch Markers
- Gather your materials. Select desired hook (make sure it is aluminum) and color scheme for your polymer clay crochet handle.
- Find a flat surface to work on, and lay out your cutting board and supplies.
**Note: Make sure you don’t mind if this surface gets stained. You can clean the stains with dish soap and water followed by magic eraser, but it doesn’t guarantee you will get your surface entirely clean**
- Start by making several balls of clay (a total of 6, or an even number). I made mine so the two in the middle were the largest and they got smaller towards the ends of the hooks. After you make your balls, line them up as if you were covering your hook with them. Check to see how this works with your hook. Because hooks come in all sizes, you will need to adjust the ball size to fit your hook. Also, make sure the center of the balls is where you want your thumb hold to be. I set mine too far back the first time.
- Pre-make holes going through the center of each of these balls. Start small, and make your hole slightly larger. Gently slide these balls onto your hook in the appropriate order. As you slide them on, rock them back and forth, but do not squeeze as you do so. We are trying to keep them the same shape!
- Before you press the balls together and set them in place, make sure you adhere them to each other somehow. You can (a) do the old slip and score method (making little waffle patterns in the clay to ‘lock’ them together) or (b) purchase a clay bonding liquid and put a drop or two between each ball. If you are going to use method b, it would also help to add some clay bond to the hook to hold each ball in place.
- Press the balls together and lock them in place.
- Optional Step: I created thin tubes of clay to wrap around the clay at each ball intersection and on the ends. This just adds an artistic flare to the crochet hook, and is not necessary to do.
- Next, I created my label/thumb hold. Get a small amount of clay and create a flat circle. Make sure it fits the size of your hook!
- Carve or stamp the size of the hook into the clay piece. I go by the US sizes, so that is what I put on my hook.
- Adhere this piece to the hook using options a or b in step 5 above. Press the clay down into the hook slightly to ensure it stays.
- Optional Step: There is a storage method I came up with for the WIP stitch marker I added to the end of my hook. I added a little eye pin (found in jewelry making supplies) to the end of my crochet hook. I cut a long eye pin down to just a little nub, and slipped it into the end of the hook. Make sure you press it down so that some of the eye is submerged in clay, but not too much of it so that you cannot hook your marker to it. Bake your hook with this eye pin in the clay.
- Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Place wax paper on cookie sheet with the copy paper on top (the copy paper helps reduce spots in your clay from where it is laying). Place clay hook on the copy paper and put into the oven after the oven is pre-heated. I recommend baking the clay for 30-40 minutes. Make sure you watch the clay for discoloration. See polymer clay tips below.
- After you bake the clay, pull it out of the oven and wait for it to completely cool.
- Optional Step: You may choose to sand out the imperfections and glaze your hook to give it the shiny look my hook has. Use fine grit, wet to dry sand paper. Add water to the sand paper and gently smooth out the hook. Let the hook dry before using a paintbrush to add the glaze to the hook. I added 2 coats of glaze to mine.
And, voilà! It is finished! Enjoy your masterpiece!
Tips for working with Sculpey Polymer Clay:
- Clay will stain
- Wash tools and surfaces before and after use
- Use a surface you do not mind if it gets stained
- Use wax paper over a surface if you do not have one of these surfaces
- Clay washed out well with dish soap and water (if not, magic eraser works well too)
- Knead clay to avoid small bubbles in your project
- Make sure to adhere the clay pieces to each other in some way
- Use Sculpey Bake and Bond – This is a clear glue for you to use prior to baking. It is specifically made to ensure clay stays together after baking
- Slip and score – This is an older method you can use that does not require you to purchase the clay glue. Make small waffle type markings with a pointy sharp object in the clay (on both sides) and press the clay together. It ‘locks’ the clay in place. Just be sure not to get the marks too far to the outer parts of each ball/bead, so the marks are not visible.
- Bake clay at 250 degrees for an extended period of time
- The amount of time required to bake the clay depends on the thickness of your project
- Underbaking your clay can make it break. Overbaking can cause discooration.
- For this crochet hook project, I baked my hooks for 30-40 minutes
- Some bloggers have tricks on how to bake polymer clay so it doesn’t burn
- DO NOT use nail polish or clear spray paint to make your project shine. This will create a sticky residue on your project.
- Store clay in cooler places to keep from hardening
- Do not store next to a heat source, such as a radiator or heater
- Do not store in a cabinet above a light source
- Do not store near a sunny window
Keep your eyes peeled for my next DIY polymer clay crochet tutorial. I am going to create another style that is idea for those of you that hold your hook in the “pencil position”. Look out for my WIP stitch marker tutorial as well.
Have your own hook variation ideas? I’d love to see them! Comment with your masterpieces below!