Make your own polymer clay beads and create bold, statement jewelry pieces. From necklaces to earrings, experiment with designs, shapes, and colors and bring your jewelry designs to life – it’s a fun hobby and a great way to make bespoke jewelry. Discover our beginner’s guide on how to make polymer clay beads today. Here are the 7 Steps To Make Polymer Clay Beads.
Guide in Making your Polymer Clay Beads
Using the right tools and equipment will help you to create high-quality polymer clay beads.
We would recommend using:
- Fimo clay – in the color (s) of your choice. Using clay as fresh as possible will help to prevent cracking.
- A hard, flat surface – like a workmat, tile, or sheet of glass
- A needle tool or toothpick
- A ruler, to size your beads
Varnish and a clean brush (if you wish to seal your beads and make them shiny).
A clean work surface: dust and clean before you start, as polymer clay is soft and will pick up anything that it comes into contact with.
1. Size your beads
To create uniform beads that are all the same size, cut off a one-inch (25 mm) slice of clay and roll it out into a sheet that’s one-eighth inch (three mm) thick. Use a shape cutter to punch out chunks of clay that are all the same size.
If you want beads that are different sizes, you can either use cutters in varying sizes or simply cut chunks of clay from the block using your eye to measure.
2. Condition the clay
Work the chunks of clay in your hands by rubbing each one between your palms. Conditioning helps to warm the clay, gets rid of cracks, and makes the clay more pliable and easier to shape and handle.
Always wash your hands before rolling white clay to avoid transferring dyes or colors to it.
3. Shape your beads and Refrigerate it
To create spherical beads, roll each bead individually between your palms to shape them into spheres. You can also make them more ovoid, roll them into cylinders, or shape them into cubes or other shapes.
Always shape your jewelry beads on a hard, flat surface.
Refrigerate the beads. Stick all your beads in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the clay to firm up, which will make it easier to punch holes in them.
4. Bake them
No matter what kind of beads, pendants, or discs you made, they must be finished with baking. This will set the clay so that the beads maintain the shapes and designs you’ve created.
Always preheat your oven before baking, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding baking times and temperatures. To bake your beads, you can arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place the beads on a length of a firm, straight wire. Then, suspend the wire from an oven-safe baking dish and bake the beads like that.
Once your baking time is up, remove the beads from the oven and allow them to cool completely before handling them.
5. Drill holes
In case you chose not to poke holes in your beads before baking, now’s the time to create the holes. Work with each beaded jewelry clay individually.
Hold a bead steady on a hard surface with your thumb and forefinger. With your other hand, use the drill to carefully drill a hole through the center of the bead.
6. Sand each bead
Use a 400-grit (or higher) wet/dry sandpaper to remove any blemishes or fingerprints.
7. Coat your beads
Since polymer clay forms a nice, durable finish when it cures, sealing your beads isn’t necessary.
However, if you choose to seal your beads, use a clean brush to apply a thin layer of polyurethane varnish to each bead. Allow them to dry before creating your jewelry.
Now you know how to make polymer clay beads. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Your finished design should reflect your own unique and creative style.
If you have trouble removing your clay from a surface, use a flat knife to unseal the clay from the surface beneath.
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