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Jewelry Basics - Creating Opal Beads

This is Part One of a two part series on Jewelry Basics. Project and Video by Amy Koranek
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Grouped product items
Product ImageProduct Name Qty
Sculpey III® Teal Pearl 2 oz
Sculpey Tools™ Clay Conditioning Machine
Sculpey Tools™ Graduated Cutters: Circle, 6 pc
Sculpey Tools™ Bead Maker
Sculpey Tools™ 8-Inch Acrylic Clay Roller
Sculpey Tools™ Clay Blades
Sculpey Tools™ Etch 'n Pearl
Jewelry Basics - Creating Opal Beads
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Jewelry Basics - Creating Opal Beads
12” Tiger Tail or other bead stringing wire
Silver tone bar and loop clasp
Silver tone crimp beads (2)
Silver tone round spacer beads (11)
Flat nose pliers
Wire cutters

Project Instructions

Getting Started:
Please make sure your work area is covered and you are not working on an unprotected surface. We recommend working on the Sculpey® Work ‘n Bake Clay Mat, wax paper, metal baking sheet, or disposable foil. Uncured clay may damage unprotected furniture or finished surfaces. Be sure to cover your crafting area appropriately.
Start with clean hands, unwrap and knead clay until soft and smooth, or condition by running clay though a Pasta Machine. We recommend using a designated machine for clay purposes only. When working with multiple colors, clean hands with soap and water or baby wipes (we have found that baby wipes work best) before switching colors. Shape clay, pressing pieces firmly together. Wash hands after use.
Begin by preheating oven to 275 °F (130 °C). After you are done creating; for best results bake clay on an oven-proof surface such metal, aluminum foil, an index card or the Sculpey® Clay Mat at 275°F (130 °C) for 30 minutes per ¼" (6 mm) thickness according to package directions. Oven safe glass or ceramic surfaces are also acceptable for baking; however please note that the baking times may take longer as the glass or ceramic surfaces take longer to heat up. For best baking results, use an oven thermometer. DO NOT USE MICROWAVE OVEN. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME.
Mix tinted Colors as follows: 1 stick Opal + 1/32 stick Sunset Pearl = Tinted Sunset Pearl; 1 stick Opal + 1/32 stick Periwinkle = Tinted Periwinkle; and, 1 stick Opal + 1/32 stick Teal Pearl = Tinted Teal Pearl. Designer’s Note: 1 stick is 1/4 of a 2 oz. block. The colors are mixed with a high proportion of Opal to the solid color to maintain the translucence of the Opal. Sheet each mixed color (Tinted Sunset Pearl, Tinted Periwinkle, and Tinted Teal Pearl) and Opal and White Gold through the clay conditioning machine on the thickest setting. Cut out two Opal circles with the 1â€ circle cutter that will be used for the dangle earrings later. Cut out two White Gold 1â€ circles, one each Tinted Sunset Pearl, Tinted Periwinkle, and Tinted Teal Pearl 1â€ circles that will be used to make the smaller beads for the bracelet. Cut out five Opal circles with the 1.25â€ circle cutter for the large beads of the bracelet.
For this project we are going to use the Round Bead Maker tool to make our beads perfect. If you sheet clay through the clay conditioning machine on the thickest setting and then cut out a 1.25â€ circle, that circle will be the right amount to fill up the 16mm measuring cup for 16mm beads. In this way we won’t have to use the measuring cup again, but instead, we can cut out circles and use those in the Bead Maker.
This image shows the Bead Maker 16 mm measuring cup perfectly filled with one of the 1.25â€ circles that we already cut out.
Likewise, the 1â€ circle cutter makes almost the perfect amount of clay for the 13 mm bead when the clay has been sheeted on the thickest setting.
Place the 13mm bead trays in the purple tray holders. The trays are clearly marked on the bottom. The trays are interchangeable and fit perfectly into the purple holders.
Hand roll one of the 1â€ circles into a ball and place into a tray.
Place the holders together capturing the ball of clay between them. The trays should be able to close completely. Gently roll the clay ball back and forth between the trays by sliding your hands back and forth.
Open the tray and examine the bead. If it’s perfectly round pierce it from the top down with the small Etch ’N Pearl to make a hole. If it’s not perfectly round, roll it a few more times inside the bead maker until it’s perfect.
Take the bead from the tray and gently push the small Etch ’N Pearl all the way through. Remove the skewer and push it back through the hole in the other direction to pull any clay that was pushed out back into the hole. Place the bead back in the trays and roll just a couple more times to smooth out any distortion that may have happened when you pushed the skewer through.
Repeat until all the 1â€ circles have been made into 13 mm beads. Replace the 13 mm trays with the 16 mm trays. Roll all the 1.25â€ circles of clay into balls. Place them one at a time into the 16 mm trays and make 16 mm beads as you did for the 13 mm beads. Place all the beads on the Bead Baking Rack skewers and set them up to bake. Make sure none of the beads touch each other. Bake as directed above.