Please make sure your work area is covered and you are not working on an unprotected surface. We recommend working on the Sculpey® Oven-Safe Work 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 1/4" (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.
Using the 1.75 inch cutter and the #1 layer on my Clay Conditioning Machine, create the bead sizes as shown. The largest bead is a full circle of clay, the medium bead is a half circle and the smaller beads are 1/4 of the circle. You will need about 8 each of the smallest bead, 4 each of the medium bead and one each of the largest bead. Repeat in all three colors.
ARTIST TIP: Actually, my sons tip when they were small – to roll a perfect round bead, gently cup your hands as you roll it in your hands. Keep the ball in the center of your palm as much as possible.
Thread the beads onto the bead needles by gently spinning the needle through the bead until it is almost through the bead. I hold my finger on the other side of the bead, so that as soon as I feel the needle in the bead, I can stop and reposition the needle to feed back through the small bump the needle made. This way I don’t have any “exit wounds” on one side of the bead and my bead stays nice and round.
Here are all my beads on the rack ready to bake. I bake on cardboard box flaps. Bake according to the directions in Step 1. Let the beads cool to just warm (if possible) and then gently twist them off the needle and drop into the bowl you have ready for them.
Making heishi beads in Soufflé is so easy! First make another large bead of clay and twist it (don’t push it!) onto the bamboo skewer.
Gently roll the clay with the flat part of your hand back and forth to spread the clay along the skewer. Try to position your fingers so that your fingertips point into towards each other slightly - this will help prevent grooves from your fingers. This is the size I like my heishi – about 3/8 inch diameter. Twist the clay off the skewer and repeat to make about 3 tubes of each color.
Cut the tube as shown for the wider heishi between the round beads. Cutting one tube of each color should be good. Of course I try to cut them the same, but Do NOT worry about making them perfect even! That’s part of the fun.
Lay them flat on your baking surface and bake. Include the other tubes of clay that are NOT cut for baking. You can see that I have WAAAY more than I need! They will be put to use later.. I also have uncut tubes ready to bake in the tube as well in this photo. Bake all the beads according to the directions in step 1.
Thread the baked beads onto TWO separate strands of bead wire. The 3 larger beads go in the center of the longer strand. Put the cut heishi beads in between each bead. I have the 3 larger beads, 4 of the medium beads and 5 of the smaller round beads on the longer strand with large heishi in between each bead.
I have 5 medium beads (with no heishi between) and 14 smaller beads on the shorter strand with heishi in between.
I decided to treat these two strands as a completed necklace right here, so I added 2 of the E bead size beads to each strand, then one E bead on both strands and a crimp bead. Snug all the beads down and crimp the crimp bead. Slide a gold-tone crimp bead cover over it and close the cover. This cover will act as the 2nd gold bead at the top of the pattern. Repeat on the other side. Okay, the bead engineering is done!
Slice the thin heishi now. I like to keep these tubes on top of my oven while I’m baking other clay for different projects. Then they are nice and warm and slice so easy!
Just start stacking the heishi onto BOTH strands of the wire, alternating the colors. You can see that my small heishi are also not terribly matching in thickness. That’s the fun of heishi!
Okay, when you have enough heishi on the wires for your desired length, it’s back to jewelry assembling engineering. Once again, we are going to crimp the wires, but this time we are going to use TWO crimps on each side.
Thread the 2 crimps on one side, thread the bar for the clasp on the left side and loop it back through the crimps before you crimp them. Slide the bar down to the heishi, by pulling on the ends of the wire. Leave a little space between the two crimps for the crimp cover.
Use your crimp pliers to tighten the crimps and add the bead caps. Repeat on the other side, looping through the larger part of the clasp.