Polymer Clay Bead Making
If you're wondering how to make polymer clay beads and pendants, you've come to the right place! Sculpey® offers an extensive inventory of tools to simplify clay jewelry making and beading. You can create professionally finished polymer clay jewelry at home with our tools and techniques.
Ready to make beautiful, one-of-a-kind beads? Let's dive into polymer clay bead basics!
Types of Polymer Clay Bead-Making Tools From Sculpey®
Clayers at all skill levels love our time-saving bead tools:
- Sculpey Tools™ Bead Maker: This round bead maker produces equal-size spherical clay beads in seconds. Make solid beads measuring 13, 16 or 18 millimeters with easy-to-use measuring cups to guarantee a batch of perfectly sized beads every time.
- Sculpey Tools™ Hollow Bead Maker: Our hollow bead maker makes domed halves for two-part beads in five different sizes. Bake right on the mold for a hassle-free creation process. Create compatible-size clay circles for the domes with the Sculpey Tools™ Graduated Circle Cutter Set.
- Sculpey Tools™ Bead Baking Rack: Bake several beads at once with this metal bead baking rack. Simply skewer clay beads on the rack and bake! The rack is elevated to prevent flat bottoms, so you'll enjoy perfectly shaped, evenly baked beads every time.
- Sculpey Tools™ Etch 'n Pearl: This set of three dual-end piercing and pearling tools works two ways — poke holes in beads with the pointed ends, and make domes that join to create spherical beads in three sizes with the concave ends.
Polymer Clay Bead Kits
Enjoy a relaxing evening of creative time for yourself, or invite friends over for an afternoon of food, fellowship and crafting. These kits take the guesswork out of making beads so you can get crafting right away. Our fun bead-making kits include everything you need to make jewelry and accessories:
- Sculpey Tools™ Bead Making Kit: This essential set of beading tools covers all your bead needs with a baking cushion, sandpaper, cutting tools, needle tool, lentil bead tool, roller and step-by-step guide for making six types of beads. Just add clay!
- Sculpey Premo™ Bead Making Jewelry Kit: This all-in-one bead jewelry kit includes six nature-inspired clay colors, a lentil bead tool, plastic roller, circle cutter, small blade, jewelry fixings and more to create six accessories.
- Liquid Sculpey® Embellishments Jewelry Kit: Make charms with this comprehensive jewelry embellishments kit, which includes a mold, liquid polymer clay, decorative mix-ins and fixings. Our Sculpey Tools™ Oven-Safe Molds create even more pendants, cabochons, bezels and other jewelry accessories!
How to Make Polymer Clay Beads
Let's begin your bead journey! The following steps set the foundation for making lightweight, inexpensive polymer clay beads.
1. Gather Your Materials
In addition to the above Sculpey® bead-making tools, assemble the following supplies:
2. Prepare Your Workstation
It's essential to keep your workstation as clean as possible, as polymer clay tends to pick up anything it comes into contact with. Cover a well-lit table or flat surface with wax paper, tape the edges to your work surface and make sure the paper is smooth and secure.
Shape beads on the wax paper or on a movable oven-safe surface so you can easily transport your project from table to oven.
3. Condition the Clay
Warming up the clay prevents cracking during the baking process. Knead and condition the clay with the Sculpey Tools™ Clay Conditioning Machine. Remember to wash hands between working with different clays to prevent color transfer.
4. Make Decorative Beads
There are countless ways to decorate your beads! With Sculpey® clay, it's easy to make solid-color, patterned and faux-finish beads. Visit our How-To page to learn how to make these popular looks:
5. Size and Cut Clay Sections for Beads
Create uniform beads by rolling a clay log or using a pre-made cane. Cut equal-length clay slices using a ruler as a guide. Slices should be thin but not to the extent that they are see-through. Alternatively, roll a clay sheet and use small circle cutters to make equal pieces of clay.
6. Shape Beads and Refrigerate
Slowly roll the bead around on your work surface in tiny circles, or form beads by hand for non-spherical shapes. Use just a small amount of pressure to keep all colors and patterns intact. Simplify this process with our Sculpey® Bead Maker and Hollow Bead Maker.
Chill the shaped beads in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up the clay and make it easier to poke holes without distortion.
7. Add Bead Holes
Every bead needs a hole for a string to be pushed through. Remove beads from the refrigerator. Use a twisting motion to pierce a hole through each bead using a toothpick, Needle End Pointer or Sculpey Tools™ Etch 'n Pearl tool. Or, skip this step and drill holes into your beads after baking, if desired.
8. Bake Your Polymer Clay Pieces
The most important thing to keep in mind is polymer clay beads must be suspended while curing to hold their shape. The Sculpey Tools™ Bead Baking Rack elevates beads as they bake, so there's no risk of flat bottoms!
Most polymer clay beads need to bake for 10 minutes at approximately 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use an oven thermometer and follow the directions on your packaging to ensure you are baking the beads at the correct temperature.
9. Sand and Coat Beads
After baking, sand your beads to remove any fingerprints or blemishes. Start with 400-grit sandpaper and work your way up to finer grits until you achieve a perfectly smooth surface.
Sealing beads is an optional step, as polymer clay bakes to a durable finish. If you wish to enhance your creation with a matte, satin or glossy clear coat, be sure to use a polymer clay-compatible finish.
Find the Perfect Polymer Clay Bead-Making Supplies at Sculpey®
At Sculpey®, we provide the tools, you provide the creativity! Ready to get inspired? Shop our innovative polymer clay bead tools and colorful clays to get started making earrings, necklaces, rings and other adornments today!