This month I decided to try my hand at making clay polymer beads. I've seen many other people who have created absolutely beautiful items with their clay and hope to get there one day. For now, I have beginner level beads that I made and am sharing with you today.
Let's start with the polymer clay. I have bought Sculpey before and Fimo. Both are oven bake clays and work well. I picked Fimo for this project because I enjoyed the color selection a little better (and it was on sale!).
The turquoise clay was their "soft" type and while you had to work the clay a small amount to get it soft and pliable, it was very easy. The purple "effect" clay had a different texture. It was a bit crumbly and you had to work the clay in your hands longer to get it to be pliable and ready to create with. After the initial working of the clay, it was fine and worked quite well.
I cut a section off of each color and worked the clay in my hands until it was soft. Working the clay was just my rolling it between my palms, kneading the pieces between my fingertips, and rolling it out into a rope shape until it was soft.
When it was soft I separated the sections into little balls about the size of peas that I would then use to make my beads.
For my first two beads, I put one ball of each color together and rolled them, flattened them, then rolled again. After that exact process I thought I was done and shaped them. The end result was a definite blue and purple separation in an oblong bead. See the picture in the bottom left corner of this collage? Those were my first tries.
With my next beads, I made rope shape rolls, twisted them together, rolled them back into a rope, and repeated about 10 times. That helped with the marbling of the clay so it was a smoother look and the turquoise and purple were more swirled together and looked much better. I did this with the rest of my beads and liked how they turned out much better than my first two.
When the beads were shaped, it was time to make the hole in them. I used a toothpick for mine. Here are my tips:
- do not try to push the toothpick all the way through the clay - this will not work!
- do twist the toothpick gradually into the end of the clay and it will slowly create a hole
- when the toothpick has gone through almost all of the clay, but hasn't quite broken through to the other side, remove the toothpick and start it on the other side where it was about to come out. This will give you a smooth hole on each end of the bead with no cracking.
- if you don't want to use a toothpick to make the hole, leave it solid until after baking. When it is cooled down you can then use a small drill to make the hole
How did they turn out? I was happy with the finished product for a first try. The marbling looks different on each bead and I like how each one has an individual pattern.
I decided to use these beads to make a new bracelet. That was also a new thing for me!
If you are interested in learning how to do a little more complicated bead making, you can watch many YouTube videos to give you an idea how to marble multiple colors or make designs and special shapes. Be careful though, the videos are mesmerizing and you may spend half an hour watching them before you know it. This is a basic beginners tutorial because that is what level I'm at. Thanks for learning along with me!