How to make beads

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My discovery of polymer clay started with making patterns which turned into beads.  Beads became my obsession. They’re versatile in jewellery. And can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes. From tiny 6mm to large chunky 28mm rounds (or even bigger if you wish).  It all depends on your style.

So how do you start to make beads?

Step 1: choose your colours

Step 2: condition (soften) the clay

Step 3:  Select your design/technique

Step 4: Create your design

Step 5: Cut out rounds from your patterned clay

Step 6: Roll between your hands to create round beads

Step 7: Pierce beads after allowing the clay to rest

Step 8: Bake your beads

Step 9: Use the cooled beads for your project

This is my video of creating swirl pattern beads for use in a bracelet.

Making round beads with this pattern is only one of many uses. You can use different colours and mix them in a fully beaded necklace. Or simply use the same patterned beads strung together for a bracelet.  There are seemingly endless possibilities.

Another bead shape to try is a tube. This is a fun shape and add interest to your piece. Using the same method as making round beads, instead you roll the clay into a log. From there, you cut into equal pieces and pierce.  String the beads using leather cord or even wax cord in a contrasting colour. In the picture below, I added complementary colour circles to the tubes for interest.

 12 Inlay beads


Finally, another bead shape to try is a geometric one. Again you can start with a round shape, press into a rectangle and using a tissue blade, carefully slice to create triangular edges. The key here is to ensure your bead is large enough (10mm to 12mm), because as you slice, the bead becomes smaller. So you need to you know what size of bead you want at the end, otherwise you’ll be left with a very small bead which is difficult to pierce.  Below are some examples of geometric beads I’ve created.

03Dec geometric beads    Coral beads

These are only 3 examples of bead shapes you can try. Mix and match them to create jewellery pieces that are unique to you.