Beads, of course! Making beads was the start of my journey using polymer clay. It’s a great way to get started. And also fairly easy. I think deciding on the pattern is the hardest part.
But where did beads start? How were they used?
Beads have a long history among all cultures including African, Egyptian, Italian and Native American.
Some key facts
- beads were used as a currency; forming earliest part of trade
- oldest bead found in South Africa dating approximately 72,00 years
- discovery of beads in France dates back to 38,000 BC
- glass type beads were created by the Egyptians
- bone, shell and stone were the main materials used by Native Americans to make beads
Beads are available in a variety of materials and shapes. From glass to semi-precious stones, there is so much to choose from. I used these bead types in my early jewellery designs. And I sometimes included them along with polymer clay beads in current pieces.
One of the advantages of creating with polymer clay is the versatility. You can combine different clay colours to create new ones. This makes your pieces unique. The colour you make is yours. Below is a video of blending.
You can also make different bead shapes with polymer clay quite easily. Once you’ve chosen your colour palette, you can shape the clay into rounds, spirals, squares, triangles or any other shape. Imagine how many unique jewellery pieces you can design!
Here are a few bead shapes you might consider:
Personally, I like round beads especially for bracelets. Even for a necklace, the round shape can be striking if you create varying sizes.
Whatever shape you choose to make your beads, polymer clay gives you that versatility to try.