Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Polymer Clay Bead Tutorial

Just the other day I came across a blog post on Art Jewelry Elements about making beads using old, hard clay and it gave me an idea.  I have a container of old clay that I thought was unusable but had just never brought myself to throw away. So, what did I have to lose?

* Note, I didn't follow the instructions exactly as Rebekah gave in her tutorial.  Like I said, her technique gave me an idea of my own to try. This is what I did.

I picked out some colors that I thought would look good together; royal blue, purple, yellow, orange and dusty pink.  I don't have a clay dedicated food processor as suggested in the original post so I used my clay blade to chop it all up into small chunks, mixing the colors all together. (All of this clay had been previously conditioned)

Next, I added some white acrylic paint and mixed it all up, covering all the pieces.  I set them aside for a few minutes to dry.

Once the paint was dry, I picked up small amounts of clay and pressed it firmly together. I formed my beads into small cubes by pushing it against my work surface on all sides. After I was pleased with the shape, I pierced a small hole through the bead using a needle.

Then they went into the oven for an hour. I wasn't sure of the brand of clay, Premo or Fimo, it may have been a combination of both. Since both of these brands have different curing temps and times, I decided to bake them at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. I tented the beads with a piece of foil to prevent burning.

Once the beads cooled, I wet sanded them with a very course grit sandpaper.  After I had removed all the paint I could, I switched to a finer course paper. This is the result. Some of the white paint remained in between the different pieces of clay, resulting in a mosaic look.

If you work with polymer and have a stash of old, hard clay then why not give this (or one of Rebekah's techniques)  a try for yourself? You could even use old canes that have become dry and brittle. The results just may surprise you!


  1. When I saw your pile of scrap clay, I was sure it was not going to work with those colors. But your end result is lovely!

  2. Replies
    1. I hope you give it a try. Have fun!

  3. I have a ton of very dry, non-conditioned Premo (had to store it in an outside facility for about a year and a half in Phoenix) and have just been so frustrated with trying to get it workable again! I've tried the baby oil and let it soak, but it's so messy and time consuming! I may have to just incorporate some of the dried into a project similar to this one. I saw your other post on the beads made out of old canes. Love them!
    Got your link from

    1. Hi Sabrina. I hope you give it a try. What have you got to lose, right? Thanks for commenting.

  4. This is a great tutorial! What I’ve tried is attempting to make the paint show more for that extra contrast