Watch and Learn: How to Make Textured Polymer Clay Beads

You can do almost anything with polymer clay. You can impress patterns into it, mold it, sculpt it, blend it, embed mixed media, paint it, embellish it with glitter or resin – in short, it’s fabulously versatile. And you can make polymer clay beads with it!

ABOVE: See how easy it is to make a custom polymer clay bead!

This ability to manipulate polymer clay into whatever you need it to be makes it a great medium for making beads. Mix up that elusive color, texture to your liking, and add surface effects to make that perfect accent bead. Here’s how!

What You’ll Need to Make Polymer Clay Beads

Gather a few items to get started:

  • Polymer clay
  • Texture sheets (affiliate link) or other items such as silverware or filigree that have a pattern you’d love to capture
  • Toothpicks
  • Colorful or sparkly powders
  • Clear sealant (affiliate link) that matches your brand of clay

You’ll also want to have some handy wet wipes nearby and an oven to bake your beads in.

how to make polymer clay beads

Why stop at just one?

Shape, Texture, and Color Your Clay Beads

There’s something about playing with clay that promotes such a feeling of satisfaction. So jump right in and start mixing your colors! If you have a clay-conditioning machine (a.k.a. a pasta machine), that can be a great help – but if not, your fingers will get the job done just fine.

Once you’re happy with the shape of your bead, use a toothpick to bore a hole through it. Leave the toothpick in place as you gently press your bead onto the texture of your choice.

Now comes the fun part. To make that beautifully imprinted texture stand out, use your fingertip to apply a tiny bit of powder to the bead. The colored surface will contrast nicely with deeper crevices.

To cure, bake your beads according to the directions on your package of clay, either in a conventional oven or a tabletop oven. To prevent any flat spots on your beads, you can leave them on the toothpick and suspend them on blocks of foil, paper, or clay.

Christi Friesen recommends great tips for baking beads in her online workshop Learn 10 Beads and Charms.

Christi Friesen recommends great tips for baking beads in her online workshop Learn 10 Beads and Charms.

After your beads have cooled, all that’s left is to apply a clear sealant to protect the surface powders. To make sure it’s compatible with your polymer clay, use a product that is made by the same brand.

Keep Experimenting!

To read more about making polymer clay jewelry, check out these blog posts:

3 Easy Ideas for Making Large-Hole Polymer Clay Beads

Make Faux Gemstones: Create Marbled Clay Cabochons and Faux Faceted Gems with Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Jewelry, Beyond the Basics: 8 New Tips, Techniques, and Embellishments

Christi Friesen’s Top 10 Polymer Clay Tools

Polymer Clay and Metalsmithing: Make Bright, Fun, Tab-Set Pendants

Go be creative!
Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

Check Out These Polymer Clay Resources

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