Making Polymer Clay Beads

Polymer Clay Bead Necklace Georgia P Designs

We have just had a bank holiday weekend here in the UK and for a change the sun was shining, but instead of making the most of it, guess what I was doing?  Making beads from polymer clay!  Yes I woke up on Monday morning with an idea for beads in my head. So out came my extruder, cutters, pasta machine and clay.

I can’t believe how easy these are to make especially with having the extruder, if you don’t have one of these and like playing with polymer clay you must get one.

Now I’m not sure if this post should be a ‘look what I made’ or ‘this is how I did it’.  I know I get lots of views and searches for polymer clay jewellery etc and views from people looking how to make polymer clay items.  So I think I will try a bit of both, ie. I will keep the ‘how I did it’ very simple.

What you need:

Extruder (I use a Makins)

Pasta Machine or Rolling Pin

1-1.5cm round cutter

Polymer Clay

Cutting Blade

Cocktail Stick

1) Select a few different/complimentary colours of polymer clay, I used Pink, Purple, Silver, White and Black.  Then condition each color of clay (ie. squeeze it, squash it, roll it, feed it through a pasta machine, anything to make it soft).

2) Once conditioned, put each piece of clay through the pasta machine on setting 4, or roll with a rolling-pin until it’s about 2mm thick.

3) Using the round cutter, cut as many circles from each piece of clay as you can.

4) Now using all the clay circles stack them together in whatever colour pattern you want. I made a couple of stacks of about 24-30 circles.  The colours on the outside will be your main colour. Roll the stacks gently to make sure the clay sticks together.

No 14

5) Now place the clay in the extruder (as per its instructions) and extrude the clay out through the end.

6) You should now have a long piece of clay that you can thinly slice into (1-2mm) pieces.

This is what it looks like when cut

This is what it looks like when cut

7) I would suggest at this point that you go and wash your hands, to remove any clay colouring from your hands.

8) Now you need to condition some white clay (or whatever colour you want to use as your bead base).  Once you have done this, roll it out into a long sausage shape and cut into equal sections depending on the size of beads you want to make.  I made different sizes.

9) Roll each piece into a ball between your hands.  Now it’s time to add the extruded slices onto the ball, it’s entirely up to you how many you use or how close you do this.  Once you are happy with this, roll it again gently between your hands, maintaining its roundness.  The slices will become part of the ball.

10)  All you need to do now is to make a centre hole, using a cocktail stick or other tool for doing this.

11) Once you have made all your beads, bake them in the oven (as per the clays instructions).

12) When they have all cooled I always like to coat my beads in gloss varnish, I think it helps protect them and gives them a lovely glossy look.

Just a few of the beads I made, the rest are in the necklace above.

Just a few of the beads I made, the rest are in the necklace above.

I hope you didn’t find that complicated, I always welcome, questions, feedback or comments.

Have a good week.

Linda x

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8 thoughts on “Making Polymer Clay Beads

  1. Your beads are fab, thanks so much for posting with an explanation. I’ve recently started playing with Polymer Clay, so this is really helpful. I’m going to get myself an Extruder pronto!

  2. I am curious how the disks turn into rings of color when extruded, that is not how I would expect it to come out of the extruder !!! do you put a disc on the extruder or just with the end open ? I am going to give this a try, I have all the items needed to do this, so I am pretty excited to try !! You are sure making some pretty things !!!

    • Hi, it’s like magic, I wish I knew the science, but placing the clay in the different coloured circles before putting it in the extruder and then extruding it out through the small disc on the end, gives you the rings. The Ultimate Makins extruder comes with 20 seperate discs, you use them depending on the shape of the clay you want. It is amazing and I love trying different things with it. Thanks for your comment. Linda x

  3. Pingback: DIY Extruder Slice Beads – Polymer Clay

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