Ivana is a passionate crafter who has just recently started making jewellery from clay. She shares her experience, mistakes and victories.
What You Need to Make a Polymer Clay Bead Necklace
- A type of string. This will be the base of your necklace. Depending on what you like and what style of necklace you want, you can choose a leather ribbon, a chain or a nice colorful textile lace.
- Clay. We'll use your selected ribbon to string beads that we'll make from polymer clay. You can choose the clay you want—for this project I used Fimo clay with a leather effect, which has an interesting cracked appearance after baking.
- A piece of chain. This is not necessary, but it will serve you well if you want to change the length of your necklace depending on your outfit each day.
- Two rings
- End clips
- One necklace clasp
How to Make Polymer Clay Beads
- Choose clay.
- Roll out clay.
- Cut out strips.
- Shape the beads.
Below you will find detailed instructions for each phase.
1. Choose Clay for the Beads
The lace I used for this project is already quite colorful, so I chose a solid color turquoise clay that matches nicely (if you use a textile lace for your base like I did, I recommend solid color beads, but of course, combine the colors of your choice).
Also, if you are using the standard Fimo Soft or Fimo Professional for this project, you can, after rolling the clay, use an embossed roller or some interesting object you have in your home to make an imprint, which will give a little structure to your beads.
For more details about different types of clay you can use in your jewelry project, you can read in my article What You Need to Know Before You Start Making Clay Jewellery at Home.
2. Roll Out Your Clay
For a long time, I rolled polymer clay with household items such as dough rollers, jars and the like. But when you're rolling clay that way, there is always the possibility that it will not be the same thickness on all ends. This may not matter when making smaller pieces of jewelry, but when making roller beads like these, you want all your beads to be the same thickness and size.
In this case, I used a pasta machine to roll the clay. My machine has a rolling thickness range from 1 to 7. I rolled these beads to a thickness of 3, which is approximately 2–3 mm thick.
3. Cut Strips for the Beads
After rolling out the clay, you need to cut approximately 1 cm wide strips from which you will shape the beads. I used a small ruler to make sure I cut strips of equal width at all ends.
4. Shape Your Polymer Clay Beads
After you have cut the strips, use a pencil or similar object to wrap the clay around it and shape the beads.
5. Bake the Clay
You will find baking instructions on the packaging of each Fimo clay. Depending on the type of clay, the baking time and temperature may differ, so look at the original packaging before putting your beads in the oven.
I baked the Fimo with leather effect that I used here at 130 degrees for 30 minutes. After baking, leave the oven door open and let the beads cool naturally. Do not force the cooling process, as cracking may occur.
Finishing Your Necklace
- If you use the classic Fimo Soft, you may need to lightly trim the ends of your beads after baking to make them nice and smooth. You can do this with a nail file or 1000 grit sandpaper. I like the Fimo leather effect because the clay can be smoothed out nicely before baking so that it doesn't require sanding or polishing afterwards.
- Now simply string the beads on the necklace.
- Shorten the length of the tape as needed.
- Use small pliers to secure the clips to the ends.
- Put a chain in between if you want to be able to adjust the length of the necklace later.
If this article was useful to you, follow me because there will be more similar ones :) Feel free to comment or ask whatever interests you. I would also like to see how your necklace turned out, so feel free to add a picture to the comment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Ivana Balić
Lynsey Hart from Lanarkshire on July 20, 2020:
Cute necklace. Thanks for sharing with us how to make it!
Danny from India on July 17, 2020:
Amazing designs. Nice article Ivana