Tutorial: Getting Started with Polymer Clay

Learn how to make simple clay beads with an inexpensive Sculpey bead making kit.When I'm trying a new craft for the first time, I don't want to spend a fortune on tools and supplies. Who knows... I may end up hating the craft. Yeah, right ;)

To get myself out of my yarn crafting rut, I recently decided to learn more about using polymer clay, specifically making clay beads. My adventure started at the craft store with a couple small purchases, a Sculpey Bead Making Kit and a few packages of Sculpey III clay .

The kit contains a white clay baking cushion, clay roller, blade, piercing tool, lentil bead tool, small circle cutter, two pieces of sandpaper, bead making guide and a plastic pouch.

Some other tools that you may find helpful, parchment paper to protect your work surface and a ruler.
Before making any beads, there are three things you should remember:

1. Protect your work surface. Not only does the clay stick to everything, the colors can stain some materials.

2. Take off your jewelry. The clay sticks to everything and you don't want it to become embedded in your wedding ring.

3. The bead making kit contains some sharp tools, so be careful.

Let's get started.

Use the blade to cut of a chunk of clay.

This may seem like common sense, but make sue the sharp edge of the blade is being pressed through the clay. If the dull edge is in the clay, your fingers press on the sharp edge. Ouch!
The clay block may be a little a little firm. Squish it up in your fingers and roll it around a bit until it softens.
If you want to make a lot of beads that are all the exact same size, use the roller to roll the clay into a sheet of even thickness.

(For demonstration, I just used a small piece of clay. You would use a larger piece if you are making a lot of beads.)
Use the circle cutter to cut a few discs from the clay.
Then, you can use the discs to make sure each bead is made from the exact same amount of clay.
Roll the clay between your hands in small circles in both directions to form spheres.
I practiced making three sizes of spheres.
Remember how I said it's important to roll the clay between your hand in small circles in both directions?

If you roll the clay in large circles, instead of making a sphere, you'll get something that resembles a football. Go ahead. Give it a try.

Why aren't my clay beads round?

There may be times you want to make beads that are more conical on both sides instead of round. These are called lentil beads.

Make a round clay ball and set it on your work surface. Place the lentil bead tool above the clay at a slight angle with your work surface and slowly move the tool in circles while pressing the clay gently.
The shape of your clay will vary depending on the size of your circle motion. Small circles make a flatter shape. As your circles get larger, the clay becomes more elongated.

How to make clay lentil beads.

Now that you have a few clay shapes, you need to pierce them to make them beads. We'll start with the spheres.

Set one of the spheres on your work surface. Hold the piercing tool perpendicular to your work surface and gently press it through the center of the clay with a slight twirling motion.
Once the tool gets through the bead. Pick it up in your hands and continue to twirl the tool through the clay. Be careful not to squish your beautiful sphere. Slowly pull the tool out of the clay while twirling it.
Insert the tool into the hole from the other side and again push it through while twirling the tool. Remove the tool as before.

Do not try to reshape the bead after you have made the hole. If you do, you risk closing the hole.
Making a hole through the lentil beads can be a little trickier. For the longer beads, you can set the bead perpendicular to your work surface and make the bead holes like you did for the spheres.

For thinner, flatter lentil beads you will need to poke the hole while you are holding the clay. Be careful not to pierce your fingers. Again, ouch!
When you’re ready, place the baking cushion on a baking pan and the beads on the cushion. Bake according to the instructions on the clay.

Don't get frustrated if your beads aren't perfectly round or your holes don't go exactly through the center. It takes some patience and practice to get the hang of it.

Learn how to make simple clay beads with an inexpensive Sculpey bead making kit.

Once you master some the basic clay bead making skills you'll be ready to create stunning jewelry with an assortment of colorful beads.

Learn how to make simple clay beads with an inexpensive Sculpey bead making kit.



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The Chilly Dog: Tutorial: Getting Started with Polymer Clay
Tutorial: Getting Started with Polymer Clay
Learn how to make simple clay beads with an inexpensive Sculpey bead making kit.
The Chilly Dog
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