Polymer Clay Beads

Polymer clay is easy to use but yields beautiful, professional looking results.  This necklace is a great first project.  You get the "feel" of working with clay while molding simple shapes.  And because you want a slightly irregular look for your beads, the finished necklace will be beautiful even if you can't shape the clay perfectly.

You will need:

1.  Granite look polymer clay

2.  A wooden skewer or large needle

3.  A cookie tray and an oven

4.  String or beading wire

5.  A nail file or sandpaper

6.  A jewlery clasp (optional)

The necklace once again 
1.  Open the clay and knead it in you hands for a minute or so.  You shold feel it soften and become more pliable.  Choose the colors you like and begin forming beads.  Form round beads, slightly oval beads, and a few flattened beads.
A necklace 2.  It is a good idea to lay the beads out into a pattern as you make them.  Keep adding beads and rearranging until you like the pattern you have.
Punching a hole in the clay beads 3.  Use the skewer or needle to punch a hole through each bead.  You need to make a rather large hole.  When you punch the hole, you may deform the bead slightly or get a rim around the whole.  You can gently reshape the bead.  Don't worry too much about the rim - you can file it off later.
Beads of different shapes 4.  Bake the beads.  Different brands of polymer clay require different temperatures and times, so make sure you follow the directions on the package.  Allow the beads to cool.  Then gently file away any rough edges or fingerprints so your beads are smooth and neatly shaped.
A finished necklace 5.  String the beads.  You can use a strong piece of string if you want a long necklace.  If you want a short necklace, you will need to use a clasp.  Make sure you can put the necklace on before you trim away the extra string or wire.

People have used clay to make jewelry for centuries, but, thanks to technology, polymer clay comes in brilliant colors, is easy to work with, and dries quickly.  If you've ever wanted to design jewelry, polymer clay is a fantastic medium.  As you become comfortable working with it, you can make beautiful multi-color patterns and form it into flowers, birds, or any other shape.  It doesn't dry untill you put it in the oven, so you can easily fix mistakes.


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