with Sue Heaser
Making your own beads with polymer clay is great fun to do and after a little practice, you will be able to make beads of all shapes and sizes. It is best to start with a simple round bead which uses skills you will probably have already – rolling a ball of clay. You will need: polymer clay in the colour of your choice, a craft knife, a sharp darning needle or needle tool, a baking sheet lined with paper or baking parchment or a bead baking rack.
To make sure that all your beads are of the same size, start by rolling an even log of conditioned polymer clay, of the same diameter as the beads required. Cut the log into equal lengths of the same measurement. If you find this difficult to do by eye, then lay a ruler alongside the log as you cut. A 1/2 in (13mm) thick log cut into lengths of 1/2 in (13mm) will produce a round bead of approximately 1/2 in (13mm).
Lay one of the lengths on your palm and cover it with the palm of the other hand. Rotate the top hand in a circular motion, pressing down onto the clay firmly to begin with then more lightly as the ball takes shape. You will have to experiment with pressure to see how much to use for an even result.
A perfectly round bead rolled from polymer clay.
Lay the bead down on your work surface and use a sharp darning needle to pierce down through the centre of the bead.
Lift the bead on the needle and hold it lightly in your other hand. Twist the needle and push it right through the bead.
Now hold the bead on the palm of your hand and use the needle to roll it back and forth. This enlarges the hole and reshapes the bead if the piercing distorted its shape.
Place the bead with its hole vertical on a baking sheet lined with paper or baking parchment and bake for the recommended time. The paper will prevent any marks showing from baking. Alternatively you can use a bead baking rack.