With an endless range of design options available, it’s no wonder that homemade polymer clay beads are getting so much attention in the craft world. Suitable for both adults and children (ages 8 and up), working with polymer clay beads can also give you a whole new way to have fun with your children.
What are polymer clay beads?
Polymer clay beads are beads made from polymer clay, which is sometimes known simply as “Fimo.” (Fimo is the trade name for a particular type of this clay, made by Eberhard Faber.)
This polymer clay can be molded into a variety of different creations. Then simply fire the clay in your home oven to create a hard, durable material that you can drill, cut, sand, and paint for even more creative effects.
Because polymer clay is so easy to work with, it has become a popular way to make your own beads for jewelry making.
Making polymer clay beads
The process of creating the accounts is simple. Just pinch out some clay, knead it with your hands, and shape it into any shape you like.
You can make polymer clay beads in a variety of different shapes, using a variety of techniques and tools. There’s no real limit except your imagination, and you can work with the clay over and over again (until it’s baked).
Molding the clay requires firm pressure, but it holds its shape well once set. He’s easier to work with when he’s slightly warm, so if you’re having trouble getting him to cooperate, you may want to move to a warmer work area or warm up his hands a bit.
Rounded beads are the simplest for beginners, but soon you’ll be able to learn how to make beads that are square, star-shaped, heart-shaped, or designed to look like tiny animals. Flower shaped beads are also very popular.
To make the beads in different colors, start by choosing from the many commercially available colors of polymer clay. You can achieve a marbled effect by working with several colors at once. Once your creations are baked, you can paint them with acrylics or even nail polish to give them extra shine and shine.
It’s easy to poke holes in the Fimo beads, so you can string them onto bracelets or necklaces or sew them onto clothing. You can drill holes in the hard beads, once they have been baked. Or you can poke holes in the soft clay before baking the beads.
A toothpick is perfect for poking holes through the Fimo clay once the beads have been formed. Wiggle the toothpick to make sure the sides of the holes are smooth and that the tips don’t fall off and clog them during cooking.
You can also use a wooden skewer to poke holes in your beads. Carefully push a skewer through the center of your finished bead, being careful not to change its shape. Fill the skewer with beads (careful that they do not touch each other). Then, support the skewer on a baking rack or other ovenproof container so the beads don’t change shape during cooking. Bake the beads directly on the skewer.
bake your beads
You will need to fire all of your clay creations to make them hard and shiny and to ensure that they hold their shape. You can do this in a regular oven on a baking sheet, but follow the directions on each product package to ensure you get the right temperature. (If polymer clay is baked at too high a temperature, it can give off dangerous gases.) Your beads will be hard and ready to string into jewelry once the clay is baked and cools.
The manufacturer recommends this type of polymeric modeling mass from the age of 8, with adult supervision, since the use of an oven is required and the product should not be ingested.
Once you’ve got the basics down, experiment with different varieties and brands of polymer clay, each with a different level of malleability. You can also get polymer clay in a variety of effects, such as translucent, iridescent, and glow-in-the-dark, to create beads and jewelry that are truly one of a kind.