A note about working with polymer clay: because it is an oven-bake product that handles like dough, kitchen utensils work well for rolling, cutting, and shaping. HOWEVER – unbaked clay is NOT food safe, and you should not use your food preparation utensils with your clay. If you enjoy working with polymer clay, making a minimal investment in a thrift store baking sheet or oven-safe plate to bake your projects is a perfect solution.
Making basic clay beads is a simple process. Knead some clay until in becomes soft and pliable. Flattening it out, folding it up, and flattening it again is my preferred method. You can do this by hand, or a pasta-machine-style clay press will make the process go even more quickly. Once it’s ready to work with, add a bit of embossing powder. Just dip it in the powder until it has a light coating.
Work your clay again, mixing the powder throughout. If you find you’d like it darker, add more powder. If you feel you’ve gotten too much, you can add more clay. There’s no exact ratio; just do what you like the look of!
Once the powder is evenly distributed through your clay, flatten it out. You don’t need it to be flattened entirely smooth – this step is just our way of measuring how much clay will be used in each bead so you get a uniform look.
Cut out a few identical shapes. You can use any household item to measure if you don’t already have small cutters – bottle caps work well for bead-sized measurements. The shape doesn’t matter – you just want an equal mass of clay to form your clay beads.
Now, roll them out until you get the shape you are going for (be that round, oval, cylindrical, etc.).
Use a bead reamer to make uniform holes in the clay beads.
Now, bake your clay beads according to the package instructions. Sculpey clay bakes at 275F for 30 minutes for each quarter-inch thickness. This means that for 1-inch round beads, you can expect to bake them for approximately 2 hours.
Now you have a fabulous granite look – without the drilling and without the weight! Polymer clay is great for jewelry because it is durable and lightweight.
Have you worked with polymer clay to make jewelry before? What kinds of effect have you created?