How To Lighten Up Large Polymer Clay Beads By Making Them Hollow:
Q: I enjoy reading your comments and instructions. I have a question how do you make a 1″ round
hollow bead? ~Rezvan Kline
A: One way to make a hollow bead is to roll out a flat sheet of polymer clay and use a circle cutter to make two equal sized rounds. You can then bake each of these clay pieces separately over something spherical and heat safe, like a small light bulb, glass ball ornament or marble.
After both of the half spheres are baked hard, you will need to sand the edges a bit so that the two halves of the ball fit together nicely. These two halves will be glued together using a super glue like Krazy Glue. The seam can then be disguised with a snake of clay or can be left alone if you like.
Now this technique takes a little practice to get the spheres even. In order to make a nicely formed bead you will need the baking surface to be round enough. How well you match the two halves will determine how round your bead turns out.
I have heard of people using demi-sphere (half ball) molds for making hollow beads. You can sometimes find these as chocolate molds or specialty food molds used by the catering industry.
Some of those demi-sphere molds are convex and some are concave. Either would work as long as they were heat safe.
For large hollow beads you will need to make sure they are baked properly for strength. Read this article for some info about how to do that: Rules For Baking Beads
Also it is important to use a strong brand of clay. Here’s a link to an article that will help you pick the right clay for the job: Best Polymer Clays
After the bead has been baked, glued, sanded and buffed, you can carefully drill it or glue on a bail to make your pendant or other jewelry item.
Hopefully Rezvan, this hollow bead tutorial was helpful for you. If you or anyone else has further questions about the techniques, just leave me a comment below!