Sizing Holes in Polymer Clay Beads for Your Bead Stringing Projects

Perfect Bead Holes

Custom Beads with Perfectly Sized Holes In Just the Right Places:

Making your own beads with polymer clay, puts you in full control of sizing and positioning the bead holes for whatever jewelry project you happen to be working on. No more settling for, “I-guess-that’ll-have-to-do” purchases at the bead store.

Many jewelry making projects require beads with small holes. An illusion necklace is a good example of this… where the beads appear to be ‘floating’ on a line of monofilament. If you use beads with a hole that is too large, the bead will hang crooked and look sloppy or unprofessional.

There are other bead stringing projects that need the hole to be quite large. Just try stringing hemp, silk cord or leather lacing through a bead with a small hole. Very frustrating! The available selection for pre-made large hole beads, is actually quite limited.

And what about those times when you may want more than one hole in the bead. Two and three hole bar shaped beads are often needed as spacers in bracelets and multi strand necklaces.

Many of my polymer clay beads are made without having a specific project in mind. Make ‘em first. Decide how to use ‘em later. With these beads, I add the smallest hole possible. The hole can always be drilled out to a larger size at another time. This approach gives the most flexibility.

You should put small holes through beads using a bead piercing wire, rather than using a larger skewer.

Bead piercing wires come with the Amaco Bead Baking Rack which I recommend you use for baking beads on. But you can also use any stiff wire or long sewing needle.

To enlarge the holes in polymer clay beads after they have been baked, use regular drill bits. I bought a cheap set at the dollar store and made pretty handles to them out of polymer clay [See: Polymer Clay Tools].

Always start with the smallest bit you can find and drill slowly by hand entering from each end until the new larger hole goes completely through. Then if the hole needs to be larger, go up to the next bit size and repeat. Continue using larger drill bits until the bead hole is perfectly sized for your specific jewelry project.

Don’t just skip through to the largest bit size right away, or you will risk chipping or cracking the bead. Obviously after all the work you have put into forming, sanding and polishing the bead, wrecking it at this point would be disappointing.

In my Polymer Clay Basics Bead Making Course, there are videos on creating your own bead drilling tools as well as a video on enlarging bead holes, so you can see exactly how it is done.

These are just a couple of the things you will need to know how to do, if you are going to make professional looking polymer clay beads for your handmade jewelry and bead stringing projects.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. This is a really helpful little tidbit of info! I tend to use leather or silk cording on many of my necklaces and you’re right– its hard finding beads with holes that large. And when I’ve tried to carefully make large holes in polymer clay beads before baking, the beads often end up deformed. I will have to try hand drilling.

  2. MY ORIGINAL QUESTION WAS NEVER ANSWERERED. I NEEDED TO KNOW HOW TO FIND THE CENTER OF A HOMEMADE BEAD. MY CENTERS EITHER GO THE LEFT OR TO THE RIGHT. IS THERE A TRICK TO HOLDING THE BEAD AND FINDING THE CENTER? I HAVE FOUND ONLY ONE BEAD-MAKING KIT WHICH HAS HOLES FOR INSERTING THE SKEWER SUPPOSEDLY IN THE CENTER OF THE BEAD, BUT THAT CAN EVEN BE SOMEWHAT ELUSIVE, IF THE BEAD ITSELF ISN’T TOTALLY CENTERED IN THE MOLD. CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS DILEMMA. I DON’T WANT TO KEEP MAKING THESE EXPENSIVE MISTAKES. OR PLEASE GUIDE ME TO WHERE I CAN FIND THIS INFO WITHOUT A LOT OF TIME, RESEARCH AND EXPENSE. tHANK YOU FOR ANY AND ALL HELP.

  3. Hi Diana! I’m sorry your original question wasn’t answered. I looked for it but couldn’t find it. Maybe it go put in a spam folder or something and fell into the internet abyss. Good thing you tried again. Maybe I can help!

    One thing that can help to get your holes centered is to make sure your piercing wires are absolutely straight. One little curve in the wire and the hole quickly veers off to the side. Also try spinning your bead in your fingers instead of the wire. This helps for some people.

    I hope that helps with your dilemma. I know how frustrating it can be to have something just not work for you. That is why I put together this site and my Polymer Clay Bead Making Course.

    In fact if you learn better through video you may find the course quite valuable. I show you how to pierce holes in your beads with lots of little tricks on which bead rack I use that comes with the perfect wires for piercing. As well little tips on using cornstarch and how to hold the bead to avoid fingerprints and so much more.

    It would save you a lot of time and research and it is much cheaper than taking a class. If you want more info on that, click the link by my name.

    Feel free to ask any more questions you have. I will do my best to help.

  4. I have not really gotten started with my bead making yet so I just want to make sure that even though you don’t hear from my e-mail or sign-ups that I will not lose the ability to connect to your site.
    Thanks
    Sharon

  5. Don’t worry Sharon, I’m not going anywhere. Everything will still be here, until you are ready. I appreciate you letting me know and look forward to hearing from you when you return!

  6. I’m fairly new to polymer clay bead making so this may be old news for the experienced! Rummaging through my house to find a way to pierce holes in clay beads before baking I tried using a felt needle, and WOW it works fabulously! It’s very very fine at one end and increases to TWO larger diameters as you progress up the shaft. The fine point helps get the hole started and if I desire a larger opening I just continue to push the needle in further. The 90 degree bend at the opposite end provides a great way to hold the needle and spin it as you pierce. You can also buy these needles with even larger diameters for the bigger beads.

Leave a Reply