Polymer Clay Tutorial | Make Your Own Custom Bead Caps [Video]

Polymer Clay Bead CapsVid #171: “Is there
a way to make polymer
clay bead caps… and would
anyone be interested in a
tute besides me?”
~Honey-S

When you learn how to make polymer clay beads, it naturally leads you to making jewelry. And when you’re making jewelry, you need findings which often include bead caps. So when several of you recently asked if I would do a tutorial on how to make bead caps out of polymer clay… I said, “Of course!”

I have a request for a tutorial. I love using beads caps on my beads. Do you know if that is even possible? I know that polymer clay is very veristal and you can do almost anything with it. If it can be done, Cindy I am sure you must have already done it :) Please teach us. ~Brenda-M

Brenda, you must be reading my mind!! I’ve been wondering about making polymer clay bead caps, too. I’d love a tut on them, too. ~Linda-K

Is there a way to make polymer clay bead caps? If so, would anyone be interested in a tute besides me? ~Honey-S

You know, I wanted to post something the other day, asking Cindy if she’d consider doing a tut on bead caps! Thanks for reminding me Honey, and for suggesting it. ~Tanya-L

So… I’m happy to announce that on Friday, September 10th at the Polymer Clay Library (Vol-028-2), the members video tutorial will teach how make functional and creative polymer clay bead caps for adding that one-of-a-kind look to your jewelry creations.

Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-028-2 Polymer Clay Bead Caps:

  • Strong Polymer Clay like Premo Sculpey, Kato Polyclay or Fimo. I used Copper colored Premo.
  • Small cutters. I used a small tri-petaled leaf cutter from the Amaco Poly Cutters Set#5, and the flower cutter from the Premo Sculpey Mini-cutters set.
  • Small glass marbles.
  • Clay Blade.
  • Glad Cling Wrap or other polymer clay safe plastic wrap.
  • Texture plates (optional).
  • Antiquing medium (optional).

The full version of the Vid-028-2 Polymer Clay Bead Caps video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday September 10rd, 2010. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.

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Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

 



Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Polymer Clay Bead Caps” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-028 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Wow, I sure love this community. Cindy, your dreams of having a blog where people share ideas and help each other is being realized. We learn so much from you, and appreciate it so much (as you know — ‘cuz we tell you again and again.) But we also learn from each other, which is amazing in this day and age (where people are reluctant to share.) It’s so wonderful to have a place to go to get all this help and support. I’m so happy to have found all these great and talented people. Thanks everyone! ~Phaedrakat

@Phaedrakat, you are so right about some people who are not willing to share their knowledge. It seems here that just about everyone WANTS to share their secrets and their ideas and solutions. And most give great feedback and encouragement. When I see someone give “a pat on the back” to a fellow artist it makes me feel inspired. I have learned so much more than how to play with my clay here. I have learned we all have a great support team and my hat goes off to Cindy!! ~Catalina

@Catalina: Yes, Cindy has brought us all together at this great site. It has inspired me to clay again. I didn’t think it could be done! Even when I can’t clay, I can come here and see people exchanging ideas and helping each other with their tips and tricks and it’s a great thing to see. Lots of others are very “tight-lipped” about their processes. No help with them (unless you pay a BIG price!) Here, the friendly blog and advice are free. Cindy’s great video tutorials are nearly free. I mean, $3.32 a month is incredibly low! ~Phaedrakat

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Polymer Clay Bead Caps video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different bead caps, done in a variety of different colors, shapes and textures.
  • Discussion of the type of clay needed to have success making these creative polymer clay bead caps.
  • Learn tricks and tips for making the bead caps and getting formed and shaped in their distinctive cupped shaped form.
  • And finally, find out how to bake this unique bead shape and get that nice professional finish so that your new bead caps will compliment your polymer clay beads.

The full version of the “Polymer Clay Bead Caps” preview video shown above, is now avail for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-028 Back Issue Package.

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Comments

  1. Hi Cindy and all, this is a nice idea for the bead caps. Looking forwad to Friday.
    My efforts of Art clay sheets came out beautifully.
    I am so wrapped . Loved that exercise, thank you Cindy
    XXX

  2. No doubt this is a great tut opening up another area. Looking forward to catching up, Cindy. Love everything you have been teaching lately (not to mention from day one). Awesome.

  3. Cool, That’s something I would never have thought of, and of course it will be of great use outside of PC too, when the day come I get into PMCs. Can’t wait until Friday.

  4. Oh, yes, yes, YES!!!! How do you do it Cindy??? Each week I don’t think you can possibly top my excitement come the next Tuesday’s Teaser, but you keep doing it!!! How am I gonna sleep the rest of the week??? As I’ve been saying every week, I CAN’T WAIT TIL FRIDAY!!!! (You really shouldn’t do this to those of us with high blood pressure and cardio problems, you know…LOL!)

  5. So looking forward to this tutorial. Some of the prettier bead caps in the bead store can be quite expensive so it would be fantastic to be able to make our own. I agree with Koolbraider, hopefully they will hide some of the holes that were not perfect!

  6. I admit, I’m pretty much excited every week, but this gives me some ideas for sprucing up some not as fantastic beads. May need to make caps for some of my jupiter beads.

  7. FANTASTIC I have a tute on this I purchased before I found you Cindy. It is not that great but after I watch your tute Friday that little light in my head will go off and I’ll be shaking my head saying why didn’t they do it that way. That’s right they are not the awesome teacher Cindy is and they don’t have an awesome Filmer so you can see good enough to understand. Yeah that is right. Only the Lietz team has that special connection. So your tute will finally clear things up for me so I can start making my own.
    Woo Hoo Friday here we come, Peggy

  8. OK, this will be a fun, useful tute. Wow! I mean, bead caps? What a perfect video topic — they’re handy for so many things, like disguising ugly bead holes…as mentioned. They also add interest to plain beads, with color, shape, and/or texture. A single-colored cap can top off a patterned bead…to draw out a particular color, etc. Bead caps also add so many possibilities…stringing necklaces with other kinds of beads…nice! And these examples look fantastic! So very smooth. Can you tell I’m excited about this one? Cindy, you’ve done it again. You’re truly amazing…thanks for sharing your wonderful gifts!

    @Peggy: Why are you changing your writing style? Please message me on FB if you don’t want to mention it here. You said to smile at a stranger today — you will be a stranger if you change, LOL! :D

  9. This sounds sooo cool! I could have used this today! But, I guess I’ll have to wait till Friday!

    @Ken, I just checked the cost of PMC today and just about freaked out! 22k gold 3oz is $176.00!!!! Silver is better but what a price! I just can’t do that right now. But, if you get into it please let us know.

  10. @ Catalina – After reading your post about the price of the PMCs I went to one of the sites where I buy my wire from, they post the precious metals prices and here’s what they were; Plat. -$1,556.00 , Gold $1,256.75, Silver $19.82, so the costs for the clays doesn’t surprise me at all. There’s still a few things I need before I can experiment with the PMCs but the Bronze and Copper clays should be more affordable to learn with. The Bronze and Copper prices span from about $9 to $38, but to Fire the Bronze you need a kiln and I don’t know anything about what is needed for the copper. It’s a VERY long term goal to get into the PMCs, BUT Someday!

    • @Ken H.: Wow! I hope they were large packages! Yeah, we’ll have to wait till we won the lottery to try it. But, you have to admit, playing with polymer clay is a good start. All the skills you learn here will most definitely help when using PMC.

      ———————————————————————————————————————————–
      TECH UPDATE…
      there is currently a technical bug happening with the “Reply” function here at the blog. When you use it, your comments are temporarily held in the moderation queue, pending approval. This is not supposed to happen, and it will be (hopefully) fixed soon (the software developer is saying “within the next 12 hours”… which is somewhere between 12 real hours and 12 “dog time” hours :-).

      For now, it would be helpful if everyone would continue to refrain from clicking on that little “Reply” link. Instead, you can simply reference others by manually typing their name… like @Ken H. [or] @Catalina [or] @Cindy: [etc, etc.]. This way your comments will post in real time, without any delay. Thank you all. ~Doug
      ———————————————————————————————————————————–

  11. @Doug: As a software developer myself I know how rubbery hours can be! Is temporarily disabling the Reply links practical in the meantime to prevent so many posts going into the moderation queue? (I don’t know what facilities are available to you…)

    ———————————————————————————————————————————–
    Hi Sue:
    I have asked the developers of this WordPress theme if they could temporarily disable the reply feature. It can be done but would require some additional custom coding… so the plan is to just wait for the direct fix. ~Doug
    ———————————————————————————————————————————–

  12. @ Catalina – The prices I pasted into my post were for and ounce of metal, the clays move with the cost of the metals, maybe not as drastically but they do move. I like your idea though of winning the lottery, I could have every tool and gadget made for jewelry making :) (oooooo, TOOOOOOLS!!!!) cant wait to see how Cindy makes the bead caps, Please Friday come quickly.

  13. @Ken, I would think that you could rub these bead caps with gold, silver, copper, and bronze PearlEx if you want them to look like metal, unless there’s something I haven’t considered. I guess I’ll know better after I see the video on Friday.

  14. @ Ken and Catalina – yes, the PMC clay is too expensive. i did do a class and couple of pieces with the torch. You can do small pieces with a torch. The cost of the Art clay silver is I think $22 for a 10 gm packet. I had bought my packet from the place I took the class at. The torch is very inexpensive and can be used for making headpins etc.

  15. Another fantastic lesson, looking forward to learning about bead caps. Love the idea about customizing them too.

    Has anyone created any pieces with PMC? I’ve only come across it on the net, and was wondering how it was to work with and how pieces look afterward. It’s not really in my budget, but I’m curious about it.

  16. @ Linda K – Yes you can, and that’s what I will do but it would be nice to eventually make them out of PMC, especially the copper since it’s not as expensive as some of the others.

    @ Cheryl H – I understand the silver which isn’t too expensive but I would like to try the copper of which I know almost nothing about.

    I’ve only seen the Video Tuts on it, I haven’t actually worked with it, but it intriuges me about clay that fires into precious metals.

  17. I’ve also wanted to experiment with PMC…like the rest, it’s gonna be someday! I would love to be able to make custom metal bails and bezels for my clay pieces, too. PMC and polymer can look so great together! But for now, I am more than happy with my polymer clay, and Cindy’s fantastic tutorials! C’mon Friday! ~Kat

  18. SO, I am not the only one with wonky beads ! The bead caps would be perfect .I’ll drag out my “offies” and give them a second life. Love that

  19. @ Ken – I haven’t worked with copper or bronze. I know for small silver pieces you can use the torch. Anything bigger than a about 2 inches across you need a kiln. So far I have made one plain band ring, and one ring with a stone – they are special fireable stones- the semi precious ones don’t fire. Have also made three small pendants. For copper and bronze you cannot use the torch. I had bought a second hand kiln because i used to do stained glass and also did some fused glass, dichoric pendants. I still have some special glass for firing but did not have the time. You really have to monitor the glass all the time when it’s in the kiln. i would love to combine polymer and silver and copper too some day, when I have more time and a bigger budget!

  20. Hi Cindy and all, just watched the bead cap video, just great, real cute, and what an easy way to do your own bit of titivating , without rushing out to buy any caps. I have some Granite and Silver Premo clays which I dont like and have looked and looked at them, scratching my head as to what to use it for, now I know.
    When in doubt cap it out.
    Thanks Cindy. Have a nice week end.
    XXXX

  21. Oh Yay!!!! I have been wanting to make some of these on my own and look, once again, Cindy, you have done the work for me…….thank you….can’t wait to watch the video.

  22. I am so delighted to have found your tutorials. I made an art sheet from last weeks tute, in a different pattern, which came out dark. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but now that I have watched the bead cap video, I see tube beads with caps on them in my future! You are Fantastic!!!

  23. Well my predictions were right. I love this tute ,totally understand it and now understand the one I purchased a couple of years ago before I found Cindy even more. To top that my imagination after watching Cindy’s tute is wondering a lot further than it did with the other tute. Pictures and filming as always superb Doug. The Lietz team does it again, BAM right out of the ballpark. THANK YOU BOTH FOR ANOTHER GREAT TUTE FOR NEXT TO NOTHING. BIG HEARTS HAVE BIG IDEAS!!!!!!!!
    Clayfully yours, Peggy

  24. What a fun tutorial ! I especially love the tube bead and caps -the shape and colors are lovely – thanks again Cindy and Doug! How creative to use marbles for this technique!

  25. Cindy, I must say you are a God send because of your polmer clay videos.
    I’m a seed bead artist and I had problems finding brad caps for some of the larger beading work. I tried various ways to make bead caps from polymer clay, but it was just out of reach. Here you are showing what I didn’t even think of using marbles, and plastic. WOW!

  26. Boy, the possibilities with this one are endless. I have so many beads that did not turn out exactly as I had hoped that could morph into real beauties with the right bead caps. Guess I’ll have to pull my sad, discarded lonely, abandoned, beautiful wannabes from the depths of the “I don’t like you” bin and give them hope that they can be reclaimed.

    Thanks, Cindy & Doug!

  27. Very nice Cindy,

    I never would have thought a person could bead caps with polymer clay but what a wonderful idea. Beautiful and versatile. Thanks Cindy.

  28. Cindy – the bead cap tutorial is great! I was fascinated by the hand-made texture plate you used and would be very interested to learn how you did this — hint, hint!

  29. Such a great tutorial…I’ve had this bead cap idea in my little notebook for a long time…but never got around to trying them. I’m glad it worked out that way…you’ve made it so much easier – and better – than I’d have done. Now I can start off from your wonderful instructions, and go from there! Another masterpiece, for sure Cindy!

    I love these textured caps…& love your handmade texture plates, too! (*another tute request hint) Your shaping & smoothing tricks cut out much of the finishing work — fabulous! I think I’ll try these with Pearl-Ex or metallic paints/inks, too — this technique is gonna be enormously useful! I do beadweaving, as well…& it’s true there’s a need for special-sized caps. I also need them for some ‘discounted’ beads I bought when I first started making jewelry. They have ‘ugly holes’ and other little flaws that a custom bead cap can hide. In fact, these caps might be just the thing to turn those ugly ducklings into works of art…thanks! ~Kat

  30. Love it! Genius! Cindy, you are so clever…the simplest techniques make all the difference. Where can I buy marbles of various sizes?

  31. @ Marlene: No, I’m talking about Bead Cones, which are different. When a beader has strung 2 or more strands of beads on thread, it is necessary to hide the place where the strands are all tied to a wire. The wire is then attached to the clasp.

    Bead Cones are actually shaped like ice-cream cones. I’m trying to figure out what I could use to hold that shape while a Bead Cone is baking. Hmm. While I was writing this I had an idea about making a bell-shaped Bead Cone. I’ll have to think about this…

    • @Linda K.: Oops, sorry Linda. Should have known better. Learn something new every day. The only thing I can think of with that type of shape is the metal tip on an old icing gun, but you would only be able to make one at at time (Slow!)

    • @Linda K.: or maybe pieces of foil shaped into cones….I know w/foil the inside would not be smooth but no one see the inside of the cones.

      I bought my marbles. I got 3 different sizes at Michaels. This week the marbles are on sale for .99. I’m already to make my caps and I think I am going to try cones too.

      I also NEED to get some of my pics posted on FB of the other tutorials I’ve completed…..can’t wait to share.

  32. @ Linda K – How about a wilton cake decorating tip, the ones they write names on cakes with, they’re metal and I think they come in different sizes.

  33. Oh and BTW can we use the reply feature yet, I haven’t heard anything from Cindy’s IT Department ( Hi Doug :) ).

    ——————————————————————————————————————–
    @Ken…
    unfortunately the reply feature is still not fixed. My last update about this was on September 8 when the software developer suggested that everything would be back to normal “…within in the next 12 hours.” Now since it is September 13 today, roughly 72 hours has gone by. So that means the clock for our particular software developer is based on a 6x ratio (so far). In other words 1 hour = 6 hours. It’s kind of like how you calculate “dog years”. Or as Sue F puts it… rubbery hours LOL. The good news is, I did receive an email this morning indicating that the developer is in fact still working on the problem. Thanks for your patience. ~Doug
    ——————————————————————————————————————–

  34. @Linda K: You could probably make cone forms of whatever degree of tapering you require out of stiff paper or thin cardboard: start with a circle, cut out wedges of approriate width, then bring the long edges together and overlap them a bit so that you can glue (or whatever) them securely.

  35. What about getting a shallow pan, put cornstarch in it and place the marbles with the bead cap to be baked, in it? The cornstarch will keep the marbles from rolling around. I have a tin box, that gift cards come in, it would be a good size to start with. You don’t need much cornstarch to keep them from rolling around. Just a half inch or less would do.

  36. Thanks for the Bead Cone tips Marlene, Ken, Sue F. and Kathy G. Those are all good possiblities.

    What I’ve been thinking might be even more interesting than a cone shape is a sort of bell shape. Start out by making a bead cap, then deepen the sides with clay that has been extruded through the small circle…this would make more of a bell shape. I still have the problem of finding something to put the clay on while it bakes.

    • @Linda K.: I made two bead cones last night. I used a larger mandrel as well as the tip of a pencil to form them. I did not bake them on any form…it wasn’t necessary. They turned out pretty great.

      I also made a bunch of bead caps…….all I have to say is “AWESOME”

  37. @ Kathy: The pencil is exactly what my friend Jan suggested! You can make a bead cone on the sharpened end and a bell shape on the unsharpened end. With the pencil inside the clay, you could put texture on the outside, too. You could leave them on the pencil and stand it in a bowl of cornstarch to bake.

    I’m thinking how pretty it would be to use clay in the green color of verdegris, then rub gold or copper Pearl Ex on the high spots.

    • @Linda K.: Oh, Linda…those sound like fantastic ideas. Those bead cones will be gorgeous with your beaded necklaces… I’ve been wanting to put my bead stash to work, but I didn’t want to buy cones because the ones I like cost too much. But “make your own?”…done! :D

  38. @Linda, that sounds like a good idea! I had a three day weekend and I didn’t get to play with my clay at all! I went to help my parents clean out my 96 year old grandmother’s house. Guess what I found? An Cool Whip container filled with MARBLES!! I guess I won’t be needing any for quite a while! My grandparents were rat packs but very organized. She was very crafty, too. So, she had lots of craft supplies and stuff that she wanted to “do something” with but couldn’t throw away.

    I got to play today. I think I need to try to make some cones and caps! I wish I didn’t have to go to work. :)

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