Your Reasons For Making Polymer Clay Beads – I Really Want To Know

Faux Turquoise Bracelet Bead

Just For Fun? Or For Making Money Too?

There are several different reasons for making polymer clay beads. Some of you may just like to make beads because they are pretty and a crafty thing to do. Others use polymer clay beads to make jewelry for personal use or to gift to friends / family. And then there are those of you who want to turn your hobby into a business. Or at least be able to make a bit of money to “….feed your creative hunger,” as one reader put it in this post: Selling Handmade Beaded Jewelry

I’ve already shared my reasons for bead making over in this post:
Why Make Polymer Clay Beads?

So today I’d love to hear from you. Please share your motivations for making beads, in the comments section below. Feedback on this topic will really help in planning out the next set of video tutorials for the Polymer Clay Library, as well as articles for the blog.

You sharing your reasons will have a big influence on the types of polymer clay techniques I teach. If you’re in it for the challenge of making something difficult and arty, the projects will lean towards those types of projects. Or, if you’re reasons are more business oriented, I can show you bead techniques that are profitable to make. Methods that can be produced efficiently in volume.

So be sure to speak up! Don’t be shy. The more I know about you and why you want to learn bead making, the better I can serve you as a community.

 

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Susan K, 22 April, 2009

    Hey Cindy, great question. I started making polymer clay beads and continue to, because I always found myself looking at a piece of jewelry and saying “I could do that”. Especially if it was an art piece that I felt I couldn’t afford. I can afford polymer clay and just love the feeling I get when someone exclaims “You made that??”
    It’s a great feeling. So for me projects that are one of a kind, for me to wear are what I am looking for. Thanks, Susan
    .

  2. Kim C, 22 April, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    I think the main reason why I wanted to make polymer clay beads, is because I wanted my jewelry pieces to truly be one of a kind.

    Plus, I love the idea of taking a lump of clay and making something that doesn’t look anything like the original product it came from.

    Polymer clay is challenging for me also. It’s like a new art form to try and master. I’m certainly not there by any means, but I enjoy the journey.

  3. Lisa Whitham, 22 April, 2009

    I’ve been making jewelry for years and I started claying for another creative outlet – to make my own pretty beads and canes. It’s not just challenging – it’s fun to make jewelry from poly clay. And I enjoy learning something new about it everyday!
    ~Lisa

  4. Maureen, 22 April, 2009

    I started making jewelry when I retired a few years ago. Then I “found” polymer clay and decided I wanted to make my own beads. I do sell my jewelry to friends so I want it to be extra nice. I just joined and subscribed to your blog and am hoping to learn how to make more “sellable” beads and jewelry. I still have a lot to learn but am enjoying it so far. I would like to make simple but pretty beads.

  5. Anna Sabina, 22 April, 2009

    I want to learn how to make beads like the one in the picture above and those cool Raku beads.

    When I began in polymer clay I did not think I would do jewelry but I got bit by the bead bug. Now I have a growing number of beads that seem to be multiplying like rabbits. I love to go to my happy place and mindlessly make more beads and more beads and more beads. Now putting these together into something is problematic so i just keep making more beads. There are a lot of resource on color theory but I have not seem much on actual jewelry design.

    I recently took a community education bead bracelet class for fun and relaxation. HA !!!! It was worse than my”fun and relaxing” China painting class where I wanted to inhale all of the pant thinner and lind seed oil and then go lick the lead based paint off other students china. I thought this bracelet class would teach us tricks on how to put textures, dangling beads, charms and spacers into something. It was more like “jump on in kids, the water is fine; which is actually a good technique. But did the instructor need to bring 30 bead organizers full of choices; did we need 15 choices of yellow. Bless her heart she was trying to be generous and give us choices—too many choices. I spent almost the entire 90 minutes trying to pick beads and spacers.

    I am usually a very spur of the moment, non perfectionistic , “don’t sweat the small stuff “person who does not have trouble making decisions. Now I was an identity crisis and panic attack in my “fun and relaxing” beading. class.” I finally just forced a decision and the bracelet come out great.

    I look in sale ads and magazine for ideas. I am being over analytical. I know, less is more.” Maybe I am focusing too much on the details in the bead and see them more as an overall color.

    Any suggestions?

  6. Cathy Meier, 22 April, 2009

    I only just started making jewelry over the winter because I wanted to try to duplicate those expensive “Troll” and “Pandora” bracelets that are getting so popular now. I discovered polymer clay when I was having trouble finding “just the right bead” for my projects.
    I dove right into the clay and love working with it. It is a craft that I can also share with my daughter and son. They enjoy helping make beads and also small decorative objects. (hint—would love to see a bead project geared to the teenage styles)
    So far I have made the beads for some family and friends. Have had friends request me to make things for them to purchase, but I think I still have a way to go before I would be comfortable charging for them. Maybe one day I can at least pay for my hobby that way.

  7. Louise, 22 April, 2009

    When I do make beads it’s for the fun of it.
    I dont sell them and I don’t really even strign them.
    My thing is bottles of hope.

  8. Freda, 22 April, 2009

    I make pendants mostly and I need beads to go with the pendant to make a necklace and a bracelet to go with it. I like to make them in lots of shapes and use the extruder to make long ones, square ones, etc. I do try to sell what I make.

  9. Cindy Graveline, 22 April, 2009

    I started for fun, because I wanted to make necklaces and pendants(and other stuff too like magnets, keychains, figurines, etc…) for myself, and many friends and co-workers asked me to make them stuff too because they loved mine :D

  10. Joyce, 23 April, 2009

    I started making polymer clay beads because I had ideas in my head of things I wanted, both for me and for gifts. I always have several different types of craft projects going at once and love to learn new things. Eventually I want to get good enough to be able to make a little extra money to help pay for my hobby. When I turn on the computer every day, one of the first places I check is your blog to see what new pictures and articles you’ve posted for the day. I think I would really like a lot more business tips, as well as the different bead ideas. Love your blog and the library! Oh, would love to make things my 23 year old daughter would like.

  11. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2009

    Thank you everyone! Your comments are very valuable to me and what I will be able to give you here and in the library!

    I will take all of your suggestions into consideration. If you have any more to add, I would love to hear them!

  12. Jamie, 24 April, 2009

    Hmmm….why do I make beads…? All of the reasons above and then some! Hahaha! Because its fun, and addictive. You cant make just one you know. Because I love to wear and give handmade gifts. Because I love to challenge myself to make things I’ve seen and cant afford. Because I looove the compliments I get about my handiwork. But most of all, I make them to sell and support my bead habit(among others)LOL. And to prevent hubby from throwing an eyebrow out of joint at the register in Michaels, hee hee hee. Used to be he would sigh heavily and part the wallet to pay for my meager few hundred beads and findings. But happily, today I can whip out my own “pin” money, and pay for my own blocks of colorful polyclay bliss. And that feels really good. Now all I have to explain is why dinner isnt ready, because I got “inspired” again! XOXO Jamie

  13. Anna Sabina, 24 April, 2009

    Jamie–Your husband goes to Michael’s with you? Wow, that is impressive! My husband would rather have a Colonoscopy than shop……he hates shopping.
    You know I make a killer faux spaghetti out of Ecru Premo run through the extruder with the noodle looking disc. . Throw a little canned sauce in there, hell it will wash off later.
    I worked with some older ladies who always said “if you are running behind with dinner, set the table and cook garlic and onions.” your sweetie will anticiate a wonderful meal n and wait until it is done. Too bad they do not make a candle in that scent.

  14. Jamie, 24 April, 2009

    Hi Anna. Hmmm premo noodles eh? I like that thought! I saw some pretty convincing sushi out of clay too lol. I like the onions and garlic ruse too! I use a similar one during the holidays when expecting company. A bit of cinnamon in a small pan in a warm oven makes the whole house smell yummy! I’ll have to work on that candle idea tho, hee hee hee. And to answer your question? Yes, my hubby does go to Michaels, and AC Moores, and even Joanne fabrics. But only for 2 reasons. #1 because he is crafty too, even tho he wont admit it in mixed company. He likes the unfinished wood pieces, the clock works, and the miniature train departments. And he even paints the plaster christmas village pieces. And #2? Because for all the time he spends at craft stores with me? He gets equal unpestered time in his favorite tools and parts stores. And I buy all his clothes so he doesnt have to try anything on or even go along.(which he really does hate) So its a trade off. And now that I have my own money to spend? He is happy to go to Michaels any time I ask. Hahaha! XOXO Jamie

  15. Cindy Lietz, 25 April, 2009

    My husband Doug will actually go buy stuff at Michaels for me! :-) The nearest one is a half an hour drive, so we don’t go there unless we’re running other errands. If he’s in the area he picks up something with the coupon. It’s his business too, so of course he is sweet about it.

    It’s the kids that hate to go with me. I guess they are tired of standing there watching me decide between two wires or some ink or something! Tables are turned though when they are picking out a video game in the electronics department, aren’t they! ;-)

  16. Jamie, 25 April, 2009

    Welll…I could probably send my hubbster to Michaels too. There’s only one problem. He’s crafting impaired. LOL! He would try, he really would! But it’s probably better for his blood pressure that I don’t ask this of him. Because he wouldnt know an alcohol ink from Easter egg dye! And he couldnt tell a #11 delica from an E bead. Swarovski crystals or Czech glass? Headpins or eyepins? Its all the same, right? So it’s just safer and easier on us both if I don’t even try that. Besides, then I wouldnt get to browse and see all the pretty stuff I forgot to add to my list! Hahaha! XOXO Jamie

  17. Cindy Lietz, 01 May, 2009

    Hehehe… Well Doug isn’t quite so crafting impaired cause he’s filmed every video and edited every post! Some of it is surely sinking in! He is also quite creative in his own right. He does beautiful woodwork.

    Do like to do the supply shopping myself if I can though. Really, what’s better than craft shopping anyway?! Who needs new clothes when you can get more supplies?! Right?! :-)

  18. aims, 15 May, 2009

    I’ve just started making jewelry in the last month and I realized immediately that I need to ‘do my own thing’. Scanning magazines I came across polymer beads and knew immediately that this is what I have to do. I’m looking forward to it!

  19. Cindy Lietz, 16 May, 2009

    Glad to have you here aims! You are really going to love the polymer clay journey. There is really no limit to what you can create with it. It is a perfect medium for artists who want to do their own thing!

    If you are interested in learning about how to work with polymer clay. I have made an excellent (if I do say so myself :) Beginner’s course that will help you avoid a lot of the trials and errors most people typically make when learning. Click the link by my name for more info on that!

    Ask lots of questions and have fun!

  20. Andrea R, 20 July, 2009

    Hello Cindy, I love making beads from polymer clay more than I have ever enjoyed sculpting and making miniatures with it. I seem to be good at it and I can produce many of them in a short amount of time compared to sculpting which can take me hours to sculpt just one baby or fairy.

    I love working on new ideas and shapes I make by hand. Then once they are all shiny I just love the weight and feel they have to them especially in bunches. The beautiful colors and the possibilities are just endless to me. Oh and lets not mention lentil swirl beads…can you say addicting LOL.

  21. Valerie, 24 July, 2009

    I love all of your stories. :D I make tons of craft items (but I’ll just stick to the clay items on here lol) and I would make a TON (literally, I have boxes) of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and just beads in general. I make things for fun, for others, for fun, and for more fun. :)

    When my pocket book was suffering from my creative passion (as it has been my entire life) a friend of mind told me about Etsy.com: a place to buy & sell handmade items.

    The shop is not doing well >__<).

    ANYWAY, my mom took a look at all my stuff and she came up with one of the best ways to solve my clutter: charity. I look at the things people give to charity and it dawned upon me that the things I make are very nice compared to most of the jewelry at charity places (at least in my area). Plus, giving to those in need gives you blessings. ^_^

    To sum up this ramble (I apologize), I make things for fun and to satisfy my creative cravings. Whether or not these things sell doesn’t matter to me. Whenever I have extra items, I pack up my charity box and give them away. :D

  22. Cindy Lietz, 29 July, 2009

    @Andrea: I know what you mean about the addicting aspect of making lentils and other polymer clay beads. I have see the beads you make and they are very beautiful. Glad to see you spreading your enthusiasm here! :-)

    @Valerie: Welcome to the blog and thank you so much for the wonderful comment! I’m sorry to here that sales aren’t going too well for you. I have a few articles on selling on Etsy that may be of some help for you. There are probably just a few things you need to tweak in order to get the sales flowing. You have a giving heart. You need that to come through in your shop. I’m think maybe your shop name maybe a little off putting and could possibly be harming your sales. I have put a link to an article that could help, beside my name. For more articles, click the ‘Sell Your Stuff’ link at the top left hand side of the page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  23. Valerie W, 30 July, 2009

    @Cindy: Thank you for looking at my shop! :D Btw, Metalmaggot is just my username. The name of my shop is in the banner “Odds & Ends of Everything”. I may have to make a note in my shop announcement about that since a lot of people think my username is the name of the shop. lol Thank you for the link and the help pages. Any advice is very much appreciated. :D

  24. Debbie McLelland, 06 January, 2012

    Cindy,
    I have been working with polymer for 1-1/2 years only. There is so much to learn, I am continually amazed at how much more there is for me to learn. It will never be dull and I will never be bored.

    I do spend time on creating items with a great amount of detail, I really enjoy this. But, I would love to see videos on “. . . bead techniques that are profitable to make. Methods that can be produced efficiently in volume.” This would be most helpful whether it is beads or some other form of polymer clay work that is profitable to make and resale.

    Now an answer more specific to your question: I enjoy making beads because anything goes . . . the ideas, textures, color combinations, and the use of leftover scrap clay is unlimited. And, after 20 plus years of making jewelry and having to pay for beads, it is wonderful to create my own beads, and to be able to make them custom to fit exactly my needs. I no longer have to settle. “Ya-hodie.”

    DMc

  25. Cindy Lietz, 26 January, 2012

    Great question Debbie! There are many techniques that have already been taught that I would consider high value – low input techniques which are more suited to making money when selling them. Mainly because there is not a lot of finishing to them. Here are just a few of them:

    Frosted Rainbow Beads
    Dogwood Flower Pendant
    Arizona Beads
    Stamped Bezels
    Crackled Paint Technique

    There are many many more. Just scroll through the blogs and look for tutorials that have little to no sanding, not canework, and not too many steps to them. I agree, many polymer clay techniques are excellent for keeping the mind stimulated and challenged, but some are just too time consuming to make any money at. I try my best to offer a little of all types, for the different and changing needs of our students here.

    Thank you for your comment!

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