40 Texture Ideas for Polymer Clay Projects and Sculpey Bead Making

Polymer Clay Texture Ideas

Polymer Clay Bead Surfaces Should Be Fun. These Tips Will Make Your Beads Unique:

Today I found this neat photo that my husband (Doug) took of some wonderfully textured bark. It got me to thinking about all the wonderful textures that can be added to polymer clay. This article picks up from another one I just posted a few days ago: How To Think Creatively About Polymer Clay Bead Surfaces

Here are 40 texture ideas that randomly popped into my head. A peak into how my brain works… Scary!!

  • velcro
  • vinyl wallpaper
  • guitar case
  • leather suitcase
  • old type writer case
  • soles of shoes
  • basketball
  • cantelope skin
  • orange peel
  • gourds and squashes
  • avocado skin
  • belt buckles
  • denim
  • corn
  • baskets
  • toy car wheels
  • zippers
  • nutshells
  • tracing wheel
  • kitchen rubber gloves
  • doll parts
  • micro beads
  • paper towel
  • coiled wire
  • organza fabric
  • bug screen
  • legos
  • corks
  • feathers
  • rope
  • cording
  • jump rings
  • speaker covers
  • pipe cleaners
  • sugar
  • craft foam
  • bike tire
  • cut glass platters
  • etched glass
  • plastic canvas

I know many of you are very creative. So let’s see what other unique texture ideas you can add to this list. Come on I dare you to come up with ones I never thought of!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 17 October, 2008

    Here are ten more! vintage jewelry, barn wood, dried peas, paper clips, patterned ceramic tile, plastic dinosaurs, coiled string, pine cones, carved eraser, rattan place mat.

  2. Elsa, 19 October, 2008

    Card making rubber stamps, wax seal stamps, dried lentils, starry pasta shapes, playdoh moulds, ridged plastic bottle lids, baby’s toes, relief beads, kitchen foil etc…

  3. Genevieve, 19 October, 2008

    Scrunched aluminium foil, coarse sandpaper, buttons (especially metallic ones with filigree or other textures), doilies, lace, metallic mesh, washers.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 21 October, 2008

    @Elsa: Great ideas! Smiled when I got to the baby toes… how sweet!

    @Genevieve: Great additions! The filigree stuff is all the rage now!

  5. DARINDA BRADEN, 26 October, 2008

    Vases,glassware, door knobs & drawer pulls. DE

  6. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2008

    Those are great additions Darinda! Thank you!

  7. lynn watts, 07 February, 2009

    crystal cut glasses,light switch covers with filigree,small chains,leather punch tools,lace doilies,fabrics,bark,rocks,zippers,screens,adding machine roll {aft. paper is all gone},game pieces,novelity clocks with designes,medicine bottle caps{arnd the edges}silverware handles,filigree earrings,look @ everything in your path, the textures that lurk everywhere arnd you, pocketbooks what makes up the outside components for closures,etc. I have alot of things I have collected from everywhere. I am called a packrat. I think I can use somethings with my polymer clay so I hardly throw anything away. I reuse alot.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 09 February, 2009

    Awesome additions Lynn! Yeah I can relate to the packrat thing. Not too many creative types that aren’t collectors of some sort. Thanks for adding to the texture ideas list!

  9. carolyn, 25 February, 2010

    Just this morning I was thinking about the cut glass collection from my grandmother. I thought it was an original idea for adding texture … and here you had it on this list from 2008!

  10. phaedrakat, 25 February, 2010

    I’m glad you commented, Carolyn. I had overlooked it — you made me look again! It’s a great idea for texture, plus, there are quite a few here I haven’t thought of!

  11. Heather Graef, 12 July, 2010

    Press a sheet of slightly crinkled of aluminum foil into the clay for a slate/stone texture. Cool because you can vary the degree of crinkle, and make deep or shallow impressions.

  12. Phaedrakat, 13 July, 2010

    @Heather Graef: Good tip! I like that you added what kind of texture the foil creates (it also looks makes a Faux Leather effect!) This is a good thread; I hope people see this & continue to add ideas.

    All: I didn’t see “tools” on this list—the classic Phillips screw driver, for instance. Other screwdrivers, too (star-shaped are great!) The jaws of pliers have cool texture. Then there’s brass/copper tubing in various sizes & shapes, screw threads, nuts & bolts, rasps, golf tees, plastic table leg inserts, etc. Look in your toolbox or that “drawer” in the kitchen that’s full of miscellaneous household “stuff.” You’ll find some texture there… Anyway, I’m sorry if I’m repeating certain items!

    There are other kinds of tools, too. Just in general, there’s sewing/embroidery tools (like plastic needlepoint canvas/mesh, pattern wheels, crochet hooks, knitting needles, eye of large needle, ball-tip pins, t-pins, etc.;) beads & beading tools/accessories (almost everything!;) nail-care & beauty tools (like pumice or feet smoothers, dental tools, brushes, cuticle trimmers–like little gouges, files, blackhead removers, hair clips, barrettes, bobby pins, etc.;) dremel accessories (check your accessory kit!;) office supplies (like punches, little binder clips, page connectors, paper clips–already mentioned, or pen parts–caps, springs, or the ends of empty/retracted pens/pencils, etc.;) scrapbooking supplies (like decorative rivets, grommets, stamps–already mentioned, metallic charms or embellishments, etc.;) kitchen supplies/tools (like slicers & graters, corn holders, forks or flatware patterns, cake decor. tips, popsicle sticks, etc.;) and food (like pasta & others–already mentioned, as well as sugar, salt, rock salt, cereal, dried rice, beans, corn, walnut shells, etc.)

    Oh yeah, someone did put “leather punch tools”–which are great. (I want some of those! BTW, Carolyn has some cool ones!) There’s also nature & the great outdoors: grass, seashells, tree bark, leaves, concrete, stucco, wood, sand, pebbles, birdseed—it’s endless!

    Add some of your faves:……. :D

  13. Heather Graef, 13 July, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Awesome list. Upholstery tacks often have floral embellishments that make nice textures. I have an idea to create a set of texture stamps with pc handles. Will post when I have some pics to share!

  14. Tanya L, 14 July, 2010

    Thank you all for terrific ideas! I’ve been racking my brain, trying to add to my collection of things to use for texture. I have the mesh bags from onions and the elastic stocking thing they have around hams.

    One thing worries me. When I made a comment to my daughter, who’s BIG into making all kinds of things by hand, about using store bought jewelry items and making molds out of them she said if it’s copyrighted it can’t be used. What are your thoughts?

  15. carolyn, 14 July, 2010

    @Tanya L: Copyrights are not to be copied. Now, I have some old jewelry (cameos mostly) and I do make molds of these items. But if I bought something new and saw a copyright on it, I would not copy it. That’s the whole idea of a copyright. Glad you brought this up. One thing, though, you can use a copyrighted item as the basis if something if you make major changes to it. Then it is always good to give credit: inspired by … or based on the work of … You get the idea.

  16. Heather Graef, 14 July, 2010

    @Tanya L: Tanya L is right—its fair to say that its not a good idea to copy an item and purposely call it your own design. But I would add that this more or less applies to work you are selling. Its the same way with any type of art or design work. I think some exceptions are when artists use mixed-media/collage techniques in their work; if you use a pretty generic design for your mold, and add your own embellishments and textures to make it your own, you should be OK. Part of being an artist is to find inspiration from others, make your own creations, and have fun with it.

  17. Tanya L, 14 July, 2010

    Thanks Carolyn & Heather!

  18. Phaedrakat, 16 July, 2010

    Good topic, glad you brought it up!

  19. Amanda, 29 July, 2010

    This all sounds wonderful. I have only but started to work with polymer clay – Fimo to be exact. I’ve made some beads and I love it. Now I want to try textured ones. That’s how I found this site. Can you tell me how to work with the clay to obtain the texture with some various objects? Do I first roll the clay into a ball (the plain round bead), and then press the object of choice onto the ball? How to get the bead back into round shape again?

  20. Phaedrakat, 31 July, 2010

    @Amanda: Hi Amanda, you can press all kinds of things into your clay for texture. Be sure to use a release of some sort so that the texturing item doesn’t stick in the clay. Water can be used; or something powdery, like corn starch; or even something oily, like Armor-all! This time of year, clay gets sticky, so you’ll probably want to stick with powder or cool water as a release.

    If you’re careful, and keep your round bead cool (pop it in the fridge before texturing,) it will retain it’s shape as you press the texture into the bead. Sometimes, depending on the type of texture and how large it is in relation to the bead, you might have to finagle it a bit, or gently coax it into a round shape again and “touch up” the texture in spots.

    There are lots of other ways to add texture to beads. Cindy has a few videos that include adding texture—one of them uses Rubber Stamps for Textured Beads and Pendants.

    Have fun with it, and since you are new to this, you should try Cindy’s Polymer Clay Basics Course. It’s the best way to get lots of information, as well as helpful tips and tricks for all aspects of getting started with polymer clay. It’s even helpful for intermediate & advanced clayers—everyone can learn a few things from this set of 39 videos. You should also sign up for the Polymer Clay Newsletter. You get 3 free videos for signing up, as well as a couple of free color recipes from Cindy’s custom palettes each week. If you like the looks of the videos (which you will–they’re the best!) you will probably want to become a member. It costs $9.95 for 3 months of videos (12 videos — about 80 ¢ each, or $3.32 per month.) You also get additional color recipes from Cindy’s A-series palettes. It’s a fantastic bargain—you won’t be sorry you joined! The links to all of the things I mentioned are at the top of this page…

    One thing I forgot to mention—the search box at the top of each page. Just about every question has been answered at least once at this blog. Type “how to texture beads” or “textured beads” or something like that in the box & you’ll get a list of articles where the topic was mentioned. You can find all kinds of cool info and tips by reading the article and the comments below it (sometimes there’s even more info in the comments under the article than in the original post!) Good luck with your beads, and I hope to see you around as a new member!
    ~Kat  Riverside, CA, USA   –Where are you from?

  21. Marion, 12 August, 2011

    Re Knotting beads
    Is there any way of determining what size thread should be used for knotting pearls or beads. I’ve tried almost same size as bead hole so the knot wouldn’t slip through but it ended up looking clumsy and detracted from beauty of bead. Any help would be gratefully appreciated!
    Thanks – Marion

  22. Phaedrakat, 14 August, 2011

    @Marion: What type of thread or string material are you using? And how big are the beads are you stringing? Normally, you’d select stringing material based on the weight of the beads (light, med. heavy,) bead type (polymer, glass, metal,) and what they’re going to be used for (necklace, bracelet, etc.) Are you specifically wanting to knot pearls or other beads (the traditional way, using silk?) or are you having difficulty with lots of bead sizes?

  23. Linda K., 14 August, 2011

    @Marion: Marion, funny you should ask this question. I’m in the process of gathering information about silk threads and pearls for my blog. As Phaedrakat says, we need more information and she’s asked all the questions.

    I would just like to add that pearls typically have much smaller holes than other beads do and the smaller pearls usually have even smaller holes. There are some places where you can get “large-hole” pearls.

    Based on what you’ve written, I suspect that you’re knotting regular beads with larger holes rather than pearls. If that’s the case and you’re using thread that’s about the same size as the bead hole, it’s probably fairly thick thread. That will definitely make large knots, which you might think look clumsy.

    There is a way to use smaller-sized thread. Place seed beads on each side of the bead. Make sure that the seed bead is not so small that it gets lost inside the bead hole. Now you can use a finer silk thread and make the knots outside the seed beads. You’ll have to try it out to see if you like the look. If you’re doing an illusion-style necklace, this should work well. However, if you’re knotting the beads like you would knot a strand of pearls, it might not make you happy.

  24. Maria W, 25 February, 2019

    Hi came across your wonderful tutorials. Thank you.
    I have some metal bottle tops and was wondering if it would be feasible to press them into clay before oven baking to make place mat. Would tops spring out or could they be glued afterwards do you think?
    Your comments would be much appreciated for my Grandsons birthday.
    Thank you in anticipation

  25. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2019

    Hi Maria, sorry for the delay. Yes you can push bottle caps into polymer clay and bake it. Depending how the clay is holding onto the caps (like if it wraps up over the lip or something) the caps may or may not need glue after it is baked. If they pop off by putting your fingernail under the edge, then I would glue them down with either Weldbond Glue or Gorilla Glue White. If you are not familiar with how to use Gorilla Glue White with polymer clay, then do a quick search on this blog to find the video on how it works. Good luck! Your project sounds interesting!

  26. Maria W, 28 February, 2019

    Thank you so much will let you know how it went


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