Amaco Tri Bead Roller – How To Make it Work Right

Amaco Tri-Bead Roller

Vid #020: Instructions For Proper Use of the Tri Bead Roller by AMACO:

When I get a new polymer clay tool I usually just want to start using it without paying too much attention to the instructions. But sometimes that’s not the best idea.

For example when I first started using my AMACO brand tri-bead roller, I didn’t realize how important it was to use properly measured amounts of clay. This caused all sorts of problems for me, mostly to do with poorly formed bead shapes that were never consistent in size.

So the biggest tip I can give you with any kind of bead rolling tool, is to listen to the manufacturers advice when it comes to pre-measuring your clay pieces. You’ll be glad you did.

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The full version of the “Tri Bead Roller” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #20 of 39]. Among other things, I demonstrate:

  • How to use the special polymer clay measuring tool properly.
  • How to avoid getting holes and cracking at the tips of your rolled beads.
  • A special trick for adding cool spiral color patterns to your Bi-cone, Oval and Round bead shapes.
  1. Cindy Lietz, 12 April, 2008

    There are newer versions of this Amaco tri bead roller tool designed with a feature that makes it easy to pierce holes through your beads without even touching them. No fingerprints! Now that is a very clever idea.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Pirate Crossbones Jewelry Pillaged in Broad Daylight

  2. Wes Warren, 09 May, 2008

    OMG! I just realized where I’d caught your name, and it was a few weeks back while admiring your super site! Keep it up(!), and thanks for the comment.


  3. Cindy Lietz, 10 May, 2008

    Thanks Wes! It’s great to meet a fellow Canadian Polymer Clay Nut!!

    (For those of you reading this who may not know Wes, his polymer clay canes ROCK! No one makes a logo cane as well as Wes does! You should check out his site.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Metallic Polymer Clay Color Recipes with Bling

  4. Melanie, 04 August, 2009

    I bought the Amaco bead roller set 8 because I need to make 4 mm balls. I’m having a little difficulty on working on such a small scale. Are there any tips I should know about? I’m trying to measure accurately but it seems I always end up with too little clay and my beads come out weird shaped.. this set didn’t come with a measuring tool..?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 05 August, 2009

    Hi Again Melanie,

    As you can see, I transferred your email question over here to the blog. In the future if you could post your polymer clay related questions directly to the blog, that would be very helpful. It’s very easy to do…

    At the bottom of every article post, there is a comments section. Simply put your name in the “Name” field and your email address in the “Email” field. You don’t need to fill in the “Url” field. Then type away in the big comment dialog box. Finally, click the “Submit Comment” button and I will get your message. That’s all there is to it.

    A big advantage in posting your questions here at the blog is that others can join in and provide you with feedback as well… often quicker than I can.

    In regards to your question about measuring clay for an Amaco Bead Roller, follow the “Polymer Clay Beads” link by my name above. There is some helpful information in the comments section of that post.

    For lots of additional information, you can use “bead roller” or “Amaco bead roller” as keywords in the search box. There is a search box at the top of every post at this blog. If you still have unanswered questions after doing a bit of research, then by all means post a follow up comment and someone will respond asap.

    Talk soon,

  6. Melanie, 05 August, 2009

    Thanks for the patience Cindy! Usually when I ask a question, I just use the “Contact Cindy” link at the top of the page. I’ll use the comment boxes for now on. :-)

  7. Cindy Lietz, 05 August, 2009

    Wonderful. I appreciate it :)

  8. Carole Anne Holt, 17 November, 2009

    hi cindy i am very new to polymer clay and after joining your brilliant site
    and reading how you all finish your beads with a dremel drill.i bought myself a drill and then bought your tut on making my own felt buffing pad ,so far so good .I set my drill on a vice just like your instructions and started to buff my beads, i only managed to do two, when i noticed smoke coming from the drill then Bang ! all the power went and i had fused the
    lot .Not to be detered i borrowed my husbands drill and to cut a long story short it happend with his drll too.WHAT AM I Doing WRONG.
    I dare not buy another untill you can advise me.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 17 November, 2009

    Good thing you stopped Carole… smoke is a bad thing! It sounds to me like your units were over heating. And the last thing you want to do is run the risk of starting a fire.

    The overheating could be for a few different reasons. Maybe you made the buffing wheel too big? Maybe the wiring is bad where you plugged in the unit? Maybe you were using extension cords that are not rated for that type of power draw? Maybe you were using too high a speed or pressing too hard?

    It would help if you were to email me a picture of your set up. This may help me to better identify what the problem is.

  10. Wes Warren, 18 November, 2009

    Hi, all!

    It sounds like you’re running it too long and burning out the brushes(the magnetic shoes that make it well…a motor.

    If you can find an AC On/Off pedal, like a sewing machine pedal, it will allow you control to run the drill much cooler.


  11. Cindy Lietz, 25 November, 2009

    Sorry to take so long to respond Wes. Thanks for the tip! Sounds like a sewing pedal would come in handy!

  12. Annuska Joosten, 25 March, 2010

    I was interested in the newer version of the Amaco tri bead roller. Can you give me details on that on? I always have problems with the holes. I would appreciate it.

  13. Phaedrakat, 26 March, 2010

    @Annuska Joosten: Hi Annuska (cool name, where are you from?) I have not seen these new versions in my local stores (in Riverside, CA, USA.) I did see them online somewhere, though. They come with piercing pins that fit their bead rack. There’s a little hole in the sides of the roller at one end, so that you can insert the pin into your perfectly rolled bead without touching & getting fingerprints on your bead. It looks like a nice improvement; I would purchase one if I found it locally (hate to pay S&H if I don’t need to…:-)

    As far as making holes, have you taken any of Cindy’s video courses? She shows lots of ways to make all aspects of working with polymer clay much easier. When making holes, one thing that can help is to let your bead rest for a bit before piercing it. As it cools, it firms up a bit, and doesn’t distort so much when you make your hole.

    The video preview above is part of Cindy’s beginners course (aka Polymer Clay Basics Course.) This is a huge help if you are just getting started, or want to learn ways to avoid the mistakes so you can make great beads. Her videos are excellent: Cindy has the Fundamentals/Basics Course (39 videos!), a newsletter that comes with 3 free videos & free weekly color recipes, and a Member Video Library membership, that works out to only $3.32 per month. The links for all 3 are at the top of the page.

    Good luck with your beads, & happy claying!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 26 March, 2010

    @Annuska Joosten: Yes cool name… it sounds Scandinavian to me.

    Thanks Phaedrakat for providing Annuska with some great info. Here are a couple of other links to check out as well:

    How to Make Beads | Polymer Clay Tools | Tri Bead Roller by Amaco

    IMO… Not all Polymer Clay Beads Are Meant To Be Perfect

    Make sure to read the comments below the articles I have linked to. Often times that is where you will find the most valuable tips and tricks.

  15. Annuska Joosten, 27 March, 2010

    Hi Cindy and Phaedrakat,

    I am a dutch woman living in Sweden with her family. There is not much to buy here for bead making so I have to search the internet for that. I will look into the video’s to get improved!! Thank you so much for your reaction. We give workshop in Sweden for spinning and dying wool. So I thought of making row counters for the contestants with their name on it. I wanted to make beads and write the letters on it to form their names. Now I am not so sure.


  16. Phaedrakat, 29 March, 2010

    @Annuska: Hi, why did you say you are not sure, what makes you say that? I hope all of the information did not scare you away from Polymer Clay. It is an amazing medium that you need very few tools to be able to use! I think that personalized beads for row counters would be wonderful! There are many ways to put the names on the beads, too; you could etch them into raw clay and bake them, or use a sharp tool to etch the baked clay. Or you could stamp them with letter stamps using ink, paint, etc. You could even just paint the names on, or write them with special pens or markers. Cindy has a couple articles involving putting words/names on clay. Here’s one about Dog Tags Jewelry which has names stamped with ink into polymer clay Faux Stones. Cindy also has a tutorial for Graffiti Beads.

    Be sure to follow the 2 links in the article, or watch the preview video to see the cool examples of these graffiti beads.

    Good luck with your polymer clay & beading journeys. It’s so nice to talk with someone in Sweden (and a Dutch woman at that!) I’ve never been to Sweden, but I have been to Amsterdam a few times. I wish I could have seen more of the country, but time was always limited. (I was in the military.) Please leave a comment if you need any help!

  17. Yaco Padron, 21 April, 2010

    por favor donde puedo comprar por internet los herramientas ¨Mastering the Amaco Tri——-bead roller, The Amaco Professional and Rolling Round Beads by Hand

    GOOGLE TRANSLATION: please where I can buy online the Mastering the —– Amaco Tri bead roller, The Amaco Professional and Rolling Round Beads by Hand

  18. Phaedrakat, 29 April, 2010

    @Yaco Padron: Por favor, copie las direcciónes de Internet se han indicado, a continuación, péguelos en su navegador. (Internet Explorer) Buena suerte para encontrar las herramientas! (Amaco Tri-Bead Roller) :~)

    En Inglés: Please copy the Internet addresses noted above, then paste them into your browser. Good luck finding the bead rollers!

  19. Phaedrakat, 29 April, 2010

    @Yaco Padron: Hola! Aquí está el enlace a Amaco, la compañía que hace la herramienta Tri-Bead Roller.

    O pruebe este enlace usando Google Translate (Traducir):

    También puede probar otras compañías que venden artículos de artesanía, en especial relacionados con los suministros de arcilla. Buena suerte para encontrar lo que está buscando!

    En Inglés: Hello! Here is the link to Amaco, the company who makes the Tri-Bead Roller tool. Or try this link using Google translate. You can also try other companies who sell craft supplies, especially clay-related supplies. Good luck finding what you are looking for!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 07 June, 2010

    NEW PHOTOS ADDED… that relate to the theme of this page… Amaco Tri Bead Roller. Click on the link by my name for the full “Spotlight Story” featuring Mary-G.

    Polymer Clay Projects

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above, who took the time to comment in this thread. Your feedback, support and engaging conversations are always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address everyone individually, please know that I do read everything. ~Cindy

  21. Eva J, 21 April, 2012


    I am from Sweden and i cant speak english so good but i think your beginner videos was a very good course. So i am very satisfied with it.

    Best regards

  22. Karen Reshetar, 30 December, 2012

    Hi Everyone!

    I got several different shapes of the Professional Bead Rollers for Christmas and just started trying them out tonight. I have sets 3, 4, and 8, plus the Tri-Bead Roller. The benefits of the pro sets 3, 4, and 8 are that you can pierce the bead while still inside so as to not get fingerprints on them. However, the Tri-Bead Roller comes with a nice measuring device.

    Does anyone else have the Pro sets? I am finding that measuring is not working out properly. I’ve looked on here and haven’t found much on using these particular sets, but did find a few things on Google and YouTube where others had trouble getting measurements right. Is there a trick to this?? I’m following the directions but it doesn’t seem to work right. It would be nice if they all just came with a measuring tool like the Tri-Bead does.

    The only thing I’ve thought of to make this easier is to weigh the clay once I get it right, and to then just use my food scale with wax paper covering it and just weigh the clay out each time.

    If anyone has any other suggestions, tips, or tricks to make this easier would you let me know? Thanks!!

  23. Cindy Lietz, 02 January, 2013

    Hi Karen, that is the biggest issue that I see with any of the roller sets. I’ll put it on the list as another demo video. But in the mean time you can try rolling out your clay at different thicknesses with your pasta machine and using different sized cutters, until you get the amount of clay that is perfect. It takes some fussing around to get the right amount, but once you do, it will be fast from then on. Just write down your findings (ie. sheet rolled at #2 setting and cut with 1/4 inch square cutter) so you know what to do every time you use that roller.

    Watch this blog, plus subscribe to our PcT YouTube Channel so you don’t miss the video when I do get around to filming it. I think you will find my method to be easier in the end, than measuring out the clay. Hope that helps!

  24. Vicky A, 14 August, 2015

    Hi! I also have set 8,but I’ve lost the instructions and can’t find it on their website, would there be way you could please tell me the measurements for them? Thanks, vicky

  25. Cindy Lietz, 17 August, 2015

    Hi Vicky The rollers have a little tool to measure the right amount of clay. If you don’t have one of those, you will need to figure out the amount yourself. The best way to do that is to roll out a sheet of clay with your pasta machine and use a small cutter to measure out the clay and then test the amount to see if it is too ouch or too little. If it is too much roller it out thinner and/or use a smaller cutter… keep testing back and forth until you have an amount that works perfectly. I know that is a pain, but it is the best way to get the perfect amount of clay.

  26. Alma Guadalupe Duarte, 09 March, 2014

    Hello Cindy, let me say you are my favorite tutor, i’ve seen some videos yours and i must say i love them, they are easy to understand, so i’d like to know where i can get magazines or books if you have, i live in México, i don’t know where do you live and work, perhaps i could buy your products in USA, i ask. Do you have tools or material for sale? i’m interesting in the tri bead roller, could you tell me where can i get it? I will tank you so much.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2014

    Thank you Alma for your kind words! I live in Canada and I don’t currently carry any tools for sale, so sorry about that. As far as what you will be able to buy in your area, you will have to Google that to see. I don’t know if you order off Amazon, but pretty much everything you need can be found there, if you want. Good luck! SO happy to have you here!

  28. Shelly D, 27 September, 2015

    I am using the Amaco Tri-bead Roller. I am having problems with the tracking sticking together where the slider plate meets the top. It seems to be very hard to get it to slide smoothly. It does this with or without clay. Is there anything I can do to get it to operate more smoothly? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  29. Cindy Lietz, 29 September, 2015

    Hi Sandy, try sanding downs the tab that slides into the track so that it has more room to move. Then clean it well with rubbing alcohol and lubricate with Vaseline if it needs it. That should help it to slide back and forth a lot easier.

  30. Shelly D, 29 September, 2015

    This actually worked! Much easier to use now! Thanks for the advice Cindy!

  31. Mickey B, 06 August, 2016

    Really enjoy your videos. So helpful. I’m really God with the trip bead roller but would like to purchase other sets for new sizes or shapes. Can you direct me to sources?
    Thank you,

  32. Cindy Lietz, 08 August, 2016

    Hi Mickey, I haven’t really seen too many of these kinds of bead rollers around anymore. Have you done a Google search? Or maybe checked the AMACO site? Perhaps they have a resource for them? Good luck!

  33. Chrissie F, 08 August, 2016

    Mickey, I bought a whole lot of bead rollers from Poly Tools. They have different sizes and shapes available.

  34. Janet J, 27 May, 2018

    Hi Cindy I’m looking to purchase the bead roller set8 but I can’t seem to find one anywhere do you know of any suppliers where I can order one please.

  35. Cindy Lietz, 28 May, 2018

    Hi Janet, if set 8 is the same as the one above, I did find it on Amazon. Here is our affiliate link if that is helpful for you.

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