Bead Cones, Multi-strand Jewelry | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Bead Cones - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #223: “I also hope you are going to give us a few hints on how to use the components that hold and hide all the many wire ends.” ~Tantesherry

Following the Faux Coral Heishi Bead Tute from several weeks ago, several of you requested that I show some tips on how to use Bead Cones in multi-strand jewelry projects.

So… that is exactly what I will do… coming up tomorrow (Friday September 30th 2011) in the Vol-040-4 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.


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-040-4 Using Bead Cones:

  • Bead cones. There are tons of varieties, styles, sizes, shapes and metal finishes… of Bead Cones available in the market today. Just go to your favorite bead store or bead supply sites and type in ‘cones’ or ‘bead cones’ and you will see what I mean. You will need to choose the cone appropriate for your particular project, since each design will require a different cone. I usually just buy the cones first and then make a jewelry design that works with the cones, but that is up to you.
  • 20 Gauge Wire. I used a 4″ length of half-hard 20 gauge Bronze wire. You can of course use almost any type of wire that you want for this, but I find that the 20ga weight and temper works best for me.
  • Wire Flush Cutters (jewelry grade).
  • Chain Nose Pliers (jewelry grade).
  • Round Nose Pliers (jewelry grade).
  • Bead Board (optional but very handy for designing multi strand jewelry pieces.
  • Bust (optional – this is handy when seeing how your multi-strand necklace will hang while wearing. Alternatively, you could use a large pickle/mayo jar, or of course your own neck.
  • Ruler (optional).
  • Chain, Strung Beads, Fibers, Leather Cording, etc for your strands.
  • Soft Flex Wire .019 inches and #2 Crimp Tubes for stringing (optional).
  • Crimping Tool (optional). My new favorite is the Magical Crimping Tool because it makes a nice round bead shape out of your crimp tube, that doesn’t require a crimp cover. Especially nice when you are working with space restrictions like you are in this particular project

The full version of the Vol-040-4 Using Jewelry Bead Cones video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday September 30, 2011. 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.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

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The full version of the “Bead Cones” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-040 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

I am continuously impressed every Friday when a new tutorial comes out! As a complete newbie to polymer clay, I started out by purchasing Cindy’s beginner course. The amount of information jam packed into that course is priceless! I looked around my area for polymer clay courses, and was unable to find one for under $70 for a 3 hour class. By purchasing Cindy’s course, I instantly had access to 2.5 hours of polymer clay instruction, and I could watch in the privacy of my own home! If you’re anything like me, you only retain about 75% of the information the first time around. With Cindy’s course I can re-watch as many times as necessary, and even bring my laptop into my craft area! I then purchased the membership, and continued to be impressed! I have since purchased almost all of the back issue packages! The creativity, quality and ease with which the lessons are presented make working with polymer clay so easy! I’m constantly amazed by what I am able to create! For only $9.95 every 3 months? Definitely well worth the money! Thanks Cindy! ~Melissa-G

I have to say that Cindy’s videos have been the best buy ever, and I have NO regrets about buying them. ~Koolbraider

I’ve only been making beads out of clay for a couple of months, but I feel the videos in your Polymer Clay Beginners Course where just great for someone breaking into the craft. Some of the topics I had already gleaned from the Internet from various sources but it REALLY helped to have a high quality video to SHOW you up close and personal about the topics you discussed. I definitely feel the series is a bargain and would recommend it. I subscribed to your weekly videos and have made beads from many of the tutorials. I look forward to the new video that comes out each week. I’m just beginning to experiment with mixing colors, so I believe the recipe cards will come in really handy in the future as well. – Keep up the fantastic work! ~June-W

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Using Bead Cones with Multi-strand Jewelry Projects video tutorial:

  • See examples of bead cones and how they are used to create stunning multi-strand jewelry designs.
  • Discussion of the tools, materials and techniques needed to use these useful components in a professionally finished manner.
  • Find out how simple it is to use these special findings to make a clean finish for necklaces, bracelets, earrings and tassels that combine many strands of a variety of stringing materials.
  • Learn cool tricks for wiring bead cones so that there are no stray ends and everything fits together perfectly and stays that way for many years to come!
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with other unique designs of your own.

The full version of the “Bead Cones” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-040 Back Issue Package.

  1. pollyanna, 29 September, 2011

    This will be great for me because I do a lot of beading. Cindy always has a better way of doing things. I was also thinking…..dangerous here… Why couldn’t I make my own bead cones using our bead cap tute and just elongating them? Oh,dear….another project… Happy claying everyone.

  2. Linda K., 30 September, 2011

    Pollyanna, I had the same thought back when that bead cap video came out. Great minds think alike!! I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but I think it will work.

  3. Catalina, 29 September, 2011

    Oh, boy! I wish I could get caught up. I know I could use this tute! But, as some of you already know, I’m a BIG baseball fan. And guess what? My Detroit Tigers are in the Playoffs and I anticipate them going all the way!!!! With work, teaching jewelry classes at Michaels and playing with my clay I need more hours in my days! Plus, finished refinishing the hardwood floors upstairs and living in my Studio till all the painting is done. I, know, that is hard to take :-) I will like this technique to help make a multi-strand bracelet with cupcake charms, muffin charms and purse charms!! I even thought about making my own cones out of clay! Maybe, Cindy has a good idea how to do that! :-) Should I go paint the dinning room? It is quite dreary out and not very good light to paint by or should I hibernate in my studio and make more purse charms? :-)

  4. Angela M, 29 September, 2011

    Hibernate, of course :)

    I’m thinking of a way to make bead cones myself too. I’ll be starting from scratch though because I haven’t yet purchased the end cap tute. This ought to be interesting!

    So looking forward to tomorrow’s tute.

  5. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Angela, you convinced me! I’ll hibernate!! Hubby is off this weekend and will finish the job!! Any tute you can get here is worth the money!!

  6. Elizabeth S., 29 September, 2011

    Duh–is there any question here? The world can’t have enough cute purse charms. I am absolutely in love with these little beauties. Can the painting (no pun intended) and head for the studio.

  7. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Elizabeth, you make me laugh, too! I’m just glad no one is in a hurry. Sad thing not much designing going on. Once they sanded the floors the dust was everywhere. Very fine and just enough to have to clean everything! And you know dust and clay don’t mix. And I just got done completing my studio!

  8. Elizabeth S., 29 September, 2011

    I am so excited about learning how to use these things. I remain jewelry making challenged and have not been terribly successful at creating professional looking multi strand pieces.

  9. pattw35, 29 September, 2011

    Christmas is coming -AND- I haven’t finished (even started) much yet. This tute is perfect for that hard to gift person- a multi necklace. Yeeha! (that’s a Texas expression). Gathering all my pretties to get ready for Friday. Can’t wait, as usual. Another great Friday…………………….

  10. Peggy Barnes, 29 September, 2011

    This is a great tute for me and all the challenges I have with taking my beads and turning them into something great. With your tute Cindy this is going to make it so even I can accomplish a beautiful piece. Your technique of teaching and Doug’s filming I am waiting in awe. Due to chronic fatigue I always get on my laptop Friday around 2-3 am. So hopefuly in about 15 hrs I will be spending time with You and Doug and the always FANTASTC TUTE!!!!!!!
    Many Uuuggs

  11. Cherie, 29 September, 2011

    I’ve done a lot of multistrand projects with bead cone ends and they really create a beautiful finish to the piece. I’m looking forward to the tutorial though because cindy always has some special tips. would love totry making the cones out of clay.

  12. Phaedrakat, 29 September, 2011

    @Cherie — me, too!

    I’ve been doing a lot with bead cones for months now with great results. (Besides clay, I do beadweaving/stitching, and work with seed beads quite a bit.) When you combine chain, cord, ribbon — and fabulous polymer clay beads! — to the mix, bead cones are perfect for hiding the “join” (aka ugly ends!) I feel pretty “accomplished” with my bead cone skills, but I feel confident Cindy will show us something new. She is definitely clever & creative, so my wish will probably come true! I admit I’m a tiny bit bummed there’s not a clay video this week, but it sounds like lots of people need this info for their projects. No one knows how to simplify a complicated subject like our Cindy! Besides, I just love to hear & watch my favorite tutor! :D

    I’m so glad that making polymer clay bead cones was mentioned — I remember when Linda brought it up a year ago (on the Bead Cap Tutorial post.)

    She was searching for the right “base” to use for baking, and lots of people chimed in with ideas. I had planned to try it myself, but forgot all about it. Wonder if Linda ever made them? (Did ya, Linda? he, he)

    Anyway, looking forward to the video — happy Friday everyone! Only 7 hours to go… ;-)

  13. Linda K., 30 September, 2011

    I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t done it yet. I have too many things going on and I haven’t had a chance to work with my clay in a while :(

  14. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Hey Sister Kat! I loved that tute with the bead caps! I just made little pumpkins with green bead caps! I guess I’m on a charm kick!

  15. Elizabeth S., 29 September, 2011

    Just found bead cones at Michael’s—“Jewelry Essentials” brand. They come four to a package with two different designs per package.

  16. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Great! I got to go look for them! I tried to look for some last week for a customer and couldn’t find any. But we got a big truck this week so we might have more now. I know FireMountainGem is a good place to find bead cones, too.

  17. pattw35, 30 September, 2011

    Thanks for the heads-up on bead caps. I have been all over the net to try and find “Cindy’s” shape cones. With my 40% coupon – I’M on my way to Michaels !!!!

  18. Angela M, 29 September, 2011

    I found the Magical Crimping Tool on-line, new, at $19.99. They said it only works for .19 wire and 2mm crimp beads. Does this sound like the right one? If so, I got an ad for Michael’s in the mail today and it has a 40% off coupon. Going to check my local store to see if they carry this so I can use the coupon.

    I have a regular crimping tool – does this work with bead cones as well as the Magical Tool does? If I use the regular tool, will I have to do something different to the crimps for a nice result?

    Can’t wait for the tute. My answers are probably going to be there, if I would just be a little bit patient :)

  19. Phaedrakat, 29 September, 2011

    Hi Angela, the one you saw is the right one. The Magical Crimping tool is a “special” kind of crimper, in that it shapes the crimp into a perfect round ball. It makes the crimp look like a little round bead, instead of the usual folded-over type crimp (the kind you want to throw a crimp cover on!) I have the size you’re talking about…I believe it’s the “original” tool. It works beautifully, but you can only use the 2mm crimps & a small range of beading wire sizes. (Otherwise you won’t end up with the perfectly round result!.) They have a new smaller size tool now, though, if you work with smaller beading wire/crimps. They may have a larger one, now, too… Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this tool at Michael’s (or perhaps that was JoAnn?) I know I saw them recently, and those are my two options here in Calif. LOL!

    As for the 2nd part of your question, I’d better wait for the video (only about an hour now!) Cindy probably answered that question in it…she usually offers tips for those who can’t get their hands on specific tools/supplies, so “regular” crimpers will no doubt benefit, too… ;-)

  20. Maria, 30 September, 2011

    I own both the regular size and mini crimpers. They’re great tools – the only issue I have with them is I get very confused what size wire/crimp beads to use with them as manufacturers don’t seem to have standard sizes.

    A question for experienced beaders: if you make a mistake with your crimp and it gets “mushed” or you find you crimped in the wrong spot, there really is no way to remove it, right? I’ve tried to with little success in the past.

  21. Angela M, 01 October, 2011

    Hi Maria,

    When I first attempted using crimps I had a very hard time. I would squeeze and squeeze those little things and they would usually end up breaking and I would have to use another one (or 10, lol). So you could just squeeze them to death :)

    I don’t know if this helps and I know it’s isn’t how they are properly removed, but it does work.

    Best of luck.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 04 October, 2011

    Maria, Angela makes a good point… one way to remove a crimp is to keep squashing it till it breaks. I have also used my wire cutters to ‘cut off’ a crimp but it has to be done very carefully so as to not cut the cable as well.

  23. Angela M, 29 September, 2011

    Hi Cindy. Me again – please forgive me for hogging up so much space/time today. I guess it’s just one of those days.

    I purchased 3 of the back issues, and try as I might, I haven’t been able to find the B-color recipes for these issues. Can you point me in the right direction?

    Thank you so much and I’ll try to leave you alone now :)

  24. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 29 September, 2011

    Hi Angela,

    Your paid subscription, and any back issues that you purchase, includes 24/7 access to the weekly videos and A-series color recipes.

    For the complimentary B-series color recipes, currently you must download them to your computer when the email newsletters arrive in your inbox each Friday. But please note due to issues with digital theft, the links to the B-recipes in the email newsletters expire after a couple of weeks. So you need to be diligent about grabbing them while they are available.

    That being said, we are working on setting up a secure archive section at the library, that will make it more convenient to access all of the recipe cards. However, this resource is not yet ready. So much to do, so little time :-)

    Thanks for your patience.

  25. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Thanks for the info Doug! I was wondering on the availability of viewing the videos on the iPad? Any luck yet?

  26. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 30 September, 2011

    Hi Catalina,

    The developers working on the video player tell me that the iPad compatibility issue is still being worked on. So the best I can tell you at this stage is to keep checking on your iPad to see if the videos start working for you again. It’s kind of frustrating because as you will remember from a while ago, the videos did in fact work on iPads when we first started using the player. This gives new meaning to the term “backwards compatibility” … lol!

    Between you me and the bedpost (now there’s a saying that shows my age), I am looking at some Plan B options if the current developers don’t get their act together soon.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 30 September, 2011

    Hey! I’m not too sure how thrilled I am to hear you talking about bedposts with the female customers around here… you could make a wife a little jealous you know! LOL

  28. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 30 September, 2011

    … just a figure of speech honey ;-)

  29. Catalina, 02 October, 2011

    LOL!! You two are funny! Don’t want to get anyone in trouble :-) Hold on to your guy, Cindy! And if need be – use Weldbond to keep him in sight ;-) I hear that stuff works really good!

  30. Cindy Lietz, 03 October, 2011

    Tee Hee

  31. Peggy Barnes, 30 September, 2011

    Will definitely be using this tute often in the future. Cindy you are always thinking of ways to help us bring our jewelry to a professional level. With all your easy to understand details and Doug’s talented filming we can’t help but sore with loads of confidence. I always look forward to each and every tutorial knowing the 2 of you give it your all and more every lesson. We are all so blessed to have the 2 of you share your artistic talents with us. I have so much to do the next couple of days but somehow I will find time to put this tute to good use.
    Thank you both for being you.
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful weekend.
    Many many Uuuugggs

  32. Peggy Barnes, 30 September, 2011

    I need to change the subject for this comment so I am hoping Friday’s are still open discussion. My grandaughter has request a faux zebra purse for herself and her doll. I did a search on flexible clay. Unfortunately I still have some questions. I know Kato clay can be sewn and hold up. If I remember right and this is from way back on the Carol Duvall show, after the item is made you put a layer of liquid clay on it, bake again and this keeps the clay soft and somewhat flexible. Does anyone remember this at all. I also thought maybe I should add some Fimo quick mix or Bake and Bend to the Kato. Also does anyone have any suggestions on mixing with the Kato and what ratio, maybe 3/4 Kato to 1/4 quick mix. I have no idea this is not in my comfort zone at all. I really would like to try to make it for her out of clay and not material. I appreciate any and all help offered. Any ideas at all please send my way and I will be very grateful for your time.
    Many Uuuuugs

    Also Cindy to your long list of wanted tutes. I saw a beautiful I think they call them landscape canes. Is this something you could offer us someday. Please and Thank you

  33. Cindy Lietz, 30 September, 2011

    Yes Peggy, Friday’s are a great time for an open discussion. I don’t really have any suggestions for you for your purse, I’d have to think about that since I haven’t tried to make one before. Maybe someone else here has some ideas for you?

    As far as suggesting a landscape cane, I do have that on the list. Just trying to come up with a design that is different than what others have done. Need to play around with that a bit. It is a good idea though and I know others want a tute on it too. So hopefully I can come up with something soon.

  34. Peggy Barnes, 30 September, 2011

    You are awesome Cindy. Haven’t read through the rest of the comments yet but I just answered my own question. It was Judy Belcher who made the eye glass case on the Carol Duval show and she has some great instructions in her book – POLYMER CLAY CREATIVE TRADITIONS – Guess my memory isn’t as bad as I thought it was. :) Can’t wait to try this. Go to pages 68-69 in the book then wala YES!!!! I still have a few questions so I will email Judy some questions. Now to read the rest to see if anyone else has suggestions. I am so excited. Yippeeeeeeeee!!!!! Zebra pattern purse here we come Liberty Mae.
    Many many many Uuuuuuggs everyone!!!

  35. Linda K., 30 September, 2011

    Cindy, this is an outstanding tutorial. I’ve already used bead cones with multiple strands of beads in the past, so I knew most of what you taught. It was nice to see that I’m doing it correctly, but you did teach me the benefit to doing a few things in a different order.

    The best thing about the video for me was the tip about the wire loop. Perfect!

  36. Catalina, 30 September, 2011

    Hi, Linda! I agree with you. I always find something new even if I “knew” how to do something. About the Bead Board, I always make the inner strands shorter as they go in. Usually about 1/2″ to an 1″ shorter. This way they will drap correctly. But, Cindy’s way is a great double check. Well, gotta go look at new funiture. I hate shopping for furniture. I rather have an empty room – easier to clean! LOL!!

  37. Tantesherry, 30 September, 2011

    Wow this tutorial is jam-packed with new and ingenious ideas and cool products.

    As of now I’m using the ‘tornado’ crimps because the other type usually brought me to tears (of frustration). They are kind of expensive being ss and all, but if I invested $20 of my bead selling money in this magic crimper tool it would probley work out better money wise, in the end.

    Ooops had to do a pre-edit, its hard to tell you what all I’m thankful for you showing on this tute w/o giving away the secrets— just know that you answered all my ?’s — and best of all you answered ones I didn’t know to ask :)

  38. pollyanna, 30 September, 2011

    Great tute as usual. Many good ideas and I liked how you explained the gravity question. Sometimes the simplest things give me the hardest times……lol.

  39. Elizabeth S., 30 September, 2011

    Awesome! Might just have to try to up my skill level and attempt some multi-strand necklaces. I’ve just never been successful at getting them to lay right but I now see some of what I’ve been doing wrong. Mostly, I haven’t been taking the time I need to hang and adjust the draping. Thanks for sharing the ratio you use, Diana. It will give me a better starting point.

  40. pattw35, 30 September, 2011

    AS an old time ( read 76 here) beader, this tute bought back the proper order to string things. That is a BIG plus, especially for new beaders. The tute is magical, right ? My mind is skipping all around, trying all sort of combos!!!! Isn’t it great to have a happy mind ? This always happens on Friday mornings LOL. We are so lucky to be members of such a inspiring site…………

    Jewelry and PC combine so well together. A Perfect match. The color choices are out there – you just have to grab what you like. Love it, love it, love it ……………………………………………………..

  41. Maria, 30 September, 2011

    We really are lucky to be members of such an inspiring site. These videos are definitely a highlight of my Fridays!

  42. Dixie Ann Scott, 30 September, 2011

    Cindy the bead cone tute was excellent. This is something I really had no idea how to do and one of the reason I didn’t want to deal with multi strand necklaces. I really like the bell caps you showed in the tute. Can you tell us where you got them? I loved the way you put the strands in order and how nice they lay.

    Just finished the butterfly pendant but didn’t have the Studio Ginko Cutter set. I printed out one of my embroidery designs of a Ginko leaf and layed it on the blended clay and uses a pin to poke holes all the way around the paper design and then cut it out with an exacto knife. I used the same tool to make all the lines on the wing and then rubbed very fine varigated glitter into the clay. I smoothed out all the edges and it turned out just gorgeous! I am going to post it on my blog later on if you have time to look. Since I have hundreds of printable embroidery designs I think I have found a veritable treasure trove of ideas that I can use in claying! Thanks again for another great tute! Dixie

  43. Angela M, 01 October, 2011

    I like that idea – very creative use of ‘other’ craft materials.

    I’ve been looking at my quilt patterns for cane ideas. I’m not speaking of the block patterns but the line patterns we quilt into the quilt after it’s all sewn together. I have a treasure trove of line patterns that would make beautiful cane designs.

    The embroidery design you used – is it the kind that goes with an embroidery sewing machine? That really would be a wonderful resource. I don’t have that kind of machine but I’ve seen a lot of the patterns. Wow, are you going to be busy if you use those for claying :)

  44. Tantesherry, 01 October, 2011

    What a neat tip on how to transfer from paper to clay Dixie, could we see your picture at Cindy’s FB photo page too please, sound very pretty :)

  45. Cindy Lietz, 04 October, 2011

    Hi Dixie, the bead cones I used in the tutorial I got from Shipwreck Beads, but you can find them all over the place. Just keep an eye out for them. They come in tons of different styles.

  46. Angela M, 01 October, 2011

    Thank you to everyone who answered my questions, appreciate it.

    Thank you, Cindy, for this tute. It was very helpful to see it being done. Doug does a great job with the filming. I was able to see what you were doing so clearly that I felt like I was in the room with you and looking over your shoulder. And seeing how you worked that crimper – it was pure magic. I can tell you’ve done it many times before.

  47. Laurel Bielec, 02 October, 2011

    Hey Cindy: I actually make my own polymer clay bead cones. I do Viking Knit which pretty much always requires a bead cone/cap at the end of it. I got tired of always paying high prices for them and now that I make my own, I can also custom design them to go with the jewelry I make. Let me know if you want me to show you or anyone else how. They are a little trick, especially at first but well worth it. :) I could do a guest tutorial for you if you like.

  48. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2011

    Sure Laurel that would be great if you like to share some ideas on how you make your bead caps using polymer clay. I’m sure there are many here that would really appreciate the information. I have made only a couple myself and don’t have a tutorial ready at the moment, so it is perfect timing.

    You can go ahead and post your information right in this comment thread. If you have photos, just email them to me and I’ll get Doug to add them for you.

  49. Catalina, 02 October, 2011

    That sounds great! Look foward to seeing your ideas on bead cones!

  50. Cherie, 06 October, 2011

    Would love to see how you do this. Bead cones and caps can be quite expensive

  51. Tantesherry, 05 October, 2011

    Hi everyone, a quick note here– I posted a reply on the faux raku pt 2 page w/ word that I’d finished a necklace of red and black raku beads… (but I’m not seeing it on the most resent comments)

    I just wanted to say that I didn’t have that weird ‘can I — can’t I’ feeling when I decided to make the necklace a dbl stranded one by using bead cones. It is so wonderful to know how to do a technique and have the confidence to go about it. So once again Cindy :) Thank You !!

    ps-posted 2 pics at our FB page:
    1) Faux Raku Necklace
    2) Faux Raku Close Up

    ps2-got to use the edit button hehe :)

  52. Tantesherry, 06 October, 2011

    Hey Doug that’s pretty cool how you did that w/ the blue and all -thanks, sherry :)

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