Bead Hole Drilling for Polymer Clay Jewelry Projects

Bead Hole Drilling

Vid #028: Need Some Large Hole Beads? 2 Hole Beads? How About 3 or 4 or More Holes In Your Beads?

Sometimes it’s difficult to find beads perfectly suited for your jewelry projects. Even if you find ones that have the right shape, color and design, there’s still a good chance that the holes will be too small, too large, too few or too many. Arghhh…!

Well I have suggestion. Stop looking for the perfect bead and start making them yourself. It’s easy with polymer clay.

In this tip I’ll talk about drilling bead holes. First you’ll need a set of bits. Since polymer clay is so soft, you can get away with using the very cheap drill bits available at any dollar store.

I find that using a power drill is too dangerous when you have to hold the beads in your fingers, so I don’t even use one. Instead I make custom polymer clay handles for each of my individual bits. This allows me to easily turn the bits by hand. Very safe.

By the way, I’ll share more about exactly how to make the custom bit handles in another tip.

Now the most important thing to remember when making polymer clay bead holes is to start with the smallest bit size and then gradually in steps, move up to slightly larger bits. Do this until you have the desired hole size. The key here is a little at a time.

Going straight to a large drill bit size will often tear the edges of the polymer clay bead hole, making it look very unprofessional.

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The full version of the “Enlarging Bead Holes” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #28 of 39]. In this video I demonstrate how to use hand held metal bits to drill whatever hole size you desire through your polymer clay beads. Now you can create beads with large holes, small holes, or with 2, 3 or even 4 holes.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 30 April, 2008

    If you decide not to make your own polymer clay beads from scratch, the hole drilling techniques described above will also work on polymer clay beads that you buy ready made.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Tools for Polymer Clay Bead Making You Can Personalize

  2. iliya, 24 August, 2008


  3. Cindy Lietz, 24 August, 2008

    Thank you so much iliya for your sweet comment!! So glad you are here!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..A Polymer Clay Tutorial About Adding Fimo Cane Slices to Round Beads

  4. Jocelyn, 11 July, 2010

    Cindy, would appreciate an update video on this….especially how to imbed those little metal centers, add bails, etc. How you finish the bead says a lot about you, looking for some distinctive ideas….anyone?

  5. Jill V., 18 August, 2014

    Need help! I’ve searched the Internet and here, of course, and I can’t find an answer to my question. I made some pretty rolled mokume gane beads. They are round. I was so excited to get them in the oven, that I forgot to pierce a hole in them. How can they be salvaged? I know how to hand drill holes in flat beads that have been cured. What can I do with these round beads?

  6. Jill V., 18 August, 2014

    After a lot of panic, I have decided to roll the dice with a Dremel and drill the holes.

  7. Anna Sabina, 18 August, 2014

    Many people drill the bead hole after it has been cured. I put the round bead in a glob of scrap clay and use a small drill bit to drill staight down. The scrap clay holds the bead still and protects the surface when in comes out the other end. Then flip the bead over and go through the hole from the other direction. You can also drill halfway from each side but it may get tricky getting the holes to line up. You can then make the hole large by using the techiques in this post.


  8. Patt W, 22 August, 2014

    WOW -who knew. The scrap clay is the answer. TY so much for thinking this thru for us. It is the little tips that make using PC so much fun!

  9. Jill V., 18 August, 2014

    Anna, the scrap clay idea is brilliant! Thanks for your help.

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