Cheap Jewelry Making Supplies for Bead Artists – Creative Shopping

Home Depot, You Can Bead It, We Can Help

If you make polymer clay beads, check out Home Depot for buying inexpensive jewellery supplies:

With the rising costs of craft supplies and the need to be original, all you polymer clay jewelry designers need to always be thinking creatively about how to shop for jewelry making supplies.

One way to find unique materials is to think outside the box. As far as supply resources, think of other stores besides the everyday bead shop and craft store.

This means going to places that the average DIY jewelry maker may not think to look. I have many places I look, but today we are going to discuss the home improvement or hardware store as a place to locate alternative findings and beading materials.

Let’s start with wire. Copper, aluminum, zinc and stainless wire can be found in various gauges in several locations of your typical Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart or Canadian Tire.

In the electrical department you can find large spools or pay-by-the-foot wire. Bare wire (without the plastic coating) is ideal to buy for making wire jump rings, clasps, links, eye pins, head pins and hooks. You can use coated wire and strip the plastic off with wire strippers but it is much more time consuming.

Bead stringing materials can be found in the fishing supply department. Fireline is well known as a durable, flexible beading ‘wire’ and comes in a few different strengths and colors. You can also look for cool little clips, swivel eyes and links in nickel, brass and bronze colored finishes, which all have jewelry making potential.

For some great chain, cable, brass clips and rings check out the hardware section. You can often find grommets, eyelets, rubber rings and all sorts of alternative findings if you just keep your eyes open and check every aisle in the store.

Creative jewellery makers aren’t the only ones to use hardware for great fashion accessories.

A friend of mine received a Coach handbag recently for a gift. On it I noticed the handle was clipped to a large brass ring on the purse using a very large brass clip, similar to a lobster clasp. These two brass units were the very same items I saw in the hardware store the week before in the rope and chain section.

One of the reasons her purse was so fabulous looking and worth the big bucks her husband paid for it, was because of the originality that the heavy duty brass clasp brought to it. Not bad for a $5 brass clip and brass ring from the hardware store!

So hopefully you get the point I’m trying to get across… The craft store is not the only place to purchase your jewelry making supplies for your polymer clay bead designs. Home Depot and other large hardware stores are a great place to look as well.

By the way, for times when you do need to shop for supplies at the craft store, I wrote this article that may be of interest to you: How To Buy Jewelry Making Supplies at Michaels Arts and Craft Stores

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


 

 

Comments

  1. I go everywhere I can think of…Wal=Mart, the dollar store, Home Depot, Lowes, craft stores, baking supply stores, even automotive part shops. You never know what you will find.

  2. YOU MAY THINK THIS IS WEIRD, BUT I HAVE SAVED SODA POP TABS,CAT FOOD TABS,FOOD CAN TABS AS WELL. TAKE A LOOK AT THE TABS,YOU HAVE TWO HOLES,YOU CAN USE EITHER HOLE TO EMBED YOUR CLAY PIECE INTO AND THE OTHER HOLE FOR STRINGING.YOU CAN ALSO PUT IN JUMP RINGS ON EACH SIDE OF THE HOLE AND HAVE TWO SEPARATE SIDES TO STRING YOUR OTHER BEADS ONTO TO COMPLETE YOUR NECKLACE OR BRACELET OR WHATEVER YOU ARE MAKING.IF YOU WISH YOU CAN PUT TWO TABS TOGETHER SO YOU CAN HAVE A MORE FINISHED PIECE FRONT AND BACK.YOU CAN FINISH THE BACK OF YOUR PIECE AS YOU WISH. COVER WITH MORE CLAY OR FABRIC. HOPE THIS GIVES SOME INSPIRATION OR A SNOWBALL EFFECT FOR MORE USES. LYNN

    • @lynn watts:
      Just read the blg. about using soda tabs. I think that could solve my problem about the eye pins coming out of my charms..If I use two tabs back to back..should I use the E6000 glue? Can’t wait to try it. just have to drink some soda

  3. Great ideas Lynn! Thanks for sharing them they are definitely not weird! BTW this was the perfect post to list these ideas on!

    Being resourceful whether it’s hunting down alternative supplies in the hardware store or recycling objects from home for your handmade jewelry projects, is always a good thing to do. It is not only great for the pocketbook but in the case of recycling, it is also good for the environment!

    One more recycling idea is to use plastic coated paper clips as hangers for your beads. If you want to see an example of that click the purse bead link by my name.

      • Awesome information and support Phaedrakat! Thank you so much for going above and beyond!

        @Natalie: Hopefully Phaedrakat’s help has giving you the “…word of encouragement” you needed to move forward with your project. Let us know how things turn out.

        • @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Community:
          Hi Everyone
          I can not thank you all enough for your help..You have just made my life a lot happier..I did buy the Pledge Future Shine and I was ready to send a note it is was what you had talked about..so now I know what to use but how do I get the stickiness off the charms I already made.
          I make hearts, all sorts of animal heads( usualy on request). My hardest task was to do praying hands. They came out great. All my charms on on cords for bookmarks. key chains, magnets or pins…I have also used recycled Cat litter covers covered with bright color oak tag to display them..cheaper and eco friendly..again that you so much for the encouragement
          Natalie

          • @Natalie: Hi Natalie, I’m glad you were able to find the Future (you should have seen when they changed the product over to the new name — everyone was panicking, wondering what they were going to be able to use! It was like the end of the world or something…)

            As for the sticky finish already on your pieces, you can try using rubbing alcohol or acetone to get it off. (I found this info using the search box, “remove sticky finish.” Don’t forget to try this; you can also end up finding other cool info!) You might want to try popping them back in the oven to make sure they’re still completely cured, and the finish didn’t make them mushy or anything. Sand out imperfections, and go as far as you can with your various sandpaper grits.

            Then you can add the Future (try using a cotton swab as an applicator, if you like.) Make sure your bead/charm is clean & free of oily fingerprints before you apply the finish. Let the Future dry completely. After that, you can put in in the oven at a low temperature like 200F for about 10 – 15 minutes to set the Future & make it a bit harder and tougher. You can even add more coats if you like, just make sure you dry completely between coats.

            Good luck with your work, it sounds like you make some cool things! You can send in pictures, if you like. Cindy posts member photos, for prizes, sometimes. In fact, there’s a contest going on right now to win some of Cindy’s beads. Have fun~ :D

          • @Phaedrakat:
            Hi Phaedrakat
            Thank you so much for your suggestion about the alcohol. I will try it today..I started using the Furture shine and it works great..I like the idea of being able to put it in the over a second time..I have a electric convection oven..should i lower the temperature bvy 25 degrees like I do when I cook or should I start to use the oven on conventional cycle instead?

            glad I was not alone with the confusion over the name change

          • @Phaedrakat:
            HI Again
            My husband suggested going to an auto repair supply store for the sandpaper. Has any tried this and was it cheaper than other places?

          • @Natalie: Re: Sandpaper. You can find wet/dry sandpaper in the lower grits several places, but the higher grits are harder to find. The auto repair stores were the only places I was able to find the higher grits the last time I looked. So, I stocked up. I haven’t had to look for a while. Someone else may have better info. As far as prices go, you might be able to find great deals online!

          • @Phaedrakat: Hi, I am wondering why a person would bake their beads for an hour. My package direction recommend 30 minutes. The beads seem hard to my touch but maybe I have been not baking for a long enough time. Hmmm…I have to watch out for this and see if a finer sandpaper will work for me. The sandpaper I have does not have a number on the back so I don’t know what the grit is. I should receive my sandpaper pretty soon then I can really know what the grit is. Thanks for the info.

          • @Sue C: Hi Sue. I read another comment from you, and it sounds like you’ve got your sandpaper problem solved. As for the baking issue, Cindy recommends baking beads for at least an hour, using an oven thermometer to prevent scorching. I wrote a comment explaining this to someone else here (Polymer Clay Baking Info.)

            The comment has links to a great article by Cindy, as well as comments by her explaining this perfectly, in better words than I can come up with! Another leading clayer joined in with her advice, as well, directly under Cindy’s (follow the 2nd link in my comment—the one the above link takes you to.) Sorry, that sounds confusing, but I didn’t want to rewrite all that info! Check it out, and then if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer. Have fun! ~Kat

          • @Natalie: Re: Pictures, you have to send them to Cindy, and she can do a Spotlight post on them, or sometimes she can add a photo to your individual comment (to highlight a point that’s being made, or something.) Alternatively, you can add your Flickr, Blog, or Website Url (right under where you put your name & email,) and that will make your name “clickable” — people can see your photos there. Or you can point to your photo website or facebook acct, etc. in the comment. Just leave out the “http://” part and the “www.” as well. Leave only the rest of the address, or your comment will go to the spam folder.

  4. Hi:
    I went to Home Depot for a tile, but they don’t sell singles. I saw an open package and asked to buy one, but the man said they were returned defective and would be smashed. (They wouldn’t have been good anyway, they had a carved-in design.) He asked why I wanted just one and I told him. He thought a moment, said, “wait here” and returned with a perfect flat tile with a teensy weensy chip on one edge. He told me to tell the cashier it was free. So I got my tile and he got A LOT of good will for Home Depot.

  5. That is a great story Maureen! I love hearing stuff like that! I have had great help from the Home Depot aound here. Glad to hear you had a good experience as well!

  6. I have been saving just about everything for my jewellery making, the latest finding was a plastic meat tray under some sliced meat, it has a honeycomb pattern on it, just perfect, I am yet to use it, but I am sure I will find plenty of uses for it. And I love going to the local hardware store for things, It would have to be my fave shop of all, as our local bead shop has now closed down grrrrrrrrrrrrr. Cheers Debra.

  7. Thanks Debra for passing along this cool tip! That’s too bad about the bead store closing down. We don’t have one around here either. Sure is a pain isn’t it! So glad to have you as part of our clay community!

  8. I’ve got grommets to make pandoro style beads with fimo – how do you make the bead the right shape and do you bake the grommets in the bead or glue after?

    • @Dorothy Wood: Hi, I love the Pandora-style beads! I’ve noticed lots of people showing interest. Makes me wonder if Cindy has been busy experimenting on these; it would be cool if she had a video tut coming up…

      I’ve never made these beads, but I was hoping I could help with your questions. First, you almost always want to bake your metal with your clay. This way the clay holds the metal’s impression or shape, & you get a perfect fit. After baking, remove the metal, sand/finish the clay, and then use the appropriate glue (2-part epoxy, cyanoacrylate, E-6000, etc.) to join them back together.

      So, if you’re using regular grommets (2-pieces,) you would use this method (bake them in the bead.) To make this bead shape, you could make a more rounded version of Cindy’s disk beads.

      You could even use the grommets to pierce them for perfectly-sized center holes. Then bake, remove metal for finishing, and glue grommets back into place.

      However, if you are talking about the special 1-piece bead cores, you wouldn’t have to use glue. The polymer would be baked onto the metal core, but wouldn’t be removable after baking (because of the “lip” on the edges of the hole.) Since I’m not sure how you would do the bead for this type, I’m hoping you weren’t talking about the bead cores! lol If this IS what you meant, perhaps someone else can help with information?

      • @Phaedrakat: I am interested in making these pandora beads from polymer clay… I learned to make a nice bracelet out of wire that will fit them… Now I am excited BUT Where can I get the bead core for the bead???? I deft. Want to use the bead core that has the lip… Cindy please help me or anyone who knows… Thanx Lisa

  9. Hi. :) The tip you gave on shopping at hardware stores is a great help. I have one question though, are the chains at the hardware store good enough for necklaces? Or would they stain easily? I’m having a hard time looking for chains for the clay pendants I made. :(

    • @Sarah Young: Sure you can use chains from the hardware store if you like Sarah! All metals including steel have become popular with artists these days. The industrial look is very big right now as well. There are all kinds of materials and styles out there so just look for them.

      As far as staining goes, some metals like steel can rust and aluminum can leave gray or black marks, so spraying them with a sealer like Preserve Your Memories II (PYMII) is a good idea. Click the link by my name for more info on that.

      (One of our members Carolyn Fiene is now carrying PYMII at dovedesigns.blogspot.com if you live in the USA and are interested in getting it from her.)

    • @kalatoo: Hi kalatoo! I found what you are looking for at metalclayfindings.com There is a link at the side for Bead Cores. They come in a variety of sizes. Because they are made of fine silver, they are not cheap. They sure make beautiful beads though!

      @Cheryl Hodges: Pandora beads, Troll beads and others like them, are large holed beads with a silver core that are added to special bracelets and necklaces that allow for you to interchange the beads. People collect the beads, which are very beautiful. They are usually made of glass or precious metals but now there are artists who are making them with polymer clay.

      • @Cindy Lietz from Polymer Clay Tools:
        I looked at those and they are tooooo pricy for me… Does any site make them out of silvr plated or something that looks silver color… I dont want to have to buy a bead core maker… Help.. Anyone…..It’shard to google for these becasue of the word bead… millions of stuff come up…

        • @kalatoo: For something like this, when you want information that doesn’t have anything to do with Cindy (polymer clay how-to, video tutorials, etc.) you should try posting on a current web page. If you click on “Home” it will take you to the home page, which lists the blog articles by date. Today’s article will be at the top. Post your request on that one — or one near the top with lots of comments. That way, lots of members will notice your request for info, and hopefully someone will know of a place you can buy these bead cores.

          You can also try a detailed google search. Maybe something like “silver-plated bead cores to make pandora beads” or “silver color bead cores for troll beads” try different combinations. Good luck!

  10. I am making charms that require metal findings(eye pins) inserted into the top of them so they can hang. What is the best glue to use with polymer clay. I perfer not to use a two part glue. I never get them right.

    • @Natalie Herbin: Hi Natalie, you can use a cyanoacrylate glue (super-glue,) a silicone glue (like E6000 or Goop,) or a specialty PVA-type glue, like Weldbond (one of Cindy’s favorite glues!) Here’s an article that Cindy wrote on some of the great Glues to use with Polymer Clay.

      It gives a little bit of info on these glues, their uses & pros/cons. For your purpose, any of the 3 types I listed here will work fine. It’s a matter of preference — “which do you have around,” or “are you in a hurry?” might be what helps you decide which to use! Have fun claying around! :~)

      • @Phaedrakat:

        Hi
        I have Kraze Glue, Loctite glue and E6000. and I still am having problems…could it be that the holes are too big. I took out all the old glue from the holes before I tried the E6000, filed them rough just like it said..getting very frustrated..
        Also, what type of finish can I used that will not end up sticky..I was using Kerlon( not sure of the spelling) that says it good for ceramics etc. )
        I might try the floor wax that is recommended as a cheaper alternative..don’t want to go real cheap since I don’t want people to give them back. I appreciate all the imput
        I do love creating new charms with the clay and everyone seems to like them .

        • @Natalie: Hi Natalie, what kind of charms are you making? I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the glues. Perhaps I should have explained it better. When you glue an eyepin into clay, you definitely want a tiny hole. It should be fairly tight, so you only need a drop of glue. The best way is to bake the eyepin or wire IN the charm where you want it. Then after baking, remove it, add a dot of glue, and put it back in.

          You can also use plastic covered paperclips. The plastic & polymer clay kinda “melt together” and make a wonderful join. (No gluing necessary.) Lots of artists use these without problems! You can bake these and lots of other things safely in your oven at low clay-baking temperatures. Always watch them and use your oven thermometer, though, so you don’t burn your clay OR the other items.

          You have to be VERY careful about what you use as a finish or gloss/glaze with polymer clay. There are only a few tried and tested products that work without becoming sticky. Polymer clay is very different from ceramics. I think you might have been talking about Krylon, which doesn’t work on polymer clay. Anything oil-based will react with the polymers and break down the clay, causing a sticky mess.

          What you can use one of the finishes made by the clay manufacturers — the best one IMO is Studio by Sculpey Glaze, in Satin or Gloss. You can use Future Floor Finish/Wax (now called “Pledge with Future Shine”,) which is a floor finish. This has been used by polymer clay artists for years, and it definitely works! It IS inexpensive, but it looks much better than some of the clay company glazes. Another “time tested” finish is Varathane (Rustoleum Varathane Indoor Water-Based Polyurethane,) which is a wood finish. The links will take you to articles about these products, and tell you where to find them. There’s also a spray you can use called PYM-II or Preserve Your Memories, II. One of our members, Carolyn F., sells it in her shop (at lordstreasures (dot) com.)

          The best finish for polymer clay though, is NONE — just sanding and buffing your beads or charms. If you do it properly, you can get a glossy shine that looks and feels amazing. However, sometimes sanding isn’t possible, depending on the shape of your piece, or if you have foils, powders, or inclusions that might be ruined by sanding. That’s when a product like Future is in order. Make sure you read the articles first, though. If your bead isn’t nice and smooth, & has fingerprints, etc., adding a gloss will magnify any mistakes and make your work look unprofessional.

          There are so many things one needs to know when working with polymer clay. A great way to learn them, along with many tips and tricks, is Cindy’s Polymer Clay Basics/Fundamentals Course.

          It covers everything from choosing clay, conditioning, mixing colors, shaping beads, baking, sanding, finishing, etc. It helps you avoid common errors and difficulties. There are 39 videos, a great way to get your skills built up quickly, so that you can get to work selling your beads!

          There are also countless articles with all kinds of information here at the website. You can find anything you’re looking for by using the search box at the top left of each page. Just type in “Future Floor Finish” or “Baking Polymer Clay” or “Sanding, Buffing” , whatever you might want more information on. This article called Polymer Clay Info Links has a few different types of general info, including links to more articles, on clay types, baking, and getting around this website. If you decide not to get the course at this time, definitely do as much reading as you can. If you want to sell your creations, you need them to be good quality, and there are lots of things to do to ensure that! Please leave another question if you need more help… :-D

          PS: Sign up for the newsletter, as well. The link is at the top of the page (Polymer Clay Newsletter.) You’ll get 3 free videos and free color recipes, too!

  11. I wanted to respond to the question about gluing eye pins into polymer clay…I use liquid polymer clay as glue before baking. It seems to do a great job! Just brush it on the end of the eye pin going into the clay.

    • @betty: Hi Betty! Yes, liquid clay can work for most eyepins, especially in small beads & charms. It wraps the pin in a “tight” layer of clay. But the pin can be pulled or work itself loose and slide right out if it gets some rough handling. That’s because the clay doesn’t really bond with the metal. However, putting a bend in the end of the pin and baking it that way with liquid clay, will make it more secure – a strong connection that can’t be pulled straight out.

      If you want more info on this, let me know. I can try to post an example of what I mean later tomorrow.

  12. Hi Betty
    I agree that using the eye pin straight does pull out..that has happened to several of the book marks I made with polymer clay charms on the end.. I hate getting them back to fix ( used loctite to reinsert the eye pins.. so far no more returns) …Your saying that I would have to make a bend or small circle in the end of the eye pin and work my clay around it.. how can you do that when some of my charms are balls animal shapes etc…..can I make my shapes.. cut them open to place the eye pin.. put the halves together and the smooth out the seams .. would it still hold as one charm after baking?

  13. Hi
    This going to sound a little weird. Nothing to do with clay but I tried to log on and it did not recognize my name and said that they had no record of my email address. I am not the computer savvy so can someone help correct this problem. Thanks ahead.

    • @Natalie: Hi Natalie, are you talking about the members library, where they show the pictures of the tutorials? If so, yes, you have to join. It’s really inexpensive, though. $9.95 for 3 months! That’s 12 Video tutes, 36 color recipes, and as a member, you’re eligible to submit pictures for the spotlight articles (you can win some of Cindy’s beads!) Something to think about… ;D

  14. Hi
    No need to answer the above problem. I think I figured it out. I have to join… that makes sense.

  15. Hi Again,

    I have been away from this site for awhile and never got to read the answer to when the videos would be able to be downloads permanently to our personal computer. I work area were I do not have my computer but do have an i pod and a tv were I could play the video… I like to watch a video while a do each step.. as of now this is not possible…that is the only thing holding me back from becoming a member.

    Natalie aka Safti

    • @Natalie: Hi Safti (interesting name!) You might still want to join, even if you only get to log on once in awhile. As a member you’d be getting the videos for about 80 cents each. One day, when they do become available for iPod or you get a laptop or something, you’ll have received the videos cheap. If you wait, you’ll have to buy the back issues at $9.95 each—3 times the price or $2.40ish ea! That’s why it’s better to join right away… ;D Hope it all works for you, and we’d love to have you around! ~Kat

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