Creative Techniques for Polymer Clay Inclusions

Polymer Clay Inclusions

Vid #042: Shavings From Crayola Crayons Can be Mixed Into Polymer Clay For A Very Cool Effect:

The basic definition of a polymer clay inclusion is actually pretty self explanatory. Simply put, you just add or include creative things into your clay mixes and recipes. The resulting beads you make with these inclusions can turn out to be very stunning and gorgeous.

I often mix shavings from crayola crayons into translucent clay. For a greater depth of color in the finished beads, use several shades of the same crayon color, as well as a variety of sizes of shavings. Fine shavings melt first and bleed into the translucent polymer clay. Courser shavings on the other hand, leave behind stronger or more dominant flecks and distinguished markings.

I know you will have tons of fun experimenting with all kinds of polymer clay inclusions. The unlimited number of creative possibilities will keep you going for a long long time.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor




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The full version of the “Crayon Shaving Inclusion” preview video shown above, is part of a free bonus package that I give away as a special promotion with the purchase of my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course. In this video I demonstrate how to use various sizes of crayon shavings to achieve different effects. I also discuss:

  • What brands of polymer clay work best for inclusion projects.
  • How the melting point of the crayon wax affects your beads.
  • Tips on how to protect your bead rack during the baking process.
  • And much more.
  1. Cindy Lietz, 07 May, 2008

    Using different shades of green crayon shavings in polymer clay inclusions is one of the best ways to make faux jade beads that can look very much like the real thing.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Spice Beads and the Polymer Clay Inclusion Technique

  2. Cynister, 04 June, 2008

    I hadn’t thought of this before. Great idea. I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 08 June, 2008

    If you try it Cynister, send me pictures!!

    Cindy’s last blog post..Color Mixing Polymer Clay – Leaf Green Recipe Ideas

  4. Cindy Erickson, 25 September, 2008

    Wow! How cool is this!?! :) OK…my imagination is rockin’ and rollin’ and shavin’ and colorin’ and squishin’ and bakin’!!! Thanks for the great ideas!!!
    Oh, and for letting us know how not to get dripped on, as well:)

    Cindy E.

  5. Paul Arthur, 01 November, 2008

    Hi Cindy, I’m very new to the polymer clay bead making community and was wondering is there a way to add something like color powders to the clay before baking and if so what brands are the best?

  6. Cindy Lietz, 01 November, 2008

    Hi Paul – There are tons of different powdered pigments and mica powders that can be added to polymer clay. Experiment to your hearts content, since pretty much everything works here. I’ve even used loose powdered eyeshadow with great results. Pearl-Ex has some very nice powders that you can find in stores like Michaels.

  7. Paul Arthur, 03 November, 2008

    Just one more question, does added these powdered pigments work better with translucent clay? What’s the effect, if any, to adding the pigments to colored clay?

  8. Paul Arthur, 03 November, 2008

    Hi Cindy it’s me again with another question. Where can I find a small round cookie cutter to shape small polymer clay beads?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 04 November, 2008

    Great questions Paul! You can add the pigments to either translucent or opaque clays quite effectively. In the colored clay the powders will give the clay a mica or metallic look to the clay.

    As far as cutters I use the little cutters from Amaco, called Polycutters. Sometimes they have them in the Makins Air Dry clay section rather than the polymer clay section in Michaels.

  10. Elizabeth Kerr, 27 April, 2009

    When I use the powders over a patterned bead they cover any design I have on the bead the pearl Ex powder changes the bead and sometimes I lose the pattern, it just gets covered over by the PEx and turns it that colour. Can you tell me how to or where I use them?

    Do I varnish the patterned bead before I use Pearl Ex powders and do I varnish again after? Hope you can see what I mean.

    Thanks, Elizabeth.

  11. Cindy Lietz, 29 April, 2009

    I’m not sure what you mean exactly Elizabeth. Do you mean the Pearl Ex covers up the design on a cane bead or something like that?

    I like to use Pearl Ex powders on rubber stamped beads, in the raku technique and to highlight texture on the beads. I put it on raw clay then bake and coat with Future Floor Finish after that.

    If I didn’t quite answer your question, maybe you could ask me in another way.

    I wrote about Pearl Ex in another post if your want more information. Just click the link by my name to go there.

  12. Kimberly, 24 June, 2009

    Hehe, I couldn’t help but notice it says “Willow Lietz” on the top of your crayon box. Did you steal your daughters Crayolas?!

  13. Cindy Lietz, 24 June, 2009

    You know I did! ;-)

  14. Ifama Jackson, 23 September, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    I really enjoyed the video. You have taught me so many things in such a short time since I have subscribed to you. I looking for instruction on using inks and dyes with the polymer clay but could not find any. If you have them, could you direct me to them. Thanks again for all your instruction, you are such a great teacher and you cover all bases as you teach.


  15. Cindy Lietz, 23 September, 2009

    Thanks Ifama for the very kind words. There is lots of information about inks and dyes here at the blog. To find the articles use the search box at the top of the page. Simple type in a single keyword at time (like inks) and you will get a long list of articles to read.

  16. Mariangela Pagani, 28 September, 2009


    Many thanks to you for your valuable lessons.
    Please pencils are wax?
    And the pasta is translucent or white?

    Mariangela (from Italy)

  17. Cindy Lietz, 28 September, 2009

    H Mariangela,

    Welcome to you and all of the other members from Italia. Although there is a bit of a language difference, it is very nice to see that my video lessons are providing you with value.

    To answer your questions.

    1) Yes the crayons (pencils) are wax.
    2) Yes the clay is translucent.

    Embrace (hugs :-)

  18. Mariangela Pagani, 29 September, 2009

    Thank you Cindy, you are very kind and professional embrace of heart


  19. Servoux R, 23 April, 2010


    Your Beginners Course is truly is a good course. It gives you basics that will start you on your way quickly and easily to creating beautiful beads. I really like the tip on using crayons with translucent clay. I have been making clay beads for three years and love it immensely and decided to purchase the beginner course after subscribing to your other weekly videos and still discovered knew techniques.


  20. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2010

    Shervoux – Thank you so much for taking the time to write those very kind words. Sharing feedback like this really gives others great insight about what they can expect from the video tutorials. I truly appreciate your help.

  21. Molly Fischer, 30 June, 2010

    Cindy: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you – for the Bonus Videos – What a treat! I love the this one with the crayons – can’t wait to try the technique.
    I am thoroughly enjoying all the videos – I feel I am learning lots!

    I have my computer running while I am mixing up my colors and playing – it’s like having a friend right there with me.

    Thank you for all that you have put together with your web site. I hope you don’t get tired of producing videos – because I so look forward to seeing an e-mail from you.

    Happy claying – Molly

  22. pamagela, 10 July, 2010

    molte grazie
    un abbraccio


  23. Trudy M, 26 March, 2011

    Wow, I work in a therapeutic nursery and I’m now eying the kiddies’ crayons like a vulture. Will pick some up tomorrow so I don’t break anyone’s heart! Thank you so much for all you do for the polymer community!

  24. Trudy M, 12 April, 2011

    My first real project that I completed and liked. Used variety of color crayons, a lot of purple and made various flat shape beads; then looked in my bag of old jewelry stuff and stuck one in the clay which created a nice flower bead which I made into a square beads. Gotta buy fine grit wet sandpaper; I only have the heavier ones. I will soon be wearing them.

    By the way, baking for an hour at 265 degrees is perfection. I haven’t burned anything yet! I did however, sandpaper my finger in my enthusiasm in my first project (a faux rock :) )

    I’m feeling a little more confidence as I go along and am having fun instead of worrying about perfection. Thank you Cindy for your wonderful tutorials and easy style.

  25. Phaedrakat, 12 April, 2011

    @Trudy M: Yeeaaahhhh, Trudy!!!! Congratulations…ooh, you’re gonna be hard to stop now. (Another clay addict in the crowd…) ;D Have fun, Kat
    PS: Show us pic’s of your work if you can…it’s easy to add them to Cindy’s Facebook page.

  26. Cindy Lietz, 13 April, 2011

    @Trudy M: Just like our sweet Phaedrakat said, I want to say Yeeaaahhhh Trudy too!!! You have no idea how great that makes me feel to hear you say that. Letting go of perfection and just enjoying the process can be a difficult thing to do, but as you see it is well worth it. I am proud of you. Keep up the great work!

  27. Trudy M, 13 April, 2011

    Your kind words encourage me Phaedrakat! I am thinking polymer clay more and more. I looked at a mural the parents and children did today and thought……ooooh I could see that in clay. I do have my camera. once I get the sandpaper and finish them, I’ll take a pic. Cindy, you really are a part of the process for folks finding their inner creative souls. My creative inner one is peeking out with both eyes, smiling shyly and learning to let go. You’re a gem.

  28. Fran C, 30 September, 2013

    Hi Cindy, I think your beginners course tutorials are extremely helpful and I have learned so much from you. I tried crayons in translucent Premo today after watching your tutorial on that and it was fun. I also found Premo on sale at Michaels about a week ago and thought — I have to tell Cindy! I was so excited!

  29. Laura L, 25 March, 2014

    Hi Cindy!

    I just recently found your tutorials and I must say I love the product test videos the best :-) It’s great to know in advance what works and what doesn’t for folks like me who are trying out this wonderful new hobby on a shoestring budget.

    Speaking of budgets, I don’t want to waste all of these -baked- pieces of premo that I have laying around from projects that just didn’t work out. I’ve heard you can grind them down into powder and use them for things, or cut them up small for inclusions and such. Do you have a video on what to do with already-baked projects? I would love to see (visually, not just in print) what can be done with all these little beads and pieces!

    Thank you for everything that you do. I personally appreciate it greatly :-)

  30. Cindy Lietz, 28 March, 2014

    Hi Laura, I used grated/chopped baked clay in my Faux Beach Pebble Tutorial from way back. You could have a look at that video if yo like.

    Thanks for your sweet comment!

  31. Ruchika R, 28 July, 2016

    Hello Cindy,
    Actually my query is not related to your post but still I hope u will help me. Whenever I bake my polymer clay beads or charms n warmish them but they breaks very often plz help me. Guide me.

  32. Chrissie F, 28 July, 2016

    Ruchika, there can be a few reasons why your polymer clay beads or charms often break. One could be the temperature and/or the amount of time you cure them. It could also be the type of clay that you are using. If you type words like “break” or “bake” in the search box at the top right of this screen you will find many answers to your question as other people have asked the same question.

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