Glass Bugle Beads – 5 Fun Ways to Use Them In Polymer Clay Projects

Glass Bugle Beads

From Mobius to Mosaics; Fringes to Flowers; Even a Steampunk Spider:

If you make polymer clay beads, then you probably also have a bunch of other types of jewelry beads in your craft studio or supply bins. Glass bugle beads for example. They are great to use with polymer clay because they are heat safe and can therefore go right into the oven along with your clay pieces during the baking process.

Although not very exciting to look at by themselves… here are 5 fun ways to incorporate them into your next polymer clay or jewelry making project:

1) Use a long glass bugle bead as the core for a Mobius Bead. Not only do they give strength to the Moebius bead, they also give it a unique spindle look.

2) Make beaded fringe for necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even lampshades. Consider ways to incorporate your polymer clay beads into a bugle bead fringe and you will have an extra special look.

3) Push bugle beads and other glass beads into clay for a wonderful mosaic look. You can see an example of this technique done by Israeli polymer clay artist Nama Zamir, in this post: Bead Mosaic Jewelry Brooch Design

4) Use bugle beads as stems for cherry beads or flower beads. Their long cylindrical shape are perfect for dangling cherry and flower earrings.

5) Bugle beads with stiff wire threaded through them, make great spider legs. What you do is pierce 3 wires though a round polymer clay bead so that the polymer bead is the body of the spider. with three legs sticking out on each side. Then using bugle beads and tiny seed beads alternated, you can create jointed spider legs. If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, stay tuned. I’ve just made another Steampunk pendant called “Pink Widow Spider” made in this way. I’ll post it as soon as I get pictures!

So there it is… 5 fun little ways you can incorporate glass bugle beads from your bead stash, into your polymer clay projects! Have fun and be creative!


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. squash, 03 March, 2009

    Hi! I wonder when you have the time to think of all these beautiful and clever things, try them and also share them with us. Is your day longer than ours? Lol! I know you’re a polymer clay tutor, but…nevertheless.
    I love bugle beads, I buy a lot of them and besides making some bracelets or stringing them I didn’t know how to use them. Until today, of course. All your ideas are so good. Seems like you never have bad days or without inspiration, as regular people do. Or maybe you’re from a polymer clay planet and you’re here to teach us ;).
    Well, have a wonderful week and keep on going, I’m sure we are all keep on reading you!

  2. Anna Sabina, 04 March, 2009

    Where did you find such long bugle beads? I have only found short stumpy ones that are no longer than 1/4 inch?

  3. Cindy Lietz, 05 March, 2009

    @squash: Thank you! You are so sweet. Although I do manage to get all kinds of creative things accomplished, I do have trouble balancing things. Sometimes I can get in quite a frazzled mess around the house and studio. Every once in awhile I have to take a deep breath and try and pull everything back together. There is only so much a person can do. Thank you so much for asking and making me feel good. I really appreciate everything you contribute!

    @Anna: I’m not totally sure where I got those bugle beads. I think they could have come from a batch of odds and ends I got from a wholesaler that was doing a close out sale. Why don’t you try Shipwreck beads or Fire Mountain Gems? They might have them.

  4. Anna Sabina, 05 March, 2009

    I check Shipwreck beads and they have them listed as 20 mm. I did not find any on Fire Mountain site. I bought some clear Bugle Beads today from Hobby Lobby and the longest was about 1/4 inch, marked size 5. So if you are looking in a catalog for extra long beads you will want a size larger than that.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 05 March, 2009

    Thank you Ani for sharing the information you found! That was extremely helpful!

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