Happiness is, Making Polymer Clay Jewelry for Friends [Spotlight]

Polymer Clay Jewelry by Carole Holt “Until I retired
4 years ago, I had
never done anything
creative at all.”

These “Spot” features are for you guys to display your accomplishments, share stories of inspiration and even ask for assistance with challenges that you may be experiencing. The projects are based on techniques learned from articles here at the blog, as well as from tutorials at the Polymer Clay Video Library. My hope is for these “Show and Tell” features to help everyone get to know each other a bit better, thanks to this wonderfully artistic medium of polymer clay. And… by participating, you can win some beads too!

Polymer Clay Jewelry by Carole Holt

Hi Cindy,

I am sending you some pictures of the things I have done. I am beginning to feel a fraud participating in showing my stuff as there are so many wonderful artists who actually sell their work.

Until I retired 4 years ago I had never done anything creative at all, as a retirement present my husband bought me a computer. Little by little I learned to use it and while searching the web I found card making sites. So then I started to make cards for family and friends.

Two years ago I went to Australia to visit relatives. As the flight was so long we stayed in Singapore for three days.
I found the most beautiful jade beads, and my new passion was born. I collected many beads whilst there. And when I
came home, I began to make jewelry just for fun.

Again whilst surfing the net I found your site,  and was amazed at all the things you were able to do and how you were so enthusiastic about poly clay. So I went and bought some and joined your community. And as they say… the rest is history!

Getting back to my first comment… do you have to be able to sell your work? As I am  not intending to sell anything, I do it because I love it and I am happy to give them away to friends.

Any way, here are some of the tutorials I used to make the jewelry and beads in the photos, listed in order from top to bottom:

Faux Turquoise: Vol-007-3: Necklace project.

Beaded S-Hook: Vol-016-3: Used for the faux turquoise necklace. Copper wire.

Lace and Ink Technique: Vol-020-3: Square and rectangular pendants.

Kaleidoscope Canes: Vol-021-1: Round buttons.

Polymer Clay Buttons: Vol-022-2: Colored with kaleidoscope cane slices.

Rubber Stamp Texture: Vol-013-1: I used a flower stamp to ink up the clay sheet. After the pendant was baked, sanded and buffed, I used Secura pens to color the flowers. Then I strung the pendant with cord. Then using wire, I threaded on purple seed beads (lots). I then used a wooden skewer to wind the wire over the cord, and this kept the beads nice and round and enabled the wired beads to be pulled tight, making sure that the pendant was central.

Glowing Jelly Roll Cane: Vol-022-1: I had great fun with my Granddaughter and she made charms for her bracelet. I made the heart pendant and earrings.

Inked Butterflies: Vol-021-2: Charms.

Pattern Background Sheets: Vol-011-2: On back and front of rectangle pendant.

What an adventure, and what’s so wonderful is that its on going. I look forward to each new tut with anticipation every Friday, just like a kid in a sweet shop. Thanks so much for this fantastic community that you have built here. Long may it continue.


If you are interested in sharing pictures of your polymer clay projects with the community, please follow these 2 simple steps:

1) Email several of your photos to me as attachments. My email address is shown in the “From” line of the weekly Polymer Clay Newsletter that gets sent out each and every Friday morning.

2) Include a description and/or story about your pieces, being sure to reference the tutorial(s) or blog article(s) that provided at least some level of inspiration for your work.

Don’t be shy. Everyone is VERY friendly here.

In the comment section below, please do compliment each other; Offer encouragement; Ask questions about the techniques used; And in general… be social. This is your community! It’s up to you to make it a fun and supportive place to hang out. All of you are amazing and it’s wonderful to have everyone here!

Oh, I’m so far behind on the lessons!  So many techniques, so little time.  I need to give up housework, grocery shopping, and cooking so that I have more time to play with my clay, LOL. ~Linda-K

** Did You Know… Members with current subscriptions to the weekly tutorial videos are always entitled to a 10% discount when purchasing 6 or more back issue packages in a single transaction. If you are interested, let me know which back issues you would like and I will send further instructions on how to complete your order.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. sarahwww, 17 April, 2010

    Carole- Your jewelry is wonderful! Lucky friends!

  2. Silverleaf, 17 April, 2010

    Some more fantastic pieces, well done Carole! I especially like the glowing jellyroll hearts.

  3. Elizabeth S., 17 April, 2010

    As Sarah said, lucky friends. All I can say is that if you were selling your pieces the line would be around the block. I can’t pick a favorite. So, so

  4. Bonnie, 17 April, 2010

    Carole, your jewelry is great. I bet your grand daughter loves her glow in the dark bracelet. That’s a great idea. I have a friend who has a little black dog, I should make her a glow in the dark collar so I know where she is when we go walking. You should be able to sell a lot of those bracelets if your grand daughter shows them to her friends. What are Secura pens? I’ll have to look that up.

  5. Maureen, 17 April, 2010

    Carole, I got into making jewelry and working with polymer clay about the same time you did and for the same reason. I retired four years ago this month. I had always loved crafting (scrapbooking, quilting, sewing etc) but I was looking for something different to do after I retired. I took a class at AC Moore (beaded bracelet) and as you said…the rest is history! I couldn’t stop making things and buying beads. I found that there was actually beads stores in the world!! And quite a few in NJ, where I live. I did not know anything like that existed before. I started taking classes and loved every minute of it. I would dream about what I would make the next day when I woke up. And couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. I soon had so much jewelry I didn’t know what to do with it all. (The funny thing is I only wear earring and rings so I wasn’t getting any use out of bracelets and necklaces, but I kept making them! lol). A cousin of mine, who knew “I had gone off the deep end” asked me why I kept spending money on beads and making “stuff” and I told her “I just couldn’t stop”. She offered to take my “wares” to her job (I am the worst salesman in the world, so I never sold anything myself). She sold everything and they were asking her for more! I was only making costume jewelry, nothing expensive and I sold sets of bracelet and earrings for about 10- 15 dollars. It kept me in bead money and class money and then I didn’t feel guilty about going to bead stores 2 -3 times a week. Otherwise I could not have kept up my hobby, living on a pension. I’m not sure I have ever broke out even. But I am happily making jewelry for the past 4 years and I have 3 other people who take my things to work and sell for me just so I can earn my bead money! lol (I give them a percentage of what they sell in free jewelry so they are very happy, because they used to buy my things before anyway). So if it ever gets to the point where you are asking yourself “why do I keep making jewelry” maybe you should start selling it. Even if you don’t need the money you could earmark a charity to give all your earnings to. And you would get even more enjoyment out of beading! BTW Your work is beautiful and would easily sell.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 17 April, 2010

    What a supportive bunch you all are! Keep the great comments coming, I am sure Carole is loving reading them!

    Also to Carole and everyone else reading this, whether or not you sell your items is entirely up to you. This is your journey. You should never feel like a fraud because you have chosen to keep things for yourself or to give them as gifts. In addition, you shouldn’t feel afraid to sell your pieces should the opportunity arise. Your work is wonderful no matter what you decide you want to do with it!

    @Maureen: I love your comment! You have spoken very well to everyone in your position, including Carole. Stories like this make people feel like they have something in common with others. Many of you are retired and looking for something that will keep you busy and make you feel inspired and fulfilled. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

  7. Lisa Whitham, 17 April, 2010

    Carole H – So many pretty pieces – I agree with Maureen, your jewelry should be easy to sell, it’s just beautiful..!! My favorite is the faux turquoise necklace, it looks great with the copper! Way to go Carole..!!

    Keep On Clayin’,
    ~Lisa :)

  8. pollyanna, 17 April, 2010

    Hi Carol, I just wanted to add my two cents. They are just wonderful pieces. I hope to learn enough from Cindy to be able to do things like this.

  9. Melinda Herron, 17 April, 2010

    Your beads and jewelry are fabulous! Keep up the great work!

  10. carolyn, 17 April, 2010

    Oh my goodness, Carole! What gorgeous work! You certainly have the eye for form and color. I’d say your creative muse has just been sitting there all the time waiting to break forth with ultra beautiful art!

  11. carolyn, 17 April, 2010

    It is great, too, the way you referenced each one of the tutorials. Thanks! This is very helpful … leads me right to the tutorial that I want to try.

  12. Cheryl Hodges, 17 April, 2010

    Carole, your jewelry is gorgeous! I specially love the glowin the dark jelly roll heart and earrings and the stamped and lace technique pendants. Your turquoise is beautiful too, I love the colors of the crystal and the copper wire that you used; it goes really well together. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been looking for a butterfly shaped cutter at Michaels but did not find one.

  13. Lawrence, 17 April, 2010

    Some great pieces of jewelry Carole. It is difficult for me to pick out a favorite but really like your spin on the faux turquoise.
    I also like the way you laid out your pics with reference to the individual tuts.

  14. Phaedrakat, 17 April, 2010

    Lovely, beautiful, would-sell-like-hotcakes jewelry! Carole, you’re so awesome! Thank goodness for that layover in Singapore. If you hadn’t fell in love with jade beads, you might have overlooked the path to jewelry and polymer clay! How sad would that be? It’s obvious that you love it. Well, I love it too—all these great examples, and the tutorials used to make them. Tutes you tried—and mastered!

    Once again though, I find myself wanting to “get a better look.” Do you have a Flickr account or something? I’d love to see these beauties from various angles. I just feel the need to see more of them (BTW, that’s a sign of your talent when we want more, More, MORE! LOL)

    I had a question—which piece of jewelry used the “inked butterflies” technique? I’m not sure if I missed it, or perhaps it was only the charm “shape” that was used from the tute? Another thing I wanted to mention, I think it’s cool the way you used the seed beads & wire, coiled around a skewer and strung with multi-color strands. The pendant is so pretty & really colorful; makes me want to find out more about those pens, too!

    I think it’s wonderful that you create purely for enjoyment, and that you are so generous in giving your pieces away. Just know that people would pay for these pieces. No way are you a fraud! You’re the real deal—a polymer clay artist! Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous work with us!

  15. carolyn, 17 April, 2010

    Carole – I had no idea there were so many different kinds of Sakura pens. Which ones did you use, Gelly Roll Stardust? Glaze? Pigma Micron? or Gelly Roll Medium Point Metallic. They also have Souffle puffy. All of these are Sakura. It looks like whatever you used worked beautifully for you so I’d like to get the same thing. So ….. which ones did you use. Thanks, Carole!

  16. Bonnie, 17 April, 2010

    Carolyn, I’m glad you cleared that up for me about the pens. I Googled Sacura Pens ( instead of Sakura) and all it showed me was a fenced in dog. LOL.

  17. carolyn, 17 April, 2010

    @Bonnie: Now all we have to do is figure out which ones.

  18. Phaedrakat, 18 April, 2010

    @Bonnie: Me, too!

  19. Carole Holt, 18 April, 2010

    Hi everyone thanks for your overwhelming support i really appreciate it.i am sorry for my terrible spelling ,i always do a spell check but it coulden’t correct how i spelt sakura so no wonder you were all confused.I actually used the gelly roll pens the ones that leave a slightly raised finish and they come in such lovely colours.As for the inked butterflies ….whoops i forgot to send the picture.Next time perhaps , i am working my way through the tuts so i will have more pics to send eventually .thanks again for such a wonderful community it’s so great to be a part of it .

  20. Peggy Barnes, 27 April, 2010

    @Carole Holt: Wow they are all so beautiful but I think my favorite is you rubber stamp texture and sakura pens (spelled however). Isn’t it so much fun sharing something you enjoy with your grandaughter. Iove playing with clay when my babies are here, only they are not babies anymore. Keep up the wonderful work of art. I am sure if you wanted you could sell each and every piece you make.
    Uuuuuugggs, Peggy
    ps – Don’t know how I missed this when it first came out but so glad I found it today. You have inspired me so very much. Thank you!!

  21. Lupe Meter, 18 April, 2010

    Carole, your jewelry is just beautiful! My favorite is also the faux turquoise, copper jewelry!

  22. Linda K., 19 April, 2010

    What beautiful work you do, Carol! I love the turquoise beads, but also the way that you strung them, with the mixture of metals–everything about that piece is perfect.

    I also love the jellyroll hearts. You took Cindy’s tut and made something totally your own out of it.

  23. Phaedrakat, 31 May, 2010

    I just ran across these beads again while looking for something else. They’re so wonderful, Carole! I love seeing all of the different methods you’ve tried. Looks like you’ve mastered every technique — such great work!

  24. Bonnie D, 19 August, 2011

    Carole – I love your beads and I totally understand how you got into selling your jewelry. I was creating my own polymer clay beads and having lots of fun. Then a friend gave me a gift certificate for an introductory bead class for my birthday last year. Wow! A few friends at work liked the jewelry I was wearing and asked me to bring some of my pieces in — I sold a few, even one necklace right off my neck! Then some ladies at work asked me to do a class on the basics of jewelry making, which I did. It began a lot more exposure (and sales) of my jewelry and beads. I’ve been selling more and more of my work. And last night, a local bead store owner expressed interest in buying my swirl beads to sell in her store! WOW!

    I do have a question for anyone out there who cares to offer advice — I love trying new techniques with my polymer clay bead-making … but I’m afraid that my cache is too diverse for effective sales/marketing for a website or at craft fairs or bead shops. Should I stick with making many pieces of a few designs, or a few pieces of many designs? Any guidance will be appreciated! Thanks, everyone! Especially Cindy!

  25. Cindy Lietz, 19 August, 2011

    @Bonnie D: That is wonderful that you are achieving success with your bead and jewelry making Bonnie and that you are starting to sell your pieces!

    Your question is a difficult one to answer… there are a few different things to consider when making decisions on what types of products you should be producing for sale.

    Having a focus will help when it comes to sales to a bead shop or certain craft fairs. Shop buyers want to know what they are getting, and to be able to order more of the same should they run out. Too many choices can make it hard to decide, so keeping the styles and color choices to a minimum for those types of situations might be important.

    On the other hand, trying many different techniques will broaden your skill base and help you to develop your own artistic voice. If you only do one kind of bead in three colors, you might get very good at those beads, but you will limit your potential.

    For me, I have a larger than normal diversity to the beads and jewelry I make because I am experimenting with and teaching so many different techniques. Therefore my bead stash has an enormous variety of styles and colorways to it. You can collectively see my ‘voice’ in the work however.

    Because I am not doing large shows or selling to bead stores at this point of my career, I enjoy that diversity. I can still sell my work, but the sales are more along the lines of a ‘sample sale’ or what artists and designers call a ‘Trunk Show’. Often one-of-a-kind collection of a variety of styles and pieces.

    So how you want to sell your work, and the diversity of your pieces, really depends on what you want to do with your business. What I would do if I were you is sit down and plan out what way of creating works best for you. Good luck!

  26. Maria, 20 August, 2011

    What an interesting question! I, too, have thought about how to handle ALL of the various techniques Cindy teaches us and decide which ones to make and try to sell at the church bazaars I participate in. Thankfully, there is a theme to some – fall (leaves), Christmas, Easter, so I can find some focus to my works. What gets me stymied is that I also do pendants that are for any time of the year. Choosing what to make is dificult at times. Usually though it just happens , that is, I get an inspiration to make something and next thing I know it magically appears. Would love to know how others handle this issue.
    On a related note, I am in the process of reorganizing my stuff. How do you handle the vast amount of things you have created? How do you organize the finished works? I’d like to keep it in boxes when I’m not selling, but then always “raid” them to wear these pieces myself. I guess I need to make at least 2 of everything …

  27. Carolyn Fiene, 20 August, 2011

    Maria – I use plastic trays that fit together to form a stack that then fits in a sturdy cloth carry case. I’ve gotten the from FMG. The initial outlay is considerable, but then they are organized and ready for you to raid or take to a sale.

    Since I’m still stick here in Aptos, because the surgery left scar tissue on my lung and I have to try t build my capacity up again, I had my d and s-i-l bring down a case with empty trays. I have managed t fill it up already but there is just no room for another one in this tiny and getting tinier, motorhome. I was surprised at how much stuff I’ve made while I’ve been down here … but then I’ve been here since last November.

    Maria, don’t you live in SF? How about a Sunday (or any day) drive down to the beach here – Seacliff. But you should get trays and a case first so I can see your work. I bet it is absolutely super!

  28. Phaedrakat, 31 August, 2011

    @Carolyn Fiene: Carolyn, it’s so good to see your comments here…the blog’s not the same without your voice! Sorry to hear you’re stuck in one place, as I’m sure the open road AND your home are calling to you. I know you’re a fighter though, and you’ll build your lung capacity back. Glad to hear you’re creating jewelry, and accepting visitors — good news! Hopefully Maria will get a chance to visit, as well as new friends.
    I was wondering, are you still selling PYMII, or is your stock back home? I’m getting ready to place an order, so I thought I should ask you first…

    Take care, Kat

  29. Maria, 22 August, 2011

    That sounds like a lot of fun Carolyn! It would be nice to meet with someone from Cindy’s “extended family”.

  30. Carolyn Fiene, 22 August, 2011

    What does you schedule look like? Other than doctor appts. I’m generally right here in my little rig in the Seacliff Center RV Park in Aptos.

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