How To Make A Perfectly Round Bead By Hand

Making Round Beads

Vid #018: How To Make A Bead… Some Basic 101 Advice For Beginners:

Round is one of the first things that comes to mind when most people think about beads. When I first started working with polymer clay, I thought that rolling beads by hand would be easy. But I have to say that many of my original beginner beads ended up looking pretty wobbly… far from being perfect.

One of the secrets to rolling round beads by hand is to hold your lower hand flat and stationary, while making small circles with the top hand. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. I’m here to help.

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The full version of the “Making Round Beads” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #18 of 39]. In it, I demonstrate how to roll perfectly round beads every time. I also discuss the following topics:

  • How to position your hands properly when rolling round beads
  • Dealing with soft clay issues.
  • Using cornstarch to keep those nasty fingerprints at bay.
  • Bead hole piercing techniques so that you don’t distort the round shape.
  • What to do when the piercing does not go as planned.
  1. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2008

    I mention in this video that waiting too long before piercing it could result in a crack forming near the hole. If you have waited too long and you see some cracking, just roll the bead again for a few seconds to warm it slightly. Then re-pierce a new hole.

  2. Caroline, 09 May, 2008

    I make beads by hand as you describe, but change direction constantly with the top hand so roll clockwise twice then anti-clockwise twice and so on in a fluid movement.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 09 May, 2008

    Caroline your advice is correct! In fact in my beginner’s course, this video on rolling round beads goes into that exact technique. It also helps to keep the circles small to make a nice round shape!

    Cindy’s last blog post..Flower Petal Bead Inclusions for Memorable Keepsake Jewelry

  4. keshav, 18 February, 2009

    that was evil. Why would you post content online that is not free? It looks like its free.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 19 February, 2009

    I hope you are joking Keshav… about me being evil. But you may not be.

    So if you would like to know some of my reasons why I think Free is not always best, please follow the “Polymer Clay Instructions” link by my name. It will take you to an article I wrote a while back that should help you to understand some of the problems you can run into if all that you are looking for is free information.

    That being said, you may also want to take the time go through the pieces of content at this blog. There are literally 100’s and 100’s of articles… and the tally is growing daily.

    Most if not all of these articles contain some level of free information that will be of value to you if you are learning about polymer clay… even the article on this page.

    I told you that, “…one of the secrets to rolling round beads by hand is to hold your lower hand flat and stationary, while making small circles with the top hand. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. I’m here to help.”

    Did you give it a try? Not following this advice is the main reason why many beginners end up having problems getting their beads to be round.

    In that tip, you should also notice that I said, “I’m here to help.” If you take the time to study all of the free information at this site, you will be hard pressed to find a comment that did not get addressed. BTW, if you do find an unanswered question, please do let me know because it would have been something that I missed purely by accident.

    Hopefully this clears things up a bit for you Keshav. I really am here to help and bring value to the polymer clay community.

  6. Chris Bogardus, 12 November, 2009

    Have you ever made beads from flowers? If so could you please enlighten me and if not do you know anyone that might know?

  7. Cindy Lietz, 12 November, 2009

    Hi Chris – I’ve done a fair amount with making beads using flower petals mixed into the clay. Click on the link by my name for one resource. And you can also use the search box at the top of every article page at this blog with keywords like: inclusion, memorial, keepsake, etc.

  8. tina, 09 December, 2009

    I wanted to know if there is a machine to make round beads from ivory and stone?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 11 December, 2009

    Are you talking about real stone and ivory Tina? Because I don’t know of a machine that does that. Maybe someone else does?

  10. daniera, 28 May, 2010

    hi i would like to make my own hand made gem stone beads of sizes 4mm 6mm and 8mm. i have been looking for some sort of bead making machine. if it exists can you help me please. i have the raw stones stored and ready to go. i just need to somehow make them into smaller loose beads but i dont know how ??????????

  11. Phaedrakat, 28 May, 2010

    @daniera: Hi Daniera, are you talking about cutting & shaping real gemstones? I’m not sure anyone here knows about that, since this is a polymer clay website, blog. Cindy is the Polymer Clay Tutor, teaching us how to make beads with polymer clay. As you can see in the question above yours, someone else was asking something similar about a machine to cut ivory & stone, and Cindy didn’t know how to answer that (not her specialty.)

    If you’re looking for real gemstone equipment, you need to search google for lapidary equipment and instructions. I did a quick search and found something called sphere machines & bead mills that are used to make beads. I also found a website that covers how to shape gemstones into round beads, although I know nothing about this personally. The website is here:
    It has a tutorial on how to hand-make beads. There’s lots of other info out there, but you need to search using the right materials, along with the word “bead.” Like “lapidary bead making machine” or “gemstone bead machine” or something like that. Good luck!

  12. Anthony R, 25 November, 2013

    How do you sand round beads?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 02 December, 2013

    Hi Anthony, you can sand round beads by hand, use a JoolTool (with brush attachments) or using a rock tumbler. Use the search box at the top of the page to learn more about those methods of finishing your polymer clay beads.

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