Instructions For Piercing Holes Through Unbaked Polymer Clay Beads

Piercing Polymer Clay Bed Holes

Having a Problems Making Nice Fimo Bead Holes? Here’s 7 Tips That Will Help You To Overcome This Challenge:

A common issue for many polymer clay beginners is how to pierce holes through unbaked polymer clay beads. Here are just a few of the comments that have been posted recently here at the blog about this topic:

“My girls and I are having fun creating with the clay. One of our challenges is when making the holes in a bead, even after letting the bead sit for a while, the shape of the bead tends to get a little disformed. Thank you Cindy.” ~Robin


“My biggest challenge has been getting the holes centered without messing up the overall shape of the bead. I’m getting better, but the saying is, practice makes perfect.” ~Daisy


“I wanted to come back and comment again that I can make beads, but have a lot of issues making focal beads. Making holes for them and even figuring out how to put the findings in and what findings to use.” ~KB


“I’m a newbie with PC and… would appreciate a tip on how to make the holes in the beads go straight and not ruin the shape. I’ve tried poking in from both sides and have a hard time getting the hole to meet.” ~Virginia


Here Are 7 Tips That Will Help Make the Process Easier:

1) Let the bead cool down before piercing. This will help to prevent indenting where the needle enters and bulging where it exits.

2) Making holes in raw clay beads will result in a slightly flattened bead with indented holes. Many people like this look because they sit nicely next to other beads.

3) Needle tools for making holes can be purchased. Or you can use toothpicks, hat pins, darning needles and knitting needles. You can also use the bead piercing wires that come with bead racks.

4) Coat needles or piercing wire with cornstarch or water to make piercing easier.

5) Sand your needle lengthwise with a high grit sandpaper such as 600 or 800 grit. This will clean the needle or wire of any rust or baked on clay or finish. The result is less friction between the bead and the needle which reduces chances of the bead becoming deformed when the needle is pushed through it.

6) Twist the piercing wire back and forth as it enters the center of the bead, holding the bead as lightly as possible with your other hand.

7) The straighter the needle the straighter the hole so be careful not to bend your bead wires.

For more tips on how to drill holes in your polymer clay beads, here are a few other articles for you to read:

Please give these suggestions a try and then come back here to let me know if your bead piercing skills are improving at all. If you are still running into problems be sure to ask for help in the comments section below.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 05 November, 2008

    If you let your beads rest for more than a day or so, do a quick re-roll to warm them slightly. Otherwise you may see some cracks forming around the hole when you try to pierce them.

  2. christine, 06 November, 2008

    Wonderful tips Cindy.

    Here’s another one: Pierce the bead only until you see a little bulge through to the other side. Then remove your piercing tool, and reenter the bead from the opposite side.

    Reduces the “deformation” factor.


  3. Cindy Lietz, 07 November, 2008

    Thank you Christine! Great tip, you’re right it works very well!

  4. shannon, 07 November, 2008

    I love how organized your answers are, if I ever have a problem with a new technique, I can come here and quickly find solutions!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 09 November, 2008

    Thank You Shannon! That means a lot coming from you!

  6. Lupe Meter, 10 November, 2008

    I have used the method that Christine suggested and it always works like a charm. It also guides you in centering the hole at the other end.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 12 November, 2008

    Yeah me too Lupe! It is a great way to solve the bulging problem. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Marie, 14 November, 2008

    Is the tip for cured or uncured clay?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 15 November, 2008

    The tip is for uncured beads Marie. Thank you for asking!

  10. Linda, 23 January, 2009

    I have a couple small plastic paint pallets that I got for under $1 in the craft dept. at Walmart. They have 10 nicely rounded ‘cups’. I place a round bead in each section and pierce my beads from the top. The rounded pallet keeps the beads from getting flat on the bottom.

  11. Cindy Lietz, 24 January, 2009

    Great idea Linda! I’ve never thought to use a palette for piercing beads… it’s a perfect way to avoid distortion. Thank you so much for sharing your idea!

  12. Liz Goodwin, 29 December, 2013

    Hi Cindy, Happy New Year to you for next week. I have been avidly watching your fab tutorials on youtube and wondered if you could advise at all.

    I have just made my first lentil beads which I am really pleased about but would like to put holes in them and pins so I could perhaps make a bracelet or necklace. I’m not sure where to put them and I wondered if you had a tutorial already up showing where to put your pins.

    I do look forward to hearing from you.

    Kindest regards

    LIz at Lilibets Buttons

  13. Cindy Lietz, 29 December, 2013

    Thank you for the kind comments Liz! I really appreciate that. If you type ‘piercing lentil beads’ into the search box at the top of the page, you will find lots of information that has already been posted on that subject. That goes for most problems that come up with polymer clay. You may find that the answer is easy to find, with the use of the search box. Thanks for commenting and Happy New Year to you too!

  14. Paola Cordero, 30 August, 2021

    Hi Cindy!

    Thank you always for your great tips, you’ve been one of my biggest “go to’s” in polymer clay on youtube. Your suggestion for working with softer clays like Cernit Opaline would be to let them rest a day or so before piercing, or do you have any other suggestions?
    I made beads using a mixture of Cernit translucent and opaline, both of which can be really soft sometimes, and gave them an ice bath before piercing but still noticed distortion. Not so much on my round beads, mostly on my oval ones or different shaped ones. Any suggestions for that would be highly appreciated.


  15. Cindy Lietz, 03 September, 2021

    Thank you, Paola, for your very kind words! <3 Perhaps you could consider leaching out the clay a bit, so it is not so soft in the first place? I have some videos on doing that (use the search box to find any answers you need). But the basic technique is to leave the clay on a sheet of paper to soak up some of the excess oils, therefor making the clay stiffer and easier to work with. In regard to using ice water, I actually would not recommend using ice water for Cernit. Cernit is affected by water, it can make the clay sticky and cause plaquing especially in translucent. If you find cold helps, then I'd rather see you put the beads in the fridge or sit them on an ice pack, rather than put them in water. The water trick works better for clays that repel water like Premo, Souffle and Kato Polyclay. Other than chilling and leaching, the other thing is to make sure you're using a fine, very sharp piercing pin and the other tips I mentioned in this article… plus practice of course! Good luck and let me know if those tips help!

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