Lay-Flat Curb Chain | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Polymer Curb Chain - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #260: “Cindy, can I put in a request for some ideas on mixed media necklaces and bracelets? I’m thinking chains, cords, metal links…” ~Jan-G

Chain has become all the rage in mixed media jewelry these days… so why not add a little Polymer Clay Chain to the mix… curb chain to be exact.

Curb chain has the type of links that lay flat, as compared to normal chain where the links alternate between laying flat and sitting upright. With curb chains, the links are bent in such a way that one side of the link goes up and over its neighboring link (over the curb so to speak), and the other side of the link goes underneath.

If that description has you completely lost, this weeks tutorial clip will bring everything into focus. Just one more reason why video is WAY better than just using the written word for teaching purposes.

Anyway, since chain is so popular right now in jewelry making, and since it is so easy to make using polymer clay, I thought I’d better show you my own version of a rustic Polymer Curb Chain. It’s coming up tomorrow (Friday, June 15, 2012) in the Vol-049-3 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library.



Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-049-3 Polymer Curb Chain:

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Here’s a sneak peak of this week’s tutorial…

The full version of the “Polymer Curb Chain” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-049 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

This site is just a wealth of information and inspiration. Go Team Lietz and thanks so much! The information you share with us is invaluable! ~Dawn-B

Cindy – What I love about you, is that you are there to really help people (like meee). I appreciate the fact that you are kind enough to respond to my questions. Patience personified!! I believe that the secret of true success, is not being afraid to share what you really know with others. Your style is truly gratifying, because alot of people out there teaching (they are always holding something back). I share the same philosophy, because I don’t feel intimidated. Being a fine artist (in many areas, that is except clay), I share many techniques with others. My knowledge is something to be shared, and that is our commonality. GOD Blesses us with talents to be shared, and it is a way of bringing people together. It is also a way of allowing people to realize, that there is good in this world of ours. So, thank you for being a Blessing in my Life!!! Cindy, you are really reaching out to alot of us (in the clay world). We are very fortunate to have you sharing your expertise. After seeing some of your work — it’s really something! Hope that you will be with us for forever, and a day. Thanks for sharing! ~Diana-S

I have been exploring all over the members library this morning and I must say I am quite impressed!!! You and Doug have done a marvelous job and everything is so user friendly!!!! I am thrilled at this new adventure and look forward to lots of learning and making polymer clay beads!!! ~Pamela-C

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Polymer Curb Chain video tutorial:

  • See examples of a necklace and two different styled bracelets, using sections of polymer curb chain and a variety of finishes.
  • Find out how simple it is to create this funky rustic chain for your unique polymer clay and mixed media jewelry pieces.
  • Learn the reasons why you may just want to take a trip down the baking aisle of your grocery store for this versatile baking ingredient.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with other unique designs of your own.

The full version of the “Polymer Curb Chain” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-049 Back Issue Package.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Teresa DeFilippis, 14 June, 2012

    I am really xcited about this; it will be a really neat lesson. Thank you for all you do.

  2. pollyanna, 14 June, 2012

    Another great tutorial coming up I see…..looks very interesting.

  3. JoanneB, 14 June, 2012

    This looks like a great tutorial. I watched the preview, and I am by no means an expert on word origins, but I know that in the horse world curb chains are chains that are attached to a curb bit. I think that may be where the term comes from. The chain is attached to the bit and runs under the chin of the horse. I think it needs to lay flat in order to function properly in controlling the lever action of the bit. Just a thought…

  4. Monique U, 14 June, 2012

    I love how you constantly come up with neat adaptations of other media, Cindy! This would make a cool and funky set of “Olympic Rings” in the distinct colours. Looking forward to tomorrow’s weekly dose of inspiration! And I love your quote from Diana S… that is totally where my heart lies. If we could all share our talents unreservedly, the world would be a wondrous place indeed!

  5. Elizabeth S., 14 June, 2012

    Another winner!! Can’t wait!

    I know I am off point here but for those who have not seen her FB post, Catalina Ledesma’s father passed away yesterday. She is a close and wonderful “Cindy” friend to so many of us that I decided it would be OK to digress a bit and share this sad news so that we can keep her in our hearts during this time of terrible loss.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 14 June, 2012

    Thank you Elizabeth for letting us know about Catalina’s Father. I am so sorry to hear that. I know from losing Doug’s Dad just a couple weeks ago, how hard it is to lose a loved one. My heart goes out to Catalina and her family. I hope she is coping OK. We send our love and blessings her way.

  7. Elizabeth S., 14 June, 2012

    OMG, I did not know this!!!! Please extend my condolences to Doug. Losing one’s father is, in my opinion, a watershed moment in one’s life, one of the most difficult to reconcile. As Catalina wrote in her post “My heart will never be the same” I think her comment epitomizes the feelings of loss of a beloved father. My love to all of you during this most difficult time.

  8. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you, Cindy. I don’t know how you keep going after lossing your father-in-law. I can barely keep focused. This group will keep me going! So many good friends here. I will be spending a lot of time making rose beads and rosaries. This will help in my grieving.

  9. Natalie H, 15 June, 2012

    First, mu condolences to Catalina on the loss of her father…
    Now Cindy your creative mind must be on over drive … You never fail to surprise use with your new and exciting Friday tutes…each one
    more intreging than the previous week…. Can’t wait to try this one using clay colors with a faux wood theme….one question… With the summer coming can polymer clay creations be worn in the water…I have made French barrettes using I many of your techniques for the designs but I have been telling people that they should not be worn in the water … That means that the mothers have to change the clips before they kiss go in the water
    Oh. Forgot to tell everyone I found out about a new glue It’s called. GS Hypo Cement… It comes on a pink box..what’s good about it is the has a. Dry fine point so you can get into those very smalll and tight spaces .. It has a pin that you have to reinsert into the open info…so it takes skill to replace it but worth it…great for use with stretchy cord or getting into those tight places….hope this helps everyone
    Natalie H. Aka saftiscreations

  10. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    If your pieces don’t have any finish on them Natalie, then they are just fine in the water. (If you can sand them with water, you can swim with them.) Long term storage in the hot sun and with chlorine pool water, may fade the piece (such as making a polymer piece that would spend it’s life floating in a pool) but just wearing while you swim would be no problem at all. If they have a finish or coating however, there may be a reaction of some kind. The best thing to do is to test it.

  11. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you.

  12. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you so much, Elizabeth. This is the first time I could come to see all the love posted here. My dad is the reason I have any artistic abilities. He taught me almost everything I know about drawing, design and craftsmanship. He encouraged me and supported me like no one else. Everyone’s thoughts and prayers are most appreciated! Xoxoxoxoxo

  13. Monique U, 14 June, 2012

    Elizabeth, thanks for letting us know about Catalina’s father. I will be thinking of her family at this difficult time, and offering prayers.

  14. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you for the prayers.

  15. Jocelyn, 14 June, 2012

    I love that picture. I know I am supposed to be seeing patina’d copper links, but I see malachite in the striping patterns, too.

    Diana, I am so sorry you lost your Dad. I will be keeping you in my thoughts.

  16. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you Jocelyn. This means a lot.

  17. Dixie Ann, 14 June, 2012

    The chain tute looks wonderful! How clever, it’s got my bells
    going off again!

  18. Kelly Beavers, 14 June, 2012

    I need something in a color that is close to a kakhi. I looked at the neutrals, but need to be off to bed, so could you suggest something for me?

  19. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    The best thing to do Kelly when looking for a specific color in the recipes is to go to the top of this page and click on the Topics Categories Tab. The Scroll down until you see the Color Recipes link. That will take you to a page that shows all the previous color recipe palettes that you can then look for a color that suits your particular needs. Hope that helps!

  20. Brenda M, 15 June, 2012

    Very cute, I love the necklace that you made.cute cute cute!

  21. Jocelyn, 15 June, 2012

    Cindy, you have made the perfect bracelets, fitting tighter to the wrist plus safety chained for security….I adore your design. Please, please! Add the bracelet to the tute list along with the stickpin and the pin made from wire wraps.

  22. Jocelyn, 15 June, 2012


    I must apologize, upon third watching I see that you gave excellent instructions to construct the bracelet. I really think the way you designed this is revolutionary. So many times, the cuff falls off, and not on carpet. Say goodbye if poly’d. Or, those complete bangles just fall off if made too large.

    The combo necklace is so cool, what do you call the bead shapes on the left side?

  23. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    Thanks Jocelyn, I was wondering why you were asking that about the bracelet. :) The name of the bead shape made of Magnesite is called a Dog Bone. You can get them drilled from end to end or through the middle so they interlock with each other. I like the shape. Should make some from polymer clay.

  24. pattw35, 15 June, 2012

    Another neat way to use up scraps ! Everyone has them sooooooooooooooo. Unique bracelets they will make ! Have 3 (yep) cigar boxes full of scrap clay. Now they will be something, instead of nothings. teehee

    Cat, your heart might be broken, but time will heal it. What wonderful memories you will have. He was a true Dad. Hope you and your family will always have a Fathers Day ! XXOO,patt

  25. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you for the reminder. Time will heal all.

  26. Maria, 15 June, 2012

    Catalina, please accept my condolences on the loss of your father …
    Cindy – I’m curious if you have ever used Kato repel gel? It seems this stuff would be perfect for this project. I purchased it a while back, but haven’t used it yet.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    I haven’t tried the Repel Gel yet Maria, but it sounds like it would work well for this project. But wouldn’t the cornstarch be much cheaper?

  28. Carol Mills, 15 June, 2012

    Hi Cindy:

    I would really like to see you do a Missoni pattern cane. Do you think it is possible? Thanks.

  29. fran, 16 June, 2012

    Carol – thank you for adding a new word to my vocabulary. I didn’t know what a Missoni pattern was – so looked it up and I like it a lot. So I’d like to see a cane with that pattern too.

  30. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    Thanks for the suggestion Carol! I will see if I can figure out an easy way of making a Missoni pattern. I have a feeling it would be harder to do than you would think.

  31. Jocelyn, 20 June, 2012

    If you did, Cindy, it would just be a short jump from there to the Seminole tribes banding designs. I love them, too.

  32. Elaine Faulks, 15 June, 2012

    Our thoughts go with you at this sad time but he is with you in spirit, watching over you and your loved ones…………………………………..forever.

    I see a man,s choker, three curb chain links, a pirate bead, then a big shiny black bead dangling down between the links to represent a “cannon ball”. with perhaps leather thongs to tie together and hang down the back looking like the cat ‘o’ nine tails.( Not sure whether my other half would model it though) ha ha.
    But would be great to make for a fancy dress party me hearties Arrrrrrrrrrr.

    Does anyone know if there is another product similar to PYMII as it doesn’t seem to be available here in the UK (unless some brave Brit has taken a consignment that we do not know about?)
    From all I have heard about this spray it can work wonders on all all types of surfaces and is compatible with polymer clay and I want some desperately.

    I got some repel gel some time ago but never got round to making the project I bought it for. So think I’ll try it on Cindy’s Curb Chain, using black PC and highlighting it with my Pirate Gold Gilders Paste………..gonna have fun………………………cheers xx…………………………………………..

  33. Lesley Symons, 16 June, 2012

    I’ve been looking for the elusive PYM spray too …. it turns out that it’s available from Margaret at Shades of Clay. It can’t be sent by air, so will be slow to arrive – so I guess I’ll have to contain my impatience. Price is 15.95 CAD.

    I am SO going to order some! Meanwhile the chain tute looks great …. and luckily we have a wet weekend, so I have the perfect excuse to play with clay …..

    love to all

  34. Elaine Faulks, 17 June, 2012

    Thanks so much Lesley for the heads up on ordering some PYMII from Margaret at Shades of Clay.
    As you say it might be a few weeks but cannot wait to use it.

    ( Bread and water for the next month to help pay for the shipping)…………….cheers xx……………………..

  35. Lesley Symons, 17 June, 2012

    ha ha Elaine …. know what you mean about the shipping …. we never get the cheaper option here in the UK! Very envious of our fortunate cousins across the pond who can just nip out to their local craft store!! :-(

  36. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Elaine, thank you!

  37. Elizabeth Kerr, 15 June, 2012

    Hi Cindy and all,
    thanks for the great tut on a curb chain, who would have
    thought to do that in Poly clay.!
    The main point I get from this tut is how you have a flat chain, very clever, will try it.
    I can see it in some of the pearl sparkily colours as that is more me.
    Anyway thanks again.
    love to all
    E. XXX

  38. Peggy Barnes, 15 June, 2012

    This is another tute where you imagination can go crazy with ideas.Thank you Cindy for the great details and Doug for the wonderful filming. Just thinking of the fun I can have with this tute puts a :) on my face.

    Doug I want to wish you a happy Father’s Day and all the other Father’s out there in Cindy’s community. I am sure you will have a wonderful weekend with your family.

    For those of you who have lost your Father’s just remember they are with the Greatest Father of all. I hope you will take some time to reflect on all the wonderful memories you have tucked in your heart and wish your Father the best. They all know how much they were loved and are missed.

  39. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 15 June, 2012

    Thank you Peggy.

  40. Catalina, 21 June, 2012

    Thank you so much my friend!

  41. tantesherry, 22 June, 2012

    So sweetly said Peggy

    Dear Catalina , my father also encouraged my art and your words touch my <3

  42. Elizabeth S., 15 June, 2012

    Love this!!! Thank you!!! So many possibilities!

  43. Lawrence, 19 June, 2012

    I love this tute Cindy and can see the great possibilities for the chain. It looks like it can only be done in short lengths if it has to be cured laying flat. My convection oven will only hold a length of 15″ if laid flat diagonally. Do you have any suggestions for curing a longer chain ?

  44. Cindy Lietz, 19 June, 2012

    Thank you Lawrence, I’m glad you loved the tutorial! I was thinking… (and no it didn’t hurt. Well not too badly, anyway. LOL) One way to make the chain longer would be to make two, or three lengths as long as will fit in the oven and then bake them. Then after cooling, add new links that join the long ones together. You should be able to ‘bunch up’ the baked ones in a bit of a pile, while laying the raw ones flat in their proper positions while baking. Hopefully that makes sense to you. (This is why I do video rather than PDF’s. So much easier to explain with my hands than with my words!) Let us know how it works for you!

  45. Lawrence, 22 June, 2012

    Thanks Cindy. That makes sense to me so will give it a try.

  46. Kerri C., 21 June, 2012

    I love this tutorial! One of the things I love is seeing the use of color. I would never had guessed the chain necklace has the curb chain beads made with the scrap clay from the tree cane. I’m curious how the back of the necklace goes together with the 2 different beads. Is it a clasp of some sort? I am behind on watching videos but I had to watch this one and get started on using up some clay from a cane that didn’t turn out good. It’s great to see different jewelry ideas along with each tutorial.

  47. Cindy Lietz, 22 June, 2012

    Thanks Kerri! I guess we are going to have to do some more pictures for this one for a gallery post some time, since I guess I didn’t end up showing the clasp in the video. It has a hand hammered copper toggle I made and gave a green patina to match the necklace. On the bead side it is strung with SoftFlex Wire and then crimped directly to the clasp. On the chain side, I used a large oval, hammered copper jump ring I made to connect the polymer chain and the copper clasp. Hope that describes things well enough for you!

  48. Jocelyn C, 22 June, 2012

    In our craft we use a lot of materials that stay in the air. Here is a great list of houseplants that help to clean the air. I’m loading up, lol.

  49. tantesherry, 22 June, 2012

    neat link Jocelyn thanks
    I pinned it :)

  50. Lawrence, 22 June, 2012

    They did not mention Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant). I have a couple in my studio space to help keep the air cleaner and so easy to grow and propagate.

  51. Jocelyn, 22 June, 2012

    Thanks Sherri. Lawrence, I knew something was missing, thanks for the heads up.

  52. Kermit N Paddack, 29 August, 2022

    Do you have any suggestion of clay that mimics/appears as antique brass? I am trying to make pieces that replicate the links of the chain that goes with the “Old Oaken Bucket” trophy (if that means anything to you).

  53. Cindy Lietz, 30 August, 2022

    Hi Kermit, yes you can definitely mimic the look of antique brass with polymer clay. You would need to start with one of the metallic clays. Best brands for this would be Premo, Cernit or Kato Polyclay, in a Bronze, or Gold color. Then I would use a mica powder rubbed onto the surface of the clay, before baking. Depending on what the chain looks like in real life, you may want to add an antique wash of dark brown mixed into a glazing medium to get a more aged look. Then finish with a polyurethane varnish in either a satin or gloss finish. You will need to play around with this technique to get the right look, but it is definitely do-able. Good luck!

  54. Kermit N Paddack, 01 September, 2022


    I have not looked into the specific methods you laid out yet. I actually had just gotten the custom cookie cutters I had made and a new clay (CraftSmart from Michael’s – gold color) so I wanted to try a test batch. I think the color of this actually comes alot closer on its own than the Sculpey I used before. It also seems less brittle after baking. Add in the fact that it’s quite a bit less expensive and I’m pretty sold on it, the end goal is 100ish of these links and counting afterall.

    I sent you a couple of pictures. Any chance you can offer any tips on getting a more square edge on those face up sides? This may be just the clay but I thought it might be happening when pushing the cookie cutters.

    Thanks for all your help, even without using your suggestions (yet) I’ve utilized several of your videos already (using an oven thermometer, bake for an hour, and using porcelain tiles).

  55. Cindy Lietz, 05 September, 2022

    To get a squarer top on your cut pieces, make sure that your cutter edges are sharp. If they are 3d printed, they probably are not very sharp, in which case you can do some filing and sanding. Blunt edges on cutters will squash down the clay on the top edge. You can also try putting your clay in the fridge to make it firmer before cutting. Clay that it too soft also gets rounded. Another tip is to get your cutters wet with water (use corn-starch if you’re using Cernit or Fimo because those brands gets sticky with water). When the cutter can slide through the clay easier, that will also help to keep the cut cleaner. Lastly, you can always sand the top of your pieces after baking to square things up..

    I have many videos on these subjects here at my blog. You can use the search box at the top of the page to find them. Have fun and good luck with your project!

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