To Make Beads, You will Need a Wet-dry Sanding Kit

Making Beads

Vid #013: Bet You Never Thought That Making Beads Would Have You Looking Forward To Visiting the Auto Supply Store:

OK… so the next time your husband says he’s heading out to pick up brake parts or an oil filter for the car, really surprise him by saying you would love to tag along.

That’s because some of the best sandpaper for sanding polymer clay beads is to be found in the auto body section of any automotive supply shop. You’ll likely have success finding these specialty sandpapers at your local Walmart or other big box stores as well.

Look for wet-dry sandpaper ranging in grits from 120 (coarse) up to 1200 (fine). It’s usually black or grey but sometimes is a very dark green as well.

It’s called “wet-dry” because you actually get this sandpaper wet before using it on your polymer clay beads. Please note that the orangey or brown colored sandpaper used in woodworking and furniture refinishing, is a much different product that is NOT a good choice for polymer clay bead making projects.

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The full version of the “Sanding Kit Essentials” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #13 of 39]. In it I explain when to use 120 grit vs when to use 1200 grit, along with all of the grits in between. I discuss where to get the ideal plastic container for using in your sanding kit and why dish soap is important. Finally, I explain the types of materials you can use for buffing your beads. Before you know it, you’ll be making beads that will make you proud.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 28 April, 2008

    If you haven’t yet read my rant about why sanding is such an important part of bead making, then be sure to read this post: Sand Your Polymer Clay Beads Or Else

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Condition Polymer Clay Properly, Using A Pasta Machine

  2. Marsha, 25 July, 2008

    I am looking forward to going to the auto parats store, buying some sand paper and getting to work on some beads I made! With 8mm beads, would you use your hands to roll them on the sand paper? (I haven’t seen your videos yet!) They seem really small for sanding and polishing.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 29 July, 2008

    You can sand beads that small by hand, if you like. You may find it easier to sand them when they’re still on their piercing pins. The up side to the small beads is that you don’t have to be as particular with the sanding because it is harder to see.

    There are some methods for using a rock tumbler to sand small beads but we’ll have to go into that another day.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Slicing Fimo Nail Art Canes | Sculpey Polymer Clay Cake Toppers

  4. Marsha, 29 July, 2008

    Interesting that you mention a rock tumbler. My husband suggested that just the other day! I’d love to hear more about it! Thanks!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 30 July, 2008

    Yeah a rock tumbler can be real handy for polishing polymer clay beads! You can’t use the regular grit though, too hard on the clay. You actually use cut up pieces of sandpaper instead. I am not that thrilled with my results so far though. Not quite as good as hand sanding. When I perfect it, I’ll share it with you all!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Millefiori Beads by Polymer Clay Cane Artist Iris Mishly [Israel]

  6. Achille, 24 November, 2008

    Hi,I have a raycth tumbler,and i have a lot of boulder matrix for polishing.I have tried many different ways to polishing them but the result is not so good,i can’t get the final polish.I have even tried to polishing them with dry sand paper,starting from 200 grit to 3000 grit still can’t get a good finish on them.Do you have any suggestion,any help will be much appreciated..Thank you…Achille

  7. Cindy Lietz, 24 November, 2008

    Hi Achille! I am not familiar with your tumbler. Is it a vibratory one or a rotating drum tumbler? Also what is boulder matrix? Are you using it to polish polymer clay beads with? Or are you trying to polish the boulder matrix? Once I know more I can help you better.

  8. Lisa Whitham, 28 March, 2009

    Do you use a rock tumbler to sand your smaller beads? Harbor Freight has rock tumblers for about $30 and I am seriously thinking about buying one. My questions are: What material do you use in the tumbler? Ripped up wet dry sand paper, sand, or what? How long do you tumble them? If you can’t answer these questions, can you put me in contact with someone who can? Thanks for your help ~Lisa

    P.S. I love your site!!!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 30 March, 2009

    I do use a rock tumbler and $30 sounds like a good deal. There has been a lot of tumbler discussion over at another thread on this blog. Click the link by my name and read the comments for lots of info on this.

  10. Lisa Whitham, 31 March, 2009

    Thanks Cindy!!

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