Making Jupiter Beads, Faux Raku plus Mod Canes for Fun and Profit

Jupiter Beads by Carrie

Spotlight: “Your selling tips paid off… Now my jewelry will be traveling across the country.”

Well the Spotlight Feature concept has definitely caught on here at the blog. Carrie will be our guest for today. You may already know her as the Sculpey III Chef (smiles) because of some polymer clay color recipes she so graciously offered to share in the July 10, 2009 post. BTW… she just forwarded another batch of recipes that I’ll post as soon as possible.

Anyways, today’s photos were submitted by Carrie. Inspiration for her work, came from these reference links: (1) Jupiter Beads; (2) Faux Raku; (3) Mod Canes; and (4) Selling Handmade Jewelry

This Is What Carrie Had To Say…

RCVD 2009-06-29: Cindy, I am going through reading past blog posts and am stunned by your work. Your pieces look so complicated and professional. I am new to clay but, according to family and friends, seem to have a knack for it. I have made many bracelets and pendants, and have had some success selling at festivals and flea markets. I just feel that my pieces lack some degree of (for lack of a better word) class. If I send you a picture of some pieces would you be willing to give me some feedback? I have always been a crafter and this is the first thing I’ve found that I haven’t gotten bored with in the first couple months. I believe I can get somewhere with it but like many clay artists, need guidance (which you are great at giving).

RCVD 2009-07-13: On the Jupiter beads, one problem I have is that I’ve only been claying for a few months so all my scraps are new and most of them don’t get the cracked look like yours do. So I put them in the freezer for a few minutes! With most of my beads I plan to use them just as focal beads on necklaces. I did make some very small Jupiter beads and will use them on a bracelet! The faux raku was so easy to make! I just love my pearl-ex powders and this was a great project for them. I’m planning on making a heart pendant and using the faux raku technique on it. If it turns out, I’ll be sure to send a pic! Again, thank you for your wonderful lessons and tips!!!

RCVD 2009-07-18: Hello again Cindy! Just wanted to tell you that some of your selling tips paid off for me today! I live in a tiny town in Indiana and one Saturday a month I set up a table at a flea market. Today, two ladies came by and really liked one of my pendants. It is a red 3-D heart with a diagonal row of gold dots around it, and has a small metal charm hung from the bottom. They loved it and each wanted one like it only made with silver dots. So I had them write down their names and addresses for me to ship it to them. I was shocked when I looked at it and found that one of these ladies was from Utah and the other from California! They were in town visiting family and now my jewelry will be traveling across the country!!! I am very excited to get these to them along with some business cards for their friends:) As always, you and your tips are so very appreciated!! Thanks a bunch!


Faux Raku Beads by Carrie Mod Cane Bead Bracelet by Carrie

First of all Carrie, your Jupiter Beads are great! Did that freezing idea work to get the crackle, because I can’t see it from the photo? The problem you had with not having any old crumbly clay for the technique can be easily solved by putting some clay between two sheets of white paper and running it through the pasta machine. This will remove or ‘leach out’ the excess plasticizers and make it stiff. Keep doing it with fresh paper till the clay gets crumbly.

Next, your smooth faux raku beads are awesome! No advice there.

And finally, you asked about advice on making your work more ‘classy’. Classiness comes from doing excellent finishing work and using good quality materials. There should be no fingerprints (unless you add them on purpose); Smooth surfaces should be sanded whenever possible; And if you use finishes or glazes, they need to be applied perfectly with no globs or drips.

To improve your mod beads for example, you could have sanded them with drywall sandpaper, until the surfaces were smooth and the thickness was even. Then continued sanding with a 320 grit, then 400, 600, 800 and 1200 grit until they felt like satin. To get a high shine they would then have been buffed, most likely to the point where no finish was necessary.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes to finish your beads like that. They end up just begging to be touched. Your color choices are excellent and it is obvious that you take great care in your work. Congratulations on the sales of your jewelry pieces… you must feel so proud!

** If you have been inspired by my teachings and would like to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight Article, then please do write up something creative and email it to me along with a selection of your project pics. Make sure to send me high resolution photos that I’ll be able to zoom in on to show the details of your work. If you don’t already have my email address, simply leave a comment below and I will get it to you right away.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Anna Sabina, 23 July, 2009

    Carrie, I really like the raku beads/mod cane square beads. Lovely contrast, love your color choices too.
    When I tried the Jupiter technique I cut up some baked PC. I used my clay blade to shave off the cured clay and crushed it a bit. This worked pretty well, just be sure to smush it enough so it will fit through the extruder disc.

    Cindy, this spotlight feature is a great addition.

  2. Jocelyn, 23 July, 2009

    Carrie, congratulations! You certainly do have the knack with polymer clay! Love your color choices and combinations of materials. It’s always such a thrill to hear of someone selling their artwork for the first time! So happy for you!

  3. Carrie, 23 July, 2009

    Thank you so much! If you love the colors, stay tuned! They are all my own recipes, Cindy has already put up some and more are on the way!

  4. Melinda, 23 July, 2009


    Your work is fabulous! Your colors are beautiful too. It’s so great to see other people’s creations and it’s so uplifting to hear of your selling success! Absolutely fabulous! BTW I love your faux raku, it’s so pretty.

    A suggestion about the crackling effect for the Jupiter beads: I found the effect came out better if I ran the extruded rope of clay through the pasta machine on a fairly thick setting so I get long skinny strips and then wrap those around the ball. If I let the clay rest for a bit before I ran it through the pasta machine, I found that it crackles beautifully and showed the colors underneath. I still find these Jupiter beads fascinating! I love them and I’m trying to find more scrap clay!!!!

    I also had some success this week selling some jewelry. I took some necklaces to work to show one my friends my new beads and I ended up selling two necklaces, a pair of earrings, and I have two orders for necklaces. WOW! What a feeling!

    Thanks Cindy for the wonderful guidance and the fabulous site.

  5. Carrie, 23 July, 2009

    Wow Melinda! Congrats! Sometimes sales happen in odd places! It does feel wonderful! I am addicted to the Jupiter beads as well as the smooth raku. My mother isn’t a die-hard clayer but she fiddles with it with me from time to time and she is addicted to the raku beads! I made some 1/4″ smooth raku cubes and am going to turn them into a bracelet.

  6. Jamie, 24 July, 2009

    Just out of curiosity Carrie? Which clay are you using for your beads? I use Sculpey III almost exclusively for my bead work and never had any issues. I was just wondering if this is what you are using too. And I may have to try some of the techniques mentioned above to attempt the jupiter beads. Because I find that my Sculpey III scraps and old canes dont crumble as much as other clays. Even when really old. Thanks for sharing with all of us. XOXO Jamie

  7. Carrie, 24 July, 2009

    90% of my beads are Sculpey III. The freezer method mentioned above worked pretty well for me. Good luck!

  8. Arlene Harrison, 24 July, 2009

    Carrie – great job on the different styles of beads. The raku is my favorite, although they all are very nice. It is exciting to get those first sales and know that your work is traveling.

    Melinda – you mentioned selling your jewelry at work… I work at a law firm with over 100 “support staff” — most of whom love jewelry. I’ve sold quite a bit just by wearing something new and different. Plus some people just can’t find the right color of earrings to match their new outfit and know that I can pretty much match anything (grin). Those 30 plus years of mixing colors as a decorative painter are paying off! The same rules apply to mixing colors in clay.

    Arlene Harrison Polymer Clay Badge Reel Cover

    For instance today I have on a spring green sweater and I’ve made a cover for my id badge reel (have to have it to get around in the secured building) that has that spring green in it along with some purple, black and white.

    I made this one a couple of weeks ago and have already sold three that are similar designs since. Plus earrings and a bracelet for one customer.

    Christmas is always a good selling opportunity here at work and I keep a few things with me so that if somebody needs a last minute gift, they can come to me. I have always done — even back in the painting days — some sort of a dated Christmas ornament and those sell very well at the office too. Which reminds me, I need to start think about a design for this year….

  9. lynn watts, 24 July, 2009

    Carrie love your beads. Congrats on the sales, thanks for your color recipes, love them. Excited about your next color recipes. I love color and need a brighter color choices. You and Cindy have wonderful color choices. Lynn

  10. Jocelyn, 26 July, 2009

    Arlene, this tip is fabulous and works for me all the time. Have to stop giving it to people who like it and pony-up to the “that will be xx.xx dollars please table soon. LOL!!!

  11. Arlene Harrison, 26 July, 2009

    Jocelyn – I started out just trying to support my clay addiction but now I’m working toward retirement. I’ll turn 60 next year and thanks to the recent financial crisis, my retirement cushion isn’t quite as padded as it was before that. So now I’m looking at growing a business that will help to supplement my retirement. It was a great feeling to sell that first polymer clay piece. I had been painting and selling for years but this was a totally new adventure. But the clay reached out and grabbed me and I get a lot of joy out of creating something really cool! Now all you have to figure out how to do is turn those gift receivers into customers!!!

  12. Jocelyn, 26 July, 2009

    Arlene, I promise you, with your and Cindy’s help I am going to get there!

    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement, it means so much.

  13. Cindy Lietz, 26 July, 2009

    I am so sorry guys that I haven’t been able to pop in more often. Things are moving so fast, I’m unable to keep pace. All good though!

    I love what is happening all over the blog, with supportive comments and the sharing of ideas!

    I am very glad you guys are liking these spotlights. It is so fantastic to finally shine the light on all of you. You are all really talented and you deserve some credit too!

    @Carrie and Arlene: Congrats on the sales! That is a great encouragement to others who have been considering selling their goods.

    @Jocelyn: I know it can be hard to sell when you’re used to giving. Maybe if you quietly mentioned to your friends and relatives that enjoy your jewelry, that you’re thinking of starting to sell your jewelry, they should think of you next time they need to buy a gift. Another thing I do is put price tags on my finished pieces. And then when your friends are looking through your most recent pieces they will see it is for sale.

  14. Jocelyn, 27 July, 2009

    Cindy, excellent advice, as usual. I am already printing off little sheets of paper with a price tag like appearance and investigating ways to stick it removably on an object. This is such fun! Twenty damn dollars. I think I like it…..

  15. Carrie, 27 July, 2009

    One selling tip I can give is to ask friends and family to wear the pieces you make. I recently had business cards printed and gave several to my aunts, and just asked that they choose one of my pieces that they like and wear it around sometimes and hand out business cards to those who comment. Not only do I have many business cards circulating, my aunts ended up buying several of my items for themselves and as gifts for coworkers! Of course, I give them discounts for their advertising efforts!

  16. Cindy Lietz, 28 July, 2009

    @Jocelyn: You can attach little strings to your tags and tie them on to your items. The link by my name will show you some of those.

    @Carrie: Fantastic idea! Sell by giving away… brilliant!

  17. Bette, 20 August, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    I love the Jupiter beads that I have made. Everyone showing them on your site have been making beautiful Jupiter beads too. It makes me want to make more!
    I hope it is OK to mention another site. I just came across a French gal, Danym (Fimoti-Fimota),, who is making “Jupiter” beads for her jewelry. This site is compliments of Polymer Clay Daily blog by Cynthia Tinapple. I found it very inspiring to see her lovely jewelry and I thought I would pass it on.
    I used to wonder “how do they make that?”, now thanks to you, Cindy, I know how to make them and can make beautiful beads myself!

  18. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2009

    Thank you Bette for your comment! Danym makes some wonderful Jupiter Beads, doesn’t she?! I like her cone shaped version. That is very clever! I like her rustic approach to all her beads and the way she puts her pieces together.

    I am very pleased to hear I was able to take the mystery out of that technique for you and you are now making some beautiful beads too!! Most things in polymer clay are really not that hard. They just need to be broken down into simple easy to understand steps.

  19. Phaedrakat, 16 February, 2010

    This is a wonderful post & spotlight, with lots of info & photos! I hope others come back and give this a read. I’m feeling inspired…!

  20. Cara, 14 March, 2010

    Having only found this blog a few months ago there is a lot of catching up to do. There is so much great information from both Cindy herself and all the other contributors I am trying to work my way through so I don’t miss any. Wonder how long it will take me?

  21. Phaedrakat, 14 March, 2010

    @Cara: Probably a long time ;-) I’m going through them, too. I need a better approach, though. I’m not being very systematic about it; so it’s taking me even longer! There are some really good posts – that makes it totally worth the effort~

Copyright © Polymer Clay Tutor Bead and Jewelry Making Tutorials