Making Lentil Bead Holes Using Piercing Wire and a Gentle Touch

Piercing Your Lentil Beads

Vid #50: Using Piercing Wire to Make Lentil Bead Holes:

After you have formed or rolled your polymer clay lentil beads, let them sit for a while before piercing the holes through them. The rolling process warms up the unbaked clay, making it soft and easily distorted. So you need to let the beads cool down and firm up a bit before poking at them with your piercing wire. A half hour “time-out” is usually good.

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The full version of the Lentil Beads preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-001 Back Issue Package.

In this “Piercing Your Lentil Beads” video tutorial I discuss how piercing a hole in a lentil bead has its own unique challenges due to the unique shape of the bead. I also show you how to gently hold the bead in order to minimize distortion…. and how to make sure that your bead holes pierce through the beads exactly where you want them to.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 09 April, 2008

    In this video I also discuss the importance of using corn starch to help avoid leaving your finger prints on the unbaked clay.

    For more about how to make lentil beads, watch:
    Polymer Clay Lentil Beads – Making Them Can Be Very Addictive
    Lentil Beads From Scrap Polymer Clay will Surprise You Every Time

    Cindy’s last blog post..Making Polymer Clay Canes with the Checkerboard Cane Pattern

  2. BEV, 09 August, 2008

    Great video, Cindy! What, specifically is the piercing wire and where can it be obtained? Thanks!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 09 August, 2008

    Hi Bev! The piercing wire is a sharp metal wire that comes with the Amaco Bead Baking Rack. I love this rack because it is small but still holds a lot of beads. I find it is the most convenient way to bake beads. Alternatively you can use a needle, bamboo skewer, toothpick or knitting needle. Especially make sure to coat anything that’s made out of wood, with cornstarch to help prevent it from sticking to the clay.

  4. Cindy Erickson, 09 August, 2008

    Hi Cindy,

    As always, your video has put a smile on my face (I was having a not-so-good day and I really needed a smile put on my face), and another tool in my Polymer Clay Ability Bag. Thank you so much for both :)

    I always wondered how to get the hole to come out the other side of an odd shaped bead such as the Lentil Bead, and not have it be completely off kilter! Going in from the other side after you have barely pierced through it makes sense! Of course, I would not have thought of it on my own, and that is why you, Cindy, are the Queen of Clay! Thank you for sharing, and also about reinforcing how important the use of cornstarch can be in so many ways. Thanks also for making my day a bit brighter with your complimentary video. :)

    Warmly, Cindy Erickson

  5. Pamela Reader, 09 August, 2008

    well, that was great. If you screw it up, is there anyway to save it? I have trouble with accuracy and it seems as if the piercing is always off. Does the accuracy just come with experience? Thanks for sharing the tip about going through both sides. I’ll try that next week, need to make some beads. I love these videos. My husband just walked through and said, “Oh, an in-service!”

  6. Cindy Lietz, 09 August, 2008

    @Cindy: Oh you are so sweet! Sorry to hear about your day. Maybe a little clay time will help as well!

    @Pamela: If you do ‘screw it up’ just give the bead a quick swirl again and the hole should disappear. Then try again. Practice does help. But you will find if you look straight down from the top of your bead it will go in straighter. If you are looking more from the front, the pin can go in at an angle. Once it goes in funny it’s hard to straighten back out. Also make sure the pin is straight in the first place. A crooked pin will never make a straight hole.

    Cindy’s last post..Fimo Nail Art Designs – Making Polymer Clay Canes To Fit Fingernails

  7. Cindy Lietz, 09 August, 2008

    Thank you so, so much Janet! You are so right about loving to get comments. So much time and energy is put into the videos, the blog and the courses. It is really important to know if I’m on the right track and if what I’m doing is helping people at all.

    Comments like yours, make the world of difference and I thank you and everyone who has commented here, with all my heart!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post is about..Fimo Nail Art Designs

  8. Ed, 09 August, 2008

    I do my lentil beads just like your video with one small difference. After I get the needle started I lay the bead in the palm of my left hand ( I’m right handed). Cup that hand slightly. This way I can still feel the needle when it gets close to the edge and I don’t have the danger of mashing the bead. Just like yours when I see the point of the needle I back out, turn the bead around and place it back in the palm of my left hand and finish the hole.

  9. Janet Allen, 09 August, 2008

    I love your videos Cindy. You probably don’t hear that enough. I used to send out Microsoft Office tips every month and I would get maybe one comment every 4 months. I would hear from the same people all the time. It would have been nice to know if people liked or used the tips. I’m sure I will be using yours. Thanks.
    Janet in Visalia, CA

  10. Maria, 09 August, 2008

    Cindy, I see you use the needles that come w/ the baking rack. I use them also but then find the holes too small for my beading cord. Do you recommend drilling after baking to enlarge the holes and what kind of drill (type of Dremel?) do you use.

    Thanks again for another very informative lesson. I have promised two lentil bead necklaces to friends but have been stymied by misshapen beads from hole making. Using cornstarch is something I must try to do now. It doesn’t cause the bead to lose its brightness, no ?

  11. Cindy Lietz, 09 August, 2008

    @Ed: Thank you so much for sharing your technique. It’s really helpful for everyone hear to also to hear about other methods and ideas. Keep them coming!

    @Maria: Thanks for your great comment too! I do recommend you drill the bead again after baking if you want the hole bigger. If you try to do it before, you risk ruining the shape of the bead when its a more complicated shape like the lentil is.

    I don’t like to drill lentils freehand with my Dremel because it is too easy to slip and hurt yourself. So I drill by hand. I use regular drill bits for enlarging holes. Read this post for more info: Bead Hole Drilling

    There are also a few videos in my bead basics course that about how to drill holes in beads and about tools you can make for drilling bead holes.

    Now about the cornstarch… no it does not dull the bead. If there’s any left on the bead after baking, sanding will easily gets rid of it.

    Cindy last post..Cool Polymer Clay Tutorial – A Fimo and Sculpey Cane Making Tip

  12. Sue, 09 August, 2008

    Cindy,

    Once again you target a small detail that the books totally overlook – by breaking tasks down into tiny steps, you increase my chances of success everytime! Thanks!

  13. Keri Lee Sereika, 10 August, 2008

    Wow Cindy you make it look so simple! Thanks for the tips on the cornstarch! I have never heard of that one!

  14. Kim C., 10 August, 2008

    Thank you sooo much for that! I have the worst time trying to pierce my beads. I think the cornstarch and the waiting until they’ve sat a while is really going to help! Kim…Great Polymer Clay Videos

  15. Cindy Lietz, 10 August, 2008

    @Sue: Thank You!! I try very hard to do just that!

    @Keri Lee: You’re welcome! I always have a dish of cornstarch in my studio. It’s so handy! The fact that it’s a food safe product also makes me feel good that I’m not having to be work with toxic stuff.

    @Kim: You are very welcome!! I went to your blog and saw the kind words you posted about my videos… thank you very much! I really appreciate it!

    Cindy’s last post..Cool Polymer Clay Tutorial – A Fimo and Sculpey Cane Making Tip

  16. Sandy, 10 August, 2008

    Nicely done Cindy – and how appropriate since I’ve got some lentil beads that I’ve been playing with. I’ll have to try your technique on the piercing.

    Do you have a video on how to get the wonderful lentil spirals? I’m a bumbler when it comes to those.

    I love your videos.

  17. Marianne Huber, 10 August, 2008

    We’ve been away so I just got to view this video and read all the comments.
    What is great about that is that others have already asked the questions I had come to mind as I watched the video. How cool is that.
    I did manage to get to a craft store and get the plastic stamp holder someone mentioned in a different blog to help make the bead (haven’t used it yet, but did get it).
    Thank you for the video.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 10 August, 2008

    @Sandy: Thank you, it is always lovely to get comments from you! There is a video on making the swirls that has already been aired in the video newsletter. There will be a way to get all the ‘back issues’ of the video library soon. Look for announcements on that this Fall.

    In the meantime you can type ‘lentil bead’ into the search box under my picture at the top of this blog, to get several articles on the topic. Hope that helps!

    @Marianne: It is cool all your questions were answered! I’ve never heard about using a plastic stamp holder for making beads. Do tell more!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Cool Polymer Clay Tutorial – A Fimo and Sculpey Cane Making Tip

  19. LisaG, 11 August, 2008

    The one time I tried to put a hole in a bead.. it was a disaster…. never thought about cornstarch and twisting the bead hole thingy….
    Thanks for a great lesson.

  20. Kimberlee, 11 August, 2008

    What a great way to hold the bead while piercing through the side! Actually I had never thought to pierce through the side.

    I use the tri-bead roller to make much smaller lentil-shape beads, and then here’s the trick I use for piercing through the middle (point to point). I gently cup my hand and place the lentil gently in the dip between my index and middle fingers right at the “webbing” of my hand with the point of the bead nestled in the crevice. Then I pierce slowly (twisting) straight down through from the top point to the other side. Actually I use this method for most of my round beads, too. I find that it helps my aim to know that I am aiming for right between my fingers. I have yet to stick myself very hard!

    Thanks for another great video! I love that they are short and attack a very specific little thing that comes up while working! Thanks again and thanks for keeping this site free!

  21. Marianne Huber, 11 August, 2008

    Maybe I didn’t call it by it’s correct name. I am not a stamper so I wasn’t sure what the piece is called. It’s a piece of plastic that you attach the clear stamps to.
    It is found in the $1 bin at JoAnne’s. The idea is that it is smaller and easier to handle than a larger piece of plastic. I thought I read it on your website, but in a different blog, which of course I can’t remember. Seems like I read one blog and then go to another from the first one and then go to two from the second one and just keep going and going like the Duracell bunny.

  22. Brenda Estes, 11 August, 2008

    Love your video on piercing lentil beads. I never thought about the corn starch but that is great! No finger prints. I noticed that the longer I work with a bead the warmer my hands get and the bead becomes so soft. I also liked the idea of let the bead set up for a little to harden. I hadn’t thought of that. So thanks for the video. I love watching them.

  23. Cindy Lietz, 11 August, 2008

    @LisaG: You’re welcome Lisa! Let me know if you need any more help.

    @Kimberlee: Thanks for sharing your great tip! I bet it works well, will have to try it. Also a big thank you for your comments on the free videos! I try hard to make them useful and to the point.

    If you think the free videos are good, you should see the ones in the courses! The stuff I show you in the newsletter is ‘nice to know’ stuff… the info in the course videos is ‘need to know’ stuff! What you learn in the basics course will make a huge difference to your bead making expertise!

    @Marianne: Now I know what you are talking about! That is called an acrylic block. Rubber stampers use them to stick their clear stamps to. I have one of those and they work really well for rolling lentil beads! I’m glad we got that figured out! Thank you!

    @Brenda: Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad that the videos are helpful for you!!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Make Polymer Clay Bathroom Knobs | Glass Beads | Clay Color Mixing

  24. Cindy Lietz, 25 September, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some project pictures have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Monica Daris, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Clay Lentil Beads” link by my name above to have a look.

  25. Darlene, 03 November, 2009

    HI Cindy, I followed the advice in your video about piercing holes, and it helps. There does seem to be a learning curve, though. Out of 10 beads, I managed to mess up five. Sigh. I think I’ll try making up a bunch of beads just to practice on. I WILL learn how to do this! Making the lentil beads is easy, though, after watching your video! I love how they look!

  26. Cindy Lietz, 12 November, 2009

    Yeah it is a bit of a learning curve alright! One tip is to make sure the pin you are using to pierce the bead is perfectly straight. Even a slight bend will make the hole go in crooked. Thanks for your comments Darlene!

  27. Petrina Battaglia, 10 September, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    I enjoyed the lentil videos very much. I was looking forward to seeing you make the hole from point to point, which you said would show. Is there a way you could show it on your YouTube channel. I would like to see it in action, if possible. Thanks for your help.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 16 September, 2015

    Thank you Petrina, I have added your suggestion to my list of future videos. (I have bumped it up so it isn’t at the end of the list so you should be able to see one in the next few weeks, anyway.) Bead holes can be a little tricky, especially on lentil beads, so the more videos we have on the subject the better. :)

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