Making Polymer Clay Beads | The Uniquely Shaped Mobius Jewelry Bead

Polymer Clay Mobius Bead

A Bead Shape With Roots Dating All The Way Back to 1858:

Here is a unique bead shape you may or may not have seen before… the mobius bead. Made from a slice of a square polymer clay cane, the mobius bead in this photo was formed and baked onto a long glass bugle bead as the center spindle.

The mobius bead shape is named after the mobius strip… you know that loop of paper you made back in Math class with the twist in it. The one where if an ant were to crawl along the strips’ surface, it would cover the entire length of the loop, both sides, and return to where it started. All without ever crossing over an edge? Yeah that’s the one!

HISTORICAL TIDBIT: The Mobius strip was named after a mathematician and astronomer by the name of August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868). He came up with the concept in September 1858. Coincidentally in July 1858, the German mathematician Johann Benedict Listing (1808-1882) devised the very same object in July 1858. Apparently, these two fellows had never met prior. Some historians argue that the Mobius shape should be referenced using both names, Mobius-Listing. But unfortunately it looks like poor old Johann got left out of the loop :(

Anyway… although it’s not an exact representation of a continuous mobius band, the mobius bead kind of has that look to it. So this is probably how it got its name. I’m not positive, but I think Mike Beusseler (clay guru) was one of the first ones to make this bead shape from polymer clay.

What makes my mobius bead design unique compared to others I’ve seen, is the addition of the center bugle bead piece. It serves as the hole for stringing your beading wire through, and also adds a great deal of strength.

You can make these mobius beads using a fairly thick and very even slice from a polymer clay cane. The cane needs to be quite a soft and flexible, otherwise it will crack under the strain of bending it.

Opposite corners are then drawn toward each other until they touch. Two going one way and two going the other.

This has to be done slowly and carefully. Both sides at the same time using your thumbs and forefingers from both hands. Kind of a slow pinching motion.

When creating a mobius bead over a glass bugle bead, you pierce the center of the cane slice before bending. You then push your bugle bead through the hole in the center of the cane slice and bend the corners up towards the bugle bead. This way the hole in the bugle bead serves as your hole for your mobius bead and there is no need to pierce it further.

When making a mobius bead without a bugle bead center, you can pierce it after you made it or build it on a piercing wire. Just give the wire a twist before you bake it so you can easily remove it from the wire.

They look fabulous in many jewelry projects, and are great beads for making earrings. So try out this Mobius Bead shape and let me know what you think.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Anna Sabina, 18 January, 2009

    I have made some of these beads and they are really pretty. It is nice to have a variety if bead shapes to work with. You did a great job writing a description of how to do the folding. I encourage others to try these beads because they are really easy to make. but they are really easy to make too. I did not pierce a hole in mine. I ran the beading wire through one of the openings formed by the mobius band: I alternated between round and mobius beads. This causes the bead to be more elongated on the wire. I love the bugle bead idea because it give the bead a much different look.

    Wanted to mention that you close up photos are much easier to see. Thanks for making that change.

  2. Keri Lee Sereika, 18 January, 2009

    Wow very cool! I love that unique look!

  3. Dora, 18 January, 2009

    I love mobius beads ! Mike Buesseler first introduced these in a magazine article (can’t remember which one, Jewelry Crafts or Bead and Button??) I really like the tip about using a bugle bead for the center, I’ll have to try that.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2009

    @Anna: Thanks! You’re right, mobius beads do look great if strung through one of the loops! I forgot to mention that so thanks for reminding me!

    @Keri: Glad you like it!

    @Dora: Thanks! I thought it was Mike that introduced the shape. (Man with so much stuff flying around the net it is getting almost impossible to give proper credit anymore!) Glad you like the bugle bead tip. I think I came up with that, but you never know… someone may have tried it before me!

  5. Lupe Meter, 23 January, 2009

    Awesome beads! I will have to try making these. I am always looking ways to make different shaped beads and pendants. I also like the use of the bugle beads for the center.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 23 January, 2009

    Thanks Lupe!

  7. Marge Poc, 04 March, 2010

    Is there any chance that you could make a video of this process? I just cannot imagine the process. If you make a video, would you send me a link to the video? Thank you in advance for your help.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 04 March, 2010

    Hi Marge,

    Welcome to the blog. Your wish is my command :-) I’ve already created a tutorial video on how to make these very cool mobius beads. It is included in the Volume-009 Back Issue Package (See link by my name).

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