New Polymer Clay Tutorials Promise to Solve Bead Making Challenges

Polymer Clay Challenges and Problems

Having Problems With Making Beads? The Polymer Clay Tutor Can Help:

If you didn’t already know, I published a post just a few days ago asking for all of you to let me know what your biggest challenges are with polymer clay and bead making. Well there was a flood of responses… 126 so far as I write this. Thanks so much for all your fantastic comments!! The feedback really helps me to put together future videos and tutorials that I know are going to be most useful for YOU!

Here’s a link to that “survey post” if you have not read it yet: Polymer Clay Color Recipe Cards [be sure to check out the free giveaway offer over there… everyone wins].

Since there were so many comments, I am not able to repond to everyone individually as I normally do in other posts. Instead, I’m going to create a series of follow up articles to address everything. I’ll start off by creating a list of bullets of the main problem areas that you all have identified:

  • Time to experiment and learn
  • Overwhelm… don’t know where to start
  • Lack of confidence and fear of mistakes
  • Organization and lack of workspace
  • Color mixing… tons of you had this problem
  • Coordinating colors
  • Hands too warm and clay gets sticky
  • Problems slicing canes thin and even
  • Over mixing marbled clays
  • Making muddy colors
  • How to use liquid clay
  • Sanding, buffing and polishing
  • Reducing clay canes
  • How to make jewelry with the beads
  • Putting holes in beads that line up
  • Minimizing distortion of the beads when piercing them
  • Flower canes distorting, petals square up or twist
  • Complex canes, losing details and colors visually blending
  • Skinner blend problems
    Making Skinner blends without a pasta machine
  • Arthritis and wrist pain
  • Uniformity, same sized beads
  • Money for supplies
  • End product not professional enough
  • Books and info out there missing critical steps
  • Cleaning a pasta machine
  • Photo image transfer problems
  • Baking Problems, burning, cracking, bubbles
  • Wanting things to look perfect right away
  • Products not available in every country
  • Which adhesives to use for what
  • Bead shapes that look good in jewelry
  • Rolling round beads
  • Problems finishing projects
  • Friends and family don’t understand the addiction
  • Mica Shift technique eludes many
  • Lentil beads bulging
  • Sanding small beads
  • Removing seams with roller without distortion
  • Kaleidoscope canes
  • Sculpting people and animals
  • Finding the supplies
  • Using a rock tumbler to polish beads
  • Sketching cane ideas
  • Mokume Gane technique
  • Making heart shaped beads and pendants
  • Making designs that are actually wearable with your clothes
  • Using up too much clay in big canes
  • Canes look good big, but bad when reduced
  • Too much wasted clay
  • What to do with scrap clay
  • Which brands of clay to use for what
  • How to make earring and necklace connections with wire
  • How long to bake different sized beads
  • Alternatives to the commercial bead rack
  • Making larger pieces stable and durable
  • Face canes that aren’t distorted
  • Sourcing pasta machines
  • Getting the look of matte finished glass
  • Applying color to polymer clay with paints and powders
  • Making canes that will reduce to nail art size
  • Rose canes that look like roses
  • How to make focal beads
  • How to attach findings to beads and pendants
  • Making pendants
  • Using pigment powders
  • Finding the right sandpaper
  • Making bead caps and bails with polymer clay
  • And last but not least, several of you said, “Everything is a challenge!” :-)

Did I get everything? If you feel I missed or misinterpreted something, let me know below in the comments section.

By the way, many of the topics listed above have been addressed in articles that I’ve already published here at the blog. If you want some tips on how to quickly find answers to some of your questions and problems, here’s a good place to start: 5 Tips For Finding Polymer Clay Instructions and Info At This Blog

Other more detailed answers are covered in my polymer clay basics course. AND... you can look forward to many more articles, video tutorials, and courses to address problem areas that I’ve not yet touched on. So hold on to your clay… there’s lots of good things coming your way!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Pamela C, 23 October, 2008

    I do declare!!! I think you got it absolutely right!!!!

    I am so excited and can’t wait for all the new goodies coming our way!!!

    Take a few moments and give your hubby a great big ole hug for all the work he does for helping you and us….like staying home from the bead show and working on the tutorials….what a guy….:0)


  2. Cindy Lietz, 23 October, 2008

    I will hug him Pamela! He is working so hard to get everything ready for everyone. He is behind the scenes and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. I am very grateful for Doug. Thanks for noticing!

  3. Kathy Bloom, 15 January, 2011

    I have arthritis in both of my hands and wrists and have recently bought a motor to help condition my clay. Right now I have Kato Clay which, I have discovered, is one of the hardest to work with, but I have so much of it I don’t want to buy new product until I have used up my current stash. Does anyone have tips for exercises or tips that would help keep my hands from getting too tired when I’m working with clay?

  4. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2011

    @Kathy Bloom: That is a pretty common problem for many clayers, Kathy. In fact there are several polymer clay artists on this site who have Arthritis, so there have been several articles and comments made in regards to hand mobility issues. I’ve linked to one of them by my name above.

    Now the best way to get answers to your questions about Arthritis and Conditioning clay… in case you did not know, there is a search box at the top of the page that is really helpful in being able to find quick answers to many of your polymer clay questions. Most topics have been discussed multiple times amongst the community members here. Be sure to scan through the comments below each of the articles for tons of helpful advice. And when you come across a particularly long comment thread, the “CTRL-F” feature in your web browser is very useful for easily jumping to specific keywords on the page.

    By following this advice, you can usually find some valuable feedback quite quickly. But if not, just post another comment and someone will respond as soon as possible.

  5. Kathy Bloom, 20 January, 2011

    Thank you.

  6. Veronica Miller, 06 January, 2012

    How do you make square edges really square? Mine are always pretty bad when I’m through with them.
    Great Website!

  7. Cindy Lietz, 24 January, 2012

    Thanks Veronica! There are a couple of ways to get ‘really square’ edges on your beads. First is to try and press the edges square with a flat sheet of acrylic, a smooth tile or a piece of thick glass. Another way, is to sand them square after they are baked, with a piece of 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper or a 200 grit drywall mesh, or even a power sander. Doing both methods, will make for really square beads. Hope that helps.

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