Using a Polymer Clay Bead Instead of a Standard Jewelry Slip Knot

Faux Pebble Bead Slip Knot

“This type of closure is a very nice way to finish off men’s jewelry.” ~Cindy

Here is a simple and easy way to create an adjustable finding for your polymer clay jewelry… Use a polymer clay bead instead of a slip knot.

Slip knots are a special knot used in hemp jewelry and macramé tying that can be placed on a necklace or bracelet so that it can be adjusted to any size, just by pulling the ends of the cords.

The same thing can be created by drilling a large enough hole in your polymer bead so that two thickness’ of your cord may pass through it. One cord going through one direction and the other cord going thorough the other. By passing in the center.

Knots are then tied on each end of the cord so they can’t be pulled back through the bead. The necklace or bracelet can then be adjusted by simply pulling on the two ends at the same time (see photo).

This type of closure is a very nice way to finish off men’s jewelry or pieces which have a more rustic or organic look, because it is less fussy than other types of findings. It is also effective where you may want to wear a necklace at a few different lengths for a variety of looks.

The bead slip knot in the photo above, was made with using a faux stone polymer clay technique. For more info, click here: Faux Pebble Beads Tutorial

If you know of other unique ways to to use polymer clay beads as closures, please do share your ideas below.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Melinda, 20 August, 2009

    I like using that closure. In fact, I just used it yesterday on my new creation yesterday.

  2. Sherry W, 20 August, 2009

    I have about ten necklaces that this would work great on. I have had them for a while and could never figure out what to use for the findings. This is perfect. Thanks Cindy!

  3. Silverleaf, 20 August, 2009

    I’ve tried this before but struggled to work out the correct diameter for the hole in the bead. It needs to be big enough to accommodate the double cord, but not so big that the cords move easily, i.e. so that friction holds the cord in place once you’ve adjusted it. I found getting the cord through tricky too.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 20 August, 2009

    Thanks guys for the comments!

    @Silverleaf: Using a flat cord or lacing like I did in the photo can help. It’s wide enough to grab and not slip, but because it is flat, the two ends can bypass each other easier. Also having a set of drill bits in lots of sizes help. You can just drill out the hole bigger if you need it.

  5. Arlene Harrison, 20 August, 2009

    I’ve been using this type of closure on my id badge reel cover sets for a couple of years now and LOVE it. I do have a method worked out that is perfect for what I do using a set of incrementally increasing drill bits. I bake either on a bead piercing needle or a small knitting needle, then start with the smallest drill bit and work my way up to the one that I know works perfectly for the 2mm silk cord that I use for these id badge covers.

    To make it easier to thread the silk cord through the holes, I dip the ends in white glue and let it dry then cut at a sharp diagonal to make a point.

  6. Catalina, 20 August, 2009

    Arlene said what I was thinking! I haven’t been brave enough to try to drill a hole but the knitting needle idea sounds safer. (Yes, I’m a chicken!!)

  7. PLaneFancies, 20 August, 2009

    I was lucky enough to find some cord that was almost exactly the size of a bamboo skewer, so I used the skewer to make holes before I baked the beads. I made 2 beads with 2 holes in each. Then I ran the ends of of the cord through both beads. I knotted one end on one bead and the other end on the opposite bead. Then I could pull the beads in opposite directions to shorten the necklace or pull them back toward each other to lengthen it. Does that make any sense? It’s hard to envision without pictures, but I gave the necklace to my daughter and don’t have a photo.

  8. Freda, 20 August, 2009

    I think this is a great idea, but when I tried it, I made the hole small so the cord wouldn’t slip. I had a very difficult time getting both cords through because the hole was so small. When I wore it, however, they slipped to the ends instead of staying short like I wanted the necklace. I haven’t tried a flat cord yet, so maybe that will work.

  9. Robin Schar, 20 August, 2009

    What a wonderful blog, how did I miss this one? Great idea on the bead slip knot Cindy, it would have been prefect for a domino necklace I made a few months back. Great stuff, you have a new subscriber.

    Robin in Las Vegas

  10. Arlene Harrison, 20 August, 2009

    Freda – One way to solve the problem of it not staying at the length you want is just to do half of a square knot at the bead on the back. It creates just enough tension to hold it in place unless your hole is way too big. I do this with my id badge reel covers when I need to adjust the length.

  11. Polyanya, 21 August, 2009

    Great idea, thank you!

  12. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2009

    @Arlene: That’s so funny, was going to add another comment with your exact info, but you beat me to it! Thanks! Can’t always get here fast enough. It’s great when you can help out like that!

    @Catalina: You don’t have to use power to drill your beads. Just bake a handle onto the drill bits and do it by hand. Way less scary that way!

    @PLaneFancies: That totally makes sense. Good idea!

    @Freda: Some types of cord slip easier than others. Real leather, faux suede, rubber etc work pretty good. Silk may be too slippery in some cases.

    @Robin in Las Vegas: Hi! Welcome to the blog! There is lots of cool clay info here. Click the Home link at the top of the page and scroll through the photos to see all the polymer clay articles. There’s a “Next Page” link at the bottom of the blog home page (and at bottom of each successive page) to see more and more and more photos :) Ask questions in the posts and interact with the others here. Everyone is very supportive!

    @Polyanya: Thanks for popping by!

  13. Carolyn Good, 24 August, 2009

    I’ve been doing much the same thing for a bit now but I also sometimes thread the cords the same direction (instead of opposite) through the bead at the back of the neck and then the bead cinches up or down in the back of the neck.

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