Creating Your Own Beads for Jewelry Making, Using Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Earrings

It’s “Twice As Awesome” To Be Able To Say You Made The Beads As Well!

On Twitter, there is a huge community of jewelry artisans that have not yet discovered how wonderful it is to make their own beads from polymer clay.

Shocking isn’t it? But true! So I’ve taken it upon myself to start an awareness campaign for identifying the MANY benefits of why it makes sense to make your own jewelry beads (instead of always buying them pre-made).

And who better to ask about this than some of the other jewelry designers on Twitter, that have already been working with polymer clay for a while now. Here’s what Ashlyn Noble had to say…

I got into beading first, which led into my polyclay obsession. While I have a huge, constantly growing stash of beads, sometimes the selection on my favourite sites just doesn’t live up to my imagination.

I’m an avid reader of fantasy novels, and I love creating jewellery based on that in some of my favourite stories. Often polyclay is the best way to accomplish that.

I also enjoy the fact that with clay beads I can make them in any colour imaginable, and so can perfectly match other beads or clothing for example without the guesswork involved with online buying in particular.

For instance, I recently made a necklace out of polyclay mokume gane beads to match a shirt I had no jewellery for. I actually succeeded TOO well, and the necklace kind of blends in against the shirt, woops.

Besides that, making your own beads is just more fun. One of my favourite things about making my own jewellery is when people compliment it, and I can say “I made that!” it’s twice as awesome when I’ve made the beads as well.

~Ashlyn Noble – TWITTER BIO: Nerdy Canadian biology student who reads fantasy novels and makes beaded jewellery in her spare time.

In summary, here’s a condensed bullet list of why Ashlyn makes many of her own jewelry beads from polymer clay:

  • Couldn’t find beads that lived up to her fantasy novel imagination.
  • Finding the perfect color for specific projects was difficult.
  • Frustrated with guesswork of picking colors when shopping online.
  • Twice as awesome to say “I Made it” for the beads too!

What else can you add to this list? Please post your thoughts in the comments section below. Everyone has their own reasons. Let’s hear yours!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Werna Gail Massey, 12 June, 2009

    I, like Ashlyn was making jewelry with beads that I would buy, new and old, sometimes I could not find the size or color that I needed. While checking around on the internet I found your site and some others that helped me get started with polymer clay. I found making my own beads very relaxing and satisfying.I bought some polymer clay how to books,always looking for a new technique to try. My favorite thing is to find some antique beads for inspiration and make my polymer beads to accentuate the others. After giving away several necklaces I decided to try and find avenues for sales.

  2. Arlene Harrison, 12 June, 2009

    I got into beading about the same time that I got into polymer clay – they do tend to go hand-in-hand! I started by making polymer clay pendants then hunting beads to go with them. It didn’t take me too long or very many internet searches to figure out that I could make the beads at the same time that I make the pendant and everything would match. Throw in some contrasting glass beads and the results are amazing. Plus you can have different sizes in the same color… earrings to match… the possibilities are endless! and clicking on to your site (and signing up immediately, I might add) has greatly improved my workmanship!

  3. aims, 12 June, 2009

    I just started beading a couple of months ago – but I knew immediately that I wasn’t happy with what I was making and it was because it just wasn’t me. I wanted beads that ‘said something’ and it was obvious that they weren’t available.

    Flipping through a beading magazine one day I came across a bracelet that a mother and daughter team had made out of mokume gane. It impressed me enough to make me stop and take a closer look. I knew right then and there that I needed to be making my own beads so that I could make my own statement.

  4. Emily G, 14 June, 2009

    LOVE YOUR SITE – I’m just starting my jewelry business and decided after much processing in different directions that I needed more creativity than just stringing pretty beads on wire. I needed creation, ART! It’s so relaxing to do clay and there’s an immediate (12 hours non-stop) gratification about it. Gotta love that. Thanks for making all those mistakes so that I can get to making finished pieces that don’t look like blobs of cooked clay.

  5. Doug Kelly, 15 June, 2009

    We drove about an hour and 15 minutes Sunday to go to Michael’s in Canton, GA. We were looking for our first bit of Findings and thought it would be much easier to see them first hand rather than ordering from the Internet the first time out. Ha!

    What we did find out, relevant to this article, is that good looking jewelry can be made form a mix of store-bought and home made items. Mostly, using our creative instincts to make the main piece and put together the finished piece using a combination.

    That doesn’t mean, for us, every piece, but maybe a lot of them. Pictures soon to come on website.

    We’re loving it.

  6. Cindy Lietz, 20 June, 2009

    @Werna: Love your story! It is exciting to hear about people like you who start out because they can’t find what they need and end up pursuing bead making as a business. Good luck to you. Make sure to stay around and keep us informed on how its going!

    @Arlene: Wonderful! I do the same thing… create a pendant and use the clay to make beads to go with them. You’re right about adding in other types as beads as well. Gives the piece added interest. Thanks for your comment!

    @aims: Making your own beads with polymer clay is a wonderful way to make a statement! You choose the colors, the sizes, the style and the way you put them all together. Way more personal than just picking beads from the store and stringing them. Enjoy the journey. It’s great to have you here!

    @Emily: You are so welcome! You’re right, as you begin to create your art beads with polymer clay, you begin to take it way beyond just baked blobs of clay! I can so relate to the 12 hour non-stop thing. Polymer clay pretty much consumes my life and I love it too!

    @Doug: I am so pleased you guys are loving your new clay adventure! I like to hold things in my hands too as much as possible, so I understand why you drove so far to buy your first supplies. Once you get a feel for what you need and want, you’ll be able to order online a lot easier. You’re right about combining handmade with store bought to come up with a professional looking combination. I like to mix up materials as well, like adding glass, stone and metal beads in with the polymer beads to add interest and texture. Stay involved around the site and lots of great ideas, information and comradery will help you in your venture. Good luck to you as well and keep having fun!

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