The Polymer Clay Dremel Tool Makes Buffing Beads Fun

Polymer Clay Dremel Tool

Vid #66: Ladies, there’s a reason whey guys love power tools:

A perfect polymer clay tool for buffing, drilling, carving and a variety of other uses, is the Dremel rotary tool. Of course any brand of rotary tool would work for polymer clay but the Dremel is widely known and that is the brand I have.

I use mine mostly for buffing with a cloth buffing wheel, but also use it for the other techniques listed as well. Because it’s powered, it is so much more efficient than hand buffing and gives your bead a beautiful shine.

As with any power tools, you do need to use caution and follow the safety guidelines given with the machine.

Safety glasses are a must. The Dremel spins at very high RPM (revolutions per minute). My Multi-Pro model is rated to go from 5,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM. That’s a lot of turns per minute! It means a bead that you accidentally let go of, could shoot towards you super fast. Lack of eye protection could mean some serious damage! So be careful.

Also, tie back loose hair or clothing. If your hair gets caught in something turning that fast, not only could the machine come and whack you in the head, but big chunks of hair will get pulled out, right quick! Graphic enough for you? I don’t want you to be scared, I just want you to be safe.

Once you get to know and respect the power of the Dremel, it could very well become one of your favorite polymer clay tools! If you were to talk with any of the polymer clay gurus out there, you would find that a really large proportion of them buff their polymer clay beads with either a Dremel Rotary Tool or a larger bench buffer/grinder. It is just way more efficient and effective in most cases than buffing and polishing by hand.

Ladies, there’s a reason why guys LOVE power tools so much… they get things done and they get done fast! So if you don’t have a polymer clay dremel yet, my recommendation would be to get one asap.

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The full version of the Dremel Intro preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-004 Back Issue Package.

In this “Dremel Tool Introduction” video tutorial I show you some techniques on how to use this versatile Dremel Rotary Tool for your polymer clay bead making projects.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 05 June, 2008

    Consider getting a vice for holding the Dremel so that you have both hands free while buffing. It makes it a lot easier to hold a bead that is strung on a wire if you have both hands available.

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Adding Polymer Clay Cane Slices to Lentil Beads

  2. Donna, 04 July, 2008

    Cindy, I have a Craftsman (Sears) “Dremel” and I also purchased one recently at Harbor Freight tools. The new one was very INEXPENSIVE! However, it is by far my new favorite! It is cordless, has a long tube like extension, has all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that are awesome for clay! AND, I purchased the acrylic nail type sanders and buffers that attach to the “Dremel” at Sally Beauty Supply. They work perfect on small items, such as pendants. Your site is awesome!

  3. Natalie H, 20 September, 2011

    You mentioned that you bought some sanders and buffers at Sally Beauty Supply. I have that store near me..Which ones did you buy and how did they work out.Did you use them instead of the micro mesh sanding squares?

  4. Cindy Lietz, 06 July, 2008

    Thanks for the tips Donna! I had no idea about the nail sanders! I’ll have to go check those out! I have been learning so much new stuff about the nail art business lately since I found out you could put Fimo canes slices on nails! Did you know about that? Here is a post I wrote about Fimo Nail Art.

  5. Sue, 18 July, 2008

    A new use for my dremel – who would have thunk?

  6. Kim C., 19 July, 2008

    Nail Sanders! What a cool idea. Got to check into that!

  7. Cindy Lietz, 19 July, 2008

    @Sue: Thanks for your comment! Yeah those darn Dremels can be used for just about anything!

    @Kim C: I know!! I’ve still got to check into those nail sanders myself!

    Cindy’s last blog post..Making Leaf Bead Jewelry using Polymer Clay Cane Designs

  8. denby, 06 September, 2008

    I am looking forward to see just how you work with the dremel.

  9. Debbie McLelland, 07 September, 2008

    Oops, I just tried to leave a comment and I hit the wrong button or something. Anyway, could you check to see if I have signed up correctly on your quest list? Everytime I try to view any of your past videos from your newsletter library, they come on but still cut off after only a few seconds.

    Also, thank you so much for helping me decide what Pasta Machine and Oven to purchase. I have found further information as well and will compile it and get it to you later. Thanks so much for you site, what a sweet thing to do for all of us!

  10. Cindy Lietz, 07 September, 2008

    Hi Debbie,

    I checked to make sure that you are on the Guest List and you are :)

    The videos you are trying to watch on this blog are only preview clips. They are actually supposed to cut off in order to encourage everyone to get on the Guest List. The full tutorial videos are sent out once per week via email.

    Guest List subscribers receive new videos from the date they join, but not past-videos that were already sent out.

    But don’t worry, I’ll soon have a way for you to access the archives with some new membership software that is being installed as we speak.

    Glad the pasta machine and oven purchasing tips were helpful. Would love for you to post the “further information” you refer to. That kind of input is really helpful for everyone who reads this blog. It would probably be best to post your findings over at the Sept 5 article where the pasta machines and ovens were discussed.

  11. Cindy Erickson, 07 September, 2008

    Thanks for the video. Can’t wait to see the next one!!! I am so glad to have my Dremel!

    Cindy E.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 07 September, 2008

    You are very welcome CindyE.

    By the way, I just wanted to let everyone know that most of the feedback about this week’s Guest List Dremel Tool Video, is getting posted over at the Sept 6, 2008 Polymer Clay Survey page. The above link beside my name will take you to those comments. And be sure to click on one of the survey choices when you are over there. Thanks so much.

  13. Andrea, 08 September, 2008

    My christmas list is expanding, I now put everything I would like in a book & whenever my husband sees it on the table his eyes roll & makes a very strange sound {somthing like – “Oh no,more overtime”]
    Great tip for the nail buffers,I personaly don’t like to use a drill for nails but a friend dose so I’ll ask her to get some attachments for me.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 08 September, 2008

    Hehehe… That is funny Andrea… I can just picture him! Well you are just going to have to get real good at making beads so you can sell them and your poor husband won’t have to get ‘grumpy’ about your hobby anymore! ;-)

  15. Jerónimo, 08 September, 2008

    This week, I don’t like very much the video, because I prefer see a example directly aplicated to polymer clay. I know the dremel tool and how to use it, but I will like to learn what kind of things we can to do in the polymer clay whit the dremel tool.
    I hope you understand me.
    Two Kiss for you from Spain.

  16. Debbie McLelland, 08 September, 2008

    Sorry to hear Jeronimo from Spain was a little disappointed with your last clip. I understand his point, but it was helpful for many of us. Personally, I hadn’t used a Dremel in years, I had forgotten about them. So your intro helped me; to see how the pad wears down to nothing, and to see the ones you will show us how to make, good deal.

    Soon I know you will show us all how it can be applied to Polymer work.

    Thanks again,

  17. Debbie McLelland, 08 September, 2008

    Oh that is wonderful, I can’t wait to play catch up on all the videos I have missed.

    Cindy, you are one step ahead of us; as a good teacher always is.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 10 September, 2008

    @Jeronimo: Thanks for your feedback. I know if you already know about something it is not as exciting as when you see something brand new. But I have no idea what people do or do not already know. I find that if you cover everything, you don’t leave anyone out. Don’t worry, I will be showing you how to use the Dremel for buffing in an upcoming video. So stay tuned!

    @Debbie: Thank you very much for your comments!! I appreciate it more than you know!

  19. Pamela Reader, 11 September, 2008

    hi there, Well, I am sure we would all like to by pass the educational part of the dremel and jump right on to buffing and making great stuff, but . . . you gotta know your tools. And a reminder about safety is essential as we all act like little kids – or at least I do! when playing with our clay. I want to see how you made that buffing cloth and of course – buffing beads. I would like that video to show start to finish on buffing beads. Thanks so much. The videos are great!! MORE, please. And your followers add such great comments and tips as well. HURRAH!

  20. Cindy Lietz, 11 September, 2008

    It just so happen Pamela that the video coming up this week in the video newsletter will be a demo on using the Dremel to buff your beads. It is about 7 or 8 minutes long and goes over quite a bit of info!

    Only those on the guest list will see it however, so it is a good idea for those of you who are new to this site, to sign up. Click the Video Newsletter link beside my name for more info.

  21. Mary Ellen, 12 September, 2008

    Thanks so much again. I have two dremels,one is a cordless the other is like yours on the demo. I’ve used them for restoring small parts on cars. It didn’t occur to me that linen is better. Please keep the demos coming!

  22. Cindy Lietz, 13 September, 2008

    A woman who restores cars… you sound cool! Thanks for the comment Mary Ellen! Don’t worry the demos will keep coming!

  23. Marianne, 15 September, 2008

    I viewed these back words. I saw the buffing one first.
    I was saying how small the buffing wheel was on the one I had. I looked about the size of the one you had that was worn down. Now I know for sure I have to look for a Dremmel.

    Thank you.


  24. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2008

    It could be that the buffing wheel you have is worn down Marianne… unless of course you know it was brand new… in that case it really is tiny!

  25. Kimberlee, 20 September, 2008

    Cindy, I think this is a very useful video. Unfortunately my rotary tool must be missing a piece because I cannot install the bits. I would really like to see the rotary tool SAND beads. I’m hoping you’re not going to say that it can’t be done, because I know that sanding by hand is a wet/dry sandpaper process.

  26. Kimberlee, 20 September, 2008

    Donna, I have a Craftsman, too. I’d like to know which model you found at the Harbor Freight, bc I am afraid my tool just isn’t right. I think my ex-husband got it used or something.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2008

    So far Kimberlee I haven’t figured out how to sand beads with my Dremel. The sanding disks I have would not work, but there may be something that would.

    Does any one out there sand their beads with a Dremel? If so how and with which bits?

  28. Aisha, 29 November, 2010

    Hi Cindy!
    I’m really interested in carving cured polymer clay with the dremel. Basically what I’ll be doing is shaping the clay uncured and once baked, refining the shape with the carver then sanding. Which bit is the best for carving? I would buy the whole carving and engraving accessory kit but at this point I dont know if its needed.

  29. Cindy Lietz, 30 November, 2010

    @Aisha: Nice to hear from you! I haven’t done too much as far as carving polymer clay with my dremel so I don’t have a ton of advice. If I were going to carve, I would probably start with one of the smaller round burrs rather than the cylinder shape. You would probably find you have a lot more control with a round tip. There are lots of small sets of burrs available. Anything that is good for wood or plastic will do. I’d buy a couple of tips and play around with it and see how it goes. Dremel carving polymer clay is one thing on my list to experiment with. Just haven’t gotten to it yet.

  30. Aisha, 29 November, 2010

    Would this work?

  31. Jocelyn, 02 December, 2010

    Just a thought, haven’t tried it, but, if you could lock the bead on a collet and let the Dremel spin it, it would seem that you could easily use the sand paper to sand the bead. You could stabilize the Dremel with a vice as Cindy demonstrates or hold the Dremel in one hand with dampened sandpaper in the other.

  32. Cindy Lietz, 02 December, 2010

    @Jocelyn: Although in theory it sounds like it would work, there are some problems with this idea. First is, that Dremels just go too darn fast. Even at the lowest speed, they are spinning at thousands of rotations (RPM) per minute. If the bead were to come off or split you could be seriously hurt by the bead shrapnel flying around! Plus there is no way to control which way the bead would fly like you can doing it the proper way. So it would be just too dangerous to attempt. However something like this could work on something that turns very slowly like a power screwdriver but it may be too hard on the motor. Sorry to shoot down your idea Jocelyn, but I just got to keep everyone safe!

  33. Jocelyn, 02 December, 2010

    LOL!!! Bless you girl. It’s like remembering to tie back your hair before you use the buffer.

    Still think this is an idea that would work. If you had a tension grasp in the hole of the bead, and were able to spin it, it could sure take the work out of sanding round beads anyway.

    Agree Dremel is not answer. But someone could invent something. Be nice if it spun the bead or accepted pendants or flat pieces and ran with an up and down motion.
    Applying the sand paper to the moving object would sure make a lot of the work easier.

    Until then, keep tumbling. And listen to Cindy…….

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