Making A Felt Buffing Wheels for a Dremel Tool

Dremel Felt Buffing Wheel

Vid #92: But Beware… Not All Felts Are Suitable For Buffing Polymer Clay Beads:

If for no other reason, the rotary Dremel tool is worth having around for doing high speed buffing of your polymer clay jewelry beads. In a previous tutorial I talked about how to save some money by making your own buffing wheels out of canvas or denim material.

The canvas buffing wheels work very well. However, I had heard of other people getting longer life out of buffing wheels made from felt. This was intriguing to me.

So I did some experimenting and ended up finding out that not all felts will work for buffing polymer clay. In fact one I tried actually started melting my clay beads :(

I also figured out that using a common nail for the spindle of your buffing wheel works just as well as the expensive store bought spindles.

If you want to learn how to make a felt buffing wheel for your Dremel Tool, I’ll be posting a tutorial video in the members library later this week. But you can watch a preview clip of that tutorial right now by scrolling down on this page a bit. Or just click here to go straight to the preview clip video player.

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The full version of the “Felt Buffing” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-008 Back Issue Package.

In the Dremel Felt Buffing Wheelvideo I walk you step by step through the process of making this unique bead shape. Specific topics covered in the video include:

  • Choosing the right type of felt to use on your polymer clay beads.
  • Comparing felt buffing wheels to canvas buffing wheels.
  • Maximizing the surface of your buffing wheel.
  • Securing your buffing wheel assembly in the Dremel tool.
  • How to mount your Dremel tool in a vice to keep your hands free.
  • Safety tips to follow when buffing your beads.
  1. Maria, 29 January, 2009

    Thanks Cindy,

    I appreciate all your work and effort to offer us an amazing apprentice library, I’m a clay passionate and your work makes me so exited to continue my researches in getting the necessary knowledgment ….

    Thanks once more and keep up your very helpful and amazing work, we all need it.


  2. Cindy Lietz, 30 January, 2009

    It is the wonderful people like you Maria, that inspire me to teach!! I am thrilled that you are learning so much and are so passionate about improving your skills! It is truly a pleasure to have you as part of the community. Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. Diana P, 07 February, 2009

    Thanks so much for your tutorial on making your own felt buffing wheel for the Dremel. I am amazed how pretty my beads have turned out since using the Dremel and look forward to making my own buffing pads.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 09 February, 2009

    You’re welcome Diana! Let us know how your new buffing wheel after you have had a chance to make it.

  5. lynn watts, 20 February, 2009

    I have a dremel and the work station. I would like to get the flex shaft to go with my dremel. Since I do not work any more cause I take care of my Mom whom had the lower lobe of her right lung removed, and can’t do as much as she used too. She took care of us kids til we grew up and left the nest now it is my turn to take care of her. Take care and god bless everyone. Lynn Watts

  6. Rob_k, 22 February, 2009

    Cindy, thanks for the tip….bought some of the cheaper craft felt last night (.25/sheet) and will try building this today or tomorrow. I am glad I joined your pay site for the tutorials, cannot beat the price for the amount of info you offer.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 23 February, 2009

    @Lynn: You are such a good daughter to be helping your mom like that. I bet she really appreciates it! That’s great you have a dremel and work station. I have the flex shaft, it’s nice.

    @Rob_k: You’re very welcome! It really pleases me to hear you find good value in the video tutorials! I do my best and it feels wonderful to know you appreciate it! Let me know how much you like buffing with your new felt wheel!

  8. Rob_k, 24 February, 2009

    Cindy, I have attempted to recreate your felt buffing disk, and mine didn’t turn out quite like yours…can you elaborate as to how you made the holes in the felt disks?
    Did you stack and punch through? Punch individually? What tool to make the holes? If I m having this question, I am sure someone else may be thinking the same thing. This stuff is easy to cut, but it is hard to drill or punch for me.
    Any help is appreciated, maybe someone else has a method as well.
    Thanks again for a great site!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 24 February, 2009

    Your question is a good one Rob. Since felt is pretty fibrous, I poked a hole in each square individually with a needle tool and kind of wiggled it to make the hole bigger. A heavy darning needle or even a smaller sharper nail would work as well. You don’t want the hole to be too big. Just big enough to force over the galvanized nail you are using as the collet.

    Hope that helps. If you have any more questions just ask.

  10. Amada, 26 February, 2009

    Dear Cindy,
    This video for buffing it’s fantastic, very useful. But I have a question for sanding.
    I have seen your video for sanding the beads. For sanding a bead, how long should use every number of wet sand paper? It takes quite a long time. Minimum how many different numbers? Have I the possibility to use quicker method? Thanlk you for a fan in Spain!

  11. Paul Arthur, 26 February, 2009

    Hi Cindy, thx for the buffing video. I followed you’re instructions and seem to be having an issue with my dremel workstation. When I turn on my dremel the entire workstation vibrates almost off my work table.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2009

    Hi Paul! Is your workstation bolted or clamped to your table? The vice I had in the video is so heavy the vibrating is not a problem for it. But the Dremel Workstation isn’t near as heavy and may need to be attached to your work surface so it doesn’t try to ‘walk away’ on you!

  13. Paul Arthur, 01 March, 2009

    WOW how stupid of me. I will have to clamp it next time. Your videos and advice are so wonderful helpful. I’m going to try your quicker skinner blend and your mobius beads today.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 03 March, 2009

    Paul you are not stupid, you just didn’t know. There is a difference.

    Let me know how those techniques go for you. I’d love to hear!

  15. Marlowe Duncan, 01 May, 2009

    Ok made the buffing pad. Sanded till my fingers felt like they were going to fall off. I buffed with the home made pad, put on the future, but still they are not as shiny as yours. What am I doing wrong? Could it be the fact that I used the plain white sculpy clay that comes in the big box? I mixed it with smaller pkg of sculpy. The colored area looks much better. Thank you, Marlowe

  16. Rob_k, 01 May, 2009

    To give my white clay a little more “wow” I always add a little pearl to the white or some translucent, sometimes both. Makes for a better gloss in my opinion.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 01 May, 2009

    Marlowe, if you’ve done all you said you did, than it’s not you, it’s your clay. Some clays, especially Sculpey III are a matte finish no matter how well you polish them. Fimo, Premo and Kato buff up the best! Click the link by my name for more info on the different brands of polymer clay.

    Rob had some great ideas too, for boosting up the shine! Thanks Rob for passing them on!

  18. Marlowe Duncan, 11 May, 2009

    I have finished 3 necklaces and I could not have done it without your help. My friend who got me started does not sand or buff and she was amazed when I told her you’re suppose to. Very few of the “how to” books mention sanding or buffing either. I had been using the sculpy clay she gave me and assume that is why the beads are not as shiny. I plan to try other brands. We have Hobby Lobby here and Michaels in Tulsa to buy clay. If I get better I will order on line. The first beads I made were bad, but I made them into a mobile for my porch. Again thank you. Marlowe Duncan

  19. Cindy Lietz, 11 May, 2009

    Congrats Marlowe for having some success with your bead making! There is nothing better for me and everyone here, to hear stories of people improving their skills and making some successful jewelry projects!

    Thanks so much for giving us an update! I encourage everyone to let us know how your clay projects are going.

    Great idea for the ‘less than perfect’ beads. Hanging them outside in a mobile will keep them from being inspected too closely, while still being something you can enjoy!

  20. Jennifer M., 05 June, 2009


    Sorry to come to the topic so late but I have a question. I made my own buffing wheel with the felt you described in your video. It did buff them to a very nice shine that I liked, but it seemed to of caused some small tiny scratches on my pieces. I cannot feel the scratches with my finger or nail, but when the bead is in the light, you can defiantly see them. I even tried a second bead and made sure there were no scratches on it before I buffed it and after the buffing scratches were on it.

    Did I buy the wrong felt? I got it at Joann’s in the kids section and it said it is polyester felt. Or am I doing something wrong?


  21. Cindy Lietz, 05 June, 2009

    Hi Jennifer! It is great that you commented on this older post, it keeps it alive and current it in Googles eyes, so it is all good!

    As far as your question… it is a little tricky to know what is going wrong without being there myself. It could be the felt. It may be worth keeping your eye out for another one. It took me a few tries to find one that worked for me. Though the polyester ones should work.

    You could be buffing at too high a speed and gouging or burning your bead. Or it could be that the scratches are there from sanding but you can’t see them because the fine sanding dust is in them and gets removed when you buff them. Sometimes I have to go back after buffing and sand that area again to remove those hidden scratches.

    I hope that helps. Try those tips and if they don’t work, come tell me.

  22. Jennifer M., 05 June, 2009

    Thanks Cindy for the quick reply and tips. I will sand the scratched areas again and buff to see if it fixes it.


  23. Cindy Lietz, 08 June, 2009

    You’re welcome! Let me know if it works!

  24. Rose, 27 December, 2009

    Today I made the felt buffing attachment for a Dremel-like tool my husband wasn’t using. I followed the instrux in the video & I’m very happy with it. The only negative is that the tool became really warm after buffing 7 beads; the motor in this off brand might not be strong enough. It sure beats buffing by hand on an old pair of jeans, and at 58cents for 2 pieces of felt, it’s a lot cheaper than the Foredom I’ve been looking at.

    Thank you Cindy for another winner.

  25. Jocelyn, 01 January, 2010

    Just purchased a Dremel with flex shaft. Love the idea to thread the circle pads on a nail, and hopefully, will not need to purchase a vise that big, lol.

    This is another excellent video, filled with information.

    I cannot wait….

  26. Cindy Lietz, 02 January, 2010

    @Rose: About the “…motor heating up…” >> Be sure not to make your buffing wheels too large, especially on cheaper brand rotary tools with weaker motors. The larger the diameter is of your buffing wheel is, the more it will strain the motor and cause burnout.

  27. Rose, 04 January, 2010

    Ahhh, thanks for that tip. I did make a biggish one. I can trim it back. I’ve used it a lot since my last post & am very, very happy with it. The $10 I spent buying the back issue video where you made the felt wheel saved me more than $200 as I was very close to buying the expensive jewelers buffer. This one is set up in a small vice, takes only a few inches on my table, & works just great.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 04 January, 2010

    @Rose and Jocelyn… Thanks for posting your follow up thoughts about this library tutorial. Buffing is such an important part of getting a professional look with your polymer clay beads.

  29. Jocelyn, 05 January, 2010

    Welcome, Cindy, but I really feel I am the beneficiary here.

    Anyone use the Flex Shaft attachment to buff? Results?

  30. Helen Sperring (honeyclay), 06 January, 2010

    Hi Everyone…… I just purchased the video for felt buffers for the dremel tool. I think I went through this once before but don’t remember the outcome. I know B recipies come with this video but I can’t find them. I know 008 videos are old but shouldn’t free B recipies come with them?? I would really appreciate any help I could get from anyone. Thanks………..Honey West Palm Beach, Fl.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 06 January, 2010

    Hi Helen,

    Only the A-series color palette recipes come with the paid back issue packages. They are kept exclusive for paying members only, such as yourself.

    The way to collect the B-series color recipes recipes is by subscribing to to the weekly email newsletter that is sent out each Friday morning. All of the weekly newsletters contain two B-series color recipes that can be downloaded to your computer. They are free for everyone. If you are not receiving these weekly email newsletters, the link by my name will take you to the Guest List sign up form.

    Currently, there are no back issues posted anywhere, for the B-Series Color Recipes. I will be making them available at some point, but I’ve just not yet had the time to get it done.

  32. carolyn, 21 January, 2010

    I made the felt buffing wheel for my Dremel. I, too, have a flex shaft. Amazing all the carry over tools between rock hounding, wire art and now PC. There is nothing harsh about the felt so it doesn’t hurt if your finger gets in the way while buffing beads. Just wanted to report that the felt buffing wheel also works great for actually buffing fingernails!

  33. carolyn, 10 March, 2010

    OUCH! Cindy, you said that we should be sure to tie our hair back when using the Dremel wheel. I have quite long hair so I ‘always’ follow that advice … well, the other day I just wanted to add an extra ‘buff’ to a piece, grabbed the Dremel and when the piece flew out of my hand I leaned over to pick it up off the floor without turning the Dremel off. You guessed it! The Dremel grabbed the end of my hair on one side and ‘curled’ it all the way up to my scalp. Fortunately, while I was trying to get to the on/off switch, it shut itself off. For a time I thought I was going to be the only senior citizen with a mohawk hair style! Thank God I was able to unwind most of it, and then strand by strand got the rest untangled from the felt wheel. So, guys, NEVER use the Dremel buffing wheel without tying your hair back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. Phaedrakat, 10 March, 2010

    @carolyn: You poor thing! That must have been SCARY! Good thing you were able to get it turned off quickly before it got tangled up even more, or worse. I’ll follow your advice, for sure~

  35. Sandra J, 20 May, 2011

    okay, i’m i bit slow on the uptake, i have just made a felt buffing wheel (kind of like Cindy’s) and my goodness what a shine it brings out!! Thanks again Cindy for a wonderful idea

  36. Cindy Lietz, 22 May, 2011

    @Sandra: You’re not slow Sandra… you are perfectly on time! Glad that the felt wheel is working so well for you. Makes a big difference Huh?

    @Mary: What? I am laying on my velvet couch (chaise lounge actually) right now eating bonbons as I type to you this eloquent message. Even have my gorgeous bead slave, Doug fanning me with peacock plumes! AND as an added homage to you Mary, I am wearing a Frangipani Flower in my hair! :-D

    Yes, it is possible to make some wonderful Faux Thunderegg Slices. I haven’t yet come up with a tutorial on that, other than my Faux Druzy Tutorial, but I will put it on my list. Nice to have you back Mary! Missed you around here!

  37. Mary, 20 May, 2011

    Cindy, your apparently inexhaustible treasure trove of ideas continues to amaze me. Although it’s well known that you spend most of your day reclining on a velvet couch, eating bonbons and being fanned with peacock plumes by your willing slave Sir Doug, somehow you find the time to work these marvels for us. Thank you, thank you. And talking of ideas, do you think it would be possible to poly a cane or bead resembling a slice of thunder egg? I saw on telly a necklace made of what looked like about 5 slices of that stone in varying sizes in shades of blue and greenish grey and interspersed by what could have been your faux turquoise beads, flattened and squarish. It was magnificent! How could that effect be faux-ed? Thanks again, Cindy. XX Mary

  38. Wendy H, 31 January, 2013

    A nail … GENIUS!!! I just bought a Dremel a couple weeks ago for projects around the house. I’m soooo gonna do this. Thanks Cindy!!!

  39. Fran V, 08 December, 2014

    I have been having a great time playing with lentil beads. You are so-o-o right, Cindy, they are addicting.

    And I discovered a neat thing: if you haven’t developed a very big swirl yet, and you change direction with your circles, you can get a very pretty bead in which the colors and patterns all go straight into the center from the outer edge. I think if you make too many rotations in the second direction you will get a muddy mess, but if it’s just a few turns to undo the first swirl it can turn out to be very pretty.

    Happy claying!

  40. Fran V, 08 December, 2014

    Oops! the dangers of having too many tabs open at once…. i put this in the wrong place, meant to leave the comment on the lentils page.


  41. Kirsten N, 07 February, 2021

    I’m having trouble attaching my homemade buffer to my dremel -do you have any advice?

  42. Cindy Lietz, 09 February, 2021

    What did you make your homemade buffing wheel with?

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