Polymer Clay Tutorial | How To Use Amaco Tube Bead Roller [Video]

Tube Beads and Tube Bead RollerVid #172: “I have
lots of bead roller tools,
but have yet to try most of
them.” ~Carolyn-F

I have been a fan of the tube bead shape for a long time… and have pretty much made them in every polymer clay technique… including Faux Raku, Mokume Gane, Zebra Canes, Kaleidoscope canes and even my newest technique, Polymer Clay Art Sheets.

In the past I’ve always used a flat piece of acrylic to make them. But it’s always been a bit tricky to get all sets of beads all end up consistently even and the same size. Not any more though… not since I discovered the Amaco Tube Bead Roller!

You would think that a tool as simple as this would be self explanatory. However, there are several little tricks that will make it way easier for you to use.

So on Friday, September 17th, 2010 at the Polymer Clay Library (Vol-028-3), the members video tutorial will teach how make quick and easy cane covered tube beads using the Amaco Tube Bead Roller (set #1).

Thank you Cindy and Doug for being our research department for new products, just as you’ve made the mistakes so we don’t have to, which saves us money on clay, your researching of anything new that could be beneficial to us and make our projects easier is SO much appreciated. Thank you SO very much. ~Ken-H

My problem when I get the bead rollers out is that I can’t stop making beads. I’m a woman possessed. ~Bonnie-K

Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-028-3 Tube Beads & Roller:

  • Polymer Clay in Base color. I used Premo Sculpey in Purple.
  • Polymer Clay Canes (optional). I used the Zebra Cane from Vol-024.
  • Clay Blade.
  • Pasta Machine.
  • Amaco Tube Bead Roller Set #1 (Makes 7mm and 9mm tube beads). If you prefer not to buy a tube bead roller, you can use an acrylic sheet to roll the tube beads. It will be harder to make consistently sized beads though.
  • Bead Rack or accordion folded card stock. I used the Amaco Professional Bead Rack with bead pins.
  • Micro-Mesh Sanding pads or Wet/Dry sandpaper in various grits.

The full version of the Vid-028-3 Tube Beads & Roller video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday September 17th, 2010. But if you would like to see a sneak peek intro clip right now, scroll down the page a bit to the video player below.


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


Click Video Play Button

Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
>> Polymer Clay Tutorials <<

The full version of the “Tube Beads & Roller” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-028 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

How has your paid membership has been helpful for me…? Well I have seen a lot of polymer clay works and often I wonder… How did they do that? I really like your videos because now I’m learning the answers! Thanks Cindy.

This website is the real deal… Cindy and her husband Doug go out of their way to ensure we have a positive experience, and get an amazing deal for our money. You can ask questions and read about upcoming videos (or past ones!) here at the blog. There’s a search box at the top of each page… helps to find information. Just about every subject has been touched on at least once! This ‘community’ has become pretty close over the past couple years, so occasionally you will find comments of a personal nature. For example, when someone has a surgery, or a ‘big’ anniversary. There’s also “polymer clay humor” sometimes ~Phaedrakat

Yes Cindy and Doug you deserve all the praise anyone could ever give you. Your teaching is first class and your costs worth every penny, or should I say cent (hardly know its gone from my bank its such a small amount). And Doug your video shots are so clear a true professional. Love you both. So come on you non-members, join us. You wont miss the price of a hot dog a month – that’s about what this costs and 100% more benefit. We are learning and having fun just chatting to each other so come and meet us as a member. ~Ritzs

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Tube Beads & Roller video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different tube beads made with a variety of canes and techniques as well as several sizes and lengths.
  • Discussion of the type of clay needed to have success making these creative polymer clay tube beads.
  • Learn tricks and tips that will allow you to avoid problems with getting the the tube bead holes centered and straight.
  • And finally, find out how to bake this bead shape and get that nice professional finish faster and easier than if you make them how the instructions tell you to.

The full version of the “Tube Beads & Roller” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-028 Back Issue Package.


  1. Lisa Whitham, 14 September, 2010

    Hiya Cindy, where can we find this Amaco Tube Bead Roller? I’ve not seen it at my Michaels or at Joanne Fabrics… :(

    ~Lisa :)

  2. Anna Sabina, 14 September, 2010

    I have a few Amaco bead rollers and both came with really poor directions. So will be glad to see this technique.

  3. Elizabeth S., 14 September, 2010

    As often as I have wanted to, I have never successfully made decent looking tube beads-more often than not they end up looking like long worms. This should help. Did you have to order the Amaco Tube Bead Roller? haven’t seen it here, either.

  4. Ken H, 14 September, 2010

    This is fantastic, I brought one of the tube bead rollers a LOOOOONG time ago and never got the nack of how this roller works, so it got put it the bottom of the drawer that holds my bead rollers never to see the light of day since. I know once I see this Tutorial that the tube bead roller will claim it’s rightful place among my other favorite bead rollers.

    @ Lisa W and Elizabeth S. – Check either Ebay or Amazon, I ordered a few from them, some I ordered fro AMACO directly and a few that were discontinued I ordered from a site in Canada, and for the life of me right now I can’t remember the name of the web site, I’m certain that others will have suggestions for purchasing these rollers.

  5. Tanya L, 14 September, 2010

    Dickblick has it online right now for $ll.61. I check a LOT of other websites before I found it here..

    Another tut I can’t wait to see..! I’d love to get the knack of this too, and I know once we see Cindy do it, BAM! We got it! :) Can’t wait til Friday!!!

  6. Tanya L, 14 September, 2010

    Oh, great, that’s “checked”.. I “checked” a lot of websites..! LOL!! Again, not enough coffee yet!! Sorry!!

  7. Linda K., 14 September, 2010

    Cindy, I’m so happy you’re doing this one. I bought one of those tube-bead rollers on sale when Michaels was clearing out its old stock several months ago. I tried it once and was really disappointed with my results…their instructions are terrible. I put all the parts in a zipper bag and haven’t touched it since.

    I use the tri-bead roller successfully all the time, so I figured my problem must be “user error.” I’m looking forward to learning the correct way to use the tube-bead roller!

  8. pattw35, 14 September, 2010

    Panic ! Search the net !! Where to get the roller ? well, I ordered direct from Amaco. The roller is $14.95 and shipping (gulp) is estimated $8.90. But I could not find it locally, or at a better price. So , bit the bullet -ya gotta stay up with Cindy !! tee hee. It won’t get here til after Friday. But I can watch the heck out of the video. Hurry up Friday……

  9. Maria, 14 September, 2010

    I am so happy you did this tutorial, Cindy! Like Ken and Linda, I have one of those roller thingies and have never understood how to use it. Your video should be part of the instructions included in the package!

  10. pollyanna, 14 September, 2010

    This should be a good one. have wanted to know more about tube beads.

  11. fran, 14 September, 2010

    If you shop on ebay – there are 4 of the rollers there priced at $12.95 plus $3.99 shipping. I was fortunate to find one for $14.95 there that included free shipping. Didn’t see anymore of those left.

  12. Cheryl Hodges, 14 September, 2010

    Look forward to this tutorial. i do not have a tube bead roller and made the faux raku tube beads with an acrylic piece. They were quite good but it would be such a help to be able to do them quicker and more consistent in size and shape; I had to measure out a lot doing it with the acrylic square and it takes a lot of extra time.

  13. Catalina, 14 September, 2010

    Michaels did clearance all the bead rollers. So, I guess going right to the company, Amaco, would be the way to go. Unless, eBay is offering them. I bought the bevel cutters, too, and I don’t get that one either. I will use the round and oval bead rollers. But getting the right amount of clay is the secret. Can’t wait to see how Cindy solves this one!

  14. Phaedrakat, 14 September, 2010

    @Catalina: Hi Cat! It still might be worth checking Michael’s clearance rack/section…I saw 2 types of Amaco rollers at Michaels a couple weeks ago…the large oval bead (comes w/piercing pins) & the tube bead roller. They had lots of them. But take a guess — which one do ya think I bought?
    Hint: NOT the one for this tute. Darn! ~Kat

    But…I went to Michaels yesterday (a side trip after picking up my laptop–yay!) I only glanced briefly at the clearance rack, but I did see a flash of Amaco packaging. Didn’t see which one it was…but I just called, & they do have a tube roller! They’re holding it for me…have to pick up today. I’m hurting after my ‘outing’ yesterday; but from what you all are saying, it would save me a lot of money to go anyway (only $2.99.) If they have more than one…I’ll buy it/them.

    Note: If you plan to check your local Michaels, try the clearance racks OR the “designated clearance section” (one of ‘my’ stores has one…found some Makin’s Ult. Extruder disks there about a month ago…cheap!)

    @Cindy: The video looks great…can’t wait! I look forward to seeing your special tips & tricks for ‘taming’ the Amaco tube bead roller. I always enjoy seeing your way of doing things, especially making perfectly-even tube beads (and the beads in this preview are gorgeous!) I wish I’d known this tute was coming, but..I’ll live, LOL. I never bought this particular roller for the same reasons you mentioned above, & because I’ve been disappointed with some Amaco products (like the bevel cutters.) Nothing wrong with them, it’s just the instructions are sadly lacking. But I can tell your tutorial is going to fix that…thanks in advance! :D ~Kat

  15. Peggy Barnes, 14 September, 2010

    Like many of the others I have most of the bead rollers and some days I have pretty good luck and other days I get pretty frustrated so I clean it up and put it away before I am tempted to toss it in the trash. I hate being wasteful so I haven’t done that yet. Now I won’t have to because Cindy and Doug are coming to the rescue once again.

  16. carolyn, 14 September, 2010

    Well, RATS!!! Initially I was going to bring all my bead rollers. Then decided they were taking up too much space in this little motorhome. What ones did I leave at home? You guessed it … the tube bead rollers. They were ones I knew would need a different type of approach and thought I’d just wait on them.

    I did just finish a necklace + earrings using Cindy’s Art Sheet instructions … though most were turned into round beads – 16mm – for which I used the Round/Oval bead roller. I also made the toggle, though it was done more freeform than Cindy’s, but the idea came from her. BTW: This can be viewed on my website … click on my blue name to get there.

    Anyway, tube bead roller learning will just have to wait now until I get back home … whenever!

  17. carolyn, 14 September, 2010

    Oops! Oversight: Once you get to my site you have to click on What’s New to see this necklace.

  18. cara l, 15 September, 2010

    i am so looking forward to this because i have every bead roller out and cannot use any of them. the measurements are too hard for me to understand- what is 1/16?
    i don’t understand imperial measurements and does 1/16th of an inch mean 1/4 of 1/4 of an inch? and how do you measure that?
    I know cindy in her wisdom will shed some light on this.
    I recently made a necklace for my mother and although she loved it – she wanted uniform beads and reluctantly accepted my explanation of organic bead shapes being more creative.

  19. Ken H, 15 September, 2010

    @ Cara l – Here is a decent conversion site, I use it quite offten to convert Inch to MM – industrial-enclosures.com/html/conversion-mm-inch.html

    Try rounding the results either up or down and see which works best for the beads you’re making.

    Good luck,
    Ken H

  20. Ken H, 15 September, 2010


    You can type in the fraction to get your answer also. (you don’t need to know the decimal equvilant of 1/16th)

  21. Freda K, 15 September, 2010

    I’m with the people who have the tube bead rollers but haven’t had any luck with them. I agree that the instructions are the worst.

  22. Maria, 15 September, 2010

    @Catalina – I complained about the bevel edge cutters a while ago and we had a little discussion here on Cindy’s blog – but I don’t think we ever really resolved the issue to the group’s satisfaction… would love to know if anyone here uses and likes them, and HOW they use them…

  23. cara l, 15 September, 2010

    Dear Ken,
    thanks so much for that tip-the site is terrific.I noticed that your beads always look so perfect- they look like the perfect Japan beads-do you use the bead rollers to do that?
    If i could get a result like that I’d be thrilled.
    Look forward to the demo.

  24. cara l, 15 September, 2010

    i have the same bevel edged cutters also-i am wondering if cindy’s idea of glad wrap on top of the clay would work with these cutters- i will experiment when i dig out my bead rollers etc from where i buried them in disgust.

    looked at your beads- they are beautiful and perfect also- so the bead rollers must work!

  25. DJ, 15 September, 2010

    I love tube beads in all sorts of sizes. My attempts are ok, but not as accurate or as consistent as I’d like. Looking forward to any tips I can take in around improving them.

    I wonder why Amaco has such incomplete instructions?…seems like a pretty common complaint.

  26. Ken H., 15 September, 2010

    @ Cara – Yes I do use the bead rollers, I have almost all the ones AMACO made and I love them all, it’s funny the one I do know I don’t have is the other tube bead roller, I believe it was 8 and 6mm tube beads. Might just have to hunt that one down.

  27. carolyn, 15 September, 2010

    @Maria – That discussion about the beveled edge cutters was at this post : How To Make Pendants Out Of Polymer Clay

    The answer might not be what we wanted to hear, but those cutters are for making frames. That’s what I had thought and when Cindy contacted Amaco it was confirmed that they are to make frames.

    As Phaedrakat said: They should be called Beveled Edge FRAME Cutters.

  28. sammiller, 16 September, 2010

    Looking forward to this as well as everyone else is. As a long time clayer I have all the bells and whistles packaged and purchased over time just waiting for the magic fingers of Cindy to enlighten us on their true usefulness!!

  29. Brenda M, 17 September, 2010

    I Luv it!!!! Cindy, What a fantastic way of keeping that hole in the center. I have tried over and over to make that hole stay put, without success. My tube bead maker is in the mail as I type. I actually puchace set 1&2 I hope that they are the right ones. The pictures were so small, that I couldn’t tell. It did say tube beads, so……………….. lets hope that they are the ones that I needed :) at least I can get busy making those sheets and canes before they get here.

  30. Susan B, 17 September, 2010

    Cindy you are brilliant! I could see all the problems you first mention in the tut and knew immediately that I would most likely fall into all of those traps then, like magic, you simply make them all disappear. I love tube beads but have never mastered the art of getting them all the same size and length but I will now definitely have another go. Thank you.

  31. Phaedrakat, 17 September, 2010

    Great video, Cindy! You’ve done it once again — taken a somewhat “huh?” tool and made it user friendly! You ARE brilliant, like Susan B. says! The tube beads in this video are very cool, and you make them look so easy. The tips/tricks you’ve come up with are awesome, and I’m guessing they’re going to make all the difference. It’s surprising that Amaco doesn’t spend a little more time to create better instructions to go with the nifty little gadgets they make for clay. Oh, well…we’ve got Cindy, so we’re covered!

    I was lucky to get my hands on one of these bead rollers at Michaels for $2.99. I found a 2nd one with banged up packaging, so I opened it to check it out — the plastic piece with the “little legs” had run off! Darn, I was kinda bummed that I couldn’t share my ‘find’ with anyone else… Anyway…Thanks, Cindy! ~Kat

  32. Bonnie Kreger, 17 September, 2010

    Cindy, that was great. I have been using a tube bead roller for a long time but always got frustrated when I put the piercing pin in because as you said it got “Whonky”. I was cutting the pieces before baking and then putting them on the pin, then baking and then putting them in the rock tumbler which worked pretty good but I can see your way is much easier.

    I made the animal print cane last night for the first time. It came out a little dark but I’m going to try it on this roller technique.
    Thanks again, that was really really great.

  33. pollyanna, 17 September, 2010

    Fantastic tute. One of those head slapping things. you addressed every thing I was sure to get wrong…..lol. You guys are the best!

  34. Judy, 17 September, 2010

    HIya. Lovely tute – but I do without the Amaco roller – just use a sheet of acrylic or edge – taped glass and rest the edges on 2 battens of the same size. I’ve made some fab beads this week using a pencil on either side. I anchor one pencil against a piece of blutak against my work surface, although you could do it for both. Am off into the garage now to find some thicker battens.

  35. Maria, 17 September, 2010

    @ Carolyn – you’re absolutely right – that wasn’t what I wanted to hear – I guess I was hoping there might be more new information since we last discussed those FRAME cutters! :)
    Cindy and Doug – I am doing the happy dance! How wonderful to finally learn and understand how this “roller thingie” works. Thanks again!

  36. carolyn, 17 September, 2010

    A little reminder to all of us: don’t give away those tips and tricks that Cindy shares with members each Friday. When we share those tips and tricks here people would get the idea they didn’t need to buy the video or become a member. They could just use all the hints here. Cindy is very personal with us, but this still is a business for her. I hadn’t watched the tutorial yet and already knew several of the things that Cindy shared so that making tube beads would be easier for us.

  37. Peggy Barnes, 19 September, 2010

    @carolyn: Very well put Carolyn I always worry about that, and am afraid I might say something too much. I still do not understand why anyone who has found their way to this blog, doesn’t sign up if not instantly, then at least within a week or 2. I still get mad at myself for not signing up the very first moment I found Cindy. One good thing is that new members can still buy any tutes they have missed. It was easier for me though I hadn’t missed that many so it wasn’t that hard for me to get all the back issues right away. So Join Now Don’t be a fool like I was!!

    Now Cindy and Doug this was another tute knocked out of the park. You made a useless piece of equipment worth its weight in gold to me. So simple, so easy and so Cindy. Then Doug caught it all oh so talented filming so we could all see it in our very own homes. Thank you Lietz team spectacular for continuously keeping us fed with the best of PC knowledge at pennies a pop.

  38. Cindy Lietz, 17 September, 2010

    Thanks Carolyn for saying that! Everyone gets excited about what they see in the videos and just wants to talk about it. It is important that we respect the ones who have paid their dues (minimal though they are) and not give away too many of the secrets!

    @Judy: I emailed you directly about your comment disappearing. Hopefully you received the messages.

  39. vickie barton, 19 September, 2010

    hi I just had a question I did this cane and I love the way it turned out I was just wondering why the spot came out looking like a jelly roll cane I think I did something wrong when making the skinner blend i would appreciate any advice. thank you Cindy excellent tutorial I had a lot of fun with this I posted a link to the cane in the url

  40. Phaedrakat, 21 September, 2010

    @vickie barton: Hi Vickie! Wow — it’s kind of hard to see, but there’s definitely a strange effect going on with your leopard spots! I agree, you must have done something different with your blend. I can’t really talk about it much here, though…without going into the details of the tutorial. This is an ‘open’ blog, and not everyone has access to that video…so we can’t discuss those kinds of details.

    Your cane really did turn out pretty cool! But, if you want to figure out why the spots are that way, I would suggest viewing the video again. Try to remember if you turned/rolled/did something else to the blend, that wasn’t done in the video. The blend Cindy used in the tutorial was 2 medium shades, so it wasn’t as easy to spot (leopard spots? LOL) how it was oriented. Watch the video again carefully, pausing as necessary — I have a feeling you’ll see where you made the change. If not, leave another comment, and Cindy can get back to you and let you know how to fix it.

    Also, next time if you can…try to leave comments like this under the post for that tutorial. If you can’t find the right one, try using the search box at the top of the page…type “leopard tutorial” or “leopard cane video” or something like that into the search box… Best of luck!
    Have fun clayin’! ~Kat :~D

  41. carolyn, 20 September, 2010

    I looked at your cane and nothing looks like a jelly roll. It looks more like one of the animal prints. Did you mean to post something that applied to this tube bead string? Maybe I missed it.

  42. vickie barton, 21 September, 2010

    @carolyn: SORRY it was late when I was posting and accidentally posted to the wrong thread.

  43. stephanie jordan, 20 September, 2010

    I just emailed Cindy about the roller, because after watching the video, I’m excited to get one. I have other rollers and I love them, but the consistant size of the clay balls are what I had trouble with, and I’d find myself taking longer thanI wanted to. With the way Cindy did the demo I’m ready for this tool. I went on the Amaco site but wazs unable to locate one.

  44. carolyn, 20 September, 2010

    @Stephanie – Try Amazon, K-Mart and on line there is also Poly-Tools.

  45. Brenda M, 20 September, 2010

    I got mine yesterday.. I just got through making a rack full of tubes :) I ordered two different sizes. I am hoping to get the other in asap. it make larger tubs.

  46. Kathy G, 21 September, 2010

    another great tutorial, thank you

  47. vickie barton, 21 September, 2010

    sorry I accidentally put my post here It was late when I posted and accidentally clicked on the wrong one. I have been told twice now. makes me not want to post anything.

  48. stephanie jordan, 21 September, 2010

    Oh well I’ve searched and searched but can not find the new roller
    on ebay , amaco, or poly tools

  49. fran, 21 September, 2010

    stephanie – there are tube rollers on ebay – sets 1 & 2

  50. Ken H, 21 September, 2010

    @ Vickie – I don’t see anything wrong with it, I think your cane looks fine. Sometimes we’re our own worst critics. Please don’t be upset, your not being scolded, it’s that on long threads like this, folks sometimes don’t re-read to see if what they’re going to say has already been stated, It’s just out of a concern to make sure your question is being answered in the timely fashion it deserves since Cindy isn’t able to comment on all the postings anymore.

  51. vickie barton, 21 September, 2010

    @Ken H: thank you I feel better

  52. Cindy Lietz, 21 September, 2010

    @Stephanie and other’s looking for the tube bead roller I showed you in this tute. It is available on Amaco’s site. You just have to look in the Shop under the Arts and Crafts heading.

    @Vickie: Don’t worry about making mistakes here. Everyone has posted things in the wrong thread at least once (including me :-). Any way… with regards to your cane, sometimes your skinner blend canes can end up looking like jellyroll canes if they are rolled up from a sheet that is too thick. The thinner the sheet, the smoother the blend looks when rolled. Maybe that’s what happened to your cane? No matter though… it still looks cool!

  53. vickie barton, 21 September, 2010

    @Cindy Lietz from Tube Bead Roller Tutorial Video: i will try tonight with a thinner sheet. thank you I thought it looked kind of cool just unexpected lol. I one cane slice into a longer bead and than made it into stitch markers they look awesome

  54. Phaedrakat, 22 September, 2010

    @Sorry about that, Vickie — I would definitely prefer you post here than not at all! And I would never have mentioned it if I’d known someone else had already… I’m glad Ken & Cindy made you feel better about it. I usually try my best to help people, and to greet them and make them welcome…I feel terrible that I made you not want to leave another post. I hope you’ll forgive me.

    I do love the look of your cane…the spots are very cool, and look a bit like a chrysanthemum cane. I’ll bet your stitch markers came out awesome, indeed! ~Kat

  55. Linda K., 22 September, 2010

    @ Vickie Barton: Stitch markers!!! What a great idea!

  56. Koolbraider, 26 September, 2010

    I’ve tried and tried to make tube beads, after all, how difficult can it be to just roll a tube and stick a hole in it…duh!! Now I know how Cindy gets such perfect tube beads. I had to admit I was very curious as to how she put cane pieces on them as well. I’ll be checking out Michaels soon. They had the tri-bead roller and that was fairly simple but it isn’t like the tube roller, different technique.

  57. Phaedrakat, 04 October, 2010

    @Koolbraider: Hi Susan! Michael’s had these Amaco rollers on clearance for awhile…I was lucky to get the last one at my store. Several members have said they can’t find these at their local craft stores, so it looks like the best way to get one is by mail order. There are a few places mentioned in the comments above…Amaco & eBay, for example. Good luck finding the Amaco Tube Bead Rollers…now that Cindy’s made them easier to use!

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