Polymer Clay Tutorial: Interchangeable Focal Bead Pendant [VIDEO]

Polymer Clay Lace and Ink Technique

Vid #141: “What a unique way to wear and showcase a lot of different beads!” ~DJ

I think you guys are going to love this wire working tutorial! The pendant can be made in any size using the wire of your choice. It’s perfect for showing off your favorite polymer clay beads.

What is special about this particular design (my own design btw), is that it’s made with only one piece of wire. And with just a simple slide of the clasp, you can easily slip off the focal bead and exchange it for a different one.

Today you get to see the sneak peek video. Then, coming up on Friday January 29th, the full video tutorial will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library as Volume-020-4.

I really love the idea of being able to switch out beads.
~Lisa-W

Oh I love these and how the look can transform with varying beads and wires used. I’d definitely look forward to learning this technique. What a unique way to wear and showcase a lot of different beads! ~DJ

Hi Cindy, I would love to see how this is made… think of the possibilities for earrings as well!  Make one set of earrings and being able to change out the beads to match your outfit would be wonderful!  Thanks so much for doing these videos… it makes learning so much easier to see how to do a technique. ~Dawna-M

Supplies & Tools: Video-020-4: Interchangeable Pendant:

  • 19 – 21 gauge half hard wire. I used 20 gauge copper wire from the hardware store that comes half hard. But you can use the wire of your choice.
  • Round Nose Pliers. Use jewelry quality tools, not hardware store stuff which will leave scratches and dents on your wire.
  • Chain Nose Pliers.
  • Flush Cutters.
  • Small round container in the size you want your pendant to be. I used a glass, straight sided spice jar. A small bottle of craft paint, glaze or a pill bottle will work as well. The wire will be able to be wrapped around the jar and then slid off. Once you see the video, you will see what I mean.

Love the look and the idea. Even though I may be able to figure it out without a video I think your videos are fabulous and informative even when I “know” how to do a particular technique. So yes I would love to see a video! ~Silverleaf

Add me to the list of Yes, please do votes. Even if I figure out how to do it before then, you always have tips and things that I didn’t think about. ~Arlene-H

The full version of the Vid-020-4 Interchangeable Pendant Tutorial will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday Jan 29th, 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 “Interchangeable Pendant” preview shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-020 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

We have a great teacher in Cindy and for what we pay we get heaps of value, I’m sure everyone agrees. Love, ~Elizabeth-K

One thing I really like about all your designs is that… you have good judgment on how much of any theme to share with us. You also provide us videos on things we cannot find elsewhere. ~Anna-S

I love your course, it is great, really helpful when you are starting out and you make everything look so easy. I love it and all your weekly video back issues too. Money well spent. Many thanks. ~Karen-B

The following topics are included in this week’s “Interchangeable Bead Pendant” video tutorial:

  • See examples of several different interchangeable pendants in a variety of sizes, metals and decorated with several different types of accent beads.
  • Discussion of the type of wire needed for the technique.
  • Learn how to create the clasp, pendant and bail all in one piece.
  • Tips on how to cut, wrap and form this unique and versatile wire pendant.

The full version of the “Interchangeable Pendant” preview shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Vol-020 Back Issue Package.


Comments

  1. Cool, looking forward to this! :)

    We get wire in mm over here in Europe, so for those people (like me) who don’t know what 20 gauge is, here’s a conversion chart. nezumiworld.com/crochet_068.htm

    20 is about 0.8mm, which is pretty much the “standard” size jewellery wire.

    • @Silverleaf: Thanks, Silverleaf for the information. Even though I’m in the States the chart can work in reverse and will come in handy.

      Cindy, it will be great to have one unit with many purposes and a great incentive to finish the beads that had no home. Looking forward to Friday once again.

  2. I like working with wire, so am looking forward to this video. It’s also making me think about making some focal beads. I have an idea for a sunflower, so this might be the time to try it out.

  3. I love this! I already have many ideas on what to do with it.

    I have been following your blog for a few months now, and have made a few things, but it is has been such a pain because I didn’t have a dedicated work place. Over the last few days I did a lot of rearranging and organizing in my spare bedroom, and now I have a place to clay, so I am super excited to get to play with clay again.

  4. I make a very complicated interchangeable bead pendant and am really looking forward to this one wire simplified version. I think I understand your concept, but once I see it I just know that I will be able to ‘take off’ with variations of the theme!

  5. Okay, I’ll be honest, I actually danced in my seat when I saw this was the next video. (It’s been a long January here at college. No clay for almost a month.) But, seriously, so many possibilities! Hmm, now I need to go check Lowes or Home Depot since my copper is all dead-soft.

  6. This video looks to be another good idea. I have seen these on other sites with a little screw type knob on the bottom so you can change your pendant. Good job!

  7. I’ve been waiting for this one also. Not real comfortable working with wire yet so the more you show us the better off I am. Thank you for widening my horizons when it comes to great wire work. You are the best Cindy.

    Silverleaf I also am from US but want to thank you for the chart. I have run across this problem before when it comes to figure out mm measurements.
    Love and Uuuuuuuggggggs to all, Peggy

  8. I love this design–what a smartie you are to come up with it! I am looking forward to the video. One of these on a necklace with a “variety” set of beads would make an excellent gift!

  9. So glad you guys found the chart useful – I know how you must feel because almost every book or online tutorial I’ve found is in SWG.

    And I love the kalei bead in the photo Cindy, the colours are great!

  10. So much to look forward to in the weeks ahead Cindy! I’m excited at all the possibilities, thanks for keeping things fresh and (always) inspiring.

  11. Wow Cindy just watched the interchangeable pendant video…. another great idea…. you are the best at making complicated things, simple. Have 4 days this weekend… and can’t wait to get started… Thanks, Nancy

  12. Great video. Cindy, you do such a great job explaining things. I love this design — what a smartie you are to come up with it! One of these on a necklace with a “variety” set of beads would make an excellent gift! I got some really pretty wire ready in anticipation of this, so will definitely be making this.

    BTW, I don’t know if anyone mentioned “cheap clay” sightings this week. I found discounted clay in 2 places yesterday (in Riverside, California.) JoAnn’s has their Sculpey clay at 50% off (Premo, Sculpey III, etc.) Michael’s had all of their Fimo on CLEARANCE for 99 cents. It was red-tagged and starting to get picked over. I’m wondering, maybe they’re completely getting rid of their old Fimo before bringing in new stuff under the Staedtler name? I don’t know, but thought I’d post my finds here. Sorry if it’s already been posted!

  13. What a great idea Cindy. I like how you can make this and have a differnt pendant every day if you like. a great gift idea. The pendant and several beads to change out. Love it!

    Kriss

  14. Hi Cindy and all. just watched the video re the Interchangeable pendant. What a great idea.
    I have to admit I am not so great with wire but the more I try I will improve, so out with the pliers and off I go.
    Thats great for using up those odd beads we have lying around. Trust you Cindy to come up with a way of using them up,just lovely.
    love
    Elizabeth K.

  15. Cindy, you are amazing!!! This is the coolest idea. I know I am going to love making these interchangeable pendants and adding them to my collection. Thanks so much for having such an artistic mind. You are awesome!!

    Ifama

  16. I love this interchangeable bead idea!!!! Can’t wait to get my chores etc. done so I can park myself in front of the computer and practice. Thanks, Cindy.

  17. Thank you Cindy! This is going to be great! Finally, I’ll be able to wear my beads. Can’t wait to get my hands in the “wire!”

  18. Great job, Cindy. I had it pretty much figured out from your photos, but you did a wonderful job explaining this wire technique. So, you have some Lindstroms too! One thing to note: When you are holding the top circles (the bale wires) with the round nose pliers – don’t hold them any more than is necessary. Round nose pliers do leave marks on the wire.

    It is great that you showed all the different pendants. And we could make interchangeable earrings to match – just make them small to go with the little beads that we make when we make bigger ones – at least I do. I’m always thinking “sets”. If I can make a big one for a pendant, I should be able to make small ones for matching earrings.

  19. Yes I noticed with some of my beads I had made before had larger holes for cord etc. that I had to add small beads on the top and bottom of the pendant on the wire so the focal bead would be centered.

  20. Cindy, that was a great idea, I have so many beads that I don’t know what to do with and don’t want to put them on something permanent. My niece in college will love this. I’ll make her a couple of them on ribbons and send her beads to change out.

    Elizabeth K. thank you for the nice comment you left on my blog. You are a sweety.

  21. Hint: If you do not have hard wire, rubbing out the wire (like Cindy did in the video to straighten the wire) will help to harden it. The more you rub out and work wires the harder they get. Using a polishing cloth saves the fingers and polishes the wire at the same time.

  22. Hi Cindy,

    I was wondering where do you get your copper wire? I cannot find it in large rolls like that. I have looked in craft stores, and hardware store, and had no luck finding any.

  23. Brenda, I had trouble finding copper wire too until I found a lady on Etsy who sells 50 foot rolls and it’s beautiful copper. You can get any size and it comes in round, square, half round what ever you want. The url is:
    abeadedaffair.etsy.com/. She’s really nice to deal with also. I do a lot of wire wrapping and I love this copper wire.

  24. Thanks so much everyone for your wonderful feedback!! I love it, makes me feel good! I’m sorry I am not able to respond to each one of you like I used to. As you may of noticed it is getting so lively around here with comments that if I responded to each one I would never have time to film new videos. And we couldn’t have that now could we!

    Just to answer a couple questions…

    @Ifama: There is a beautiful gray recipe in vol-018 I’ve called Rain. I have linked to the one if you are interested. Hope that helps.

    @Brenda: Looks like Bonnie came to your rescue. Thanks Bonnie!

  25. Sorry Rachel, I just realized I missed your question about selling these pendants if you make them. Sure go ahead. I want you to be able to sell whatever you learn from me. Otherwise what its the point of learning it if you can’t add it to your jewelry business? If you present the designs on your blog or in polymer clay forums/groups/guilds etc., it would be nice if you mentioned me and provided a link back for others to find me as well.

  26. Brenda, you are welcome, her copper is gorgeous and priced right. Another thing I came across in a book I bought about wire wrapping a few months ago which was great is, when you have a wire tip that sticks out, use a file to smooth it off so it doesn’t catch on things or ruin clothes. I ordered a small set of file cups from Rio Grande that fit in my Dremel and when I’m working with wire, I file the ends down to smooth them even before I tuck them into the piece. Each cup fits a different size wire and you just stick the end of the wire in the cup and turn the Dremel on and in 3 seconds it’s smooth.

  27. I am trying to make beads by using left over clay and covering it with new clay. When I bake it, the beads keep cracking. I have tried using Kato on Kato, Fimo on Fimo etc. I baked at about 250. Does anyone have any suggestions.

    Thanks,

    bertie

  28. Are you re-conditioning your old clay? If it has been sitting around a long time, it probably needs to be conditioned again. If it has dried out, you might want to use an additive to soften it a bit. I am far from an expert, but this is what popped into my head so I thought I’d pass it along.

  29. bertie, how long are you baking them? Try putting them back in the oven for 15 minutes and then take them out while they are hot and throw them in a bowl with ice water. That should close up the cracks.

    Did you condition the Kato really good? Kato needs to be conditioned so it doesn’t crack when you fold it over or it will continue to crack even after it’s baked. There is a note on the Kato website to pound the clay. I have done this with more than Kato. Put it in a plastic bag that seals and take it out in the garage with a mallet and pound it. Turn the bag over continually and keep pounding it. I have thought about just running over it with the wheels of the car but afraid the bag might break.

  30. Hi all well I took the plunge and did the Interchangeable Pendant.
    As I am not a wire person this was a nemisis for me, but remembering what cindy has said, about trying everything, and as Isay myself too, I went ahead with what I had. my wire altho 20 gauge was a bit soft and bent a bit too much for my liking. I have yet to get some good stuff.
    Well I wrote down everything Cindy said but woah, no go , so I sat infront of the Laptop, which you all may think is the right way, but for me I just need the instruct an a few still pics and am away.
    So here i am right here twisting wire and after a few goes it became clear, so much for persivering.
    Here is my first effort,not too bad but no know I can improve a lot and I like the wire concept a bit more,which has not really been my ( thing).
    What a way to use up all those beads that are lying around, just being looked at. Sorry this is so long. bye E.

  31. Good going, Elizabeth! Hey, I am a wire artist and, though I understood Cindy’s concept, I had a much harder time making this pendant than I ever thought I would. I am (probably because of my age) a very straight laced, uniform, precise, [boring], etc. type of person. To measure wire by a hand breadth was foreign to me – I want it down to the mm – and ‘messy wraps’ – well they were always too bohemian to my way of thinking. Well, tonight I made one, though it ended up as a pendant for a single bead since I didn’t have other beads that fit. I can hardly believe how much I like that messy wrap now. It will be interesting to see if I get any comments on it at the church sale on Sunday. Anyway, Elizabeth, you may be to wire working like I am to PC (new) … but I know with Cindy’s tutoring we will both make the grade!

  32. Hi Carolyn,
    thanks for answering. Good for you making your pendant,you’r never boring with all your interests. Yes messy wraps were not me I have just sent off pics to Cindy so you might see my efforts here later. I thought that was good measuring, suited me, not being used to wire.I have so many odd (ODD?) beads LOl that I think this I/Pen is great for me As to age dont let that get in the way. I am 77 and my Avatar is as recent as last June so I am quite proud of myself.I teach a few friends as I want to pass on what knowledge I have and make Polymer Clay a really recognised craft. I am more at home on the Comp(10yrs) than I am with wire but Im trying! You are right about our tutoring with Cindy,we sure will make the grade, and Im sure your messy wraps will be a hit where you sell them ,as we are all not the same and some people love messy things and that part is so easy it makes up for me not being a wireworker LOL Thanks again for your reply. Lovely
    E.

  33. Elizabeth K, I went to your website looking for the photo of your interchangeable pendant, but I should have read your second post where you say you sent the photos to Cindy! Oh, well, no matter. I got to see a some of your pretty jewelry and other cool projects. I find it so interesting to see what everyone creates from Cindy’s videos. You are an inspiration – you’re quite computer savvy and creative, and you have a busy lifestyle. I am quite a bit younger, but I get quite defeated at times by my problems. Reading what you wrote and seeing your blog has made me want to “get with it” and realize I’m too young to let the way my body feels dictate everything I do. Anyway, I’ve noticed that you always say the nicest things here at this community. You seem like such a lovely lady. Have a wonderful day — you deserve it!

    • @Phaedrakat:
      Hi Phaedrakat
      thanks for your complimentary comments to me. Well Im just me, with a love of all things and find blogging and being in Cindys site quite a wonderful life journey. Making new friends is my thing and finding New things too.
      We are all so blessed to have found Cindy and she does so much for all of us and treats us so individual its like one on one here.
      I have watched you here before now and find you a very inspiring person
      Your work is so talented and can only be more inspirational as we learn more from being with Cindy. Sounds like you have lots of life yet to do all those things you want to, so be motivated and go gal!
      I do have to get back to my blg and put in my recent efforts, but how does one keep up with all we do.!!!
      See you here soon. Love
      E. XX

  34. Bertie, the first thing I thought when you said your beads cracked is, air bubbles. It’s really easy to trap air between layers of clay, then when you bake the bead the air expands and makes a bump on the surface or even cracks the bead.

    If you notice bubbles in raw clay you can pop them with a needle or blade, push the air out and re-smooth the surface.

    As for the baked beads, you could fill in the cracks with raw clay and rebake maybe?

  35. Hi Birtie, I purchased some Fimo and thought it was really tough to work with ; too dry. I love sculpy. Are you glazing them then rebaking? I have done that and mine cracked.So now I don’t bake them as long for the glazing. It was so beautiful too. Made me sick :) I am new at all this as well, and learning a lot thanks to Cindy and this group of wonderful artist. I hope my tip helps ;)

  36. @bertie:

    A couple of other thoughts…

    If you’re baking your beads suspended on a bead baking rack, try baking them lying on either several layers of scrunched-up kitchen paper towelling or on polyester batting. I’ve had beads crack when using a bead baking rack, but I haven’t had them crack when they were lying on paper towelling or polyester batting (even from the same batch as the cracked racked beads).

    Also, 250F is a very low temperature for Kato. Too low, I think; it might not even be curing properly at that temperature. 300F is recommended, and it’s even stronger when baked at 325F (which I discovered when I emailed Van Aken International about temperature discrepancies in certain Kato packaging and their web site; they sent me an extremely informative and helpful reply).

    If you’re interested, I posted the results of some strength testing on Kato cured at both 275F and 300F for various durations elsewhere in this blog post: Baking Kato Clay

    I didn’t try 250F, but Kato at 275F was so much weaker than Kato at 300F that I’d be concerned.

    (Fimo, on the other hand, has a LOWER recommended temperature: 230F on the packages that I have on hand.)

  37. NEW PHOTOS ADDED:

    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Interchangeable Pendants), have just been added in another post. The link by my name will take you to where you can see full size photos along with descriptions and stories about each one. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

  38. Adore this caging technique, Cindy, and the messy wraps, as they add so much to a display bead.

    Did anyone go further and adapt this technique in other ways? If so, would love to see some pics.

    Keeping the wire straight with my hands is tough….find the first thing I look for is some type of wooden or metal mold I can wrap the wire around is very helpful and I don’t get a bent cage.

    Think this could be a wild money maker if done as a belt buckle. How pretty to cinch your waistline with big big beads.

    • @Jocelyn: Hi Jocelyn, love your belt idea, that could work! Have to make sure the bead/pin part was secure — a stab in the belly would NOT be fun ;D !

      Brenda added a little extra to her pendants, and you can see the picture on her blog. Click her name on another page (her blog isn’t linked to her name on this one,) and it will take you to her blog. The post with the interchangeable pendants is a few back, maybe around Jun. 6th, I think. I have a great idea for these that I need to try out. Once I do, I’ll share…

  39. I have searched and searched to find the color combo that was shown as an example in the interchangable pendant video. it was the cream, red and green one. If anyone knows what cane that came from i would greatly appreciate knowing which one.

  40. Heidi@ That looks like the Kaleidoscope cane technique. If I am not mistaken. Also, the focal bead is a pillow bead. I don ‘t think Cindy showed us a tute on that mixture of colors. Any can jump in if I am wrong on this???? I think Cindy used some of her own beads as examples. I may be wrong though..

  41. @Brenda M: It’s not always easy to tell with colour differences between computer screens and so on, but I think that kaleidoscope cane was made using the Fall Leaves Palette (Vol-018B), with each of the colours from that palette being skinner/teardrop blended with a white or cream to make the various cane components.

  42. Heidi: I did that a gazillion years ago, so I had to really think about it! Brenda and Sue got it right. The bead was made with a Kaleidoscope cane and it was made with the Fall Leaves Palette blended with Ecru. Great guesses girls!

  43. thank you girls sooooo much!! my only other quick question is I have looked and I cannot find fall leaves palette anywhere!!! I can only see tutorial 018A no 018B HELP!!!!

    • @heidi wyrick: Hi Heidi, The B-series recipes come in the emailed newsletters we get on Fridays. At this time, that’s the only way to get them. If you weren’t a member when Vol-018 came out, then you wouldn’t have those recipes yet. But the B-series recipes do cycle through again…as of right now, we’re getting Vol-016B recipes in the newsletter. That means we should be getting the Vol-018B recipes coming through again in November. Here’s a comment by Cindy that explains it all: B-Series Color Recipes

      Hope this helps! ~Kat

  44. I was wondering if anyone knew how go get the newest color recipeif you accidentally deleted it off of your email!! I had some surgery and came home and was looking at my mail and accidentally deleted it and worse yet emptied my deleted file later that very same day!!!! I learned the hard way dont be on paid meds and look at your email!! lol

    • @heidi wyrick: Hi Heidi, I don’t know of any way except to ask Cindy to re-send it. I know she doesn’t like to do that, as it adds more work to her already overflowing schedule. But it sure sounds like you had a bad day! (Believe me, I know what you mean about the pain pills.) If Cindy gave permission, I suppose someone could send you a copy of their newsletter. It is free, but Cindy needs to verify that the person is properly signed-up for the newsletter and the free color recipes.

      Are you on Facebook? Do you have your own blog/website? Otherwise, you’d need to have Cindy give someone your email address…in which case it’d probably be easier for her just to send it herself after all. I’m really, really sorry there’s not better news… Have to wait & see what Cindy says…
      Good luck! Kat ;D

  45. @Phaedrakat – i am on facebook, i dinked around and finally found the color to download!! thank you so much for your wonderful advise. as you can see, i am a newbie to clay!!! lol I am just pushing my way through the techniques right now and everything seems overwhelming!! i love this site and the ability to communicate with other polymer clay friends!!!

  46. @heidi wyrick – I do hope that you got the Beginner’s Course. If not, you can order it at the top of this page, click on Polymer Clay Basics Course. Way back when, I jumped in at the middle of Cindy’s video library. It didn’t take me too long before I realized that I really needed the Basics course. I still go back and review some of the videos in that set. It is way worth the relatively small amount you pay for it. Now that I have gotten carried away talking about the Basics Course, you probably already have it and I’ve just been wasting space talking about it. Well, it is better to recommend it than have you trying some of the more complex videos and having them not turn out right,

  47. Thank you so much for your encouraing words!!! Thank you for recommending the basics course…I already have it, but I agree with you that it is an invaluable course!!! I am getting soooo addicted to making jewelry with poly clay!! I love working with the mediums and clays Cindy’s tutorials are amazing!!! How she does it all is beyond me!!!

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