Polymer Clay Tutorial | Jupiter Planet Beads | Clay Extruder Gun

Polymer Clay Jupiter Beads

Vid #113: What on Earth To Do With Scrap Clay – Make Some Outer Space Beads:

How would you like to quickly and easily transform your leftover clay into the coolest looking beads that are out of this world? Well this weeks Jupiter Bead Tutorial will teach you how. All that’s required is some multicolored scraps of clay and an extruder gun.

What I love about making these Jupiter planet beads is that you don’t have to worry about all your clay scraps being the same consistency. In fact, you actually want INconsistency… Different brands; Contrasting colors; Crumbly clay; Mushy bits; Hard stuff; Freshly conditioned trimmings; Dried out pieces; Mixing experiments gone wrong; Distorted cane ends; Wonky cane slices; Etc.; Etc.

This means that never again, will you have to wonder what on earth to do with your growing Fimo-Premo-Sculpey-Studio-Kato scrap pile. All you’ll have to do is grab the old extruder clay gun and make some space age beauties like the Jupiter beads pictured above. Or perhaps your’s will turn out looking more like Saturn or Neptune.

By the way, this planet bead idea is not my own. I came across it a couple of years ago and have seen it done by other polymer clay artists too. I think it was on a French blog originally, but for the life of me can’t figure out which one… even though I searched through every French blog listed in my RSS reader. If anyone can recall who first came up with this idea, please do post a comment to give credit where credit is due.

A full video tutorial for this Jupiter Bead technique will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 [Volume 014-1]. However, you can watch a sneak peek intro clip right now, by scrolling down the page a bit.

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The full version of the “Jupiter Beads” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-014 Back Issue Package.

The following topics are covered in this “Jupiter Beads” video:

  • Transforming scrap polymer clay into designer quality beads.
  • Yet another cool idea for using your handy dandy clay extruder gun.
  • How to use up your most dried out and crumbly cane pieces that are no longer usable as canes.
  • Why you want to make sure that your scrap clay pieces are NOT all the same consistency.
  • Tips on how to hold your hands when rolling large round beads that are almost perfectly circular.
  • How to remove the creases and ridges to create a super smooth bead surface that looks like the swirly surface of an outer space landscape.
  • Piercing, sanding and polishing instructions so your Jupiter planet beads end up with a glassy professional looking finish.

  1. squash, 30 June, 2009

    Hi, Cindy! Your Jupiter beads look fabulous and I can’t wait to see the video on Friday!

    I think the artist that came up with this idea was Dominique Franceschi. And another variation to this technique is here on Perlchen’s blog – she calls them Nautile beads.

    Anyway, just three more days and we’ll see you making the pretty beads with this professional looking finish! Life is great sometimes :)

  2. Polyanya, 30 June, 2009

    Doh! Now I need an extruder as well as a tumbler! LOL!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 30 June, 2009

    @Squash: Thanks you so much Squash for emailing me those links to the French sites. As you know, there is an “http filter” set up on my blog. This means that links posted directly into comments usually end up in the junk folder. Since there is so much “crap” that ends up in that junk folder, I actually don’t ever go in there. Anyways glad you are excited about seeing this technique. I’m happy to be able to present it in video.

    @Polyanya: The extruder tool is very handy and I know you’ll end up using it for so many cool techniques. If you follow the “Clay Extruder” link by my name above, you’ll see that Amazon currently has the Makin’s Professional Extruder on sale right now for only $16.65. It’s the same model that I use in this week’s tutorial video. If you search around on Amazon, you may be able to find a supplier in the UK.

  4. Louise, 30 June, 2009

    It comes from Dominique a french clayer in charge of the Parole de pate blog.

    She has also her own blog
    one the first fimoteuses in to make polymer clay popular in France.

  5. Tressa, 30 June, 2009

    So excited about the Jupiter Bead Tutorial. I’ve been trying out new techniques and this fits right in!

  6. Arlene Harrison, 30 June, 2009

    Since my supply of scrap clay seems to be multiplying like rabbits!!! I am always looking for cool ways to use them. You can only use so much of the “mud” clay I get when I mix scrap clays together so this looks like a cool solution. I’ll be waiting to see the video on Friday. And since it’s a HOLIDAY (YEA!) I’ll be at home where I can check it out instead of here at work trying to get my polymer clay fix via the internet (BIG GRIN).

  7. Jocelyn, 30 June, 2009

    These beautiful spheres remind me of the blown glass worlds globes created by Josh Simpson (joshsimpson.com) You can almost see the clouds, topographical and geographical images using the scrap and dried clay.

  8. Sue, 01 July, 2009

    These will be fun to try! Gotta get an extruder… although if I can’t wait I can probably repurpose my old biscuit press! :D

  9. Cindy Lietz, 01 July, 2009

    Thanks girls for the comments. I hope you enjoy the technique!

  10. nancy reddick, 02 July, 2009

    Hi Cindy, well another great reason to pull out my extruder gun…(if I can remember where it’s hidden) these are very pretty beads. Now if I can only have enough scrap clay… I am like the others who’s post I have read, use up most of my scrap clay making lil earrings and such. Thank you once again, you have such a pleasant way of teaching… Nancy

  11. Cindy Erickson, 03 July, 2009

    Beautiful bead, Cindy. Each bead will be very unique, and that is a good thing! :)

    Hugs to you,

    Cindy E.

  12. cara letho, 03 July, 2009

    thanks again Cindy for another great tutorial- loooove the beads!!! can’t wait to start on them.
    all the best

  13. Polyanya, 03 July, 2009

    Oooh they are lovely, thank you Cindy! Sadly Amazon UK only stock the plunger makins extruder, but I have seen your model on Emma Ralph’s website for under £20. Think I’ll have to treat myself!

  14. Theresa, 03 July, 2009

    Thank you Cindy…love the tutorial! You make everything so easy. Do you bake these on cornstarch too? About how long do you suggest them baking for? I love my Fridays, my favorite day of the week as I get my video fix. lol


  15. Cindy Lietz, 03 July, 2009

    Glad you liked it everyone! It is pretty simple, but the results are amazing!

    @Theresa: You can bake them on a bead rack or a bed of cornstarch, it is up to you. I bake them for a hour like everything I make. If yours are particularly large you could add 15 min to half an hour more. Just as long as they bake for at least an hour they will be OK.

  16. Jamie, 03 July, 2009

    Yay!! My first project to use my new Makins extruder on!!! Swami Cindy strikes again! Somehow she just knew I had just gotten one in my Firemountain Gems order. Didnt you Cindy? I swear I havent even had it for 2 weeks! I dont know how you do it, but keep the great ideas coming. I am closer than ever to being able to clay again. WOOHOO!!! XOXO Jamie

  17. Jamie, 04 July, 2009

    I agree Rob_k. I havent been able to touch my clay in going on 2 years now!! And there is bound to be at least a few canes and things that have gone south by now! But with this idea I will know exactly what to do with them! Thanks Cindy!! XOXO Jamie

  18. Cindy Lietz, 04 July, 2009

    @Rob: Throwing out clay is a big no-no! Even burnt clay can be chopped up and used to make faux stones. I can always find a use for polymer clay, no matter the condition it is in! :-)

    @Jamie: My dear sweet girl, you must be going insane! With all the cool info you have been adding to your past knowledge, once that studio gets set up again, you may never come out of it again!! Your hubby may regret building it for you when he starts getting hungry ;-)

  19. Rob_k, 04 July, 2009

    Just goes to show you… never toss out your scraps or the old clay pieces!

  20. Jamie, 04 July, 2009

    Oh never fear! I plan on laying in a HUGE supply of TV dinners for the hubster LOL! Its amazing all the ready made frozen foods they have these days! Hahaha! Myself? I will subsist on my old stand-by’s of pretzels, Pringles and Poptarts. Hee hee hee! XOXO Jamie

  21. Cindy Lietz, 05 July, 2009

    LOL! I see you’re on the Three P Diet!… Four P’s if you include polymer! :-)

  22. Jamie, 05 July, 2009


    Oh I always include polymer, I just dont eat it hahaha! Although I do try to squeeze in one solid meal a day, breakfast and lunch are up in the air most days. But sometimes I do get so absorbed in my clay or jewelry making I do forget the time. Maybe I need to get an alarm clock since my tummy doesnt seem to be able to tell the time when Im claying! LOL! XOXO Jamie

  23. rachel warren, 06 July, 2009

    Wow Cindy – they are beautiful! It’s great knowing you can make beautiful beads and designs from left overs. I’ve been saving my scrap clay and old canes for ages… just waiting for something to do with them :) Thank you Cindy.

  24. Cindy Lietz, 08 July, 2009

    @Jamie: My tummy is my alarm clock! :-)

    @rachel: There are lots of cool things you can do with your scraps. If you click the link by my name you will see an article on what you can do with your scrap clay.

  25. Melinda, 08 July, 2009

    So this is my first lesson and I loved it!!!! I’ve been doing this for a little under a year mostly learning from books and little bits off the net… I must admit I’ve been following your newsletter for a couple months now and I finally bit the bullet (I’m very “frugal”) and got a subscription. OMG!!! In my 2 days off I made a ton of fabulous beads. I loved them so much I had to sand them and polish them to finish… which I never get around to until weeks later. I used up about half of my scrap clay and some old canes!!! Thank you so much. It was a fabulous couple of clay days! Can’t wait for the next installment!!!

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some beautiful pictures of Melinda’s polymer clay beads are showcased at these links: Jupiter Beads and Polymer Clay Jewelry making

  26. Jamie, 08 July, 2009

    My tummy gave up on me a loong time ago Cindy! Hahaha, it knows when I have clay in my hands I am not listening. It might grumble a bit when I am wireworking or some other project. But when I am in the “clay zone” it doesnt even bother.;) XOXO Jamie

  27. Cindy Lietz, 09 July, 2009

    @Melinda: How happy that makes me to hear you say that! I would love it, if you emailed me photos of the beads you made. That would encourage others, that they too can make great polymer clay beads. If you enjoyed that video, you are going to love the faux raku technique coming up next! There are a lot of cool things you will learn in those videos!

    @Jamie :-)

  28. Cindy Lietz, 23 July, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Project photos have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Carrie, an avid contributor here at the blog. Click on the “Jupiter Beads, Faux Raku, Mod Canes” link by my name above to have a look.

  29. Cindy Lietz, 11 September, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some Jupiter Bead project pictures have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Melinda Herron, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Polymer Clay Jewelry Making” link by my name above to have a look.

  30. Phaedrakat, 16 February, 2010

    Wow, it’s been awhile since anyone has posted here, although I don’t know why. There are so many Jupiter bead pictures posted on the Bead Giveaway Contest page, I would have thought it would have people coming here to learn how to make them! Of course, that comes from watching the video (which I finally have done,) and it is as simple as it is fascinating! Cindy is such a great teacher — she really knows how to break things down and show you how to to do them. My extruder is in the mail, so I will be watching my mailbox (and making these soon!)

    Another great job, Cindy! Thanks!

  31. Sue F, 16 February, 2010

    I love the Jupiter beads, which I make with colours deliberately selected for the technique rather than leftover clay (I never have enough of that anyway). But my extruder’s broken — it IS possible to break a Makins Ultimate Extruder, so I’m really glad I never tried a cheapie! — and I need to buy another before I get back to this.

  32. Phaedrakat, 16 February, 2010

    Ooh, I sure hope I don’t break mine right off the bat. It’s taken me so long to order one. I kept hoping I would find one locally (there’s so many craft stores,) but no luck. I do have a “cheapie.” But I’m going to wait a little longer…

    Did you ever send in any photos, Sue F? I would love to see your more deliberate approach and your color choices. You must have really worked that thing hard to break it! (I mean, it’s the “ultimate” right?) Have fun~

  33. Sue F, 16 February, 2010

    It took forcing quite a lot of my hard Kato clay through the smaller circular dies to break it, so if you use a softer clay, or a larger die like Cindy used in the video, you should be fine. It’s a good tool… I think I just need one where ALL the metal parts are hardened steel!

    And no, I didn’t send in any photos. I’m the person who voted “No”. ;) The way the photos are sized and presented to meet the blog’s requirements often gives me a negative impression of things that are actually quite nice-looking in reality, and I don’t want any of my photos blog-ised so that they look bad to me. I know that Cindy also recommended uploading them elsewhere so that they could be seen fully there, which is a great idea, but to me there’s still the initial negative reaction. There are various techniques you can use for optimising small images, but simply reducing them to the smaller target size generally doesn’t “do it” for me. (I’m extra-fussy and extra-pigheaded about that kind of thing. Even if it doesn’t bother other people and things look alright to them, I’m not going to do it if it doesn’t look good to me! LOL)

    I do have about 5 different Jupiter bead styles hanging around from before I broke the extruder. Two of them haven’t been sanded yet. If I have time on the weekend I’ll try to take a few photos and park them on my own web site (only!) so that you can have a look. (If only there were more hours in the day…)

  34. Cindy Lietz, 16 February, 2010

    @Sue F: You said… “There are various techniques you can use for optimising small images, but simply reducing them to the smaller target size generally doesn’t ‘do it’ for me.”

    You are welcome to use whatever photo techniques work best for you and send them to me in the format that meets your standards. I promise not to “blog-ise” them. The photos I post in the comments area of this blog can be as wide as 340 pixels… which is actually a fairly large photo.

  35. Phaedrakat, 22 February, 2010

    @Sue F: Maybe you already know, but Makin’s has a stronger metal extruder. It’s more expensive, and has only half the clay capacity of the one you had, but it probably won’t break as easy with your Kato. Just thought I’d let you know, just in case.

    Also, I was wondering if you had a chance to put your Jupiter beads online yet. I’ve gotta admit, I’m eager to see your beads!

  36. Sue F, 16 February, 2010

    @Cindy: Many thanks for that extremely generous suggestion, which I’ll definitely keep in mind. 340 pixels wide is actually a pretty small photo when I view it on my computers though, and while I know that very few people use the same screen resolution and display settings that I like, how it looks to me outweighs how it looks to the rest of the universe. (Pretty unreasonable, eh? That’s me! LOL) Anyway, I’ll have a play with photos on Sunday and see what I come up with and will take things from there. Thanks again! :)

  37. Cindy Lietz, 16 February, 2010

    @Sue – Your meticulousness is just what makes you… well… you! And it’s the reason why everyone appreciates your input around here!

  38. Phaedrakat, 17 February, 2010

    Wow, Sue! I thought I was a perfectionist! (Just Kidding.) But I have recieved all kinds of grief over the years for being too meticulous, fussy, or “perfect.” Family members jokingly say I have OCD, or that I’m anal-retentive; but I can’t help wanting things done a certain way. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable, though. I just have a hard time enjoying things if they aren’t the way I think they should be.

    However, I’ve had to “relax my standards” considerably in the last few years because of my back surgeries. When you can’t do something yourself, and rely on someone else to help you, you’re kind of stuck with what you get. Oh, believe me I tried in the beginning. But I needed quite a bit of help, and got it from people the opposite of perfectionists. So, I’ve learned to let go a bit. (It’s still hard to do!) I’m glad that you are able to enjoy being meticulous and doing things your way. Someone should get to!

  39. Sue F, 22 February, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: No, I didn’t know that Makin’s had a stronger metal extruder! That would be very handy. I’ve only ever seen their squeeze/syringe-type model, which I think is plastic, and the screw-type metal model which I have.

    This is the model I have:

    Or here, from Makin’s own web site:

    What’s the stronger extruder called? Do you have a link to it? I haven’t seen it before, and I can’t find it on Makin’s web site. They DO have a photo that appears to show a different extruder (at the bottom of this disc set web page):


    but I don’t see it listed as a product in its own right.

    And no, sorry, I haven’t had a chance to photograph my Jupiter beads yet. It’s very busy at work and overloaded with family birthdays at home… I really wish there were more hours in the day! I’ll let you know once I’ve got my act together and have taken and uploaded some pics. ;)

  40. Cindy Lietz, 22 February, 2010

    Sue, the stronger extruder is called the Makin’s Professional® Stainless Steel Ultimate Clay Extruder. It is smaller than the green one and was designed for silver metal clay but would be perfect for polymer clay, just in smaller batches. It is about $50 instead of the $25 but because it is stainless steel instead of aluminum, it would be way stronger. As far as I know the dies are interchangeable. shadesofclay.com and riogrande.com have them as well.

  41. Sue F, 22 February, 2010

    Thanks for that info, Cindy! I hadn’t seen them at any of my normal suppliers or during my wanderings on the web. I’ll check out shadesofclay.com (I bought Helen Breil’s tutorials from there a while ago, and they were friendly and helpful and lovely to deal with) and riogrande.com (I know of them but haven’t looked at their web site… yet!). No doubt I’ll find all sorts of goodies other than just the stronger extruder to buy!

  42. Cindy Lietz, 12 May, 2010

    NEW PHOTOS ADDED… that relate to the theme of this page… Jupiter Beads Made With a Clay Extruder. Click on the link by my name for the full story from Carolyn-F.

    Polymer Clay Projects

  43. Sandra, 20 January, 2011

    Hi there, I received my Makin’s clay extruder the other day, and just got it out to play with, and had a go at this Jupiter bead, what a cool look!! I can’t believe how easy it is use to use this tool. I used an old leopard cane with a caramel clay, and it turned out really well. Thanks for a neat tute Cindy.

  44. Cindy Peterson, 09 November, 2012

    Cindy – With your guidance, I am changing how I make my polymer clay beads beads. I have made Jupiter Beads that are smooth. I have also made Rocker Beads that feel like butter, but I didn’t buff them. Now I know after your last Faux Jasper Video that they could have had a shiny finish without varnish. I have a Dremel and a table top buffer that I will be using more often now.

    Thanks The Other Cindy

  45. Deanna Smith, 01 June, 2020

    Hi! I Am new to polymer clay and appreciate your Tutorials on YouTube. I have searched all over for this answer and have not found any help.

    Trying to use a clay extruder to make hoops earrings. My clay is kind of cracking and ridgedy when I’m extruding. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  46. Cindy Lietz, 09 June, 2020

    Hi Deanna, polymer clay that is on the firmer side will tend to crackle along the edges when extruding. Try adding clay softener to the clay to soften it up a bit. Softer, smoother clay will extrude smoother. Good luck!

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