Polymer Clay Tutorial | Making Disc Beads for Fun and Profit

Simple Disc Bead

Vid #101: The Simple Design of this Disk Bead is the Reason Why It Is So Profitable:

The tutorial video that will be posted later this week in the Polymer Clay Library, is all about making Disc Beads (also spelled Disk Beads). This bead shape can be summed up in three words: Simple, Desirable and Profitable.

The simple design is fast and easy to make, which is very important if you are selling your beads for profit. And the puck-like shape is also quite desirable because it can be used in so many different ways.

If you do a little research on the successful polymer clay bead artists out there, you will see that it’s these simple bead shapes, that are often the biggest sellers.

Here’s Some Reason’s Why They Are So Popular:

  • Their large flat surfaces are perfect for decorating with beautiful cane slice designs. This allows you to add your own unique personality with a minimal amount of labor.
  • Since they are flat on both sides, this makes them fast to sand, buff and polish. Plus the smooth rounded edges do fine in rock polishers and tumblers. This can speed up your finishing steps significantly.
  • From a jewelry design perspective, they can be used in many different ways. Make them large for using as focal beads, or small to for accents and spacers.
  • Disc beads can be drilled through the center and strung with their large flat surfaces stacked together like saucers. In this configuration, you’ll want to have your cane deign elements featured around the outer edges of the beads.
  • Alternatively, the you can drill the hole running from edge to edge so the beads can be linked or wire wrapped with the large round surfaces prominently showing.
  • If the hole is large enough they work well with hemp jewelry projects, leather lacing, silk cording and ribbon.

In my upcoming disc bead tutorial video, you will learn about 2 ways to make Disc Beads. Both are very easy to learn. The second technique in particular, is super speedy. It will have you pumping out great looking, sellable beads in no time at all.

Further down on this page is a little sneak peak video for you to watch right now if you like. The full version of the video will be available in the members library in a few days on Friday (April 10, 2009).

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Here’s That “Link Below” Referred To at End of the Video
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The full version of the “Disc Bead” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-011 Back Issue Package.

The following topics are covered in this “Simple Disc Bead” video:

  • Discussion of different ways to drill holes through disc beads.
  • Ideas on decorating disc beads with cane slices and other creative techniques.
  • Examples of disc beads wired for using as pendants, charms and links.
  • Reasons why disc beads can be such a profitable bead to make in larger quantities.
  • How to prepare your clay before making your disc shapes.
  • A unique way to use your acrylic roller that you may not have thought about.
  • The quick method for creating multi disk beads all at the same time.
  • How to use a patterned sheet such as mokume gane to make multiple matching  beads.

  1. Ken H., 07 April, 2009

    Are these the large focal peices that are usually on cording and made from rose quartz and the likes and tied with just a larks head knot through the center hole?

  2. Cindy Lietz, 07 April, 2009

    No Ken. What you’re thinking of is larger, flatter and has a larger hole. They are often called donut beads.

    These disk beads are smaller and thicker, with a smaller hole and rounded edges. They are big enough to be a focal bead, but still small enough that they can be stacked. If you watch the video you will get a good sense of the size.

    BTW, Thanks so much for all your comments lately! Love it!

  3. Ken H., 07 April, 2009

    Thank you, you present us with stimulating topics, inovative techniques and extremly useful and helpful information. How can we not participate.

    It was an interesting topic the other day about gender and your beading blog, I may have gone off topic a bit but I think the same reasons apply to the comments on your beading blog and jewelry making as to any of the arts.

  4. Linda Breyer, 08 April, 2009

    Hi there Cindy, I am a member of your video club. I was wondering how you get the April additions to view, as I only have March’s – unless I am making a huge mistake here :) I can see there is a disc bead video but I can only view the guest clip.

    Please help.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 08 April, 2009

    @Linda – Good to hear from you!

    The “Guest Clip” you are viewing above is just an introductory sneak peek of the full version which will be posted in the members library, later this week. So… not to worry. It’s coming!

    My weekly newsletter that gets emailed out first thing on Friday mornings, will let you know when the full video is ready for viewing in the library. The email newsletter will also provide you with a handy direct link.

    Links to “B-Series” polymer clay color recipes, accessible to both members and non-members, are also included in the weekly newsletter.

    If you are not yet subscribed to the newsletter, the link by my name above will take you to sign up form.

    Also be sure to “whitelist” my email contact information so that my newsletter messages actually do make it to your inbox. Here is a link to a page with instructions that will will explain how to do that: Cindy Lietz Whitelist Tips


    @Ken – I don’t think you went off topic the other day at all. Your comments are a big part of what makes the this blog ‘stimulating’. And I think most people would agree that stimulating is way more fun that boring. Keep it up!

  6. Linda Breyer, 09 April, 2009

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much, it was really helpful.

  7. MJ, 10 April, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    Beautiful beads and really like the suggestion of using the roller to achieve consistency in size which is not necessarily easy but important.


  8. Jamie, 10 April, 2009

    Hello Cindy. First let me wish you and yours a very happy and relaxing Easter. Then I have to say, you’ve done it again! Taken something, that to new clayers (and some old ones, LOL)might be at best a tedious job, and at worst a frustrating one, and made it simple and quick. I know when I first started making beads, these especially were a bit of a pain to get the same size. But with your log roll technique it would be a simple matter to make dozens in very short order. And I like that the design is on the outside for use as spacers. Very cool. My solution to making same size disc beads was to make all my beads using a shape cutter to start with the same amount of clay for each bead. Then roll into balls and apply my slices or embellishments. When ready I would line them up in a square pattern like a tic tac toe board, making sure to leave room to allow for squishing, lol. Then I would use playing cards at the four corners to determine my thickness and press the whole bunch at once with a sheet of glass or a tile. After that, all I had to do was make holes and bake. But putting on the cane slices and rolling them took quite a while. Now with your log roll trick I can easily cut that time in half. Thank you once again for saving us all a bunch of time, by spending yours to make these great videos.(Thanks to Doug too!)Is the Vatican accepting applications for internet saints yet? I’d vote for you in a nano-second. Happy Easter everyone! XOXO Jamie

  9. Cindy Lietz, 11 April, 2009

    @Linda: You’re welcome! Glad you liked it!

    @MJ: Thanks! Sometimes it’s nice to get your beads all the same size. I’m glad to pass on the tip!

    @Jamie: Happy Easter to you too! I like your way of pressing a bunch at once! I have laid out several already pressed disc beads, side by side and given them one last press with an acrylic sheet before, just to make sure they were the same thickness. But I forgot to mention that in the video. Your way would be faster though! Thanks for sharing everything you do. You are the best!! (LOL about your Vatican Comment… but being a polymer clay saint may conflict with the polymer clay angel status that I’ve been honored with in other posts here at the blog :-)

  10. tereasa brooks, 16 April, 2009

    do you have a site where your work is displayed? i would love to see some of your work. thanx, tereasa

  11. Cindy Lietz, 16 April, 2009

    This is it Tereasa! I haven’t had the time yet to post pictures anywhere else.

    The easiest way to see all the pictures on this blog is to go to the home page (or click the link by my name). When you scroll down through each page you will see the picture from each post.

  12. Chris Lucey, 20 April, 2009

    Is there any other way to polish beads beside sanding? I am making smaller beads and just frustrated with trying to hold and sand them. Also do you have an option to using Futura floor wax to finish beads. I’ve tried some acrylic sprays but they come out unevenly.
    Thanks for your help

  13. Cindy Lietz, 21 April, 2009

    Hi Chris, thanks for your comment!

    Yes you can ‘sand’ smaller beads in a rock tumbler. If you click the link by my name you will get more info on how to do that. Make sure to read all the comments, because there have been lots of developments on the technique through everyone discussing the topic.

    As far as options to Future Floor Finish, type the word ‘Varathane’ into the search box to find out about using that.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 12 July, 2009

    Just wanted to add a quick note here about some project photos that Melinda (a new member at the Polymer Clay Library) submitted of the disc beads she recently made. Follow the “Disc Beads” link by my name above to see them.

    And here is what Melinda said in another post about her Jupiter Beads

    “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!!!”

  15. Jocelyn, 24 July, 2009

    Cindy, not sure why but the very first image on the page is showing the boxed X instead of the photo. Do I need to do something to my computer to fix it?

  16. Cindy Lietz, 24 July, 2009

    If it is only the one picture and you are able to see all of the other photos of here at the blog, it may be just a temporary glitch that will correct itself next time you re-boot your computer.

    It actually sounds like a browser cache issue. Click the link by my name above for tips on how to clear your browser cache.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 14 August, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Some project pictures have just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Kimisen, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Home Jewelry Business” link by my name above to have a look at her disc bead work.

  18. Cindy Lietz, 04 September, 2009

    **PHOTO ADDED: A project picture has just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Silverleaf, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Alcohol Ink Polymer Clay Techniques” link by my name above to have a look at some beautiful disc beads she has made.

  19. Ken H., 10 October, 2009

    I have a question for you, what would you do to make this disk bead into a doughnut bead, especially to taper the outer and inner edges?

  20. Cindy Lietz, 27 October, 2009

    Sorry Ken to take so long to respond. Getting pretty busy around here!

    To get those tapered edges, lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your clay before using your cutters. This does a beautiful job of tapering the sides!

  21. Ken H., 28 October, 2009

    No problem, I understand completly. As soon as this current show is finished I’ll be getting back to the clay work.

  22. Cindy Lietz, 13 November, 2009

    **PHOTO ADDED: A “Disc Bead” project picture has just been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Zuleykha McMillan, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the link by my name to have a look.

  23. Cindy Lietz, 27 March, 2010


    Polymer Clay Projects

    Hello to Everyone,

    Some new Spotlight project pictures that relate to the topic of this page (Disc and Donut Beads), have just been added in another post. They were submitted by Laurel-B. The link by my name will take you to where you can see them, along with a bit of a write up. Hopefully they will inspire you to achieve great things with your own polymer clay projects.

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