Polymer Clay Tutorial | Pillow Beads for Your Jewelry Projects

Pillow Beads

Vid #103: Beads that Look Like Fluffy Pillows, Complete with Premo Clay Stuffing!

For anyone who has been following this site for a while now, you probably already know that Friday (tomorrow) is the day that the weekly video tutorial is posted in the members library. And that at some point before each Friday rolls around, I post a preview clip… just like the one further down on this page.

Hi Cindy, Your videos are always so inspiring! I get up especially early on Fridays just to see what video you have sent and I sit down with my coffee and watch. Thanks so much. ~Charlene

Boy do I look forward to Fridays now thanks to you. I cant wait to see what you will post next. And I’m never disappointed! This week is no exception. Another finger dancin video I must say. Cause you know the minute I see your e-mail in the inbox my fingers start itchin for some clay. XOXO ~Jamie

I have gotten so much help from your tutorials and look forward each week to what you are going to share next. ~Diana

I always hope to see an email from you when I check my emails. Keep those videos acomin’. ~Lani

Hi Cindy, I have just watched your video clip, a fabulous result and how easy you make it look. I’m very new to working with Polymer Clay. Thanks so much for passing on your knowledge to this novice, I look forward to receiving your email as I know I will always learn another tip to assist me in my creativity. Toodles From the land down under: Australia. ~Maggie

I look forward to your weekly members video. I am so glad to be a member. My beads have become so much better and I have the confidence to experiment now, which is important in skill development. ~Cara

This week’s tutorial video [Vol-011-3] is all about making beautiful pillow beads using the polymer clay fabric sheet we made in last week’s tute [Vol-011-2 – Pattern Backgrounds].

These fun little beads look just like miniature pillows for fairies or dolls. In fact, you could use them as accessories for doll houses if you wanted to! Made using clay ‘fabric’ and clay ‘stuffing’, they are not only fun to make, but also fun to use in your jewelry projects too.

If you prefer, you can also make the pillow bead shape with slices from a square shaped polymer clay cane… instead of using patterned polymer clay sheets.

In this week’s polymer clay tutorial video, I will show you tricks for making perfectly shaped pillow beads… as well as share some tips on avoiding problems that come up with this unique bead making technique. You won’t want to miss it!

Further down on this page is a little sneak peak clip for you to watch right now if you like. The full version of the video will be available in the members library tomorrow (Friday, April 24, 2009).

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 “Pillow Beads” 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 “Pillow Beads Tutorial” video:

  • Examples of various pillow beads made with both patterned sheets and cane slices.
  • How to use a patterned background sheet or ‘clay fabric’ for your designs on your pillow beads.
  • Why using a backing sheet of scrap clay is important.
  • How to use a square metal cutter for making your pillow bead layers and stuffing.
  • Mastering the squeeze and pinch technique for closing up your pillow seems.
  • Using an acrylic roller for smoothing out the seams.
  • Special sanding instructions.
  • Discussion of what can happen when your cane slices or fabric is cut too thin… funny stretching, blocky ridges and collapsed corners.

  1. squash, 23 April, 2009

    Hi, Cindy! I read your latest articles but I didn’t have anything clever to say and my opinion in this case is to simply shut up than to say something stupid. And the remark I’ll make about your pillow beads isn’t clever either, but I simply had to say that they look fabulous! In fact scrumptious was the first epithet that came into my mind. So shiny and appetizing! You really know how to make a lazy clayer to want to clay again! I don’t know how much filling you use to make them, until now I’ve tried the totally filled ones with squares and as I finished a kaleidocope cane adequate for this purpose, I intend to make hollow pillow beads when time allows me. This shape is time-consuming (smoothing all the seams etc), but also very rewarding. It’s so good to hold a shiny pillow bead in your palm and simply enjoy the fact that you could make it right. And because yours are perfect (that pirate bead is one to kill for IMO), you must feel much joy to have them around you or see them worn. Have a nice weekend!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 23 April, 2009

    I think you’re very clever squash! And as far as you being a lazy clayer… no way! I have never seen anyone more prolific than you! It is really amazing the number of beads you make in a month!

    Glad to hear you feel like making pillow beads after seeing the preview! You’re going to love the little tricks I’ve got for making them easier and faster!

    You sound like a bit of a pirate yourself if you’re willing to kill for beads! LOL

    Have a nice weekend yourself!

  3. Carlene Z, 24 April, 2009

    VERY awesome tutorial!!! Thanks!

  4. Terri N, 24 April, 2009

    I love these beads and have tried to make them before when I found tutorials, but they never turned out like this. This method is so much easier and more accurate! I can’t wait to try these again. You always make things so easy for us. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful tips!!


  5. Jamie, 24 April, 2009

    Waaaaaaaaaah!!!!! Sniffle sniff….sigh. I miss my videos. :( I cant wait to get back and get caught up again. XOXO Jamie

  6. Donna, 24 April, 2009

    OK, now I think I can do it. Thank You so much for the Video, I can just understand so much more on Video than in writing for some reason. LOL, does that have something to do with age?


  7. Adrienne lindsey, 25 April, 2009

    Really great video on making the pillow beads. Your explanation is so very easy to understand as well as the visual being of great help. Thanks again for great instructions!!

  8. Cindy Lietz, 25 April, 2009

    Glad to see you are all loving the pillow bead tutorial! I found them so hard to do when I first started and there was no one to teach me how. They are actually pretty easy when you learn the tricks!

  9. Elizabeth Kerr, 25 April, 2009

    Thank you Cindy for being so prompt back to me.

    Extruder Cane Pillow Beads - Elizabeth Kerr

    These are the ear rings I made using my Makins Extruder after viewing your Video. I had never used it for much before. I love the way this pattern happens.

    I have done pillow beads before but your latest video had some helpful hints for me. Thank you so much.


  10. Cindy Lietz, 26 April, 2009

    Hi Elizabeth – thanks so much for sending the photos. I LOVE it that you are applying the techniques you are learning from the videos. Your “extruder pillow bead earrings” look great! Cindy

  11. Lynda Gould, 28 April, 2009

    Dear Cindy, Do you have your instructions on DVD’s. I like what you are doing. You are a very talented lady.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 28 April, 2009

    Hi Lynda – Thank you for the kind words.

    At this stage my video tutorials are not on DVD because there really has not been enough interest for me to go to the expense of setting this up.

    However, I am compiling a list of places where this topic has been discussed elsewhere here at the blog.

    The “Sanding-Polymer-Clay-Beads” link up by my name above will take you this DVD list… if you are interested in having a look.

  13. 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 “Polymer Clay Beads” link by my name above to have a look at her pillow bead work.

  14. Tina Adams, 18 August, 2009

    Amazing, I thought these were so much harder, you sure make everything thing look so easy ! Thanks Tina

  15. Cindy Lietz, 21 August, 2009

    Thank you Tina! That is really nice to hear! A lot of the polymer clay techniques are actually quite simple once you know the steps. The nice thing about the pillow bead is how versatile it is in jewelry design. I hope you enjoy including them into your jewelry. You do such beautiful work! Thanks for commenting.

  16. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    **PHOTOS ADDED: Project pictures have been added to a Spotlight Feature showcasing Kriss Johnson, a member who is very much appreciated here at this supportive polymer clay community. Click on the “Polymer Clay Jewelry” link by my name to have a look.

  17. Phaedrakat, 12 May, 2010

    Yay, I finally got to see this video! It’s very good, well-done, etc, etc. It really makes me want to make some pillow beads — right away! I think I’ll use my extruder to make the rainbow cane Cindy used as an example, or maybe I’ll try the gingham, Hhmmm…. Either way, it’s gonna be fun! I’ve been thinking, though, that I need to hurry — it’s going to be hot and sticky pretty soon. I need to find several ways to keep my clay cool once I start making beads. The hot weather’s comin’ fast; so I need to finish my table & clay set up. I at least want to have a few days of nice-weather claying! Anyway, thanks Cindy, for making such cute beads, and such an easy to understand video tutorial. You and your hubby are awesome! Thanks again!

    (I’m so excited about the other tutes in this back issue. I have some questions to ask about the rock tumbling video. I’m looking forward to his even more.) YeeeeeaHaw!

  18. Katy Alexis, 30 January, 2016

    I adore pillow beads! They’re probably my favorite shape if I had to pick. That said, I’ve never been very good at making them. After this tutorial I’m finally getting it! I need to work on consistency in my shape though. I used my very first fabric sheet and I don’t think they’re too bad at all. :)

    I do have a question for you though. I made these pillow beads fairly thick, about three quarters of an inch at the thickest. I baked them for about 90 minutes because of how thick they are which isn’t even over doing it according to the packaging for premo of course. However I had three of them crack on the surface. This hasn’t happened to me since using my big convection oven again. It was happening to me when I used my small toaster oven that is also convection. That one was fluctuating too much and I think I was getting big heat spikes and drops. I assumed that’s why I was getting cracks. I do have my thermometer in the oven and I set it just as I always do, 275 or a smidge under, although of course I didn’t watch it at all during the baking. But I wonder if anything else could have caused these cracks? I did use a lot of cornstarch to smooth them and I never have before. The cornstarch worked beautifully but I wondered if maybe it caused too much leeching that could have contributed to the cracks? I kind of doubt this since many of you bake with items submerged in corn starch, but I’m not really sure what else could have caused the cracks. Any suggestions?

  19. Cindy Lietz, 01 February, 2016

    Hi Katy, I am not totally sure what happened, though I doubt it had anything to do with the cornstarch… unless you let your beads sit in cornstarch for awhile before baking. That can definitely cause leaching. Just rubbing it on the outside shouldn’t be causing you any issues.

    Was there any chance the canes you used in your clay fabric old? They might of needed to be ‘warmed up; before putting them onto your bead core and got hairline cracks that were not obvious until it was baked.

    Also was the scrap clay you used inside, Premo too? You can have a problem with the core expanding and cracking the outside, if the the clays are not the same. This happens really bad with Sculpey Ultralight cores.

    I don’t think the temp or the oven spiking being your issue.

    Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this, so it doesn’t happen any more. The shapes look good though. I really like the colors as well!

  20. Katy Alexis, 01 February, 2016

    Interesting… I did use canes that are several months old. I thought I woke them up, but that could’ve been a problem still. I also recently used some old sculpey original as a core for something when I ran out of scrap… It might have been these… I forget now, but I’ll definitely avoid that from now on! In fact, many months ago when I used to get cracks I wonder if that was also from using that crappy sculpey as a core… I may have done it then too while trying to use it up. Hmm… I should probably just toss it so I’m not tempted again. I could give it to my daughter, but it bakes up so brittle that I don’t want her to make something she loves just to watch it break when she inevitably drops it. Have any tips on using up clay you don’t like?

    I’ve been ill so not as productive as usual, but hopefully back in the saddle full time soon!

  21. Cindy Lietz, 02 February, 2016

    I am so sorry to hear that you are ill Katy. :( Get better soon OK? It has been wonderful to have your delightful self around here!

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