Scrap Clay and Junk Beads Get No Respect

Scrap Clay

Vid #021: Polymer Clay Scraps – Don’t Throw Them Away:

What to do with them? Junk beads, projects-gone-bad and scrap clay often get thrown out… which is a crying shame.

Why would you toss perfectly usable materials when they can be recycled or re-purposed into something beautiful?

Already cured beads that did not turn out as expected, can be re-covered with new cane slices and then baked again.

As well, you can collect all your uncured scrap clay pieces into a large ball over a period of time. After a while, slice through the ball and you might be surprised to see some pretty unique patterns emerge.

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The full version of the “Dealing With Mistakes” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #21 of 39]. The word, Mistakes, is kind of foreign to me. I view all of my mistakes more as unexpected results to learn from. It often leads me to some pretty creative results as you will see in this video.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 19 March, 2008

    One of the things I love about polymer clay is its ability to forgive mistakes. A few more people with this ability would make the world a better place (IMO)!

    The more mistakes you make, the more you will learn. And because you can remix, re-bake, carve and/or paint the clay to transform it into something else, you should never throw out your mistakes. Unbaked clay can be made into gorgeous muds and canes. While baked clay beads and pendants can be re-wrapped with fresh clay or cane slices.

    Rejoice in your mistakes. It means you are learning something new!

  2. Nora White, 01 May, 2008

    Good ideas, I hadn’t actually thought to recover already baked beads with fresh clay. I save all of my mistakes thinking someday I may find a use for them.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 01 May, 2008

    I have reworked several pieces this way… And no one will ever know what ugly thing lurks underneath your now beautiful bead!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..How To Store Polymer Clay Canes Using Plastic Wrap

  4. Cindy Erickson, 11 August, 2008


    How cool is this!!! I didn’t even think about covering a mistake with another design to make it beautiful! What a good way to make sure nothing is wasted. You truly are the Queen of Clay :)

    :) Cindy Erickson

  5. Cindy Lietz, 13 August, 2008

    I’m liking that title Cindy! Never was much of a Princess, kinda fun to skip straight to Queen of Clay!

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Scallop Shell Pendant Jewelry by Polymer Clay Artist Tina Holden

  6. lynn watts, 14 September, 2008

    Scrap clay (unbaked) makes a good source for making molds or texture sheets. Find all kinds of items around the house or hardware stores, thrift stores , etc. to make texture sheets, make sure your sheet is thick enough so it will not break when used. The bend and bake clay is also a good clay to use for texture sheets and making molds, Superflex too. If you buy repel gel you can use your molds to bake in and then remove afterwards. Check out Donna Kato’s web site for the repel gel. Love all your ideas. LYNN WATTS

  7. Cindy Lietz, 15 September, 2008

    Thank you Lynn for your fantastic tips!

  8. Zuisia, 24 February, 2009

    I made a focal bead, liked it, baked it…now don’t really like it as much as I thought I would. Can baked clay be recycled?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 24 February, 2009

    Yes baked clay can be recycled Zuisia! I never throw out any of my pieces even… if I don’t like them at all!

    It won’t ever be soft clay again, but it can be recovered and baked again, grated and added to soft clay for a granite look or cut apart to be re-purposed somehow.

    If you would like to see a Dragonfly Pendant I made with one of my ‘mistakes’ click the link by my name.

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