Scrap Clay Rolled Arizona Beads | Polymer Clay Tutorial

Scrap Clay Arizona Beads - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #230: “Capturing art in your leftover polymer clay. You just don’t know when that next bead will turn up. BAM, you just did it Cindy.” ~Peggy-B

Over the years, I’ve discovered that some of the neatest ideas happen purely by accident… and they are often super simple to replicate as well. This was definitely the case with a polymer clay bead design that I came up with a while back, called… Arizona Beads.

Now if you’ve ever been to Arizona (and I know there are quite a few members here, who actually live there), you probably will agree that the beautiful and rugged desert landscape can be very stunning. The canyons and outcroppings are craggy and jagged, with horizontal stripes not only in the rock faces, but also in the magnificent graphic sunsets and sunrises.

So when I originally tripped across this bead shape after playing with some scraps of polymer clay left over from the Tribal Cane Tutorial, the first thought that came to mind was a southwestern desert landscape.

What can I do with a not-so-beautiful cane? I could do lentil beads, but I’ve made so many I’m a little sick of them. I’ll try putting some of the ends thru the pasta machine to see what develops. But I’m wondering, what do you all do with canes that didn’t turn out? ~Rose-M

Yep, some of my favorite beads were destined for scrap. Scrap jupiter beads, scrap slice pendants, and you just never know what you get when you run your scrap through the pasta machine a few times. ~Katie-C

I will pay more attention to my scrap clay from now on — something beautiful like this could happen and I’d miss it trying to hurry and mix my scrap! I love the ragged edge on these beads. What a great idea you had! ~Phaedrakat

I just love these beads, Cindy! Perfect Southwestern Beads, very typical of the Arizona colors. Sometimes, scrap clay turns out better than expected! Thanks for all your tips and ideas, Cindy…keep it coming. ~Lupe-M

Beautiful colors! I’m glad you can invision colors. Nature is a great source for inspiration and living in Arizona I enjoy the earth tones of the desert, the wonderful colors from our cactus and wildflowers, the color influence from Mexico and of course the sunsets. Wow one could stay a wake all night just dreaming up colors. As a very new clayer I find your website very informative, you’re a very gifted person. ~Jeanne-C

Marvelous colour combination. It looks very Southwest and makes me want to fly off to Arizona for some heat and sun. ~Lawrence-S

Love those Arizona scrap clay beads. So pretty. I have came across many happy accidents as well and made outstanding things with those. It’s exciting to hear of others, happy accidents and the beautiful things that come out of that. ~Lynn-W

Oh man, These are awesome! I live in the southwestern US and the rustic orangy colors in these beads are so typical of sunsets in this part of the world. They also remind me of pottery I have seen around here. In fact some of my favorite mugs, though in different colors have this striping effect on them. Thanks for sharing your serendipity, Cindy. ~Elizabeth-S

Oh my! The genius of that Lietz gal! You and your serendipity, Cindy, long may they wave! Lerve, lerve, lerve those Arizona beads! ~Mary-U

Naturally when a cool idea like this comes my way, I’m happy to share it with all of you. So… coming up tomorrow (Friday, November 18, 2011) in the Vol-042-3 members video at the Polymer Clay Tutor Library, I will demonstrate how to make these easy and cool looking, large hole Arizona Beads. Perfect for all of your organic style jewelry projects.


Please Note: A general prerequisite for all of my weekly tutorials is that you have a good understanding of the polymer clay basics, including: conditioning clay, using a pasta machine, clay blade and other simple tools, making Skinner Blends or Teardrop Blends, baking clay, as well as sanding and finishing. If you need help in these areas, my Polymer Clay Beginners Course will get you up to speed quickly. There is also plenty of free information on this blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find articles on specific topics.

Supplies & Tools: Video-042-3 Southwest Arizona Beads:

  • Scrap polymer clay and/or canes. All colors will work, but it is good to have some contrast between them, in order to get more dramatic looking beads.
  • Embossing Powder (optional). I used Stampendous Embossing Powder .5 Oz-Pirate Gold Opaque, but you can use the color of your choice
  • Pasta Machine.
  • Bead Rack.
  • Clay Blade.
  • Mandrel. I used a 3mm steel mandrel for creating the large hole in these beads. You can use any round rod or dowel in the size that you prefer. Ideas are bamboo skewers, knitting needles, Sculpey Etch ‘n Pearl Tool, crochet hook, anything that a bead can be wrapped around and slide off of, will work. Since you won’t have to bake on the rod, it doesn’t even have to be oven safe to work.
  • Ruler.
  • Acrylic Roller (optional).

The full version of the Vol-042-3 Scrap Clay Arizona Beads video will be posted in the Polymer Clay Members Library on Fri Nov 11, 2011. But here is a sneak peak you can watch right now…

The full version of the “Arizona Beads” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-042 Back Issue Package.

Customer Feedback About Membership Value:

Hi Cindy. I enjoyed your pirate tute. I’ve got a special guy friend who is all about pirates and I think a macrame and pirate bead wristband would be perfect for him. I watched several of your other tutes today. Prior to that, I watched a number of tutes on Youtube, most from ‘professionals’. Once again, I am impressed with the quality of yours – direct and to the point instructions, great camera work, clear sound, good lighting, uber friendliness – I could go on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent and I wish I had found you way sooner. It would have made the learning process so much easier for me. Thank you for all you do and have a great day. ~Angela-M

What an exciting month! Thank you, Cindy… for providing us such a wonderful selection of cool tutes/techniques. An amazing array — from Pandora-type beads to hand-forged (and inexpensive) wire rivets. Plus, a lovely cane, a super-smart way to mix our own crackle paints, stunning color palettes, etc. — a lot to be grateful for (and worth WAY more than the $3 membership!) And, of course, everything’s explained and demonstrated beautifully in your videos. Thanks, Cindy…!!! ~Phaedrakat

Hi Cindy, I got your beginners course 2 days ago, finished it last night and became a member today. I signed up for the membership plus the 3 month backdate offer. I want to tell you that you have helped me more in the last 3 days than all the reading I’ve been doing for the last 3 months. Thanks Cindy. ~Linda-F

The following topics are included in this week’s Polymer Clay Tutor Library, Rolled Scrap Clay Arizona Beads video tutorial:

  • See examples of Arizona Beads in several different sizes and color ways, as well as a macrame hemp bracelet using some Arizona Beads.
  • Discussion of the tools, supplies and techniques needed to create this wonderful bead shape technique.
  • Find out how imperfections actually add to the character of this unique rustic bead.
  • Learn a great way to use up your scrap polymer clay and cane ends to make great bead sets, reminiscent of the Arizona Landscape.
  • Discover an easy and effective way to add an unexpected gilded bead cap to the ends of this, or any other bead for that matter, using a product normally used in scrapbooking projects.
  • Plus, with some creativity and ingenuity, there are many ways to come up with other unique designs of your own.

The full version of the “Arizona Beads” preview video shown above, is now available for purchase at the Polymer Clay Library in the Volume-042 Back Issue Package.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. pattw35, 17 November, 2011

    WOWser!! I JUST LOVE THIS TEASER !! Arizona beads – what could be better to an Arizonian. I love your color waves. Did I say I love this teaser? Can’t wait for Friday. These are my colors and my style -rustic………….So in advance, THANK YOU THANKYOU

  2. pollyanna, 17 November, 2011

    Another Friday treat coming up. Love these colors and I don’t often work in them.

  3. Dawn, 17 November, 2011

    Yea! Love the colors and the rustic look to these. Thanks Cindy!

  4. Tantesherry, 17 November, 2011

    Yay Cindy – I LOVE tutes about using up scrap clay and old canes !!!
    Thank You

  5. fran, 17 November, 2011

    This is going to be another of my favorites.

  6. Linda K., 17 November, 2011

    I love these colors. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

  7. Lesley Symons, 18 November, 2011

    Wow, I just fell in LOVE with these beads – feeling so inspired, can ‘t wait to give them a try. This group is wonderful, every Friday is like a mini-Christmas!!!! Thank you Cindy, I’ve learned so much here!!

  8. Silverleaf, 18 November, 2011

    That crackled edge effect doesn’t do it for me to be honest, but I love the blended colours and I especially like the combination of turquoise and red with a neutral. I never put red and turquoise together and I have no idea why not because it looks awesome!

    Again though, this is one of those techniques that you can really play with and make your own – when I did this ages ago I wrapped the sheet around some scrap clay so I got more beads out of it for example.

  9. Lisa Whitham, 18 November, 2011

    LOVE these beads!! I remember when you first came up with these beads! I made some with scrap from my Tribal Cane too and used some of them on my Purse Charm. My Mom loved them too – but she would, she lives in Arizona half of the year. Hehe! What I love about this version is the “gilded” end – spectacular look Cindy, I can’t wait to try it..! Thanks for another cool bead lesson Cindy!!

    Keep On Clayin’ On,
    ~Lisa :) xoxo

  10. Phaedrakat, 09 December, 2011

    Hi Lisa,
    I remember your awesome purse charm!

    You used several of Cindy’s tutes to make a fantastic selection of beads to choose from. The photo didn’t focus on your Arizona Beads, but it certainly showed how nicely they blended with the rest of your chosen “charms.” I’m adding the link here so everyone can see your cool creation! ;-)

    Btw: I don’t see a link on this page to Cindy’s “original” Arizona Beads, so I’m adding it, as well. I’d forgotten how glossy they were — how they looked a bit like glazed pottery. I love the matte look, as well, though. And I agree, the gilded end is a very clever upgrade (which inspires me to no end!)

  11. pollyanna, 18 November, 2011

    Lover this also. What a neat idea and the ‘end cap’ is true genius for sure.

  12. Mickey McGuire, 18 November, 2011

    I am having a hard time cleaning the surface I work on which is a thin sheet of plexi glass is there anything I can use to get the thin films of clay off?

  13. Peggy, 18 November, 2011

    Have you tried baby wipes with alcohol or just a Viva paper towel because it is lint free with alcohol. his is what I use but I have a sheet of glass with measurements on it not Plexiglas. Hope this helps.

  14. Dixie Ann Scott, 19 November, 2011

    Mickey, plexiglass is not a good base to work on.The Polyclay folks do not recommend any alcohol used on this type of plastic. Baby wipes are okay but I would recommend you get a piece of glass, a Sculpey Clay Sheet or go over to Lowes or Home Depot and get a 18×18″ ceramic or marble tile. They work great and are pretty cheap!

  15. pattw35, 18 November, 2011

    YEP<YEP<YEP!!!!!! This an A#1 winner.!!! How wonderful. And the Embossing powder really sets them off- I can't wait to try this tute. Your addition of the ep was brilliant !!!
    Who would have ever thought of this combo -why "OUR" Cindy, of course. Do you get tired of us saying thank you ? I hope not, because we will say it again and again and again. ;D

  16. Cindy Lietz, 04 December, 2011

    Oh Patt, we would never tire of hearing thank you! I appreciate all your kindness. Glad you are enjoying the tutorials so much. :-)

  17. Ken Hamilton, 18 November, 2011

    I can see these paired up with the Jupiter Beads.

  18. pollyanna, 18 November, 2011

    what a great idea. Good to see you here,Ken

  19. Lisa Whitham, 19 November, 2011

    Great idea Ken! They could be made to match if you have a bunch of similar color scrap. You are just too clever Ken..!! :)

    Clay On,
    ~Lisa :)

  20. Peggy, 18 November, 2011

    I was thinking the same thing Ken. I love the Jupiter beads too then put them together and wala. I couldn’t stand not watching the tutorial so I had my husband get my lap top for me. I am still quite ill with my shingles but hopefully better in time for Thanksgiving. If not it won’t be the first holiday I have spent by myself while sending my family off to my sisters for dinner. I am going to be so far behind before I feel like working on my tutorials. I’m not sure there are going to be very many homemade gifts this year for Christmas. Back to the tute. Cindy I love that you are constantly working trying to find new and improved things for us here. As far as I am concerned every little crack and indention tells a part of the story for that particular bead. Let your mind run wild with this one and you will have a creation and a half. Hopefully some day soon the Arizona bead and I will have a sit down together and create away and beyond my imagination. This is why you never throw any clay scraps away. Scraps should be called Future creations!!!!!

  21. Billie Shields, 18 November, 2011

    Hi Cindy,
    Love all your videos. You have been such a great help to me. Would really love to see you do some poinsettia flowers for Christmas.
    Thank you for all you do:)

  22. Lisa Whitham, 19 November, 2011

    Try checking back in the library… I think we did a poinsetta cane, if I’m recalling correctly. Try last year Oct. or Nov. or maybe Dec? If not last year, then check farther back. Of course there is the search function also, you could look for it that way. Hope this helps Billie!!

    Peace, Love, & Clay,
    ~Lisa :)

  23. Lisa Whitham, 19 November, 2011

    I was wrong! We learned a holly cane… Sorry if I got your hopes up. Seems we’re all still waiting on a Poinsettia Flower/Cane. :)

    Keep On Clayin’ On,
    ~Lisa :)

  24. Natalie H, 18 November, 2011

    Hi Cindy
    Love this new tut….you are so creative…..Now all we need to learn is how to do the macrame stitch with the hemp to complete this great tut
    Natalie aka safti

  25. Angela M., 18 November, 2011

    Happy Friday :)

    Cindy, what a fun tute this one is! I love finding new things to do with my scrap clay since I manage to have so much of it, lol. And the tip about the embossing powder, wow! I haven’t used it before but I can see I’ll have to get some-I love what you’ve done with it. Thank you for this tute and for the wonderful color recipes.

    I do have one question. Usually if I see a crack when I fold my clay it means it isn’t conditioned well enough. Do the cracks in this bead weaken it?

    Also, I vote yes to learning how to do the macrame with the hemp, as some of the others have suggested. I bought a macrame for beginner’s book but I still need to see it done and no one teaches better than you do, Cindy. Pretty please with sugar on top :)

  26. Silverleaf, 20 November, 2011

    Yeah, I’d like to see some basic macrame too, I like the rustic look of it.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 04 December, 2011

    Hi Angela, took me awhile, but here I am… as far as cracks in the clay causing weakness, they can if they are all the way through. A few surface cracks on beads of this size however are not a a problem. They just add a little character to the beads!

    I will think about adding some simple macrame tutes to the list. Thank you for the suggestion.

  28. Pam, 21 November, 2011

    The embossing powder tip opens up all kinds of ideas ,copper, pearl, interference violet,love these!

  29. Cindy Lietz, 21 November, 2011

    Thank you everyone for your sweet comments! Sorry I haven’t been around that much… I have many things on the go right now (including some cool tutes coming up) so I am not responding here as fast as I used to.

    Oh btw, one of the things keeping us busy lately was being interviewed for an article in the CHA Portfolio an industry magazine for the Craft and Hobby Association. The article is called “How to Boost Your Business Through Education“. It’s an informative read, so you might want to go check that out.

    It is wonderful to see you all interacting with each other and offering help and support wherever you can. That is very helpful!! Thanks! Also thank you for the Tutorial requests, I will see what I can do.

    Glad to see you guys liked the embossing powder idea. Does it spur on any new ideas for using the stuff on clay in other ways? If you’ve got any cool ideas, do share. I’d love to hear them!

  30. Tantesherry, 22 November, 2011

    read the article that you guys did for CHA
    “informative article” oh my was it!
    with the words ‘virtual classroom’ and ‘real time chat’
    I 1st felt a bit of dread — I don’t know how to do ANY of those
    BUT then I realized This is Cindy and Doug and I most likely will
    not be alone when it comes to learning these new techniques with my computer
    just like I’m not alone learning new techniques w/ clay
    What a nice feeling-thanks guys

  31. Jocelyn, 22 November, 2011

    Glad to hear about the interview Cindy, congrats

    Love the ease and flexibility of this bead, young and old alike can master the design.

    I look at the bead and see sun rises and sunsets, clouds in the blue sky over a flat green prairie.

    Ocean scapes would be great too. Just in the variance in the colors. So damn neat. LOL!

  32. Cherie, 22 November, 2011

    Add my vote to the poinsettia cane. I’d love to do a sculpted poinsettia flower like the Iris flower bead. This tutorial was awesome as usual. such a fun way to use up left over clay. I’ve tried that and come up with some really pretty beads.

  33. Natalie H, 22 November, 2011

    Hi Cindy
    had my grand daughters over yesterday and we made some Arizona beads using some scrap of yellow and very pale purple..they had a great time( oh they are 5 and 8). they love the ragged edges…we cut them in half to make more each one can have a bracelet when I finish baking them….just need to learn the knotting stitches..used to know how to do to do some research on it again.
    Oh good luck with the article .

  34. Tantesherry, 28 November, 2011

    Hi Cindy HAD To pop in and say Thank You for this tute ! Had a wonderful time making 4 batches this week. I put pics up over at our FB page– fun fun fun thanks-sherry

  35. Dixie Ann Scott, 01 December, 2011

    Sherry your beads are beautiful! I love the colors you came up with.

  36. Joan W, 30 November, 2011

    Hi guys,

    I made these beads and they came out great. One problem, the embossing powder keeps rubbing off, although I baked it for an hour at 265. Should I wash the beads, re-bake them, or just go ahead and seal them? I like the matte finish as is.

  37. Peggy, 02 December, 2011

    Joan once you seal them your embossing powder should be ok. You can get a sealer in a matte finish. If it is a sealer you can put back into the oven then I would bake them one more time. Hope this helps and I am sure you will get some more ideas. If not ask again on Friday because it is meant for any subject on Fridays.

  38. Joan W, 02 December, 2011

    Peggy, thanks for the tips. I’m going to try them today.

  39. Tantesherry, 02 December, 2011

    Hi Joan
    I put a picture up at Cindy’s polymer clay Facebook page of the product I used

    The reason was- I wasn’t sure what colors of ep I’d use or if I’d use any at all on each set of AZ beads till after they were baked and I had them in front of me to fiddle with

    -after deciding on the artsie stuff
    -got practical and cleaned w/ alcohol
    -let dry
    -with the built in dauber applied the ‘clear embossing ink’ only where I wanted the ep to stick,dipped the bead in and tapped off extra
    -then back onto bead baking pins/rack and in the oven till done
    note: had to finish up a few with my heat gun

    hope this made some sense :)

  40. Joan W, 03 December, 2011

    Wow, Tantesherry, thanks for the idea. I had just bought the satin and the gloss for another project. Now I need to make another set of beads! Very clever.


  41. Joan W, 03 December, 2011

    Tantesherry, Clarification. I am seeing a picture of a glaze. Did you use a glaze or a clear embossing ink?


  42. Tantesherry, 06 December, 2011

    Hi Joan
    sorry to have taken so long to see your ?
    I used the clear embossing ink on the AZ beads
    it was real easy to put the product only where I wanted it
    with the soft applicator tip

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