Secrets For Rolling The Perfect Swirly Lentil Bead

Rolling Perfect Swirly Lentil Beads - Polymer Clay TutorVideo #698: When you get this one right, I’m sure you’ll agree it is one of the most addictive polymer clay beads you can make.

In this video I’m going to share with you the secrets to rolling the perfect Swirly Lentil Beads from Polymer Clay.

Swirly Lentil beads are quite addictive to make… it is fun to watch the color pull up from the sides and twist into a wonderful swirl in the center.

They can be made with scrap clay, with canes or with perfectly planned sections of clay.

They are fairly easy to make but they do take practice and there are a few tips and tricks to getting them right.

You’ll need a smooth surface to work on. I am using the We-R Memory Keepers Glass Mat Review for Polymer Clay.

And you will need a small piece of smooth see-through material such as an acrylic stamp block, a piece of Plexiglas, or even an old cd case.

During the rolling process there are a few thing you must remember. Keep the acrylic block level. Use your fingertips like little table legs, to keep your top plastic surface plastic level, and at the right height.

If your top plastic surface is uneven, the bead won’t be round.

Keep your circular motions even. Too big, and the bead will become a pointy bi-cone bead. Too small and the bead will become very flat and hard to roll.

Same goes for the pressure. Too light and the bead will be pointy, and to hard the bead flattens out.

Color gets pulled from the outside edges and swirled into the center. So remember that when placing your patterns or cane slices on the bead.

Always do your circles in the same direction. If you change directions partway through, the swirl will untwist and start going in the other direction.

In can take a while to get the swirl you want.

Firm clay moves slowly and will take more turns… soft clay moves quickly, but can be harder to keep the shape even.

After rolling, let the clay rest for a bit to firm up. Do another quick roll to reshape before baking.

If you try and handle a freshly rolled lentil bead without allowing it to rest and cool down, it can become distorted and will finger printed easily.

If you are interested in a video on piercing lentil beads or other lentil bead videos, leave a comment in the section below.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Krithika P, 15 September, 2015

    I’d have never thought that mod cane scraps would make such lovely lentils. Great refresher video with lots of tips. I haven’t figured out how to correct the shape when it becomes oval or wonky, I will be practicing some more after this. I’d love to see how to pierce a lentil bead cleanly!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    Hi Krithika, thanks for your comment! Yeah, it’s just a pressure thing combined with the angle of your acrylic block that will create those wonky beads. Keep practicing… it’s worth it for the joy you feel when you create that perfect swirly lentil!

  3. Dawn B, 15 September, 2015

    Thanks Cindy. For small beads I like to use the smooth acrylic part of the Amaco tube bead roller. It has the little legs that keep it flat while swirling. These beads certainly are addictive.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    Cool idea Dawn! As long as those little legs don’t restrict you, they would help to keep you piece flat.

  5. Betty Bolerjack, 15 September, 2015

    That is cool! I have some lentil beads that I have made, but I didn’t realize how the color moves to form the swirl. Fun!

  6. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    Yeah, that is pretty cool, isn’t it Betty!

  7. Julia G, 17 September, 2015

    Hi Cindy,
    It was fun to see the “Swirlies” again. Loved the example of the bead with the waistband of the mod clay cane. I can remember the first one Itried to make, sure it would be perfect…ha! But now I can do it, and it is such fun. I’m mostly writing to say….YES… Please do another demo of putting the hole in the bead. I’ve done it but still find it very tricky, so if you have some wisdom ( and don’t you aleays????) on doing this I’d be grateful to see it.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    Thanks Julia! I will be putting a Lentil Bead Hole video on the list of videos to do. In the meantime, if you look up under the video there is an old video I did on Piercing lentils that should help.

  9. Susan Gantz, 18 September, 2015

    Would love to see how you Pearce the beads.I am inspired to try this again. Mine were always too pointy or too flat.thanks for another informative video.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    You’re welcome Susan, I will be doing another piercing video soon. Like I mentioned to Julia, there is an older video you can check out for now… just look for the link under this video player.

  11. Asya Givelberg, 18 September, 2015

    Thank you so much. Very good clip

  12. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2015

    You are very welcome Asya!

  13. Dixie Ann, 18 September, 2015

    Cindy, just watched this today, I am going nuts here with so much to do but I wanted to pop in and tell you how much I appreciated your video on rolling out those swirly beads. I have made dozens but after your explanation on how the colors appear, it made a lot more sense to me. Thanks so much Doll!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2015

    Glad to hear this video gave you some clarity… thanks for saying so! Isn’t it fun with things just start to click!?

  15. Cris L, 09 October, 2015

    CINDY!!!! i’m late to this party but oh MY!!!! you make it look so easy to do I think maybe I CAN do this too!!! I can’t wait to get home and try this – so inspiring!!

    note: do you have any other thoughts on the ‘base’ clay ball color? If i follow this, then none of the under color will show so it doesn’t matter- right?
    and I kind of did wish to see what would happen if your clay wasn’t warm enough and any cracks did appear.. sometimes seeing the negative can help reinforce the positive.

    Thank you so much for all you show us!!

  16. Cindy Lietz, 13 October, 2015

    Hi Cris, the only time the base bead color would make any difference, is if you were using cane slices that were made with translucent, or were cut really thin, or if you didn’t complete the swirling until the canes on the outside covered all the way to the center of the bead. If you do it like I did, it won’t matter. As far as the cracking goes, I probably should not have said ‘warm’ because it isn’t really a temp thing… the clay in the ice water would not have cracked if it had been recently rolled.. whether the bead was warm or cold. What I meant was warmed up or woken up really. When a clay bead has been recently rolled, the oils move through the clay and make it more pliable… even if it is cold. So when it is pierced the hole won’t crack at the exit hole when it is being pierced. Hope that wasn’t ‘as clear as mud’ for you. It would be easier to explain in video.

  17. Maura T, 12 August, 2019

    Hi Cindy, love the tutes. I’m unsure about using Mica powder in my clay. Do you have any Tutes on that?! Thank you!

  18. Cindy Lietz, 12 August, 2019

    Hi Maura, I don’t think I do have a tutorial that specifically shows how to add mica to polymer clay. As with any inclusion that you add to polymer clay, how much you add depends… it depends on how sparkly you want it, how soft your clay is, the technique you are doing, whether you want the mica mixed into the clay or sitting on top.

    It is something you will need to play with. If you’re mixing it into clay, add just a tiny amount and mix it in. If it looks good then you’re done… if not add a little more. You can keep adding until you like it and the clay still holds together. Too much mica and the clay won’t hold together when you try to roll it out. If that happens add a little more clay until it holds together again. Start small with both the clay and the mica… otherwise you you end up with way more than you need!

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