A ‘Shiny-Beads’ Polymer Clay Tutorial – Make Your Own Buffing Wheels

Dremel Buffing Wheels

Vid #71: How to get that professional shine with Fimo clay jewelry beads by sewing up your own polishing wheels for the Dremel rotary tool:

If you like to have shiny polymer clay beads, nothing does a nicer job than a power buffer… after thorough sandings using all of the grits of course! :-)

To get that shine, a great polymer clay tool to use is the Dremel Multi-Pro rotary tool. You can set it up with a spinning cloth polishing surface (aka buffing wheel) mounted on the tools arbor. You can buy these buffing wheels made by Dremel at your local hardware store, or you can easily make them yourself. All that’s needed is some coarse cloth and a sewing machine!

The best cloth to use when making your own buffing wheels is a natural fiber cloth with no dyes in it. Muslin, Linen, Cotton, White Denim and canvas are all great choices.

Cut the cloth into loose squares about 2″ wide. Stack as many squares together as your sewing machine can handle and sew a spiral from the center to the outside edge. Trim into a circle shape and poke a hole in the center.

Through this hole, you can thread the buffing wheel mandrel. Stack as many wheels as will fit on the mandrel’s shaft. Then secure this assembly to your Dremel’s arbor.

If following written tutorial instructions is not your thing, there’s no need to worry. I have created a how-to video on the whole procedure. It’s part of my weekly multimedia newsletter series. See lower down on this page for a quick preview clip.

For more tips on using the Dremel Multipro Rotary Tool, here’s another article: Buffing Polymer Clay Beads

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The full version of the “Buffing Wheel” preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-005 Back Issue Package.

In this “Buffing Wheel” video tutorial I demonstrate how to sew up your own buffing wheels for your polymer clay Dremel tool using materials you probably already have laying around. This tip is great for the thrifty clayer that likes to save some money whenever possible.

  1. TaoGem, 17 August, 2008

    Would this work with silver metal clay as well.

    If not, are there any rotary type buffing or polishing methods that can be used with the metal clay to either eliminate or reduce the need to use a barnishing tool?

    You idea looks great by the way!

  2. Cindy Lietz, 18 August, 2008

    Taogem, I haven’t worked with the Silver Art Clay yet, though I have seen a couple of demos. Is there a special cloth you could use to remove that white film after firing instead of the burnishing tool? Because maybe you could use that cloth to make a buffing wheel? Just guessing…

    Does anyone else reading this, work with silver clay that could help?

    Cindy Lietz’s last blog post..Purple Beads for Purple Pendants and Jewelry – Sculpey Color Mixing

  3. DARINDA BRADEN, 25 October, 2008

    Cindy, How do I get into the library? I put in my name & password you gave me, but the site is not accepting them. And how do I look at the color cards we were suppose to receive? I have a hard time with the computer sometimes. Also–What is the paypal. I don’t have credit cards, only a checking account. That is why I had to sign up for the FREE account. I really need some answers–you are the only one who takes time to answer everyone. Thankx, DE BRADEN

  4. Cindy Lietz, 25 October, 2008

    Hi Darinda,

    Sorry you are having problems. I will email you about your password issue.

    In regards to the color cards, I am assuming you are referring to the cards promised in the October 18 blog post. Once most everyone is signed up into the new library system, I will be emailing out the form for you to receive those.

    To be a paid member, you do need to have a credit card. Some banks have checking account debit cards that “act” like credit cards, so you might want to check into that.

    Paypal is the name of the secure online payment company that I use to process the credit card payments.

    Thanks for being a member Darinda.

  5. DARINDA BRADEN, 25 October, 2008

    Cindy, Thank you for the information. It helps– I do have a debit card so how would that work if I wanted to be a paid member? How much does it cost & what exactly are the benefits for a member? Sorry I’m asking so many questions–I just need to make sure I understand.Thankx, DARINDA (DE) BRADEN

  6. Cindy Lietz, 25 October, 2008

    DARINDER: If your Debit Card allows Visa / Mastercard to process transactions through it, then it will work. However, not all debit cards work this way… but many do. You will have to talk to your bank to find out, or ask them if they can provide you with a new debit card with the credit card processing feature.

    There are 2 different memberships: One is FREE and the other is a PAID option (very affordable) with lots of benefits.


    * This option will allow you to watch the weekly polymer clay tutorial videos at no charge. But access is only allowed for a limited time up until the clips are moved into the protected library archives. If you miss an episode… you miss it. No back issues are available with this FREE Membership level.

    * As a sign-up bonus for FREE Members, you will receive a full month worth of color recipe cards… the very same digital recipe cards that PAID Members get to collect each week.


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    * Your personal library will start with the videos/recipes released during the month that you join… and will continue to grow with all new releases.

    * As a PAID Member, you will also be able to purchase back issues of videos/recipes that were posted before you signed up. The cost is $9.95 for 3 months worth of weekly back issue videos/recipes.

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  7. DARINDA BRADEN, 25 October, 2008

    Cindy, Thankx so much for all your answers & patience- it means alot to me. DE BRADEN

  8. Betsy Butler, 27 October, 2008

    Thanks! I sent you $9.95, and I’m really looking forward to all your tips. I tried making the dremel buffing wheel from the picture of the free part of a video you had, but it flew threads all over the room – I’ll check out this video. I think I didn’t sew out to the edge far enough.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2008

    @Darinda: You’re welcome!

    @Betsy: Seeing it in video should help. Even when you do make it properly, it will throw off a few of the loose threads when it is brand new. After you have used it a few times, it will stop doing that. Make sure to wear glasses or goggles to protect your eyes whenever you use a Dremel. You don’t want flying threads or beads to hurt your eyes!!

  10. Tinuke, 18 January, 2009

    I just made my own buffing wheel. What great instructions and what a big difference form the wheels that DRemel sells!

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. Cara, 11 December, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for your excellent video newsletter. It is so nice to receive such an exciting email every week. I have played with polymer clay for some years but am now keen to make it a serious hobby and improve my techniques. I have recently started making polymer clay beads. I am based in the UK.

  12. Cindy Lietz, 11 December, 2009

    @Tinuke & Cara – It’s great to have you both as part of the community here. Thanks for posting your kind words.

  13. Peg C, 31 December, 2014

    Don’t know if you ever tried using real felt but it is easy to make. Just take your favorite wool sweater and wash it in your washing machine using hot water. Then put it in the dryer on high heat and Voila! you have felt! Or you could go to the thrift stor and buy an ugly sweater and do the same thing. Maybe I’ll check it out. Wonder if it would have to be sewn? If I try it, I’ll let you know

  14. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2015

    Thanks for the tips Peg! I don’t know whether or not it would need to be sewn. I guess it would depend how well it held together whether or not the layers separated too much when buffing. Do let us know if you end up trying it!

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