Start Selling Your Polymer Clay Jewelry, Her Friends Say

Polymer Clay by Ileana BuhanSpotlight: “I am only a beginner and am very anxious to hear what the members of this community will say about my work.” ~Ileana-B

Nothing excites me more than seeing how polymer clay beginners can advance to the level of achievement that Ileana Buhan has done, in such a short period of time. Ileana currently resides in the Netherlands, and she will be our Spotlight Guest for today. I’m so pleased she could join us and share her story.

Related links for today’s Spotlight: 1) Torn Paper Watercolor Technique; 2) Mobius Beads; and 3) Faux Raku Deep Crackle.

Here is What Ileana Wrote…

I am Romanian and moved to Netherlands 5 years ago to study. I discovered polymer clay this year in March and since became addicted. I am married, have a full time job in a technical domain actually, and I use clay as a creative outlet, it helps to fight the daily stress.

I am lucky because my husband is very supportive with clay work, his hobby is photography and the pictures I sent you and on the website are made by him.

I discovered you and your wonderful lessons early this summer and this event definitely gave a boost to my creative efforts.

Only recently, I had the courage to make my clay work public and I am very grateful for the support you offer. The Polymer Clay Tutor is such a warm community and so nice to be in. I was not very active in this community, I admit, but I do read all the blog and all the comments :).

I tried everything: watercolor beads, flowers, book beads (these are very lovely) but my all time favorites are the raku beads. You are such an inspiration!

About the pictures: I chose to send you pictures with 5 different necklaces, that I made using techniques that I learned from you. The first two necklaces that are made using the watercolor technique.

For the first necklace (see photo at top of article), I used pure Indian Red as the top layer and the result is that the beads have a sort of cracked effect to them. I used a simple black cord to string the beads. The necklace has two layers of beads for a simple yet (I hope) striking effect.

For the second necklace (more photos posted lower down on this page), the rainbow pieces I created two skinner blends, one with warm colors (yellow-orange-red-purple) and  the other with cold colors white pearl-green-blue. Because the beads are quite colorful I chose a simple design for the beads. This is one of my favorite ones, I like to wear it at work with a white shirt.

The next two in the series are the Moebius beads, and although they are quite simple to make, the unusual shape makes for striking results. I like the green one, which combines the Moebius beads with Chinese knots. For the copper one, I used a simple mosaic cane in which I used all my copper shades of scrap clay.

The last necklace is a pendant that I made using the faux raku technique (actually this is the first successful try). I used only colored inks on white clay. The name of this pendant is simply black, and for the finish I choose black seeds beads.

This is it! I am only a beginner and am very anxious to hear what the members of this community will say about my work. I mean this community has seen a lot of polymer clay work. So far I created jewelry only for myself and give them away as gifts. Lately, my friends were telling me that I should try to sell them but I am not sure. I would try that I am afraid that I am biased because they were made mostly for myself. So I would appreciate any suggestions to improve my work.

With regards,

~Ileana Buhan (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan
Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan
Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan Polymer Clay by Ileana Buhan

Ileana, the Red Watercolor Beads in the first photo are amazing. You were right when you said they had a striking effect!

I also love your choice to use bright colors in your other watercolor beads. It really makes them stand out.

The Mobius beads are lovely and the addition of the Chinese knots in between the green beads is a cool effect. I’ll have to try those knots some time.

But my favorite piece is the same one that you like best as well… your Deep Crackle Faux Raku Necklace! It is very dramatic and looks just like real raku pottery. Very well done!

I think you should listen to your friends when they tell you to start selling your polymer clay jewelery. You are ready!

So everyone… please join me in sending Ileana a little love and encouragement from your part of the world, to hers. She is definitely an inspiration and a pleasure to have as part of the polymer clay community here!

By the way, I’d also like to say a special Hi to Ileana’s Mom in Romania. I know she will be reading this because of what Ileana wrote in her last email to me…

Wow!! I am so excited!! I cannot wait to see the spotlight feature. My mother will be so proud of me :). She is the one who make me love handmade things. The coincidence is that I am flying home (to Romania) on Friday the 18th of December, so I will have the chance to show it live to my mother :) ~Ileana


** If you have been inspired by my teachings and would like to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight Article, then please do write up something creative and email it to me along with a selection of your project pics. Make sure to send me high resolution photos that I’ll be able to zoom in on to show the details of your work. If you don’t already have my email address, simply leave a comment below and I will get it to you right away.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Silverleaf, 18 December, 2009

    Fantastic, I love it! I’d definitely say start selling Ileana, I agree with your friends.

    The red watercolour beads are my favourite, I really should try that technique because they look awesome.

    Chesterfield, UK.

  2. DJ, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana, your work is lovely you should absolutely sell your pieces! The colors are so vibrant, I love the watercolor beads. Your pendant is really unique too – I like how you’ve used those colors with that great texture. Nice pics by your husband too!

  3. Darlene, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana, your work is beautiful! I would say you’re definitely ready to start selling! Your work is professional, and so are your husband’s photos. You two make a great team. I love those red beads! Guess I need to buy that back issue so I can learn how to do it!

  4. Freda, 18 December, 2009

    I agree with DJ and Darlene. Your work is superb. The pieces don’t look like a beginner’s work. You are on the road to success.

  5. Elizabeth S., 18 December, 2009

    Oh my!! Ileana, these are so so pretty. I can’t pick a favorite but I agree with everyone that you should start selling. I love the unique way you strung the green mobius beads with the Chinese knots. Thanks so much for sharing your work with us. It’s always s inspiring to see how others have translated Cindy’s teaching into their own creations.

  6. sarahwww, 18 December, 2009

    Wow, Ileana! Your work is lovely!! So professional and pretty! I hope you will share more pieces. They are gorgeous and insiprational!

  7. Phoenix, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana, your beads are so lovely! My favorites are the green moebius beads. I think you would get a lot of buyers for your work. Truly unique.

    And as someone who doesn’t like a lot of “glam” or “bling” in my jewelry, I love how you keep it simple, yet really do it up with the colors and the stringing of the beads. It proves that simple does not mean, un-extraordinary.

    Well done!

  8. Loretta, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana your work is beautiful and I agree with the others. You definitely need to start selling your pieces. I think you will be amazed.


  9. aims, 18 December, 2009

    I hope when I am able to get back to playing with clay – that my beginner work looks as good as yours do Illeana. Wowza!

  10. Melek, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana, that is fantastic work, and amazingly professional looking as if you had been doing this for years! I can only hope I’ll be as good someday.


  11. Melinda, 18 December, 2009

    Ileana, your work is fabulous!!! I love the simplicity of your necklaces and your beads are exquisite. Selling your work will give you a whole new zest for your craft and so much confidence… you definitely need to do that.

    I also work in a high stress field and polymer clay has served as my stress relief and my creative outlet. It’s fabulous isn’t it?!

  12. JoyceM, 18 December, 2009

    lleana, I think like all the others, your work is wonderful. I would expect to find your jewelry in a boutique. I love the colorful simplicity and the way you have strung them. Those knots give these pieces character and make them truly one of a kind. Looks like the vote is in and it is “Sell, sell, sell”. Good luck with this venture and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful work.

    St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

  13. lynn watts, 18 December, 2009

    OMG everything is so luscious. And you say you are a beginner?! WOW With your soaring creativity and such luring colors, you are Marvelous. And your husband’s photography illuminates how well you have executed the techniques you have learned and used. Your husband has exhibited a professional execution of photography to showcase your beautiful pieces. You are already, it seems , on your way to success. YES sell your jewelry-you are a HIT. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing more of your work. Lynn Watts

  14. Lisa Whitham, 18 December, 2009

    I agree with the gang…absolutely beautiful beads..!!! And I’m sure you would have no problem selling them. My fave are the copper color mobius beads… Keep up the fabulous work Ileana!!!


  15. Ileana, 26 December, 2009

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I cannot believe how supportive this community is.. I read these comments on Christmas evening, and your comments were the best preset I could think of; not to mention that my husband is very proud about the comments on the quality of the photographs :). Wish you all the very best in the new year to come!

    Cindy, your are the best :)

  16. Cheryl, 14 January, 2010

    I have been making jewellery for about a year mostly with crystal, glass beads and semi precious. I’ve done a couple of clay pieces which I think I need to work at to improve. I’m trying to summon the courage to send in pictures!

    I’ve sold to friends and their friends and one of them spoke to her hair stylist abou tputting the jewellery in her salon. How would that work? Should it be on consignment ??? I have no clue about this. I would also like to know where i can get packaging/boxes/ display.

    Thanks so much
    I’m off to Michaels tomorrow to get some clay so U cab try the rose and the faux bone/ivory.

  17. Cindy Lietz, 16 January, 2010

    Thank you everyone for all the kind and supportive comments that you have given to Ileana! I am sure she really felt good, reading them!

    @Cheryl: That is wonderful to hear! You should feel encouraged that someone who saw your work wants to sell it. That means it is probably better than you think. I hope you can find the courage to send me photos. I really am not that scary and would love to see what you’ve made. :-)

    As far as what kind of arrangement to make with the salon, that depends on so many things. You could ask the owner what they usually do for this kind of thing. When we had a retail store anything we bought from someone to sell had to be marked up at least 100%. Anything on consignment was 60:40. 60% to the seller, 40% to us. Look at your costs and what you think you could charge and figure out what would be best for you. It can’t hurt to try just a couple of pieces and go from there. Good luck!

  18. Cheryl Hodges, 20 July, 2010

    To those of you who have a website and have been selling your jewelry which is the best way to ship – regular post, purolator??

  19. Cheryl Hodges, 22 July, 2010

    Another question – sorry to have so mnay questions but I know you all will help with your suggestions. Is it ok to go with organza pouches and bubble envelopes or should I ship in boxes? Carolyn I know you told me about

  20. Phaedrakat, 24 July, 2010

    @Cheryl Hodges: Hi Cheryl! You will probably get a better response asking these questions on Friday’s “open mic” post or at least one of the more current ones. When you need tips from lots of members, it’s better to post where there’s a lot of traffic! Regarding how to ship items, I would imagine most use regular post unless the buyer wants to pay more for expedited or overnight shipping. I’m not sure how Canadian post works, so I can’t offer more info than that.

    I haven’t sold my jewelry through the mail yet, so I’m not much help with its packaging, either. We talked about this not long ago on another thread, though. You could try searching for that and see if there’s any new info. I tried putting “packaging jewelry” into the search box and found this article, Handmade Packaging for Jewelry.

    Try some other combinations or words to see what you find (maybe “shipping jewelry” or something.) Other than that, try posting on a recent thread—best of luck! :D

  21. Bonnie D, 18 August, 2011

    Hi, everyone — I need your ideas: I’ve only been working with polymer clay for just over a year, but have already been selling my beads and jewelry to friends at work. I love trying new techniques … but I’m afraid that my cache is too diverse for effective sales/marketing for a website or at craft fairs. Should I stick with making many pieces of a few designs, or a few pieces of many designs? Any guidance will be appreciated!

  22. Cindy Lietz, 19 August, 2011

    @Bonnie D: I Bonnie, I answered this question in detail in another thread. Click the link by my name to go straight there.

  23. Natalie, 21 August, 2011

    Your beads are beautiful.. keep up the good work. I too have been making beads from polymer clay for a short time ..mostly for myself and as gifts to all my doctors…but now I to am trying to see how well my stuff will sell. People like them but I’m not sure they would be willing to pay for my work..So far I have sold only one necklace…Jets colors. but , I like you am not going to give up..Cindy is so encouraging and her videos are great…
    Good luck
    Natalie aka Safti from New Jeresey

  24. Pat S, 01 January, 2012

    How do you get people interested in your jewelry at craft sales the look at my jewelry and say oh how pretty and go next to me buy chains and bling i make pearls and crystals and ring and bracelets. I am getting a little discouraged can you help me?

  25. Cindy Lietz, 16 January, 2012

    That is a pretty big question Pat. There are many reasons why your work will sell or not sell. Sometimes it’s price, style, originality, display, story that goes along with it (or lack of one), personality, age of customers, income level, location, packaging, attendance, etc etc.

    The only thing you can do is do some research. There are tons of articles to read on making your jewelry business successful, here and on other sites. You can also attend shows and research ‘solds’ on sites like Etsy, too try and figure out why someone else is successful and you are not.

    Try not to get discouraged. It may just be a few simple things that you need to tweak in order to have the success you are looking for.

    One place to start is to read the blog posts on this site under the category ‘Sell your stuff’. You will find that under the Categories Tab at the top of the page.

    Good luck!

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