Texture: How To Think Creatively About Polymer Clay Bead Surfaces

Polymer Clay Texture Ideas

Six Unique Tips for Texturing Your Sculpey and Fimo Beads:

Today’s inspirational photo is of the frost covered grass in the field next to my home. What I love about this picture is its textural qualities. The fine and coarse lines of the aged yellowed grass and the way the light hits the blades making the background dark and dramatic!

This Fall image got me to thinking about all kinds of techniques for adding texture to polymer clay surfaces. Here’s 6 of them…

1) Press leaves, bark, stones or the seed heads of grasses into the surface of Fimo, Premo or Sculpey clay to give a natural texture to your clay. If you are concerned with the item sticking to your clay, spritz the clay with water or dust with cornstarch as a release agent.

2) Try using lace. I have been able to create some very interesting textures on clay by pressing a piece of lace into the surface. Using an ink pad to color the lace before pressing it into the polymer clay makes for an interesting effect. The color goes deep into the grooves of the pattern. Or an alternative would be to antique the clay with paint after it has baked to make the features of the lace show up better.

3) Sandpaper can give an interesting look that mimics stone and other rough surfaces like that of an orange peel. Try all the grits for different textures, even drywall mesh sandpaper for a totally different, geometric effect.

4) Miscellaneous junk is fun to play around with too. Route around in your junk drawer for creative ideas on adding texture to polymer clay. Screws, safety pins, old tooth brushes, combs, onion mesh bags, scrunched up tinfoil, screwdriver tips, washers, buttons, chain, etc.

5) Rock salt. You can make the coolest lava rock beads by pressing chunks of rock salt into some black, brown or terra cotta clay. After the beads are baked they are soaked in water to remove the salt. It kind of reminds me of the candles we made in the 70’s with the ice cubes in them.

6) Sea shells. Seashells make great molds for polymer clay beads with wonderful textures and shapes. Just ask Heather Powers and Tina Holden! Here’s a couple of links where you can see examples of their beads: Making Polymer Clay Molds and Scallop Shell Pendant Jewelry

What is the coolest thing you’ve ever pushed into clay to get a texture on it? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Cindy Lietz, 13 October, 2008

    Pumice stone is another cool tool for texturing! Learned that one from the Crafty Goat Angela Mabray.

  2. DaisySoapGirl, 13 October, 2008

    As usual, such cool tips, this time about textures.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 14 October, 2008

    Thanks Daisygirl!

  4. Claudia, 31 August, 2009

    I am venturing into the unknown here. I haven’t even opened the variety pack of sculpty I just purchased. Would it be possible to push the polymer clay through a cake decorating ( icing ) bag with a decorator tip? O just thought I’d ask before I make a mess.
    -Claudia

  5. Cindy Lietz, 02 September, 2009

    Hi Claudia great question!

    It is possible to push the clay through a pastry bag, but it would have to be ‘thinned down’ to the consistency of icing to do it. You can thin the clay with liquid polymer clay or baby oil. You could however lose some of the strength in the clay if you used the oil.

    You may want to try an extruder instead. Click the link by my name for more info on those.

  6. DaisySoapGirl, 03 September, 2009

    I have to experiment with Liquid Polymer Clay. I’ve never heard of it.

  7. Teresa, 05 February, 2010

    I so appreciate the Polymer Clay Beginners course and all the comments that are made. A relative had shown me a flower petal bead last summer and when I lost my dad Dec. 10, 2009, I really began to think about making petal beads and after going online and finding your website and course available, just had to take it. Experimented with crushed dried flower petals and the polymer clay and have made bracelets for my two sisters, mother, and myself; also matching earrings. They loved them. For the bracelets I added Swarovski lead crystal beads and 14k gold plated corrugated beads. One had sterling silver corrugated beads and Swarovski lead crystal beads. These gifts meant so much to them and also to me. We had a wonderful dad and miss him so much. What a precious way to have keepsakes. Thank you Cindy.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 05 February, 2010

    Hi Teresa – I’m so glad the course helped to give you and your family some comfort following the loss of your father. Thank you for sharing such a touching story.

  9. Elaine MacKenzie, 18 December, 2010

    Hi Cindy,

    I’ve got my self in a pickle.
    I have managed to get my clay stuck in a rigid, very fine texture plate and wondered if it’s a write-off or can it be rescued?

    hope you can help,
    kind regards,

    Elaine

  10. Cindy Lietz, 18 December, 2010

    Yes you can rescue you your texture plate Elaine. It’s just a matter of spending the time to pick out the clay with a fine tipped tool. I talked about this very situation in my Vol-013-1 video (see link by my name). In the video, I also give you lots of tips on how to prevent that situation from happening again… using very kinds of release agents and techniques.

  11. Pamela Stansbury, 07 October, 2014

    Hi Cindy, looking everywhere online for a good faux moss tutorial and a lichen tutorial. tree bark colors tutorial… A few days ago, I was admiring our beautiful old oak tree with lichen… and thought I would love to see that in a pendant. I found a decent tutorial on making a mold/stamp of the tree bark, but not much on what colors to use for the wood, and have not been able find anything for moss and lichen…. any ideas? Or maybe you have a tutorial on this site? Greatly appreciated…… Thanks!

  12. Cindy Lietz, 09 October, 2014

    Hi Pamela, faux moss would be an excellent challenge!For my little tiny fairy door with the stone around it, I did do some little patches of faux moss, using some green flocking power mixed with caulks, but it would be fun to do some bigger moss projects using more clay. I will have to put some thought into that. You could add real dried moss to some liquid clay. That might work.

  13. Pamela Stansbury, 09 October, 2014

    Okay, thanks Cindy,… and I will keep looking to see what I can come up with too… I so love the nature type looking things.. I did come close to moss when I mixed a little gold embossing powder with just the right color of green and yellow paint mix.. But I am hoping to find something much better… Might give the green flocking powder and caulk a try..

  14. Jocelyn C, 11 October, 2014

    Cool ideas, Pamela! For the bark, I used a silicone molding product on some smooth bark trees….awesome molds to use all over in designs. Loved the white birch sample, and it looked fabu when I mixed up the colorways….try hot pink and black, lol.

  15. Pamela Stansbury, 11 October, 2014

    Thanks Cindy, I was able to find a really neat tutorial using Amazing Putty or something like that on the tree bark, may be something close to what you used. I found a neat tutorial for using it.. She used it for both a stamp and a mold– “. but nothing on moss or lichen… I am going to keep looking.. I did see something on birchwood too….I am CRAZY about the look of bark, and want to make the naturistic looking pendants. Is “naturistic” a word? If not, It should be.. If someone (Cindy) wanted to do a really good tutorial on ” oak tree with lichen”, that would be Super Great! …..hint hint hint……I saw earrings done in “bark look” on pinterest, and oh my—- loved loved loved…….Thanks so much for your help!

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