Wire Work and Polymer Clay Beads | Creating Your Loops and Links

Wired Polymer Clay Tube Bead “Yes please… show us more wire working techniques! I think copper wire really sets off polymer clay.” ~Lisa-W

Some things just go together. Peanut Butter and Jelly, Wine and Cheese, Wirework and Polymer Clay Beads!

Lately I been combining polymer clay beads with wire work techniques for all kinds of jewelry projects. I haven’t been able to resist, ever since my Dad dropped off a huge spool of copper electrical wire!

The two mediums, support each other very nicely. Beads have holes. So in order to use them, you must either string them together or link them somehow.

Here’s a simple way to make a beaded chain with your polymer clay beads.

Cut a short piece of 20 gauge or larger wire in the metal of your choice. The length will be determined by the size of the beads and the amount needed for loops.

To determine how much wire you will need for the loops, take a scrap piece of the same wire and make a loop at the end. When the loop is completed, make a mark with a Sharpie or permanent pen where the two wires meet. Then unroll the wire loop and try to straighten it as best you can. Finally, measure the length from the end of the wire to the mark. This is how much wire it will take to make a loop.

The photo above shows you how I wired up a faux raku tube bead and then used jump rings to connect multiple beads together in a chain.

If you are not too sure how to make the loops properly, don’t worry. I will be demonstrating this technique in an upcoming video tutorial at the Polymer Clay Members Library.

I would love to see some tutorial’s on wire wrapping. ~Jennifer-M

If you want to check out some previous wire work and polymer clay tutorials that are now available as back issues, check out the following posts:

I think you’ll agree… Wire Work and Polymer Clay Beads, are definitely a match made in heaven!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2009

    This article got published a few hours later than normal today. My apologies to those of you who missed being able to read it with your morning coffee.

    I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who emailed me with your concerns about my well being. It is so nice to know I have people watching out for me…

    “Just hoping everything is okay Cindy. It’s 9:30 in the morning and there’s no post yet. I’m so used to seeing the new post by the time 8:00am rolls around! Just want to let you know someone is thinking about you and hoping everything is okay with you and your family. You are missed!” ~Maureen-G

  2. Silverleaf, 28 October, 2009

    Looks good!

    I don’t work that way. I use a longer piece of wire (maybe 12 inches), make the first loop, add a bead, make the second loop and cut the wire. Then start again with the next bead.

    I found when I used to cut small pieces I’d waste a little piece of wire for every bead – with the new method I only have one piece of waste once I get to the end of the wire. It works better for me anyway.

  3. Wendy Bissonnette, 28 October, 2009

    Love your site! I have just started doing wiring — your articles have been very helpful! Thanks! Wendy

  4. aims, 28 October, 2009

    *Smiling at how lovely everyone is on this blog – so concerned about each other*

    I just came online and saw that your post was up later than usual.

    Love the raku with the copper btw!

  5. Melinda, 28 October, 2009

    Well since I am usually a late riser I did not realize you were late and I still enjoyed you with my coffee. However it warmed my heart to know that others noticed and took a real concern just as I can imagine that it warmed yours.

    I have to say that my technique for these kind of links are a lot like Silverleaf’s however I can see the benefit of your way especially if you are very good at measuring and don’t have to way much at all. You all have a fabulous day! I shall go to work and dream of clay.

  6. Maureen G, 28 October, 2009

    No apologies necessary Cindy. As long as everything is okay I’m glad to see you (well, your posts) anytime!!

  7. Silverleaf, 28 October, 2009

    Is it wrong that I didn’t notice that you post at a particular time? ;)

  8. Carrie, 28 October, 2009

    Cindy- I just now got around to trying the dogwood flower cane. My first one came out great! Your video made it so easy! I used a skinner blend of cactus pollen, petunia, villa rosa, and wrapped in brick red. The lines I made in Blue hosta blossom. I really like the look of the flowers backgroundless so I’m going to make some pendants from it. I’ll send a pic when i get them done! Thanks again for a great video!

  9. Elizabeth S., 28 October, 2009

    Whew! I have never been so glad to see the post with the assurance that all is well at your house, Cindy. Guess you have no doubt about your importance in our lives, huh? Anyway, I love this photo–wire working is especially impressive with faux raku beads. Gotta try this one.

  10. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2009

    Thanks you guys! You are all so sweet!

    @Sliverleaf: You make a great point. I sometimes do links like this right off the spool, but found that tricky to explain and thought people who were new to wire work that they might find that tricky. But definitely the less wire you waste the better. Copper isn’t too big of a deal, but Silver and Gold wire is very expensive.

    @Carrie: Can’t wait to see your cane and beads! Sounds really pretty!

  11. Claycass, 28 October, 2009

    Cindy are you also making your own jump rings? I found some black steel wire, and I decided to make my own jump rings. I think I might need to tumble them, to make them hard. I don’t have the time to hammer each ring. I am wondering what others do to solve this problem.

    Well I am a late night viewer now that I am back on my day job. Smiles to all!

  12. Lisa Whitham, 28 October, 2009

    Oh how pretty! I am soooo looking forward to the wire working vid. I’ve been holding off putting some stuff together waiting for this. I’ve got to get into gear and make some more beads for these techniques too… A really good reason to get my clay back out. *grin* (I have to do my claying in our dining room – so my clay and tools have to be put away when we’ve got company coming.)

    Glad to know everything is ok. I’d be lost without your daily blog..!


  13. Lisa Whitham, 28 October, 2009

    P.S. I just ordered some PYMII so I’ll be ready to protect my copper wire. :)

    @Also Cindy, I was wondering what dept. at Home Depot I look for spools of different gauge copper wire. Electrical? I have a little to start with (I stripped some home electrical wire we had.), but I need some smaller gauges too…

  14. Silverleaf, 29 October, 2009

    @Cindy, yeah absolutely. I wasn’t criticising or anything, just adding another perspective. For anyone very new to wirework it’s definitely easier to work in small lengths.

    Reminds me, I need to order some more sterling silver wire. I have done some copper work recently as well, but silver looks better with some colours. Love how copper is cheap though! I have some enamelled copper in red and kelly green which looks fantastic with PC (but it’s not really cheap).

  15. Cindy Lietz, 29 October, 2009

    @Claycass: Yes I am making my own jump rings. Will do a video on that soon. You can tumble them with your river rock to harden them if you like. Works really well. Polishes them as well!

    @Lisa: The heavy wire is in Electrical and the finer wire is in the picture hanging and small hardware section. Hope that helps.

    @Silverleaf: No worries. I didn’t think you were criticizing at all. :-) I need to get some silver wire myself. Just got some enamel coated copper which is quite pretty. Can’t hammer it though or it will chip!

  16. Josie, 30 October, 2009

    Cindy you are such an inspiration to every one. I’ve not only made jump rings I’ve tried to make a couple of crimp ends which worked well. Love to see more wire work. Roll on next week.

  17. Laurel, 03 November, 2009

    I find myself making my own jump rings quite often. It just seems that sometimes I don’t have the right size or wire type so I make my own. I actually started in wire work first and then started making polymer clay beads and pendants. The great thing about combining the two is that when you get to the point of making your own findings, you can create a piece that is totally made by you, nothing bought or prefabricated. It is an exhilerating feeling. Thanks Cindy for teaching me to make my own beads. I am not into torches (glass) or big expensive kilns (metal clay). Polymer is such a great medium.

    I was wondering though. Seems like everyone else has a magazine devoted to their medium. We need a Polymer clay mag! Does anyone else think this is a good idea?

  18. Peggy, 18 November, 2009

    @Laurel: You really need to try polymer clay cafe. You can just google the name and it will take you to a site so you can subscribe. It will seem kind of expensive but very well worth every penny. If you don’t want to subscribe right away take a 40% off coupon to Hobby Lobby and buy one first. I can almost bet you will be hooked. Also have you ever visited Glass attic website or Polymer Clay Central they are both free sites you can get a lot of advice and Polymer Clay Central has several free lessons. They are not as good as Cindy’s but you can still get a lot from them. Don’t forget try Polymer Clay Cafe and let me know what you think of it. I have been getting it for a couple of years and have bought every back issue available. I am only missing 2 or 3 issues that first came out.
    Hope you enjoy, Peggy from Iowa

  19. Cindy Lietz, 04 November, 2009

    Laurel don’t you know about Polymer Clay Cafe? Its a magazine that only focuses on polymer clay. You can get it online or at some craft stores like Michaels.

  20. Silverleaf, 04 November, 2009

    I want a UK clay mag! Can’t see it happening though, not enough people even know what polymer clay is.

    I often look out for clay stuff in beading/jewellery magazines but don’t find very much (and not impressed with what I do find).

    And most shops seem to carry 3 scrapbooking/card making mags, 2 knitting/crochet and nothing else. :/

  21. Peggy, 18 November, 2009

    First Cindy I never look at the blog the same time of day so sorry I did not know you were late. I too am glad everything is OK with you and hopefully your family as well. I don’t think anyone of us thinks you would ever need to apologize for being late or anything else.

    I sometimes wonder if you ever sleep. I have been up at 1 and 2am on Friday’s and you have already posted your video. You are the most devoted person I know.

    Cindy I have made my own jump rings and made several bezels from Polymer Clay and a few bails. Would really love to learn how to make any findings you could teach us out of wire or Polymer Clay. I love the necklace you made. I am not very good when it comes to design. The raku beads going up just one side is so neat. I would never be able to do something like that without seeing it on someone elses work first. Then bam it opens the door to so many things. This is why I love looking at magazines. Probably would never be able to do what they show but you can take someone elses work and it just fills you head with ideas.

    Josie hats of to you, I can not imagine being able to make a crimp bead.

    Looking forward to each coming day with Cindy and everyone else.
    Hugs to all of you!!

  22. SANDRA G, 20 November, 2009

    Cindy, I so look forward to my Fridays. My husband knows where to find me!! at my computer eager to try everything you show, There aren’t enough hours in my day. Thank you!!!!

  23. Cindy Lietz, 01 December, 2009

    Peggy as always I love reading your comments! You know how to make me feel great! Thanks!

    Sandra you are so sweet! That’s cute about your husband always being able to find you on Fridays. Glad to hear you are so enthusiastic about working with your clay!

  24. Cindy B, 18 February, 2010

    Where do you buy the steel black wire 19 gauge? I went to rona and no luck do you remember were you got it thanks

  25. Cindy Lietz, 04 March, 2010

    @Cindy B: In the Q&A part of today’s post about Calla Lily Beads, I provided some feedback regarding your question (where to buy steel black wire).

    The link by my name will take you to today’s blog post. Once you are there, scroll down the page a bit to get to the Q&A section. Hope the information is helpful for you.

  26. Phaedrakat, 19 September, 2010

    I found black steel wire (dark annealed) at Ace Hardware. I have several Ace stores around me, and I ended up having to go to different ones to get all the gauges I wanted. Several months back I found 16 and 28 gauge wire at one store, but they didn’t carry the any gauges in-between. Recently, I went to a different Ace store, and they carried 24 and 19 gauge wire (and not the gauges that the other store carried!) The point I’m trying to make is that these stores do things a bit differently than Home Depot, so check around…

    BTW, both stores DID carry the smaller copper gauge wires (16 to 24) and a lot of brass wire, too…

  27. Daphne Mainwaring, 18 December, 2010


    Where did you buy the tool used to make the metal loops in the Vol-031-3 December video?

  28. Cindy Lietz, 18 December, 2010

    @Daphne Mainwaring: Hi Daphne, I just answered this question for Elizabeth S in another thread. If you click the link by my name, it will take you right there. You can use regular Round nose pliers if you wish though. The Multi-Size Looping Pliers are just nice to have.

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