Make Your Own Clay Polymer Beads

When it comes to crafting, I make a wide range of items, but quite a few of them are similar. In December I read that a blogger was inviting other people to join her in a year of trying a new craft or technique each month. I thought this would be a way for me to branch out in my crafting.

This month I decided to try my hand at making clay polymer beads. I've seen many other people who have created absolutely beautiful items with their clay and hope to get there one day. For now, I have beginner level beads that I made and am sharing with you today.

DIY clay beads


Let's start with the polymer clay. I have bought Sculpey before and Fimo. Both are oven bake clays and work well. I picked Fimo for this project because I enjoyed the color selection a little better (and it was on sale!).

diy clay beads supplies Fimo jewelry

The turquoise clay was their "soft" type and while you had to work the clay a small amount to get it soft and pliable, it was very easy. The purple "effect" clay had a different texture. It was a bit crumbly and you had to work the clay in your hands longer to get it to be pliable and ready to create with. After the initial working of the clay, it was fine and worked quite well.

I cut a section off of each color and worked the clay in my hands until it was soft. Working the clay was just my rolling it between my palms, kneading the pieces between my fingertips, and rolling it out into a rope shape until it was soft.

When it was soft I separated the sections into little balls about the size of peas that I would then use to make my beads.

For my first two beads, I put one ball of each color together and rolled them, flattened them, then rolled again. After that exact process I thought I was done and shaped them. The end result was a definite blue and purple separation in an oblong bead. See the picture in the bottom left corner of this collage? Those were my first tries.

clay  marbling working the clay process

With my next beads, I made rope shape rolls, twisted them together, rolled them back into a rope, and repeated about 10 times. That helped with the marbling of the clay so it was a smoother look and the turquoise and purple were more swirled together and looked much better. I did this with the rest of my beads and liked how they turned out much better than my first two.

When the beads were shaped, it was time to make the hole in them. I used a toothpick for mine. Here are my tips:

  • do not try to push the toothpick all the way through the clay - this will not work!
  • do twist the toothpick gradually into the end of the clay and it will slowly create a hole
  • when the toothpick has gone through almost all of the clay, but hasn't quite broken through to the other side, remove the toothpick and start it on the other side where it was about to come out. This will give you a smooth hole on each end of the bead with no cracking.
  • if you don't want to use a toothpick to make the hole, leave it solid until after baking. When it is cooled down you can then use a small drill to make the hole
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Place the beads on the paper to get ready for the baking step. The temperature you need to bake at will hopefully be included on the packaging of the clay. I baked my beads at 235 degrees for 35 minutes. I checked them at 28 minutes and the beads were still a bit soft when I touched them, so I put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

How did they turn out? I was happy with the finished product for a first try. The marbling looks different on each bead and I like how each one has an individual pattern.

holes in clay beads

I decided to use these beads to make a new bracelet. That was also a new thing for me!

Bracelet made with clay polymer beads and silver jewelry

I have really enjoyed being challenged creatively by trying something new these past two months. If you want to check out the projects that were linked up for February, you can see them by clicking here to visit Swoodson Says. You can also check on Instagram by searching #tsnem  I can't wait to start planning my project for March!

DIY clay beads supplies process finished jewelry


If you are interested in learning how to do a little more complicated bead making, you can watch many YouTube videos to give you an idea how to marble multiple colors or make designs and special shapes. Be careful though, the videos are mesmerizing and you may spend half an hour watching them before you know it. This is a basic beginners tutorial because that is what level I'm at. Thanks for learning along with me!

~Happy Crafting!

12 comments

  1. These turned out really pretty! I love the turquoise and purple color mixture!

    Thanks for taking part!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Rebecca! I love being challenged to grow creatively.

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  2. Love how these turned out! - great first project.

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    1. Thanks Janet, that's so nice of you to say. :)

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  3. Thanks for joining in! I love the tips - pinning it for whenever I try clay out.

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    1. I'm having fun with your TSNEM challenges. It's fun to work outside my creative norm.

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  4. I think they look nice. I like your first efforts, but prefer the marbled beads. It sounds like you enjoyed the project :)

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    1. I did enjoy it Lydia. I'm looking forward to buying some additional colors of clay and making some more. There are great video tutorials I've been watching.

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  5. They turned out great! I really like the colours you chose, and it made such a pretty bracelet. :)

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    1. Thank you for your nice comment Roxy!

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  6. such a creative idea. and thanks for the tips as you make them- very good to know.

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    1. Thank you Chelsey. I'm glad my tips were useful. Good luck in your own clay crafting!

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