DIY clay bead necklace

This is a great craft for those of you who aren’t crafty. Polymer clay is very forgiving. If you’re unhappy with a bead you’ve made, you can squish it all up an start again!

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I made this necklace because I was having a hard time finding something that wasn’t too plain but wasn’t too flashy. Isn’t it great that when you can’t buy what you want, you can just make it yourself?! Budget about two hours and you’ll have a fantastic piece of jewellery that’s read to wear!

You’ll need:

  • a few colours of polymer clay (I like the FIMO brand, you can find it at Michael’s)
  • a skewer or straw
  • a baking sheet lined with foil
  • an oven
  • a piece of leather lace, about 2 ft long

First, decide what kind of look you’re going for. Do you want your beads to look the same or different? Will you be marbling colours? Do you want a rounded or flat edge?

To make a plain bead, pinch a piece of clay about the size of the tip of your finger. Roll it between your palms to warm it up. Once it’s pliable, roll it between the middle of your palms until it’s nice and round. When you’re happy with the shape, carefully insert the skewer through the middle. Make sure your skewer or straw will create a thick enough hole to thread your lace through.

To make a marbled bead, pinch two smaller pieces of clay in different colours. Roll them each into a long snake and wind the snakes around each other. Now swirl the two snakes into a ball and follow the process for making a plain bead until you’re happy with the shape and the amount of marbling. Make your hole and voila!

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To create a bead with a squared off edge like the one in the photo above, roll the bead back and forth on a flat surface once you’ve skewered it. Be gentle, or the hole will get to big. Once you’re happy with the edge, remove it from the skewer.

When you’ve made all your beads, you’re ready to bake! Bake the beads according to the directions on the clay you’re working with (usually in the low 200s for about 30 minutes). It’s pretty hard to mess this stage up.

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Let the beads cool and string them onto your leather lace. If you want to get fancy, you can add fasteners to the ends of your lace for a more sophisticated look. I opted for an adjustable knot that lets you change the length of your necklace depending on the shirt you’re wearing. This tutorial will help you learn how to tie one.

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Now for the best part – wear your handmade necklace and enjoy the oohs and ahhs when you tell people you made it yourself! Have fun crafting!

 

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