Making your own clay beads is a great way to add an extra personal touch to a project, and fire up that oven now and then. They are easy to make, and the materials can be found in a variety of forms. The best composition to make your own beads, is a polymer clay that can be found in most craft stores. Here is a brief tutorial on what you will need and how to make your own clay beads. |
1. Gather The Materials:
* Large or small amount of polymer clay shaped in whatever design you want.
* A firing rack or large heat-proof ceramic bowl.
* A wire, pin needle, or bamboo shunt to make the hole in the bead. It helps to use cornstarch on the outside of your poker, so it does not stick to the wet bead.
* A round object, such as a rolling pin or small length of PVC piping.
* If you wish to colorize your handmade beads, powdered clay colorizers, or alcohol ink, but if this is your first time firing your own beads, you may want to wait on this.
* Jewelry and craft supplies, so you can put your handmade beads to work.
* A standard oven or clay baker. Clay oven work the best, but a regular oven will work just fine.
2. Form The Beads
Take a small chunk from your slab of polymer clay and roll it in the desired shape. This can be anything from a small rounded bead, to a flat pendant. You may want to lightly dust your hands with cornstarch to prevent the unformed clay beads sticking to your hands and losing their shape. Take the needle or shunt and gently poke a hole through both sides of the bead, taking care not to deform the beautiful creation. If you want multiple colors, simply roll different colors of beads together. These can take on many color compositions and shapes, so use your imagination!
3. Fire The Beads
Now, simply place the formed beads onto your firing rack. If you do not have a protective sheet over your firing rack, you may want to use a cookie sheet. If you do not have a firing rack, carefully put the beads into a ceramic bowl, making sure to leave some distance between the beads. If they are too close, the beads may form together, or come out malformed. Turn your oven to two-hundred and fifty degrees, and let it preheat fully. Place the firing rack or ceramic bowl inside, and let sit for five minutes, or until the beads are fully hardened. If you leave the beads inside the oven for too long, they will burn and crack, leaving them no good.
4. Use The Beads
The last step is to use your handmade beads in a wonderful project! Be careful with these however, as with other clay beads, they tend to be a bit fragile. You can paint these beads after they have come out of the oven, or leave them the colors of the original clay.
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