Tips for Creating Beautiful Polymer Clay Beads

By Astrid Lee, – Copyright 2007

To create beautiful polymer clay beads for your fine art jewelry, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure that right from the beginning you’re able to make a rather professional, artistic product, in an economical way.


1. Be a clean worker. That maeans work on clean surfaces and ensure clean hands. This practice keeps your work looking smooth and bright.

2. Polymer clay is typically softened by the heat of hands. Just knead it gently when taking it out of the pack.

3. Do not over- or under-bake your polymer clay. Instead, follow the instruction of your particular polymer clay (brand and type) you are using exactly, and you will get your baking just right. Each clay is slightly different and manufacturers will inform you of its unique nature and baking requirement.

4. While general household tools are useful for working with polymer clay, I suggest you dedicate a set of tools specifically for doing your fine craft. This is both hygienic and safe. It also means that you can more easily find the tools you are looking for when working on your artwork.


1. By contrasting your hue or value, you highlight your design. The stronger the contrast, the more vibrant your jewelry design.

2. Mix your colors with care. Mixing opposite colors will create neutrals. However, avoid creating mud by mixing all colors.

3. If you blend analogous colors, i.e. colors next to eachbother on the color wheel, you will achieve cleaner color tones that will look unique and attractive.

4. Bead color combinations that seems to work well include: warm and cool neutrals;
complementary pairs; “family” colors in different values; triad color schemes; color from nature.


1. Make it a practice to use every little bit. Even the smallest bit can add interest to a bead.

2. To store scraps, use resealable plastic bags. Separate colors with wax paper to avoid color contamination. Store scraps as well as your bulk clay in a dark place, at room temperature.

3. BEST TIP: Create ‘end of the day’ beads. This concept was developed by the famous glass blowers in Murano (Venice) in Italy. At the end of the day, artisans used up their scraps of glass to make unique artworks.

You can do this too by simply gathering your crumbs. For example you can create dotted beads, patterned beads, or confetti-beads. Experiment! Note: do not overmix the clay colors, otherwise their colors will be dull.


1. The obvious: Make a hole in the center. For an even look, this by entering the bead from both sides and have them meet inside the bead.

2. Make a batch of the same/similar beads. Do this even when making specialty beads. Also make a collection of matching beads that work well together in a piece of jewelry.

3. Make sturdy beads. Fragile beads won’t survive actual usage.

4. Practice makes perfect. You want to build control over the quality of your beads as well as consistency of design. This only comes from practising.

5. Apply your ‘quality control’-check BEFORE baking. Ensure you ‘love’ your beads before you bake them. Once baked, they are unchangeable.

About the Author

Astrid Lee is an artist specializing in creating healing and spiritual art. Consider her inspirational work as a gift for yourself or others. Find her latest works here:

Astrid also maintains the fine art blog,, which offers you a wealth of tips on art making & building your own art collection.

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