Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cooking Clay for Jewelry

      Joe and I were lined up to keep the grandchildren for 3 days while the parents went to a law firm retreat. I saw a big container of polyform clay in my studio, the pasta rollers on the edge of the table, books on the subject and thought it was time to go to a new level. I got out the "bead rollers." I read the directions, conditioned some Sculpey III in my hands and felt the girls would find making the beads magical as I did. Click on all the photos to enlarge.

      Hannah chose a package of blue Sculpey and Erika chose pink. They decided to share. I restrained my need for a green bead necklace until today. They strung theirs with Stretch Magic and tied two square knots. I put a bit of glue on the knots. They wore and slept in them for two days here and the beads held up. So I decided I must make my long-wished-for green choker for which I could never find beads. See below for how I made the beads.

      First I consulted Making Polyform Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn. I got out my bead rollers and soft green Sculpey which I conditioned by squeezing in my hands.  

        I have two types of bead rollers. One involves pressing a snake of clay into the top part and slicing off the sides and bottoms. After I mark every 3/4", I pull the clay out and cut the pieces. The secret of same size beads is careful measuring. You put the top on the bottom and roll back and forth a few times and VOILA! The other bead roller has you push pieces of clay through a hole, slice off the excess and extract the clay using a pencil. Again, you move a fitted top back and forth a couple of inches over and over.  These beads will also be the same size. Erika wanted the cone look from the latter.

       After  I gathered all the beads in a box lid, I pushed the thin metal wires through them. The ends of these rested on a tray in the little polyform clay oven I bought w a coupon at JoAnn's. The beads cook for about 30 minutes at 275. Magic. Then I strung them today and made earrings...not matching. I am looking forward to making more beads depending on what I need and sharing the technique with friends.


  1. I can't wait to see your necklace! Nice to imagine something and then be able to make it!

  2. The necklace is placed across the book...first of the green bead pictures.

  3. As you have done always, you amaze me. I wish I had a fraction of your ability and energy. Thank you for sharing your talents with me...I think you are a wonderful teacher. Love U dearly, RA

  4. Incredible! You need to publish your own arts and crafts book --- giving people all these wonderful ideas and ways to follow through!

  5. I have all those same tools right down to the oven!! Lol! Now you're inspiring me to get some beads made this summer! I bet the grandkids had a blast! Your necklace is beautiful.

  6. Love the beads. I used
    Sculpey in my classroom. I loved being able to bake it.
    The children made tiny fruits and veggies and all manner of tiny items!
    As for rolling stuff in "small snake strips"...I roll cookie dough in such and freeze for ready slice and bake cookies. Shortbread works well...a qt jar of tiny cookies is a great gift! Shearer Fay
    Likes the bittie ginger snaps. They make a good
    "Snappy birthday gift! Hugs, jsh

  7. What fun! I might try this with my grandkids this summer, if they come, though 3 boys and 1 girl might not find them as appealing! How does the oven differ from any sort of toaster oven? or does it?

  8. Any oven works. I bought this one with a coupon and put it in the studio. There is a timer. One heats it for 15 minutes at 250 and then cooks 15 minutes for every 1/4 inch. Beads are thus cooked for 30 minutes. It is convenient to have in the studio heating and cooking while one makes other things. I love that the SculpeyIII does not dry out and yet it bakes to wear!