Here's how I make inexpensive and light-weight polymer beads...
Step 1: What you'll need.
-Knitting Needle or Exacto-Knife or Stylus
-Liquid Polymer Clay (preferable)
-Wood Beads (size is up to you)
If you don't have a "pre-made cane", look for an instructable on "how to make a polymer clay cane". I'll probably have one out in a couple of hours. ;)
Step 2: Workstation.
Good lighting is important too. Especially when working with smaller crafts like beads. And have all your tools within arms reach.
Now, tape down your wax paper, making sure you get all the corners pulled snug so the paper doesn't crinkle in the middle. Move your hands around on the paper after taping just to make sure it's secure.
Step 3: Slices.
The slices should be thin but not so thin they are see-thru. Slices should also be fairly even in thickness.