Several years ago, I worked with polymer clay on a daily basis. I experimented with making beads, among other things. I recently found this set of beads and decided to share a bit of the process. It's been quite a few years, so this is more of a brief description than an in-depth tutorial.
Premo polymer clay (colors: gold, translucent, and a custom blended off-white)
Minwax Polycrylic sealer
Amaco Bead Roller
wet-dry sandpaper (I think I sanded from 400 grit up to 1000)
a ceramic tile for baking on
my custom goddess bead mold
A warning: Remember, any tools you use with the clay cannot be used with food afterward. Even if you wash them, even if you run them through your dishwasher, even if you clean them with alcohol/detergent/monkeys... once it's been used for clay, it's only used for clay.
To make these beads, I first conditioned all the colors of clay, then layered them into a block. I rolled moderately thin layers of gold, cream, and translucent clay, then laid them one on top of the next and firmly pressed them together.
To make the focal bead, I first dusted the mold with a thin layer of baby powder. I then cut off a chunk of the striped block, rolled it into a slight cone-shaped ball, then pressed it firmly into the mold, allowing it to squish into all the crevices. (Such a technical term, squish...) I then pulled it back out, trimmed the back smooth, and touched up any spots that needed touching up.
For the round and bicone beads, I cut off a small section of the striped block, then squished it into the measuring section of the bead roller. (There are videos on how to do this at the Amaco website .) I rolled out my beads, pierced them with my needle tool, then baked them according to the package directions.
Once the beads had finished curing in the oven, I prepared a bowl full of ice water. I removed the beads from the oven while they were still hot and dumped them directly into the ice water. This helps to achieve a more translucent look (or so I've heard. I haven't tested it myself.).
Once they were cool, I removed them, gave them a quick sanding with the wet-dry sandpaper, then coated them with the Minwax Polycrylic. And that's it... they've been sitting in my craft closet ever since, waiting to be used!
I hope this is inspiring to someone. Remember- you can make a mold of just about anything, and you can buy molds ready for you. These beads can be made in any color combination you like. The only limit is your imagination!
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.