Yay- I finally put together my first polymer clay bead jewelry ensemble! Woohoo!
I’m serious, I can’t believe I left these beauties sitting in a drawer for almost a year. What was I thinking?? Yes, I deserve to be rebuked. If you will recall, these are the first beads I have also added chalk pastel powder to – I’m pretty jazzed about that, I want to do this again!
In fact, I think I like this method and I’m glad I went into it with an open mind. Let’s face it, painting has always come naturally to me, but it’s got its drawbacks on this type of clay.
Unless you use a highly professional type of acrylic paint, you may not be very pleased with how the result comes out; plus there’s the added annoyance of sticky residue which is hard to eliminate.
Pin for Later?
But best of all, I like the textured effect, instead of having that flat, all-one color boring look. So I may just keep on doing this – and besides, polymer clay jewelry that is color-enhanced in this manner appears to be very popular.
So to recap, I have 18 beads total that came from one 2 oz block of Sculpey Souffle. I also want to put together a set of earrings, so I guess that’ll be 16 for the necklace. I want to put some spacer beads in between mine to add interest and a nice contrast. If you look at many “chunky bead” necklaces, you ‘ll notice that there are always a series of small beads in between the large ones. The trick is finding some in my collection that would be a good color, match smaller, and set it off well.
Materials I’ll Be Using
I will also be using a couple of French hooks for the earrings, some wire, fishing line (which is great to string necklaces and bracelets with as it’s pretty strong and transparent), and a clasp to secure it.
I learned in art class that orange and blue complement each other – and turquoise is one variation that seems to look good alongside orange or rust.
You probably notice that the openings in the beads are a little large; this was because I baked them on a bamboo skewer stick. Going forward I’ll probably pre-pierce any future beads with my sculpting needle. This just means I’ll have to choose slightly larger spacers or those with narrow openings to offset any gaps, and make sure I bend a little bit more of a coil at the ends so it won’t slip off the wire stems.
I started by spreading out all my beads, as you can see some are round, some are triangular, and a few square. However I wanted a pattern that would look good when I arranged them. You know, alternating, like triangle, round, square, repeat…. Then I arranged some of my non-clay beads, trying to see which ones would complement these, these are known as “spacers”.
This was easier said than done. That’s why you have to be prepared to do a little pre-arranging when it comes to jewelry parts. And no, I am not a professional jeweler or anything. Just the kind of stuff I picked up on art class…
I finally came to the conclusion, if nothing else, just use white, black or silver beads, if you can’t find any in a color that would look good alongside it. White, black, silver or gold, will go with anything, so you’re in good hands.
Now for the earrings. I began with some beautiful 18 gauge wire and a small round bead, a square, and then another smaller one on top.
The earrings were the easy part. Now comes the necklace…At first I wanted to use fishing line, but then changed my mind….just too much aggravation trying to determine how long it should be . What else do people use? Also what else did I have in my collection? Nylon and leather cord! A much better solution as these were pre-cut, and thicker, which would mean less friction around the beads, and much less guesswork on determining how to arrange the beads. Remember I wanted to use about 3-6 small “spacers” in between each clay bead to create a unique and well balanced look.
The first one didn’t work, this nylon cord above which came with a built in chain, and clasp, unfortunately the little ball on one end would not go through the bead. On well. I wasn’t licked yet.
So I went on to the leather cord. From there it got easier to establish a pattern. And even though it didn’t have a clasp or anything, I used two jump rings, a lobster claw, and some wire wrapped around the ends, and tightened it, and voila. Ok this is officially my first clay bead jewelry ensemble:
Since I had 5 triangles, and could only have a pattern with two on each side I used the fifth one as a dangly accent in the front. What do you think? Are you inspired too to come up with your own polymer clay bead jewelry after seeing this?
Here is a list of things to do differently going forward the next time I make beads:
- Use a sculpting needle and pierce each bead individually (sure it will take longer, but they will come out much cleaner looking.)
- Make a combination of small, medium and larger beads so that I will have plenty to work with and not have to dip into my non-clay bead collection for spacer beads.
UPDATE: I finally did get to the beads! If you read that follow up post you can see how I came up with different sizes and cleaner looking openings.
A word to the wise, start with a pair of earrings, it’s a lot easier! Don’t forget to have something to display them on like these card templates. They will save you time and aggravation.
Also, don’t forget to let me know how it goes for you! good luck beading!