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 clay, 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 ad n 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
A word to the wise, start with a pair of earrings, it’s a lot easier!