How to Make Jewelry With Clay

By Lindsey Crafter

Statement necklaces are the hottest summer accessory -- and easy to make! Use polymer clay to create large colorful beads and string tropically inspired jewelry. Make a large batch of handmade necklaces to give as economical gifts and party favors.

Warning

Make sure the clay you've purchased for this project is oven-safe polymer clay -- modeling clay melts and can ruin your project.

Prep Your Work Area & Materials

Work on a piece of parchment paper or silicon mat to prevent clay residue from staining surfaces. Be sure your work surface is free of dust-- debris will stick to unbaked clay and lighter colors will show lint easily. Use a knife or cutting tool to cut workable pieces of clay and knead in your hands to soften.

Standard blocks of polymer clay can be cut into 8ths for large beads or 16ths for small beads.

Make Small Beads

Roll small pieces (16th cuts) into balls and flatten with your hands to a 1/4" thickness. Use a coring tool or toothpick, pierce a hole through the center of the bead and set aside for baking.

Make Large beads

Roll a 1/8 piece of clay into a ball with your hands and set aside. To create Polka Dots pinch off small bits of clay in a contrasting color and roll into small balls. Space evenly, and roll in your hands to flatten into dots.

Coring Beads

Create two flat sides by pressing the sphere with your fingers or a flat surface (I used a ruler). Using a bamboo skewer or coring tool create a hole through the center of the bead large enough to string a thick cord through it.

Tip

Use toothpicks or metal tools to add textures or scalloped edges on beads before baking.

Tip

Wash hands between colors to avoid leftover residue from being mixed into lighter shades of clay.

Baking

Space beads evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake according to directions on packaging.

Stringing

After your beads have baked and cooled they're ready to string! Baked beads have a matte finish--if you're looking for shine just add a coat of gloss sealer and let dry before adding to a necklace.

Tip

Use a 32" length cotton cord to string your beads for the perfect long necklace.

String your handmade beads along with wood beads on your choice of cord. Use brass washers or hex nuts from the hardware store for alternative spacers. Symmetry is optional -- add eight to ten large beads to a cord, tie ends in a knot and wear!

Wear one...or four!

About the Author

Lindsey Crafter is your go-to crafting and styling guru. She graduated from the Fashion Institute in New York City, but left the industry to pursue crafting and sewing instruction. In her free time, she enjoys creating alternative jewelry, haggling at flea markets,and pushing the limits of renovating her rental apartment.