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h. Bead Making

Making beads from your Polymer Clay:

Canes can be sliced directly to become beads, and holes made either before or after baking.

A base bead can be made from scrap clay, then millefiori canes sliced into paper thin slices, collaged onto the base bead, then rolled very gently between your hands until the seams disappear (sometimes the edges of canes can look nice too!)  A hole can be made in the bead before or after baking.

If you don't like the look of fingerprints on your beads, wear tight fitting latex gloves.  These also help when you are rolling beads in your hands to get a nice finish as your hands won't stick to the clay.

If you want to apply a square cane design onto a round base bead, firstly make the base bead into a cube, then apply slices of the square cane to each of the 6 sides, then roll gently back into a round ball.

Round balls can be shaped into cubes by pressing gently down with a flat object and keep turning side to side until square. 

If you want to make very large beads which are light, you can use a crushed up shape of aluminium foil as a base, then cover with clay, then your final design on top of this.

Tube beads are made by inserting a long needle into a clump of the base clay and gently rolling to make an even tube.  Once you have the tube, then apply slices of canes all over it and roll again till smooth.  You can also decorate tube beads with metallic powders, and textures.  Slice tube beads with a rolling action using the tissue blade (often better done after baking while still warm)

Bead Rollers can be used to make consistent sized and shaped beads - great for more abstract beads, but just be careful if you are trying to make millefiori beads using the rollers as they can distort your pictures a lot.

Products related to this article:

BRCR  Poly-Tools Clearly Round Bead Roller Set with Ovals
BRCR Poly-Tools Clearly Round Bead Roller Set with Ovals
BRP  Poly-Tools Bead Piercing Pins (Set of 50)
BRP Poly-Tools Bead Piercing Pins (Set of 50)
RUL  15cm Measuring Guide-Child Safe Ruler-Blade
RUL 15cm Measuring Guide-Child Safe Ruler-Blade