DIY Polymer Clay Beads: Learn Marbling and Inlay Techniques
Polymer Clay Magic
Polymer clay is a material beloved by artists, jewelers, parents, and kids! Available in a rainbow assortment of colors, this clay is easy to shape into anything you can imagine! Polymer clay never dries out so you can either mold it endlessly or bake it in a home oven, making your creations permanent.
We use it to make miniatures, earrings, beads, and more! The possibilities are endless!
In this tutorial, I will go over two polymer clay techniques: marbling and inlay. We will also cover how to make a hole in your bead, and best practices for baking your clay.
Shop Polymer Clay Supplies
We carry a nice selection of polymer clay tools and supples in our shop!
The innovative Super Slicer was designed specifically for use with oven-bake clay!
Gather Your Materials
Several colors of polymer clay
- a knife or razor blade for slicing clay - try these slicing tools!
- a toothpick
- Clean white paper to cover your work surface.
- Cord or chain to string your beads
- a toaster oven
Setting up your work area
Polymer clay is very sensitive to dust and surface textures. Try using a piece of regular clean white paper to line your work area. The paper is smooth, dirt free, and easy to change when it gets covered with clay!
I also suggest buying a toaster oven that you use specifically for craft projects (aka NO FOOD). Polymer clay is a plastic product that is safe to handle, but while it is heated, it lets off a strong chemical odor. It's best practice to not mix food and hot plastic and to bake your clay in a well-ventilated area.
I purchased the cheapest toaster oven I could find and use it only for making art.
Marbling Your Clay
Marbling is the simplest of all polymer clay techniques, but creates beautiful results! Who wouldn't want a colorful swirl bead?
This inlay technique is so rewarding and fun. In this tutorial, I demonstrate a serpentine design, but you can inlay any shape into your clay.
Makings Spheres into Beads
By now, we have some very pretty spheres! Let's make these balls into beads!
Bake Your Beads
Preheat your toaster oven to 275 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes per quarter inch of thickness. For example, a piece that is .5 inch thick should be baked for 30 minutes. I baked my beads for 30 minutes.
Make Your Necklace
Once your beads have cured in the oven, assemble your necklace! I strung my beads on a piece of cotton cord, but you could use chain, leather, or whatever your heart desires.
Did your necklace come out particularly cool? Share your work in our comments! Happy crafting!
By Jennie Lennick
Designer, entrepreneur, and lover of crafts! Boss Lady at Jenny Lemons in San Francisco