All the step-bv-step instructions for the designs are illustrated to make them easy to follow.

Measurements are given to help you keep to the correct proportions - for example, the thickness of logs, the diameter of balls of clay and the lengths of cut pieces of log are given. Keep a ruler beside vou as you work so that you can refer to it for accurate sizing.

Precise quantities of clay needed to complete each project are not included but no design will require more than one 60gm (2o7.) packet of clay.

Beads are one of the most ancient forms of jewellery, and they are found from the clay and wooden beads of early cultures through to the exotic plastics of today. Polymer modelling clays give the home craft worker the exciting opportunity to take part in this ancient craft and to produce glorious beads in all shapes, designs and colours. The following projects demonstrate a large range of different shapes and designs, but I hope you will use them as a starting point and be inspired to go on to produce your own patterns and designs.

bead-making techniques

Bead-making in polymer clays is quite easy if you follow a few basic rules: Always try to make beads that are supposed to be the same size, exactly the same size. You can do this by rolling a log and cutting equal lengths for a set of beads. If you find it difficult to do this by eye, lie the log along a ruler and cut it at regular intervals.

Once you have made a bead, handle it as little as possible before baking.

Before baking, check that the holes in the beads are large enough to take your chosen thread, thong or wire. If you find that a hole is not large enough, it is possible to enlarge it by twisting a small bit from a power drill into the hole by hand.

Choose mixtures of colours carefully. A few toning colours will often look far more successful than complicated combinations. Polymer clay colours are bright, so mix the clay for more subtle effects. In addition, vary the types and sizes of beads in one necklace. Modelling clay beads are hand-made, and slight irregularities are part of their charm. Putting different sizes and shapes together will look far more effective than if you try to mimic a string of perfectly symmetical, commercially made beads. However, if you combine your handmade beads with commercial beads your designs will have more variety and you will be able to spend more time making a few beautiful feature beads rather than the dozens of small beads needed to make up a necklace. The most useful types of commercial beads are described on page 19.

« When you paint beads you will find that it is easier to paint tiny motifs with an artists' watercolour paintbrush than with a cheaper hobby brush, which has softer hair. Invest in a good number 0 brush and clean it thoroughly after use, because any acrylic paint left in the hairs will ruin it.

)ASic bead Types

Round Beads

Roll a log of clay the same thickness as the diameter of tine beads required. Cut lengths of the same measurement. Roll each length lightly between your palms, rotating your hands in a circular movement until the bead is quite round Place it lightly on the board, then use a darning needle (or a pin for tiny beads) to pierce downwards right through the centre of the bead. (See above left.)

Lift the bead on your needle and roll it back aaJ forth against your palm to enlarge the hole and to correct the slight flattening caused by the piercing. Gently place the bead on the baking sheet, taki: care to avoid touching it again before baking. Tfe( is no need to thread beads on to wires for baking. They will not distort on the baking sheet, and if;» use baking parchment rather than foil, there should be no mark at all where they have rested on the parchment. It is possible to make beads very quickly with this technique. (See above right.)

Disc Beads

Reil a log of clay and cut equal lengths to the size required. For example, a 6mm (Vi in) thick log cut into 6mm ( i in) lengths will give disc beads 10mm (Mn) in diameter. Roll the clay into balls between your hands and press each down on to the board with your finger until they are 10mm (X in) across. Use a blunt wool needle to pierce the centre of each,enlarging the hole with a circular motion. Slice the discs off the board with your craft knife and lift them on to the baking sheet.

Tube Beads

Tlie>e beads will be approximately the same size as the lengths of log cut. Stand each length upright on the board and pierce down through the centre with j darning needle. Holding the bead on the needle, mil it gently on the board to even out the sides. This will enlarge the hole and keep the bead round in cross-section.

Melon or Fluted Beads

First, make a round bead as above. When you have pierced the bead, hold it horizontally on the needle and press the side of a wool needle against it all round to indent the sides. Roll lightly against your palm to finish.

Pebble Beads

These beads, which resemble pebbles from the beach, show how versatile polymer clays can be. Pressing the clay with a piece of quilt wadding produces a wonderful texture, very similar to sandstone or granite. An added advantage is that they can be made with all the scraps of clay left over from other projects such as millefiori, -as well as any squashed disasters! mR^;"

Millefiori Beads

Millefiori means 'thousand flowers', and it is the name employed in glass-making to describe the use of coloured canes of glass that have a pattern running right through them, rather like seaside rock. Glass millefiori beads arc made by applying slices of the canes to the sides of a bead to build up a pattern. A similar technique is possible with polymer modelling clay, and it can give extremely intricate results. Geometric patterns are the simplest designs to create, but it is also possible to build up complex images in a cane and reduce them to tiny detail by simply rolling or compressing the cane to reduce the diameter.

The « and 3mn 3mm (>-in) instruction beads. 15a ki 15 minutes royal blue < leaving the


lor a 50cm (20m) necklace mill earrings:

♦ Clay - violet, crimson, blue and leaf green

♦ Beading thread

♦ GP torpedo clasp

♦ Gloss varnish MIXTURES

4 royal blue - 3mm ('".in) 36 purple - 3mm (!*in)

IMake the round beads following the instructions for round beads on page 26. Make the melon beads using any colour clay and following the instructions on page 27 for melon beads. After indenting the sides, brush all over with gold powder, holding the bead steady by keeping the needle inside the hole as you brush.

2 The disc beads are mai by rolling a 6mm (:/iin| leaf green log and cufa 22 pieces, each 3mm (Kin)long. Follow the instructions Cordis; beads on page 27. Brush lt> of the beads with gold powder, leaving the remaining six greet.

QAis richly coloured set is made with a variety of the basic beads in toning colours and different sizes. It shows what sumptuous results can be achieved with polymer modelling clays. The purples and blues are mixed from different combinations of crimson, violet and blue to give a harmonious colour scheme, and the leaf green and gold are a perfect foil to the purples.

Spice Island Necklace and Earrings Set

String the beads for the necklace in the order shown in the figure, matching each side (see page 20 for stringing instructions). This makes the necklace approximately 50cm (20in) long, but you can make it shorter or longer by adding or subtracting small tube beads. Finish the necklace with calotte crimps and a clasp.

ads are made 6mm (¡4 in) og and cutting m (Kin) long, tions for disc Brush 16 of Id powder, ling six green.

4 Make the earrings by threading each eyepin as follows: one purple 3mm (%in) round bead, one gold disc bead, one plum 10mm (Ji in) round bead, one gold disc, one royal blue 3mm (^in) round bead, two tube beads, one 3mm (*in) purple round bead. Turn a loop in the top of each headpin (see page 21). Attach the fishhook ear wires.

3 The tube beads are quick and easy to make. Roll a 3mm ('4 in) log and cut 66 3mm l ■ in) lengths. Follow the instructions on page 27 for tube beads. Hake all the beads for 1? minutes. Vamish the gold, royal blue and plum beads, leaving the rest matt.


♦ Gloss varnish


♦ 2 disc beads aked polymer clay has an excellent surface that can be painted with acrylic paints. The painted gold leaf design on these beads was inspired by patterns on ancient Greek pottery.

Grecian Gold Necklace


♦ Gold acrylic paint

♦ Nail varnish remover » Gloss varnish

♦ CP liquid gold beads

♦ GP torpedo clasp « Beading thread

BLACK BEADS TO MAKE < 1 tube bead - 10 x 28 ram flu Win)

IMake the beads from black clay following the instructions on pages 26-27. When you have made the tube bead, curve it by pinching the two ends together at the top. This will cause the bead to hang with the curve downwards so that the painted side is always visible when it is worn. Bake the beads for 15 minutes.

2 Brush the tube bead and two round beads with nail varnish remover to de-grease them. Mark the outline of the design lightly with a pencil, then paint the design in gold acrylic paint, using the illustration above as a guide. Paint the wavy line first, then paint the leaves. It is easier to paint the round beads by holding them steady with a wool needle in the hole. Paint the melon beads and disc beads gold. Varnish the beads with gloss varnish when the gold paint is completely dry.

: surface

: surface

Thread the beads in the order shown (see left). The liquid gold beads are arranged in groups of fives and tens, and round metal beads are positioned between the groups and each clay bead. The disc beads arc placed on either side of the central tube bead. Attach the calotte crimps and clasp (refer to page 20 for complete stringing instructions).

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