In our continuing series of articles on Bead Types we now turn our attention to Polymer Clay beads. Polymer Clay is a wonderful material to use, especially as it is light and strong, allowing for large pieces without weight being an issue. Polymer Clay can also mimic many other materials, such as gemstones, wood, bone, shell and metal.

The use of ‘canes’ (a polymer clay technique) allows for many beads to be made that whilst not identical are basically the same. A common use of canes is in Millefiori style beads. Millefiori means ‘thousand flowers’ and comes from a glass technique. Polymer Clay artists use slices of flower canes to make beads covered with flowers.


Some polymer clay artists specialise in creating Faux gemstones, that can be so realistic that it is difficult to tell they are not the real thing. The biggest giveaway is the weight. Legitimate sellers will of course clearly label them as Faux gemstones. Polymer clay can also be made to mimic glass, and some very talented artisans make Faux Lampwork beads and Faux Dichroic beads.


Polymer Clay can be used to create virtually any shape of bead you need, and in any colour. You will find flowers, leaves, cupcakes, pizzas, coffee cups, bears, fish, hearts, stars and hundreds of other shapes of beads. If it has some kind of shape or form it can be created with polymer clay, and can be created in a variety of different sizes, from very small to quite large.

Polymer Clay beads add an extra element to the beadie stashes of any jewellery artisan, and are well worth exploring if you haven’t already done so.
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Bead Types - Polymer Clay
11 March 2010, 6:14 am
Source: Jennifer Mercer, Handmade News Columnist
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