Camp Ask Holly Week 4: Making Beads


In a perfect world summer crafts would all be lovely, well planned, organized activities.  In my world they are usually a quick play to minimize the smackdown between visiting cousins and gathering whatever materials I can dig up before I have to say, “I don’t care who hit who first, keep your damn hands to yourself!” (Yes, I swear, and yes, I am so OK with that.)

Kids love to string beads so why not take it a step further and have them make the beads?

  • Clay Beads:
    Polymer clay in a few colors
    A wooden or metal skewer or toothpicks
    Cord, ribbon, yarn or string
    An oven


Step One: Take small bits of clay in different colors and roll them in your hands to warm them up. Mix and twist to get a together to get a marbled effect. Roll the clay into balls or into a thin roll and then cut the clay as if making cookies.

Step Two: Push the skewer/toothpick through the beads to form a hole and bake the clay according to the manufacturer’s directions. When the beads cool they are ready to string.

BeadsFun tips and creative ideas:
Polka dot beads: Roll out a larger ball and several smaller balls. Push the smaller balls onto the larger and roll in the palm of your hand to smooth out the bead.
-Swirly beads: Press three different colors flat onto your work surface now layer the pieces  and then flatted them a bit more. Roll the pieces like a snail and then cut them with a butter knife into small pieces. Either leave the beads flat or roll them into a ball.


photo (8)-Heart, mustache, mushrooms or flat beads: Always make your bead starting with the skewer or toothpicks inside the shape this way you will not mangle the shape when making the hole and will be able to  make sure it is thick enough.
-Use tools such as a toothpick, plastic knives, the backside of a small paint brush to mold clay.

The kids will be happy and creative—and they’ll keep their damn hands to themselves.

Clay, ribbon and string available  A.C. Moore  and  Michaels

Questions? Ask Holly in comments.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. Holly, I love polymer clay. However, after baking it this winter (so the windows were closed), I thought the fumes were horrible. Now I always have a fan going and windows open when baking. No multi-tasking. Don’t bake any food at the same time you have the clay in the oven.

    The clay is fantastic for kids because it doesn’t dry out. We made beads and used skewers balanced on a glass loaf pan so the beads wouldn’t flatten out on one side.

    Polymer clay laughs at soap and water. You can keep a rough towel or wet wipes near you, esp when changing colors. Using a small pumice stone with soap will help remove the clay from your hands; so will some hand creams and facial scrubs

Comments are closed.