View Full Version : Keeping the round shape of beads...

27-06-2010, 07:49 PM
Can someone share some tips on how to pierce beads and keep them nice and round when piercing them? or maybe you make the holes after baking? if so how do you do it?
I am having a go at making polymer clay beads but when i pierce them they slightly loose their shape.

Secondly, I want to try Kato clay which is much more rigid and really nice for canes, but I do not know how safe it is to bake in kitchen oven.

Many Thanks!!


27-06-2010, 09:06 PM
This still causes me grief to try & do. Quite often now I bake the beads & use a pin vice & drill to sort the hole out afterwards ;)

If I want to do the hole first I try to cool the beads in the fridge first & handle them as little & gently as possible. You can also re-roll the bead after doing the hole if it has distorted slightly. Some people would argue that non perfect beads adds to the character of hand made stuff - personally that doesn't work for me :p

I have never used Kato clay but I would have no doubts that it is absolutely safe to bake in your oven.

27-06-2010, 10:21 PM
I do much the same as Bev - keep the clay cool in the fridge, take my time and go really slowly.

I take a LONG time to roll and pierce round beads - like easily 5 or 10 minutes each if I am having a cack-handed day. (which is why I don't make them that often and they tend to be priced quite high when I do!)

But you don't really need to use a firmer clay unless you want to - all the clays can be made firmer if you allow them to cool or leach the clay slightly before using it.

I find some clays easier to "round" out than others though - so its always worth trying different clays just to see how you get on. For round beads, I am finding cernit a lot easier to roll into even balls than Fimo for example, even though the cernit can get quite soft in the hand. I think it is because although it does get soft and takes the shape nicely when you roll it, it also firms up quite quickly too so let distortion maybe?

Kato clay is perfectly safe for your kitchen oven. It does have a very strong PVC odour however that many find off-putting.

28-06-2010, 11:28 PM
Thanks so much for your answers!

29-06-2010, 07:53 PM
I actually find piercing really easy. I bought a 1mm & a 2mm bead reamer a while ago for some wooden beads and found that it works perfectly for piercing polymer clay beads. I keep the bead on a flat surface and push through the middle slowly with the reamer and then I roll the bead on my hand whilst it's on the reamer to shape it and make the hole edges neat and the size I want, works a treat!

30-06-2010, 11:54 PM
If my clays quite warm and I need to peirce the beads quickly I pop them in the fridge for about five minutes. That firms them off. In cooler weather I usually pop them on some polyester batting on my desk and they cool off themselves.
Ive also found that peircing one side to the centre, then turning the bead round and peircing from the other side makes a big difference. Try resting the beads in your giners and peirce downwards so you can 'pillow' the bad, rather than gripping it between two fingers and trying to peirce it that way-you'l just squeeze the bead :)

edit: I just started making polymer clay beads with a larger hole, to fit snake chains (a la Pandora beads) and found the best way to peirce them is to let them deform and flatten slightly. I use plain drinking straws cut down and cut a 'v' shape on one end so I can peirce the bead, tiwts, and remove a neat little plug of clay. Looks like I used some proffessional, expensive tool, lol...