Handmade porcelain beads can become expensive. Making the beads from scratch is easy, fun and inexpensive. Sculpt ornate beads by hand or use a mould, and create one of a kind beads for special pieces of jewellery for friends, family or craft shows. Beads take several days to dry before firing (cooking) the first time, so patience is required.
Purchase porcelain clay. It is a fine white clay that fires slightly translucent, so it makes beautiful beads. Use a set of wooden or plastic clay tools for moulding the beads, and clay tools with stiff and soft brushes for filing off areas of porcelain or brushing off the dust. Use an awl or thin knitting needle for making the holes. Needle tools, craft knives, dental picks and toothpicks work well for carving fine details in porcelain.
Press moulds work well for making porcelain beads. Simply press a lump of clay into the mould, lift it out and push a hole through it with an awl or narrow knitting needle. Press moulds for ceramics, polymer clay or plaster make good moulds for porcelain. You can also make your own mould.
The porcelain bakes in a kiln. You need a bead holder with wire rods for the kiln, kiln wash for the shelves, a brush and container for mixing and painting the kiln wash, and a tray for the beads. Once you take the beads out of the kiln, put them on a tray so you don't break or loose them. Purchase your desired glaze for the beads. Watercolour glazes work well on porcelain.