A bead roller is a simple device used by jewellery artists to make polymer clay beads and metal clay beads (silver, copper and bronze). Many commercial bead rollers are made of hard, clear plastic, but you can use polymer clay to make your own bead roller. Bead rollers are typically made in two pieces: a top half and a bottom half. To use a bead roller, roll a piece of polymer clay, place the clay in the bead roller in between the two halves and roll the bead with the tool. Bead rollers allow crafters to make uniform sized beads (with or without texture).
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Craft pasta roller (optional)
- 170gr of scrap polymer clay
- Texture tools (optional)
- Tube (such as broom handle, spoon handle, pipe)
Gather your tools and materials. You will need 170gr of polymer clay, your polymer clay tools and a large tube to create an impression in the polymer clay.
Condition your polymer clay with your hands or a pasta roller designated for crafts.
Roll the conditioned polymer clay into the shape of a large log. The log must be wider than the tube you plan to use to make your impression. You will have to determine the size of the log through trial and error. For example, if you are using a half inch spoon handle, then roll out a tube that is about 1 inch wide and about 4 inches long.
Push the tube into the middle of the polymer clay log to create an impression in the clay. Try to centre the tube so you have an even lip on either side of the clay. You can even add notches to the lips so it is easier to align the two halves of the bead roller. The beads you create will be determined by the shape impression you make in the clay.
Use texture tools to create textures in the polymer clay impression. You can use anything to create texture. There are many commercial texture plates and tools sold for crafters to use on polymer clay, but the most interesting textures can be found around the house using forks, nails, screws, fabric, old toys, or anything else you can push into clay to make an impression. Skip this step if you do not want your beads textured.
Repeat steps from the beginning to create a second half for your bead roller. Take care that the second half is the same size and shape as the first, or your bead roller will make beads that are not shaped evenly.
Bake the polymer clay in an oven or toaster oven designated for craft use, according to the polymer clay manufacturer’s instructions. You can purchase crafting toaster ovens online, or you might find them at yard sales.
Tips and warnings
- Artists often use something to measure the amount of clay needed for the bead roller so the beads made are uniform in size.
- Use scrap polymer clay to make an economical bead roller.
- The handles of brooms, spoons, and other long, hard objects are good choices for creating a DIY bead roller.
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