Clay Bead NecklacePhoto by Megan Senior

This is not the Sculpey of your kindergarten art class. Well, OK, it is. But this chunky polymer pendant is so dang cute, no one will ever know. Freshen up your wardrobe with make ’n’ bake clay beads for some brand-new jewelry that costs less than a latte. 

Materials

  • Polymer clay (e.g. Sculpey, available at craft stores and online) in at least three colors
  • Clay hole cutter (or long kitchen skewer)
  • X-Acto or butter knife 
  • Baking sheet
  • Necklace cord of your choice (leather, suede, jute, cotton, etc.)
  • Scissors

Instructions

1. Select your pendant’s color palette. Knead the clay until it’s soft and easy to manipulate. Use your palms to roll a uniformly thin snake shape in the color you want on the bottom row, a little longer than you want your pendant to be. Gently bend the clay snake into an arch. Make two more clay snakes in the colors you want to complete your pendant, in slightly thinner thicknesses, and then press them into the first U-shape. 

2. Use your cutting tool or butter knife to trim the edges so that the ends are uniform and your pendant is your desired length. 

3. Carefully pierce each side of your pendant from the top layer through the bottom with a hole cutter or skewer. Make sure the hole is large enough for your desired cord. Gently transfer your pendant to a baking sheet. 

4. Get creative and make additional beads by rolling out clay in any other shapes you want—discs, balls, ovals, anything! Mix colors together for a marbled look, or blend small amounts of white to each new bead of the same color to create an ombré, effect. Then pierce each bead with your skewer and transfer to the baking sheet. 

5. Bake at the manufacturer’s recommended temperature (baking time will vary based on the thickness of your beads). 

6. To create a short necklace like the one pictured, cut two lengths of cord, that, when tied together, will be a few inches longer than your desired necklace length. Thread each length through one side of your baked, cooled pendant, knotting the cord at the base of the bead. When ready to wear, knot the two lengths behind your neck.

Clay Bead Necklace
Photo by Megan Senior

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By Megan O. Andersen
Makeup by Christina Reyna
Hair by Dina Calabro
Modeled by Holiday Black
Dress by modcloth (Roving Reporter Dress)

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2016 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today



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