Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Polymer Clay Tutorial- Bead Basics Part 5- Impressed Beads

This tutorial is going to be more of a list of ideas than a real how-to.  These beads are all based on shapes that I posted in other tutorials: Covering a Bead Core, Bead Shapes, More Bead Shapes, Covering a Mud Core

The photos in this tutorial are not the best but you should be able to see enough to understand what I'm talking about.  The lighting was just terrible in the room I was working in.  It's really a good idea to have decent lighting.

Let's get started!

Idea #1:
First is the melon bead.  Start with a round bead.  Pierce it with your needle tool and leave it on there.

Use a fat blunt needle to make marks from the hole to about halfway down the side of the bead.  To make the lines even, make a mark and then do the next one straight across, then do marks halfway between the others until you have divided your bead into 8 sections.  Then work from the other side of the hole to make the marks go all the way from one end of the hole to the other.  (Somehow I ended up not getting a photo of the finished bead. But I'm sure you get the idea.)

Idea #2:
The next bead doesn't have a name but when pressed to call it something I just call it an impressed cube.  You could make dice using this method and then painting the dots.  Start with a cube.

Use the head of a sewing pin to impress dots in each side of the cube.  If you embed the pointy part of the pin in a chunk of scrap clay and bake it, you won't stab yourself and you'll have something to hang onto.

Make them shallow or deep according to your preference.  Pierce the bead from side to side through to of the indentations.

Idea #3:
This next one is an impressed barrel that I made up a long time ago.  Somehow this one didn't turn out as good as the original.  Make a barrel bead and lay it on your work surface.  Use the needle tool to press a groove all the way around the bead, rolling it back and forth on the surface.

Like this:

Use a fat needle to make round indentations in a row around one end of the bead.

I should have made these farther apart and shallower but you get the idea.  Pierce the bead the long way.

Idea #4:
Next is an impressed round bead.  Make a round bead and pierce it, leaving it on the needle.  Use the head of the pin to make indentations as desired.

Take it off the needle and roll it lightly between your hands to reshape as needed.

Idea #5:
This next one I call a caterpillar bead.  (Make sure the outer layer of clay is thick enough to keep the core from showing through.  I didn't make it thick enough and you can see mud peeking out.)  Pierce the bead and roll it back and forth on the work surface to start forming a long tube bead.

Take it off the needle tool and flatten the ends a little to neaten things up.  Stick it back on the needle tool.

Take your fat needle and use it to make a groove in the middle of the bead.

Then make two other grooves, one on each side of the first.  Take the bead off the needle tool.

Bend the bead between two fingers to bend it slightly.

Idea #6:
You can also use other craft supplies to make impressions in your beads.  I prefer starting with a cube.

I'm using a piece of lace for this one.  Lay the lace on the work surface and place the bead on the lace.  Fold the lace over the bead and press down so you impress two sides at once.  Turn the bead and do two of the other sides and repeat for the last two sides.

It's hard to see the effect in this photo but I probably should have used a finer lace.  Pierce the bead any direction you want.

Idea #7:
You can use flexible texture sheets in a variety of ways.  Make a round bead and roll it around on the sheet for a random design.

Pierce the bead.

Idea #8:
Make a cube and set it on the edge of a texture sheet.

Bend the edge of the texture sheet over the top of the bead and press to impress two sides.  Turn the bead and repeat two more times until all sides are impressed.

Pierce the bead.

Idea #9:
Make a barrel bead.  Pierce it and leave it on the needle.  Roll the bead across the texture sheet without overlapping the impression.

Idea #10:
Here's another one using a found object.  This is one of those baby combs you get free from the hospital.  I have several (five hospital births!) so I keep one with my clay stuff.  Make a round bead, pierce it, and carefully roll it along the teeth of the comb from hole to hole.  Turn the bead halfway and repeat.  Then do it again halfway between each of the other lines.

Idea #11:
This one's cool.  Make a barrel bead and pierce it.  Take your stripe texture sheet and roll the bead on it at an angle to make diagonal lines.

Turn the bead halfway and roll again.

This will make new lines going the other way to make diamond shapes all over the bead.

The possibilities are endless so use your imagination to see what you come up with.  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!


The "Bead Basics" Series of Tutorials:
Part 1: Covering a Core
Part 2: 5 Bead Shapes
Part 3: 6 More Bead Shapes
Part 4: Covering a Core with a Solid Color


  1. Love the textures! That is so amazing. Thank you for sharing! Found you thru my post on the EBT. Good luck on your blog!!

    And spread the comment love ;-)



  2. Just wanted to pop in and say Thank You for a lovely job on the bead shape tutorials :) Even tho I've been playing w/ polymer for over ten years I found your tutes quite informative and an awesome refresher course.

    thanks again Sherry
    ps found you in pinterest

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for the easy to follow format of your tuts. I enjoyed this one on impressed beads very much..../Donna in AL

  4. Thanks for the tutorial :) Very clear explanations and easy to follow :)

  5. Thank you very much ,,,,just what a beginner needs.

  6. Thank you very much ,,,,just what a beginner needs.

  7. Thanks...love to share in our polymer clay group