Twisted Polymer Beads

A couple of years ago, I was playing around with bead shapes and, as an experiment, flattened a bead and twisted it.  Immediately, I was in love.  With a little bit of careful manipulation, I could create beads that had a whole different kind of texture and motion.  I especially like using these beads for earrings.

For beads like these, you start off with regular round beads, then squish them into flattened ovals.  Next, pierce them on with whatever wire you’d use to bake them with, and while they’re on that wire, twist.  Be gentle, because the twist can distort the holes.

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Beads made using the watercolor technique


Beads made with an extruded cane

Since one of the steps to create these beads involves making a flat bead, it also works really well for beads that start out flat, like when you use a cutter to cut a bead from a sheet of polymer clay.  It takes some experimentation to figure out the right thickness that will keep the bead nice and flexible, but also strong enough to hold up to manipulation.  I’ve found that about 1/8 of an inch works nicely to create beads like this:

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Beads made using a mokume gane technique

(All of these earrings can currently be found at my brand new Etsy shop.)

So, for any bead makers who’re reading this, I’m curious: What are your favorite bead shapes?


About Ali

I take pictures, make jewelry, read books, and bake things. I especially like macro photography and polymer clay.
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