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How to make a clay bead necklace, easy DIY tutorial

Create stunning jewelry from scratch! Explore our step-by-step guide on how to make a clay bead necklace. I am in love with this DIY statement necklace, it is so easy to make at home – the only frustration is waiting for the air clay to dry!

A few months back I attended a color and style consultation – I joked with the stylist that by the end of the appointment, she would have me in scarves and chunky necklaces, I predicted right! Since then I have been eyeing up chunky necklaces for inspiration.

This clay bead necklace is easy to make and can be made in many different colors to suit you. The only tricky but is being patient and waiting for each layer of paint to dry.

The beauty of working with air-dry clay is that no specialist tools are required, not even an oven. It’s lightweight to wear and easy to work with. Air drying clay can be moulded and shaped with anything you have to hand.

Your clay jewelry may become soft if exposed to moisture so it is best to seal with a paint or varnish.

I have to admit my main difficulty was choosing what color to make!

Materials for Clay Bead Necklace

  • Air-dry clay
  • Rolling pin
  • Kebab stick
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic gloss medium
  • Thread
  • Clasp and

How to make a clay bead necklace

Let’s start by rolling out the air drying clay to about 2mm in thickness, I have used a rolling pin and rolled it out on baking paper to stop the clay from sticking to the work surface.

Next let’s cut the clay into squares. I have chosen to make roughly the same size of clay beads but you may prefer to have smaller beads grading up to larger beads.

Using a wooden skewer or cocktail stick create holes roughly in the center of each clay bead, use your finger to smooth over the clay on the opposite side, then set aside to dry. The holes need to be wide enough for your choice of cord.

Once fully dry paint one side and the edges in your color choice of acrylic paint and leave to dry. Once fully dry turn over and paint the other side.  I recommend doing this a couple of times to gain a nice solid color on your clay beads.

Next ets seal the clay beads with acrylic gloss medium, allowing one side to dry before turning over and painting the second side. Ensure you paint the edges, taking care not to get any drips along the edges.

Thread your middle bead on and tie a knot as close as you can to each side of the bead.

If you have children wishing to help this is great for practicing fine motor skills. Place a bead on each side and keep working outwards, bead then knot, and bead then knot. I started with 1m of cord and have threaded beads, bear in mind each knot takes thread and shortens your cord. If you have any excess cord for the desired length of necklace you can trim this at the end.

Once you are satisfied with the length it is time to add fastenings. I’ve used some E6000 glue as an extra measure, placing some glue in with the helpful aid of a dressmaking pin before closing with pliers.

Lastly, add a D ring and clasp.

This air-dry clay necklace is a fun way to dress up any outfit, you could pair it with your own clay bead bracelets. There are so many potential variations from different shapes, different color combinations, to elastic or leather cord or accent beads such as gold beads.  Your own clay bead necklaces will involve happy making time.

Frequently Asked Questions for how to make a clay bead necklace

How long does air-drying clay take to dry? This can vary on the temperature and thickness of clay. These took about 24 hrs in summer.

How do I get a nice smooth edge per bead? I suggest dipping your finger in water and then gradually working your way along the surface to smooth it out.

If you are looking for further ideas for polymer clay necklaces? Check out these 20 air dry clay statement necklaces for inspiration. I’m sure you agree DIY jewelry can look stylish and modern.

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