Saturday, July 3, 2010

Scrap Clay Tutorial: Harlequin Beads

These Harlequin pattern beads were super easy. I don't have photos of the process, but what do you expect? It's a free tutorial! (These instructions presume you have basic knowledge about working with polymer clay.)

Here's how to make the Harlequin beads:
  1. Grab the scrap pieces from your work table. Add some gold to the mix if there isn't some already and roll it in a ball. (I say you can never go wrong with gold!)
  2. Flatten the ball until it will go through the pasta machine on level 1. Fold and roll the clay several times until you have a pretty, watercolor-like mix of colors on your sheet.
  3. Slice the sheet into squares (I don't measure...I just eyeball it.)
  4. Condition a sheet of black clay; roll into a long cylinder.
  5. Randomly choose the colored squares and press them onto the cylinder in a diamond pattern. Align the squares point-to-point so the base black alternates with the colors. (I pressed 4 colored squares around my cylinder and  kept going until my squares of scrap were gone.)
  6. After the cylinder is covered. roll it a few times to work the tiles into the base. Slice the cylinder into segments, cutting so each is two diamonds long.
  7. Roll the segments in various ways to make the shape you like. 
  8. If you want to add texture, etch lines by rolling the threads of a big bolt on the surface. You can make  parallel or random, crisscrossed lines.
  9. Brush a light layer of black pearlex powder over the whole bead.
  10. Bake
  11. Sand to remove the surface powder, leaving it only in the etched lines. 
  12. Finish the beads to whatever level of gloss you prefer.


  1. I think I will try this with my scraps. Thanks!

  2. VERY cool post. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm going to try with some of my beads. I don't have the Pearlex powder, but I think I can try some alternative ideas with what I have. Fun!

  3. How kind of you to share your technique, I really admire these. I love seeing your clumps of scrap clay. It seems like I mostly work with white clay so I'm going to have open my horizons a bit just so I can try


  4. I haven't noticed this!!!!
    Thank you sharing your idea! i'm very surprised by the antiquing finish with black pearlex powder!!! I must try this!!!
    Does it stay well? Sorry but i didn't read which clay blend you use to work, may you tell or repeat it to me?
    Bye bye and don't forget to add your last beads to the group! they are beautiful too with their leaves!

  5. Hi Le loup
    The pearlex powder is fantastic for antiquing. After you bake and sand it, the dark color that remains is permanent. It does not rub off at all. I think it is much much better than paint for antiquing.

    Hopemore Angie,
    If you haven't used colors much it's time to break out of the (white) shell! It's absolutely endless what you can do with the colored clay. Mixing and squishing to see what comes out is my favorite part of claying!

  6. Hi! Great tute! I will be linking at in future post.


  7. Very cool idea for scrap clays. Thanks for sharing!



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