Metal Clay Projects > METAL CLAY PROJECTS : > PROJECT : Textured Beads by Joy Funnell

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Textured Beads

by Joy Funnell

This project is a great way to use up excess paste and it does not matter if it is a bit lumpy, this will just add to the texture of the bead.

Make a shape using cork clay and put in a cocktail stick into it while still wet so the shape is easy to handle. Dry thoroughly. Cork is best left to dry naturally for at least 48 hours. For this project I have made a heart shape.

Use Art Clay Silver paste. Paint on the first coat thickly making sure you leave a hole at the top and bottom of the bead. Dry. If you use a hairdryer for about  5 minutes and then finish drying over a hot plate you can get a reticulated style effect on the surface as the top skin dries faster than the paste underneath. Try varying the times to see what different effect you can get.

Repeat for 4 or 5 thick coats until you have at least 1mm thickness and dry thoroughly.

Roll out Art Clay Silver to .75mm thick (3 cards). Cut two shapes to go over the bead holes and another shape for decoration if you want.

Cut a smaller hole with a straw or a hole cutter out of the centre of the bead hole covers. You could texture the shapes when you roll the clay out or use something to add texure afterwards.

Add the first bead cover using a little water on the surface of the bead where you are going to place the circle and also some syringe to attach it, then remove the cocktail stick and repeat on the other side of the bead for the second one. I have used a ball point burnisher on the circles while still wet to decorate them.

Add the decorative shape if using. I have used a cocktail stick to add lines to the heart decoration and made a small depression with the ball burnisher to add a stone later.

Dry  thoroughly.

To set a fireable stone (I used a 3mm ruby CZ) extrude a small amount of syringe into the recess  made earlier and gently press the stone into it to create a bezel. Dry.

Refine your piece making sure you have no sharp edges anywhere and make sure you are completely happy with it before firing.

Fire your piece and polish up.  Use Liver of Sulphur to patinate to bring up the texture on the surface and then polish up to a nice shine.

Ball up a piece of fine silver wire (I used 1.5mm diameter wire) to make a headpin or use a commercial headpin and wire wrap your pendant to make a loop to hang it from.

Add a chain and sit back and admire your work. (see image below)



  • This project is good for using up paste which made from scrap pieces and filings as you want a textured surface so it does not matter if it has any small lumps in it.
  • Adding the paste with thick splodges in places will increase the texture.
  • When using paste over cork clay it will take longer to dry than normal so make sure you dry it well before firing.
  • If you want to cut several shapes at once when you roll out the clay use a fresh wet baby wipe to cover the shapes and it will stop them drying out while you work.
  • If your holes are wider than the end of the headpin use a decorative bead on each side of your shape to reduce the size of the holes.


Finished piece and another example made as a ball to hang directly onto a chain.

Last updated on Thu, October 20, 2011 by Metal Clay Guru