Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Spring Flower bead tutorial

Finally the weather is getting warmer. Over here in the UK, we’ve been having some beautiful weather in between the showers, and I’m thinking of seasonal beads made in clay. 

Today I’d like to share how I create my Spring flower beads. They are made from ceramic clay, but I think they’d work equally well in polymer if you don’t have access to a kiln.

To start, grab yourself a lump of clay and roll a sausage. 

Cut the sausage in to equal sized pieces. This will help your beads to be roughly the same size.

Roll each piece in to a ball and flatten.

I do this by squashing the ball in the centre and then gently squeezing around the edge to level the clay. This will give you a square edge.

Next you need a chisel ended tool. This is one of my two most used tools for bead making. I never use the other end, but the chisel tip is great for smoothing, shaping and marking your clay.

Press the tool in to the clay at the edge and then roll the tip towards the centre of the bead to make an indent.

Do this at opposite sides around the edge until you have petals.

Flip the bead and putting your tool in the groove from the first side, roll around to the centre again to create petals on the second side.

Take a skewer or your favourite hole making implement. Pierce centrally in between two petals through to the other side so that the point just pokes through the clay. (I find it’s easier to look at the bead edge on while doing this to make sure the skewer goes through level. 

Take out the skewer and pierce from the opposite side to join the first hole and push all the way through. Working like this gives you a neater hole, and also gives you the chance to correct any lining up mistakes from the first poke.

With the bead still on the skewer, take a ball stylus tool and poke a ring of dots in the centre of the flower. Poke another ring inside that, and continue until the centre is filled.

Leave the clay to harden a little and then if there are any cracks around the hole, you can clean these up with a damp paintbrush before leaving to dry completely.

When they are dry, these go in to the kiln for a bisque firing. Next they are glazed, the glaze is wiped from the front surfaces to create a nice contrast and highlight the centres, and they are fired again to full temperature. 

The dotted centres are quite a simple design, but there are lots of different effects you can go for in the middle, add lines, wiggles, more petals, whatever you like to make them your own!

If you’re trying this in polymer, I think you could get some great effects with inks and pastes, and I’d love to see what you create if you try!



  1. these beads are so delightful, I wish I had a kiln to try them out

  2. These are just darling! With some adjustments, they could be made in glass too. Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. I have some I bought from a lampworker years ago Jen. I think her name is Darla, can't remember her last name. I don't think she used a press either.

  3. Almost wants to make me give it a try in polymer but I think I will leave the making to you!!! I am in love with them.

  4. So pretty, Caroline! The simple designs really are the loveliest :)

  5. very cool! I will give it a go in polymer!

  6. What sweet little flowers! You've inspired me to try some in polymer—thanks Caroline!

  7. Thanks all!

    Looking forward to seeing some pictures! :)

  8. What a great tutorial. Perfect for a ceramic beginner like me. Thanks!

  9. Love love LOVE these!! Especially the set at the bottom in those warm colors. I could eat them up!

  10. Oooh! I love this. I've been looking for a small floral type bead and you've got me thinking that maybe I could create some of my own in polymer. Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  11. Every time I see a post detailing all that goes into making art beads, I'm amazed. It affirms that I would never be able to do this and makes me that much more grateful that so many of you do so I can buy them!

  12. Love these sweet little flowers! Someday I am going to make beads, its on my bucket list. ☺

  13. Those are totally precious! You are so very generous to share the process. Thank you!

  14. I'm sending this tutorial to my Mum (she's a potter), I'm sure she can have fun with it!


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