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Making one-of-a-kind clay bead bracelets is a quick, easy craft that’s so much fun to do. Anyone can try it – all you need are a few simple supplies and a creative design idea.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make your own clay bead bracelets and provide some ideas for what kind of designs to make. So grab your supplies, and let’s get crafting.
Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas
Clay bead bracelets are a trendy DIY jewelry project. You can personalize your bracelet with different colors, designs, and beads to create a bracelet that’s truly unique.
They’re easy and quick to make, so they’re a great activity for kids, teens, and adults. Plus, they make great gifts, too.
What are clay beads?
Clay beads are small, disc-shaped, round beads with a flat profile. They range in size, but are most commonly 6mm in diameter with a 2mm diameter hole.
Clay beads are most often made from polymer clay, a type of PVC material. They’re non-toxic and pretty durable. Plus, they’re waterproof!
You may see this style of flat, disc-shaped beads called Heishi (pronounced hee-shee) beads.
Shopping Tip: You can find all sorts of clay bead kits on Amazon. We recommend purchasing the highest quality you can. Sometimes, lower-quality kits will come with broken beads or beads that are too thin to use.
Also, we recommend purchasing a kit with an organizing case. Some kits come with pre-strung beads only, which can be a bummer if you don’t already have a way to organize and store them.
Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas
Clay bead bracelets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can opt for plain clay beads or add letter, metallic, or other accent beads for more interesting designs. The possibilities are almost endless!
Here are some more cute and aesthetic clay bead ideas for your next bracelet.
- Ombre shades
- Colorful beads in a random pattern
- Minimalist style with solid color beads
- Adding letter beads to spell words
- Adding gold or metallic beads
For even more ideas, search “clay bead bracelets” on Pinterest.
How to Make Clay Bracelets
Now that you have an idea in mind, read this step-by-step tutorial to learn everything you need to know to make a clay bead bracelet.
Supplies for Clay Bead Bracelets
Choosing the right supplies will help ensure that your clay bead bracelet lasts for a long time. Here are the best bracelet-making materials to ensure the project turns how you want.
- Elastic beading cord. In our opinion, Stretch Magic Cord is the best all-purpose stretchy cord to use for clay bead bracelets. It’s strong, durable, and widely available in craft stores.
- Clay disc beads
- Letter beads, metallic beads, or other accent beads
- Beading tray
- Bead stopper (Alternatively, you can use a small piece of masking tape instead.)
- Jewelry glue, such as G-S Hypo Cement
- Crimp bead covers (optional)
Tip: Select your clay beads first, then choose the largest diameter cord that will fit through the beads. My clay beads have a 2mm hole, so I used a 1mm thick elastic cord.
Step 1. Gather your supplies.
Gather your beads, elastic cord, bead stopper, scissors, and glue.
Step 2. Measure and cut your string to length
Use a measuring tape to measure your wrist.
Cut a length of cord that’s as long as your wrist measurement, plus at least 8 inches. This will give you enough string to tie the knots at the end.
Tip: it’s always better to cut a piece of elastic that’s too long than a piece that’s too short – you can always trim away the excess cord later.
Step 3: Pre-stretch your string.
Move down the length of the string in small sections, stretching each section as you go.
It’s important to prestretch your string now, so you don’t have to worry about it stretching out over time as you wear the bracelet.
Step 4: Secure the end of the string.
Use a bead stopper, a binder clip, or a small piece of tape to secure the end of your string. This way, you don’t have to worry about the beads falling off the end of the string while you’re working.
Step 5: Lay out your beads.
If you’re going for a specific design, lay out your beads in a beading tray.
Step 6: String the beads.
Clay beads are generally large enough that you can string them by hand. But, if the bead holes are smaller, you can use a beading needle to make stringing easier.
Keep stringing beads until you have enough for your wrist measurement. Check the length with a ruler or by wrapping the bracelet around your wrist.
Remember that you want the bracelet to be snug but not too tight so that it’s uncomfortable to wear.
Step 7: Tie a knot, and secure it with glue.
Once the bracelet is long enough, it’s time to tie a knot.
Remove the bead stopper from the elastic cord, and tie a square or surgeon’s knot with the two free ends.
We recommend tying a triple knot and securing it with glue for extra security. To do this, hold the beads away from the knot, and apply a small dab of jewelry glue.
Tip: For beading projects like this, we recommend using a flexible, fast-drying jewelry glue like G-S Hypo Cement.
We don’t recommend super glue or clear nail polish because they become brittle when dry, and can abrade the elastic cord over time.
Optional: Hiding the knot
There are a couple of ways to hide the knot so you don’t see it on your finished bracelet.
Hide the knot inside a neighboring bead.
The easiest way to hide the knot is to slide it inside a bead. After you apply glue to the knot, slide an adjacent bead over the knot. Let the glue dry, and trim the excess cord.
Hide the knot with a crimp cover.
Another way to hide the knot is with a crimp cover. This is a good alternative if the knot won’t fit inside a neighboring bead hole.
To do this, tie the knot as usual, and add a small dab of glue. Then, use a pair of chain-nose pliers to close a crimp cover around the knot.
Wait for the glue to dry, then trim the excess cord.
Tip: Make sure you’re using crimp covers and not crimp beads.
FAQs about Clay Bead Bracelets
Here are some frequently asked questions about clay beads and making clay bead bracelets.
Are clay bead bracelets waterproof?
Yes. Most clay beads are made from a type of PVC, similar to polymer clay. This material is durable and waterproof. However, if you want your bracelet to last as long as possible, we recommend removing it before swimming in a pool or in salt water.
How many beads do you need to make a bracelet?
You’ll need a lot of beads to make a bracelet, since each bead is only about 1mm thick! For an adult-sized bracelet, expect to use about 120-150 clay beads. That’s a lot of beads! If you add gold beads or letter beads to your bracelet, you’ll need fewer clay beads.
What string is best for clay bead bracelets?
We recommend using clear, elastic beading string to make clay bead bracelets. There are a few varieties of elastic bead cord, but we recommend Stretch Magic cord for this project.
When shopping, look for a size string that will fit through the holes in the center of the beads. In this tutorial, we chose a 1mm string.
Can you wash clay bead bracelets?
Since clay beads are waterproof, you can wash them if they get dirty. Use gentle soap, and make sure to dry them well.
More Jewelry Making Tutorials
If you like making DIY jewelry, you’ll enjoy these other tutorials and free patterns.
- How to Make Polymer Clay Earrings
- How to Make Stretchy Beaded Bracelets
- 21 Polymer Clay Ideas and Projects
- Best Polymer Clay for Earrings and Jewelry
Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.
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- Beading tray
- Bead stopper
- Beading needle (optional)
- Small pliers (optional)
- Measure and cut a length of cord that’s as long as your wrist measurement, plus at least 8 inches.
- Pre-stretch your string.
- Secure the end of the string with a bead stopper or a piece of tape.
- Lay out your beads in a beading tray.
- String the beads by hand, or with a beading needle. Check the length with a ruler or by wrapping the bracelet around your wrist.
- Remove the bead stopper from the elastic cord, and tie a triple square knot with the cord. Apply a small dab of jewelry glue to the knot to secure it. Let the glue dry, then trim the excess cord.
- Select your clay beads first, then choose the largest diameter cord that will fit through the beads.
- For beading projects like this, we recommend using a flexible, fast-drying jewelry glue like G-S Hypo Cement.
- Hide the knot in a neighboring bead, or cover it with a crimp bead cover.
Sarah Stearns has helped millions of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
With over a decade of experience in knitting and crochet, she has been featured in prominent publications like The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, and Lifehacker.