Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Glitter Beads by Linda Hess

Many years ago I met Leslie Blackford on a polymer clay retreat in Virginia. I was intrigued with all of the colors she was able to achieve by mixing anything available into translucent clay. Spices in the cabinet, dirt from the ground, pollen from the flowers all became color for her creations. Naturally I began to look at possible “inclusions” in a whole new way.
When I discovered Art Glitter I was creating small angels. Painting their baked wings with tacky glue and then sprinkling them with ultrafine glitter was a wonderful touch and gave them all sparkling personalities. However my dear husband had a problem with all of the glitter left behind as I blew the excess off after the glue dried (can you imagine?? A problem with “fairy dust”??). Following Leslie’s lead I began to mix the glitter into the clay thus skipping the glue and sprinkle steps and possibly saving my husband’s sanity. Glitter clay soon took over my creative thoughts (and my table) as I moved from angel wings to beads.

I discovered a few things about mixing the glitter into clay along the way. First, small amounts of glitter at a time work much better than trying to add all of it at once. Second, using a tool of some type (knitting needle, toothpick, teeny tiny spoon) to take glitter from the jar or container to the clay is much better than pouring in on! Third, ALWAYS work over a piece of paper to catch any excess glitter.

Here are some easy steps to help you bring out your sparkly side:
1) Choose a translucent clay (there are many brands to choose from). Condition clay and flatten into a sheet (this can be accomplished with a pasta machine, 2 popsicle sticks and a roller, or your fingers).
2) Add small amounts of glitter to the center and fold in the sides to enclose the glitter. Use your hands or pasta machine to mix thoroughly.
3) Flatten the clay again and add more glitter. Continue to repeat the steps until you are happy with the look. Please note that after baking the look will change…the translucent clay will “clarify” and the glitter will be more noticeable.
4) Roll beads with hands or bead roller of choice. Use a bead reamer, knitting needle, or turkey lacer to make a hole in each bead. Bake @ 275* for 15 minutes per ¼” thickness. Drop beads into ice water to cool when baking process is complete. String as desired.


  1. I added your badge to my blog, but I think you need to add a black line along the top? I LOVE your glitter!

  2. Thanks SusanC, I've been trying to fix that but I guess I am going to have to call in a professional!

  3. I added it to mine as well. I love to look at it! And I tried out some of the red Gala Glitz you sent me on an elf! Wow! I really like it.

  4. Thanks LDWatkins, You should send us a photo of our elf, I'd love to see him!

  5. I would love to. I'm not sure how to do this but this is the link to my blog page that features him. http://claymama1.blogspot.com/2009/06/visit-from-elf.html

  6. These are so cute, Linda! You did such a good job. Love it !