How to Make Fimo Beads

Beads made from pasta

Learning how to make Fimo beads is useful for anyone interested in creating unique jewelry with a contemporary feel. These unique clay beads often feature beautiful colors, designs, and shapes molded with your hands or common kitchen and clay tools.

About Fimo Beads

If you're relatively new to the world of jewelry making, you may find yourself wondering how to identify Fimo beads. Basically, Fimo beads are handmade beads created with polymer clay. This special type of clay, sold under the brand name Fimo, is created from PVC plastic and a plasticizer chemical that keeps the clay moldable and soft until it is cured. Fimo clay is also rather unique in that it can be fired in your home oven and does not need a special kiln.

Fimo jewelry is very popular among teens and young adults because the beads are available in a variety of colors and designs. You can find tie-dyed, animal print, and striped beads. Larger Fimo pendants are also available with funky designs such as a sun, moon, flower, peace sign, dove, or unicorn.

Typical Fimo Bead Supplies

Depending on the specific type of bead and color pattern you want to use, you might need additional equipment and supplies. To get started making basic Fimo beads, you'll need the following:

  • Polymer clay: If you can't find the Fimo brand of clay, you can also try making your beads from Premo! Sculpey or Sculpey III.
  • Molds: Beginners can simply form circular beads with their hands, but molds are very useful for making decorative Fimo beads.
  • A pasta machine: Turn this kitchen tool into a crafting necessity by using it to flatten and mold your Fimo clay for multi-colored beads.
  • A knitting or crochet needle: Use this tool to put holes in the beads.
  • Bead baking rack: This handy gadget is great for quickly and easily making large batches of beads
  • An oven: Beads must be fired to make them strong enough to wear.
  • Sandpaper: Use this to remove any rough spots from your beads.
  • Paint and varnish: Decorating your beads is a great way to express your creativity.

How to Make Fimo Beads

Making your own Fimo beads takes a bit of practice, but it's a hobby that can be quite addictive. In fact, many people choose to sell their handmade beads or finished jewelry designs online or through local craft shows.

To make basic Fimo beads:

  1. Prepare the clay. Knead the clay until it is soft and pliable. You'll also want to make sure it is free of any air bubbles.
  2. Mix together any custom colors. If you don't want to use your clay as is, mix together two or more colors to create your own shade. You can do this by lightly pulsing two or more colors together in a food processor with a drop of mineral oil then rolling the clay in your hands to create a marbled effect.
  3. Shape the bead. Use your hands to create the general shape of your bead.
    1. For single-color round beads, work a ball of clay in your hands to create a ball.
    2. For single-color disc beads, roll a rectangular plate of clay into a rod then cut discs.
    3. For multi-colored beads you start by running rectangular plates of clay through a pasta machine to flatten them, you can also do this by hand with an acrylic rolling pin if you don't have a machine. Then you can stack different colored thin plates on top of each other and roll them up. Use your hands to mold a round bead or cut your roll of colors into discs.
    4. For unique bead shapes, use a silicone mold or shape the clay with your hands.
  4. Add a hole to the center of your bead using a knitting or crochet needle. Insert the needle straight through one side of the bead and out the other. It's generally best to rotate the tool as you push to prevent any discoloration of the clay.
  5. Fire your beads. Place your beads on a bead baking rack and put in the oven. Most types of clay should bake between 250 and 275F for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Sand your beads. After your beads have cooled, use fine sandpaper to remove any rough edges.
  7. Decorate your beads. Paint the desired design onto your beads.
  8. Varnish the beads. Using a varnish made for beading will protect your beads while adding a nice glossy finish.

Although many polymer clays have been labeled non-toxic, it's important to be very cautious when allowing children to make Fimo beads. Accidental ingestion of residue on hands after use or inhaled fumes during baking may lead to unsafe levels of exposure to phthalate plasticizers.

Fimo Bead Project Ideas

You can use your homemade Fimo beads for simple beading projects you use personally, give as gifts, or sell.

Fimo Beads Made Easy

While the finished product looks complex and time-consuming, making your own Fimo beads is easy with the help of tutorials and special equipment. Experiment with color designs and shapes to make Fimo beads that best represent your personality.

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