There are many different types of polymer clay beads, and any small sculpture made of polymer clay can be turned into a bead by creating a hole through which string may pass. Some common types of polymer clay beads include plain beads, millefiori beads, and stamped beads. Polymer clay is a very flexible medium, and artists often create unique beads that do not conform to any predetermined type.
The most basic kinds of polymer clay beads involve rolling clay into a ball or other three-dimensional structure. These beads can be in any shape and are often strung in lines. By using more than one color of clay, these beads can become more interesting. It is also possible to create patterns on the surface of these beads using toothpicks or other textured items.
One of the most interesting types of beads is made by a unique technique called millefiori. This process involves rolling bars of clay together to create logs, which display colors in beautiful patterns when sliced apart. These slices can then be placed on the surface of the bead to create a pattern covering the entire bead. While millefiori is traditionally used to create floral patterns, it is possible to create many different images using this technique.
Polymer clay beads are often created as small sculptures that can be used as pendants in necklaces and other jewelry. Any small sculpture can become a bead, but those that are not too heavy are easier to incorporate into jewelry. Pendants can also be abstract and may not represent any particular object.
One interesting technique that can be used to create polymer clay beads involves incorporating wax into the soft design. When the beads are baked, the wax melts out and leaves hollow spaces. This can be used to create beads within beads or even to suspend beads around other beads. It is also possible to include materials other than clay in polymer clay beads, although sometimes these must be applied after the clay is hardened if the other materials are sensitive to heat.
The possibilities for polymer clay beads are limited primarily by the artist's skill and imagination. Most of the time, these beads differ in terms of their shape, color, and texture more than anything else. Shape can be modified by sculpting the clay, color can be changed by using different colors of clay together, and texture is modified by pressing on or otherwise marking the clay. By making changes along these three parameters, it is possible to make a nearly infinite number of different beads.