Project: Eastern Promise Necklace


Project: Eastern Promise Necklace

Make a colourful necklace inspired by the hustle and bustle of vibrant spice markets. By Lizzi Holt

This necklace uses simple extruded clay ‘strings’ in vibrant colours, which are inspired by Moroccan and Asian spice markets. The technique can be applied to other jewellery items too. Use paler or softer coloured clay for a more subtle effect.


Polymer clay in 4–6 vibrant colours plus some black or scrap clay
Jewellery glue
Black 2mm hollow core rubber Buna cord and 6 O-rings
Round end caps, lobster clasp and jumprings
Varnish for a high shine finish (optional)
Small oven-safe round bowl
Rolling pin, brayer or pasta machine
4cm round cutter
Clay extruder with 12 x 1mm hole insert
Knife or tissue blade
Coarse sandpaper for texturing
Wet/dry sandpaper
2mm drill bit


Polymer clay:



Step 1 (18)

Roll out the coloured clay to approx. 1mm thick. Cut out five circles in each of the colours. Gently lift and attach to the rounded outer surface of your bowl. Lightly texture the circles with coarse sandpaper, taking care not to distort the shape too much. Bake according to manufacturer’s instructions. Remove from the bowl when cool and set aside. These will be the backs of your beads.



Step 2 (19)

Roll out the black or scrap clay and cut out another five circles and place them on the bowl as before. Make sure all the edges are adhered firmly to the bowl ready for the next stage. Do not texture or bake. These circles form the base for the front of your beads.



Step 3 (19)

Take a small portion of each of the coloured clays. Roughly chop and mix before squeezing together and rolling into a log. Assemble the extruder with a 12 hole insert (1mm holes). Extrude your multicoloured log into strings. Untangle and set aside ready for use.



Step 4 (21)

Take one of the strings and starting on the outer edge, press the end of the string onto the cut edge of a black circle and taper it a little with your finger. Continue around the edge and then keep going in a spiral fashion, adding extra strings as needed until you reach the centre. Press the strings gently onto the black clay and adjacent coils as you go.



Step 5 (19)

Repeat the spirals on all the black circles, and then bake. Remove all the circles from the bowl when cool.



Step 6 (18)

Add a little washing-up liquid to a washing-up bowl filled with about an inch of water. Place the wet/dry sandpaper on the bottom and holding the circles with dome side up, sand the inside edge of all the circles until the edges are tapered and flat.



Step 7 (9)

Pair up the fronts and backs of the beads and test how well they fit together. Carefully apply jewellery glue to the inner edge of one half of the bead. Press on the other half and hold until secure. Once fully dry, varnish one or both sides of the bead if desired.



Step 8 (10)

On a piece of paper, draw around one of the beads, then draw a horizontal line just above the centre. Use this line to mark the position of the holes with a marker pen on each side of the beads. Use a 2mm drill bit to make the holes at the same angle as the line.



Step 9 (9)

Thread all the beads onto the rubber Buna cord with an O-ring at the ends and between each bead. Threading is easier by inserting a stiff wire into the hollow core of the cord to help direct it through the bead. Cut cord to length. Add end caps, jumprings and lobster clasp to finish off.


Lizzi is a polymer clay artist. She designs buttons and beads as well as her popular meditation anchor ‘peace pebbles’.


Article Details

  • Date 16th May 2016
  • Tags Project
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