Make a Clay Necklace

Make a Clay Bead Necklace - this necklace is perfect for dress up! Air-dry clay is so easy to work with--you'll have fun making this super-fast craft @littlegirldesigns.com

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Have you ever played with air-dry clay? I’ve been wanting to make a clay necklace with homemade beads for a very long time but since I thought it would be a big learning curve, I put it off. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote out a list of several projects that are on the “want to learn someday” and “need to finish this already” list and decided I would take 20 minutes a day to tackle them. “Tackle” is probably a harsh word considering these projects are all fun and not very difficult.

The first project on the list was the air-dry clay necklace. And would you believe it, making those beads took me less than 20 minutes. Here I had been putting it off because it felt so, advanced, to make your own beads but if you have ever played with playdough and are an expert in rolling pancakes and balls and snakes, you already have the skills it takes to make air-dry clay beads.

Please note that I made this necklace for dress up, not to wear out in the rain. Since I didn’t varnish the beads, they will not do very well with moisture. I’ve since taken them off the embroidery floss and have them in a little dish because they are so pretty to look at. I think it would be fun to make a bunch of beads in variegated colors and layer them in a jar—wouldn’t that be pretty? Okay, enough rambling. Let’s get started!

Make a Clay Bead Necklace - this necklace is perfect for dress up! Air-dry clay is so easy to work with--you'll have fun making this super-fast craft @littlegirldesigns.com

How to Make a Clay Necklace

You will need:

Air-dry clay (I used the Crayola brand)
Toothpick
Water
Wooden skewer
Tape
Paint
Paint brush
Black pen (I used a Sakura Gelly Roll Pen)
Embroidery floss in a matching color

First, set up your work surface. I found that rolling out the clay onto parchment paper worked really well. Use a surface that is easy to clean with warm water since the clay will leave residue.

Pinch off pieces of clay and roll into balls. Using a toothpick, carefully press it through the center of the ball to make a hole. Use a bit of water to smooth the edges if needed. A little water goes a long way. Pinch off larger pieces to make the pendants. Form them into circles and flatten. Use the toothpick to poke a hole in the top of the pendant.

Let the beads completely dry. Since they are small, I only had to let them air-dry for one day. Follow the instructions on your clay, and wait until the beads are completely white.

Once the beads were dry, I painted them with watered down paint. I’ve read elsewhere that a good way to paint beads is to wrap a small piece of tape around a wooden skewer and string the beads onto the skewer to paint. (You can read about this technique here on the Crafted Life.) I admittedly didn’t take the time to do this so my beads were not uniform in color. I like the watercolor effect of these beads but will try the wooden skewer method next time.

Make a Clay Bead Necklace - this necklace is perfect for dress up! Air-dry clay is so easy to work with--you'll have fun making this super-fast craft @littlegirldesigns.com

For the pendants, I simply used a gel pen to draw straight onto the clay. Before you start drawing, you could also sand the pieces like Emma did for her lovely clay bowls. This will make the edges more smooth. I love that once the clay is completely dry, it really is a completely blank canvas for you to decorate.

Finally, I strung the beads onto a long piece of embroidery floss to finish my air-dry clay necklace. I love the quiet clink that the beads make as they tap each other. This was so much fun I have a feeling I’ll be sharing more air-dry clay projects in the coming months. Besides, I now have a tub of air-dry clay that has to be used, right?

Have you ever used air-dry clay? What is your favorite project to make?

Have a lovely {and creative} day!

33 thoughts on “Make a Clay Necklace

  1. Hello sweet lady! I’m just stopping by to let you know that your clay bead necklace will be one of our features tonight at our party. Woo Hoo! I hope to see you there at 7! Happy Memorial Day! Lou Lou Girls

  2. This is such a cute idea! I’d love to do something like this with my niece when she gets a little older. I love personalized projects that you can do with the kiddos. Thanks so much for sharing this over at Merry Monday! We hope you’ll join us again this week! :)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Christine. You’re so right–this would be such a fun project to personalize with kids. Hope you have a great day! :)

  3. Hello beautiful! This looks so amazing. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7pm because we love to party with you! Happy Memorial Day! Lou Lou Girls

  4. Hey Jennie! Thanks so much for linking up to our Feature Friday Link Party!! I chose you as one of my features! So be sure to grab our featured blogger button & don’t forget to add our party to your list!

  5. I absolutely love this necklace! My girls will love making these adorable beads. Thanks for sharing! :)
    {Visiting from Weekend Retreat}

    1. Thanks so much! I think they’ll have fun making these too! Have a lovely day! :)

  6. Super cute!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again tomorrow!! Pinned!!

    1. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Felissa. I stopped by your link party–thank you for the invite! :)

    1. You’re so welcome, Diane! :) And thank you for stopping by to say, “Hi!” Hope you have a great week. :)

  7. Hi Jennie,

    This is such a cute tutorial! I am thinking of making this with my daughter now. And I love your drawing style and your use of colour. Thank you so much for sharing :)

    Veronika | Tickled Pink Confetti

    1. Thanks so much, Veronika! I’m definitely going to make more air-dry clay projects since they are so easy to make. And oh my goodness, I love the comics on your site. :) Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! I really appreciate you saying that. :) Hope you have a great day!

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