Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas

Clay Bead Pattern Examples

A bead that needs no introduction— clay beads, especially clay bead bracelet ideas, have been making their rounds on Pinterest, Instagram, and perhaps even your own wrists for years, but have really found their stride this summer.

Clay beads are usually made of —you guessed it— clay, and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. In this post we are covering the most common types clay beads you’re likely to come across. We’re also sharing clay bead bracelet ideas, as well as the best clay bead bracelet supplies.

You can find all of these beads and beading supplies in The Neon Tea Party Bead Shop!

Clay Beaded Bracelet Ideas

Types of Clay Beads

There are countless types of clay beads available. In this post we’re covering the four types of clay beads you’re most likely to come across:

Disc Beads Clay Beaded Bracelet Ideas

Polymer Clay Disc Beads, also called Heishi beads, are flat thin circular beads with a small hole for stringing. They can be worked in solid blocks, color blocked, or multiple colors mixed together for a confetti effect. Disc beads are also incredibly versatile, and work really well when mixed with other beads, like glass, novelty, or even seed beads.

Polymer Clay Barrel Beads are longer circular clay beads with a small hole for stringing, almost like a clay tube. They remind us a lot of mini marshmallows for hot chocolate (but please don’t eat these). Clay barrel beads play really nicely with each other, as well as when mixed with disc beads of a similar width.

Polymer Clay Rondelle Bead Ideas

Polymer Clay Rondelle Beads are donut-like circular chunky clay beads — almost like the plumper version of a disc bead. It’s as if the beads are made out of classic candy necklaces. Like disc beads, rondelles are great on their own, or mixed with other beads, like in our layered beaded necklace tutorial.

Shaped Clay Beads - Samples

Polymer Clay Shaped Beads are made by forming various wedges of clay into large shapes, then, through a variety of techniques, made into clay canes (think play-doh snakes) that are later sliced, where the shape is revealed. You can find shaped clay beads in nearly any shape or design you can imagine, like the mushroom beads found in our Groovy Mix, or the strawberry beads found in our Fruit Mix.

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas

Supplies for Clay Bead Jewelry

The supplies you’ll definitely want to have on hand when making clay bead jewelry:

Other beaded jewelry supplies that are optional, but are really nice to have on hand:

Tips for Clay Bead Jewelry

The number one tip for making clay beaded bracelets, or any other type of stretch bracelets is to pick a strong stretch string, and know how to secure it. There is no worse feeling in the world than spending hours making beaded jewelry, only to have it break on the first wear. Our favorite string for stretch jewelry that has to break on us is Stretch Magic.

We highly recommend watching the video below to learn how to make stretch bracelets that won’t break.

You can also find our step-by step guide for making stretch jewelry here.

Our second tip: keep those beads organized! When you purchase clay beads, they are typically shipped on a strand. Before cutting the string, have a plan for how to keep your beads organized (your future self will thank you!). This could mean letting the beads loose in small bags, and using a bead board when making jewelry. Another option, and our preference, is to keep all of your beads in a bead organizer box. This is a great way to see all of your beads at once, and you can even store supplies like a tape measure, folding scissors, and jewelry findings in the box along with your beads, making clean up a breeze.

Tip #3: Plan your clay bead bracelet pattern ideas before stringing them up! You can use a bead board, plate, or even just a textured surface so your beads don’t roll away. Either way, it’s a great idea to plan out your pattern before adding your beads to the string! This can ensure that you’re kicking off with the same number of beads per color if you’re going for a color block pattern, or you’re not accidentally short on the number of beads you’ll need for a necklace, etc. You can find more about clay bead pattern ideas in the below.

Clay Beaded Jewlery Tips

Some quick clay bead and beaded jewelry info to get you started:

  • You’ll need ~21 disc beads | ~4 barrel beads | ~8 rondelle beads per inch.
  • When making a bracelet, make sure the finished bracelet is about half an inch longer than your actual wrist measurement.
  • If you’re making a bracelet for someone else, the average female wrist is 6.2 inches, and the average male wrist is 7.2 inches.
  • The most common necklace length is 18 inches.

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas - Beads

Our final clay bead jewelry tip: PLAY! As we mentioned at the top of this post, one of the best parts about working with clay beads is that they work beautifully on their own, but they also play really nicely with other beads. Try mixing your clay beads with gold beads, pearl beads, novelty beads, or any other beads you may have on hand! Clay beads are a great for exploring new styles. We recommend pulling all of your beads out, and just seeing what comes together. 💕

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas

There is nothing more intimidating, or perhaps invigorating, than a box of beads waiting to be strung. Here are some clay bead bracelet ideas to get you started (though keep in mind these patterns can always translate to DIY beaded necklaces, and other beaded jewelry).

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas - Color Block and Stripes

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas — Solid, Stripes, or Color Block

Play with color! Create striking “stripes,” or color block clay bead designs using complimentary or contrasting colors. Better yet, mix the two!

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas - Gradient and Ombre

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas — Gradient or Ombre

When in doubt, rainbow it out. Use colors that create natural gradients for a blended effect! This technique is especially effective when using disc beads, as the small size creates a strong ombre effect.

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas - Mix and Match

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas — Mix & Match

Create visual interest by mixing different bead styles. This techniques works beautifully when mixing colors, or as a monochrome piece too!

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas — Complimentary

Make several bracelets that work well on their own, but shine best when worn as a set. To get the most out of a DIY bracelet set, try using all of the techniques listed above in complimentary colors.

Clay Bead Bracelet Ideas — Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Using all of the beads in your arsenal, work with clay beads, gold beads, seed beads, and pearl beads to elevate traditional pony beads and novelty beads.

It’s truly a bead craft world right now, and we are all in.
Did we miss a design idea? Have a question about making clay bead bracelets? Let us know in the comments below!

Be sure to tag us on Instagram @theneonteaparty in all of your projects, and pin these photos for later!

Peace, love & neon (beads),
Dorothy

4 Comments

  1. j.m jewels on August 12, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    Hi!! When making a bracelet for others, I never know how long of a piece of Stretch Magic to cut. Any suggestions?

    • the neon tea party on August 31, 2023 at 3:40 pm

      The average wrist is ~6.5 inches, so we recommend making your bracelet ~7-7.5 inches in diameter when making it for others. When cutting your string, make sure you leave some excess room for tying the knot!

  2. Camille Brewer on March 8, 2024 at 7:13 pm

    Hello! I am trying to make Polymer Clay Heishi Disc Bead bracelets, but do not have ideas for colors. What would you reccomend?

    • the neon tea party on March 14, 2024 at 1:15 pm

      Hi Camille! Great question! I always like to start with 2-3 of my favorite colors, then maybe add in some neutrals or contrasting colors to break it up. You can also go tonal and choose colors that are similar in hue — either various shades of a single color or various shades of 2-3 colors that are next to each other in the rainbow (ex: reds/pinks-oranges-yellows or blues/purples/pinks). Feel free to refer back to this blog post or our IG @theneonteaparty for more bracelet examples. 🙂 Happy beading! -Marisa

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