Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more shops pop up that offer clay bead necklaces, often with colorful and eclectic beads. To me, they seem like the indie woman’s version of a “statement necklace” and I couldn’t wait to try my hand at making some myself. Today, I’ve got a super simple (and fun!) tutorial on how to make your own clay bead necklaces, with some tips I learned along the way. Creating these necklaces only takes a few minutes (minus baking time) and costs less than $10!
I used Sculpey clay, a sharp pointy thing (you can see a picture of it above if my description fails ;)), and cotton cord, though you can also use leather or waxed cord. Also, if you have a drill, you can use that instead of the sharp pointy thing, but either will work.
Step One: Knead your clay into balls or preferred shapes
This is probably a skill you learned when you were in preschool. Super easy! You can also make other shapes, like flat, coin-shaped beads, long and narrow beads, oval beads, you name it! I added polka dots to some of my beads by making teeny tiny balls out of clay crumbs and then rolling my round bead into the crumbs. Then, I just rolled it in my hands again, to make sure the polka dot crumbs were kneaded well into my bead.
Step Two: Poke a hole in your beads
With your sharp pointy thing (my tool was found in the clay section of a crafts store, but you could also use a toothpick), carefully poke a hole into your beads. If your clay is too soft, the bead will squish as you poke the hole, causing the round shape to warp. I recommend waiting a few minutes for the clay to get a bit harder or briefly sticking your clay in the freezer.
Alternatively, if you have a drill, then all you need to do is create a small indentation on your bead where you’d like the hole to be (you can just use the tip of a pencil!). Once the beads are done baking, hold your bead and drill a hole where you created the indentation.
Step Three: Bake your beads
Your clay should have instructions for how long to bake your beads. I baked mine at 275 degrees for 30 minutes.
Step Four: String your beads onto your cord
At this point, you can add a clasp or just tie a knot like I did. If you went the drilling-a-hole route, then now would be the time to drill your holes. All done! You’re a jewelry-making extraordinaire.
What do you think? Would you make a clay bead necklace?
I first started doing calligraphy when I lived in Japan. Another English teacher told me that an old man in town was offering Japanese calligraphy lessons, and being a new and kind of lonely expat, I jumped at the chance to get out and do something. I took Oishi-sensei’s class for about a year — the entire time I lived in Japan’s rural north. He had me keep a portfolio of all my best pieces, which is one of the few things I was adamant about bringing back to California with me. The piece below was one of the last ones I did in his class, and arguably my best, for both its complexity and style.
The little red stamp is something Oishi-sensei carved for me. In Japan, instead of using signatures on documents, everyone uses a red stamp with their name, called a “hanko.” To get my hanko, my name needed to be phonetically written in Japanese. My supervisor chose the characters for my name, 芽理沙, which would read “me-ri-sa,” the closest phonetic spelling to “Melyssa.” My calligraphy teacher used the first character, 芽, to create my calligraphy hanko, which you can see below. The English meaning is “bud” and I think it sums up so beautifully everything I feel about Japan.
It wasn’t for a couple more years that English calligraphy seemed to take off, and I noticed the calligraphy craze from a million miles abroad. As soon as I got back to the States at the end of last year, I began to dabble in all sorts of new mediums — and loved every moment of it.
I still have quite a lot to learn, but I’ve definitely improved since those first couple of months. I’ve also tried almost every medium and tool there is for the craft, beginning with traditional calligraphy (like the last image in this post) and also testing out pens, paint, watercolor, and a variety of brushes. I follow a lot of calligraphers on Instagram now, and at first would get frustrated by their work, because it was hard to figure out which tools, inks, and brushes they used to achieve the effects they did. Now, instead of feeling confused or stuck, I just try new ways of doing things and usually stumble upon something I love.
One of my favorite things to do after work is turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, and letter my little heart out. It’s fun, relaxing, and soul-lifting. I love it.
I also started a print shop a few months ago, where I sell some of my art. I’m still working on refining the shop — which I started before I really knew anything about running a store – but I’m enjoying the act of selling physical products. It’s amazing to think that something I created is sitting in someone’s house, as faraway as Australia.
Time to get back to work now. :) I hope you enjoyed this little peek into some of my recent projects. Have a creative day, my friends!
Have you ever tried calligraphy?
I went to the first wedding of a friend a couple years ago. At that time, I was living in Japan, and despite some cultural differences, the wedding itself wasn’t much different from what we’d experience here in The States. As an introvert, that can often mean heaps of people we’ve never heard of, only a teeny bit of face time with the couple we’re actually acquainted with, and the possibility of being forced into doing The Cha Cha. *shudder*
But hey, weddings don’t have to be frightening. And actually, they can be totally awesome. These quick tips will help you survive wedding season this year. Let’s get started!
1. Have a goal for the day
It’s a lot easier to make things happen when you have an actual plan for the day, rather than keeping things up in the air. Maybe your goal is to meet a new buddy or get your groove on when the DJ comes out. It could even be as simple as mustering up the courage to chat with the people at your dinner table. Set a goal and go into the wedding aiming to get it accomplished.
2. See if there’s anything you can do to help out at the wedding
If you feel comfortable, email the bride or groom in advance and see if there’s anything you can do to help out on the day of. It might be as simple as manning the guest book, but it will give you the chance to have a duty, rather than be a lone wanderer wondering what to do when everyone seems to be grouping off.
3. Check out the Wedding Party app
Wedding Party is a service that’s equal parts Facebook, Instagram, and digital scrapbook…for weddings! The gist is that the wedding hosts can set up a custom app and website for their wedding and invite all their guests. They can also add things like registries, itinerary, and engagement shoot pictures. Why is Wedding Party great for introverts? Because it gives you the chance to get to know the other people attending the wedding before it even happens.
Each guest can create an account, add some #tbt worthy photos of the wedding hosts, and interact with the other attendees through a social media-esque interface. You can also see things like who the bridesmaids are or get notified when someone comments on your photo. Since introverts often feel comfortable in the online realm ( I know I do!), this app and website is a pretty sweet way to get to know people prior to the wedding so that when you actually attend, you’re surrounded by folks you’ve already interacted with, rather than…Uh, What’s Her Name Again?
4. Bring a date
Most weddings allow you to bring someone along with you. Take advantage of that and bring a friend or significant other. It’s a lot easier to feel comfortable with strangers when you already have someone else with you that you’re comfortable around.
5. Think Quality, Not Quantity
From personal experience, I know that it can be easy to feel “behind” in the socializing game when you look around an event and see people chumming it up after knowing each other for only three minutes. But it’s important not to play the comparison game and remember to think in terms of quality, rather than quantity. Maybe you won’t meet every single other attendee, but for the ones you do chat with, try to have a sincere conversation — one that you’ll remember even after the wedding is over. Thinking in these terms will also mean that you won’t feel as much pressure in regards to social interaction.
Bottom line? Be you, do you, and have a killer time this season!
Got more tips for surviving wedding season? Share ‘em!
As an added bonus, Wedding Party is giving away a $50 gift card to Etsy, so you can buy some sweet handmade wedding items, or anything you’d like, really! Just use the widget below to enter. Good luck! :)
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This post is brought to you in collaboration with Wedding Party. All words and ideas are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep The Nectar Collective going and growing.