100 Days of Polymer Clay Beads

The 100 Day Project is an art project carried out on the internet, where makers working in all media challenge themselves to make art for 100 consecutive days. There are several of these projects, including this one by Ann Russ and Catherine Benda and this one by Lindsay Jean Thompson. The format or affiliation doesn’t matter. This is a personal project, so the only commitment you have is with yourself!

100 days of polymer clay beads

I love these limited, constrained projects. I did 100 Days of Polymer Clay Veneers in 2018 and 100 Days of Polymer Clay Vessels in 2020. I find that the constraint of a single focus actually frees me up to be more creative. It’s a wonderful way to dive deep into something and challenge yourself to pull ideas out of nowhere.

100 Days of Polymer Clay Beads

The terms of my project were that I would make at least one bead each day for 100 days. Most of them would be polymer clay, but I knew that there would be a few days where I didn’t have access to an oven. So I allowed myself to make beads from other materials on those days or bake the beads later.

As it turned out, I didn’t skip any days. Only one day produced a single bead. Most days led to a handful of beads. They were in all shapes, sizes, colors, and treatments.

What I Learned Making Beads Every Day

Every time I do one of these 100 Day Projects, I’m again blown away by how inspiring the process is. People always wonder how I can come up with so many ideas. But that’s actually the easy part. Keep in mind that the biggest constraint each day is time, so it’s quite hard to come up with something you can do quickly. So you start collecting more complex idea to be done on less busy days. And those ideas spark other ideas. Also, every bead design you come up with sparks a new idea.

I learned to hand roll beads very well. If you do anything many, many times, you get very good at it. I know that sounds too simple, but it’s also a simple truth. Practice truly does make one better.

Photography was by far the hardest part of this process. Not just taking the pictures, but processing them in software and then posting them each day. Way too many evenings were spent swearing at my laptop.

But the best thing I learned was an intensification and deepening of understanding the medium of polymer clay. I understand now why glass beads are the shapes they are (and why it’s hard to make polymer in some of those shapes). There were some things I thought I understood, but it became much more clear after trying it over and over. If you ever want to understand a process better, do it for a 100 Day Project!

Here are all 100 Days of Beads

I posted a still shot of each day’s beads on social media and also shot a short video of each. Here is a video showing all 100 videos. It gives you a good overview of the project.

Learn to Make Polymer Clay Beads

As days went by, I received so many questions about making these beads that I started writing a course to show how to make them. Most of the beads of the first half of this project are illustrated and explained in my new Polymer Clay Bead Making Course. The beads in the second half of the project will be taught in future courses. The Bead Making Course is intended to give you an excellent foundation for making beads with polymer clay. You can learn more about this course here.

Make the right beads

Learn to use polymer clay to make neat, perfect beads in the sizes, colors, and quantities you need for little cost. 

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