Rustic Polymer Clay Beads Tutorial

Learn to make rustic styled beads from polymer clay with this fun tutorial from The Blue Bottle Tree.I swear this Rustic polymer clay beads technique has really grabbed hold of me and driven me to some serious time in the studio. I seem to be addicted to making Rustic beads, connectors, headpins, and all manner of other jewelry findings. Just one more…and another. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. They’re so quick and honestly so satisfying to make. They’re a lot of design bang for a little bit of effort. So…introducing…the Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial is now available!

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Rustic Beads made from polymer clay by Ginger Davis Allman of The Blue Bottle Tree.

Set of six rustic polymer clay beads or components with turquoise bubble patterns. From The Blue Bottle Tree.

So what are Rustic Polymer Clay Beads and Components?

You might have seen me posting Rustic Beads here on my website, on Facebook, or on Etsy. And I used them in my recent entries for the Bead Soup Blog Party. The basic idea is that you create a textured bead or component from polymer clay and then paint, distress, treat, and otherwise abuse it until it looks just right. Depending on the textures and colors you choose, you can have everything from a dark grungy volcanic feel to a light romantic antiqued feel. It’s a very versatile technique. I’ve even had fun with some tribal motifs.

Rustic PodPins by The Blue Bottle Tree. Polymer clay tutorial available.

Fun purple and lavender rustic beads made with the Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial by The Blue Bottle Tree.

One of the really great things about this technique is that it doesn’t require any texture sheets and you don’t have to make molds. Most likely you already have what you need sitting around your house. Or you can pick it up very easily in your local town. No matter how small your town is. (Okay…if you’re from Tinyville, USA, maybe not…I grew up in the boonies so I know. But Walmart or ASDA should have what you need.)

In this polymer clay tutorial I show you step by step how to create this rustic look, what materials to use, what to look out for, and how to avoid common mistakes. I’ve made the mistakes myself and spent time solving them, so that you don’t have to! You can hit the ground running and have fantastic distressed beads and components in no time at all!

Rustic polymer clay beads and components made with the tutorial by The Blue Bottle Tree.

What if you’re a jewelry artist or beader who has never worked with polymer clay before? This tutorial is completely appropriate for a beginner. If you can mix clay in your hands and cure it in the oven, you’ve got enough experience to have great success with this technique.

When I started making jewelry I never had any trouble coming up with beads (I do work with polymer clay after all) but it was the components that bothered me. It’s so frustrating to create themed beads and then have to put your jewelry together with craft store components that don’t really match. Now you can make headpins, connectors, and charms that match your focal beads. I show you some tricks to make them durable and strong.

Cernit polymer clay works well with the Rustic Beads Technique.

Rustic connector and rustic charm showing distressed, weathered, antiqued finish that you can get with the Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial.

So why rustic, crusty, grungy, and antiqued?

I’m sure you’ve noticed the recent design trends toward rustic, distressed and tribal or ethnic assemblage jewelry. Have you seen the work by beatnheart, Love Root, Fanciful Devices, Anvil Artifacts, and Pip n Molly? And not to mention the lovely natural themed polymer clay designs of Dandy Beads and Humblebeads Jewelry? If you’re intrigued by this new trend and want to move your polymer clay skills into a new area, then my Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial is a step in that direction.

Enough of looking at beads and connectors and headpins and charms? Do you want to see some jewelry made with these Rustic Components? Here you go! Or do you just want to go buy the tutorial?

Earrings made with peachy colored Rustic Components.

Earrings, bracelets, and necklace created with Rustic Charms and Beads from The Blue Bottle Tree's Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial. Bracelets and necklaces made with Rustic Beads created by The Blue Bottle Tree, made from her Rustic Beads and Components Tutorial.

What people are saying:

“You wrote it very well and everything was clear and well thought out. It’s very detailed which is great. I am a very experienced clayer so I definitely understood all the directions but I think a beginner wouldn’t have any problems with it either.”
“Really helpful, easy to understand, lots of pictures to show examples. I’m a complete beginner and even my beads looked really rustic, thank you! :)”
“I like this tutorial very much. It is easy to understand and there are lots of clear pictures that show you what to do. Lots of helpful hints also.”
“Your tutorial is great, I loved following it. It is clear, easy to follow, with useful tips and the pictures of the different variations are great!”
“One of the best tutorials I’ve been lucky enough to purchase – thanks so much!”
“Your tutorials couldn’t be any better, they are GREAT!!! 🙂 You explain everything. I sure wish more people’s tutorials were like yours.”
“I appreciate how well you organized your information. The illustrations are useful as well.”
“Great tutorial, loads of helpful pictures, just what I had been looking for, thanks so much!”

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15 thoughts on “Rustic Polymer Clay Beads Tutorial”

  1. Pingback: KatersAcres Overlooked Polymer Clay Tips You Might Not Know - KatersAcres

  2. Pingback: Facebook Roundup, January 5, 2014 » The Blue Bottle Tree

  3. I love how it still has ” your look ” and the great deep pops of color.
    I saw this om the polymer clay daily post !!!!!! CONGRATS

    1. I’m always amazed at how much our own personality and voice comes through our art. I think it’s like handwriting, we each have our own and even when we’re following someone else’s directions it still ends up looking like us. And I also love the color…polymer is a major drug for a color junkie like me.

  4. Pingback: Polymer headpins | Polymer Clay Daily

  5. I am a big, big ,fan of your rustic beads and just love the many versatile looks you can get with these beads! Thank You so much for sharing ! Delightful ! I love your blog !

        1. LOL, okay, I wasn’t expecting that. Thank you! I will say, however, that I have a really great photographer. And it took over 75 shots and a lot of swear words to get that picture. It’s all in the lighting, I assure you!!

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