Polymer clay is a wonderful medium for making dreadlock beads. There are a few things you need to know before you try to do it though.
Some do it wrong, and end up with beads that break under pressure or get messed up. It’s a shame to put a lot of work into making a very detailed piece only to have it fall apart. So here, I’m going to show you the technique that I use, and give some tips on making beads that will last through a few accidental shampoos, hot weather, and festivals.
First of all, use quality polymer clay. It doesn’t matter which brand you use so long as it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for ten years with tears in the packet.
Second, use the glaze or lacquer that’s made specifically for polymer clay. Other lacquers will take literally months to dry. Don’t overdo it though. Put a thin but even coat over everything except whatever stones you might put on it. You want to make sure it’s nicely covered and sealed. Even better, use the sort of glaze that can be baked on. It’s much more durable and resistant to the oils in your hair then.
Now, any good dreadlock bead begins with a wire or tube frame. I prefer a wire frame, but I can see how some prefer a tube. If you do use a tube, try to crimp it a little at one end so it’ll have a little traction on the inside, and stay on the lock. The reason I like a wire frame is that it can be customized more easily.
At that point, you can make whatever additions or modifications you like. There are many options. In the Dew Leaf bead in this post’s photo, I made the leaf from polymer clay, and added little glass “beedz” for the resin-I-mean dew drops. Heheheh.
Once you’ve constructed the bead, glaze and make it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re worried about the clay sticking to the stick and ruining all your hard work, use a rolling paper to cover the stick before you wrap the wire frame around it. Worst case, the paper will just dry out or burn off during the baking.
To learn more about how to make dreadlock beads from polymer clay, take the course at the Cornrows.co.uk Learning Center.