Making your own beads is incredibly therapeutic, particularly when using Fimo, as the colours are instantly impactful and ready to go. Read on to see how to make these easy Friendship Bracelets in honour of World Friendship Day which is on 30th July this year.
You will need:
Fimo – I used Fimo Professional 12 Pack – (866 370)
Fimo Magic Roller – (867 201)
Fimo Varnish – (867 217)
Sterling Silver 2 Hole Beads 8mm and 5mm – (NVQ D08 and NVQ D05)
Coloured Plastic Beads or beads of personal choice
Leather Cord 2mm – (998 1010)
Sterling Silver End Caps – (NVO 215X)
5mm Jump rings – (NVH L50)
Sterling Silver Lobster Clasp 11mm – (NVF L11)
Round Needle File
First, choose your Fimo colours and assemble your Magic Roller. The top section simply slides along the bottom one, rolling the Fimo into a uniform shape as it goes. (There is a locating piece which can be slotted into place but I found it easier without it). There are three different sections to choose from; round (12mm diameter), oval (8mm x 16mm) and bicone (10mm diameter).
Using your chosen colour, push a piece of Fimo through the measuring device which will enable you to section off the same amount each time. Once you have cut off the excess, push the remaining clay out of the tube with a pencil or something similarly shaped.
Roll into a ball, ready to place into the Magic Roller.
Place into the desired shape tube and position the corresponding shaped plate over the top. Then simply slide the pieces backward and forwards to roll the bead into a uniform shape.
Remove from the roller and push a needle through the centre of the bead to create a hole. You will find that this will distort the shape so once you have a pilot hole, place the bead back in the roller to restore the silhouette. Repeat this process a few times until the central hole is wide enough and the bead is evenly shaped. I widened the hole further using a cocktail stick to ensure it was big enough to accommodate the 2mm leather cord. Ensure you check the hole is wide enough before baking the beads
Place the finished beads on a cocktail stick and support on a box or cup whilst you make more.
Once you have perfected your method, experiment with mixing the Fimo to achieve patterned results. Just be careful not to over knead the colours or they will start to blend into one another completely.
Bake the beads in a low oven, for no more than 30mins following the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s a good idea to support the beads whilst they are baking. I threaded mine onto a length of silver wire which was supported on a couple of baking trays.
Once baked, check your threading holes again and gently widen with a needle file if required.
Now collect your beads together and start to play around with designs for the finished bracelets. It’s a good idea to vary colours, shapes, sizes and textures to keep things interesting. Keep in mind the recipient and tailor to their taste if possible.
Add a layer of Fimo Varnish to your beads if you want a glossy finish. It dries quickly so you won’t have to wait too long before they will be ready for threading. You may want to leave some matt for contrast, it’s just a matter of personal taste.
The overall length of the bracelet needs to include the findings as well as the cord itself, so make sure to include these when working out your measurements. These particular beads are also relatively bulky so you will need to allow a little extra length for that too. Wrist sizes vary from person to person. However, standard women’s sizes tend to be 6.5” – 7.5” whereas men are between 7.5” and 9”. Children’s sizes range from 4” – 6”. If you are still unsure you can always add a small extender chain to cover all bases.
Attach your end caps using parallel pliers to grip firmly, securing the ends, making sure they are flat and smooth to the touch.
Finally, add a jump ring and clasp to one end and another jump ring to the remaining one, to complete the bracelet. (Ensure jump rings are completely closed for security).
And there you have it, the perfect gift for a special friend.
Written by Joanna Varney
Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers
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