Sunday, June 28, 2009

Making Inlaid Lava Beads With Polymer Clay

Black lava beads are cool, lightweight, great texture and classic basic black. One day I was looking at these beads and thought what if I ‘inlaid’ them with polymer clay to add color and dimension. So I gave it a try. After firing the beads I wondered how strong the polymer clay would hold to the lava beads. I took the finished beads and dropped them repeatedly onto a cement floor from a height of 8 feet. None of the polymer clay came out. The process is simple and changes the look of the lava beads. The process I outlined here is to create a turquoise look on the beads; of course any color or color combinations of your choosing can be used.

You will need:

Lava Beads

Polymer clay - turquoise, blue, green

Pallet knife or something similar


I begin by mixing three colors of polymer clay, turquoise, lapis blue and forest green. I do mix until completely blended, I mix until it has a marble look.

Select beads to be ‘inlaid’. Work a small amount of the color polymer clay you want to begin with between you fingers to soften. Push small amounts of the polymer clay into the holes in the lava beads. Using your pallet knife or similar tool to press, smooth and scrape the clay off the surface of the bead. Repeat this process around the beads until the desired amount of the bead is ‘inlaid’. I do not try to fill every whole in the bead, however this is completely up to you.

Slide ‘inlaid’ bead/s onto floral wire. When all beads are prepared and on the floral wire bend the ends of the floral wire creating a rack to keep the beads from touching the foil or baking sheet beneath them.

Fire the beads according to the manufactures directions for the polymer clay you are using. Allow the beads to cool. If you want a gloss finish on your beads spray them with a gloss sealant before taking them off the floral wire. Once cooled and dry your beads are ready to use.

Lava beads with and without the poly clay inlay are available in my Etsy shop Beadin Around The Block at

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