How-to: Polymer clay skull beads

October 26, 2010, 15:04 pm  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

Earlier this month, I embarked on a spooky crafting adventure when making the desktop graveyard inspired by Maura Okuley’s mossy Terrarium project in the new Craft-In box set. One of the elements that turned the macabre dial to 11 was the polymer clay skulls. I had so much fun making them, I thought I would show you how to make them. This time I made polymer clay skull beads and used a simple cotton chord to string up a Voodoo Headhunter Choker.

Channel your inner goth and read on…

Hungry for more skulls? Check out Noah Scalin’s Skulls book and his skull a day project.

Tools of the trade: you will need white polymer clay, a knife, a tool for shaping & a tool for making the bead hole.

Work the clay. Polymer clay fresh out of the package is pretty hard. It is important to get the clay soft before baking it. Begin by cutting the clay into smaller pieces. wrap, twist and work the clay into a ball until it is soft and manageable.

Take a small piece of clay and form into an oval shape resembling a human head.

Next, pinch off and form the back of  the skull. (where the base of the skull and upper jaw meet)

Use a tool with a blunt point to form the eyes, nose & mouth.

After sculpting a desired shape, use a pointed tool to punch a hole through the skull.

Almost ready to bake…

After you are happy with the sculpted skull, preheat a conventional oven to 275 degrees, place skull/s on a baking sheet covered in foil and bake for 20 minutes.

After the beads have been carefully removed from the oven and cooled, mix a paint wash using black acrylic paint and water.

Paint the black wash over the skull. Allow thicker paint to collect into the eyes, nose, and mouth, then use a paper towel to rub off the wash. The black wash will give the skull a realistic patina and put a nice finish on your beads.

After you have painted your beads, they are ready to string onto any material you wish. I found some basic white cotton cord that I cut into 2 pieces aprox. 13 inches long. I combined the 2 pieces by tying knots about 1.5 inches apart. before tying knots the entire length, I stopped halfway and strung 4 skull beads, then continued tying knots.

My finished Voodoo Headhunter choker…


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11 Responses

    Anonymous says:

    What awesome skull beads, I would definitely wear this necklace. I especially love the the skull second from the right in the last image. Great post and how-to instructions, even I could do this (and want to)!

    Chernavalinsky says:

    Alright… I can hear my polymer clay calling my name! Thanks for the idea.

    Anonymous says:

    I love it! What a great present for your goth friends, too!

    [...] des perles en forme de cranes en pâte polymère (Larkcrafts) Make your polymer clay skull [...]

    Vickie Howell says:

    These are great–my boys would love this project!

    Caraciliberto says:

    And add some saber-tooth tiger teeth from your prehistoric hunting days? I would! But, I’d never hurt a real kitty..

    [...] Make skull necklaces/bracelets- look for skull beads in import shops and craft stores, or make your own. [...]

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