Briefly: An easy project for beginners. It's true that firing pots is a critical step, but because of the small size of the beads, breaking is an unlikely event. I never broke one ! Photo : Beads and pendants made of fired clay
Raw materials: Clay
Tools: A straw (or a metal drill) and what you need to make a big fire.
Optional : a sieve, a fire-resistant pot, a knife, ...
Completion time: 5-10 mn per bead, excluding firing time.


  1. Make an approximate shape, let it dry, and re-shape after some time until you get nice shapes.

  2. Before it's too hard, pierce the holes with a straw or a hand-powered metal drill and if needed smooth with your hands … or some cloth … my trousers will do the job !

  3. Optional, to get unvarying shades: put the beads in an open or closed fire-resistant pot, on or inside sieved (1-3mm) ashes ,or inside dry plants to get black beads.

  4. Start a fire un a stove, or outdoors. Put the beads near the fire to have them dry. When the fire is really big, put the beads, or the pot with the beads, inside the fire.

  5. Wait patiently while it cools !

  6. Here is the result of a few firings. Grey and pink beads …

  7. … but the violet bead has been dipped into blackberry juice.

  8. For other colours, one can paint raw beads with rainwater flowing over the clay, coloured with the orange shade contained in the clay. It might produce surprizing colours after firing.

Advantages Drawbacks
  • One can get beautiful colours, and amazing shades.
  • The final colour is unpredictable.

Your turn, create any shape you imagine !