It’s the first tutorial from the “Cats” book by Christi Friesen (insert shouts of acclamation here)! Today’s project is just a simple tutorial for a kitty cat bead or ornament. Full directions for the kitty cat bead, figurine, or decoration are available in the front sections of Christi’s “Cats” book. The “cat body” tutorial will come on the blog as a bonus Friesen project post on Tuesday – cool huh? Are you ready to get started? Let’s begin making your own cat bead tutorial.
As with all the tutorials in the Friesen Project, please remember that these tutorials are done in an abbreviated format, with Christi Friesen’s expressed permission. These tutorials are written and designed to be used in conjunction with the Beyond Sculptures Book 4: Cats on pages 6-12.
POLYMER CLAY CAT BEAD TUTORIAL
Gather Your Materials:
- Polymer Clay (about 1/4 – 1/2 block depending on bead size)
- Exacto Blade or Tissue Blade
- Wire to embed for whiskers
- Beads for eyes
- Eye pins to embed for bead attachments
- Translucent Liquid Clay to secure eye pins & wire
- Chalks or Inks to add details
- Acrylic paint to antique bead if you’d like
- Varnish to seal your bead
Now without further ado, let’s get started on your cutie cute polymer clay kitty cat bead – MEOW!
From the Beginning:
Deciding on the size and shape of your kitty cat bead is up to you. There are literally dozens of different cat varieties and breeds of kitty cats and every single breed looks a little different.
Before you begin, as I always say, start with a plan or an idea of what you want to create. If you start without an end in mind, your finished products will end up looking like you started without a plan. Remember that we are taking this journey together to get better with each month as we clay.
- Pick your colors of clay for your cat. Think about what you want it to look like in the end. Do you want your cat to be light, dark, fluffy looking, chubby, skinny, spotted. Set all your colors aside.
- Fully condition your clay.
- Combine your colors in a pleasing manner. I marbled my colors to make a sort of Calico colored kitty cat.
- Start with a ball of clay.
- Form your ball into a rounded drop shape.
- Pull ears out of your drop shape.
- Reshape your bead into a “cat shaped head” depending on the bread of cat you are making.
Add The Details:
This is the fun part! Now you get to be completely creative. Think about what you want your cat bead to say. My finished kitty is saying what my kitty, Smokie, says all the time: “Ooh food!” I knew that I wanted my kitty expression to be that of “ooh food!” Check Christi’s book page 9 to see great examples of kitty expressions.
- Make “dots” for the eyes in your color choice
- Embed the eye beads (or crystals as in my kitty) of your choice.
- Add ear accents in the center of the ears
- Add eyebrows
- Add three dots of clay for the mouth and cheeks
- Add a large slab of tear dropped shaped clay as the nose bridge and blend it into the top of the kitty’s head
- Add a “nose pad” and any other colored details on the face.
- Add wires for the whiskers
- Add your eye pins to hang your bead from a necklace
A few notes about my kitty cat bead:
I put eye pins in both the top and bottom of my kitty cat bead. I did this because I want to add a jingle bell (I didn’t have any small enough for this cutie) and some ribbon to the bottoms. Then using the eye pin in the top, I’ll hang it off a cute cord and give to my friend as a gift. Christi uses a different method in her book to make a bead by inserting a needle tool through the back of the head (from left to right) to be used as a focal bead for jewelry. Since I’m not making jewelry, I used a different method. You need to use whatever method you choose.
Finish Your Cat Bead:
Once you have designed your cuter than cute kitty cat bead it’s ready for the oven. I baked my bead at 265 degrees for 60 minutes. I have learned that the longer you bake a clay item, the stronger the end product and since this product will see much handling I wanted to make sure it was strong. See this article to read my tips on baking your items and tips to keep them from cracking and burning.
Please Note: Regardless of this size of thickness of my items, I bake nothing less than 45 minutes at 265 degrees.
The Friesen Project
The Friesen Project is done in conjunction with Christi Friesen. All tutorials are retaught here with her expressed permission. Please make sure to read about the project here, and get answers to the most common FAQS here.