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Tips & Techniques

Get tips and techniques to become a better beader at Lima Beads.


Crystal Clay

About this Tip:

Crystal Clay is a two-part epoxy clay that cures without heat. It's super mold-able and will adhere to nearly anything. This is the same sort of idea behind the beloved Pave beads-- lots of lightweight sparkle! Because we can mold it into anything we choose, it allows us to take sparkle to the next level. Check it out.

Let your creativity guide you! You can choose from a huge selection of bezels, channel beads, crystal chatons, and crystal clay colors!

Loading video player (JavaScript is required)...


The products featured in this tip are listed below.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1:
Each Crystal Clay package comes with the color clay, a hardening agent, an applicator stick (bee's wax on the tip, for easy crystal grabbing!), and a pair of vinyl gloves. The assortment of crystal chatons are sold separately.

To illustrate this technique, I found a little oval bezel ring and I'm going to fill the bezel with the Crystal Clay and apply the little crystal chatons to make a super sparkly ring.
Step 2:
To get started, put on your vinyl gloves and unpack both A (color) and B (hardener) clays. The gloves are a protective barrier against the supreme stick of this epoxy clay. Now mix equal parts of both A & B (make sure you've got the right amount of clay-- I just held up my little ring here and eyeballed it). To assure you've got equal parts, I like to roll each part separately into a little ball and compare sizes. Then mush 'em together.

*They've absolutely got to be equal parts or else your piece will not harden correctly! They've also got to be mixed well, leaving no marbling, else it won't set!

*You can also mix different color clays (different "Part A") and an equal measure of hardener to make "custom" colors!
Step 3:
Once the clay is mixed, gently massage the clay into the bezel (or whatever shape you're molding). Now with the bee's wax applicator, grab a crystal and set it into the clay. This is where the gloves come off-- they're just a little too bulky for this detail work. Press the crystal into the clay so that the edge sits JUST below the clay edge. (You'll miss sparkle if you press it in too deep!)

If you have trouble "releasing" the crystal from the applicator into the clay in the exact place you desire, try "rolling" the applicator off of the crystal. This will keep the crystal in its intended place, instead of nudging it one way or another to unstick it from the bee's wax.
Step 4:
When you've got your crystals all placed the way you want, do one quick pat down of all the crystals with your finger. One or two may have shifted around as you placed others nearby. This due diligence will ensure that your crystals are all at the right level and placement.

Your crystal clay creation will set and be totally cured in 12-24 hours. Be sure to leave your creation undisturbed in an "upright" position (whatever direction that might be for whatever you've made!)

Buy Products from this Technique

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. Cathy H Chocolate Chick
    Cathy H Chocolate Chick says:

    Very pretty! Can’t wait to try this. :)

  2. No Photo
    Elizabeth K says:

    Looks interesting – here are my questions ….

    How is it fumes wise – will it bother folks with chemical allergies or birds?

    Are the gloves big enough for a large man’s hand?

    Can you make color a and color b and then combine them into swirls?

    What size are the rhinestones?

    Can other brands (Swarovski for example) be used?

    What is the life expectancy & are there any warnings to give customers

    are they toxic to children and dogs after cured, both who tend to eat things they ought not to eat? Sorry for the list of questions – just seemed to take on a life of its own

  3. Ali
    Ali says:

    Wow questions! Here are some quick answers:

    The Crystal Clay is non-toxic, but it can be a skin irritant, that’s why there are gloves included. (You could use any gloves, I imagine, just as long as they are powder-free. I think the ones in this kit are maybe a M-L? You’ll probably want to replace them after a while anyway).

    You can mix colors! All the “Part A” are colors, the “Part B” is the hardener and should not be treated as a color. If you wanted to do a swirl, mix 1 Part A color with the Part B hardener, then mix a different Part A color with Part B hardener, then swirl those together. Seems like that should work.

    You can use just about anything as an inset. As long as it has a backing on it like these chatons I’ve used– they are made to keep their hold in there, as opposed to placing a flat-backed crystal in there. But you could experiment with other crystals, wood, other glass…

    The shelf life of this product is approximately 4 years. I hope you use it sooner than that cause it’s so much fun! ;-) Once the Crystal Clay is set/cured, it should last as long as any of your jewelry under normal wear and tear.

    Although it is non-toxic, I wouldn’t recommend eating it… particularly with the raw materials, I’d keep that out of my kids hands!

  4. No Photo
    Elizabeth K says:

    Thank you for the FAST reply now it looks neeter! it is in my official stocking stuffer request list. I have loads of gemstones that have been ‘rescued’ from pieces going to the scrapper so I think I’ll test with those.

    My main concern was about them being unsafe after cured if swallowed. Husband taught dog to catch peanuts so any little bead I drop she catches and eats. Plus, she just plain likes eating pearls. Non-toxic after cured is a major plus!

    Thanks again for the spedy reply,

  5. No Photo
    L Barrett says:

    This stuff sounds like fun! On the color mixing question, can you take two Part A colors of different color and mix them to create a third colors (I’m also a painter so you know how we are!) Like could I use some white to make a lighter hue, or mix red and blue to get purple?


  6. No Photo
    H s says:

    Does the clay cure to a matte finish?
    If so, do you know what type of sealer can be used to make it glossy? Maybe one you paint on with a brush to avoid the crystals?
    Thank you!

  7. Kate
    Kate says:

    You can totally mix the colors to create new colors or combinations. I don’t know if it’ll work exactly like watercolors, though… For that channel bead (talked about at the end of the video), Ali mixed the green crystal clay with some of the metallic gold to get a little of that metallic flavor. But we haven’t experimented yet on a straight blue + red = purple forumla. Also, make sure you’re NOT considering the white Part B hardener a “color” it will not change the color of your piece, it is only meant to serve as hardener.

    The crystal clay does cure to a matte finish. I’m sure you could dab on a glossy finish like the Claudine Hellmuth: http://www.limabeads.com/Claud.....8ml-P17040

  8. No Photo
    Maggie G says:

    Is the silver color clay in the primary multi-pack the same as in the metallic multi-pack?

  9. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    I’m excited to try this technique. I’ve never made jewelry before, except friendship bracelets a couple years ago. I’m only 12

  10. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    Hopefully I can make this…

  11. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    I’ll try, anyway

  12. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    The time is wrong. It says I wrote my comments at nine, but it’s only eight.

  13. No Photo
    ksstormy70 says:

    i”ts the cat’meow

  14. No Photo
    Roberta d says:

    Hi Ali,
    You are an excellent instructor! The video was
    easy to understand. Thank You.
    Can you use Gemstones, like Amethyst or a Quartz
    Crystal with the Crystal Clay?

  15. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    I have a question……What lasts longer? Resin or crystal clay? Which one would be the better choice?

  16. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    I had to change my profile picture because someone else had the same one. Just letting everyone know. Not that it really matters, I guess.

  17. Ali
    Ali says:

    There is no silver color clay included in the Primary colors multipack. Each multipack comes with the neutral-looking hardening agent (not a coloring agent).

  18. No Photo
    KatBlue60 says:

    For those of you that use cream white epoxy clay, it can be colored (once cured) using a small brush and gilder’s paste. For a metallic look, use silver, gold or brass for example.

  19. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    Yay!!!! I just made my first ring with crystal clay. Am I supposed to reuse the gloves?

  20. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:


  21. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    Oops, that was supposed to be a picture, but it won’t paste on.

  22. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    But seriously do I reuse the gloves?

  23. Ali
    Ali says:

    If you want to reuse them and clean them off really well, I don’t see why the gloves couldn’t be reused. It is very important that your gloves and/or hands are super clean when working with the Crystal Clay. Whatever you have on your hands/gloves will stick the the clay and harden in it.

  24. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    Thank you, Ali

  25. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    I was also wondering if I can stick the chatons in backwards, so the gold pointy part was sticking out. I think that would make a pretty cool ring, but I’m not sure if it would work or not.

  26. Evangelina
    Evangelina says:

    Yeah the video was very clear and easy to understand. :)

  27. Ali
    Ali says:

    The chatons work best when sticking into the clay using the pointy side. It’d probably look pretty cool the other way, I’m just not sure how well it will bond.

    Also, for those of you who saw the Melting Pot go up this week, we had added Perfect Pearls to go along with it. In addition to begin able to accent your melted piece, Perfect Pearls would be beautiful if brushed onto your clay once everything is set. Just an thought :-)

  28. No Photo
    angel tears says:

    how is this clay colored? I mean can I take white clay and add a color/colors to develope my own palett? If so, what coloring agent would I use?

  29. C lorenger
    C lorenger says:

    There is so much information just on this site. I need not go anywhere else. Wow, Limabeaders sure cover alot of technics in such a simple way i maybe inspirered to try the crystal clay in the near future. sure looks easy. Favorit last words!

  30. No Photo
    L German says:

    I have played with Crystal Clay for 3 years now, I have added glitter when mixing up the clay, mica powders, added a broken swarovski starfish, used simple rubber stamps and stamped images into the clay, pretty much do whatever you like with the clay. Once hardened, it is permanent, you can not change anything. I now have a product called Crystal Splash – swarovski bicones without the holes, will be making faux druzy rings, pendants and earrings. Time to push the envelope one step further…..

  31. Lieghandra Y
    Lieghandra Y says:

    This looks like it can open a lot of doors as far as jewelry making goes. I am always looking for new ideas and mediums to try. I LOVE to make jewelry, my imagination can just run wild and there is always someone who appreciates it. Lima Beads site is full of great info. and produsts. Thanks for being here.

  32. No Photo
    L German says:

    Crystal Clay is a lot of fun to play with, you can pretty much everything with it. I have made a bunch of Christmas links and now will begin to make them into a really nice bracelet, with a RAW, (right angle weave) beaded bead in the Centre. The beaded bead will pick up the Swarovski Emerald Green, Ruby,and 2X Autumn Gold, that are in the links, without making this bracelet, wearable only at Christmas time.
    As you initially start working on with Crystal Clay, you will have lots of ideas yourself, act on them, have fun, push the envelope, and play!

  33. No Photo
    L German says:

    One thing to remember when using Epoxy Clay, whether it be Swarovski’s clay, Crystal Clay or any other brand. These clays can not be used with any other type. They are brand specific, so can’t be inter-mixed. Other than that, just have fun. As a side note, one of my clays started to harden while in the package, when I took it out, I started working the clay, and forgot to put on gloves. The turquoise colour transferred onto my hands, I figured I would have this colour of skin for a few days at least. My husband, who was helping me, also had blue hands, he went into the bathroom and emerged a couple of minutes, later, laughing – and No Blue Hands any more! It seems he tried an experiment! He sprayed Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleanser onto a paper towel, using it to wipe his hands, and the colour transferred onto the paper towel. I immediately tried the same method, and, It Works! So, if you should get some of the colouring agent on your hands, don’t worry, just spray some Scrubbing Bubbles onto a paper towel, and use it to wipe off your hands. You will be amazed as to how easily the colour will come off skin.

  34. No Photo
    D Purves says:

    Ever heard of anyone making pendants or charms with Crystal Clay and embedding small shells, seaglass bits and/or sand?

  35. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    @ D Purves – Absolutely! Crystal Clay is not only for chatons, the possibilities are endless.

  36. Mara O
    Mara O says:

    I have a question!…How can I softer the crystal clay?

  37. No Photo
    Moogie says:

    I had purchased some CC on sale months ago & decided to play with it last night. I noticed an expiration date of January 2015! So, one year expired. The hardener was fine. The color was hard as a rock. I microwaved it on high at 10 second intervals, turning over each time, for a total of 30-40 secs. It made it workable but had some pieces that felt like hard plastic, so I tried to pick them out. It was very sticky! Tried to roll it on my glass tabletop, but it was too sticky. So I did the best I could using my hands. In the end, it was ok but the moral is, use fresh product!


  38. No Photo
    Martina says:

    I’m thinking about using this material to line a ‘yerba mate gourd’ made out of wood. Once hardened, could I pour hot water (not boiling) and it not be toxic or breakdown? The reason I would need to line the gourd is because of a hairline crack in the wood. Any feedback would be appreciated. Smiles, Martina**

  39. mmmagique
    mmmagique says:

    Tried to be good

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