Bead-N-Bead (Lost Wax) Project

Oh my, this was a fun project! Too much fun to keep to myself. I had to share.

I don't know why I wanted to do this when I did, because I've been just thinking and thinking about doing some sort of lost wax polymer project for years. Oddly, the urge hit me hard right out of the blue. I had the time, so I went with it.

In my lost wax bead projects, usually there's an outermost bead with holes cut out. Then just inside is a another bead with holes cut out and inside that bead is yet another bead! You won't seen any seams because there aren't any! And each bead is free to roll around independently inside its little domain!

The picture on the right is actually my second lost wax bead project. You can easily see the outer shell (bead). Just inside that is a royal blue bead. Then just inside that one is a sparkly pink bead. I gotta try a few more of these so I will get better at making obvious how many objects are trapped inside of other objects.

If anyone has done this or thinks up some cool alternative, please let me know.

Wanna know how to do one?

Here's a quick explanation of what I did:
1. Dip the smallest baked bead in enough melted wax (melted to about the consistency of thick oil) to build up a coat that's about two quarter coins thick. Smooth with fingers while the wax is still malleable. Let cool.

2. Wrap the waxed bead with a thick sheet of polymer clay (about 1 1/2 coin quarters thick). Trim excess clay and smooth out seams/joins. Cut out desired shaped holes or openings. I've used leather punches or small aspic/vegetable cutters, although any shape will do. The clay should not be mushy or the shell will distort too much when you're doing the cutouts. If need be, chill it in your refrigerator.

3. Bake at your polymer clay brand's recommended temperature. Make sure the bead is suspended so when the wax melts and drips out the bead won't be sitting in melted wax. I've had a bit of trouble with the shells cracking during baking, if the bead is not suspended or supported properly. I'd recommend using the strongest clays (Premo or Cernit or well conditioned Fimo) for the shells. Remember polymer clay doesn't have any strength when it's baking. Now you've got one bead freely rolling about inside the outer bead. Let the bead cool.

4. Dip the whole thing in melted wax (same consistency as before), making sure you end up with a #1+ thickness coat around the outside of the outer bead. Again, smooth with fingers while the wax is still warm and malleable.

5. Repeat step #2 and #3. Then you'll have one bead inside of another inside of another. You could keep going, but I think three beads is enough unless you're really brave or curious. :)

6. Some suggestions for finishing:

  • Use a jeweler's drill to drill out additional small holes. This gives a kind of bubbly effect.
  • Carefully sand the outer bead with 400 & 600 grit wet/dry sandpapers.
  • Stain lightly with acrylic paint (if you use paint, make sure to keep the paint on the outermost surface).
  • String the bead to wear as a necklace pendant or use a Xmas tree ornament hook to suspend the bead.


  • If you have a way or appliance to precisely control the temperature of the wax, I'd recommend using it. It's easier to do this kind of project if you can keep the wax flowing but thick, not runny.

Congratulations! You're done. Now make some more. ;-)


Last update to this page: 29 Jan 02. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.