Millefiori Clay Beads

Learn the art of millefiori, a traditional glass-working technique, by rolling together colorful clay to make intricate patterns.

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather your materials.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Work each color of clay in your hands and shape it into a ½-inch wide rod. Then, cut each rod in half.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Take a light green rod and roll it out. Then, trim the edges to make a rectangle the same length as the other clay rods.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Wrap the light green rectangle halfway around the dark green rod.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Repeat step 3 with the orange and pink rods, and layer them around the green rod too.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Step 6

    Slice the dark green rod down the middle, but don’t cut all the way through.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

  • Step 7

    Roll out the purple rod into a rectangle. Then, and insert it into the middle of the dark green rod and trim it so that it is flush to the top of the dark green rod.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 7

  • Step 8

    Roll the rod together so the clay melds.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 8

  • Step 9

    Pinch the dark green side of the rod so that it is in the shape of a petal.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 9

  • Step 10

    Work the pink rod in your hands and shape it into a ¼-inch wide rod. Then, roll out the purple rod into a rectangle.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 10

  • Step 11

    Cut the petal-shaped rod into six pieces of equal length.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 11

  • Step 12

    Trim a piece off the pink rod and purple rectangle the same length as the petal pieces.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 12

  • Step 13

    Wrap the purple rectangle piece around the pink rod piece and roll them together. If the rod gets longer as you roll it out, trim it to the same size as the 6 petal pieces.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 13

  • Step 14

    Position the petals around the pink rod piece as pictured. Then, pinch and roll the petals around the rod to meld the clay into a flower shape.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 14

  • Step 15

    Cut a cross section off of the flower shape.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 15

  • Step 16

    Now that you know what you’re doing, there are a bunch of different patterns you can make! Try cutting multiple cross sections and putting them together around a clay ball - like these!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 16
    Photo reference of how to complete step 16

  • Done!

    To make your designs permanent, bake your clay at 275 degrees, adding 30 minutes to your bake time for every ¼-inch thickness.


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