Drilling Polymer Clay Beads

Drilling holes in polymer clay
Drilling holes in polymer clay

In this tutorial I'll be comparing drilling polymer clay using a hand drill with piercing raw clay with a piercing pin. I hope to show you how easy it is to use the manual drill and the far superior results it delivers.

When I first started working with polymer clay, I made holes in my beads when they were raw, using a piercing pin. It was easy, but it tended to distort the shapes of my beads. I didn't want to drill when they were baked, because that meant I would have had to use a power drill and I found that intimidating.

You can imagine my relief when I found out about a manual or push drill. It is so easy to use and gives beautiful professional results.


You will need the following supplies:

  • Push/Pin Drill
  • Piercing Pin/ Beading Awl

Drilling Polymer Clay Beads With a Hand Drill

So to start I’ll give a run down on using the piercing pin, which is what you’ll tend to use to drill raw polymer clay.

What I like about it:
  • It’s faster to do it this way than when the bead is baked.
  • It’s less intimidating.
  • It's inexpensive.
What I don't like about it:
  • It doesn’t give a clean hole.
  • It will distort your shape.
  • It makes it more difficult to use resin.
Now for the manual drill, which is best used when the clay is baked.

What I like about it:
  • It leaves a clean hole.
  • It doesn’t distort your beads.
  • It's inexpensive.
  • It's not too intimidating.
  • You don't have to worry about resin getting into your bead holes.
What I don't like about it:
  • It takes a while to drill through the polymer clay beads.
  • If you make a mistake it can be hard to fix.
An electric or battery operated drill can also be used to make holes in polymer clay.

What I like about it:
  • It’s really fast to drill through.
  • It leaves a really clean hole.
  • It doesn't distort the shape of your bead.
  • You don't have to worry about resin getting into your bead holes.
What I don't like about it:
  • It's intimidating and takes a while to learn how to use.
  • It's more expensive than the other two options.
  • If you make a mistake you will likely be unable to salvage your piece.
Overall I recommend the manual drill. It’s easy to use, inexpensive and produces a professional result. Using a manual drill has made a massive difference to my work and I don’t know how I got along without one.


Drilling Polymer Clay Beads

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