Fingerprint Beads

This is a quick lesson I did with my pre-K students. I found the general idea on the Dick Blick website. Because I had some leftover Sculpey polymer clay and some Pearl-Ex powder pigments, I decided this was the perfect lesson to try with them.

MATERIALS: Sculpey polymer clay, Pearl-Ex powder pigments (you can get this at any craft store- although I have the large set, it is also sold in individual containers), 14 guage sculpture wire (I happened to have this lying around. Honestly, anything that you can use to make a hole in the center of the bead will work), something to string the beads on (we used stretchy cord), extra decorative beads

Have the kiddos play with the clay to soften it up and then roll each chunk into a ball.
STEP TWO: "Spear" each ball on to the wire. I pre-cut 6" lengths of wire and had the kids push their clay balls on to the wire like a shishkabob.
STEP THREE: Using Pearl-Ex powder pigments, the students dip their finger in and press down on each clay ball to make their beads.

Their fingerprints show up all shimmery. They love it! Caution: make sure they don't press too hard or the wires will come right through the top of the bead.

STEP FOUR: Bake the beads for 20 minutes at 250 degrees in a kitchen oven. I put their name tags right in with them.
Here are all of the kids' beads on the wires, ready to be baked.

HUGE CAUTION: Take the beads off the wires before you bake them!!! I learned this the hard way. If you bake them on the wires, they will break when you try to take them off. UGH!!

STEP FIVE: String the beads, using extra beads as fillers. My students only made five fingerprint beads, so they used some glass and other decorative beads that I had. I knew I would find a use for those someday!

Note: I knotted a small bead onto the end of their cord so that the beads would not fall off while they were stringing.

The kids loved these necklaces so much and were very proud to wear them home that day. This was a great fine motor lesson for my littlest artists.


  1. These look so professional!! One of the things I love about reading blogs is learning about materials that are new to me. Pearl-Ex is something I definitely am going to try. Thanks.

  2. those are pretty cute. I might make some myself! Or suggest it for scouts.


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