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  • Wooden dowel or other round cylindrical object to use as a form
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue stick
  • Clay (scrap or otherwise)
  • String
  • Pins
  • Blunt-ended pin tool (same size as pins) *See Below
  • Pliers
  • Sewing Gauge
  • Cutters (strong enoug to cut pins)
  • Circle cutter slightly larger than the end of the dowel
  • Lisa Pavelka's Poly Bonder Glue
  • Funnel (metal, plastic, or paper)
  • No-hole glass beads, assorted sizes from .5mm-2mm (and small seed beads if desired)
Blunt-Ended Pin Tool

To make this tool, take one of the pins you'll be using and cut off the pointed end, then sink the head into some scrap clay and bake.
1. You can use any cylindrical form: metal tube, bic pen, roller, M&Ms tube, whatever.
2. Longer tube > tighter spiral > more pins > longer fall > longer sound
3. Thinner walls > louder sound
4. The larger no-hole beads make a louder sound when they strike the pins, and the smaller ones make a softer sound. The combination of different sizes creates a "fuller," more complex, and much more pleasing sound.

1. Cover your dowel (tube, whatever) with aluminum foil, gluing the end of the foil to itself to prevent it from unrolling.

2. Roll clay to a #6 (with #1 largest on the pasta machine). Cover the foiled dowel with one even layer of clay, but don't put the seam of the clay on the seam of the foil.

3. Mark a tight spiral on the tube by holding a piece of string at the top and wrapping it around evenly. Roll the tube on your work surface to imprint the line.

4. Using the blunt-tip pin tool, poke holes in the tube along the spiral about every 1/4 inch or so (this can be made tighter, as long as each pin doesn't hit the previous one).

5. Bake for 10 minutes or so.

6. After the tube is baked, allow it to cool, then remove it from the dowel. With your pliers, grasp the end of the foil and start twisting. As you twist, it will release from the clay. Repeat with the other end of the foil until it completely releases from the clay.

7. Take your sewing gauge (right) and measure the opening of the tube by placing the point on the inside of one side and sliding the guide to the outside of the opposite side. This will determine the length of your pins.

8. Keeping the guide at the correct mark, begin cutting pins by laying the head of the pin against the guide and grasping the pin with the cutters where it hangs over the end of the guide. Making sure to capture the flying point (either by sinking the point into a ball of scrap clay or by cutting the pin so that the pointy bit ends up in a bottle or bag), start cutting your pins. You'll need one for every hole you poked in the tube.

9. Once all your pins are cut, replace the tube on the dowel and start putting the pins in. Move the dowel down bit by bit, using it to support the sides of the tube as you insert the pins.

10. After the pins are all in, cut a circle of clay left over from your #6 sheet to match the end of your tube. Apply a thin layer of Poly-Bonder to the edge of the tube then attach the circle of clay to the end. Allow the glue to dry before proceeding to the next step.

11. Make sure that the end is securely capped, then start adding your no-hole beads to the tube. Start with the larger sizes, pouring in a small amount at a time, and use a funnel as you get to the smaller ones to prevent spillage. The total amount of beads inside should fill less than 1/10th of the tube. Occasionally cap the open end with your finger or hand and turn the whole thing over to check the quality of sound. When you're happy with it, cap the other end in the same way you did the first one.

12. Bake again for 10 minutes.

13. Here's where decoration comes in. If you want to leave the rainstick as it is, coat it with a nice thick layer of liquid clay and bake again. If you want to cover it, first rub a thin layer of liquid clay into the surface, then carefully press another single layer of #6 clay onto the rainstick. When the rainstick is covered with that plain layer of clay, roll it on a hard surface so that the heads of the pins just barely show, and the whole thing is a smooth cylinder. From here, you can further decorate it, apply cane slices or filigree, or whatever you want. Remember, though, that the thicker the clay is, the quieter the sound is. It's all up to you from here in!
Hava's Examples - Click for a Larger View

We'd like to thank Hava for sharing this terrific lesson with PCC! If you have a lesson or tutorial or project that you would like to share with PCC, just email or and we will help you prepare your project for the PCC Website.

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