Polymer clay is really one of the most versatile craft mediums out there, and with just a few techniques, you can make some great clay stacks- known in the polymer community as “canes” that then you can use to make beads, decorate home dec items, and more. Today we’ll have our first lesson: making striped and checkerboard canes.
- Premo clay in Black (or a dark color of your choice)
- Premo clay in White (or a light color of your choice)
- Studio 71 Pasta Machine
- Blade for cutting clay
First you’ll want to condition your clays. (Read our quick post on that here.LINKUP) Once the clay is warm and soft, you’ll want to make some sheets of a uniform thickness. Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting and roll out a sheet of clay that it’s about 3 inches by 12 inches, or thereabouts. You don’t need to measure. But you will want the clay to be about three times as long as it is wide. Do this for both colors.
Lay your dark color on top of your light color, and use a roller or a brayer to adhere them to each older. Work from the middle of the clay outward to eliminate air bubbles. Air bubbles will swell during baking and distort your piece, so we want to avoid them!
Now run your clay through the pasta machine again, long-wise. This will compress the layers and make it much longer!
To make our first cane, we’re going to make a jellyroll. Trim up the short end of this 2-layer stack.
Next use your fingers to “smoosh” the clay at a slant, like this:
Now, using firm pressure, begin rolling the 2 layers of clay:
Use your fingers to smooth the seam:
And now trim up to reveal your cane!
To make a striped cane, we start with same basic steps: condition clay, roll out two long sheets of clay in contrasting colors, and layer. This time, we’ll cut this sheet in half length-wise, and stack. Again, smooth with a brayer. You should now have a stack that is striped:
Cut the stack in half-wise and layer again. Trim up the edges- and now you’ll have a really great striped cane!
Use a razor or tissue blade to cut thin slices – about 1/8 inch or so- and use them to cover beads, paper mache forms, even recycled candy tins!
Have fun experimenting!
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Jenny is the editor-in-chief and craft concierge for Craft Test Dummies. She can be contacted at crafttherapy at gmail dot com.
Visit her craft blog at www.CraftTestDummies.com!