How to make a polymer clay cane

Polymer clay canes are very popular in the polymer clay world. They can be a very rewarding little project. There are many different processes available for making polymer clay canes. In this article I am going to show you how to make a polymer clay cane using a three part skinner blend. If you are not familiar with how to make a three part skinner blend you can check out my post “How to make a three part polymer skinner blend”.

This particular polymer clay cane was inspired by Fiona Abel-Smith.  So the credit must go to her.  I have learned so much about making polymer clay canes from watching her videos.

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Three part skinner blend

I’m only using a quarter of a 2 oz. bar of Sculpey III polymer clay.

I won’t go into great detail on how to make a skinner blend since I have done that in the above mentioned post. But a quick over-vue is as follows.

I start with three colors. I use a square cutter so they are all similar size. I cut each square into two separate trianglular pieces. And lay the pieces on top of each other.

Arrange the triangles so they go from dark to light and they form a rectangle. You can cut off the tips to create the rectangle shape as pictured.

 

Try to create a seal at the edges and run it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.

After you run it through the pasta machine fold it so the colors all line up together.  Roll it through the pasta machine again and repeat this process until you have the desired blend.  

Cut the skinner blend in half and lay them on each other.  Trim any excess that may have accumulated.  

Put the pasta machine on the thickest setting.  With the lightest color in first, run it through the pasta machine.  After it is through, change the setting on the pasta machine to the next thickest and run it through again.  Continue this process until you have the desired thickeness.  

Let’s start making the polymer clay cane

The skinner blend is ready to become a bullseye cane.  Begin by tightly rolling the lightest end of the skinner blend.  As you are rolling it, keep it taught.  This will help prevent air from being trapped in the clay. 

Continue rolling until you have used all of the skinner blend.  This will leave you with a bullseye cane.  You have need to manipulate the ends for a cleaner finish.

Now for a more complex approach

Stand the bullseye cane on end.   This next step is optional.  I need to make marks to indicate where I will slice the clay.  Otherwise I have been known to not make even slices.  

Once it’s sliced and you have four pieces of clay, you will want to lengthen each piece by pinching along the dark edges one side at a time.  I try to double their length or close to it.  

The next step is to line up all four wedges side by side and pinch them into a triangle shape like in the pictures.  

Try to keep each side nice and uniform the best you can.  Cut the triange in half.  Then line them up as pictured below.  

Now it’s a little tricky but you will need to work the clay into a square shape.  Once it’s squared off you will want to reduce it.  This means you want to work it and pull/stretch it to make it longer.  You are reducing the size and lengthening it by doing this.  

Now slice the clay in the middle of the piece.  Line them up side by side as evenly as you can.  

Reduce the cane one more time, then slice it in the middle.  Once again, line up both sides as even as possible.  

Reduce one more time.  Cut it in half and place the two pieces side by side.   now you have a cane.  Sometimes I use a ruler to measure the cane to make sure I get a nice equal cut.

Slicing the cane

Now you can slice pieces off the cane and create a pendant.  If you lay the slices side by side you will get a beautiful design.  You can use cutters to create the pendant shapes.  

I used some scrap clay for the backing of my pendant.  Lay the cane slices on the backing piece.  


Once you place the slices side by side, use a roller to smooth out the edges nice. 

 

Lay cling wrap over the clay.  Smooth it out nice.  Lay the cutter on the piece and make your cut.  I was able to get two pendants out of this one.  

Remove the excess around each pendant.  Now they are ready to bake.  I bake mine at 275 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  The timing can depend on your manufacturers recommendations but also on the thickness of the pendant.  

Once baked, it may need to be sanded and buffed.  If you are not familiar with the sanding and buffing process you can click on the link here How to sand and buff a polymer clay pendant to learn how I do it.

Finish it off with, of course, UV resin!

I wouldn’t have it any other way would I?  If you are not familiar with the process of adding UV Resin to a pendant, feel free to check out my post here.  Where I show you how I go about adding resin to a polymer clay pendant.  That post also goes into adding findings to a pendant as well.  

Conclusion

In this post I have shown you how to make a polymer clay cane.  I have also shown you how to utilize the cane to make a beautiful pendant. 
Polymer clay canes are so versatile when it comes to creating jewelry.  That is one of the reasons I love working with it so much.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  If you did, please leave a comment below.  I would love to know what colors you would like to see put into a polymer clay cane.  

Fun Fact!

Use craft sticks to help shape your cane as you reduce it.  They can really help you to keep nice clean lines.

8 thoughts on “How to make a polymer clay cane”

  1. Thank you so much for this fantastic article, Teresa! I am learning so much about how to create pendants from your website (I’ve always loved arts and crafts, but had the skills of a twig. Haha). I appreciate how you break down every step of the process, with visuals. I’m a very visual learner, so seeing the incremental steps in the process helps me to better understand what to do. I absolutely love this design! I will definitely try it out! God bless you!

    Reply
    • Hello there, thank your for visiting my website again. I am so happy you were able to learn something
      from my polymer clay cane tutorial. I had to laugh when you said you have the skills of a twig. That’s
      a funny/cute reference. I hope you will try this technique and let me know how it went.
      Thank you again,
      All the best!

      Reply
  2. Nice article, I had no idea that you could make such attractive pendants with clay and I also did not know that there was such a thing as polymer clay. Very informative information, thanks!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much. This particular cane is really not hard at all. I’ll be adding tutorials for more
      complex canes in the near future. They are so much fun to make!

      All the best,
      Teresa

      Reply
  3. What a great idea!! I used to buy clay that was already patterned. Your website has opened my eyes to how easy it is to make great patterns. Thank you so much for all of the great tips and short cuts that help save money. It is also great to be able to say, “I made that.”

    Reply
    • Hi Greg, Yes, it’s a feel good feeling to be able to say that. Instead of saying “I can totally make that.”

      Thank you for visiting my site,
      All the best,
      Teresa

      Reply

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