by Shelley McLoughlin
When you are
making canes, it doesn't matter which brand of polymer
clay you use. What does matter is staying with the same
brand for all the clays used in the
cane. As an example, you would not mix Fimo Classic
clay with Fimo Soft as they are actually two
different types of clay. Or Sculpey III with
Sculpey Superflex since they, too, are two different
types of clay. While Premo and Sculpey III are
similar in consistency, they are not compatible in
Different clays are made with
different ratios of chemicals, so some "move"
faster than others. The softer clays will squish out
faster than the firmer clays. Think of a sandwich. You
put cream cheese on one slice of bread and mayonnaise on
the other. Jam them together and squeeze. The softer
spread - mayonnaise - will squish out faster than the
cream cheese. Canes work along that same principle.
Therefore, when you use the same type of clay - all
Fimo Classic or all Sculpey III or whatever -
you are using clays made with the same characteristics.
A word of caution, though. Even if
you use the same brand of clay, different colors
will move at different speeds unless the cane is allowed
to "rest" before you begin to reduce it. Also,
it can depend on how much you have
conditioned and then worked a color - this, too, can
contribute to its moving faster. So just let it sit
overnight to let the different sections reach the same
consistencey. If you're in a hurry pop it into the
freezer and leave it sit for 15-30 minutes, depending on
the size of your cane. --sunni
ounces of turquoise
2 ounces of black
Cutting tool: tissue blade, razor blade, exacto
knive, sharp kitchen knife, etc.
Pasta machine or something to roll the clay into
sheets (glass jar, marble rolling pin, etc.)
Clean work surface
©2001 Text and Pictures
Click on the pictures
for a larger view.
Choose two colours that
have a good contrast. It doesn't matter how much
you use, if you use more clay you will have a
larger lace cane. I have chosen a turquoise as my
main colour and black as my surrounding contrast
Roll the main colour into a log, making it as
even as you can. I made a 2" long log here
and about 1/2" thick.
Roll your second colour
into a thin sheet - for my log, my sheet was
black clay about 1/8" thick. Cut the sheet
into a rectangle as wide as the log is long - I
cut mine 2" wide. Cover your log with this
sheet. Be careful not to overlap the edges as you
cover. When you have the turquoise log wrapped,
press gently where the edges overlap and then
pull the sheet back again. You will notice a line
where the clays meet. Using your cutting tool,
cut along that line and put the excess clay back
into your storage bin. Wrap the black clay back
so the edges abut one another. Roll gently to
smooth the join. You now have a simple
Bull's Eye Cane.
Roll this log slowly
and evenly along it's length to reduce its
diameter. Continue rolling until it is about 6
times it's original length. Trim off the
distorted ends and set them into your scrap pile
to be reused later for something else. Now cut
the Bull's Eye Cane into six equal
lengths. I started with a 2" log, 'reduced'
it by rolling it out to a little over 12" in
length (remember, we cut off the ends to clean it
up). Then I cut it into 2" lengths again.
pieces together as shown with one in the centre
and 5 on the outside.
When you make your own Lace Cane,
you can use as few as 3 or as many as you like in
Gently compress the
cane together to form a round log again. Don't worry about the ends
distorting, it will be just fine on the inside,
Repeat steps 3-5. - cutting and combining as
Tidy up the ends again. Cut a slice from your
smoothed log and take a look at your lace cane!
You can carry on cutting and combining again if
you want a smaller design. But don't do this too
many times or the lines will become so fine that
you will loose the definition.
For variations why not use more than just two
colours. Here I have surrounded my purple log
with a thin white layer and thin a thin turquoise
layer. You can add as many layers as you like.
Experiment and have fun.
Here are some of the things I've made with my
the front row are some slices from my canes.
In the middle row,
I used scrap clay (cut ends etc.) and covered
them with slices of lace cane.
In the top row are
a few of my tiny wish bottles. Some are
completely covered with slices, whilst others
only had a few slices. For these, I kept the
background colour the same as the thin lace lines
in the cane.
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