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Polymer clay is a great way to keep your hands busy, and it is possible to come up with the most incredible designs, patterns and ideas! Follow our easy step by step instructions and learn how to make a beautiful four colour cane using polymer clay.
This is a fantastic beginners craft for young sculptors. We will be making polymer clay beads, using the cane technique. Polymer clay is PVC based product with liquid plasticizers which keep the clay manageable and soft until baking, which can be completed in a house-hold oven. There are so many interesting patterns and ideas one can come up with using polymer clay.
Open your polymer clay packets and estimate how much you will need. Break this section off and seal the rest of the packet, as if left open the polymer clay will slowly harden and be harder to work with next time. Begin to play with the clay, working it so that it becomes softer and more manageable. Roll out a length or each colour once you have worked them.
Check your hands in between each colour as you do not want to transfer pigment from one colour, on your hands to the next. Use the damp cloth to clean your hands of any pigment residue.
A pasta maker is a very useful piece of equipment when working with polymer clay. It will help you to soften and work the clay as well as, most importantly, allow you to produce a pre-set width when using it. Send each roll of clay through the pasta machine to produce a long, even width, flat layer of polymer clay.
You should now have four mini sheets of polymer clay, which have gone through the pasta maker. Lay these out onto your working surface (glass or mirror) and use the length of blade to trim each piece so that each strip of polymer clay is more or less the same size. Do not trim the ends just yet.
If all sheets are roughly the same size, you can begin stacking them on top of each other. Place complimentary colours on top of each other. Trim the ends off, so that the polymer clay tower is uniform.
Colours that are too similar are not going to have a powerful effect.
With this uniform tower, use your length of blade to mark out four sections before cutting.
You want to cut the length of this polymer clay tower into four equal parts, so that it looks a bit like Liquorice Allsorts!
Take one square from the tower and divide it in half both vertically and horizontally. Measure with your eye and make a mark with the blade, so that you have a cross on the top of the square.
Cut the polymer clay square in half, and then cut it in half again from the opposite direction. You should be left with four mini towers now. Repeat this process for another square. All in all, you would have re-cut two squares from the original tower, into a further four towers each.
Right! Now we are going to join the polymer clay towers together, head to tail. Be sure to keep the complimentary colours end to end.
For the second part of the project, you will need to create another two flat widths of polymer clay.
Run two individual rolls of polymer clay through the pasta machine as per Step 2. Remember to use two complimentary colours, this will be the centre of your cane. Then you can place the layers of polymer clay on top of each other, and trim off any excess.
With the two flat layers of polymer clay, start at one end and roll them. You want the roll to be quite squat. You may need to trim the ends off of the roll, making sure that you final roll is the same width as the square tower.
Now we need to join the roll and tower.
Take the long tower and place it around the two layer roll, making sure that the two ends of the tower meet comfortably around the roll. If the tower is too short, you need to decrease the width of your roll. If the tower is too long, you will need to flatten the roll a big more to stretch it out.
Using your hands, shape and mould the two separate polymer clay pieces into one piece. The tower will easily stick to the roll. All you need to do is gently work them together.
Once complete, you will begin to roll this out into a long, thin cane. You will do so by placing the roll on its side and working from the centre out towards the edges, rolling it slowly until it becomes longer. When you reach the width that you desire, stop rolling.
Cut the ends off of your long, thin polymer clay cane, they will be mis-shaped.
When you cut the cane, the best technique would be to hold your blade in both hands and roll the blade over the cane, moving left to right, allowing the cane to move with the blade, gently pushing down. This ensures the shape remains and the colours are a nice clean cut.
You can cut the cane as thickly or as thinly as you wish.
You now need to leave your cut pieces of cane to dry overnight and then place in the oven the following day. Bake for 15min only, at approximately 140 degrees Celsius. The polymer clay will set very hard after baking.
Should you wish to make beads, we suggest making the hole after baking as this will inhibit you less when deciding which beads you need for a project. If you have a set beading project and you know where and how each bead will lay, then by all means make the holes while the polymer clay is still soft.