Monday, February 23, 2009

Polymer clay canes

I have been asked quite a few times in the last few days exactly what caning is. In terms of polymer clay, it is putting together a block of uncured clay in some kind of a design or pattern that runs throughout the block, and can be cut into slices, then cured.

In most cases, the slices are quite thin, and put on something to decorate it. Such as the little vase I made over the weekend.

A number of polymer clay artists forms their slices into pendants. One can add jump rings to them, pin-backs, bails and other things to make it easier to attach them to jewellry such as necklaces, earrings, keychains and lots more.

Now here are 3 excellent artists on that truly show how beautiful canes can be. This first one is by yonatdascalu who offers an excellent tutorial in how to make a gorgeous Rose Cane. Just look how lifelike and realistic that rose is! A definate must have for those who want to see how to create a gorgeous cane! Just click on the picture and it will take you to the listing and while you are there, be sure to check out her other listings!

This next one is by PolymerClayCreations. I do so love purple! PolymerClayCreations offers many different canes that you can choose from. These are all raw canes, and you can slice them, cure them, and make your own jewelry! Again, just click on the picture to go to this listing, and browse her shop to see all the other amazing canes and awesome creations made by using them!

Now, this third one is truly a work of art. There are numerous little tiny slices of different canes creating this piece. Created by divadea, you simply must go to the actual listing to be able to see it clearly. Simply gorgeous! Can you just imagine how much time it took to apply each individual slice so carefully? Wow!!

If you were to look up try to look up polymer clay cane in Wikipedia you would find it quite difficult to find a definition of the process. So I did a quick search for polymer clay. About half way down the page they put in this information:

"Forming "canes," which are logs of clay with patterns running through their entire length, from which identical slices can be cut and used in various ways. The patterns created in canes can be simple, complex, or anything in between; they may be pictorial or simply geometric. Canes (and therefore their images) can be "reduced" so that they become quite small, and then combined to make multiple images (millefiori)."

To see the entire page, go to I am sure you will find lots of useful and interesting information.

For myself, I recently purchased the book "The Art of Polymer Clay MIllefiori Techniques" written by Donna Kato. It is an excellent book, and very helpful for those who wish to learn more about this particular style of working with clay.

Other books by Donna Kato are "The art of Polymer Clay" and " The Art of Polymer Clay Creative Surface Effects" (another book I have and dying to read). In Fact, Donna Kato has partnered with Van Aken International to produce Kato Polyclay, her own line of products. I do believe I am going to try out Kato Clay very soon!

I highly recommend checking out her website at and check out her exclusive online tutorials at

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making Canes with Polymer Clay

(Polymer Clay Artists of Etsy) PCAGOE's February's Challenge is Canes.

Now, I have been making some pretty simple canes lately for my buttons, and really did not feel that I have been doing it long enough to enter into this particular montly challenge. However, I have really enjoyed learning the different things a person can do to create a cane. So, I have decided to share my journey with you, into the World of Making Canes.

Since I roll the clay out with my rolling pin, I always clean the rolling pin after each colour. As it is a wooden one it tends to have colours stay on the pin and then end up transfering onto the next colour if I did not clean it well after each use. I clean rolling pin with cleansing wipes, and then rub it dry with a white cloth (helps to show if any more colour is still on the pin). I then rub the rolling pin with mineral oil (after it is dry) to help keep the next colour from leaching into the wood. This also helps keep the clay from sticking to the pin.

I tried to do a Skinner Blend, but using only a rolling pin and my hands does not quite work very well for me. I think that if I decide to continue making canes, that I will invest in one of those pasta machines the other artists use.

I also tried my hand at making a little flower. It is a forget-me-not and I have to tell you, it is not easy to make a flower look like a real flower. The artists on Etsy who make flowers are extremely talented! Perhaps after years of practicing I might become half as good. I am not giving up though!

Here are some basic ones, little "window boxes" and other abstract shapes. I think for right now, those are the easiest for me.

These, I am very partial to. There are so many choices as to how I want to cut these when I am ready to use them. I just love the colour shifts!
Today, I tried caning a little glass spice jar. I used these canes in it, and I think it turned out quite well! I still have to sand it through 6 grades of sandpaper (250, 400, 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000) and then varnish it.

So, what do you think? Should I enter it into the PCAGOE Monthly Challenge for February? And, what do you suggest I call it?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fun Searches on Etsy!

I was up quite early this morning. Not sure why, but it seems the last few years I have been waking up earlier and earlier. Not impressed! As a kid, I could sleep in until noon. Now, I count myself lucky if I can sleep until 6am!

So, rather than just sitting there like a lump, or making lots of noise cleaning up the kitchen, I did a search on Etsy. Just for the fun of it!

If you click on the pictures, it will take you directly to the listings on Etsy.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Buttons

Here are some of my latest little buttons.
Kind of hard to choose which ones are my favourites! My son says the ones with the different edges look like peanut butter cups to him. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adventures in Polymer Clay

Well, my first attempt at making polymer clay boxes did not go so well.

I ended up with two small "trays" and the colours left something to be desired.

The Lemon Lime one got a bit toasted too. *sigh* But, all in all, I did learn some very valuable lessons.
The good news is, my son really liked the small Cafe Latte one and has appropriated it for his nightstand. Also, my little black buttons turned out really well.
Today, I am drawing new blueprints for my boxes, and have made some more buttons. I have also tried a couple more experiments. I will let you know how those turn out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day in Ontario

Today is Family Day! It is a relatively new holiday here in Ontario, Canada. Of course, my son happens to be at a friend's house, and I am busy playing with my clay. I also have hopes/plans of making some strawberry and some blueberry jam. We shall see how much I actually accomplish today! Perhaps a little later I might be able to talk my hubby into going for a walk or a drive.

So far today, I have made a set of plain black round 2-hole buttons and worked on some little boxes. As of yet, only the bottoms of the boxes are curing and I have to figure out just how I want to do the lids for them or if I am going to make lids at all.

So far I have made 3 different colours right I call Chocolate Caramel, one called Cafe Latte and the final one is Lemon Lime (I am quite partial to this one). They are very shallow and square. Depending on how these turn out, I have plans for others on the drawing board. In time, I hope to make some hinged, and some with little feet. We shall see!

I also have a bottle soaking in soapy water right now. It is one of those flat flask shaped Maple syrup bottles. I would love to decorate it with clay. I also have a bunch of spice jars that would look quite nice decorated as well.

Oh, and for the little canes I was making, here is a couple pictures of one of them, so that you can see just what it was I was talking about in a previous post.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I love making buttons!

I have been trying to find ways of using up my little bits of clay and discovered that making canes out of them is a great way of doing this. I have so far made three different styles of canes. Bull's eye, spiral, or an abstract design.

But first, I have to condition the clay. If it is older, and a bit stiffer, it can take quite awhile to do this. At times, it means hours of warming it in my hands, squishing it, and rolling it out with a rolling pin. A number of people use a food processor to do this for them. I have considered purchasing one myself, and one day I just might! After the clay becomes more pliable (looks nice and shiny), I decide what type of cane I wish to make. If I have a lot of one colour, such as white, I tend to go more for the abstract design.

I am quite partial to these, especially the white and blue one. It reminds me of one of my favourite collectibles, the Copenhagen Danish Blue Plates (of which I have about 20 in two different sizes). They almost look good enough to eat!

After making the cane, I wrap it up in plastic, so that it can sit a bit. I have found that they tend to cut better if they have been sitting a few days. I make quite a few at a time, so that when I am ready to use them, I have a nice selection of colours and styles to choose from.

After a few days, and when I know I have a whole day to devote to it, I take a cane, and using a blade from a utility knife, I cut my slices. I do a bit of shaping (getting much better at this part!) and lay them out on a flat piece of polyfiber batting on a large glass tray from a microwave, and cure them in the oven.

I usually end up doing about 5 trays or so in a day. I like to have a nice quantity of buttons to work on throughout the week on my days off.

Sometimes, I will use a series of sandpaper to sand them, and sometimes not. It all depends on how well they turned out after curing and what type of look I want. The first grit I use is 250, and I use a palm sander for this. The first time I did that I ended up sanding off most of one of my fingernails without even realizing! It did not hurt, though. Then, I use (by hand) 5 more grits : 400, 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000. The higher grits I had to buy from Canadian Tire, as our local hardware shop did not carry them. I always let the sandpaper soak in hot water a bit before using it, as that helps keep it from clogging up with particles of clay. It makes it more pliable, and it will last a lot longer.

The final steps are putting on a light coating of Delta Ceramacoat. When I sand and buff them, I do not need to do this, but I decided to anyway since I want them to be able to be handwashed and last a long time. It also gives them a "wet look".

So far, I have only been making buttons with these canes. I am sure I may make other things as time goes on.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More wonderful Finds on Etsy!

Today I decided to spend some time on repotting my houseplants. I have about 100 of them, and it was definately time! Some of them are so pot bound it is going to be a challenge to remove the old potting soil and find pots large enough for them. It is going to be fun though!!

Since I have also decided to take a "me" day, and not do any crafting, I took a look at some of my favourite shops on Etsy. As I was browsing I came across these and just had to share!

As I have mentioned before, I am quite the fan of Fantasy Fiction. One of my absolute favourite series is the Lord of the Rings.

So, for any fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, here is a must have!

The Hobbit Door Pin, by MichellesClay

Now here is another gorgeous Dragon!
An adorable focal bead created by Studiobijou who is also a teacher and is a co-host of a polymer clay podcast

There are so many amazing creations by polymer artists, it is so hard to choose! I can spend hours just looking. If you want to see them for yourself, just check out Etsy and do a search on polymer clay. You will be glad that you did!

I have been Tagged!

Tagged by UxCritter!

Rules of tagging:

1, Link to the person who tagged you

2, Post these Rules in your Blog

3, Write 7 Random things about yourself

4, Tag random people at the end of your post and link to them

5, Let each Person know they've been tagged

Seven Random Things about Me ~

1. I am a Taurus. I was born in the year of the Dog.

2. I love to read. Mainly Fantasy Fiction, and Sci-Fi. The longest I can go without reading is about 3 days, then I tend to get a bit cranky.

3. I was raised as a country girl, lived 13 years in a city, then returned to the country. I am definately much happier now!

4. I love thunder and lightening storms! I can spend hours watching and listening to one. I also sleep the best during storms.

5. I am somewhat of a hermit. I do prefer to keep to myself and am not much of a social butterfly. I feel uncomfortable in large crowds.

6. I collect frogs! I have about 200 of the little green guys.

7. I have met so many wonderful, kind and helpful people on Etsy, and plan on staying there as long as I possibly can! Even if one day I decide to stop selling on Etsy, I shall remain there and keep in touch with my new friends!

My turn to tag!


MNH Designs


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Exciting finds on Etsy!

I just had to share an awesome find I made while browsing the shops on Etsy! I have to admit, that being somewhat of a Fantasy Fiction fan, I am quite partial to dragons.

The look in her eyes just grabbed at my heart strings. She just makes me want to give him a new home :)

Her name is Sassafrass and you can find her at

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Catnip Teddy Bear Story:

I have 2 cats. I have one catnip toy. Two big boys fighting over one tiny little Christmas stocking cat toy. Funny, most days, but that day, NOT!

So, I looked around trying to see if I could find another one for them, and as I was digging through my bag of various supplies, I found a bunch of these tiny teddy bears. Well, the one cat, Smokie, snagged one out of the bag and stared imploringly at me.

All righty than! This will be his new toy. I spent a very painstaking (and painful) hour removing 90% of the stuffing, and a bunch of extra embellishments that were on the bears, since I did not want my cat to eat them. Then refilling it with catnip (not easy to do with cat claws digging into you at every movement), sewed it back up again and Lo and Behold! A new catnip toy for the boy!

Needless to say, they both love it!

I decided to make a couple more, and offer them on Etsy, for your little furbabies!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

February Challenge for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE) : ACEO's

It is time again for the PCAGOE to hold it's monthly Challenge. This month's theme is ACEO's. Personally, I have made very few of these and found it to be an exciting adventure! I never really considered the fact that I could make these intriguing little trading cards out of polymer clay!

For those who would like to know, an ACEO stands for Art Card Editions and Originals. Another name you may be familiar with is ATC (or Art Trading Card) which normally is made out of paper. These are fairly inexpensive ways for an artist to be able to provide art work for collectors at less expensive prices, and definitely easier to ship all over the world at reasonable rates. They have become extremely popular over the last few years. If you would like to see some examples, please visit and do a search for ACEO or ATC and you will see some amazing ART! You can also do a search on Wikipedia and read the history if these wonderful collector pieces!
My fellow guild members of PCAGOE have put together a wonderful collection for you to browse and if you would like, please vote for your favourite. You can go to to view the entries, and you may also view the prizes available to be won. There will be prizes for the most voted for entries, but best of all, as a voter, you will also be eligible to win a prize! The winners for voting will be randomly drawn and announced on the main website. Voting will be held from February 1st to February 7th.
Here is my entry for the challenge!

And here is a picture of all of the entries!

1. Coffee Lover by PuppyKissPortraits
3. Altered Art by mistymountainrain
4. An Evening at the Farm by sswoss
5. The Dog Ate My Homework by beetreebyme
6. Color My World by polymerclaycreations
7. Composite by jangeisen
10. Dreams of Summer Gone By by jewelzodonnell
13. Twilight Elf by Amantecatl
17. Little Bird on a Tree by peggers
18. Valentine by tejaesart