A while ago, I said I would post about making simple canes with polymer clay and I thought I had better get on with it! (It is quite a long post, due to the number of photos, but I'll split it into hopefully manageable chunks). Firstly, polymer clay is a non-toxic material, made of tiny particles of PVC, pigment and a plasticizer. It needs to be baked at a cool temperature to harden. You can use a domestic oven to bake it in, but use a baking tray just for your clay and cover it with foil when baking to ensure the material doesn't get onto the oven. Although it is non-toxic, you need to have tools that you keep just for clay work - don't use the same tools for cooking and clay. Above is a basic selection of useful/essential tools. From the top left: a clay roller (for getting lovely thin sheets of clay), an acrylic sheet (for rolling/flattening), a cutter, an acrylic roller, cutting blades (extremely sharp), and some polymer clay. The materials are sitting on a ceramic tile which is an ideal surface to work on.
There are lots of brands of clay out there, but I use Premo by Sculpey (ranging from around £1.95 to £2.50 for a block like the one above (about 57g). This brand is marked into four pieces, which is helpful when you only need some of the block.
The first thing to do is to condition the clay by rolling it in your hands and warming it up. It will become more malleable and easier to work with.
How do you know when it is conditioned? The piece above has broken into two when folded over, so is not ready yet.
Now it's ready - it is smooth and folds nicely.
(I changed to black clay here, so that you can see it against the background.) It is being rolled out before being put through the clay roller.
Here it is on the thickest setting, on my roller, number 1.
Here it is after being rolled on number 5.
When you put the clay into the roller, make sure any fold is put in first, otherwise air bubbles could be trapped in the clay.
A sausage of pearl clay is wrapped in a thin layer of black clay.
It just gets rolled up and the clay is cut with a bevelled edge to join together.
The bulls-eye cane (that's the official name of this type of cane) is rolled to reduce the size and then cut into small lengths.
I made another cane with gold in the middle and this has the black and white canes placed around it.
It is rolled to smooth the surface and make sure the clay is all stuck together.
It is then reduced by rolling it with a piece of acrylic.
Then slices are cut from it and can be used to make a pendant...