Sunday, November 20, 2011

How To Make a Polymer Clay Poinsettia Cane by Artmakers Worlds

This post was written by Jen of Artmakers Worlds on her own blog located at and she was kind enough to let me share it here as well.

Just for fun, the making of a poinsettia cane.

You can find this cane listing by clicking here.

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I won't walk everyone through every single step in cane building, in fact I didn't even think to photograph this until I had a good start. But if you want an idea of how canes are made, there is plenty of info here.

The petals and leaves are all made the same way. It's a basic leaf cane. In short, you run a few colors side by side through a pasta machine, fold and run over and over. This is called a "skinner blend." Roll that up and you have a "plug." Each end of this plug will be a different shade. Well what I want is a plug that runs one color along one side, not each end. So I compress the ends together and stretch the sides until I have a plug with colors side by side instead of end to end. Cut that and add the veins, and I'll show this later in the demo.

The center part is simple. Make a log of one color, wrap it with another. Reduce, cut into several equal sections, put them side by side, reduce again. Do this as many times as you need to get the number of center dots you want.

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So I've made my basic leaf in red, reduced that long enough to cut a dozen sections. The first six got tacked to my center piece,
Now I snug the next six around those. And that's our flower.

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Next, I need to find a green to use for the leaves. As it turns out the only green I have on hand is a real bright one. Too bright.
Well before I got into polymer clay I was a painter so blending colors is second nature to me. The way to "tone down" an obnoxious shade of anything is to use a bit of it's opposite on the color wheel. The opposite of green is red. Just a touch of red will bring down the yikes factor just enough to make a nice leaf. The scraps I had from the ends of the flower part is perfect. The photo shows the green I started with and what a touch of red blended in makes.
Now I have enough to make the dark leaf veins as well as some shadow at the base of the leaves.

So again, I made a plug, then compressed it and pulled it sideways to make a plug that is dark on one side and light on the other.
As with any basic leaf, slice this in half and insert a sheet of dark green. Slice both sides and insert sheets as the leaf veins. Voila. Now reduce that long enough to make six or seven sections.
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So here I've added the reduced leaf sections. How many you add at this point is not that important. Note I have two leaves side by side on one spot.
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Now it's time to start packing with translucent. Being careful to make triangular shapes that fit between the leaves so their shapes don't get mushed together.
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And here is my cane fully assembled and ready to start reducing.
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Note, I'm not covering how to reduce a cane. Basically I start by simply squeezing this thing. Squeeze, turn, squeeze, turn. Once it grows in length enough I start squeezing the center until it forms sort of a waistline. This is how all canes get reduced. It's time consuming, and sometimes it's a bit of a work out. Just gotta go slow, compress from the center out towards the ends. All those air spaces will be squeezed out and the design gets compressed together.
Never roll a cane to reduce. That will twist the design and trap in any air pockets.

Here is my smiling mug (yikes) holding the cane just before the reducing process. Gives you and idea how big cans are before they get shrunk and stretched. This one is actually a medium size. I've made a few that were twice as big as this. If not larger. those are such a work out to reduce though, every time I end up with one that big I say to myself "self? Don't DO that again."
This one was not a problem to reduce. Good size.
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And finally, here are my freshly reduced and cut pieces ready to be wrapped and stored until some wonderful customer decides to buy and turn into creative things.
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Hope you enjoyed the life of a cane.


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6 Smooshing Thoughts:

Lupe Meter said...

That is an awesome cane! I will have to try it! Thanks for sharing!

ArtFairly Aware said...

Thanks for sharing this! What a beautiful cane--you are so talented!

Anonymous said...

I love the look of this cane.I have to try it thanks so much

Marilyn Ray Knopic said...

Beautiful cane! I want to try my hand at making one . . . thanks for sh


Marilyn Ray Knopic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marilyn Ray Knopic said...

Beautiful cane! I want to try my hand at making one . . . thanks for sharing!