Easy Clay Caning for Beginners


Halloween Cat Bracelet watermarked

Halloween Black Cats Bracelet watermarked

Polymer clay caning is a true art form. The canes created by experienced polymer clay artists are absolutely unbelievable. Kaliedoscopes, animals, butterfly wings, animal prints, etc. They are miniature works of art.
Clay Cane Samples

Clay Cane Samples

Since everyone has to start “somewhere” as they learn the art of caning, I thought it would be fun to share a very easy way to create a basic cane used for the charms on a bracelet. It takes a bit of experimentation, and even my first attempt is not perfect by any means – but it was fun to see how the design reduced and I am happy overall with the sliced beads/charms used for this spooky fun bracelet. By using this very basic technique, even kids could create canes. It would be a fun “mom and me” project – the kid could create the cane, mom could use the clay blade to slice it up and bake it, then they work together to create the bracelet.


Materials: 

  • premo! Sculpey®
    • Wasabi
    • Orange
    • Black
  • Makin’s®
    • Clay Cutter Sets
      • Halloween
      • 4-Piece Circle Clay Cutter Set
    • Clay Roller
    • Clay blade
  • Parchment paper
  • DecoArt®
    • Americana®
      • Triple Thick Gloss Glaze
  • Paintbrush
  • Bronze or black jump rings
  • Black chain
  • Closure
  • Jewelry pliers 

Instructions:

  1. Condition each color of clay. Roll black clay to about 1/4” thick. Use cat clay cutter to cut black cat. Set aside.
  2. Roll wasabi clay to about 1/4” thick. Use 60mm round clay cutter to cut circle.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 1

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 1

  3. Use cat cutter to cut cat from center of wasabi circle.
  4. Insert black cat into wasabi circle.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 2

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 2

  5. Roll orange clay into a “snake” about 1/4” in diameter. Wrap around the wasabi circle.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 3

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 3

  6. Begin gently compressing the circle inward and upward. 
  7. Continue gently compressing and rolling clay to create a cylinder about 1/3” in diameter. As I lengthened my cane, and decreased the diameter, the orange clay became distorted as you can see – but I ended up liking the effect that created on the finished slices. Each one is a little different from the other. Some distortion is to be expected depending on the brands of clay you use, and the complexity of the design. I have found that firmer clays tend to work better for caning overall.  Softer clays lead to more distortion. I also found that if I placed my cane into the freezer for about 15 minutes, getting clean slices with less distortion was a bit easier.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 4

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 4

  8. Caution:  Be sure you are holding the clay blade with the sharp edge downward – I learned this lesson the hard way….Use clay blade to cut slices about 1/4” from the “cane”.  The first 1-2 may be non-usable, set those aside. Continue slicing to create desired number of black cat beads.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 5

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 5

  9. Take any remaning non-usable portion of the cane, and scrap clay and roll together to marbelize.  Roll into tube about 1/3” and slice into 1/4” slices. 
  10. Make a small hole in the top of each slice and bake the charms according to manufacturer instructions. NOTE – Oven temperatures can vary – it is best to check your charms BEFORE the time indicated on the packaging, as I have learned the hard way. This first batch was baked exactly the amount of time recommended. Which was obviously too long! Sometimes it takes less time than recommended based upon the thickness of the pieces you are baking, and variations in oven temperatures.

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 6

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 6

  11. Let cool.
  12. Coat top and sides of each charm with glaze.  Let dry thoroughly, then coat reverse side.  Let dry.
  13. Add jump rings, then attach jump rings to the chain. Add closure.
    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 7

    Halloween Black Cat Bracelet HOW 7

  14. Designed by Cindi McGee